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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 (Full disclosure: I have three poems in this issue, all previously unpublished.)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)
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)
When it comes to reviews, glad tidings are always welcome!

Hippocampus Press publisher Derrick Hussey recently let me know about some very kind words re my 2015 fiction collection Dark Equinox & Other Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. In Wormwood #27, reviewer John Howard finds that

. . . Schwader unflinchingly shows the disintegration of the personal and the cosmic: and nothing is, or ever again can be, secure. (re 'When the Stars Run Away')

Intense and with a superb sense of place, each tale refers obliquely back to one or more stories or concepts from the Cthulhu Mythos, and runs with it in a refreshingly distinctive way. Lively and intriguing, they are utterly Lovecraftian in spirit. (re my five linked tales of Cassie Barrett)

Dark Equinox is available from the publisher, or from Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7)The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charles Stross just keeps ringing new changes on his popular Laundry Files. This time around, he's added urban fantasy. Or rather, the Secret History behind it. As newly minted Laundry employee -- and PHANG -- Dr. Alex Schwartz discovers, elves are not only quite real, but remarkably unpleasant. At least, most of them are . . .

The Laundry, Leeds, and possibly the planet are all under attack in this one, as CASE NIGHTMARE RED (alien invasion) picks an otherwise ordinary weekend to manifest. The result is a bizarre but satisfying blend of military thriller, occult adventure, & just a touch of very strange romance.

Regular readers of this series won't be disappointed, though some may find Stross's worldbuilding into the fey realm a bit of a stretch. (I did not.)

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Editor S/T. Joshi has announced the full TOC of the newly completed Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. As per his blog post of 10/4/16, here it is:

Pothunters -- Ann K. Schwader
The Girl in the Attic -- Darrell Schweitzer
The Once and Future Waite -- Jonathan Thomas
Oude Goden --Lynne Jamneck
Carnivorous -- William F. Nolan
On a Dreamland’s Moon --Ashley Dioses
Teshtigo Creek -- Aaron Bittner
Ex Libris -- Caitlín R. Kiernan
You Shadows That in Darkness Dwell -- Mark Howard Jones
Mask of the Imago -- John Salonia
The Ballad of Asenath Waite --  Adam Bolivar
The Visitor --Nancy Kilpatrick
The Gaunt -- Tom Lynch
Missing at the Morgue -- Donald Tyson
The Shard -- Don Webb
The Mystery of the Cursed Cottage -- David Hambling
To Court the Night -- K. A. Opperman
To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks -- W. H. Pugmire
Mister Ainsley -- Steve Rasnic Tem
Satiety -- Jason V Brock
Provenance Unknown -- Stephen Woodworth
The Well -- D. L. Myers

I'm happy to report that there are no fewer than four poems in this anthology, though none of them are mine. Ashley Dioses, Adam Bolivar, K.A. Opperman, & D.L. Myers are the contributors.

"Pothunters" is a new (sixth!) installment in the continuing adventures of Cassie Barrett, my Wyoming-based Mythos investigator.

A firm publication date has not been announced by PS Publishing, but Black Wings VI is likely to fly some time late next year.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
I don't make a habit of posting about -- or participating in -- crowdfunding projects.

However, the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council in Providence, RI is trying to get that city a statue of its literary native son -- using no public funds whatsoever. Only a page on Generosity by Indiegogo, which opened for donations about two months ago.

No, there is no statue of H.P. Lovecraft in Providence.


But there will be, if enough advocates of the weird want there to be. It's a well-planned endeavor, featuring the work of a local artist who will be paid fairly. For more info about the Lovecraft Providence Statue Project (and a spooky video!), check here. Or here. And if you can, please consider helping. I have.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)

It’s World Fantasy Award season again, and I’m thrilled to note that three anthologies I’m in have been nominated. (One of them was nominated for two WFAs!)

Cassilda’s Song (Chaosium) , edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., has been nominated for Anthology and -- thanks to Selena Chambers’ The Neurastheniac”-- Short Fiction.

Black Wings IV (PS Publishing), edited by S.T. Joshi, has been nominated for Anthology.

She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press), edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles, has been nominated for Anthology.

For the full list of finalists, check here.

Best of luck to everyone in October!
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
OK, it’s actually spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. So what? I’m still delighted to announce that the long-awaited Autumn Cthulhu anthology (edited by Mike Davis) is available now from Lovecraft eZine Press!

This one has a killer TOC, with 18 stories and one poem celebrating the darkest and most Lovecraftian aspects of the season. It’s available in both paperback & Kindle formats. And, yes, I do have an item in it. Where did you think that poem came from?

For more information, & to order, check here.
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)
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)
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.

ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
I am really, really happy to report that my new dark fiction collection, Dark Equinox & Other Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, is now available from Hippocampus Press. The web site’s still listing it as being released for NecronomiCon 2015 -- but I checked with the publisher, & it’s already in stock.

This nicely produced trade paperback offers sixteen tales (four previously unpublished, others emerging from many years in the dark) of the cosmic &/or supernatural. Available here for the first time is the entire run of my Cassie Barrett tales, which take place in rural Wyoming & the Southwest. The Southwestern cover art & very spooky frontispiece are by Lyndsay Harper. Find all the details -- & ordering information -- here.

And if you’re planning to attend NecronomiCon Providence yourself, I’ll be delighted to sign your copy there!
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Emperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird PoetryEmperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird Poetry by S.T. Joshi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I have a small mention in this book. I won’t be discussing it in this review.]

This slim collection of essays on six major weird poets – George Sterling, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Loveman, Donald Wandrei, & Frank Belknap Long – reprints five of those essays from previous collections edited by Joshi. In addition, there is a very useful introduction (a brief summary of weird poetry & poets leading up to the modern era), and a final chapter entitled “Some Contemporaries.” Since the book itself came out in 2008, this chapter is slightly dated, though notable for including mention of both American & Australian poets. Special mention is also given to Californian weird poets past & present.

The essays themselves vary widely in scope, although Joshi’s personal approach to literary criticism prevails throughout. Generous samples of each subject’s work are provided, along with endnotes. Those seeking an accessible yet scholarly overview of these six poets won’t be disappointed, though the book may be somewhat difficult to find.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Whom the Gods Would DestroyWhom the Gods Would Destroy by Brian Hodge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This well-crafted bit of cosmic horror is a fine example of why the novella is an ideal length for the dark stuff. There’s no flab here to get in the way of Brian Hodge’s storytelling, though there is – and needs to be – a considerable amount of scientific information and theoretical speculation. (Have you ever heard of a von Neumann probe? I hadn’t, either.)

Although I wouldn’t call this story strictly Lovecraftian (it names no Names, & certainly doesn’t commit pastiche), I caught echoes of several of HPL’s more famous tales. An unwanted, uncanny heritage? Check. A creepy mother in league with something Not of This World? Check. Hypotheses that would make Fox Mulder roll his eyes turning out to be hideously true? Check . . .

All the same, there’s nothing warmed-over about the plot here. It’s an investigative thriller, a decent piece of SF, & an increasingly chilling horror tale all in one, with an ending I honestly don’t think I’ve seen before. Lovecraftians might enjoy this a little more than other horror readers, but it’s a solid two hours of entertainment either way – and the prose, though not flashy, never detracts. Recommended.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The OutsidersThe Outsiders by Joe Mynhardt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This modern British Lovecraftian thriller is composed of five linked stories set in & around a gated religious community . . . with a difference. If the fact that this community is called Priory -- & that the town nearest is Exham -- gives you a sense of dark amusement, you’re probably going to appreciate that difference a whole lot more.

Discussing Priory’s devotional practices would be a major spoiler, but suffice it to say that it’s easer to join the congregation than to leave it – ever. No matter how safe, secure, and financially comfortable life is inside, every benefit is being paid for in ways none of Priory’s residents care to think about. There’s more than a little social commentary here, though it never gets in the way of the good creepy fun.

I wound up enjoying this book quite a bit more than I was expecting to early on. The stories do interlink and progress, rather than simply offering five views of a static situation. At least a few of the characters are sympathetic, there’s a little tasty science, and the plot pacing is relentless. I was up too late with this one more than once, though I don’t recommend it for bedtime relaxation. As a Lovecraftian beach read, however, it’s probably just the thing.

View all my reviews

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