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.

IMG_5176

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!

Book book

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.

IMG_5177

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.

IMG_5178

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!

IMG_5193

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).

IMG_5171

 

Wandering Spirits Update: August

Wandering Spirits:  Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN  has been out in the world for a few months, and I’m happy to report that, not only is it alive, but doing well! I have been getting thrills from seeing Book Selfies on Facebook (scrapbooked below), and getting cool shout-out on various Frankenstein related content like Orrin Grey‘s piece on the “9 Best Frankenstein Movies” for The Lineup.com. I was especially honored to be interviewed by Nate Pedersen over at the Fine Books and Collectibles blog. If you want some “behind the music”* access to this project, you’ll certainly find it here.

Wandering Spirits selfies
Before you think I’m super creepy, I asked and obtained permission from all above. Many thanks to Nick Mamtas, Molly Tanzer, Larva Jane Parker, Travis Neisler (who won the Frankenstein 200 giveaway), and Anya Martin!

It’s also garnered some 5-star reviews at Amazon and on GoodReads:

Ross Lockhart wrote on both venues:

“A stunning presentation of Selena Chambers’ epistolary travelogue exploring the locales of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this Tallhat Press chapbook includes breathtaking illustrations by Yves Tourigny, an afterword providing larger context and history of the travelogue, and extensive notes. Fans of Frankenstein would do themselves a favor to pick this up before it goes out of print in early 2017.”

Jake Marley wrote on Amazon:

“I am dearly hoping that Wandering Spirits will tutn out to be the first in a series of literary travel books. Selena Chambers brings us along for an unforgettable journey through the world of Frankenstein, offering up charming insight into the past, and into her subject.

The book felt like a really great escape, and with the beautiful artwork by Yves Tourigny it all came together is a perfect package.”

And over at Goodreads, Adam Gorman said that it was:

“A short but enjoyable investigation in epistolary form. I highly recommend this chapbook for anybody who works with or enjoyed Shelley’s Frankenstein.”

Reviews and social buzz are critical to writers and indie projects like this, so an infinite amount of thanks to the gentlemen above who took the time to review Wandering Spirits, and also to my friends and colleagues who have bought the book, posted awesome pics of it online, and helped me share the news, and spread the word! If you, dear reader, would like to help with further word-spreading, I am available for interviews or guest posts about this, or anything else, really. Just shoot me an email at: LeFilleHST@gmail.com.

As you may recall, Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN is a bicentennial, special-limited edition designed and annotated by Yves Tourigny and Tallhat Press. Only 200 copies will be made, and only then available for 9 months (as of last June). So, current stats are:  152 copies are left, with 7 more months to go. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so at the below links:

Order now on Amazon.com
Order now on Amazon.ca
Order now on Amazon.co.uk

*Quoting friend J. T. Glover, who described it as thus, and I’m stealing because it makes me sound much cooler than I am.

 

The Curse of Frankenstein, Updates, and Other Frankenphilia

Wandering Spirits shrine
Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Tallhat Press) now available for purchase at Amazon.

Last Thursday, my good friend, vintage movie expert, bomb writer, and teratologist Orrin Grey inducted me into the wiles of the Hammer Frankenstein films. I’ve never seen them, and so what a better way to celebrate #Frankenstein200 than live-tweeting the experience. It was loads of fun, and we storified the experience here.

In addition to celebrating the Villa Diodati bicentennial, we were also marking a few other related events:

The release of Orrin’s first non-fiction collection, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, which collects over five years worth of his regular vintage horror flick column, VAULT OF SECRETS, that runs over at INNSMOUTH FREE PRESS. And speaking of, his latest column there delves into more territory with a look at IT! (1967). Check it out here.

Word Horde did a cover reveal of its Frankenstein tribute anthology, ETERNAL FRANKENSTEIN, out in October, and boy, it is a beauty!

And, of course, my own little chapbook from Tallhat Press, WANDERING SPIRITS, which has been doing really well since its release last week. In the past few days, it premiered as #1 New Release in its category, even hit #5 at one point, has been spotted in the wild via book pics, become the focus of a really fun giveaway at the Frankenstein200 Facebook page, and has garnered five stars in its first review!  I am really excited about the response it has been getting, and I know it wouldn’t have been done without the help of friends and colleagues who have helped spread the information, and to the readers who shelled out to buy this book. To each and every one of you:  Thank you!

Now Available: WANDERING SPIRITS: TRAVELING MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN (the chapbook!)

PR imageAlthough Frankenstein was published in 1818, fans are getting a head start on celebrating the novel’s bicentennial starting this week. On June 16-18, 1816, in Geneva, Switzerland, three days of terrible thunder storms caused a crew of young poets and libertines–Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dr. John Polidori, Claire Claremont, and Mary Shelley–to seek shelter in the Villa Diodati. To while away the time, they drank and read each other ghost stories. Eventually, Lord Byron challenged his friends to write their own fantastic tales, and it was through this writing prompt that Frankenstein was conceived. (This is of course, the bare bones version.)

I have, since a pre-teen, been in love with this anecdote, as well as the young girl it concerned, Mary Shelley. This infactuation with her and her circle stuck with me through adulthood, and at 28, compelled me to visit her old haunts as well as those found within her most famous novel. I wrote about these travels in a web series called “Wandering Spirits” on WeirdFictionReview.com, and they were collected as a whole and published alongside the Frankenstein source text for Non-Binary Review’s Issue 2: Frankenstein, to which the travelogue was nominated by editors Lise Quintana and Allie Marini for Best of the Net.

Wandering Spirits has been one of the more intense and gratifying things I’ve done as a writer and a traveler, and doing so gave me a greater appreciation, love, and respect for Mary Shelley and her work. I am thrilled that the work is being reanimated by Tallhat Press, who has collected, annotated, and illustrated this series into a new special limited edition chapbook in honor of the Villa Diodati bicentennial.

Only 200 copies are available, and will only be on sale for the next nine months (to commemorate how long it took Mary to draft Frankenstein).

If you would like to help me celebrate, you can buy the chapbook at Amazon, or you can just share the below press release on whatever social media platform you feel most comfortable doing. Either way, I am grateful for your interest in my work as well as Shelley’s.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Tallhat Press Presents:  Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN by Selena Chambers

“…although Mary and these poets experienced a lifetime before they were thirty, here I was at 28, having never left my homeland. I needed to flee—go forth and find sublimity. What better guide than Frankenstein.”

          —From Wandering Spirits:  Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

WS CoverSix years ago, Selena Chambers turned her first major trip abroad into a literary scavenger hunt of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Visiting Geneva, Switzerland, Ingolstadt, Germany, and Chamonix, France over a series of several days, she found within the nooks and crannies of these modern European towns the residual Romanticism that inspired the teenage Mary Shelley and shaped her most famous novel.

This annotated, illustrated, and special limited bicentennial edition chapbook collects this Best of the Net nominated travelogue to commemorate Frankenstein’s conception during the week of June 16, 1816. Written in the epistolary vein as Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, these letters portray Chambers’ visits to three of the most important sites within Frankenstein and takes us all on a journey through the sublime.

It is available for purchase on Amazon at the following links:

U. S.:  https://www.amazon.com/Wandering-Spirits-Traveling-Shelleys-Frankenstein/dp/1533286957/

U. K.:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wandering-Spirits-Traveling-Shelleys-Frankenstein/dp/1533286957/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465575043&sr=8-1&keywords=Wandering+Spirits+Selena+Chambers

Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Wandering-Spirits-Traveling-Shelleys-Frankenstein/dp/1533286957/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466001132&sr=8-1&keywords=wandering+spirits+selena+chambers

About the author:

Selena Chambers’ fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of venues including MungBeing magazine, Clarkesworld, The Non-Binary Review, Tor.com, Bookslut, Cassilda’s Song (Chaosium, 2015), and The Last Session (Dunhams Manor Press, 2016). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and the Hugo and World Fantasy award. You can reach her at www.selenachambers.com.

About the publisher:

Tallhat Press is a small press interested in publishing evocative and energizing Genre-based non-fiction in well-designed print editions. For more information, please visit: http://www.tallhatpress.com

For publicity or review inquiries, please contact the author at:

LeFilleHST@gmail.com

Title: Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN

52 pages.

$8.00

Author:  Selena Chambers

Layout and Graphic Designer:  Yves Tourigny

Publisher:  Tallhat Press

ISBN-10: 1533286957

ISBN-13: 978-1533286956

Shadows in Summerland by Adrian Van Young

41PuXGGDajL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_I am getting back into book reviewing, starting with Adrian Van Young’s debut weird historical novel Shadows in Summerland (ChiZine) for Strange Horizons.. It’s an intimate look at the Spiritualism movement and the Spiritualist photographer William H. Mumler. I really enjoyed it, and found within it something of a mini-manifesto for how we go about recreating history in our pages. Please check it out here.

New Release: Dunhams Manor Press Presents: The Last Session

Last Session
Contributor copies of The Last Session, now available for purchase at Dynatox Ministries.

I am very happy to announce that my new novelette, The Last Session: or, The Facts in the Case of Clarissa Collyer, is now out and available for purchase. This is my fourth project with Jordan Krall, Dunhams Manor Press, and Dynatox Ministries, and it has been every bit an awesome experience as the last three. As with all DMP chapbooks, this is a limited run, so when they are gone, they’re gone.

A few readers have been posting pics of their copies on Facebook, and that has really been making my days. Thank you so much, and I hope you all enjoy.

Synopsis:

Clarissa Collyer is having problems growing up. Among the usual teenage problems of identity and independence, she also has to care for her mother, whose soul is stuck in her cancer-ridden body. A modern riffing on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” this weird bildungsroman tale from Selena Chambers frays the threads between cutting the mortal coil and the umbilical cord.

Purchasing details:

$8 + S & H.

Copies can be ordered from:  http://dynatox.storenvy.com/products/15651756-the-last-session-by-selena-chambers-dunhams-manor-weird-fiction.

 

 

Victor Sierra: Steampunk Paris Music

The Paris-based Steampunk band Victor Sierra is currently crowdfunding for their third album DARK PASSENGER at Indiegogo. I’m not very good at describing music, but If you can imagine taking the world of Sam van Olffen, orchestrating it with strains of Abney Park, Concrete Blonde, and some Rockabilly/Bluegrass Americana–that may come close to describing their sound. They are a really interesting project, and a great presence on the French Steampunk/Steampunk Paris scene.

You can find out more about the band, the fundraiser (which is 1k away with 12 days to go), and their latest project here.

OF PARALLEL AND PARCEL, now available for Pre-Order from Dunhams Manor Press

OF PARALLEL __ 4My short story “Of Parallel and Parcel” is available as a limited-edition chapbook from Dunhams Manor Press. Limited to 50 copies, it is now available for pre-order at $6.50 here at the Dynatox Ministries store. It will ship out in December, just in time to make a good Winter Holiday gift for the Poepathist dearest to you.

Synopsis:

It is only until we are on our deathbeds that all of our various fates are laid out before us. We can finally see where among our probable parallel lives the compass was pointing. The Grand Design of our individual lives, and how they intertwine with others, all becomes clear. This is the last will and testament of Virginia Clemm, who married her cousin Eddy Poe as a tween, and sealed her fate by taking it, and the purloined parcel it arrives in, into her own hands.

About the Publisher:

Dunhams Manor Press is the weird fiction imprint of Jordan Krall’s Dynatox Ministries and has published such illustrious weirdies such as Nicole Cushing, Scott Nicolay, Mike Griffin, and Joe Pulver (just to name a few). It is an honor to be part of this catalogue, and part of this publisher, as he is one of the few publishing a vast array of writers that work within not only the weird and bizarro, but in traditions such as dada and surrealism, including Jordan’s own endeavors in those modernist milieus.

Author’s Notes:

I began writing this story in 2006, while I was working as a newspaper reporter for a weekly newspaper in South Florida. At that point, I began working on this thinking it’d be a novel, but I kept writing off and on, and realized a year later that all I had were scraps. And, that isn’t surprising, because all that survives of Virginia Poe are scraps, which may be why I am so fascinated by her. She is heralded in many circles as Poe’s ultimate muse–the paragon of Poe’s Poetic Principle–and  yet, no correspondence of hers survives, and all we truly know of her are here-says of the Poe family’s friends and contemporaries. Within some of these accounts are hints that Virginia was immensely smart and perhaps a bit conniving, and those minces paired with a quote I found from Marie Louise Shew pointed the way to at least trying to tell the tale of the Virginia I imagined. So, by 2008, “Of Parallel and Parcel” came into being, and it wouldn’t see the light of day until 2010, when it was published in Mungbeing Magazine’s Secrets issue, where editor Mark Givens nominated it for a Pushcart prize. I am delighted that this story is getting a second wind with Dunhams Manor Press, and my Virginia will get to speak again.

Summer Catch Up

Hukilau selfie
Aloha from the Jungle Queen Cruise, part of the 2014 Hukilau in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

So, it is summer again and I’ve let the heat, humidity, and well…frankly, Hannibal keep me from blogging. And, I was doing so well, too!So here, in list form, is what’s been up on the writer side of things. Travel side of things will come later. Eventually. After I consume Season Two, more likely:

Publications:

Online you will find a few things:

Vintage Scenes #3: Morellino di Scansano, 2011 Vendemmia” is now available in the latest issue of Mungbeing magazine. This round’s theme is reflections, and although the wine is Tuscan, I couldn’t help but play in Frida Kahlo’s world of scryes a bit. And there’s some local flair in there too, for those who are around.

The Revolution Will Be Served: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry Mixes at the Hukilau and Takes us Through the Past, Present, and Future of Tiki” ran a few weeks ago on ATLRetro.com. I interviewed the Beachbum and talked about the rise and fall and rise again of Tiki, as well as his awesome new book POTIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN, which I highly recommend, even if you aren’t a cocktailian.

This interview is in conjunction of Hukilau coverage I did for ATLRetro, where I joined editor Anya Martin to check out the vibe. It was a great vibe. Hadn’t had fun like that in a while, if even ever…. Definitely something to put on repeat.

In Print:

“The Venus of Great Neck,” is my Jazz-baby Steampunk story written exclusively for ACRONOS II edited by Josué Ramos (Tyrannosauras Books), and is currently only available in Spanish. Although, an English edition is being discussed, and I’ll be sure to throw deets down when they are available.

Forthcoming:

My series “Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN” will be published as a whole in the second issue of NonBinary Review, where Mary Shelley’s seminal novel is the theme. If you haven’t heard of NonBinary Review yet, definitely put this on the radar because…well, their website says it best, so I’m just going to quote from them:

“NonBinary Review uses Lithomobilus, a new type of e-reader that allows for multi-threaded, interactive literature. It allows novelists to tell a story from every point of view. Essayists can comment on other works. Short story writers can add alternate points of view to an existing narrative. Any author can add notes, photos, or other artifacts of the creative process.”

Thanks to editors Allie Marini Batts and Lise Quintana for having me aboard! I am very excited to be a part of this, and to have my letters aside one of my favorite novels of all time. And, if that wasn’t enough, the cover is going to be done by the awesomeness that is Mandem!

You can download the reader here, and check out the first issue–all for free.

Updates on Forthcoming Publications

James Ng's interior illustration of "The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour," my short story in STEAMPUNK WORLD.
James Ng’s interior illustration of “The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour,” my short story in STEAMPUNK WORLD.

STEAMPUNK WORLD, edited by Sarah Hans for Alliteration Ink is still steaming along. I am unsure of the final release date, but I do know that James Ng has finished his interior sketches, and I am allowed to share my story “The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour.”  Also, Alliteration Ink has partnered with BitLit to bundle digital copies with all hardcopy sales, so those who will be receiving print copies as part of their Kickstarter pledge will get a digital copy also, I believe.

A DARKE PHANTASTIQUE edited by Jason V. Brock for Cycatrix Press, containing my short story “Descartar,” should be out by the end of the summer, and is available for pre-order here.

STARRY WISDOM LIBRARY, edited by Nate Pedersen for PS Publishing, containing my short story “Remnants of Lost Empires,” is slated for September 2014. According to Nate’s website, PS Publishing will be launching the tome at FantasyCon. Update can be found at the above link.