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

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

 

The Best Of Joe R. Lansdale

A Few Zombie Stories

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)I’m giving my blog over to the zombies this month to celebrate the release of my book, Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories). As part of that I’ve invited some friends to pop over and share their thoughts about zombies. One of the people who took me up on the offer was Cory Cone. Cory is the author of the fantastic zombie story Compassion, During and After the Fall which I had the pleasure of publishing in Niteblade. It was largely on the strength of that story that I invited him to contribute to A is for Apocalypse (which also, oddly enough, has zombies in it LoL)

Today, Cory is writing a bit of non-fiction for me to share with you here today. Specifically, he’s going to talk about the zombtastic works for Joe R. Lansdale. Confession time… I haven’t read any of Joe’s work, but after these glowing recommendations I intend to change that.

 

A Few Zombie Stories by Joe R. Lansdale

(a guest post by Cory Cone)

Edge of Dark WaterWhenever I’m asked to recommend a book, I suggest Edge of Dark Water by Champion Mojo Storyteller, Joe R. Lansdale. It is a depression era novel set in East Texas, the setting of most of Lansdale’s stories, and is among my favorite of his books. But honestly, making only one suggestion from his gargantuan bibliography of novels and short stories is near impossible. Lansdale is constantly inventive, funny, terrifying, and insightful in his fiction. His collections include Bleeding Shadows, Bumper Crop, High Cotton, among others. He is also the author of several novels, including the Hap and Leonard series, The Bottoms, A Thin Dark Line, The Thicket, and Cold in July, recently released as a film.

If you have never read anything by this author and are curious about some of his non-zombie short fiction, allow me to recommend the collection The Best of Joe R. Lansdale. It contains some of his best work, including one of my all-time favorite short stories, Night They Missed the Horror Show. But be warned: it’s a story that haunts long after the final sentence. Last year, Apex Magazine reprinted one of his most famous short stories, Tight Little Stitches In a Dead Man’s Back, and it’s available for free online. In addition, Lansdale frequently posts his stories for free on his website.

But it’s the month of zombie, so if you’re looking to kick back and read some outstanding zombie fiction, you can’t go wrong with the following three stories:

Christmas with the Dead

Calvin, surviving alone in a zombified world, isn’t going to let the walking dead stop him from decorating his house for Christmas. This story remains among my favorite from Lansdale. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s full of the perfectly articulated imagery one comes to expect from a Lansdale story (“The way their teeth bit into her, how the skin stretched, it looked as if they were trying to pull old bubble gum loose from the sidewalk.”). In the mix you’ll find moments so moving you can’t quite believe a story like this is getting to you, especially the absolutely fantastic ending, which I’d be a fool to ruin here. You can find it in Bleeding Shadows. It was also made into a film by his son, Keith, which you can buy on DVD.

A Visit with Friends

This story can also be found in Bleeding Shadows. A very different tale from Christmas with the Dead, A Visit with Friends is told in first person and is mostly a single scene of dialogue between the narrator and his wife. They’ve secured their houses, adapted, and feel fairly confident they will survive. Here, though, it’s more than just the main character(s) making due—it’s the entire city. In many of Lansdale’s zombie stories, he gives his characters a lot of credit and shows just how much ingenuity humans could potentially have in such situations. That said, this particular story, as well as the next one I’ll be mentioning, takes a much darker look at the world than Christmas with the Dead. It deals with nastier human impulses and asks the question: Who, in this zombie world, are the real monsters?The Best Of Joe R. Lansdale

The Hunt: Before, and the Aftermath

This is another first person story, which is always a treat. Joe R. Lansdale’s characters have such distinct, relatable, and enjoyable voices that it is always a pleasure to get inside their heads. This story was collected in an out of print book, Trapped in the Saturday Matinee, and in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24, edited by Stephen Jones. Once more, Lansdale uses the zombie apocalypse as a backdrop for disturbing human experiences. This story is about love, the temptations one must battle when married, and ultimately, forgiveness. Oh, and zombies!

There you have it. Dig in and eat up some great zombie fiction.

​Thank you, Rhonda, for having me on your blog!​

 

Kzine 9 cover

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.

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 😉

Giftmas Bookstravaganza!

My family celebrates a secular version of Christmas I’ve taken to calling Giftmas. This year’s Giftmas was very book-centric.

I got:

  • The Hunger Games trilogy
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galxay trilogy (I know I should have read it before now, but I haven’t. Don’t judge :-p)
  • Entice by Carrie Jones
  • Dragon Bone by Patricia Briggs
  • Red Hood’s Revenge by Jim C. Hines

Whoot!

I can’t wait to get reading them, though I don’t know where to start. A dear friend of mine, Amber, sent me a crapload of books just before Christmas, and I want to read them too. I need a few more hours in the day, please. That would be fabulous. It’s also fabulous to have so many books I can’t wait to dive into 🙂

In related-to-my-book news I have a new review of Lost and Found to share. Clayton Bye, of The Deepening, reviewed it and he liked it. I liked his review, in fact it made my day yesterday.  Why? Well, in part because he said this:

Parrish represents a fresh and powerful voice in fantasy

*happy dance* How cool is that?

As you may have guessed he mostly liked the story with one notable criticism. The review is right here if you want to read it in its entirety, but be warned, it’s pretty spoilerific. If you don’t like spoilers you may want to wait until you’ve finished the story before popping over.

Speaking of the story, the next chapter will be going up on Monday 😉

Sick

I’ve been sick, and today is the first day I’ve felt well enough to actually work in far too long, so I’m beginning to chip away at the things I’d fallen behind on. One of those things is sharing reviews of my work. I got a new one for Shades of Green a while ago. The reviewer won a copy on GoodReads and she said, in part:

I liked this story, it was quick and to the point, and didn’t really need to be any longer. And it was nice to be surprised by the ending.

She gave it 3.5 stars out of 5, and her full review is right here at her website Spoilers and Nuts.

Review of Lost and Found

The first review of Lost and Found is in. I sent Kari Wolfe of Imperfect Clarity a review copy of the manuscript, which means she got to read the whole story in one sitting instead of getting it a chapter at a time.

Kari said,

I love reading Rhonda’s work… I love the descriptions she uses.  She’s very exact in what she writes.  There’s no ambiguity here at all,  Each word has a reason for being chosen–they all have weight.  A substance.

There is a whole lot in between the first sentence and the second there in the original review, but I wanted to share both tidbits here. Hence the elipses :-p

Overall Kari seemed uncertain about her feelings for Lost and Found, which is somewhat disappointing, but whatcha gonna do? I’m grateful to Kari for taking the time to read and review my story just the same. You can read her whole review here. Then, if I may, I’d suggest heading over to the page for Lost and Found and either reading, or listening to the first few chapters. If you like what you read/hear then check back and keep following the story, and then you can make up your own mind about how you feel once we reach the end.

Incidentally, once you make that decision, I’d love to hear what you think. For better or for worse.

Book Ratings Are Tricky Things

Book ratings are tricky things. I think the thing which contributes the most to their trickiness is time.

How much I (or you, I’m betting) enjoy a particular book has a lot to do with when I read it. How old I am, what’s going on in my life, what book I read just before it. These are all things that alter how I feel about a book. For example, when I set up my Goodreads account however long ago, I couldn’t stand having an empty virtual bookshelf but I certainly wasn’t about to go through and add every book I could remember reading. My compromise was for me to add the books from the shelf nearest to me (or maybe the two nearest me, I don’t remember). Adding the books was easy enough, but rating them was a little trickier.

Between about the ages of 11 and 13 I read a lot of VC Andrews. A LOT. I devoured them. Now, if I were to read them today I suspect I would like them only slightly more than I did Twilight, which is to say, not very freaking much. But I’d loved them then, so how should I rate them?

I think, in the end, I gave them 5 stars because when I read them, I loved them.

Thus, I say again, book ratings are tricky things…and if you look at my Goodreads bookshelf and the stars I gave a particular book make you scratch your head because it seems out of character? Remember that time totally has to play a part.

Book reviews are also tricky things. I am not very good at writing them but there are loads of people who are. One of those people is Fate, the blogger behind The Fickle Hand of Fate. Fate agreed to review Shades of Green.

Rhonda’s strength definitely looks to be in the area of plotting, (Twists! Reversals! A totally unexpected ending, but still a square peg in a square hole!) and worldbuilding…

Fate didn’t love it unconditionally, however. You should read her complete review here. She makes a lot of very good points, which I should totally address in another blog entry because this one is getting a bit long 😉

Oh, and the picture? I took it. That flower is the result of some ‘blooming tea’. I like tea while I read…and um…yeah, that’s as strong as the connection gets to the content of the blog I’m afraid. It’s pretty though, no?

Coffee Time Romance Review

The lovely Lototy from Coffee Time Romance reviewed Shades of Green today. She gave it 3 coffee cups out of five. She articulates the issues she has with the story, the ending especially I think, but also has some nice things to say like:

The visuals in this story are most amazing, and keep you intrigued with the characters as well as their environment.

You can read her complete review by clicking on the picture above, or by clicking here 🙂

In other news, my friend Scott’s book BREATHERS is on the ballot for a Stoker award this year, and the award ceremony is this weekend. Good luck Scott (it’s not bad luck to say that, I hope). I’ll be thinking of you 🙂