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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

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Appearances: Book Release Party at Midtown Reader

Hey Tallahassee! Wanna party? Then come join me this Friday, June 16th at Midtown Reader to celebrate the release of my debut collection Calls For Submission!

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Midtown Reader is delighted to be hosting Selena Chambers to read from, discuss. and sign copies of her debut collection, Calls for Submission, this Friday, June 16th, from 5:30 to 7 pm. Details here.

From 5:30 pm to 7 pm, I will be reading from and discussing the book, as well as signing copies. There will be some fun Selena/Pelekinesis swag-bag giveaways, cupcakes and other refreshments, and the glorious atmosphere of one my favorite places in Tally.

This event is Free and open to the public.

It’s a real honor to get to celebrate this occasion at Midtown Reader and in my hometown. Thank you all for the support, and I hope you all will come by! It should be a pretty great weird time.

Calls for Submission Book Release Party is Friday, June 16th, from 5:30 to 7 pm at Midtown Reader. Midtown Reader is located at 1123 Thomasville Rd., Tallahassee, FL 32303. For further details, please check out the event page here.

 

Ann VanderMeer on CALLS FOR SUBMISSION

17917211_1494939143881552_7421868425875040407_oSo, this one is going to get a bit personal, so bare with me.

I am very lucky to live in the same town as Ann VanderMeer. She lit a torch with her lit zine, Silver Web, that illuminated experimental and weird writing here in Tallahassee (and everywhere) that counteracted the academic literary presence that looms from the local universities. For years, she was a mystery to me. I’d see issues of Silver Web on the racks of my favorite used bookstore Paperback Rack (R.I.P.) and marvel that this was all happening in my proverbial backyard…way out in the dark beyond. Who was this Ann Kennedy? What was she like?

Tallahassee being Tallahassee, I eventually got to meet Ann, now VanderMeer, and better yet, got to learn and work with her when I started collaborating with her husband Jeff  on The Steampunk Bible. Even though her torch had exploded into the sun-like body of work with her editorship at Weird Tales, and seminal anthologies The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, Ann took the time to talk to me like a neighbor and a friend who just happened to be into the same bizarre stuff. She talked to me like a peer and made me feel like a real writer.

I learned a lot from her during that time, and felt bolstered to pursue my fiction and be more public with it. Thanks to the encouragement of both she and Jeff, I was honored to have my first professional sale with them for “Dr. Lambshead’s Dark Room,” which appeared in their Dr. Lambshead’s Cabinet of Curiosities. (Jeff is taking his Lambshead history into the YA world with a newly sold trilogy The Adventures of Jonathan Lambshead).

So…perhaps this is way more personal than a professional thing about a book should be…but I can’t help it. When I met Ann, not only did I gain a mentor, but a friend, someone who embodies everything I ever wanted in a cool, older sister. That is why I am blabbering on because it meant the world to me that she approved of this work, because she knows what is off these pages as much as on them.

Thank you, Ann!

SPEAKING OF BACKYARD:  Tonight in Tallahassee, Jeff will be appearing at an event from Midtown Reader and The Tallahassee Democrat celebrating his new, tour de force, Borne. Ann will be joining him to interview him and help present the book. It should be a great night, and if you are in the area, definitely check it out.

Here’s info about the event, if you are in the area:  Jeff VanderMeer-Borne!

Paul Tremblay on Calls for Submission (PLUS UPDATES)!

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.

So there are about 7 days left! In the past week or so, a few developments have occurred. First, more ordering options–including e-book versions–of Calls for Submission were made available. You can view them here.

Since then, Amazon announced it’s new diss to living writers, and I would like to personally urge you to purchase from Pelekinesis directly, or through Powell’s or your local indie bookstore. On those latter two, you may have to request a special order through the store and wait a hot minute, but ultimately you would be helping to defend working artists and contributing to a healthier literary community.  Plus, that would be helping me out too. However you want to do it, many thanks again to those who are pre-ordering!

Speaking of indie bookstores, I am excited to finally announce that I will be reading and discussing Calls for Submission at Tallahassee’s brand new and baller Midtown Reader.  That event will occur on June 16th at 5:30 pm.

Oof, and this was suppose to be about blurbs! It is, it is, my friends. Today’s blurb comes from the man who has single-handedly made Stephen King afraid of the dark:  Paul Tremblay!

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You all know Paul Tremblay as the best-selling rock star of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rocks, but I first became hooked when I found a copy of The Harlequin and The Train at a friend’s house. My friend had already done the interactive bits, so that aspect was spoiled for me, but I got to see the final outcome, and it was just a light bulb for me.

The whole concept of an interactive text like this–mixing play with narrative responsibility and transparency–was just one of the coolest thwartings of how we read and consume mysteries. And it was one of the first contemporary examples of how to thwart and play within genre I’d come across. Something I needed badly at the time. Unfortunately, the experience is lost to a time and a place, as it was a limited edition of 400 copies and isn’t readily available now. But, believe me, the subversion of tropes and pop culture and all sorts of other surrealistic-punk principled goodness permeates in Ghosts and Devil’s Rock (which just came out in paperback). If you haven’t read Paul yet, rectify that now.

 

March Appearances: #RESIST & The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird

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.