Category Archives: Reviews

Grimm, Grit and Gasoline Release Day!

It’s here! It’s here! Release day is here!

I have been infatuated with this book since its conception and I continue to be in a love affair with it even now that it’s a reality. And that’s not nothing. Often, for me, the new, shiny, perfect thing which exists only in my imagination is far more beloved than the imperfect reality ever is, but not this time. This anthology continues to shine as brightly for me in reality as it did in my imagination, and I’m so incredibly pleased to finally be able to share it with you!

Dieselpunk and decopunk are alternative history re-imaginings of (roughly) the WWI and WWII eras: tales with the grit of roaring bombers and rumbling tanks, of ‘We Can Do It’ and old time gangsters, or with the glamour of flappers and Hollywood starlets, smoky jazz and speakeasies. The stories in this volume add fairy tales to the mix, transporting classic tales to this rich historical setting.

Two young women defy the devil with the power of friendship. The pilot of a talking plane discovers a woman who transforms into a swan every night and is pulled into a much more personal conflict than the war he’s already fighting. A pair of twins with special powers find themselves in Eva Braun’s custody and wrapped up in a nefarious plan. A team of female special agents must destroy a secret weapon–the spindle–before it can be deployed. Retellings of The Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Monkey King, Swan Lake, Pinocchio and more are all showcased alongside some original fairy tale-like stories.

Featuring stories by Zannier Alejandra, Alicia K. Anderson, Jack Bates, Patrick Bollivar, Sara Cleto, Amanda C. Davis, Jennifer R. Donohue, Juliet Harper, Blake Jessop, A.A. Medina, Lizz Donnelly, Nellie Neves, Wendy Nikel, Brian Trent, Alena Van Arendonk, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sarah Van Goethem, and Robert E. Vardeman.

Buy Your Copy Now:

Amazon
BN
Kobo
Apple

Although I didn’t get to share it with the world until today, I did get to share Grimm, Grit and Gasoline with some reviewers prior to its release. Here’s just a little sample of what they are saying:

“These unfailingly clever tales are impressive and page-turning, helping to correct the dearth of speculative fiction set in the interwar era. There is also a frequent and welcome spotlight on heroic women. Any reader who enjoys early-20th-century history or retold fairy tales will find these familiar but new, with well-played wonder in every story.”
Publishers Weekly  (starred review)

“Magic mixes with grease and jazz in this fantastic new anthology that brims with strong heroines, diverse settings, and a heaping helping of Nazi-punching.”
—Nebula Award-nominated Beth Cato, author of Breath of Earth

“Get lost in the industrial and gritty world of this dieselpunk fairyland, filled with planes and tanks, intense emotion, and plenty of high-stakes action.”
—Reese Hogan, author of Shrouded Loyalties

“Grimm, Grit and Gasoline is proof positive that fairy tales are flexible and resilient… This anthology is more than a fresh coat of paint on an old body of literature. In the hands of its storytellers, fairy tales are subverted, remade, and offered up again as entertainment, inspiration, and counsel. A must-read for any folklore and fantasy enthusiast.”
—Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran, PhD Candidate in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland

Haunted Hospitals

Haunted Hospitals is officially out this weekend and the timing really could not be any better. You see, When Words Collide is next weekend and really, that’s where this all started.

A couple years ago I met my co-author, Mark Leslie, at WWC. I was sitting with him and a handful of other people at a table after the autograph session had concluded and I said, “You know, I live near a haunted hospital.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

We had several discussions via email and an in-person meeting at the next year’s WWC and slowly the plan for a book about haunted hospitals began to take shape.

And tomorrow that book is officially going out into the world!

I keep saying ‘officially’ it comes out tomorrow because last weekend I actually spotted a copy of it out in the wild — on the shelves at a local Chapters. Of course I squeed (like a total professional) and snapped some pictures.

I did leave it as I’d found it, spine out, on the shelf. So give me some points for that, anyway 🙂

This was my first foray into book length non-fiction and though it was incredibly challenging it was equally rewarding. I owe my co-author, Mark, a huge debt for showing me the ropes and demonstrating incredible patience as he answered question after newbie question. It’s been a huge adventure.

An adventure that continues even now.

The first review of Haunted Hospitals came out in the Sudbury Star and was then picked up by the National Post.

“If paranormal phenomena are going to occur, what better place than in a hospital?” noted Parrish in the book’s introduction. “Day after day, the most extreme of human experiences play out within the walls of hospitals. The most intense emotions are experienced again and again. Birth. Death. Trauma. Suffering. If paranormal activity is tied to energy or emotions, hospitals are the perfect petri dishes in which to culture it.

“Furthermore, if human spirits are trapped on this earth by trauma, disturbance or unfinished business, again, what better location than a hospital to forge the chains that hold them here?”

Read the full review here.

And yesterday I was a guest on J’lyn Nye’s show on 630 CHED here in Edmonton. That was my first ever radio appearance and I was super nervous. People have said nice things though, so I guess I hid it reasonably well. I thought I talked too much and stammered but you can judge for yourself if you’re so inclined. For the next week the show will be archived here at the 630 CHED Audio Vault. For the show I was on you’ll want August 3rd at 3pm 🙂

Mark and I will be at When Words Collide next weekend (August 11 – 13 at Delta Calgary South) to talk about Haunted Hospitals and how it all came together. There will be copies available there and we’ll be happy to sign them, however tickets are sold out. But fear not! Even if you can’t attend this year’s WWC you can still get a copy of Haunted Hospitals.

It should be available at your favourite local bookstore and/or library (and if it’s not you can usually ask them to order it in) or you can totally pick it up online!

Haunted Hospitals Online:

Direct from the Publisher

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

(Note: Some of these links might be pre-order links until the book officially comes out)

Check it out and let me know what you think! And, if you have a scary, spooky or eerie hospital story of your own I’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments or drop me an email 🙂

Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

I keep forgetting to share this so the news is a little less than fresh right now, but it’s still fabulous. Every year Tangent Online puts together a recommended reading list and Corvidae and Scarecrow are all over the 2015 list. You can see the entire list by clicking here (there is a rather long essay at the top of the page, the listings come right after it). The tl;dr version, however, is that there are 13 Corvidae stories and 11 Scarecrow stories on the list. Whoot!

Corvidae & Scarecrow stories on the Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List:

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft (Corvidae)
“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz (Corvidae)
“Black Birds” by Laura Blackwood (Scarecrow)

One Star:
“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack (Corvidae)
“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal (Corvidae)
“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen (Corvidae)
“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds” by Sara Pul (Corvidae)
“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas (Corvidae)
“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt (Corvidae)
“The Roofnight” by Amanda C. Davis (Scarecrow)
“A Fist Full of Straw” by Kristina Wojtaszek (Scarecrow)
“Scarecrow Progressions (Rubber Duck Remix)” by Sara Puls (Scarecrow)
“Truth About Crows” by Craig Pay (Scarecrow)

Two Stars
“Whistles & Trills” by Kate Otis (Corvidae)
“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell (Corvidae)
“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol (Corvidae)
“The Straw Samurai” by Andrew Bud Adams (Scarecrow)
“Edith and I” by Virginia Carraway Stark (Scarecrow)

Three Stars
“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (Corvidae)
“Flight” by Angela Slatter (Corvidae)
“Only the Land Remembers” by Amanda Block (Scarecrow)
”If I Only Had an Autogenic Cognitive Decision Matrix” by Scott Burtness (Scarecrow)
“Judge & Jury” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (Scarecrow)
“Kakashi & Crow” by Megan Fennell (Scarecrow)

And I’m just going to go ahead and say that even the stories from Corvidae and Scarecrow which didn’t make this list are definitely recommended reading. Because they are all awesome 🙂

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Related: Fae rocks the 2014 Tangent Online Recommended Reading List

 

Fractured Friday: Fragments

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory HokeFor the next several weeks I’ve decided to call Fridays ‘Fractured Friday’ and use them to share news, contributor interviews and excerpts from B is for Broken.

B is for Broken is the second title in the Alphabet Anthologies series. It follows A is for Apocalypse and will in turn be followed by C is for Chimera. Each story in the series is associated with a letter of the alphabet and is titled in the letter is for word format. What’s more, just to keep things nice and complicated, the story’s title isn’t shared at the beginning but at the end so that you can guess at what it might be while you read.

On that note, even though the story titles could be considered spoilers because of how the book is formatted, for the sake of simplicity if the author has chosen to post their title publicly somewhere else (their blog, Facebook, wherever) I am going to include it in my posts. If they haven’t revealed that information, though, I’ll list the story titles as Letter is for…


I called this Fractured Friday entry ‘Fragments’ because instead of one long excerpt and interview I’m going to share two of the shorter B is for Broken contributor interviews and also a bit of good news.

Good news first!

B is for Broken received its first review last week. Long and Short Reviews said:

“This doesn’t happen very often when I read anthologies, but I enjoyed every single selection in this book.”

and

“I’d recommend B Is For Broken to anyone who loves contemporary science fiction as much as I do. There is a lot of great material to explore in this collection!”

Whoot!

The reviewer also specifically called out Sara Cleto and Gary B. Phillips’ stories for praise. You can read the full review here.

And now, a pair of short contributor interviews. The first is from Damien Angelica Walters, followed by Gabrielle Harbowy’s. Enjoy!

Interview with Damien Angelica Walters

What letter were you assigned? S

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

Here is the bridge where we first met. Do you remember? The clouds were heavy in the sky and we were both in a hurry to beat the rain and our shoulders bumped and we went spinning in opposite directions. The book in your hand dropped nearest to me so I picked it up and spun myself back to you.

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? I sat with my notebook and pen one night and started jotting down a list of words that began with S. I wrote about a dozen before I added the word that became part of the title. From there, it was a quick mental trip to the story concept as a whole, which, incidentally, revolved around another word beginning with S.

What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? One of the words on my list was salamander, but before I could come up with an idea, my brain had already taken the other and run with it.

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? Without giving anything away, I’d wanted to write a story in a certain format for a while, but the right idea hadn’t presented itself. That format fit perfectly with this story.


Damien Angelica Walters
’ short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, The Best of Electric Velocipede, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Lightspeed, Shimmer, and Apex. “The Floating Girls: A Documentary,” originally published in Jamais Vu, is on the 2014 Bram Stoker Award ballot for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction.

Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of her short fiction, is out now from Apex Publications, and Paper Tigers, a novel, is forthcoming from Dark House Press. You can find her on Twitter @DamienAWalters or online at http://damienangelicawalters.com.

 

Interview with Gabrielle Harbowy

What letter were you assigned? X

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? There were TOO many ideas! I knew I didn’t want to do something obvious, so I went to the Scrabble dictionary and browsed through, writing down any X-words that looked interesting. When I had a list of ten or so, I sat down with them and tried to come up with story hooks for each.

What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? Xerosis, a dermatological disease that causes cracking of the skin. I went for breaking multiple trees instead of one person, so that the story could have a larger scope.

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with gold. No matter which letter I got, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my story.

Gabrielle Harbowy has edited for publishers such as Pyr, Lambda Literary, and Circlet Press. She is the managing editor at Dragon Moon Press and a submissions editor at the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine. With Ed Greenwood, she co-edited the award-nominated When the Hero Comes Home anthology series. Her short fiction can be found in anthologies, including Carbide Tipped Pens from Tor, and her first novel is forthcoming from Paizo. Check out Gabrielle’s personal site: www.gabrielle-edits.com.

~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~



B is for Broken
is available now at:

Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

 

Corvidae ARC Giveaway

coming-soon-from-wwpIt’s almost time for Corvidae to hit the shelves (July 7th!) and you know what that means, right? It means I get to giveaway an ARC to one lucky person. You could be one of the very first people to get your hot little hands on a copy!

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.

It’s super easy to enter to win, too. The Rafflecopter widget below gives you lots of options (some of which you can do every day to maximize your chances to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait! There’s more!

As you may know, Corvidae is book #2 in the series we’re calling “Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries“. That series began with Fae and will continue with Corvidae’s companion anthology, Scarecrow (due out in August).

I’ll be straight with you, Fae could really use some more reviews on Amazon. It’s received great reviews, don’t get me wrong, but they mostly seem to be centered on Goodreads* and whether you love it or hate it, Amazon is the 500lb gorilla in this industry and reviews there have more, well, weight, than reviews on Goodreads.

So, if Fae reaches ten (10) reviews on Amazon** by the time this giveaway ends on June 2nd I will have the Rafflecopter choose a second winner and that winner will receive an ARC of Scarecrow.

If we surpass 10 reviews before June 2nd I will edit this blog post to add some ‘stretch goals’, each of which will look an awful lot like an ARC 😉

*I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the reviews on Goodreads, because I really, truly AM grateful for them. It’s just that now I need to focus on getting some on Amazon as well.
**I only want honest reviews, so if you haven’t read Fae yet, well, now is as good a time as any LOL Or you can just cross your fingers and hope the people who have read it will review it on Amazon 🙂

Helpful links:

Fae on Amazon
Fae on Goodreads
Corvidae on World Weaver Press
Scarecrow on World Weaver Press

If you have any questions just leave a comment or drop me a line at [rhonda] at [jofigure.com]

Book Review: Ex-Heroes

This is a book review by Beth Cato. It’s meant to be a companion for her guest blog from yesterday: A Confession Regarding Zombies. Go ahead and read it first if you haven’t already.

Read it?

Good 🙂

ExHeroesBook Review by Beth Cato: EX-HEROES by Peter Clines

Superheroes, post-apocalypse and zombies. It’s either bound to be a horrid mash-up worthy of midnight cable, or something seriously awesome. I was especially critical because I’m a reluctant reader of zombie fiction. Zombies squick me, big time. But I was gifted with an Advanced Reader Copy of Ex-Heroes from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and I was willing to give it a try.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

Here’s the book’s summary:
The first in a spectacularly genre-mashing adventure series that pits a small group of courageous, flawed, terrified superheroes against hordes of undead.

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Now, a year later, the heroes struggle to overcome their differences and recover from their own scars as they protect the thousands of survivors huddled in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount.

But the hungry ex-humans are not the only threat the survivors face. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power.

I love a good superhero story. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t translate well to novels. Post apocalypse stories? I love’em to bits because I’m morbid like that. The zombies were my big concern as I approached the book. I told myself, “If it’s bad, I don’t have to finish it.”

I finished it, no problem.

Clines has created a devastated, incredible world here. His cast of superheroes varies widely as far as powers and personalities, and while they do follow the tropes of the genre, they are all vivid and absolutely believable. Even more impressive, he skips from perspective to perspective and between the past and the current apocalyptic environment, and manages to do so in a way that’s not confusing at all. The heroes all speak in voices that are that distinct.

The setting itself is another wow factor. I’m a native Californian but only have a very basic understanding of where things are located around LA. Gauging from this book, Clines KNOWS this place. He uses the movie studios, the streets, and shows how it’s all become a battleground. It feels firmly grounded in reality. My only wish is that the front of the book included a map.

Then there are the zombies. They are as nasty and sad as one would expect. The shambling undead have taken over the world. It’s really chilling, though, when Clines breaks down the statistic to show how many zombies are staggering around LA, even after all the efforts the heroes have taken to combat them. Of course, the heroes aren’t up against the zombies alone. Their big rivals in town are the Seventeen gang, and the thugs are no longer content with peddling drugs and spraying graffiti–no, they want supplies, and they want the superhero Gorgon dead.

Again, as a Californian, this really resonated with me–I could see a gang taking over in a vacuum of power like this. It’s really weird to say, “This superhero zombie apocalypse novel won me over with its realism,” but it’s the truth. I went in with low expectations and now I really want to read onward in the series.

[I received an ARC of the book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Modifed version of this review previously published on 50bookchallenge on LiveJournal, LibraryThing, and Goodreads.]

 

Beth Cato’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER, a steampunk fantasy novel from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction is in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat.

Published: Shattered

Kzine9coverI thought I’d made this announcement already, but turns out? No. I did not. Things like this are why I need Google Calendar, HabitRPG and multiple physical to-do lists to avoid forgetting things. And apparently, sometimes even that isn’t enough >_<

So.

My short story, Shattered, is included in the most recent issue of Kzine. I’m pleased with this story and proud that it found a home with Kzine which is a magazine that has always treated me right 🙂

One upside to my being slow about making this announcement is that the story has already been reviewed (along with the entire rest of the issue) over at Wizzley.com. They said:

What do cathedral gargoyles do at night? Well, shag, apparently, but they mustn’t be seen moving by humans otherwise they would shatter and cease to exist. But when a vandal knocks one off its pedestal, to what length would his lover go to get him back? Both violent and tender, this has to be the first gargoyle love story I have ever read.

You can check out the rest of the review here, and pick up a copy of Kzine here.

Lastly, because why not? Here’s a short excerpt:

His wings curved like scythes over his back, reaching the ground behind his heels and swooping up over the horns that crowned his head. Spider web cracks marred their surface, but the lines, oh, the lines. They made her want to growl, press her back against his chiseled chest, and feel him tight against her, his claws digging into her haunches just like last night.

But it was daylight, and so, even though she was perched at the very top of the cathedral, she daren’t even twitch a toe lest she be seen by someone below. Ever since the curse if one of her kind were seen to move by mortal man they would be shattered to dust and scattered to the winds.

The night was their time.

Bedtime Story

Tesseracts 17Okay, this may seem a little braggy, but it came at a time I was feeling really low and totally made my week so I’m going to share it here. My Tesseracts tale, Bedtime Story, was Aaron Hughes’ story recommendation of the week over at Fantastic Reads!

Having friends enjoy your work is fantastic, but when a total stranger* reads your story and enjoys it enough to blog about it? That’s pretty freaking phenomenal!

I am so excite!

Yes, I said excite on purpose. Because.

:-p

*Aaron and I are Facebook friends now, but had no connection when this was posted.

 

Reminder

I was just editing the page for Shades of Green to link to a review that was just done of it (ChrisChat Reviews) and in a roundabout way it reminded me that I ought to remind you — If you want to read Lost and Found for free you should do that sooner rather than later. In the near future I will be taking it off my website and re-releasing it (along with some other stories) in other formats.

New Layout

I have a new layout. If you’re reading this on livejournal pop over to my main site (http://www.rhondaparrish.com) and take a look. It’s a lovely green layout that looks fresh and ready for spring*. My friend BD made it for me, because she is incredibly awesome. I actually want to write a whole blog entry about how awesome she is and invaluable to my writing, but, that would embaress her. I don’t want to do that (and not just because she could totally kick my ass), so I’ll just leave it at this:

BD, you rock. Thank you.

In other news, Heather, from Doubleshot Reviews gave Lost and Found a read and made me happy with her review. She analyzed Xavier and Colby’s characters a little bit, found them believable and gave them a thumbs up. That makes me smile. You can check out the whole review here: Lost and Found Review.

Lost and Found is almost done! That’s crazy. It seems like it should keep going, but next week will be the final chapter. Then what am I going to do for my Monday blog entries? I’m going to have to like, think of something clever to write, or something. I apologise in advance 😉 I do hope you’ll check back next week though, to get the final chapter of Lost and Found and see how it all turns out.

Whee? 🙂

*I took the photo used in the new layout. Another point in the win column if you ask me.

 

Review to the Rescue!

I’m having one of those days. You know the ones. And yet, it’s Monday, which means I’m supposed to blog. It’s really tough for me to turn out a decent blog when I’m busy feeling sorry for myself and stuff so I was waffling back and forth. Should I blog, should I not blog, was there a way to turn my craptastic day into a positive thing by finding some sort of writing-related lesson in it. The answer the the first question was yes, to the second, no. Happily I don’t have to be able to come up with a clever blog entry in my current mood because there’s a new review of Lost and Found in and I can talk about that. Yay!

As a quick aside, I don’t blog about reviews I get on Goodreads-type sites and stuff, just book review blogs. Specifically the ones I’ve contacted and asked to review my work. If they go through the effort of reading and reviewing, I think the least I can do is link back to them by way of saying thank you 🙂

So, as I was sayin, Ashley from Book Labyrinth reviewed Lost and Found. One of my favourite quotes from her review is below:

I thought this novella was quite interesting and well written. Rhonda Parrish has created an almost fairy tale-like setting which is populated with some very interesting characters.

I’ve never really thought of Aphanasia as a fairy tale-like setting, but I think it’s very cool that she did 🙂 It made me smile on a day smiles were tough to come by. Overall Ashley gave the story three and a half out of five stars, you can check out the whole review here and check out her reasoning.

Actually, now that I’ve re-read it I think I’ve thought of a great blog post subject. Ah well, I’ll save that one for another day 😉