Selena Chambers

Writer. Editor. Throwback Surrealist.

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. …

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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 …

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Although 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 …

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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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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. …

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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: …

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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 …

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March 18, 2014

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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.

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 …

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