Tag Archives: Evolve

Writing: Horror Library

Today, another wee chat about writing and reviews. Horror Library Vol. IV has had fewer reviews (and maybe I’ve post this already) than Evolve but there are still many who could review or post yet. Since both of these anthologies are on the long list for a Stoker award I figured I’d post some of the reviews here. My story has not been mentioned very much in the Horror Library volume either. Wah! So it goes for the little monkey.

http://www.paperbackhorror.com/2010/12/horror-library-volume-4-ed-by-rj.html

http://hellnotes.com/horror-library-volume-4-book-review did say:


Horror Library Vol. IV

Mental metamorphosis and mutation of the mundane are themes in “I Am Vision, I Am Death” by Erik Williams, and Colleen Anderson’s “Exegesis of The Insecta Apocrypha.” In the Williams story, dreams/visions blur with the seemingly substantive. Perception of identity is fragile and dicey. Persona pales when a mysterious hitchhiker catapults the central character into a twilight zone of recognition and acceptance. The final tale in the book belongs to Anderson: It is a doozy. Insects rule in this yarn. They are the protagonist’s objects of focus and desire. Obsession is taken to horrific heights, as the author weaves and

buzzes; bites and burrows; getting firmly under the skin.

http://www.zone-sf.com/wordworks/horlibv4.html

http://shroudmagazinebookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/horror-library-vol-4.html

For Evolve there are so many reviews that the central site to find most of them is here: http://www.vampires-evolve.com/NEWS_Page.html There are also many interviews with Nancy Kilpatrick on the same site. It may not list every review but has a goodly number and a few I hadn’t see before.Black Static’s magazine says:

Evolve

This is a book however in which the good outnumber the indifferent by a considerable margin, with a satisfying amount of stories that put moral dilemmas at their centre. ‘An Ember Amongst the Fallen’ by Colleen Anderson is one of the highlights of the collection. The story is set in a world of vampires, where humans are cattle and their masters discuss if they are capable of intelligent thought and feeling, and the worst crime is for a vampire to have sex with one of the beasts. It’s a clever reversal of traditional stereotypes, reminiscent in a way of Planet of the Apes, with a subtext about racism and the story brutal enough in places to horrify, both on the visceral level and intellectually.

Montreals Rover Arts http://roverarts.com/2010/05/stretching-the-vampiric-envelope/said:

In “An Ember Amongst The Fallen,” Colleen Anderson gives the reader an all-too-visual/tactile glimpse at a world where humans are used as cattle for food and blood – and the results when the metaphoric apartheid barriers are crossed.

And one more sample from A Novel Approach where he said:

An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson was another troubling, yet clever story. In this version of reality, humans are relegated to the status of cattle and are harvested as such. It is ever so slightly reminiscent of Planet of the Apes in the role reversal it applies to humans as animals. If you are squeamish, you will find this story very disturbing. It was sometimes difficult to read but played interestingly to how we view our food.

So if you want to vote for Evolve or Horror Library IV or even me in the case of the Auroras http://www.prix-aurora-awards.ca/wordpress/, then I suggest reading these very good volumes (and not just because I’m in them. Writers and other artists do want to be known for their art. We monkeys of all sizes do have some vanity. All humans do.

And if you want to give input on the new cover of Evolve II then you can go to this site and vote. http://vampchix.blogspot.com/2011/02/which-appeals-more.html The two covers are called Banshee for the more blue colored one and Embrace for the darker cover. I’m not in the second volume because I didn’t submit anything. Just ran out of time with other projects.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, people, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing: And the Little Monkey

Creative Commons

News has just come out about the winners of Dark Scribe Magazine’s Black Quill award. Horror Library Vol. IV, which features my story “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” received the Reader’s Choice award for anthology. ChiZine Publications scored, with author Gemma Files getting the Reader’s and Editor’s choice awards for her A Book of Tongues in the best small press chills. http://www.darkscribemagazine.com/winners-of-the-4th-annual-blac/

As well the long list for the Stoker Awards, the internationally recognized award for dark fiction, has also just come out. ChiZine Publications showed up through nominees in two areas: Gemma Files again for First Novel, Nicholas Kaufman for “Chasing the Dragon” in long fiction. Congratulations to both of them. That’s not bad for a press that’s only been bopping two years. The dark fiction anthologies I was in last year, Evolve and Horror Library Vol. IV, have made the long list. My stories  have made no such lists but then I’m still a little monkey. What this means is that in the club of dark fiction I’m not that well known. One can say, well come on, it’s the merit of the work but that’s not completely the truth. Evolve is Canadian and though it got some distribution to the US that was new. Though I’ve been in other dark fiction mags before like Shroud I’m not prolifically published. This is evidenced by the fact that I was invited by the Horror Writer’s Association (HWA) to be an affiliate member (not full fledged by pay rates) because of the Horror Library though in fact Evolve was out earlier and that story received many many reviews in comparison.

I’ve never paid much attention overall to the awards but I was told by one HWA member that other members who can nominate for a Stoker will make deals: you vote for mine and I’ll vote for yours. So it’s a surprise that I even got any nominations (which I was told I had) but not enough for the long list. Little monkeys must peel enough bananas and swing through the right number of trees before they’re noticed in the jungle.

I’ve been writing for years. I’m not unknown but I’m still just one monkey in a very big jungle. Chizine is a monkey that’s grown bigger with enough clout to be noticed, and head editors Brett and Sandra will be editor guests of honor at this year’s World Horror Convention. Some day I might be that monkey and it’s enough that I was thrown a few bananas with the reviews I received last year. They’re almost better than receiving an award. Here’s to all those monkeys who made it to the list. Good luck to them.

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
VIPERS by Lawrence C. Connolly (Fantasist Enterprises)
SIREN by John Everson (Leisure)
HORNS by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
IT CAME FROM DEL RIO by Stephen Graham Jones (Trapdoor Books)
SPARROW ROCK by Nate Kenyon (Leisure Books)
DESPERATE SOULS by Gregory Lamberson (Medallion Press)
THE FRENZY WAY by Gregory Lamberson (Medallion Press)
ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle)
EMPIRE OF SALT by Weston Ochse (Abaddon)
DWELLER by Jeff Strand (Leisure/Dark Regions Press)
A DARK MATTER by Peter Straub (DoubleDay)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL
MR. SHIVERS by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)
FREEK CAMP by Steve Burt (Steve Burt Creations)
THE MAN OF MYSTERY HILL by Tracy L. Carbone (Echelon Quake)
BLACK AND ORANGE by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Bad Moon Books)
CARNIVAL OF FEAR by J.G. Faherty (Graveside Tales)
A BOOK OF TONGUES by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
AT THE END OF CHURCH STREET by Gregory Hall (Belfire Press)
MADIGAN MINE by Kirstyn McDermott (Picador Australia)
CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES by Lisa Morton (Gray Friar Press)
SPELLBENT by Lucy Snyder (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION
THE DOCTOR, THE KID, AND THE GHOSTS IN THE LAKE by Mort Castle (F Magazine)
REQUIEM FOR THE BURNING GOD by Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Cthulhu’s Dark Cults)
THE PAINTED DARKNESS by Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance)
CHASING THE DRAGON by Nicholas Kaufmann (Chizine)
DREAMS IN BLACK AND WHITE by John R. Little (Morning Star)
DISSOLUTION by Lisa Mannetti (Deathwatch)
BLEMISH by Joe McKinney (Dark Recesses #1)
THE SAMHANACH by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
JADE by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)
INVISIBLE FENCES by Norman Prentiss (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION
THE BEHELD by Paul Bens (Dark Discoveries #160)
RETURN TO MARIABRONN by Gary Braunbeck (Haunted Legends)
SURPRISE! by G.O. Clark (Dark Valentine 2)
SEMINAR Z by J. Comeau (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS by Brock Cooper (The New Bedlam Project)
THE FOLDING MAN by Joe R. Lansdale (Haunted Legends)
1925: A FALL RIVER HALLOWEEN by Lisa Mannetti (Shroud Magazine #10)
SURVIVORS by Joe McKinney (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN by Weston Ochse (Dark Discoveries #16)
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE by David Sakmyster (Horror World)
TROOT by Margaret B. Simon (Null Immortalis)
THE DAYS OF FLAMING MOTORCYCLES by Catherynne Valente (Dark Faith)
FINAL DRAFT by Mark W. Worthen (Horror Library IV)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY
DARK FAITH edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications)
HORROR LIBRARY IV edited by R.J. Cavender and, Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press)
CTHULHU’S DARK CULTS edited by David Conyers (Chaosium)
HAUNTED LEGENDS edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
THE NEW DEAD edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Griffin)
BLACK WINGS edited S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
EVOLVE: VAMPIRE STORIES OF THE NEW UNDEAD edited by Nancy Kilpatrick (Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing)
NULL IMMORTALIS edited by D.F. Lewis (Megazanthus Press)
DEAD SET: A ZOMBIE ANTHOLOGY edited by Michelle McCrary and Joe McKinney (23 House Publishing)
SCENES FROM THE SECOND STOREY by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books)

Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION
OCCULTATION by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
BLOOD AND GRISTLE by Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon Books)
THIS WAY TO EGRESS by Lawrence C. Connolly (Ash-Tree Press)
WHAT WILL COME AFTER by Scott Edelman (PS Publishing)
FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King (Simon and Schuster)
LITTLE THINGS by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
A HELL OF A JOB by Michael McCarty (Damnation Books)
A HOST OF SHADOWS by Harry Shannon (Dark Regions Press)
FUNGUS OF THE HEART by Jeremy Shipp (Raw Dog (Screaming Press)
HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION by Connie Corcoran Wilson (Sam’s Dot)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION
WEIRD ENCOUNTERS by Joanne M. Austin (Sterling Publishing)
TO EACH THEIR DARKNESS by Gary A. Braunbeck (Apex Publications)
SHADOWS OVER FLORIDA by David Goudsward and Scott T. Goudsward (Bear Manor Media)
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE by Thomas Ligotti (Hippocampus Press)
WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman (Citadel)
MASTERS OF IMAGINATION by Michael McCarty (Bear Manor Media)
LISTEN TO THE ECHOES: THE RAY BRADBURY INTERVIEWS by Sam Weller (Melville House Publications)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY Collection
DARK MATTERS by Bruce Boston (Bad Moon Books)
LOVE CRAFT by Bryan Dietrich (Finishing Line Press)
CHEMICKAL REACTIONS by Karen L. Newman (Naked Snake Press)
WOOD LIFE by Rich Ristow (Snuff Books)
WILD HUNT OF THE STARS by Ann K. Schwader (Sam’s Dot)
DIARY OF A GENTLEMAN DIABOLIST by Robin Spriggs (Anomalous Books)
SAVAGE MENACE AND OTHER POEMS OF HORROR by Richard L. Tierney (P’rea Press)
VICIOUS ROMANTIC by Wrath James White (Bandersnatch Books)

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fairy tales, fantasy, horror, news, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing: The Process

I’m sure I’ve written about this before but right now I’m in the middle of the full-fledged process. I’m trying to get a story done for the World Horror Convention writing contest, as well as doing and online interview with the other Evolve authors on Bitten By Books. Go over there now if you have questions to ask or want to see a bit of how different authors view the process of writing or writing specifically about vampires: www.bittenbybooks.com I’ll also be at Orycon from Nov. 12-14 in Portland to talk about writing and to do a reading, maybe two. Right now I think I might read this virginal story I’m working on.

Indirectly, perhaps, it involves the picture to the left. Those are barrow mounds in Ireland, at Knowth. However, to back up to the beginning of this process is the kernel of an idea I had. Perhaps it started with Nancy Kilpatrick saying she was doing a second anthology of vampire fiction. I wrote one page and couldn’t think of a plot. I had atmosphere, a character and…that was it. Well, sure there was a thin plot showing itself but it was a cliché vampire tale and I didn’t want to write that, nor would anyone want to buy it.  So I put it aside and pondered. And pondered.

And came up with nothing. Thinking this one page still had something I finally emailed a bunch of people and said, “Is anyone willing to read one page of fiction and tell me what you think the story should be.” About five people responded. One went for humor, which this story was not, two gave suggestions not really suitable even to the first page, and two others gave me enough suggestions that I could kickstart the thinking process again. Sometime we need a mental smack upside the head to knock us out of those cliché grooves.

Often my next step in the writing process is this: ruminate. Turn the ideas over, think about this or that factor, literally sleep on it and work out a whole bunch logistics in my head before even hitting the paper. Then I start to make points, bits of conflict, images that come together. I went to Ireland a few years back and I’ve never used anything Irish as a setting for a story. Once I started thinking that my story started to come together better and the characters inhabiting it made more sense. Then those thoughts lead to the ability of my character to change or not and the depth of the conflict.

Next, I start writing. And stopping. And writing. And going to clean. And writing. And napping. Sometimes the story pours out and sometimes it creeps shyly. I wrote six pages last night after taking a day to write one page. And now I’m stopped (procrastinating writing this) as I try to work out the next stage. My character has overcome one conflict, but is that it? No. A good story usually has internal and external conflict so I need to bring up her internal conflict and whether she succumbs, fights or changes will remain to be seen but I have to make sure there are enough stakes in the game for my character (whose name is changing as I write this) to either emerge triumphant or changed by her travails.

Some stories have taken me years to finish because I can never satisfactorily work out the plot and conflict to my satisfaction. Some stories leap fully grown from my head like Athena from Zeus’s brow. And some are a bit of both worlds; parts flowing out while others turn to concrete in my head.

And now that I’ve defined my problem, the internal conflict, I guess I need to decide if in fact the theme that I often write about in my stories will be the same here. Morality. “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” was a morality tale. “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” is maybe an immorality tale and this one, well, yeah her morals are question. I’ll see what the character decides.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, internet, people, Publishing, relationships, science fiction, Writing

Writing & Life

Last night I did, not my first reading, but my first reading at the Vancouver Public Library. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a reading and the last was at Orycon, Portland’s science fiction convention, last November. Strangely, I was nervous all over again but since I’ve done enough acting and readings in front of people I reminded myself to take breaths and not rush. My most common nervous issue in reading is to start talking too fast. It must have worked because my friends didn’t notice I was nervous.

I read part of “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” from the Evolve anthology to a moderate sized audience. Rhea Rose, Mary Choo and Sandra Wickham also read from their works. Since we had a time limit, I chose the beginning of the dinner scene and the mounting conflict between some of the guests and my main character Buer, who wants to rekindle a relationship with his old flame.

If anyone ever asks, the names are significant in the story. Beside Buer, there is Camiel, Sammael, Ronobe, Arkon and Jeanine. Except for the very human name of Jeanine (the person who is bucking trends and the equivalent of a vegetarian in a vampire world), the rest are names of angels or archangels, or fallen angels. And yes, this does refer to the title of the Fallen, for in this world the vampirii call themselves the Fallen and their religious system is rooted in this belief and that God is the Great Deceiver. Some of the names have specific meanings, while others don’t in reference to my story. I will often use some subtle symbolism of names in my stories, if I think it’s important, though the reader may never know.

The Barnes and Noble reviewer thought I should be writing novels on vampires but I’m not sure I could do one in this world. Perhaps I could but I would have to tread carefully, not because of religious leanings of the vampirii, but to make sure this does not replicate the Planet of the Apes scenario. That’s been done and I’m aware of the similarities of that world and mine. However, whereas Planet of the Apes was a social comment on racism and black suppression (just as District 9 was), my story is different with humans as food. But both have a hominid as a lesser being.

“Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha,” which went to press yesterday and should be out in Horror Library Vol. 4 in the next month, is quite a different story. If “Ember” is a morality tale, then “Exegesis” is an amorality tale. It is a story of otherness and the alien. Not aliens but alien. I’ll be interested to see what people think of this one.

In the meantime, VCon is this coming weekend, Oct. 1-3. It’s Vancouver’s SF convention (gaming, media, costuming, writing) and unfortunately it’s often plagued by disorganization and a lack of communication with the local writers. Despite that, some people have managed to get us down for a reading on Sunday (somewhere around 2 or 3). And considering I wasn’t invited to attend and they never answered my emails, I’ll be at the book launch on Friday at 7 pm. More info can be found here: http://www.vcon.ca/

And I will most likely be at Orycon in Portland on Nov. 12-14. “Exegesis” will be out by then so perhaps I’ll read from that. And in the meantime, I am determined to finish off this Mary Magdalene story, so I can start on another, darker story that might be vampire and might be something else entirely. I’m working that out, and I think it’s time to visit Ireland in a story since I’ve been there and the setting is needed.

4 Comments

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, news, people, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing News For August

In the last two months several of my pieces have finally been published. In a way, this is delayed reaction because the pieces were “bought” a long time before this. However, sometimes publishers have a long lead time to publication and other times as in the case of both poems published there are other issues, such as computer meltdowns.

In March, my story “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” came out in Evolve, an anthology published by Edge publishing. Any review is better than none, as far as I’m concerned and the comments on my story have been good overall. A reading is scheduled for Sept. 27th at the Vancouver public library and there will be more details as soon as I learn them. http://www.edgewebsite.com/

Country Connection, published by Pinecone carried my poem “Bones of the Earth” in issue #60. http://www.pinecone.on.ca/MAGAZINE/current.html It came out in July. My poem, “Of the Corn: Kore’s Innocence” just came out in Witches & Pagans #21, by BBI Media. The magazine deals with neopaganism and this particular issue deals with gardening. The poem itself is one of my Greek revisioning poems. http://www.witchesandpagans.com/ There are many different poetry markets and I’ll send  my poetry or fiction to any market that will pay me.

Also, “A Taste for Treasure” came out last month in Alison’s Wonderland, an erotic fairy tale anthology through Harlequin Spice. eHarlequin.com This tale is based on one of the more obscure Grimm’s tales of which there are many. So overall, it’s been a pretty good summer for me. White Dwarf, our local speculative bookstore (and the only surviving one) reports that the book is selling quite well and even men are buying it because the cover is not too gooey romantic. That’s good news.

I still have “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” to come from Cutting Block Press, and I’ve just resold my story “Lover’s Triangle” to New Vampire Tales, which will be published by Books of the Dead Press. It’s a reprint anthology and this story, my second ever sold, will be seeing its third reprint. Not bad for one story.

In the meantime, I’ve finished my draft of my Mary Magdalene story which is going through a title change. I now have the second draft to do after getting comments from a couple or readers. It shouldn’t take a lot to make the changes, polish it up a bit and then send it out on the submission wheel. I have big hopes for the story but sometimes the stories I love the best are the ones I never seem to be able to sell.

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, entertainment, erotica, fairy tales, fantasy, horror, myth, news, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing: News & The Rannu Competition

I’ve finally received my issue of Evolve and the reviews continue to roll in. It’s interesting how reviewers pick different favorites. I’m not mentioned in one but I am in the other and my story continues to intrigue and disturb, as I intended. Overall, it’s getting good reviews. Following are two more reviews.

http://roverarts.com/2010/05/stretching-the-vampiric-envelope/

However, there are also some stories that will stand out and sparkle, that come across as an exceptionally new take on what some think is rapidly becoming an over-plowed field.

Among these is Claude Lalumière’s “All You Can Eat, All The Time,” his female-narrated first-person take on vampirism as an extension of the hyperactive, quick-to-burn, fear-of-growing-old generation being spawned at this very moment. In “An Ember Amongst The Fallen,” Colleen Anderson gives the reader an all-too-visual/tactile glimpse at a world where humans are used as cattle for food and blood – and the results when the metaphoric apartheid barriers are crossed.

http://www.sfsite.com/05b/ev320.htm

As well, my poem “Of the Corn” is about to come out in Witches & Pagans. The poem was lost for about two years due to computer crashes and restructuring of the magazine. I have “Secrets of Trees” about to come out in Pinecone. It likewise was stuck in a two-year limbo.

Once again I entered the Rannu competition, in fiction and poetry. Last year one of my stories made it onto one of the judges’ shortlists. Again, this year, my story (unpublished at this point) “Freedom’s Just Another Word” made it again onto at least one judge’s shortlist. I didn’t win but that’s still not bad. And one of my poems, “A Good Catch,” bout a modern-day mermaid, did get an honorable mention. This comes with a small cash prize and I’m quite pleased by that.

Competitions are even harder than magazines to get into. Whereas you may be competing for several spots in a magazine, this repeats monthly or quarterly. A competition has only one spot (and up to three often) and everyone is competing for that one spot. Like the Olympics and getting Silver or Bronze, I’m happy with the honorable mention.

I know the winners of the fiction and poetry prize and they are both excellent writers.  I recommend finding their work. I believe the winning entries may be printed in the future on the CZP site but I’m not quite sure.

Fiction Winner:
“Foretold” by Barbara Gordon

Fiction Honourable Mentions:
“Little Escher” by Robert Borski
“A Swarm of Shadows” by Francine Lewis

Fiction Judges: Don Bassingthwaite, Nick Stokes, Sandra Kasturi

Poetry Winner:
“Barren – A Chronicle in Futility” by Steve Vernon

Poetry Honourable Mentions:
“A Good Catch” by Colleen Anderson
“Manifesting Universes” by Francine Lewis

Poetry Judges: Gemma Files, Helen Marshall, Sandra Kasturi

We would also like to note the entries that made it onto one or more judges’ shortlists:

Fiction:

“Freedom’s Just Another Word” by Colleen Anderson
“Water of Life” by F.J. Bergmann
“Bat Story” by Michael Colangelo
“Book of Kishon” by Ivan Faute
“Gentle Awakening” by Maybelle Leung
“The Official” by Eric Sandler
“Simulove Industries, Model #69” by Myna Wallin

Poetry:
“Nephology” by F.J. Bergmann
“Overtures” by F.J. Bergmann
“Polterguest” by Robert Borski
“Yeti-Nessie: A Cryptid Love Story” by Robert Borski
“Persephone Depressed” by Adrienne J. Odasso
“For the Reverend Adelir Anton de Carli” by Matt Schumacher
“From a Little-Known Collection Entitled ‘Legends of Spiders & Water'” by Matt Schumacher

1 Comment

Filed under art, Culture, fantasy, news, people, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing Update: March/April

I’ve been busy working on a couple of stories…still…always. Rewriting a couple after some constructive rejections. And still researching my biblical Mary Magdalene story. I’m writing as I research but I have about seven books by my bed on the Dead Sea scrolls, Christ and Caeser, the Gnostic Gospels, the Gospel of Mary, etc. You’d think I was entering the church. I find it very fascinating stuff, the history of the Christian church and the bizarre and sometimes malicious and frequently controlling twists it took to control wealth and people. Amazing. Some day I might research and do a story and have to research Buddhism or read the Qur’an or stock up on Hindu gods. It’s all truly fascinating, and should the Mary story work, I have other ideas there.

I also managed to take the long weekend in Easter and progress on my novel. Not a lot but I was getting to a worldbuilding stage where I needed to figure out the size of the continents as well as how long it would take them to travel by horse and foot. I think I will still have to adjust those numbers downward. You can read the reviews by following the links.

Scarabae

In the meantime, the Evolve anthology is getting some very good reviews. Vampchix says, “Colleen Anderson’s AN EMBER AMONGST THE FALLEN is strong and disturbing, but an interesting take on the new vampire.” You can read the reviews by following the links.

http://vampchix.blogspot.com/2010/04/review-evolve-vampire-stories-of-new.html

http://www.parajunkee.com/2010/03/evolve-vampire-stories-of-new-undead.html

http://anovelapproachto.me/book-reviews-2/

http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/?p=5607

http://whatbookisthat.blogspot.com/2010/03/bwb-review-evolve.html

And last but by no way least, I have sold a story to Harlequin’s erotic wedding anthology. I don’t know the title of the book yet and it will probably be another year till it comes out but the story is titled “Better Wed Than Dead.”

And Cutting Block Press’s Horror Library Vol. 4 has accepted my story “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha.” They loved the story so much (and I love that they loved it) that at first I thought it was a rejection but they said, “It simply…defies definition and certainly skips genres. There was a good deal of debate, not as to if we should take it or not. But, more so, at to what our own personal definition of ‘horror’ is here at +The Horror Library+ and how that definition is totally challenged when facing an incredible story like yours.

Needless to say, we’d like to ACCEPT this story. It’s just…amazing and thought-provoking and quite sinisterly clever. It’s an absolute one-of-a-kind, and we’d love to include it in this year’s collection.”

It should be out sometime this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing who the other 26 authors are. More as I find out.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, erotica, fantasy, horror, myth, Publishing, religion, science fiction, sex, Writing

Writing: Evolve Book Review

Evolve is being launched at World Horror Convention at the end of this month in Brighton. I’ve already written about this collection of modern vampire stories by Canadians, in which I have the story “An Ember Amongst the Fallen.”  Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and published by Edge publications, it is already available.

The first review has been posted at SciFiGuy Evolve Review and is quite favorable. I’m happy to have a review as my story “The Fathomless World” which was in Cone Zero did not catch reviewers’ eyes favorably or unfavorably.

It seems that the early moniker I was given at Clarion of “SplatterQueen” might live on, but hopefully there is more merit than gore because I try for more depth than that in my stories. The story in Evolve was a long backburnered idea I had, which I was not even sure I could write. It deals with the morals and immorality of vampires in a world where they are the dominant lifeform. No society exists long without rules, without losing its structure. Even in the anarchistic mad Max world, there are rules and a form of honor among brigands and thieves. Those who are complete sociopaths or decide no rules apply to them are soon taken down by society in one form or another.

Although I do not go into that particular story of society I do look at the lives of a vampiristic world and the rules, whether understood or not, that apply and control the vampires with checks and balances. This is, at essence, a morality tale. And here is the review of “An Ember Amongst the Fallen.” It perhaps gives away too much of the plot, so if you wish to read the story without knowing how it turns out, stop now. The review has one thing wrong though; it is the vampires who are the Fallen, not the humans.

An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson

This is the most horrific of the stories in a very matter of fact way. In this alternate reality, vampires use hominids (humans) as cattle-like food sources. Considered barely inteligent and among the Fallen from a religious point of view. The social mores of this vampiric society are reflected through a dinner party hosted by the stories central character at which a variety of humans including children are served. The hosts intentions to pursue a love interest are crushed and in his disappointment he turns to a taboo source for comfort, one of the hominids. Like temptation from the garden, his fall is understandable and complete. A mesmerizing and squirm-worthy entry.

http://www.horrorbound.com/readarticle.php?article_id=174 (typos are the reviewer’s)

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, news, Publishing, Writing

Vampires in the New Year

Well, I hope you didn’t expect some retrospective of last year or the hopes and fears for this year. Predictions about and it would be easiest to say some politician will be accused of a scandal, another politician will again say we need so investigation into gas prices and nothing will be done, Vancouver will bubble with the hype of the Olympics and its citizens’ taxes will/have already gone up to cover the deficits that they said wouldn’t happen, Harper and Campbell will ignore all protests and implement the HST, charging us more for what we should not have to pay for, a rock/movie star will suffer from drug overdose, more record-breaking climactic disasters will happen with a small camp of naysayers telling us that climate change isn’t happening, corporations will continue to use bailout money to give themselves exorbitant salaries while they lay off workers, a movie/sports star will leave/love/cheat on each other, etc. It might all sound like fiction but it’s so much of the same that happens every year that it’s not really worth speculating about.

However, in the world of possibilities, there is the genre of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction includes horror, fantasy, science fiction; basically anything that you might speculate about, which then means almost any fiction. Confusing? Yes, just another way that people try to parcel stories into little packages.

But in that vein is the anthology coming out through Edge Press. Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick Evolve contains 23 stories and one poem. This is dark fiction, stories about vampires but ones that have evolved. How each author handles that theme will be different but there are no vampires of the past, only a present or a future. For my own story, I dealt with an alternate history where vampires are the dominant mammal (homo vampirii) and homo sapiens is something…less.

Nancy Kilpatrick is a veteran author and editor. She delivers good dark fiction. The collection is of authors from across Canada with a presumably regional balance. There are four authors from BC, Rhea Rose, Mary Choo, Sandra Wickham (new author) and me. Every province is represented and it will be interesting to see if there is any regional flavor in the stories. Sometimes there is a “Canadian” flavor,whether in movies or stories. These influences often involves the environment/climate in some ways. Of course, once you have a vampire you will most certainly have some battle/avoidance of the environment in the way of sun, but it depends if all the stories involve vampires sensitive to sunlight.

There will probably be not sparkling vampires, or angels masquerading as vampires. They’ll probably all be a bit darker than this. The books are being released at the end of this month, with collector editions and signed trade paperback editions.  For a list of authors, their bios and more information, you can go to www.vampires-evolve.com/ to find something to sink your teeth into. I’m quite curious so see how other authors handled this theme.

3 Comments

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, myth, people, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

All That Vampire Stuff

It’s that time of year again. Actually it’s that year. Well really it’s that decade. Okay, okay it’s that century. Bram Stoker published Dracula a little over a century ago and it changed the face of fantasy and horror for all time to come (so far). Now Stoker didn’t really create vampires per se. Blood sucking, soul stealing creatures have existed in various cultures for many centuries. Rusalkas (Russian), lamias (Greek), succubi and incubi, dhampirs (Balkan) and sirens are just an example of creatures that take something permanent from you, often through seduction. They might devour the person or parts of them. Even the Rom (Gypsies) had vampiric beliefs, which also could include inanimate objects.

So vampires are not new. Using blood to rejuvenate in some way also has been around for a long time, whether it was drinking it or bathing in it. The notorious serial killer Countess Elizabeth of Bathory killed so many young women that, like Vlad the Impaler, a myth began that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth. She was pretty much placed under house arrest for the rest of her days (nobility did have some privileges).

In the world of writing there have been many many vampire novels, and even more numerous short stories. Goethe and Lord Byron were just a few to tell tales and poems about vampiric lovers returning from the grave. The  19th century saw quite a fascination with vampire tales and Stoker’s book was just one of many.

Books of note in this century include John Matheson’s I Am Legend and John Shirley’s Dracula in Love. A man discovers he is Dracula’s son and it is a somewhat trippy, hallucinogenic tale that is at times extremely gruesome and not really romantic, given the title. I’ve read some vampire books, but not all and one included a nearly annihilistic version of vampire hunters. There are too many tales to list but the Barnabas Collins TV series was of early note in vampire fiction, as well as the movie The Hunger.  Anne Rice probably began the more modern trend of eroticizing vampire fiction with strong gothic undertones in Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and subsequent novels.

There have been many spinoffs and tales, which have included a subgenre of occult detective books, where a vampire is the detective. The Dresden Files, by Harry Butcher, the Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris’s books, and the Angel TV series are just a few in that aspect where often the vampire tries to retain his/her humanity, or the detective’s partner or lover is a vampire.

So when Twilight came along it was just another vampire movie and book. I haven’t read the book so I cant judge on the treatment of the vampire in that tale before Hollywood got hold of it. But from the movie these vampires have no problem with walking around in daylight though they avoid direct sun, because it seems that they sparkle. Perhaps for this young adult novel it is a metaphor for being an angel or a higher power and I wasn’t quite clear if all vampires sparkle or just the good ones who eschew drinking of humans. But the tale, a human falls in love with the noble vampire who won’t make her/him immortal, is nothing new. It’s just got the dreamy guys and a new batch of people to feed it to.

Everyone who writes a vampire tale may throw a twist into it. Some vampires are affected by crosses, or any religious icon that has true belief behind it, by garlic, by sunlight, by none of these. Their powers may only be longevity, or fast healing, speed, strength, flying, shapechanging. Vampires vary, yet overall the seductive aspect that lures humans is that the vampire is immortal but you must take a life or drink blood to attain this aspect.

The media, like the tweenies that Twilight is aimed at, is all over Twilight like Dracula on Mina. As if it hasn’t happened before, they say, what is with all this hype, or “we see a trend in Twilight and movies like it.” The vampire tale is a subgenre of horror or fantasy or speculative fiction, depending on how you want to categorize it.  The trend is not new, but like many fads, it fluctuates. A fad runs about a two-year lifespan so this too will die down, yet like a vampire, the tales of such immortals do seem to endure the test of time.

Notice the fangy V.

Notice the fangy V.

As a writer, I too have not been immune from writing a few vampire tales. “Hold Back the Night” was about a servant of Kali whose human lover is burned by a possessive husband. “Lover’s Triangle” is a tale about a Gypsy woman in a slightly different future who is lured by her vampire lover’s touch. And “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” is about a vampire’s fall into deparavity or discovering something about his own humanity. The latter is due out in Evolve in March 2010, through Hades Publications and the anthology looks at worlds where vampires are known of by humans.

Will I write more vampire fiction? Possibly. I have a couple of other unpublished stories. I didn’t set out to write any but it just happens and the juxtaposition of immortality at a terrible price is always an interesting premise for tales. I haven’t yet written a werewolf tale but have written a mermaid story, “The Fishwife.” Maybe at some point I’ll work my way through many mythic creatures.

http://www.edgewebsite.com/future.php

2 Comments

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, erotica, fantasy, horror, movies, myth, Publishing, science fiction, Writing