E is for Evil

I’m excited to announce the theme for the next volume in my Alphabet Anthologies series will be:

E is for Evil

Oh man, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this one. The contributors to this anthology series never cease to amaze me with their clever and diverse interpretations of a theme and this one… well, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a doozie!

Speaking of those contributors. For this volume the contributing authors, in random order, are Michael Fosburg, Lynn Hardaker, KV Taylor, Andrew Bourelle, Suzanne J. Willis, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, Hal J. Friesen, C.S. MacCath, Michael B. Tager, Jonathan C. Parrish, Amanda C. Davis, Lilah Wild, Sara Cleto, Alexandra Seidel, Mary Alexandra Agner, Cory Cone, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Beth Cato, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Megan Engelhardt, Gary B. Phillips, Brittany Warman, BD Wilson, L.S. Johnson, Pete Aldin and Michael M. Jones.

E is for Evil will be hitting shelves spring of next year, so we’ll all need to be patient while we wait for it, but people had been asking what the next letter was going to be and I was getting tired of saying it was a secret 🙂

Previous volumes in this series include A is for Apocalypse, B is for Broken, C is for Chimera and — coming out in less than three weeks! — D is for DInosaur.

D is for Dinosaur cover reveal

dino500x750

For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur theme and span the spectrum from literal to metaphoric.

Within these pages stories set in alternate histories, far-flung futures and times just around the corner, dinosaurs whimper and waste away, or roar and rage. People can be dinosaurs, as can ideas, fictions and flesh. Knitted dinosaurs share space with ghostly, genetically engineered and even narcotic ones.

Teenagers must embrace their inner dinosaurs in order to find peace and belonging, a dying woman duels a God in a far future city that echoes aspects of our past, an abused wife accompanies her husband on a hunt for an ancient power and finds more than she could ever have imagined and a girl with wonderful magical powers stumbles across the bones of a giant long-dead lizard. And so much more!

Features stories by Alexandra Seidel, Pete Aldin, Beth Cato, Michael Kellar, Cory Cone, Simon Kewin, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, C.S. MacCath, KV Taylor, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Michael B. Tager, Gary B. Phillips, Michael M. Jones, L.S. Johnson, Brittany Warman, Hal J. Friesen, Megan Engelhardt, BD Wilson, Michael Fosburg, Jonathan C. Parrish, Suzanne J. Willis, Lynn Hardaker, Amanda C. Davis, Andrew Bourelle, Sara Cleto and Jeanne Kramer-Smyth.

This cover was designed by Jonathan C. Parrish using original artwork by Janice Blaine.

D is for Dinosaur will be available in February 2017. In the meantime, don’t forget to add it to your ‘Want to read’ shelf on Goodreads and LibraryThing!

 

Chimeric Contributor: Alexandra Seidel

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

We’re continuing the Chimeric contributor interviews with a familiar name on my blog–Alexandra Seidel. Alexa and I have worked together in tons of different capacities for several years now. It started when I accepted one of her poems for Niteblade, then she was a slush reader, then Niteblade’s poetry editor… She’s also contributed to every single one of the Alphabet Anthologies so far 🙂

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

A

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Not at all. The story started forming in my head right away.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

Mmh, my title is actually exactly as I wanted it to be!

What kind of chimera is your story about?

The one with two heads. It’s pretty close to the Greek creature, but also it’s something else entirely.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

My story is actually set in a world that I’ve explored before (in The Marriage of Ocean and Dust, which appeared in Postscripts to Darkness) so that was part of the inspiration. I don’t want to give away too much, but one of Poe’s stories also helped inspire me.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Well, I really want to say lioness, and some people would agree. But I do have some snake-like qualities as well. I’m not much like a goat, at least the last time I checked I wasn’t growing horns.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Let me think; I’d want to be one third dragon, one third tiger, and one third crane.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

That one’s easy: one third wormhole, one third Mimir’s Well, and one third a witch’s cauldron.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

Oh, I’d just want to have more time to write things, it’s as simple as that.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

When her daughter left to become an alchemist, the mother did not understand. Had her youngest child not always loved the harp, played songs as if the ghost of muses lived inside her hands? But the girl said she wanted nothing more to do with string, and ever since that moment, her harp would not speak another sound.

 

Alexandra Seidel is a writer, poet, and editor. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, Stone Telling, and elsewhere. If you are so inclined you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

D is for [Drum Roll]

It’s time to announce the theme for the next Alphabet Anthology. I am really stoked about this one. Like, really, really stoked. I’ve been looking forward to the D anthology since I first decided to do this anthology series–in fact, more than once Jo has had to talk me out of releasing books out of alphabetical order because I was impatient to get to D.

So what is the theme?

Well, Demons seemed like a good fit–a collection of dark and diverse stories would be a lot of fun but not quite as fun as–

Dragons. Dragons seem the obvious choice, right? I mean, I love dragons. I used to collect them, I even have a dragon tattoo. And there’s no doubt that dragon stories could be diverse in theme, voice and tone… but dragons were actually kind of too obvious. Plus I have a vaguely dragony anthology in the works and I don’t want to duplicate efforts. Much. Still gargantuan reptilian creatures are pretty amazing and so I am excited to announce that–

 

D is for Dinosaur

–because c’mon! How cool is that?

The dinosaur theme will be interpreted in a wide variety of ways for this anthology but my authors assure me that there will, indeed, be at least a handful of prehistoric critters within its pages. I’m super stoked!

Speaking of those authors, contributors to this anthology include some veterans to the series and some new faces too. In no particular order, story contributors to D is for Dinosaur are:

~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Pete Aldin ~ Beth Cato ~ Michael Kellar ~ Cory Cone ~ Simon Kewin ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ C.S. MacCath ~ KV Taylor ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Michael B. Tager ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Michael M. Jones ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Brittany Warman ~ Hal J. Friesen ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Suzanne J. Willis ~ Lynn Hardaker ~ Amanda C. Davis ~ Andrew Bourell ~ Sara Cleto ~ Jeanne Kramer-Smyth ~

Janice Blaine will be contributing the artwork.

D is for Dinosaur will be coming out in 2017 but you can pre-order the third installment in the Alphabet Anthologies series, C is for Chimera right now.

Fractured Friday: Alexandra Seidel

B is for Broken. Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

For 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 met Alexa through Niteblade, first as a submitter then a slush reader and, eventually, the poetry editor. We’ve worked together for several years now and it’s always been a true pleasure. I am super stoked to include Alexa’s work in both A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken 🙂

Interview With Alexandra Seidel

What letter were you assigned? H

Please share a short excerpt from your story: The second peddler has a hat weighing heavy with cream white roses. “A cup is a beautiful thing. When it breaks, there is grief in the world[…]

What is the thing you’ve most regretted breaking? A clock. I was still a kid back then, and I broke it while playing. The clock was a gift to someone else, and something that was lost forever in a way because the gift giver is dead.

Have you ever broken something and not been saddened by it? Can you tell us about that? Actually, this is how I try to feel when I accidentally break something. I tell myself, it’s broken. You cannot unbreak it. This is the reality of the situation. Accept and move on.

If you could break one law and get away with it consequence-free, what would it be? The first law of thermodynamics. It’s just because I want a perpetual motion machine. I figure it’d be way cooler than an iPod.

Do you have any rules for yourself, a code of some sort, which you’d never break? The categorical imperative comes to mind.

Never ever? Well, I write fiction you know, so never is a challenge more than anything. Maybe I’ll explore that further down the Alphabet Series…

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? Well, I first wrote another story, but it wasn’t right. Then, this story happened, and even when I was feeling it come together in my head, I knew that it was for Broken.

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? Life. And death.

 


 

Alexa SeidelAlexandra Seidel is a writer, poet, and editor. H is for Hanging Man (aka The Hanging Man Who Does Not Heal) is her second story in the Alphabet Series. Other than that, her writing appeared in Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, Stone Telling, and elsewhere. If you are so inclined you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.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

 

Niteblade #32 cover -- design by Jonathan C. Parrish, Art by Marge Simon

What Happened Among The Stars

Niteblade #32 cover -- design by Jonathan C. Parrish, Art by Marge SimonWe released latest issue of Niteblade, What Happened Among the Stars, today. This, our 32nd and penultimate issue, contains a farcical science fiction, magical horses, everyday immortals, creeping trees, fairies, close encounters with death and so much more.

Strange and unusual high-quality speculative fiction and poems that will make your heart skip a beat.

Table of Contents:
Small Necessary Things by Angela Enos
Shamaness by Wendy Howe
Jacks by Nicholas L. Sweeney
What Happened Among the Stars by Beth Cato
Monkeyshines by J.B. Rockwell
Carousel Ifrit by Sandi Leibowitz
The Third Sister by Gabriel F. Cuellar
coming home by Senia Hardwick
The Night Wind’s Ballad by Alexandra Erin
The Hanging Tree by Brian Ennis

Available now:

Direct from Niteblade
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon

The issue will also be available online once we reach a combined total of $50 in sales and donations. Until that happens you can check out teasers of all the stories and poems.

Niteblade is open to submissions for our final issue (coming out in September) until the end of July. Protip: We’re not kidding when we say not to indent the paragraphs in your submission 😉

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

B is for Broken

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

Broken people, broken promises, broken dreams and broken objects are just some of the ways these 26 fantastic stories interpret the theme of ‘Broken’. From science fiction to fantasy, horror to superheroes the stories within these pages cover a vast swath of the genres under the speculative fiction umbrella.

Featuring original fiction by:

~ Brittany Warman ~ Milo James Fowler ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sara Cleto ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Simon Kewin ~ Beth Cato ~ Cory Cone ~ Cindy James ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Steve Bornstein ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Kellar ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ Marge Simon ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Pete Aldin ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Lilah Wild ~ KV Taylor ~

Available now at:
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

After months of hard work I’m incredibly excited to announce that B is for Broken is live and available for purchase! This anthology is the second in the Alphabet Anthologies series and because the theme was broader than the first (A is for Apocalypse) the stories are even more diverse in regard to genre, style, voice and theme than before. We’ve got retold fairy tales, robots and spaceships, superheros, minotaurs, second world fantasy and so, so, SO much more. The story length ranges from flash fiction to an incredible fantasy novelette from C.S. MacCath (trust me, you don’t want to miss this one).

Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing contributor interviews, excerpts and even (once it’s complete) a ‘Broken Story‘ to try and tempt you into picking up a copy but if you enjoy speculative fiction I don’t think you can go wrong with this anthology. I’m biased but it really is packed full of awesome.

“This collection is a massive and magnificent assortment of truly enjoyable stories. There is simply no way to read this book  and not find a story you can connect with or love. This is the book to have in your travel bag. In it you are sure to find a tale to fit any mood. Each time you open it, a new adventure begins.”

Anita Allen, Assistant Publisher/Editor, Mythic Delirium Books

Also? We’re holding a Facebook party to celebrate the release and you’re invited 🙂

By Georges Jansoone (JoJan) (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

C is for Chimera

It is with an extreme amount of pride and pleasure that I’m announcing the theme and contributors to the third in the alphabet anthology series. I hope you’ll be as excited as I am about… dun dun DUN:

C is for Chimera

In case you’re thinking, “Uh, a whole anthology of lion/goat/serpent creatures?” that is not the only definition of the word 🙂 I’ve got my fingers crossed for at least one lion/goat/serpent creature in the anthology, but check out this definition and then tell me you can’t see the potential for a hugely diverse collection of stories:

Definition of CHIMERA (From Merriam-Webster)

1: a capitalized:  a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail
b:  an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
2: an illusion or fabrication of the mind; especially :  an unrealizable dream <a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer — John Donne>
3: an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution

Synonyms
fantasy, conceit, daydream, delusion, dream, fancy, figment, hallucination, illusion, nonentity, phantasm (also fantasm), pipe dream, unreality, vision

Near Antonyms
actuality, fact, reality

Other Genetics Terms
hermaphrodite, plasticity

Our contributing authors are also diverse and write in a wide variety of styles and genres within the broader categories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. You’ll notice some familiar names from the first two books in this series (A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken) as well as a few new additions. Anthology contributors (in no particular order) are:

~ BD Wilson ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Pete Aldin ~ Beth Cato ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Marge Simon ~ Simon Kewin ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ KV Taylor ~ Sara Cleto ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Michael B. Tager ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Lilah Wild ~ Amanda C. Davis ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Kellar ~ Brittany Warman ~

No Time Like December 6 To Polish Your Boots

This month on my blog I’m sharing holiday traditions, mine and other people’s as well. This is the second of those posts, you can find the first, entitled Giftmas Cards (and subsequent ones) by visiting the main page, here. Happy Ho Ho!

~*~

No Time Like December 6 To Polish Your Boots–Nikolaustag in Germany

By Alexandra Seidel

You know how the Christmas season always creeps up on you and is suddenly just here, real unexpectedly? Yeah, happened again this year, and now it’s just a little over three weeks to Giftmas.

But perhaps sharing a little culture and tradition with everyone can make the time seem longer, or at least make one take notice of it more. So here goes.

I want to share a German tradition with you (no, there are no pickled tree ornaments, like, at all over here). I’m talking about “Nikolaustag” (St. Nick’s Day) which is celebrated on December 6. And how do you celebrate? Well, I suppose there are a lot of older customs, but really the bones of it are these: the night before December 6, you have to clean your boots, get them all shiny and tidy, put them just outside your door, and then the next morning, St. Nick will have left something in those boots, most traditionally oranges and nuts, but nowadays it’s more likely toys and chocolate.

I do suppose it’s a little bit like a test run for Christmas. Being a kid, it sure is nice to be given gifts twice in December.

St. Nick’s Day is more widely celebrated in this part of Europe, but also in Denmark, and I think Sweden, too. As with Christmas, it might go back to a much older pagan festival, but I cannot provide any specific information. What I can provide is a regional quirk within Germany of which not even many Germans are aware.

I grew up in the north of Hesse, which is the state pretty much in the center of Germany. Here, we actually did celebrate December 6 in a special way. Kids will put on masks (those used to be predominantly Santa Claus masks, but really anything will do nowadays) and costumes and go from door to door on the evening of December 6, reciting poems or little rhymes to then collect candy (or in some cases a few coins) for their troubles. There is even a special name for that evening: “Glowesnacht” or “Glowesabend” (or also “Klobes-” or “Clobes-” instead of the “Glowes-” used here.) According to the internet, “Glowes-” and its alternate forms are all vernacular forms of the name ‘Klaus,’ as in Nikolaus, the notorious gift-giver whose cultural roots may go back to pagan times for all I know. After asking a few relatives and some more internet research, it seems that this tradition is also known in the Hamelin area (home of the Grimms’ pied piper fairy tale) as well as the Bremen area (which we also know from the Grimms’ The Town Musicians of Bremen.)

Glowesabend is pretty much like Halloween actually, but again, where that tradition comes from exactly and why it is only observed in part of the country while everyone else doesn’t even seem to know about it, I cannot tell you. I do know that it was also common, at least until a generation ago, that older teens would go from door to door and get schnapps instead of candy, at least in smaller villages. I suspect–again, with no proof–that this can be connected to Krampus, a darker and more rowdy expression of the saintly gift-giver, most certainly with pagan roots.

Wherever those traditions come from, what they all have in common is an emphasis on community and on bringing some more light and good spirits into an otherwise dark and cold season. And there is nothing wrong with that, especially if you can combine it all with some mulled wine, laughter, and friends.

2014-08-14 19.36.04 (2)

Alexa Seidel edits poetry for Niteblade. She also writes things that get published every now and then in such places as Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Lackington’s Magazine, and elsewhere. Alexa has a great fondness for the cold and dark season because it makes you find the warmest and brightest places (where there is mulled wine.) If you are so inclined, have a look at her blog www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel.

Niteblade and Fae

Seasonal Special Banner - Fae Far Orbit

Normally I don’t post two blog posts on the same day, and I usually wouldn’t make a single post that included details about FAE being on sale and also the latest issue of Niteblade. But today isn’t just another day, so I’m doing exactly that.

First of all, if you didn’t see it, my other post for today is about Giftmas cards. Basically I’d like to send you one, so if you’d like to receive one you ought to sign up using this form right here.

Now, about Fae and Niteblade…

Fae is on sale, and it’s a good one. From now until the end of the year you can get a paperback copy of both Fae and  of Far Orbit for only $19.95. That’s two great anthologies from World Weaver Press for less than twenty bucks. If you’ve already bought one or the other of them, well, what can I say? Books make fantastic gifts, right? LOL Unfortunately these books can only be shipped within the United States, but I happen to know a lot of my friends and readers live there — it’s a pretty big place 😉

Annnnd, last but most assuredly not least — the latest issue of Niteblade came out today.

Cover_Dec2014_noissnIssue #30 (holy freaking hell, 30 issues!) is called Vampyrics and features a fang-tastically festive cover by Marge Simon. Our table of contents looks like this:

Abominable Snowman by Ada Hoffmann
Cold by Thomas Wood
Nameday by Anne Carly Abad
A Million Miles Away by Christian Riley
Vampyrics by John Philip Johnson
Bindings by Jamie Killen
The Art by Sandi Leibowitz
Three Little Words by Sealey Andrews
Ghost Engine Updates an Ad for Angry Spirits by Anne Carly Abad
Date of Death by Stone Showers

We’ve got monsters (traditional and otherwise), subtle horror, kinky fae-like critters, living nightmares and modernized hauntings. This is truly one of our strongest issues yet and with more ways to enjoy it than ever before.

You can check it out at the Niteblade Website. From there you’ll be able to read previews of every single piece we’re offering you, as we try to tempt you into purchasing a downloadable copy (.pdf, .ePub or .mobi) or sending us a donation. As soon as we reach $50 in sales and donations combined we will release the full issue on the website for everyone to read for free (but our downloadable copies are still the best way to experience Niteblade. No lie.)

Or

You can also check out this issue over at Smashwords. There, they will give you the first 20% of the issue for free, to make sure you like what you see before you take the $2.99 plunge and buy a copy –> Vampyrics at Smashwords. From Smashwords you can pick up copies of this issue in every freaking format conceivable. And yes. Your purchases still count toward eventually releasing the web version for free.

But wait! There’s more!

This issue of Niteblade is also available from Amazon and Kobo.

*Catches breath*

So. There’s that.

🙂

 

This Year’s Pushcart Nominations

2015CoverHomeEvery year I talk about how difficult it is to choose which works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize and that’s because each year it gets harder. This year I was saved from truly heartbreaking decisions by two things:

  1. Eileen Wiedbrauk is nominating from Fae which meant I only had to pick from within Niteblade & A is for Apocalypse
  2. Alexandra Seidel, the poetry editor at Niteblade helped me make the poetry-based decisions.

In the end I nominated three works from A is for Apocalypse and three works from Niteblade.

From Niteblade Magazine we nominated:

  • The Bitter Gourd’s Fate by Anne Carly Abad (June 2014)
  • Godfather by Megan Arkenberg (March 2014)
  • Bird Girl by Beth Cato (March 2014)

From A is for Apocalypse I nominated:

  • F is for Finale by Suzanne van Rooyen
  • N is for Nanomachine by C.S. MacCath
  • U is for Umbrella by Damien Angelica Walters

Congratulations, ladies. And good luck!