Publishing Notes: 2016: The Year in Review

Reading! Writing! Editing! Yay!  As far as I can recall, this is what I was up too this year in publishing:

Fiction

Last Session

“The Last Session: The Facts in the Case of Clarissa Collyer.” Dunhams Manor Press Limited Edition Chapbook.

Longest fiction written to date. A whole novelette! Hot dang, I will conquer you yet, novel. This is a riff on Poe’s “Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” but through the exploration of a mother-daughter relationship estranged by adolescence and cancer, and of course Emo. I got some nice reviews and comments on this one, and I dare say the creep/cry factor is dialed to 11. Many thanks to editor Jordan Krall on letting me give this one the chance to breathe.

“The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour.” Reprint for WORDS zine, Hex Publishers. 

This anti-Orientalism Steampunk tale set in Turkey originally appeared in Sarah Hans’ STEAMPUNK WORLD (Alliteration Ink). I was stoked to give the Şehrazat another avenue and be a part of Hex Publishers’ weekly magazine WORDS. There is a lot of great FREE stuff over there–stories by Nisi Shawl, Jason Heller, E. Lily Yu, and Alvaros Zinos-Amaro–so if you haven’t checked them out, you are missing out. Thank you for the opportunity, Josh Viola!

“Arrangement in Juniper and Champagne.” MIXED UP: COCKTAIL RECIPES (AND FLASH FICTION) FOR THE DISCERNING DRINKER (AND READER), edited by Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer. Skyhorse, October 2017.

I am proud of this story for several reasons.

First, to be in anything edited by Nick and/or Molly has been on my goals list for a while, and many thanks to them for liking and accepting the story!

Second, all I really ever want to do is write fiction about cocktails, in this case the French 75.

Third, I’d been reading a lot of and about Hemingway this year, and had been toying with the Iceberg idea–something like “Hills Like White Elephants,” but from only women’s perspectives. Pair this with the constant ostracizing of women who don’t want to have children ever (by women), or define their being by their sexual prowess, or dream of fairy tale love to be complete–you got “Arrangement in Juniper and Champagne.”

Fourth, I had no idea what was coming in November, so I feel this was sort of a preamble for whatever changes to my writing that may bring. Read More

Publishing Notes: Interview, Tales of Mythic Adventure

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Courtney Love plays William Tell as Joan Vollmer in BEAT.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Chaosium V.P., Michael O’Brien to discuss Joe Pulver‘s CASSILDA’S SONG, which they published, and my story therein, “The Neurastheniac.” Both the anthology and my story have been nominated for a World Fantasy Award.

For those new here, CASSILDA’S SONG explores the feminine side of Robert Chambers’ (no relation) KING IN YELLOW, and features an all ladies table of contents. My story, “The Neurastheniac” is about Helen Heck, a failed beat/confessional poet/alchemist/junky, and what she uncovers from a series of trespasses through the abandoned suicide chambers (as mentioned in “The Repairer of Reputations”) during the 60s. It gets weird.

It’s a quickie–around ten minutes–and I discuss my influences for the story [Joan Vollmer, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Billie Holiday, Courtney Love (who incidentally plays Vollmer in the 2000 film BEAT)] and my love for mystic junkies like William S. Burroughs.

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Selena Chambers plays at writing in CASSILDA’S SONG.

I haven’t done a speaking gig in a while, and I have forgotten how strange it is to hear one’s own voice. It’s even stranger to hear the topics my voice are discussing.  Not to dwell, but I sound shellshocked, and perhaps I am. Surreal? Oh, yes. In the best way.

Michael also sat down with my awesome editor, Joe Pulver, and artist Steve G. Santiago, who did the stunning cover. (I had no idea that image was photo manipulated!) So, yeah, some good behind the scenes stuff, here.

CASSILDA’S SONG is available in print and as an ebook.

Many thanks to Michael and the folks at Chaosium for the time and attention. Links below:

Interview with Joe Pulver.

Interview with moi.

Interview with Steve G. Santiago.

 

 

“The Neurastheniac” is a World Fantasy Award Finalist for Short Story

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Awesome cover for CASSILDA’S SONG designed by Steve G. Santiago.

I’ve blinked a thousand times and the words haven’t changed, so…guess what?  I’m a World Fantasy Award Finalist for my short story “The Neurastheniac,” which appears in Joseph S. Pulver, Sr’s  CASSILDA’S SONG (Chaosium), also a WFA finalist for best anthology.

CASSILDA’S SONG explores the feminine side of Robert Chambers’ (no relation) KING IN YELLOW, and features an all ladies table of contents. My story, “The Neurastheniac” is about Helen Heck, a failed beat/confessional poet/alchemist/junky, and what she uncovers from a series of trespasses through the abandoned suicide chambers (as mentioned in “The Repairer of Reputations”) during the 60s. It gets weird.

All of the stories in here are beautiful, visceral, and each one unforgettable–just check out this TOC if you don’t believe me:

“Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic” by Damien Angelica Walters
“She Will Be Raised a Queen” by E. Catherine Tobler
“Yella” by Nicole Cushing
“Yellow Bird” by Lynda E. Rucker
“Exposure” by Helen Marshall
“Just Beyond Her Dreaming” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“In the Quad of Project 327” by Chesya Burke
“Stones, Maybe” by Ursula Pflug
“Les Fleurs Du Mal” by Allyson Bird
“While The Black Stars Burn” by Lucy A. Snyder
“Old Tsah-Hov” by Anya Martin
“The Neurastheniac” by Selena Chambers
“Dancing The Mask” by Ann K. Schwader
“Family” by Maura McHugh
“Pro Patria!” by Nadia Bulkin
“Her Beginning is Her End is Her Beginning” by E. Catherine Tobler & Damien Angelica Walters
“Grave-Worms” by Molly Tanzer
“Strange is the Night” by S.P. Miskowski

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this collection, yet, why not do so now? You can order on Amazon or directly from Chaosium’s site.

Congratulations to Herr Pulver, all of my Sisters of Carcosa, and the other stellar nominees!

For a writer, I feel language evading me to describe the emotional similacrum of awe, wonder, gratitude, humility, and encouragement I have been feeling. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and while I acknowledge this energy is ephemeral, I am harnessing it to fuel the next story, and the next after that.

Many thanks to the Judges for nominating this story. (!!!)

The BBZ Ist Quarterly Report: Publishing News, Nick Mamatas’ LAST WEEKEND, & more!

Welp, so it’s May, huh? I haven’t posted much here, other than maybe to don a mustache for a bit of fun tribute. So, that can mean one thing, and one thing only:  MASSIVE UPDATES!

Ah, but updates on what? For the most part, existence at the Bas Bleu Zombie headquarters has been like this:

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Despite 2016 trying to be more of a royal fucker than 2015, or 2013, I have been writing like a fiend. A lot of it has been freelance stuff to supplement my Lush Bath Bomb habit, most of it has been for STEAMPUNK PARIS, and the rest of it is miscellany slowly trickling into the world.

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Story Published: “The Neurastheniac” in CASSILDA’S SONG

Awesome cover for CASSILDA'S SONG designed by Steve Santiago.
Awesome cover for CASSILDA’S SONG designed by Steve Santiago.

Joe Pulver’s long-awaited anthology, CASSILDA’S SONG, is finally in the world! This collection looks at the more feminine-side of Robert Chambers’ THE KING IN YELLOW, and I am honored to share a TOC with some of the awesomest ladies writing today. You can find the full Table of Contents at the end of this post.

Not only am I proud to be in this antho for the TOC, but also because I think my story “The Neurastheniac” may be one of my favorite things I’ve written to date. Joe is a really great editor to work with. Not only is his enthusiasm in the project infectious, but he goes the extra mile to encourage you in your vision, even when you are working within someone else’s sandbox. What has resulted is probably a story that is more Selena biz than anything published so far, with the exception of my piece in Starry Wisdom Library.

“The Neurastheniac” is about Helen Heck, a failed beat/confessional poet/junky, and what she uncovers from a series of trespasses through the abandoned suicide chambers in the 60s. It gets weird.

Reviews for CASSILDA’S SONG have begun popping up, and I am happy to say people have been enjoying my weird Poetess as much as I enjoyed writing her. Here are a few highlights:

For Laird Barron’s “Five for 2015”, he wrote on his blog: “Cassilda’s Song, edited by Joseph Pulver. An anthology dedicated to the King in Yellow. Pulver’s third major tribute anthology in recent days and probably the best. Selena Chambers, Maura McHugh, and S.P. Miskowski set the pace for a sleeper anthology of 2015.”

Des Lewis is live-reading the collection, reviewing each story blow-by-blow and having a lot of fun. Of “The Neurastheniac,” he compares her notebooks to Ferlinghetti and Ligotti, but also the Decadents. “That contemporaneous example of her Ferlinghetti-like poetry (poetry that sometimes in this work approaches, to my eye, fin de siecle decadence) is a section of this delightful patchwork quilt of impressions and examples of the work of Helena Heck (1937-1968) whom KiY’s surnamesake surconscious author Selena jams for us like jazz. ”

Many thanks to Messrs. Barron and Lewis!

Speaking of jazz, there are a lot of musical references in the story, from the suicide songs of the 20s and 30s through the ironic melancholy of the 90s. So, to celebrate the release of the collection, I created a playlist of all the songs that either inspired or are featured in the tale. You can tune in here.

CASSILDA’S SONG is published by Chaosium Inc. and is available for Kindle, and forthcoming for print.

Table of Contents:

Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic … Damien Angelica Walters
She Will Be Raised a Queen … E. Catherine Tobler
Yella … Nicole Cushing
Yellow Bird … Lynda E. Rucker
Exposure … Helen Marshall
Just Beyond Her Dreaming … Mercedes M. Yardley
In the Quad of Project 327 … Chesya Burke
Stones, Maybe … Ursula Pflug
Les Fleurs Du Mal … Allyson Bird
While The Black Stars Burn … Lucy A. Snyder
Old Tsah-Hov … Anya Martin
The Neurastheniac … Selena Chambers
Dancing The Mask … Ann K. Schwader
Family  … Maura McHugh
Pro Patria! … Nadia Bulkin
Her Beginning is Her End is Her Beginning … E. Catherine Tobler & Damien Angelica Walters
Grave-Worms … Molly Tanzer
Strange is the Night … S.P. Miskowski