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

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.