Archive Introduction

A brief note on how I’ve set up my reviews archive:

The tags represent where a review ran the first time around, whether online, or in print. This includes defunct magazines such as Absolute Magnitude, Science Fiction Chronicle, and Realms of Fantasy.  All reviews that appeared in those magazines can now be found here, with the exception of a very few that were lost along the way. Reviews originally posted at The Green Man Review (and its sister site, The Sleeping Hedgehog), SF Site, and Tor.com remain on those sites indefinitely.  They are uploaded here at irregular intervals after their original publication, and are reprinted for my archives with all due credit and permission.

The categories, obviously, represent where a particular item falls into the grand scheme of things. This is pretty obvious, but a few things bear a little further explanation. Historical means that the book is set in the past of a world either meant to be ours, or pretty darned close. I’ve applied the Fairy Tales/Folklore/Mythology label to anything which I feel takes inspiration or influence from those themes, and as such, this is both a specific and nebulous category, applied at my whim and discretion. The Zombies, Shapeshifters, Vampires and Superheroes are in place simply because it amuses me to do so. Lastly, I’ve also marked some books as being of greater than usual interest because of LGBTQ themes – featuring a gay or lesbian character, for instance, or dealing with gender issues, or addressing matters of alternate sexuality. In all cases, this is a work in progress, to be fine-tuned and adjusted until I’m satisfied…whenever that might be. More categories may appear, some may vanish. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and comments, especially if you feel a certain book deserves (or doesn’t!) a specific, existing, category that I’ve overlooked.

Enjoy.

A Quick Schoolbooks & Sorcery Update

Please forgive the brevity of this update, but I wanted to give the curious and concerned a quick update regarding the Schoolbooks & Sorcery anthology.

At this time, I have read every story, and sent out many rejections. I still have another batch of rejections to write, and a number of stories which have either made it into the “Definitely” pile or the “Final Round: Fight!” pile. Everything in those latter two piles is currently in the hands of a second reader to help me make the hard decisions.

Why the slowness?

Because Yours Truly made the mistake of trying to juggle multiple jobs and an online grad school class, and as a result, sleep schedules, coherence, and spare time have suffered. This weekend, in fact, is a perfect storm of Things Which Will Either Kill Me or Make Me Stronger, and I’m not sure which is more desirable at the moment.

I do anticipate finishing the first round of rejections in the next week (so by the end of October) and then it’s just a case of figuring out what makes the final cut. Cue weeping, wailing, mad bargains with perverse trickster deities, cockamamie juggling of word count and synergistic themes, and so on. Trust me, folks, the inner nuts and bolts of the anthology business aren’t pretty.

So if you haven’t heard yet, it’s either because I haven’t written a rejection, or I haven’t trapped my second reader in a corner and made them share their opinions… or because I’m hiding under the bed, weeping, mind melted from dealing with real life people.

Feel free to query in the meantime, but results may vary.

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

 

New Short Story Online – Sea of Strangers

gideon3

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have a new short story available to read online, for free.

You can find “Sea of Strangers” over at Inscription Magazine. I’m especially interested because this marks my very first Young Adult publication. (While one of my previous stories, “Keys,” which saw publication in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, can be considered YA, this is the first one marketed as such.)

“Sea of Strangers” is an urban fantasy story, and it takes place, as so many of my stories do, in the city of Puxhill. Strange things are afoot at Elijah Morrison High, and it’s up to Aud Martinez and her girlfriend Charm to figure out the problem and save the day.

Please go read it. And if you like it, feel free to let me know. Definitely consider checking out Inscription’s other fine YA offerings and leaving comments in their discussion threads as well.

I hope you like it….

The Black Fire Concerto by Mike Allen (Haunted Stars Publishing, 2013)

black fire concerto

For several years now, twelve-year-old Erzelle has been the prisoner of the cannibal clan of the Red Empress, a riverboat full of death, misery, and degenerate ghouls, forced to play the harp during their infernal meals. This changes when the mysterious piper Olyssa comes aboard, in search of her long-missing sister. Olyssa and Erzelle leave a pile of corpses in their wake, the Famile decimated by terrible magic, and begin their journey together. As they quest for Olyssa’s sister, Erzelle becomes her apprentice in both music and magic.

But their travels are anything but quiet. They must fight cultists, charm the capricious vulpines (fox-people, basically), and invade the treacherous lair of the Grey Ones, who build terrible machines out of the walking dead. The more Erzelle learns of her new companion, the more she fears for their safety. For to find Olyssa’s sister is to delve into the origin of the Storms which ruined and transformed the planet, to unleash bizarre forces, and to go up against overwhelming odds.

In The Black Fire Concerto, Mike Allen (editor of Mythic Delirium magazine and the Clockwork Phoenix anthology series) invokes the weird pulp fantasy of old, spinning a series of inter-related adventures which would be right at home in old-school Weird Tales. His world is a very much changed post-apocalyptic Earth, full of magic and strange creatures, where danger lurks around every corner. This is dark fantasy, manifested in body horror and visceral imagery, flesh-eating ghouls and unsettling visions. His traveling duo, the seemingly ageless Olyssa and the young Erzelle, are a mismatched pair as fitting as those who once strode the pages of sword and sorcery novels and pulp magazines. It’s an almost refreshingly retro feel; though the modern sensibilities can be seen, this is the sort of eldritch nightmare H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, or Clark Ashton Smith might have appreciated. Allen spins scenes of obscenely-repurposed mobile body parts, unholy constructions built of still-living flesh, armies of the shambling dead. He threads it all together with a musical motif that further pushes this away from the comfortable and familiar.

One of the things I appreciate about this book is that it lacks romance; the most powerful thread here is the love Olyssa has for her missing sister. Even after the enigmatic Lilla’s fate is discovered, that familial bond never wavers. It’s almost unsettling for something as pure and basic as family duty and connect to be the underlying core of such a bizarre story.

Honestly, this book isn’t my usual thing. While I’ve always been able to appreciate the Weird Tales mold of story, I’m not naturally drawn to such strange deviations. (For all that I love Simon R. Green, who gets pretty intensely weird at times). Were Mike Allen not a friend of mine (for full disclosure) I’d probably never have gotten too far into this. Dark fantasy isn’t my standard go-to genre. But I know a well-written tale when I spot one, and this is a strong effort, particularly for a first full-length book.  (Though split as it is into three sections, with the first having been written as a short story in its own right, there’s a slightly episodic feel to things.)

The main weakness is that Allen tends to overwhelm the reader with imagery and immaterial creations, leading to a certain lack of grounding. The opening sequence in the Red Empress is extremely strong, the battle scene in the town later on is likewise well-done, but once the characters head off into the wilds, things get nebulous. There’s not as strong a sense of place and time. Furthermore, there’s a lot left to be revealed about the post-apocalyptic world our heroes travel through. What technology remains? What people exist? How are things structured? How prevalent and reliable is magic? How much resemblance does the greater world have to what came before, and what was lost? These are all questions that arise as Olyssa and Erzelle fight their way through ghoul-infested caves and towards the final confrontation with their enemy.

If Allen continues to follow these characters, he has a ready-made hook, setting and all, for a modern revival of an old genre tradition that’s mostly fallen out of favor in recent years. Certainly, he’s laid the groundwork and delivered their inaugural adventure with style and appeal. If you’ve been craving dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery with a female cast, weird stories that may or may not turn your stomach, then I have just the book for you.

In Memoriam: Janeway Yowlin (1999-2014…or so)

The queen hard at work.

The queen hard at work.

It's a trap.

It’s a trap.

Jane and Stucco: a meeting of 2/3rds of the Elder Countil

Jane and Stucco: a meeting of 2/3rds of the Elder Countil. Now with LASER EYES.

It is with great sadness that I announce the permanent retirement of the senior member of the Feline Supervisory Committee, Jane, AKA Janeway Yowlin of Puxhill, AKA “The Tabby.” At the dignified age of 14 or 15 (a lady never tells her true age), Jane chose to move on to her next life, rather than hang around and put up with lymphosarcoma any longer. She is survived by the rest of the Feline Supervisory Committee, who have already announced their intention to uphold her tradition of sleeping on things, shedding, and looking faintly disapproving at whatever it is we did.

Jane came to us as little more than a kitten, via the local shelter, when we announced an opening for a tabby. She quickly proved ideal at the role, and soon settled into a life of leisure and doing cat things. As she gained seniority, she was promoted to the Elder Council, of which she was the surviving member, following last year’s retirements of Stucco and Gabriel. (The Elder Council has been effectively disbanded, and a new grouping will be announced at a later date.) Also, with her passing, the informal “Family Unit” is likewise disbanded due to attrition; its only remaining member is Pepper, who has been promoted to Chief Shrieky-Beast.

Jane was born old–she was always a little grumpy, enjoyed her solitude and deep thoughts, and became extremely prickly when picked up. She enjoyed singing jazz and the blues, and would have won numerous prizes for math and science if only she had the opposable thumbs to communicate her findings. We may never know exactly what she discovered during her many hours of contemplation.

She was greatly loved, and goes to her next life with the highest of recommendations and references. Should you encounter a grey/brown tabby with a slightly sour manner, a rusty motor purr, and deep thoughts, know that she served long, well, and honorably.

The Feline Supervisory Committee and her silly, sentimental owners, thank her for many years of excellent service, and wish her all the best. She will be missed immensely.

 

 

Call for Submissions: Schoolbooks & Sorcery

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

SCHOOLBOOKS & SORCERY: A YA URBAN FANTASY ANTHOLOGY

 

Take high school. It’s weird, confusing, complicated, and frustrating. It’s a time of growth and change, when teens start discovering what they’re made of and who they want to be. Now throw in magic. What happens? That’s the premise of this new YA anthology. Schoolbooks & Sorcery is what happens when you take all the normal ups and downs of high school, inject a healthy dose of magic, shake, stir, and serve.

Editor Michael M. Jones (Scheherazade’s Façade) is looking for YA urban fantasy stories which incorporate the themes of sorcery, magic, and enchantment. The magic can come from within, as an intrinsic ability or a family trait, or from without, in the form of talismans, training, or teaching. Protagonists can be wizards, witches, sorcerers, magicians, shamans, apprentices, or practitioners of more esoteric traditions. Whether they pick it up on their own (accidentally or on purpose), learn from a master, or go to school for institutionalized training, they’ll be involved with magic to some degree. Or, of course, the protagonist could be without magic, and stumble into a world beyond their immediate knowledge. If authors wish to set something in a magical school of their own devising, or in a previously-established setting, that’s perfectly fine. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be set at a school, magical or otherwise, so long as the main characters are of the right age set.

Just about every culture has some sort of tradition involving people who dabble in the supernatural to one end or another, and there’s a vast amount of potential left to be tapped in this genre, especially with teenage protagonists. Whether they’re wizards-in-training, voodoo princesses, the last descendant of an infamous historical figure, the newest apprentice in the family business, or just someone in the wrong place at the right time, the stories are endless.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery is also designed to be a queer-friendly YA anthology, embracing the full spectrum of sexuality and gender identification, while offering a wide selection of satisfying, entertaining, fascinating, powerful stories in which the mundane and the magical overlap and interact. Stories are encouraged to take place in the overlapping area between urban fantasy, high school, and LGBTQ issues and themes. Stories should send the message that it’s not just okay to be gay, it’s okay to be gay and to have the same crazy, wicked, scary, seductive, exciting, magical, strange, funny, romantic, dark adventures as everyone else. We’re looking for stories which are all-inclusive, with the characters writers have been dying to write and readers clearly want to see, diverse and interesting, with an underlying current of tolerance and acceptance. Obviously, we’re looking for a wide range of themes, tones, and voices.

 

TECHNICAL DETAILS:

All stories should be between 2000-7000 words.

All stories must involve magic, and those who practice magic. This covers wizards, witches, sorcerers, magicians, shamans, and other traditions not specifically mentioned. This covers self-taught characters, those whose power is intrinsic or passed down through a family, those who find objects of power or books of spells, those who study with a teacher, those who go to school for magic, and so on. Other paranormal elements, such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or fairies, are welcome, as long as they don’t overshadow the primary theme.

Paranormal romance elements are also welcome, but this is not specifically intended as a romance anthology. Romance is good, but not necessary.

All stories must be considered YA.

Stories should be set in modern times/on Earth, but authors are encouraged to use a variety of settings, cultures, and influences to flesh out their characters and world building. Again, one of the primary goals here is to explore diversity.

While LGBTQ elements are not required, they are highly encouraged, as are protagonists who defy traditional roles and labels. (As in “girls doing boy things” and “boys doing girl things”.) More importantly: no story will be turned away for containing LGBTQ characters or elements, unless it violates the other guidelines.

Stories will not be censored for language, drinking, drugs or sexual situations; however, such things must be in moderation, appropriate to the circumstances, and tastefully handled. In movie rating terms, stories would thus fall into the PG-13 range. (To be handled as necessary. We’re not afraid of some bad words now and again…)

All stories will maintain a positive atmosphere concerning sexuality, gender, race, religion, and so on. While individual characters (most likely antagonists) may express biased, prejudiced, or phobic sentiments, or characters may deal with negative situations, the ultimate goal is to promote tolerance, acceptance, and positivity.

PLEASE NOTE: I have already seen a number of stories which address bullying. While I’m still open to considering stories incorporating this theme, I’d like to see some more variety to help round things out.

DEADLINE: August 15, 2014

SUBMISSION ADDRESS: All submissions may be sent to Facadeantho@gmail.com. Please address any questions or queries to that address as well.Submissions should be sent as an attachment, as .rtf or .doc.

PAYMENT: Payment will start out at 2 cents a word. However, this is just the minimum. Once the anthology is completed and the Table of Contents either finalized or close to finalized, we will be running a Kickstarter campaign to boost sales, create pre-release buzz, attract pre-sales, and to acquire the funds to pay 5 cents a word. So while at this moment in time we can promise 2 cents a word, our end goal (one which is entirely within the realm of possibility) is 5 cents a word, or professional rate. If you have any questions about how this can work, or need more information on how Kickstarter works, please feel free to talk to the editor. Again: you are not being asked to do something for nothing. You’re not being asked for money or freebies. All we ask of you is a little patience and flexibility for this stage of the project, and the use of your name as a contributing author to attract fans and potential backers. Payment will be made after the end of the Kickstarter period, before the actual publication date. (Because the SFWA pro rate increases to 6 cents a word as of July 1, 2014, we may end up shooting for this goal instead. This has not been finalized.)

FORMATS: Schoolbooks & Sorcery will be released simultaneously as a trade paperback and an ebook, by Gressive Press, an imprint of Circlet Press.

ABOUT THE EDITOR

Michael M. Jones was the YA reviewer for Science Fiction Chronicle and Realms of Fantasy. These days, he reviews YA for Publishers Weekly and Tor.com. He is also the editor of Scheherazade’s Façade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing, and Transformation (Gressive Press, 2012). His fiction has appeared in anthologies from DAW, Baen, Raven Electrick Ink, Norilana, Circlet, and Cleis Press. He can be found online at www.michaelmjones.com

Fine Young Gentlemen by C.W. Slater (C.W. Slater, 2013)

fine young gentlemenThe first thing you should know is that despite the title, the three major protagonists of this book are neither fine, nor gentlemen. Young, sure, as all three are 16-year-olds who attend Percy College School, an elite Canadian academy.

Jacob Aberdeen is a sexual predator who prides himself on breaking virgins, a deviant who systematically stalks young women and who thinks nothing of window peeping, blackmail, and manipulation. In fact, he’s pretty much a psychopath.

Craig Osterman is a football hero with a sexy girlfriend and a dark secret. Who at PCS is trying to make his life miserable? What happens when his life starts to crumble? And then when he kills the teacher attempting to molest him, he becomes a strangely unrepentant, cold-blooded killer, determined to hide the evidence.

Matt Cutler is a frustrated virgin and compulsive masturbator. Obsessed with sex and his continuing quest to get laid, he’d do anything to make the score. He doesn’t even have football to distract him, ever since a back injury sidelined him.

Their paths cross and overlap as events spiral out of control, with everyone searching for the guy who murdered a beloved teacher, the administration desperate to cover up the fact that one of their own had abused his position for years, and Jacob determined to destroy Craig so he can have Craig’s girlfriend.  It doesn’t end well.

While in most sex comedies, the protagonists have some measure of sympathy to offset their hormonal antics, the so-called heroes of this book don’t have that redeeming factor, ranging instead from pathetic to despicable. Rude, crude, crass, shameless, manipulative, and reeking of entitlement, they’re not characters you want to see succeed. Honestly, this book is lacking in sympathetic characters in general, everyone possessing some dirty little secret or horrible trait. Misogyny, classism, even a touch of racism abound. The attitudes towards women and sex are simply horrible. Jacob and Matt may be prime examples of how women are primarily in this book to be sex objects or flawed authority figures, present for their amusement, ambition, or fantasies, but very few of the secondary characters are likable.

Honestly, I read this book as one might stare at a wreck on the side of the road, unable to look away. It lacks the humor of a comedy, the sophistication of a thriller, the innocence of a coming-of-age tale, and the charm of a slice-of-life story.  By the time it wrapped up, on a sour and bloody note, I had to wonder just what the author’s intention was. This is like the extremely awkward love child of Porky’s and American Psycho, with none of their respective appeal. If you’re looking for books that get into the mind of the teenage male, there are far better examples, including works by Don Calame, Andrew Smith, Barry Lyga, and Brent Crawford.

On Audio Versions of My Stories…

You know what’s even more amazing than seeing your story in print?
Hearing it read out loud as part of an audiobook.
Seriously. The knowledge that such a thing exists, that someone has brought your words and worlds to life, given them voice and substance, is simply amazing. I know it’s old hat to many of my writerly brethren, but I get a thrill every time I run into a new audio adaptation of something I’ve done.
To date, five anthologies I’ve been in have received such treatment. Of course, as my luck would have it, all five are erotica anthologies, but I’m not picky. If they want to turn my smut into porn for the ears, I’m game.

girl fever

The first of these is “The Long Night of Tanya McCray,” from Lustfully Ever After, edited by Kristina Wright, in which an intrepid photographer gets lost in Puxhill’s mysterious Gaslight District overnight. Sadly, the narrator for this volume is…underwhelming, and doesn’t really do the material justice, in my opinion. But hey, these things happen.

A better example is “In the Service of Hell,” from Seductress, edited by D.L. King, which features a succubus on a mission from her infernal masters. Kaylee West does a very nice job of bringing “Alice” and her target to life, adding a quiet nuance and complexity to their exploits.

Then there’s “Love on a Real Train,” from Girl Fever, edited by Sacchi Green, which sees a pair of lovers recreating an iconic scene from a classic ’80s movie. The narrator for this story (one of several who take on the Herculean task of reading the 69 stories) imbues my movie-obsessed characters with a sense of playfulness and sensuality. I can’t shake the sensation that the narrator is about ready to let a giggle slip free. It’s a quick, fun, listen.

geek-love

Kaylee West makes a second appearance to narrate “Thwarting the Spirits” in She-Shifters, edited by Delilah Devlin, which stars a werecobra and weremongoose as moon-crossed lovers and mortal enemies. Though her performance is a little shaky at times, I was absolutely delighted by the way she gave the characters distinct voices and accents. (Important when one’s Indian, another’s Pakistani, and assorted other folks pass through as needed.) Most importantly, she gets the attitudes and pronunciation just right, just the way I hear them in my head. In fact, I never even imagined wereraven Izzy Sparks with a bit of a country drawl, and now I’ll never be able to unhear it. Possibly my second favorite audio adaptation to date.

Lastly, there’s the incomparable Veronica Giguere, who narrates “The Secret Life of Ramona Lee” in Geek Love, edited by Shanna Germain and Janine Ashbless. Her interpretation of the story and the characters is almost transcendent in its awesomeness. The way she handles the titular Ramona and her new friend, the information sprite Irene, blows me away. There’s depth and complexity, playfulness and a certain breathy glee. I just about fell in love with my own characters after listening to them…awkward, right?

So there you have it. Not only can you read my stories, you can even listen to a few of them if you’re feeling adventurous.

Spoils, by Tammar Stein (Random House, 2013)

Money is truly the root of all evil in this somewhat imbalanced teen drama. Seven years ago, Leni Kohn’s family won the lottery–$22 million after taxes. Today, a week before Leni’s eighteenth birthday, the family is pretty much broke. Careless investments, wasteful spending, and too many generous “loans” have reduced their fortune to near-nothing. The family has one hope left: when Leni turns eighteen, her trust fund kicks in and she finally gets access to the million put aside just for her.  Everyone assumes that she’ll give it all to her parents, so the family doesn’t drown in debt. Even Leni assumes she’ll do what’s right for her family, no matter how much she dreams of using to pay for college or help the environment.

Then her older sister Natasha tells Leni that she made a deal with the devil for them to win the lottery, and the money is cursed, and Leni should get rid of it all. Leni’s about ready to laugh it all off as one of her sister’s odder quirks, until she starts getting visits from the archangel Michael, telling her to “fix it.” 

Now Leni is caught in a vaguely-defined struggle between good and evil, trying to find the right path. She suspects it has something to do with Gavin, a brilliant young man with a checkered past, who’s come back into her life at an unexpected time. But how can she fix something when she doesn’t even know what she’s fixing? How can she justify depriving her parents of the money they need?  With the days until her birthday ticking down, can she find a solution?

I wanted to like this book a lot. Part of it stems from a fascinating premise, one grounded in reality. After all, how many times do we read about lottery winners who go broke or come to a bad end? How often do we see stories about the accidental millionaires who can’t handle their newfound wealth? Stein’s portrayal of the Kohns as a family ruined by success is painful, riveting, and poignant. The parents who build a needlessly luxurious mansion and throw extravagant parties and throw their money at poor investments and risky ventures. The older brother who blows his money on parties and traveling, until he ends up back at home, dreaming of better days. The older sister who can’t let go of her ex-boyfriend, who sinks her money into a tea shop.  And Leni, the sensible, idealistic one, whose money has remained in trust all these years until she comes of age.  It’s a powerful look at people who simply weren’t prepared for their fortune, and how it undermines their sense of self and corrupts their priorities. 

So to put the story at the crucial point where Leni must decide what to do with her money? There’s the seed of a compelling, provocative tale. Her moral dilemma and internal struggle is really something to study. While money isn’t inherently bad, it’s clear that it’s an easily-misused resource. No wonder she’s conflicted about giving it to her parents, knowing it’s just a stopgap measure when they need to find a new way of handling things. And this is the story I wanted to read, in which Leni find a way to break the cycle and rescue her family from the pit of despair and debt. 

So when I realized that this book also had a paranormal element, I honestly wondered if it was necessary. Did the book actually need this subplot regarding a vaguely-described deal with the devil, and ambiguous communications from an archangel?  Is it any stronger for having the supernatural quality in the background?  I don’t think so.  In fact, it’s a little distracting, even a little insulting, to be able to ascribe outside influences to such purely human elements.  Money doesn’t need to be cursed in order to lead to bad results, simple foolishness and greed can accomplish the same thing.

I know, I’ve never exactly been one to shy away from the paranormal elements in what I like. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres, after all. But sometimes, that element of the fantastic does more harm than good, and Spoils is a good example of a story that would have been perfect as a mainstream book.  It has everything already in place: a family in crisis, a conflicted protagonist, a suitably compelling romantic interest, and a complex moral dilemma that speaks to its audience. Given the economy of the past few years, money is never far from anyone’s mind.  Almost everyone plays the “what if we won the lottery” game and this is a starkly compelling cautionary tale.

As it stands, it’s really quite a muddle. Is the money truly cursed? If so, is it only cursed when the Kohns use it for their own benefit? Or will all those people they loaned/gifted/donated it to suffer equally miserable fates somewhere down the line? Otherwise, why couldn’t Leni have kept a little for herself, to handle necessities as opposed to frivolities, or would paying for school be selfish somehow?  There’s too much left unexplained and unspecified where her mission is concerned, and I’m still not sure how the chain of logic led her to assume that she had to help redeem Gavin’s life.  More of the hand-wavy paranormal bits, I guess.

In the end, Spoils is a fantastic book undermined by a few too many extraneous elements, which is really a shame.

Another Update: Sales and Releases

 

And look, I’m back again already, with more news fit to be shared.

NEW SALE! – This is actually one I forgot to mention last time. Shame on me! I sold my urban fantasy story, “Keys” to the anthology, A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, edited by Scott Sandridge, to be released by Seventh Star Press, in 2014. I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome it is that this story finally has a home. When the time comes, I’ll devote a post to its long and strange history.

NEW PUBLICATION! – My short-short, “The ‘Tilly’ Crown Affair” appears in the Cleis anthology, xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance, edited by Kristina Wright. The release date for this collection bounced around somewhat, originally targeted for February 14th before being moved to January, but reports are in that the book is actually available from Amazon…now, in print, with ebook to come on December 16th. Another great stocking stuffer for those with a naughty side! For those of you who might possibly remember my story, “Love on a Real Train” from the Sacchi Green-edited Girl Fever, this story also features my movie-obsessed lesbian couple, Charlene and Tilly, as they sex up another classic movie scene…

NEW REVIEW! – My review of Ben Bova’s Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire’s Club, has gone live on Tor.com.

Hopefully, I’ll have more news for you soon. Hey, it could happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update Smorgasbord!

Friends, Readers, Barbarians!

It’s been a while since I last used this space to deliver an official-like roundup of things I find interesting or important, and I do apologize for being such a slacker. You know how things get, though. One thing leads into another, and soon you’re up to your eyeballs in alligators and cats wearing funny costumes. So let’s get this show on the road.  What do I have to share with you?

 

UPCOMING CONVENTION APPEARANCE! – That’s right,  I’ll be appearing as a Guest at Mysticon, here in Roanoke, VA. February 21-23, 2014. Come and meet me for real. Get things signed. Tell me why I’m awesome. Tell me why I suck. I’m good either way. It’ll be fun.

NOW ON SALE! – I have two stories in Kristina Wright’s splendid new fiction/non-fiction/self-help/relationship guide, Bedded Bliss, which is aimed at helping folks who are happily married/in a long-term relationship keep things healthy and sexually satisfying. I’m proud to be part of this wonderfully-realized, well-received project.

NEW STORY SOLD! – I just signed the contract for “The Witch’s Servant” which will appear in A Princess Bound: Naughty Fairy Tales for Women, again edited by Kristina Wright, to be published by Cleis Press, out in June 2014. Yeah, Kristina’s one of the true visionaries, appreciating my work and all that. I’m nominating her for sainthood.

NEW INTERVIEWS ONLINE! – I’ve done several interviews lately for Publishers Weekly (aka “Those people who keep giving me money to read books for a living!”) and you can find them over on the PW site.   The first is with Robert Hofler, who wrote Sexplosion: How a Generation of Pop Culture Rebels Broke All the Taboos and it was fun to talk with him about the boundary pushing cinema and theatre of the late ’60s. The second is with Julie Cannon, a writer of lesbian romances, and we talk about her upcoming release, Smoke and Fire, in which two women involved in the dangerous business of oil well blowout suppression find each other and overcome their respective issues.  Both of these books will be available in the near future so put them on your wishlist now!

NEW REVIEWS ONLINE! – Sadly, not so many new ones to report here at the moment. But that’ll pick up again as the winds change. But for Tor.com, I have covered Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts, My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie, When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach, Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst, and Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams.  I promise I’ll have more reviews I can talk about soon. Cat at Green Man Review sent me the revised and updated Third Edition of the Christmas Encyclopedia, Alma Alexander sent me her fascinating recent release, Midnight at Spanish Gardens, and Mike Allen sent me a copy of his bizarre new book, The Black Fire Concerto. I’ll have links to those reviews in the very near future, and more.

PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFTS! – Shameless promotion time! Remember, you can always pick up a copy or three of Scheherazade’s Facade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing, and Transformation, for the fantasy readers on your gift-giving list. Or perhaps you’d like the beautifully perverted Geek Love, still available in hardcover.

That’s all for now, folks. I promise to be back soon with more news and holiday cheer. And by holiday cheer, I mean amaretto-spiked hot cocoa.