Monthly Archives: March 2013

Writing: Chi Reading Series Vancouver

fantasy, SF, horror, speculative fiction, Vancouver readings

The Chiaroscuro Reading Series Vancouver launches April 10

Beginning April 10th we will launch the inaugural Vancouver Chiaroscuro Reading Series. The ChiSeries began in Toronto with Sandra Kasturi of Chizine Publications organizing the monthly event. Now we’re launching in Vancouver, Ottawa and Winnipeg, with Edmonton and Halifax later on. Vancouver’s launch will be quarterly to begin with. We feature published authors of speculative fiction. If you’re near or around Vancouver come by to this free event and participate in the no-cost raffle.

Here’s a little bit more on our first three authors.

fantasy, speculative fiction, Malazan, Book of the Fallen

Steven Erikson

Archaeologist and anthropologist STEVEN ERIKSON‘s debut fantasy novel, Gardens of the Moon, was short-listed for the World Fantasy Award and introduced fantasy readers to his epic ten-volume Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence, which has been hailed “a masterwork of the imagination.”  His latest novel, Forge of Darkness begins a new trilogy.  A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his novels and novellas are published in many languages, and his works have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Find out more at:   www.malazanempire.com and www.stevenerikson.com

Lost Myths, Objects of Worship, fantasy, horror, speculative ficton, editor

Claude Lalumière

CLAUDE LALUMIÈRE (lostmyths.net/claude) is the author of two books from CZP, the collection  Objects of Worship (2009) and the mosaic novella The Door to Lost Pages (2011). He has edited or co-edited twelve anthologies, including three being released in 2013: Bibliotheca Fantastica (co-edited with Don Pizarro, from Dagan Books), Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (co-edited with Camille Alexa, from Tyche Books), and Super Stories of Heroes & Villains (Tachyon Publications). With Rupert Bottenberg, Claude is the co-creator of the multimedia cryptomythology project Lost Myths (lostmyths.net). Originally from Montreal, Claude now spends most of his time on the West Coast.

fantasy, horror, SF, speculative writers,

Camille Alexa

CAMILLE ALEXA is a Canadian and US author currently splitting her time between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, BC, whose lyrical language and thoughtful prose soften the edges of strange fiction and sharpen the corners of the mundane. She co-edited the anthology MASKED MOSAIC: CANADIAN SUPER STORIES, and her own collection of short works, PUSH OF THE SKY, earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly, was nominated for the Endeavour Award, and was as an official reading selection of the Powell’s Books Portland SF Book Club. More at camillealexa.com.

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Writing Update

writing, colleen anderson,books, publishing, horror, dark fantasy

Creative Commons: Drew Coffman, Flickr.

Why haven’t I been posting much this last month or two (with the exception of the Women in Horror interviews)? It’s because I’m consuming poetry and fiction, constantly. As Steve Vernon and I came down to the deadline of fiction stories, the submissions went up with over 100 coming in the last two days of the deadline. This if for Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast coming from Edge Publishing. The final product will be a collection of stories and poetry by Canadians, expat Canadians and those now living in Canada. We will have horror, fantasy, SF, and many subgenres. Some of these might include such stories as those about zombies, fairies, vampires, ghosts, other or secret worlds, mythical beasts, mundane SF, space travel, invasion, possession, transformation, etc.

The deadline has now come and gone and we received over 450 submissions. When all is said and done I’ll do a demographic breakdown but I can say right now that we had at least one submission from every territory and province except Nunavut. And that is important because we are supposed to, if we can, have authors from every area. Now if someone was the only person submitting from their province it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically get in but if we feel the piece has a good kernel of a story we’ll be working with the author to bring it up to par.

Steve Vernon, Tesseracts 17, Canadian fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, SF

Nova Scotian Steve Vernon is co-editor of Tesseract 17, a collection of Canadian speculative fiction.

The problem is that we’re on a tight schedule. We’ve sent out 300 rejections. That leaves 150 pieces to pare down to 25 because that’s about what will fit in the anthology. Where we have both said no to a piece made it easy for us to reject. But there were those where one of us liked the piece and the other didn’t. As Steve and I found in the past when we were co-judging the Rannu poetry competition, you might initially dislike a piece but after considering it in more detail and listening to the other person’s arguments you might change your mind.

Deep Cuts, horror, editing, dark fantasy

Deep Cuts is published by Evil Jester Press

Now the other tough part is that we have to get our final selection, send out the emails and ask for any rewrites, get those back, sort and edit the anthology into the order we want and then submit it to the publisher. We’re supposed to present the manuscript at the end of April. And taxes are due. And I was going to have a rough draft of my novel done by then. And… Well, the only thing I’ve been doing almost every night is reading reading reading. And rereading of course.

One good thing is that the Deep Cuts anthology came out with my story “Red is the Color of My True Love’s Blood” and it’s now available. Other pieces will be coming out but I’ve been too busy to note when though I think many are soon.

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Women in Horror: Sandy Hunter

I’m still featuring Canadian women as they pop up. Today I have Sandy Hunter.

women writer, horror, dark fantasy, magic realism

Sandy Hunter

In common with many, I’ve always written…however, I’m a late-bloomer as far as submitting for publication goes. I’ve had a short story published in On Spec and various poetry in Gaslight, Stygian Vortex, Women & Recovery and Lynx. My most definable as “horror” short story, “And the Coyotes Sang”, is in the Spinetinglers 2011 anthology currently available at Amazon.com/.uk. My first novel Elanraigh: The Vow, an epic fantasy, was released by Eternal Press in February, 2012. Currently, I’m working on a sequel to Elanraigh: The Vow and looking for a home for my latest short story “River Wraith,” a fantasy thriller with ecological overtones.

SANDY HUNTER

1.  Why do you write dark fiction/horror? Some people consider it only a sensationalistic tableau. Why this genre over others or do you span the literary landscape?

 Anything I write has a speculative element in it. Be it epic fantasy, magic realism or paranormal—I love to stretch boundaries that way—does that makes my darker pieces more “dark fantasy” than horror? That precise boundary is always blurred… My stories tend toward female protagonists struggling against the constraints or conditions around them, who become empowered by either the revelation of an alternate side of their psyche or an actual channeling of some potent force/ entity. The victims in these stories are usually characters that I, and I expect my readers also, will little mourn. There’s something cathartic about doing them in…who hasn’t imagined themselves strangling that obnoxious petty bureaucrat, or arrogant and insufferable boss?

2. What dark themes do you explore in your fiction?

I’ve toyed with the theme of possession more than once. The antagonist in my novel is a
mage who uses mind control for his own ends; my protagonist has some defenses against
this and is horrified that one would so abuse their power, their gift. She sees the evil that
can be done. The thought of being compelled/driven against one’s will (or possessed by
evil) horrifies me. There are types of imprisonment beyond physical confinement. Perhaps
that’s why I find circuses disturbing too…bears in tutus, etc.—the distortion of a creature’s
natural behavior.

3.  Do you feel horror/dark fiction is an important genre and why; what does it bring to the table or allow you to explore? Who inspired you?

fantasy, dark fantasy, women in horror, Canadian authors

Sandy’s first novel Elanraigh is now available.

 Stories that take us to scary places, be it physically or psychically, have been with us since the times of myths and legends. Through the ages it’s human nature to desire to shuffle forward and spit into the abyss, never knowing what we’ll arouse…all the better, though, if we can live the experience vicariously from our favorite reading chair.

In my early days I enjoyed Ray Bradbury (especially Something Wicked This Way Comes), Edgar Allan Poe, and Ann Rice’s lush prose, especially her novels The Vampire Lestat and The Mummy.

3.  Do you feel women are under-represented in any way in the speculative arena or do you think there is more focus on them than on men? 

 A lot of us may remember how sf/fantasy of the 50’S, 60’s and 70’s was predominately male-centered. Even as a kid watching those terrible 50’s nuclear-mutant monster movies on TV, I’d get so annoyed at the scientist’s female assistant who when they’re fleeing the monster, would always trip and fall screaming shrilly and helplessly while he’s trying to haul her out of danger’s path. Why don’t the girls’ ever know what to do? I’d wonder.  Of course today, we have a huge roster of established female writers of both sf and fantasy and we have kick-ass heroines like Ellen Ripley (Alien film series).

Spinetinglers anthology

Spinetinglers anthology

4.  Abuse against women is worldwide: the gang rape of the Indian woman, women assaulted in various terrorist attacks or protests against regimes (Egypt, Syria, etc. throughout time), domestic violence and murder at the hands of boyfriends, father, families and husbands, sexist representation, being treated as second class citizens or possessions and made to dress in a particular way, etc. With all that’s going on, what do you want to say about where women are or what we can do to stem the tide?

It’s a sad commentary on society today and throughout history that women are controlled and suppressed by male members of their family unit. In medieval times we had the witch trials and the Malleus Maleficarum (the Hammer of Witches) sanctioned by church authorities. As long as men fear female “power,” as they perceive it (and on some deep level many do still equate it with evil) women will continue to suffer violence. I’m no sociologist, and I don’t know the global cure—certainly equal education for men and women, and efforts by society to move beyond despotic regimes whether in the state or the household.

Thanks again, Colleen, for the opportunity to ponder out-loud your great questions. I enjoyed reading these blogs and spending time with “Canadian Women of Horror.”

 www.sandrahunter.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-A-Hunter/

http://www.amazon.com/Elanraigh-The-Vow-ebbook/dp/B0075XGQSU/

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Women in Horror: Sandra Wickham

Women in Horror Month is over but I’m still featuring Canadian writers. Today’s author is Sandra Wickham whose short stories have appeared in Evolve: Vampires of the New Undead, Evolve: Vampires of the Future Undead, Chronicles of the OrderCrossed Genres magazine and in the upcoming Urban Green Man anthology.  She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds and reads slush for Lightspeed Magazine. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training.

vampires, dark fiction, dark fantasy, horror, Canadian authors, female writers

Sandra Wickham likes her dark fiction with bite.

SANDRA WICKHAM

1.     Why do you write dark fiction/horror? Some people consider it only a sensationalistic tableau. Why this genre over others or do you span the literary landscape?

I didn’t set out to write horror but for some reason the best things I write come out as dark and often horrible. Even with all of our knowledge and technology there are still many things we fear, including the darkness that resides within all of us and I can’t help wanting to explore those shadowy places. I also write fantasy and often go to the other end of the spectrum with light, humourous stories.

2.     What dark themes do you explore?

Fear of the unknown, including things we can’t explain, as well as the loss of loved ones. I tend to write the underdog, perhaps stemming from being a petite woman in a world that still favors aggression and strength.

3.    Do you feel horror/dark fiction is an important genre and why; what does it bring to the table or allow you to explore? Who inspired you?

It is an important genre for us as writers and readers to deal with the things that frighten us. We know a lot about our world these days, but there are still things that are unknown or unexplainable that we are afraid of and they’re worth exploring. (not to mention loads of fun)

Early on I was heavily inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short stories and of course, Stephen King. More recently, I’m inspired by the darker urban fantasy writers who manage to combine frightening gore with humor. There’s nothing like being scared out of our wits while laughing hysterically.

4.  Do you feel women are under-represented in any way in the speculative arena or do you think there is more focus on them than on men? (or examples of how there is a balance)human rights, womens rights, writing, horror,

Women are underrepresented across the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror. The old school boys club still rules the roost.  I have to believe that with so many talented female writers currently producing amazing work, this will begin to shift.

5.     Abuse against women is worldwide: the gang rape of the Indian woman, women assaulted in various terrorist attacks or protests against regimes (Egypt, Syria, etc. throughout time), domestic violence and murder at the hands of boyfriends, fathers, families and husbands, sexist representation, being treated as second class citizens or possessions and made to dress in a particular way, etc. With all that’s going on, what do you want to say about where women are or what we can do to stem the tide?

rape, womens rights, abuse, sexual abuse, horrorI think the internet has been a useful tool in bringing these issues to light, in bringing awareness to the plight of women all over the world. We’re no longer in an era of hiding these awful things in the dark or turning a blind eye to it. It’s going to take more women and men standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves to make a significant change.

6.     Lastly, this is your space to add anything else you would want to say.

Thank you for highlighting Women in Horror and giving us a chance to spread the fear, I mean, love.  🙂

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