33 ⅓: Babes in Toyland’s Fontanelle by Selena Chambers

So…my 13-year old self just swooned through the future to fall into my 39-year old arms as a major dream has come true… 

I will be writing the 33 ⅓ series installment on the band that changed me forever–Babes in Toyland–and their seminal album Fontanelle! 33 1/3 Books made the announcement this afternoon, revealing their next 15 picks from an open call of 400 submissions earlier this year.

Coming Fall 2022, here’s a short summary of what you can expect:

Babes in Toyland was one of the most influential and forgotten bands of the 1990s. Despite creating a unique brand of sisterhood that inspired fans to create Riot Grrl and legendary bands such as 7 Year Bitch, Bikini Kill, and yes, even Hole, the Babes’ story seems to only exist as footnotes to other more famous figures. The all-girl band rode the wave of the Minneapolis grunge scene crafting a unique sound composed of self-taught instrumentation and unabashed banshee raging vocals. Their stage presence was enigmatic, their lyrics vitriolic, and their Kinderwhore fashion ironic and easy to emulate. But what made them most inspiring was their ethos. 

While all female, the band insisted their music wasn’t a political statement but a personal expression. They would dismiss labeling their act as feminist but their actions sent a positive message of what a matriarchal system within music could look like. But then they let the patriarchy in via their major label contract with Warner Bros., and the unique frission of the Babes would never be the same again. Now, almost 30 years after their most seminal record, Fontanelle was released, the legend of the band is being resurrected and respun to reclaim their proper space and context in the history of music and women in rock.

I’ve been a long-time fan of this series, and getting to share my love of the Babes with the series editors and readers is an amazing opportunity that has left me humble and excited to write again. I am so excited to see the other albums and the wonderful range on display–Maria Callas, Kendrick Lamar, George Michael, and Britney–and really can’t believe I’ll have a contribution among them. I can’t thank 33 1/3 enough for including me!

Appearance: Tattered Cover Colfax, Denver, CO, Wednesday, Dec. 5th

I’m packing on up for my flight to Denver tomorrow. I’m really excited to be visiting the area again, and finally visiting the famous Tattered Cover bookstore in Colfax, Denver.

I will be there Wednesday, December 5th celebrating the release of MECHANICAL ANIMALS: TALES AT THE CRUX OF CREATURE AND TECH with my co-editor Jason Heller, and contributors Stephen Graham-Jones, Molly Tanzer, and Carrie Vaughn. It’s going to be a really great reading with signings to follow, and if you are in the Denver area I hope you will come by and say hi!

Event page with details: https://www.tatteredcover.com/events#event-id-144273

 

Happy Book Release Day to MIXED UP: COCKTAIL RECIPES (and Flash Fiction) FOR THE DISCERNING DRINKER (and Reader)

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I know this may look familiar, but while bookstores and contributors have been receiving copies early, today is the official release date for MIXED UP: COCKTAIL RECIPES (and Flash Fiction) FOR THE DISCERNING DRINKER (and Reader).

Mixologists and Fabulists are going to be thrilled with this new anthology from Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer. Published by Skyhorse Publishing, MIXED UP is a lovely new gift book that pairs fantastic fiction with annotated and updated recipes.

My story, “Arrangement in Juniper and Champagne,” riffs on the French 75. It’s about Hannah Höch, friendships strained by adulthood, and of course, public drinking.

And, man, in addition to having an excuse to write about all of that, I am honored to be sloshing about with these other amazing contributors:

• Maurice Broaddus
• Nick Mamatas
• Jim Nisbet
• Jarret Kobek
• Benjamin Percy
• Libby Cudmore
• Dominica Phetteplace
• Gina Marie Guadignino
• Tim Pratt
• Elizabeth Hand
• Robert Swartwood
• Cara Hoffman
• Jeff VanderMeer
• Carrie Laben
• Will Viharo
• Carmen Machado

If you enjoy pouring over great stories while decadent booze pours into you, order your copy here now.

RECAP: CALLS FOR SUBMISSION at Midtown Reader, Tallahassee, June 16, 2017

SignTwo weeks ago was my book release party for Calls for Submission. And, as usual, I’m blogging about it in a totally timely manner. The delay in posting doesn’t diminish how amazing of a night it was! My book had been out for exactly a month by the evening of the reading, but it didn’t feel REAL until I arrived at Midtown Reader and found my books on the New Arrivals table.

 

IMG_5173That was when it finally hit me:  Holy crap, I made a thing. This thing. This beautiful, weird little thing.

And that was just the first of many pleasant surprises. Friends I hadn’t seen since high school were there, and since we were all the types to forget about going to reunions, it was lovely to get to see everyone’s faces and catch up (albeit way too briefly!) on the past 17 years. My mother and brother were there, too, and I think Mom especially enjoyed seeing how all of us kids had grown up.

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After some cupcakes and wine, owner Sally Bradshaw gave a wonderfully warm welcome and introduction, and I babbled way too much about the Florida Gothic before diving into “Dive in Me,” a Gothic tale set basically in Tallahassee, and co-written with my small times bud, Jesse Bullington, whose mother was also in the audience!

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My friend was really kind enough to take pictures for me, and she did a pretty excellent job documenting the night. But there is one photo that never was taken, and it was what I saw after I read the concluding line.

“Dive” is almost too long for a reading, and every other time I’ve read from it, I have usually had to stop right when the getting was good, or jumble a lot of stuff together. But I read it from start to finish that night, about 20 to 25 minutes total, and when I began I was already intimidated that all the seats were mostly full. But when I finished reading and looked up, all seats were taken, and the store was full of standing friendly faces I hadn’t seen come in while performing! I’m glad I didn’t noticed, or else I might have froze and blown the whole thing. Heh.

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I signed ALL the books and we pretty much cleaned house. While signing, many people told me they hadn’t visited Midtown Reader yet, and they had fallen in love with the store as much as I had. This, probably, more than anything else really felt great because after having gone without an independent bookstore for, well, basically, ever, I really want Tallahassee to come out and appreciate what Sally and her wonderful staff are creating for us. This is the lodestone of a strong literary community, and since it’s opening in November, I have already noticed the difference Midtown Reader is making here.

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Check out that banner in the back! My publisher, Pelekenisis, sent it special delivery from California and it really was a special touch and showcased the cover art well, which was a real hit.

I received many compliments on Joan Horne‘s cover, which was really cool because Joan is also a Tallahassee-native and long-time bud. While she is doing her kick-ass thing in L. A., it felt like having her there with me. I felt that way about Molly Tanzer, too, who wrote the Intro for Calls for Submission, and of course, my “Dive in Me” co-author, Jesse. I realized that night that I was carrying around a lot more of Tallahassee in my little book than I realized, given not only the material of some of the stories, but just the love and involvement it got from close childhood friends. And the fact that even more family and friends, like Lisa, Jesse’s mom, came out to help me celebrate this crazy achievement was one of life’s rare joyous feelings that I am grateful to get to experience!

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Because most of the time you feel like you are doing this in a vacuum. It’s easy to think no one takes you seriously or cares about what you do in the shadows, but thanks to Midtown Reader, my beautiful friends and family, and the new friends I made that night, including staffers Darrell and Reid, I realize that I had that all wrong. And I am humbled and grateful for the love and this community!

THANK YOU all for coming out, buying books, and helping me launch this bizarre baby into the world! THANK YOU Midtown Reader for throwing one heck of a shindig! XoXo

And if you are reading this from Tallahassee and haven’t been to Midtown Reader, yet. Get thee to the bookstore! (They may still have a signed copy or two of Calls for Submission, left, you never know).

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Publishing Notes: Book Notes at Largehearted Boy

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This is my mixtape to the world that never jammed with me…or something like that. Actually, it’s a playlist for my collection, Calls for Submission, which came out last week. Each tale has its own song and in turn its own story.

I had a blast with this one. In some ways, the playlist had formed itself while I worked on the stories over the years. In other ways, a new serendipity formed as brand-new songs, like Chagall’s Sappho would send me back into “Remnants of Lost Empire” and created a more appropriate soundtrack than the music I had used while drafting. I also feel more connected with the work being able to reminisce on their creation in a way that wasn’t solely about words, but about evocation and feeling in a Schopenhauer-way.

I’ve been a longtime reader of Largehearted Boy since its early days, and have always viewed it as the epitome of what a blog can actually achieve with focus and citizenship. Just like LitHub felt like taking communion, having a playlist on Largehearted Boy is a wonderful and rare moment of self-actualization–HOLY CRAP I PUBLISHED A THING!

So, just to go back to riffing on Emmy D, I guess that does make this my mixtape to the world that I hope will take a listen and read back to me.

A thousand thanks to David Gutowski for giving me the space to jam literary with everyone!

You can check out my Book Notes to Calls for Submission, and access the playlist, here.

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“From the dazzling mind of Selena Chambers, we are treated to fifteen provocative stories. Whether in collaboration with other writers, or on her own, her voice shines brightly through each tale.  Although these stories have an underlying darkness within them, they are still gloriously illuminating.”–Ann VanderMeer, co-editor of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories and Sisters of the Revolution.

CALLS FOR SUBMISSION can be ordered from the publisher directly: Pelekinesis,

But it is also available from SQUARE and SPD and the following locations:

Prefer an ebook? Yes m’am, we can do that:

Liked what you read? Please leave a review at Amazon & Goodreads! Or share on your social network. The hashtag for the book is #CFSBOOK. You can find me and Pelekinesis on Twitter and Instagram at: @BasBleuZombie & @Pelekinetic.

 

RELEASE DAY: CALLS FOR SUBMISSION now available from Pelekinesis!!! Here’s how you can help!

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IMPORTANT LINKS:

CALLS FOR SUBMISSION can be ordered from the publisher directly: Pelekinesis,

But it is also available from SQUARE and SPD and the following locations:

Prefer an ebook? Yes m’am, we can do that:

Liked what you read? Please leave a review at Amazon & Goodreads! Or share on your social network. The hashtag for the book is #CFSBOOK. You can find me and Pelekinesis on Twitter and Instagram at: @BasBleuZombie & @Pelekinetic.

Thank you, again!

 

 

 

 

 

Publishing Notes: Literary Hub and my Women Surrealist Survival Kit

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An essay I wrote about my “Surrealist Survival Kit” for Literary Hub.

I’m doing a mini-Guest Blog tour for Calls for Submission, and my first stop is at the incomparable Literary Hub! I am very pleased to share that “The Women Surrealists Helping Me Through Our New Political Reality” is now live.

My original intention, and pitch, for this piece was to be a discussion about the last ten years effort at a Women Surrealist Revival. An effort I believe is at its apex, what with the Leonora Carrington centennial, a first ever monograph of Eileen Agar, and the two new Claude Cahun books coming out this summer, including Exist Otherwise, the first English biography of the gender-bending photographer.

But as I started drafting, the essay took a different and much more personal route. I’d been re-acquainting myself with these artists since the election, and fully realized in the writing of this piece how they were helping me reassess and reaffirm what I believe the potential of art truly can be.  Something I had been struggling with all year, and as a result lead to a lot of dead ins and head-wall banging.

But as I started to look at what and who I had been dipping back into–Carrington, Cahun, Césaire, Kahlo, and Mina Loy–all women who commented on the political by drawing upon the personal, I realized I had to step up and go there myself. The Revival turned into Survival.

So, here then, is an achievement of a few things. First, it is the first finished thing I’ve produced since the election; Second, it is both a celebration of the internal resistance of the past, and advocation of its exploration in the future; three, it’s on LITHUB!

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out, and if you liked it, please share it widely with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

Paul Tremblay on Calls for Submission (PLUS UPDATES)!

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN:  My debut collection, CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, will be released May 15th (but you can pre-order from Pelekinesis now, if you’d like). That isn’t that far away, and to get pumped for the big day, I will be showcasing the awesome blurbs the collection has received. Every author that we queried has influenced me in some vital way, and as a thank you and token of my gratitude for their time and effort, I’ve written a little about each person and what their work has meant to my work.

So there are about 7 days left! In the past week or so, a few developments have occurred. First, more ordering options–including e-book versions–of Calls for Submission were made available. You can view them here.

Since then, Amazon announced it’s new diss to living writers, and I would like to personally urge you to purchase from Pelekinesis directly, or through Powell’s or your local indie bookstore. On those latter two, you may have to request a special order through the store and wait a hot minute, but ultimately you would be helping to defend working artists and contributing to a healthier literary community.  Plus, that would be helping me out too. However you want to do it, many thanks again to those who are pre-ordering!

Speaking of indie bookstores, I am excited to finally announce that I will be reading and discussing Calls for Submission at Tallahassee’s brand new and baller Midtown Reader.  That event will occur on June 16th at 5:30 pm.

Oof, and this was suppose to be about blurbs! It is, it is, my friends. Today’s blurb comes from the man who has single-handedly made Stephen King afraid of the dark:  Paul Tremblay!

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You all know Paul Tremblay as the best-selling rock star of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rocks, but I first became hooked when I found a copy of The Harlequin and The Train at a friend’s house. My friend had already done the interactive bits, so that aspect was spoiled for me, but I got to see the final outcome, and it was just a light bulb for me.

The whole concept of an interactive text like this–mixing play with narrative responsibility and transparency–was just one of the coolest thwartings of how we read and consume mysteries. And it was one of the first contemporary examples of how to thwart and play within genre I’d come across. Something I needed badly at the time. Unfortunately, the experience is lost to a time and a place, as it was a limited edition of 400 copies and isn’t readily available now. But, believe me, the subversion of tropes and pop culture and all sorts of other surrealistic-punk principled goodness permeates in Ghosts and Devil’s Rock (which just came out in paperback). If you haven’t read Paul yet, rectify that now.

 

Publication Notes: CALLS FOR SUBMISSION Pre-order Updates

Yesterday was fun! I learned on Facebook that pre-orders of CALLS FOR SUBMISSION seem to be shipping out a bit early, and are showing up in the wild! I am so excited for everyone to read this, and if you have already pre-ordered, thank you so much and I hope it is enjoyable!

My own author copies also arrived, reminding me that there have been a few developments I’d like to share.

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CALLS FOR SUBMISSION  will be released by Pelekinesis on May 15th.

In addition to ordering directly from Pelekinesis, CALLS FOR SUBMISSION is now also available from SPD and the following locations:

If you prefer an ebook:

If you are in Canada, it is also available at Chapters/Indigo. (h/t to Alexis for letting me know!).

While the official release date isn’t until May 15th, it is possible those who pre-order hardcopies might receive their copy sooner, but it isn’t guaranteed.

TO REVIEWERS AND INTERVIEWERS:  I still have a few ARCs available. If you are interested in reviewing CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, drop me a line at: LeFilleHST@gmail.com, or hit me up on Facebook or on Twitter @BasBleuZombie.

Richard Gavin & Orrin Grey on CALLS FOR SUBMISSION

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN:  My debut collection, CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, will be released May 15th (but you can pre-order from Pelekinesis now, if you’d like). That isn’t that far away, and to get pumped for the big day, I will be showcasing the awesome blurbs the collection has received. Every author that we queried has influenced me in some vital way, and as a thank you and token of my gratitude for their time and effort, I’ve written a little about each person and what their work has meant to my work. 

This week features very kind words from two masters whose work I’ve both adored for several years: Richard Gavin, a master of mysticism and the macabre, and Orrin Grey, the master of teratology and the new Gothic.

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I am the one who is in awe! I don’t throw around the word mystic loosely. I learned last week that in some literary circles, being termed mystic is anathema. But, man, when I say mystic in regards to an artist, that refers to a very select chosen few (chosen as in not by me, but some higher calling):  Leonora Carrington, William Burroughs, William Blake, Remedies Varo, Percy Shelley, Frida Khalo, Edgar Allan Poe (you balk? Go read Eureka, fool!), etc. You’ll notice those people are all dead. Well, Mysticism, like Poetry, belongs to a dying breed. But there are still a few out there navigating the unseen seas, among them:  Alex Grey, Carrie Ann Baade, and Richard Gavin!

To me, Richard Gavin’s writing is in direct correlation with the darker aspects of Sublimity and Dark Romanticism, all of which often intersects at very strange, mysterious, and alchemical topographies. In his latest collection, SYLVAN DREAD: TALES OF PASTORAL DARKNESS, he explores these topographies, as well as the lies we have told ourselves about Nature to ignore what might be beyond the veil beyond human civilizational presumptions. It was one of the collections that really stuck with me last year. To learn more about his work, please visit his website here.

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Just as Richard Gavin has opened my eyes to the mystical possibilities in writing Weird and speculative fiction, Orrin Grey has brought me more sympathy and understanding to our relationship with monsters. Be it primordial beasts or a B-movie zip-up costume, works like NEVER BET THE DEVILPAINTED MONSTERS, and the non-fiction collection MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, explore teratology to its fullest, while also staying in commune with the Gothic traditions of Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James. Check out his skeletal perambulations at his website:  Who Killed Orrin Grey?

Many thanks, Richard and Orrin, for the time and for the words!