Selena Chambers

I imbibe words and consume past minds. As a result, I often awake next to strange sentences and forgotten meanings. I am the Bas Bleu Zombie.

I was very happy to get to go to an independent bookstore in my hometown, Midtown Reader. It is quickly becoming my sanctuary from home and work. Every time I go, I leave energized in the unique way that only book browsing and buying can do. Needless to say, I never leave empty handed.

Here’s my swag from today. Because I bought A LOT, I got a free tote, and this delicious cookie. I hope you all are visiting your local stores and keeping this important, dwindling ecosystem alive. If you need help locating one in your town, check out Indiebound’s handy independent bookstore finder!

So what did you all buy today?

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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!

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We’re in the final countdown! In a month, my debut collection CALLS FOR SUBMISSION will be out in the world doing whatever debut collections do (hopefully be read?). And I am doing all the things writers do to try to make that happen (witchy moon spells?).

Seriously, though, so far, it has been going pretty good, and I am very excited about the upcoming date. I am humbled to have received wonderful blurbs from among my favorite writers working today. I am “over moon” to have the above from Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., editor of The Madness of Dr. Caligari and the World Fantasy Nominated Cassilda’s Song. He is also author of A House of Hollow Wounds (which includes some madness of its own in the way of Mallarmé that is sooo good!) among many more great works. You can find more out about Joe here!

Other blurbers include Kat Howard, Livia Llewellyn, Richard Gavin, Ann VanderMeer, Paul Tremblay, Nick Mamatas, and Orrin Grey! As you can see above, my publisher at Pelekinesis, Mark Givens, has made these beautiful blurbs into nifty memes, and I will start unveiling them over the next few weeks. I am also working on some Guest Bloggage and a few local events in Florida, so please stay tuned for developing news and the official book launch May 15th!

If you’d like to get your orders in early, the paperback is now available for pre-order at the Pelekinesis website, and I understand an e-book option will soon follow. And I don’t really know what else to say at the moment, other than a HUGE thank you to everyone who has taken the time to support and encourage this project!

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Cover art by MANDEM.

I’ve been remiss in updating when a new Alphanumeric goes live. You may recall, there was some free content from the Non-Binary Review Issue #12: Words of Edgar Allan Poe promised, and this is where it is at! Alphanumeric is the sister-site/brother companion to Issue #12, and I think it gives a great sample of what you can expect from the full issue, which can be bought at Zoetic Press’s store for $1.99 in Kindle, Pdf, and ePub formats.

So far, the following works are available for viewing:

  • “The Ravening” by Meadhbh Hamrick, which gives the choose your adventure/RPG narrative mode the Poe treatment.
  • “My Mother’s People” by Samantha Stiers is a very poignant non-fiction essay about family, illness, and finding solace in the imagination after discovering Poe.
  • “Madmen of a Harmless Nature” by Robert Perret (edited) reunites us with our Decadent Dupin and goes on an occultism romp.
  • “The Imp of the Perverse” by Chris Bullard is a poem that further examines contemporary examples of how the Imp still rides us all.
We have three more entries ahead, and I am looking forward to introducing them all! I do hope you enjoy them.

WS CoverToday is the last call on WANDERING SPIRITS: TRAVELING MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN, my limited-edition travelogue chapbook from Tallhat Press.

If you’ve been on the fence about buying this, now’s your last chance.

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since Yves Tourigny swooped in and made my idle wish a beautifully illustrated reality. Many thanks to him, and to the readers who bought, reviewed, and advocated for this adventure.

FRANKENSTEIN turns 200 offiicially next year, so there is much more bicentennial celebrations to be enjoyed. Please tune in to the Facebook page,  Frankenstein200, for more things Frankenshelly.

I haven’t had many reasons to leave the house, lately. Too many deadlines and not enough time. However, when it comes to these two events, I wouldn’t miss them for all the pennies per word in the world.

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On Thursday, March 9th, starting at 7 pm at the Phyllis Straus Gallery in Tallahassee, FL, I will be joining poet Luis Eduardo and others at his event #RESIST.

Quoting from the Facebook Event page:

Join us on a night of resistance and unification as we all welcome the artistry of The Lessers (singer/guitarist Olivier Millour), Mariah J. RománMax EpsteinSelena ChambersMenika LueSawyer CampbellLuis EduardoElton BurgestEric McNeil, and Sawyer Vanderwerff.

[Resist] indicates unification and resistance, the sense of being together with all while also going against any disturbance to said unity. Has to do with current events, with the people against xenophobia, against homo- and trans-phobia, against bigotry and against diving opposing sides in any country, whether it be here in the States or in Great Britain. RESIST can mean many things; hence, resistance includes resisting from society, from pressure, or from the very resisting occurring in society. Unification, in turn, can be the unification of ideas that go against the very idea of unity, therefore, distractions to proper utopias. The two conflict and coerce themselves, like yin and yang. Both are necessary for the development of good and evil found in society.

Just as an aside, I agree with this mission statement 100%. Since November, I have heard testimonies from many people lost in the sea of possibility of resistance: What’s the right way? What’s the best way? Why is it this way? And resistance can come in many forms, and I believe that it is up to the artists, writers, musicians, and creators to explore and illustrate those forms in ways that aren’t necessarily done effectively on the front lines. So, I am very glad to be standing and reading with this great group of artists. Thank you, Luis!

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On Saturday, March 25th, I will be in Atlanta as a guest participant in the first annual The Outer Dark Symposium of the Greater Weird.

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird will be an immersive one-day event featuring eight hours of panels, readings and signings centered around Weird and speculative fiction. Admission will be limited to 50 attendees, but all programming will be featured on The Outer Dark weekly podcast which airs on This Is Horror, reaching thousands of listeners who are readers of Weird and speculative fiction.

Since this is its first year, they are running an Indiegogo campaign with amazing perks from some of the best weird writers and vendors in the biz. To quote co-founder Scott Nicolay, host of The Outer Dark weekly podcast:

A key goal is to keep the symposium affordable ($25) for readers and writers, with everyone attending all programming and sharing breakfast and lunch together. We also will be providing an opportunity to continue the conversation at an after-party in the evening. We’ve crunched every figure and cut corners as far as we possibly can, but to rent a great space for an entire day, fly in some out-of-town guests, provide food services, and print a collectible program chapbook still takes money. In other words, to accomplish ALL this at this crazy price point, we ask humbly for your help.

That’s why we created this Indiegogo campaign through which you can purchase:

  • Supporting Membership ($20, includes program chapbook, limited to 100 copies & signed by all 17 program participants)

  • Basic Attending Membership ($25 for day event including meals)

  • Deluxe Membership ($50 for day event & evening party)

  • VIP Membership ($100, includes exclusive brunch with author guests & more)

With 4 days left, they have almost reached 50% of their goal (which is just under $3k). If you are coming to the Outer Dark, why not consider buying your membership along with some of the great perks? If you are a fan of Frankenstein or Poe, you may be interested in two of the below options that involve my WANDERING SPIRITS: TRAVELING MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN limited edition chapbook from Tallhat Press.

Wandering Weird–$10 USD  + Shipping
 
1 signed & personalized copy of Selena Chambers’ WANDERING SPIRITS; TRAVELING MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN (illustrated by Yves Tourigny) & your name thanked in program chapbook & on podcast.
 
Dreadful Poe Pack–$45 USD + Shipping
 
The Dreadful Ape Tiki Mug is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE & finely crafted by Horror in Clay. To make it even more Poe-fect, it comes with a signed copy & personalized copy of WANDERING SPIRITS: TRAVELING MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN by Poe expert Selena Chambers. Plus your name thanked in program chapbook & on podcast.

There are plenty of other options, from simply getting the basic membership for $25, or a special VIP Deluxe Attending Membership for $100, which gets you to “The Outer Dark Symposium, VIP party (8-11 pm, location TBA), farewell Sun. brunch with guests (up to $25 incl tip) & special surprise Weird book/gift. Plus your name listed as VIPDeluxe attending member in program chapbook & on podcast.”

You can explore all the perk options and find more details at The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird’s Indiegogo page or Facebook event page. Many thanks to Scott and Anya Martin for having me along for the ride.

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Cover art by MANDEM.

For the past few months, I have been reading for Zoetic Press’s NonBinary Review #12: The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, which I have the honor of serving as Guest Editor. It was just released, and is now available for digital purchase for just $1.99.

Out of something like 63 submissions, I selected 32 stories, poems, essays, and artwork to appear in this issue, as well as its online sister companion, Alphanumeric. I was only able to do this with the patient gut-checking and assistance of Zoetic Press‘s founder and editrix-in-chief Lise Quintana, and all of her awesome editors. I can’t thank them enough for letting me join their sandbox!

I really enjoyed editing this issue, and I hope you will enjoy reading it! From the dark, decadent gothic to sharp, modern retellings, I wanted to make sure the issue had something for every kind of Poe fan here. One aspect of this issue that may be surprising to all Poe fans is the presence of lighter tones and humor in some of the pieces. Poe was actually a funny guy and that aspect of his personality is often excised when we discuss his work, so I was very happy to receive submissions celebrating that. One fantastic example is “The Ravening,” by Meadhbh Hamrick, which launches this month’s Alphanumeric*

“The Ravening” is a hilarious text-based adventure game based on the archetypal Poe hero that no only sheds light on popular culture’s perception of Poe’s work but also illustrates its timelessness. Can you survive the massive doses of laudanum required to survive? Click here to find out. 

Oh, and Poepathists may recognize my introduction, “The Living Poe Girl.”It is a radically revised edition of a series that ran at Tor.com in 2009, and touches on the heroines that appear in this issue, Ligeia, Berenice, The Oval Portrait, and of course, Virginia Poe.

*Alphanumeric is the fun, free, month-long online companion to each issue of NonBinary Review. This is a great way for readers to get a feel for the issue’s vibe, so if you are on the fence about buying the issue, check in every week to get a sample of the issue.

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