White Noise -- Art and cover design by Jonathan Parrish

White Noise

White Noise -- Art and cover design by Jonathan Parrish

Just in time for zOctober (because, ya know, I didn’t have enough apocalyptic awesomeness to celebrate with A is for Apocalypse and Waste Not) I’ve released my zombie poetry collection:

White Noise

Poems of the Zombie Apocalypse

Yay!

I’ve been meaning to put this collection together for honest-to-gawd years but things never seemed to work out, until now. That’s why, though I’d normally wait, set a launch date and try to build up some excitement and publicity before officially launching a title, I’m not doing that with this one. It’s ready to go, and so I’m going to set it loose upon the world before something else goes wrong to delay its release LOL

White Noise contains 20 of my zombie apocalypse poems, some of them are reprints (including the one which was included in Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing [2012] and the one which was nominated for a Dwarf Star award) and some are being published for the very first time.

Excerpt:

Obscured

Ghosts of the city
peer out of the gloom
around him
As a child he’d loved it
when the ‘clouds fell down’
and cloaked his world
in mysteries
Now, though,
it was just one more thing
to hide the shamblers.
One more obstacle to
his survival.
One more enemy.

Available At:

Amazon (paperback)
Amazon (kindle)
Smashwords

White Noise is $5.99 for physical copies and $0.99 for electronic ones.

Exceptions to this are if you buy a paperback copy (a great way to fill your cart when you need $5.99 more for free shipping, amirite?) you’ll get the Kindle version free and also, if you were subscribed to my newsletter yesterday you received an electronic copy for free.

White Noise on Goodreads

Praise for White Noise

“A collection of vivid scenes laid out in sharp and articulate verse, that when assembled, construct a grim narrative filled with tension, stark imagery, and unusual beauty. WHITE NOISE reaches in and evokes a visceral response— not always the one you’d expect.”

—Tim Deal, Shroud Quarterly

“In this collection of poems, Rhonda Parrish manages to capture all the emotions of life during an apocalypse: From fear and desperation to pain and sorrow. She even shows us love and hope. Some serious but most tinged with humor. This is a great collection of poems about the zombie apocalypse.”

—Carol Hightshoe – author of the Chaos Reigns Saga and Editor of Zombiefied I, II and III

“As soon as I read the first poem I was hooked! It was macabre but it wasn’t too far. Poetry puts our insides on our outsides and when it comes to zombies, well, that could get pretty gross in a hurry.

These poems were really good! They were passionate and made me think about zombies from new angles than I had thought about them in the past. There was a dash of the metaphysical put in and a lot of real living, non-zombie feelings as well. I’m going to go back for a second read, because they deserve it.”

—Virginia Carraway Stark, Starklight Press

Fae Contributor Interview: Kari Castor

It’s Fae-tastic Friday again! This week I’m stoked to bring you an interview with another Fae contributor, Kari Castor. I used Kari’s story, The Price, to end the Fae anthology 🙂

~*~

KariCastorKari Castor’s Interview

 

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

I was reading some Grimm’s fairy tales, and I ran across this very short tale the Grimm brothers had collected and called “The Rose.”  It was such an interesting snippet, and I’d never heard it before, and I really wanted to take the idea and expand it into a fuller story.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

No, I actually have another short story that deals with fairies that I started working on before “The Price” ever sprang into my mind, but that earlier story is still in the revision stages right now.

If no,  why do you write fairy stories? What is it about them that appeals to you?

When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by magical creatures, including fairies, so as I got older I went seeking out a lot of the legends and folklore behind the pretty stories.  I think the discovery that the original stories often weren’t so pretty — that there was actually a lot of darkness in those tales — made me love them even more.  There’s something very compelling to me about the way the old stories intermingle beauty and danger.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

“The Price” definitely hearkens back to the old legends, particularly those that come out of the British Isles (like Sir Orfeo and “Thomas the Rhymer”), where the fairies are prone to kidnapping young men and women and whisking them away to the realm of Faerie.  These, of course, are not the small fluttering creatures we so often conjure up today in response to the word “fairy” – like John William Waterhouse’s La Belle Dame sans Merci, they are more or less human in size and appearance.  They’re not necessarily good or evil, but they tend to have their own agendas and desires and don’t care much for what suffering they might cause others in the pursuit of them.

Is that your favourite type of fae?  If yes, why?

Probably.  I’m drawn to this type of fairy because they’re so alien, so other, while at the same time seeming so human.  I think they speak to the very selfish, narcissistic side of human nature — the part of us that wants and that can’t help but feel that our own wants are more important than anyone else’s.

I think it’s also interesting that it’s so often unclear why exactly the fairies in these legends are so interested in carrying off humans.  Perhaps its flattering to the human ego that these strange, beautiful, unknowable creatures would want us, mundane as we are.  Perhaps the uncertainty of the abducted humans’ fate lodges itself in our imagination; we do seem to have a collective fascination with unsolved mysteries.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)  What is it about them that makes them special?

I’ve always had a particular soft spot for Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  I actually auditioned for a role in The Tempest using Ariel’s “All hail, great master! grave sir, hail!” entrance (reworked to be a monologue) during my freshman year of college.  (I did get cast, but as a general ensemble member, not as Ariel.)

I suppose I like Ariel because he is both so human and so inhuman.  He’s clearly a powerful creature, yet he’s bound to the service of human Prospero, and he chafes against the confinement.  He’s capricious, tempestuous (ha!), at one moment recounting with glee how he burned the king’s ship and terrified the sailors and at the next bemoaning the further work he is being commanded to do.

Largely unlike the fairies of legend, Ariel’s motivations are eminently clear — he wants to earn his freedom from Prospero.  And I’ve always felt that it is through the scenes with Ariel (along with Caliban) that we see the darker side of Prospero most clearly: his manipulativeness, his thoughtless cruelty, how the power he wields has perhaps corrupted him.

And yet Ariel is one of the primary driving forces behind the action in the play.  We’re told that Prospero is a powerful magician, but it seems that often the magic we see or hear about is really Ariel’s, not Prospero’s.

Do you believe in fairies?

No, I don’t believe in literal fairies.  I do believe, though, that it’s important to keep an open mind and a sense of wonder about the world, and I think one way we do that in the modern world is by telling ourselves stories about magic and magical creatures.

Excerpt time!

From “The Price” by Kari Castor:

Addie breathed warmth into her mitten and pulled it back over her fingers. She turned away from the bush and dropped the bucket in surprise.

He was tall and slender, and though he stood just a few feet from her, no footprints marked his passage through the snow.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I did not mean to startle you.” His voice was quiet and low.

Addie picked up her bucket again, checking that none of the precious berries had been lost. “What do you want?”

“Only to help.” He did not smile. His hair was the color of the ice that formed over the river, dark blue-black, shot through with silver traceries.

Addie shrugged. “Don’t need your help.” She turned away and began walking.

“No, I suppose you don’t,” he said. “Still, I could help you fill your bucket faster.”

“Don’t want your help,” she said, and continued deeper into the forest. She found another bush and added another handful of berries to her bucket.

Again, the man was behind her when she turned. “I mean you no harm tonight,” he said softly.

“Go ‘way,” she said, and trudged on.

By the time her bucket was nearly full, the light was beginning to fade. She turned back toward home.

Once more, the man appeared. “Addie,” he said.

She stood still. “I’m not afraid of you,” she said. “But I know enough not to have truck with strange men in the woods who don’t leave footprints.”

His smile seemed startled but genuine, though Addie couldn’t help but notice that his mouth seemed to have more teeth in it than most mouths do.

~*~

Fae Cover

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $14.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

 

Translated: Feeders

Nova Fantasia

I woke up today to the wonderful news that my story, Feeders, has been reprinted at Nova Fantasia. Nova Fantasia publishes in Galician so I can’t actually read it, but that’s okay. Galician makes the third language my zombie stories have been published in (English being the first, and Estonian the second) and that makes me ridiculously happy. On the off-chance you can read Galician, you can check out my story here:

Feeders

On a fun related note, when I went to look at my story (even though I can’t read it), I saw this:

FunPic

When else is my picture going to be on the same page as Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Raimi and Rose Leslie’s? LOL Like, never. So I screenshoted it 🙂

The Clockwork Dagger

Beth Cato -- photograph by Corey Ralston PhotographyMy friend, Beth Cato, just released her first novel so I invited her to answer some interview questions for my blog. Beth’s novel, The Clockwork Dagger, was actually released last week, but she was all over the internet then, so I decided to save my interview until now. I hope you enjoy it… and her book. You do have a copy, don’t you? 🙂

I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Clockwork Dagger but for everyone who wasn’t so lucky, can you tell them a little bit about it?

Sure! It’s fantasy steampunk about a gifted healer who is caught in a violent tug-of-war between her government and terrorists. There’s murder, espionage, and a dash of romance.

Because we’re friends, I know you feel a strong connection to healer characters and healing as a theme in your books, would you mind talking a little bit about that for those people who don’t know you as well?

I’ve been obsessed with healers since I was about 12, soon after my grandpa died of terminal illness. To me, there’s nothing more profound than the power to cure. It has always frustrated me that healer characters in video games or books are always the supporting character, never the full hero. I wrote the kind of book I always wanted to find.

I really like Octavia and Alonzo, of course, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that one of my favourite characters, and the one who stole my heart, was Leaf. C’mon! How awesome is he?

It amazes me how much everyone loves Leaf. He wasn’t even in my original outline! He just kind of showed up, and draft by draft his role grew. I’ll make a selfish confession: I really hope people do fan art of Leaf.

He’s your favourite too, isn’t he? You can admit it, I won’t tell anyone…

I’m pretty fond of the little gremlin. He’s inspired by my cat Palom who has since passed on, so yeah. He’s like my chaotic furball, with wings!

Which one of the characters from The Clockwork Dagger is most like you?

I think anyone who reads this is going to say Octavia resembles me in a lot of ways. I’m not devout like she is, but I’m an all-out goody-two-shoes like her. I’m a rotten liar. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Which do you wish you resembled the most/were more like?

I admire Mrs. Stout. She’s quite tactless a lot of times, but she’s an older woman who has endured a lot, and in a major way she doesn’t care what people think of her anymore. She dyes her hair in bold colours and she’s rather brash, but I love her.

I’ve noticed a lot of advance reviews*, already. Are you reading them?

Selectively. My husband is screening my Amazon reviews and shows me the really good ones. I glance at the star rating on Goodreads but try not to scroll down. Sometimes it’s hard to dodge the bad news, though, because people use my name on Twitter or it dings the Mention app. I can’t expect everyone to like the book, but I really need to stay positive or I’ll go bonkers!

You and I are both on Twitter, so tell us, in 140 characters or less — why should we buy this book?

“Leaf the gremlin.” I think you’ll agree with that, Rhonda!

I totally agree. Leaf rocks 🙂

ClockworkDagger_PB_cover500x332

The Clockwork Dagger is available at all the usual suspects:

~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~

About the Author:

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Beth’s short fiction can be found in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other magazines. The Clockwork Dagger is her first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Crown, will be released in 2015.

Follow her at www.BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

*I conducted this interview before the book came out LoL

Fae Contributor Interview: Kristina Wojtaszek

For the third of my Fae-tastic Fridays I’m going to share an interview I conducted with Fae contributor Kristina Wojtaszek. Enjoy!

~*~

Kristina WojtaszekKristina Wojtaszek’s Interview

 

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

Solomon’s Friend is actually my own very personal story of raising a son with Asperger’s. All of Kadie’s doubts about herself as a mother are mine; all of Solly’s unique views of the world around him are my son’s (although not everything Solly does or says in the story are true to life). Hobby, the cantankerous, brash old hob that narrates much of the story, came from an often-ignored voice of my own– a well of common sense and courage that sparkles every now and again on a quiet, moonlit night, reminding me that I am making some of the right connections with my child, that I am loving him every moment of every day, and that there is still a bit of magic left in the world, especially in the curious and cautious mind of my child. And maybe even in me.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

That depends on how you define fairy or fae. There is a great variety of fairy-types across cultures, and many of those overlap easily with creatures that we might classify as something else altogether. I have a hard time deciphering the difference between fae and elves, myself, so if you consider the human-sized elfin spirits as creatures of fae, then yes, I’ve written of them, and even named them fae in my novella, Opal, and in the sequel to come. What intrigues me most about any type of fae is the idea that they can see and interact with elements of nature that we blatantly miss out on. Is it truly they that are strange, or are we humans even more bizarre in the way we have segregated ourselves so completely from the natural world we were born a part of? I like taking on a viewpoint that makes the world of nature more meaningful, more magical, than what we humans deem it to be.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

The narrator of my story is a hob, which is a type of Brownie, or household spirit. There are many species of household spirits, some more menacing than others (like the hobgoblin or the boggart). According to myth, these household spirits are often quite involved in domestic upkeep, and prefer to go unseen and unacknowledged except for an occasional gift left out of a bit of food or milk. But if you try to seek them out and give them payment for their work, especially in the form of clothing, they take great offense and will disappear from the home forever.

They are also offended by laziness. My own hob takes great delight in licking dust from every surface and finding a multitude of crumbs in couch crevices and underneath car seats. I’d say he’s a bit more tolerant of accumulated filth than most house spirits, but his rules about gifts of clothing still stand.

Is that your favorite type of fae?

I couldn’t tell you what my favorite kind of fae would be. There are so many, and so many that blend into one another, that choosing one would be like picking out a single color of the sunset as my favorite. But I will say that I find the ones with ghost-like qualities the most intriguing. I think it’s pretty cool that many fairy creatures are thought to be spirits of those who have died, lingering between worlds.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favorite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)

Tom Thumb, if he can be counted as such, is my favorite fairy character. Who doesn’t love a little sprite-sized superhero who defeats giants and never waivers in his bravery? He rivals Peter Pan with his forever youth, and he’s even got an in with King Arthur and owes his very existence to Merlin– doesn’t get much cooler than that!

 Do you believe in fairies?

In some ways, it’s hard not to. I’m a woman of science, eternally fascinated by biology and the natural world, and any scientist knows that every fact you uncover leads to a hundred more questions. I can’t imagine a time when we know everything there is to know about the natural world, let alone other dimensions or other universes. Could there be another life form a dimension away that has tapped into our world and made an invisible presence we haven’t yet discovered, but that people have noticed now and again from odd appearances throughout the centuries? Could there be a species of insect left undiscovered in a remote patch of rainforest with unheard of intelligence, or some other striking resemblance to mankind? I’m not one to say anything’s impossible.

And now for the excerpt. You’re welcome 🙂

From Solomon’s Friend by Kristina Wojtaszek (507 words):

 

Tell you the truth, I didn’t feel much of a need to make myself scarce when I saw what I saw in Solomon’s eyes. He’s a special one, that little guy. Call it a syndrome or part of a spectrum or whatever you will, but there’s another facet to his innocence; a kind of clarity of mind you humans don’t often have. And it was obvious right away, just in the way he looked at me, like there was nothing in the world to be surprised about, finding a hairy little dude inside his geode. Truth be told, I knew I’d been sent here for a reason, and the moment he split my world open, I was faithfully his.

That being said, I should probably get a few things off my overgrown chest here and now, because you’re a wonderful mamacita and all, but you’ve got some things wrong about your kid. Like when Solly seems to assign life to every day objects. That’s actually my fault (mostly). Remember that time he propped his dirty sock up on the end table and said it was “watching him” play Mario?

I saw that look on your face, your forehead all creased up, and I just want you to know, he didn’t actually think the sock was alive. Thing is, I’d kind of made a sleeping bag out of that sock. The little dude knew I was in there, peeking out through the hole where his big toe had worn through but Solomon is smart enough not to mention the little “troll” living in his sock; he knows the meaning of your looks, too, and he knew how much worse that would sound than to say the sock itself was alive.

And come on! If he’d glued a couple of google eyes to the sock, you wouldn’t have thought it was all that crazy, now would you? Kid just wants a friend, is all. Even though you can’t see me, and a lot of times (mostly so he doesn’t get in deep shit) I stay outta sight, he knows when I’m around. So give the kid a break– it isn’t about the sock, ok?

And man is he smart, but you have to take the time to understand his logic. Like just the other day. I was up on his ceiling fan making a regular banquet out of all the dust up there (don’t judge, you eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like!) when you yelled at him for licking the soap off his hands and sent him to his room. So there I was with a nice five o’ clock of sweet, gray fuzz, and I hear Solly down below me start whispering to himself (by the way, he does that when he’s figuring something out, so don’t mess with that, alright?) So he says, real softly, “I ate it because you said there are germs inside my body, duh!”

Duh, mamacita! How else is he supposed to kill those nasty germs that live inside him?

 

~*~

Fae Cover

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $14.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

 

Sale: The Witch

Plasma Frequency Banner

I’m super stoked to announce that my short story, The Witch, has been accepted for inclusion in a future issue of Plasma Frequency 🙂 Yay!

The Witch is a fun little story (in a twisted sort of way LoL) and, among other things, it includes scarecrows which are pretty dear to my heart right now, so double yay!

I’ll share more details as they develop and am totally looking forward to sharing this story with you too.

Whoot!

Fae Contributor Interview: Alexis A. Hunter

I’ve begun a series of posts I’m calling Fae-tastic Fridays where I’m sharing interviews I conducted with the contributors to Fae. This will be the second such post and for it I’m going to interview Alexis A. Hunter.

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Alexis A. Hunter’s Interview

AlexisAHunterWhat was the inspiration for your Fae story?

“A Fairfolk Promise” was inspired by a photo I had pinned to my Writing Prompt board on Pinterest. I can’t seem to find the artist or original link—but it’s an image of a man strung up like a scarecrow. The colors are all faded and dark and creepy and it’s a very arresting image that really captured my imagination and inspired the ‘scarecrows’ in my story.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

This is the first ‘fairy’ story that I remember writing. There may have been others, but they don’t spring to mind. I may play with faries again in the future—like any other fantasy creature, there’s so much you can do with them, even throwing them in unique settings like a spaceship or a desert, and so on.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

I did some research about fairies, but it seems there are vast amounts of information out there and I didn’t sift through it all. The fairies of “A Fairfolk Promise” are, thanks to my research, harmed by iron. I think that’s a particularly symbolic weakness, as many fairies are extremely nature-oriented (as mine are) and what symbolizes man and the industrialization of our kind more than iron? I also allowed my fairies to shapeshift—I’m not sure if that’s part of fairy folklore or not, but it became necessary for the story to work correctly.

Do you believe in fairies?

I would certainly love to believe in fairies!

Do you want an excerpt? You know you do… 😉

From A Fairfolk Promise by Alexis A. Hunter:

 

A guttural cry tore itself from Cedric’s bleeding, cracked lips as he twisted down and back. Tearing loose, he darted toward the forest. A surge in his chest—half a heartbeat of freedom, but their hands were as brambles, snagging him. They dragged him to the earth, shouting curses and pummeling his bony sides with boots .

The wind knocked out of him, he lay immobilized. His lips parted and he sucked in mouthfuls of air as they dragged him forward. The cornstalks whispered around him, their blades slicing little red trails on his exposed arms and chest—nothing compared to the purple-blue bruising marbling his body.

“You hit me again, and I’ll strike you dead, kushna,” growled the Rolfman.

An iron cross stood in the midst of the corn, its vertical pole driven deep into the earth. Cedric forced his weary muscles to move again, to fight. To resist. But he had little hope of victory. They were too many, and they ate hearty meals each night. Slept in beds fluffed by goose-feathers. Cedric hadn’t eaten a scrap of food in the past three days.

They pressed him against the iron cross. The blazing twin-suns above had heated the surface, and it singed his skin. Gritting his teeth, he refused to cry out. Three held him while the fourth and fifth stretched his arms across the horizontal pole. They secured him with thin, sharp wire, laced with barbs. It cut into his skin, drawing blood.

And still he fought.

For Lina and the baby, he fought to be free.

~*~

Fae Cover

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $14.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Ocean At The End Of The Lane

I don’t really excel at book reviews, but let me tell you a story…

I was feeling rich that day, and generous toward myself, so I pre-ordered Neil Gaiman’s newest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and not just any copy of the book. Oh no. No, I ordered the special limited, signed, deluxe edition. Only 2,000 copies would be printed and each would be numbered and signed by Neil.

Then, I sat by as my Twitter and Facebook and every-freaking-where I looked blew up with people receiving their pre-ordered copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and loving it. And I waited. And waited. Because you see, the special edition was special, so it was being released shortly after the other versions. But, I assured myself, it would be worth it. So I waited.

I was terribly tempted to buy a copy of a different edition just to read it before my special copy arrived, but I didn’t. Mostly because I knew Jo would disapprove LOL He’s practical like that. (Jo actually suggested I take a copy out from the library, but they had a waiting list so…)

And then the book came. And it was heavy and beautiful and intimidating.

This was not a book you could read just anywhere, or just anytime. It wasn’t the kind of book I could take into the bedroom (where I do a lot of my reading) and just set on the floor in between sessions. This was a book that demanded respect, and careful consideration of when and where to read it.

So I set it aside. I set it aside with the intention of reading it when the planets aligned correctly… and I considered joining the waiting list for a copy at the library.

Time passed. I’d be reminded, now and then, about my copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, whenever someone mentioned it on social media, or Kobo (based on other titles I’d read) suggested I might like to purchase a copy. I didn’t buy another copy. I didn’t take one out from the library. I waited. And the book sat and waited along with me.

Then, on Friday, I was laying on my bed working on novel revisions when Danica called me from school to let me know she was going out with friends and wouldn’t be home until late. Moments later Jo rang and said he was going out for a beer after work and would be a bit late getting home. And I knew it was time.

I put my work away, picked the book off the shelf, got comfortable back on my bed and turned to the first page.

And I fell into the story.

At some point I stopped and took a nap, and when I woke it was twilight. My room was suffused in the half-light that comes midway between night and day, and my mind too, was locked between two things. Between the reality of my dog snoring at my feet, the kitty pressed against my side, and the world of The Ocean at the End of the Lane which is filled with much older things than these. It was magical. I’m a writer, but I don’t think I can capture that moment sufficiently with words to share it here, but it was magical.

Just like the book.

The next day I read more and that night I had a nightmare. The kind that stay with you and leave you unsettled for the whole rest of the day. I was tense, jumpy and melancholy… and it was because of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I haven’t read or watched anything in a very, very, very long time that gave me a nightmare, but I’m certain that’s what caused this one. I left off reading after an especially tense part of the story and the themes in my dreams and the themes in that part of the book were far too closely connected to be coincidence.

And I kept reading.

At one point I found myself crying, and if anyone had asked I wouldn’t have been able to tell them why. And later I found myself crying and I knew exactly why.

This book, for me, was as deep as the ocean in its title, and it touched me, and it changed me, and I’ll have to wait to see exactly how… but I think it’ll be in good ways.

And I think? I think the next time someone asks me what my favourite book in the whole world is, that I’ll have a new answer than I did a week ago.

Thank you Neil.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh reading from "And Only The Eyes of Children" at the Canadian launch of Fae

Fae Contributor Interview: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Over the coming weeks I’m going to be sharing interviews I conducted with some of the contributors to Fae, and since alliteration is fun, I’m going to do it on Fridays and call them Fae-tastic Fridays. 🙂

This is the first of those interviews, where I asked questions of “And Only The Eyes of Children” author, Laura VanArendonk Baugh.

~*~

Laura VanArendonk Baugh reading from "And Only The Eyes of Children" at the Canadian launch of FaeLaura VanArendonk Baugh’s Interview

 

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

I’d been reading some months before on modern slavery, how there are about 29 million enslaved people today – not pinned by student loans or other things sometimes described as slavery, but real, captive, bought-and-sold slaves, used for forced labor or the sex industry. About 2 million of those are kids in the commercial sex trade. (See www.ijm.org for more information and ways to help fight modern slavery.)

Meanwhile, I saw a delightful production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at our local repertory theater, and they had a lot of fun with the fairies. Jennifer Johansen, who played Titania, is one of my favorites, and her portrayal stuck in my mind, blurring Shakespeare’s Fairy Queen with the strength of other characters Jen has played.

The opening concept – immortality was evolution’s biggest mistake – had been in my idea file for years, waiting for an opportunity.

And then I over-dosed on dark chocolate and everything was a blur, and when I came to, “And Only the Eyes of Children” had happened.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

Sort of. I haven’t written much with traditional Western fae, but I’m definitely not new to folkloric fiction. My Kitsune Tales series is set in old Japan and revolves around the youkai there, sort of the equivalent of our fairy and monster collections.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

I departed a bit from traditional lore. Robin is half-Fae, an oddity resulting from the Fae’s (usually fruitless) attempt to breed. We’re given to understand that human-fae offspring are relatively rare and often carry a heavy biological penalty. Robin has to work at bit harder at many Fae skills, such as the use of magic, but it’s possible.

What is your favourite type of fairy, and why?

If I may go back to the Japanese youkai, Eastern fae, there are a lot of fun creatures from which to choose, and most are so very different from our own fairies. (An enormous disembodied foot which falls through your ceiling in the middle of the night and demands to be washed? A friendly household spirit made entirely of cast-off kitchen utensils?) But one of the most popular, and a personal favorite as well, is the kitsune, a shape-shifting fox.

In western lore, the Other is usually easy to identify. But kitsune can take the form of a human, or even of a particular human you know well. And they may be benevolent or quite malicious, while they appear to be like us. So many possibilities!

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)

Ooh, a fun question!

I’m not sure I can say she’s my favorite, because I don’t think I like her, but I’m fascinated by Jim Butcher’s take on Queen Mab in The Dresden Files. And of course I’m not alone in thinking of Disney’s Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty as an iconic and delightfully scary fairy.

And allow me to end this interview with a short excerpt from Laura’s story. You’re welcome 😉

From And Only The Eyes of Children by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (161 words):

I’m one of the rare half-breed freaks myself, though not of the type to get an OMG!!!1! photo on the internet. No, I’m lucky enough to pass on a human street – which conversely means I’m pretty unlucky on what passes for a street in the Twilight Lands. So I tend to spend most of my time here.

Exactly here, in fact. This is a good place for us. What, you don’t think of Indianapolis as being a particularly supernatural city? That just means we’re keeping under the radar. I know, New Orleans and Chicago and places get all the arcane press, but think for a second. Indianapolis has two affectionate sobriquets: “the Crossroads of America,” for its prominent location on first the National Road and later several interstates, and “the Circle City,” for its efficient, nearly ritual, circle and grid layout.

Crossroads and circles, people, right in the advertising. If you can’t find the Fae in that, I can’t help you.

~*~

Fae Cover

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $14.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

Niteblade #29: Porcelain Doll

Cover_Sept2014_noissnIssue #29 of Niteblade is out!

I can’t hardly believe it, to be honest. When I started Niteblade I don’t think I ever would have imagined how it has grown. I’m so incredibly proud of it, and what it’s become.

This issue is entitled Porcelain Doll and the artwork, as always, is by Marge Simon 🙂

Table of Contents:

St. Winifred Medical Center, Abandoned by Joshua Gage
Shelba’s Brood by M.E. Garber
The Gate of Horn by Megan Arkenberg
Dancing with the Departed by Anna Zumbro
Porcelain Doll by J.A. Grier
There She Stands by Nathaniel W. Phillips
Awakened by Sandi Leibowitz
Lena’s Confession by Kristi Brooks
Valediction for the Dungeon Master by Mark Jones
The Crew by Doug Blakeslee

Over on her blog, poetry editor Alexandra Seidel took a look at each poem individually, offering some insight, excerpts or just talking about what drew her to them. She compared it to guided reading, and I’m pretty sure she hit the nail on the head there.

You can preview all the stories and poems at our website — Niteblade #29: Porcelain Doll and if that intrigues you, pick up a downloadable copy at the Niteblade Store (which means we don’t have to pay anyone commissions) or, if you prefer, at the following third party websites:

Porcelain Doll at Smashwords
Porcelain Doll at Amazon
Porcelain Doll at Kobo

Protip — you can read the beginning of each piece on our website -and- if you go to the Smashwords site you can read the first 10% of the entire issue (the first poem and most of the first story) for free as well.

Tracks 'n Train photograph by Rhonda Parrish

Caboose on the A is for Apocalypse Blog Train

Tracks 'n Train photograph by Rhonda ParrishLike all good things, the A is for Apocalypse blog train had to eventually come to an end. This is the caboose on our train, and I’m sorry to see it happen but it’s been a really good run so far. If you’ve missed any of the posts, you can check them out here:

A is for Apocalypse Blog Tour:

Rhonda Parrish ~ Apocalyptic Blog Train
Pete Aldin ~ How Will The End Come?
C.S. MacCath ~ Car #3 on the A is for Apocalypse Blog Train
Simon Kewin ~ A is for Apocalypse: The Blog Train
Milo James Fowler ~ A is for Apocalypse, C is for…?
Sara Cleto ~ A is for Apocalypse Blog Train
Alexis A. Hunter ~ Apocalyptic vs Post-Apocalyptic
Alexandra Seidel ~ A is for Apocalypse Blog Train
BD Wilson ~ Car 9: It’s the End of the World As We Know It
Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ A is for Apocalypse Blog Train – All Aboard!
Rhonda Parrish ~ Caboose on the A is for Apocalypse Train

I feel like, as the final participant in this train I ought to have something fantastic, something mind-blowing and world-shaking to share… but I haven’t. All the people who blogged before me and talked about the appeal of apocalyptic stories, defining apocalyptic stories and gave sneak peeks at the process that went into their A is for Apocalypse story? Well, they all pretty much nailed it. I could blog about those things, but I’d largely be repeating them.

Instead, let me tell you about something that scared the crap out of me.

Some people are scared of the end of the world (or the things that cause it like natural disasters, war, climate change) and I’m not immune to all those fears but let me tell you, they don’t scare me nearly as much as editing this anthology did.

I have control issues. Big ones.

I’ve been working on them pretty hard over the past few years; handing over control of the online version of Niteblade to BD Wilson for example, or making Alexandra Seidel our poetry editor — these were very big things for me. But neither of those things came anywhere close to how I felt when it came to this anthology. I was picking 26 authors, giving them the topic of ‘Apocalypse’, a letter from the alphabet and a titling structure for their story (Letter is for Word) and then promising to buy whatever story they produced as long as it wouldn’t send me to jail.

A guaranteed acceptance.

Dude… that was tough.

Even though I had only offered spots to writer’s whose work I loved and respected, even though I would be able to edit their stories with them before they were published, even though…

It was scary. Difficult.

And it wasn’t just scary for me. I have several contributors send me notes to tell me they were finding it scarier, more difficult to write their story for A is for Apocalypse than any other thing they’d written because they knew it would be accepted. Knowing that made them put extra pressure on themselves to make it as good a story as it could be.

The results are phenomenal. I don’t think I could have gotten the variety of stories, the high-quality of stories, that are in this anthology in any other way.

Twenty seven of us were brave together and the result is A is for Apocalypse. I’m so very proud of it and of us. Every one of us.

 

A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan Parrish

Praise for A is for Apocalypse:

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.”

– Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

“A is for Apocalypse is a clever anthology that I’d recommend to anyone who is a fan of hard science fiction.”

– Astilbe, Long and Short Reviews

A is for Apocalypse

Available now at:
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback*)
Kobo
Smashwords
CreateSpace Paperback
And also at Goodreads

If you’ve read and enjoyed A is for Apocalypse, please consider leaving a review for us at your favourite review site (Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing…) or if you’re not a fan of writing reviews, even just giving a star rating would make us happy. Every little bit helps.

Thank you!

*If you purchase the paperback from Amazon you ought to be able to get the Kindle version for free.