What does “Quiet Horror” mean? Five Horror Writers Weigh In–Lovecraft eZine

This one fell through the blogging cracks for some reason. Nonetheless, this roundtable curated and conducted by Acep Hale is a great vehicle for showing how nuanced the horror genre is, but also how many voices are out there improvising it.

I was honored to be part of the “Quiet Horror” panel with Kristi DeMeester, C.M. Muller, Nathan Carson, and Mehitobel Wilson.

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

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:

IMG_3371

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.

Read More

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.

 

 

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.

THE NEW GOTHIC Giveaway: On Nirvana and the Gothic

THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.
THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.

So, this week is a big week for Nirvana fans. Today marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death and on April 10, the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I don’t know if y’all realize, but I’m really into Nirvana. IN UTERO came out just in time for me to throw my twelfth birthday money at it. It, along with BABES IN TOYLAND’s PAINKILLERS and Hole’s PRETTY ON THE INSIDE and later LIVE THROUGH THIS, was one of those albums that changed my life in the way that only music and books and arts can do. Nirvana even came to my town with the Breeders in December ’93, and being at that concert is pretty much on my list of life achievements.

Anyway, as has been mentioned here before, I wrote a short story with my inimitable friend Jesse Bullington that is in Stone Skin Press’ THE NEW GOTHIC: DON’T EMBRACE THE DARKNESS. FEAR IT.  Edited by Beth Lewis, this anthology reassess the Gothic legacy, and as critic Ed Grabianowski put it in a glowing review over at i09:

“I’m not too worried about whether this collection redefines the field. What I can tell you is that editor Beth K. Lewis and the team at Stone Skin Press have selected a terrific set of stories. They hang together, despite disparate elements; each tale hints at the darkness lurking in urban neighborhoods, in old houses, on desolate roads, and in our hearts. Cue Vincent Price’s menacing laugh echoing down a black corridor. There are no castles here, but there’s no sympathy for the devil either.”

Sounds pretty hardcore, right?

The story Jesse and I wrote is called “Dive In Me,” and is about three adolescent girls in the early 90s and their friendship that leads to staring into atramedous pits of both the literal and figurative senses.  Jesse has described it as “Daria goes to Hell,” and I’ve called it a “grunge-nightmare.” It is definitely a period piece, and that hasn’t been more apparent to me than today, on the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, in which I am definitely feeling kind of bored and old.

The title, of course, refers to my personal favorite Nirvana song “Dive,” which is on Incesticide, and provides something of the “soundtrack” to the ramblings, froggings, and chain smoking antics of the girls in this story.  As a Nirvana fan, I didn’t really want to do anything celebrating death or hype or whatever, I kind of wanted to celebrate how expression can lead to other forms of expression, and so because of the connection with “Dive In Me,” I thought it’d be fun to do a THE NEW GOTHIC giveaway during this big   Nirvana week.

Stone Skin Press is throwing in two copies to my one for a three book giveaway! Deets below.

THE RULES:  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post about either Nirvana or the Gothic–it is entirely up to you. Comments will be open from now until April 10 at 12 EST.  I will choose the best three comments and announce the winners Friday, April 11th at 8 am EST.

I do have one tiny request. The kind i09 review aside, THE NEW GOTHIC hasn’t had many reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, etc.  Obviously, it’s a free country, but if the winners of this contest would be so kind as to give their thoughts, even if you hate it, at some bookish reviewer thing, even if it is your blog, that would be lovely.

Alright. Well, let’s dive in then….

Love Is The Law: An appreciation

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So my iPad flips things….

I read Nick Mamatas’ LOVE IS THE LAW in one sitting, and have been mulling over what to say about it for months. This book– just like Mamatas’ other books BULLETTIME, MOVE UNDER GROUND, and all of his short stories–stick with you. I don’t think it is because of off-beat characters or novel mash-up concepts, all of which are very good, but it is the authenticity of the voice he uses.

Dawn (the LITL protag)’s voice is so authentic that what I have been preoccupied with since reading it is whether to believe her or not. Obviously, the unreliable narrator is a trope of confessional stories, but what makes Dawn interesting is her voice reminds me of a certain kind of conviction found in sociopaths, schizophrenics, and religious zealots. They believe what they perceive, and don’t even consider convincing anyone of the truth (usually) because they see it before them–the truth is already there. You don’t see it, but they sure do, and they develop a genius for describing and understanding it.

Have you ever spoken to someone convinced of their beliefs?  For example, someone who says they talk to God, and further more God responds.  When I ask people what this is actually like—do they really have JC or Yahweh on speed dial?–the explanations are always different, and are always found in the reading of the mundane. A sign can be two missionaries approaching a farmer on his land just as he prayed to God for some extra hands, or words that unfolded from the unconscious brain lobes like a fortune cookie. One woman I’ve met who claimed herself a medium told me you could invoke spirits of loved ones (even living ones) by imitating their mannerism until the mannerism became natural….

And I believe all of them. I don’t believe that circumstances are what they think they are, but I believe they believe it is so.

I don’t get this conviction from other dubious narrators I’ve read in the past. With characters like Bateman and Humbert, I feel like they are just screwing with the reader. I feel like Dawn sincerely wants you to know her tale, as delusional as it may seem to us on the outside.

And whether we recognize it or not, we all talk a little crazy. We all read the world formed by our own language. For example, Freedom is a concept like Magick—who is to say either or both exists or don’t—we make them exist by transmuting the abstract into the concrete—we believe.

So, the book made me think about that, and I thought that was pretty cool.

I also really liked the juxtaposition of socialism, punk, and Alistair Crowley not because it is novel, but because I think that is another truth to the character and about any individual belief system. We’re all mash-up characters. A person is composed of her own private belief system comprised of myriad ideas.  Having a complex and polyamorous marriage of ideas and beliefs is what makes us complex and hard-to-pin down creatures.  For some reason, it is almost impossible to write characters true to life because of this–it is believed readers want it short and simple. But Dawn has a very developed conviction and it makes her background and psychology quite complex among fast-paced plotting.

Writing Advice and Anxiety: A long footnote to my Guest Post at SarahHans.com.

So, I have done something that I have been avoiding for a long time: I am giving writer advice.

I have (mostly) operated under a Scarlett O’Hara-like edict that I’d rather let my blog die (which many of my blogs have) than add more white noise to the writing advice/writing life feed.  Mainly because most of my experience has been trial and error–a LOT of error–and I’ve never felt like I had anything to offer in the “hot tips” department.  I still don’t have any “hot tips,” but I do feel like one aspect of the writing life–the lifestyle–has been ignored in the do’s and don’t discussions, and if I have come to know anything about writing in the ten years I have been pursuing it, it is that in addition to knowing the toolbox and understanding how to use the tools inside it, you need to know yourself. Also, and more importantly, you need to get to know others and the world outside of your own.

This realization struck me when I saw THE RUM DIARY, and I realized advice on mistake-making could be as useful as advice on mistake-avoiding, and so I broke my fast and wrote this guest post for Sarah Hans’ great blog.

Sarah is an excellent writer, and her site offers a ton of writing as well as editorial perspectives, as well as monthly submission call round-ups. Read More