ankh_hpl: (Default)
Just in time for H.P. Lovecraft's birthday (August 20th), Spectral Realms #7 is now available from Hippocampus Press . Edited by S.T. Joshi, this latest issue of the twice-yearly journal of weird verse offers over 120 pages of poems and related articles from old hands and newer practitioners.

Contributing poets include Richard L. Tierney, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, John Shirley, Ashley Dioses, K.A. Opperman, David Barker, F.J. Bergman, and Yours Truly -- among others. (Full disclosure: I have three poems in this issue, all previously unpublished.)

Spectral Realms is published in attractive trade paperback format, with a classic Gustave Doré cover this time around.
ankh_hpl: (Default)
Agents of DreamlandAgents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most elegant bits of Lovecraftian writing I've read in some time. Kiernan delivers a genuinely chilling riff on "The Whisperer in Darkness" with a touch of the X-Files (or a close approximation) and a dose of botany, all set in the farthest reaches of the Southwest. A mysterious agent known as the Signalman is investigating the aftermath of a cult gone wrong, but is he already too late? And for whom is he too late?

There's quite a bit of time-shifting and viewpoint-shifting here, and not all loose ends are neatly tied up by the novella's bleak conclusion. For me, at least, the prose style (verging on prose poetry) more than made up for a little uncertainty. The plot may be slightly predictable in an apocalyptic way, but the beauty of the writing carries it.

One caution: this one is definitely for those familiar with Lovecraft. It might or might not work as well for horror/dark fantasy fans coming in cold. As with much of this kind of fiction (Charles Stross's Laundry series comes to mind), the more you know, the more entertaining it is.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A slow-burn classic of supernatural horror, with a side order of psychological suspense. This is pretty much the definitive Evil Children/possession tale, but James' writing style takes some settling into. The payoff is well worth it, however.

Probably best for those willing to enter into the Gothic game of shadows, suggestions, and ambiguities. If mysteriously troubled country houses and imperiled governesses don't enhance your horror experience, this might be one to avoid. If they do, though, this one's your catnip.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
I'm still catching up with contributors' copies, etc. from the end-of-year deluge, but wanted to mention that Colorado's own Centipede Press has recently released Weird Fiction Review #7.

This annual journal -- so big that my contrib arrived in a box of its own! -- is edited by S.T. Joshi, and offers over 350 pp. of fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, reviews, and artwork, all in a very handsome sewn paperback edition with color covers & much interior color.

The fiction this time around is by Steve Rasnic Tem, Mark Howard Jones, Jonathan Thomas, John Shirley & Don Webb, and Nicole Cushing. Poetry is by Christina Sng, Ian Futter, K.A. Opperman, John Shirley, Wade German, Ashley Dioses, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard -- & Yours Truly.

There are also articles by Charles A. Gramlich, Jason V. Brock, Chad Hensley, and others; a column by John Pelan, and more.

For more information, or to order at a discount, please check here.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The ElementalsThe Elementals by Michael McDowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solidly crafted Southern Gothic take on the classic haunted house novel, with characters the reader actually comes to care about. (Which is unfortunate, given the body count!)

This one offers pretty much everything a reader might want in such a tale: a creepy Victorian summer home -- three, actually -- an increasingly menacing setting cut off from civilization, generations of family secrets, occult protections that don't work, and a memorably nasty ending with a twist. The writing is first-class, and most of the characters are very well drawn. McDowell knows how to make his descriptions visceral without being gratuitous, which is a real plus.

One caveat: this 1981 novel might feel slightly dated to some readers. Supernatural horror fans who appreciate a quieter, more literary approach won't be disappointed, though.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Issue #22 of Eye to the Telescope, the SFPA's online journal of speculative poetry, has gone live!

In keeping with the season, this is the "Ghosts" issue. Edited by Shannon Connor Winward, it offers 27 spectral poems ranging from Gothic horror to folktale to spooky SF. There's a range of forms as well, though this issue runs pretty heavily toward free verse.

And, yes, Yours Truly does have something here: the terza rima sonnet "New World Haunting."
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
As I suspect most of the genre-reading world already knows, The Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot was announced yesterday, here.

Congratulations to everyone listed!

And if you scroll all the way down, you’ll see why Yours Truly has gone back into her Grateful Happy Dance.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The latest issue of Spectral Realms, a weird poetry journal (plus articles & reviews on that topic) has been announced for sale at Hippocampus Press.

Edited by S.T. Joshi, this twice-yearly journal always offers a bumper crop of dark poetry & poets, but this time around it’s massive: 144 pages! Delivered in a nicely produced trade paperback format, it’s less a magazine than a permanent addition to any weird lit lover’s collection. Good for your dark-minded Valentine, too!

For the full TOC and ordering details, check here. The journal ships free within the USA, & free worldwide with any other qualifying purchase from the press.

[Truth in LiveJournaling: yes, I do have two poems in this issue. One is a very up-to-date bit of cosmic horror based on the discoveries of New Horizons.]
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The HWA’s 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot is out now, here. Congratulations & best of luck to all!

Scroll down – way, way down – to see why Yours Truly is doing a very grateful Happy Dance.

(Sorry for this news being a bit late, but I spent the weekend picking teeth out of my office carpet. )
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
<Slade HouseSlade House by David Mitchell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This very odd, very well-written, and intermittently spooky short novel was my first read of 2016. It was also my first experience with David Mitchell’s writing, which might have been part of the problem I had with it.

I’ve read elsewhere that this author (of The Bone Clocks, Cloud Atlas, and other works, some of which can be described as speculative) tends to interweave the elements of his novels. If so, that might explain why I had so much trouble waiting for certain concepts to be explained – in vain – or why the middle of the book seemed so slow.

It’s entirely possible that I was missing something important. Perhaps having essentially the same series of disquieting events happen to three separate victims of Slade House (and I’m not going to add any spoilers!) was intentional. Perhaps I was meant to know, or care, more about these first three individuals than I did. Unfortunately, I barely made it through the first three sections of this novel before getting caught up in its two-section conclusion – which did deliver a pretty nasty plot twist.

There’s nothing wrong with Mitchell’s prose here, or his skill in building creepy atmosphere. Fans of quiet horror will likely find much to admire. All in all, I suspect I’m being unfair by only awarding this one three stars rather than four, but I’ve got to report my own experience.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)

It’s been a bit of a wait, but Mike Davis of The Lovecraft EZine reported today that the Kindle edition of Cassilda’s Song is now available, with the print edition coming soon.

Edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Cassilda’s Song is a new anthology of tales inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow mythos -- & all these tales are written by women. As most readers of this LJ already know, I’m one of these women!

A glance at the TOC should reveal why I’m so happy about this. And why KIY enthusiasts really ought to consider adding this item to their libraries, electronic or otherwise.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Received my contributor’s copy of She Walks in Shadows this week – just in time for Halloween!

Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles, this anthology of Lovecraftian tales by women features authors & artists from several countries, all investigating & expanding upon the feminine side of the Mythos. Some provide new views of established characters / entities, others (including myself, in the anthology’s one poem) offer entirely new creations to stretch the bounds of Lovecraftian weirdness.

Find the whole TOC – plus easy ordering information – here. She Walks in Shadows is available in both paperback & ebook formats.

And I am so thrilled to be a part of this puppy.

ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Halloween Poetry Reading site is up, and expanding day by day. Edited by Liz Bennefeld & Shannon Connor Winward, this annual online tradition offers atmospheric art & horrifying poems for the haunting season.

With a couple of exceptions, most of the poems are read by their creators – who also share snippets of information about the poems themselves, as well as web sites or blogs where more work awaits discovery.

This year, I finally managed to hold my mouth right long enough to contribute a reading to this project! Listen to my long measure poem “Wind Shift” (and many other spooky verses!) here.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
If you’ve got even a passing interest in Poe (and I’m guessing that’s most everyone reading Yaddith Times), Dr. Amy H. Sturgis’s[ profile] eldritchhobbit latest Looking Back in Genre History on StarShipSofa No. 406 is a don’t-miss listen.

In this segment, she reviews an intriguing temporary exhibit at The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA. Entitled “Madness: Insanity in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe,” it offers her a springboard for discussing the (often dark) history behind many of Poe’s more notable tales.

The exhibit itself has closed, unfortunately, but the podcast is still available for free on iTunes & at the StarShipSofa website. And The Poe Museum website is darkly fascinating all on its own.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The Bloody Chamber and Other StoriesThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although this short but incredibly concentrated collection is apparently a modern classic, I’d never run into it until now. And that’s a shame, because it’s one of the more elegant bits of darkness I’ve read in some time.

In these ten tales, Angela Carter doesn’t so much retell various fairy tales & legends as rip them apart and rebuild them entirely. Her style is elaborate, poetic, and measured. Her viewpoint is unabashedly feminist, yet critical to the point of cynicism. Her obsessions – and she seems to have had quite a few – are worked out over & over again, reflections in a series of precisely warped mirrors.

Whether this approach works or not depends upon the individual reader. It certainly worked for me – once I slowed down enough to absorb these stories as the near prose-poems they are. My personal favorites were “The Bloody Chamber,” “The Tiger’s Bride,” and “The Lady in the House of Love,” but YMMV – and it’s almost sure to. Do yourself a favor, though, and read this collection in order. Many of the tales play off previous ones, and skipping around may dilute the effect.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and FantasticSearchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic by S.T. Joshi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology. I won’t be discussing it here.]

Taking its inspiration from a quote by H.P. Lovecraft (in “The Picture in the House”), this anthology focuses on weird places and disturbing locales – from a variety of perspectives. Not all are Lovecraftian, though a goodly number are.

Although the stories do have some flow between them – assuming they are read in sequence – this is a remarkably diverse assortment. Straight-up Lovecraftian adventure? It’s here. Haunted house tales? Also here. Ditto for dark SF, literary weirdness, at least one bit of graphic violence, and many approaches in between. The quality in general is quite high, though these tales skew toward “disturbing” rather than “blatantly horrific.”

My personal favorites in this one were by John Shirley, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Simon Strantzas, Brian Stableford, and Nancy Kilpatrick.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bob Howard’s wife – and fellow Laundry agent – Dr. Dominique “Mo” O’Brien finally gets her own adventure in this highly entertaining sixth volume of the Laundry Files. Recruited to help combat a growing plague of superheroes (yes, you read that right), Mo and her soul-devouring bone violin must assemble their own team of heroes while dealing with eldritch horrors, The King in Yellow, and British institutional bureaucracy.

Guess which one creates the most havoc?

As with all the Laundry novels, this one offers a satisfying mixture of tongue-in-cheek humor and genuinely chilling moments. Character depth seemed a bit better than usual, and female fans of the Laundry will probably find Mo’s “voice” convincing. Some familiarity with Robert W. Chambers might help this time around, though.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
I haven’t posted about this poetry project before, because I wasn’t at all sure when it would be available . . . but I’ve finally been told that it’s coming out for Lovecraft’s 125th birthday.

Which is August 20th!

Dark Energies is my first collection of poems since 2011 -- and my first collection ever published in Australia, from P’rea Press. It’s a little over 100 pages of Lovecraftian, cosmic, archaeological, historical, & just plain weird darkness, including a brand-new sonnet sequence for Keziah Mason. The cover and elegantly creepy black & white illustrations are by David Schembri, with preface and afterword by S.T. Joshi and Robert M. Price, respectively. There’s also a short interview with me, done by editor Charles Lovecraft.

Dark Energies will be available in both paperback & hardcover editions (another first for Yours Truly), with an ebook format to follow later on.

If you’re attending NecronomiCon Providence 2015, Dark Energies will be available at the Ulthar Press table in the Vendors’ Hall. Otherwise, just check here for all the details – including how to preorder. (The current link is for the hardcover edition, but there are ordering options for both editions.)

ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
To the possible detriment of the world’s collective sanity, Cthulhu Fhtagn! is available today from Word Horde.

Editor/publisher Ross E. Lockhart reports that copies will be arriving at Word Horde HQ “later today,” & that direct orders will be being fulfilled this week.

Retailer links to Amazon (where you can preorder your Kindle copies already!), Ingram, B & N, and other places will be appearing on the anthology’s page as they go live. Find all the ordering information you’ll need here.

[Truth in LJing: yes, I’m very happy to say that I’ve got a story in this puppy. “Dead Canyons” is a tale of Martian exploration, ancient warfare, Mythos entities, AI, & a desperate woman no one will listen to . . . . all set in Boulder, CO.]
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Through some conjunction of right-turning stars that I am still unable to explain, I’m going to be Poet Laureate at NecronomiCon Providence, August 20-23. Since this one is in honor of H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday-- doesn’t he look great for his age? -- I’m particularly thrilled.

Here’s my (current) schedule of panels, readings, & other activities, cribbed from the official website :

THURSDAY – August 20 – HPL’s 125th Birthday!
5:00 to 6:15pm – OPENING CEREMONIES – the First Baptist Church in America, 75 N. Main St. 02903 OPEN TO GENERAL PUBLIC (free)
Special Guests of Honor, including Ramsey Campbell, Leslie Klinger and Poet Laureate Ann Schwader, will welcome attendees and officially commemorate Lovecraft’s anniversary in this historic Providence landmark.
(I’m reading a specially written poem for this. Cross tentacles for me.)

SATURDAY – 1-2:15pm
SHE WALKS IN SHADOWS NO MORE – Grand Ballroom, Biltmore 17th Floor
Many of the most unique and powerful voices in weird fiction belong to women! Although once looked upon incorrectly as a white man’s genre, weird fiction has a long tradition of women writers, and that tradition continues today. Join us in celebrating these talented authors, and find out why they write Lovecraftian fiction.
Panelists: Caitlín Kiernan, Ann Schwader, Lois Gresh, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Anya Martin
Moderator: Faye Ringel

Saturday – 4:00-5:15pm
POETRY WORKSHOP – Renaissance Room, Biltmore 17th Floor
A special session welcoming of all poets and aspiring poets, led by Thomas Broadbent and Starry Wizdom, with our Poet Laureate Ann Schwader and several other remarkable eldritch scribes. Come together and share in the creative process or just enjoy the beautiful company.


AUTHOR READINGS – L’Apogee, Biltmore 17th Floor.
Session Two: Lois Gresh and Ann Schwader (Note: session runs 10-11am)

POETRY READINGS – L’Apogee, Biltmore 17th Floor
Poetry circle (Note: session runs from 11am to Noon)
This session will be led by our Poet Laureate Ann Schwader, poet Adam Bolivar, and our own in-house muses Thomas Broadbent and Starry Wizdom, but feel free to bring some of our own favorite poetry to share

Sunday – 1-2:15pm
Poetry was an important part of Lovecraft’s life and “weird poetry” is a growing trend today. There are many writers who dabble in the poems of the weird and still more who make it their singular creative focus. What is the history of weird poetry, and what makes a poem weird? Our panelists debate this issue and what it means to write weird poetry in the 21st century.
Panelists: Ann Schwader, Fred Phillips, Thomas Broadbent, Derrick Hussey, Charles Danny Lovecraft, Adam Bolivar
Moderator: Jason V. Brock

Sunday – 2:30-3:45pm
LOVECRAFT AS SCI-FI WRITER – Garden Room, Biltmore 2nd Floor
Often, Lovecraft is described as being the innovator of weird science fiction because of his use of science in his stories. How does Lovecraft compare to other science fiction writers? What impact, if any, has Lovecraft had on the science fiction genre?
Panelists: Jason V. Brock, Leslie Klinger, Robert M. Price, Ann K Schwader, William F. Nolan
Moderator: Brian Callahan

There’s still time to join the Providence Pilgrimage, too. I’m told that single-day tickets and general passes are still available, here.

August 2017

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