Archive for January, 2015

I have a longish essay about The Bride up at Pornokitsch.com. It’s first entry in my new series, Pygmalia, which is all about Pygmalion stories as you might guess:

The Wiki for The Bride describes it as “an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” but that is a completely ridiculous claim. It is more accurately described as “a film starring Sting as Baron Charles Frankenstein and the girl from Flashdance.” While The Bride generously nods at Frankenstein as well as various cinematic adaptations of the tale, it is entirely it’s own thing. A glorious thing, to my mind, and one that makes few concessions to viewers who come to it without at least a passing understanding of Frankenstein, but its own thing just the same. For the uninitiated… imagine a fanfic of Frankenstein that picks up in Frankenstein’s lab before he destroys the mate for the creature, but a dark, inverted fanfic where the writer had an axe to grind with My Fair Lady, including deciding that in their version of Frankenstein, Clerval survives to play a sexed-up Colonel Pickering to Baron Frankenstein’s Professor Higgins.

It’s a great film in a lot of ways, but a dark one too. Read the whole thing at the link above, and feel free to leave a comment. Even if you have nothing to say about The Bride, while I have the first few months of this figured out but I’m taking recommendations for Pygmalion treatments to write about, especially comics and short stories. Cheers!

lazy-fascist-review-2_coverCall for Submissions

Lazy Fascist Review #4: Lovecraftiana

Below you will find the details for the forthcoming (November 2015) issue of the Lazy Fascist Review. This issue’s theme is Lovecraftiana. Please read all the submission guidelines carefully before submitting!

Basic details: I will be looking for stories set in any time period, 2-7k in length. Payment will be $75 per story.

IF YOU ALREADY SUBMITTED: Do not worry; do not resubmit. Your submissions will be considered even if they’re not within the above parameters.

No poetry.

No reprints.

No multiple submissions, no simultaneous submissions.*

Title your submissions LOVECRAFTIAN ISSUE: [Story Title], and send them to lazyfascistreview at gmail dot com.

The reading window is from the moment this appears on the Internet until July 1st, 2015. Anything arriving after that date will be deleted unread. Final selection will be announced by mid-September, though rejections may arrive earlier.

During the reading period, all submissions must be sent as a Word document in Standard Manuscript Format, double spaced, blah blah blah.

IF YOU ALREADY SUBMITTED: Do not worry; do not resubmit. Your submissions will be considered even if they’re not correctly formatted.

Now for the good stuff. What am I looking for?

This is the Lovecraftiana issue of Lazy Fascist Review. That means stories submitted should seek to explore some combination of Bizarro with the themes typically found in Mythos fiction. This could mean just about anything, so do not be daunted or put off by this. That said, for those of you unfamiliar with Bizarro, consider familiarizing yourself with the genre before submitting. This is not to say anyone should worry whether their submission “is” or “isn’t” Bizarro enough, or Bizarro at all… this is just a prompt to get interested writers to think in a slightly different mode than usual. There are an astounding number of titles out there, including compendiums like The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade. Read a little, have fun, and see where it takes you.

As for Lovecraft, his creations (Cthulhu and other elder gods, settings such as R’lyeh, works like the Necronomicon) exist ambiguously within the public domain. This means authors can play in Lovecraft’s sandbox with a relatively clean conscience or fear of being sued. Not so for those who came after—the “Lovecraftian” stories of Howard, Campbell, and modern authors are the property of those authors alone. I’m too busy to deal with a lawsuit, so keep your stories firmly within Lovecraft’s Lovecraftiana. This means you can draw settings, characters, motifs, whatever from that which he wrote about. A good source to check would be H.P. Lovecraft.com.

As for some interesting examples of what a pairing of Bizarro and Lovecraftiana could look like, here are a few good examples…

  • The exploration of sex and torture in Makino Osamsu’s “Necrophallus”
  • The gleeful post-human world of Nick Mamatas’ “Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Nyarlathotep”
  • The brooding, futile insanity of the arms race in Charles Stross’ “A Colder War”
  • The fear of contamination and mutation featured in Tetsuo the Iron Man
  • The somber disquiet featured in Caitlin R. Kiernan stories like “Faces in Revolving Souls” and “Andromeda Among the Stones”

This is a scant handful of potential explorations. Show me what you think it means, I want to find out. One thing I’m not looking for: straight-up Lovecraftian pastiche. Save that for other markets, I’m more interested in seeing new takes on old themes than retreads of “oh, woe is me, I am so insane after I saw x, let me tell you about it before I kill myself.”

What else… I am not at all adverse to mature content, be it sexual, pharmacological, or violent in nature. That said, stories featuring rape will be a particularly tough sell.

Additionally, I will be actively seeking to represent a diverse array of voices and themes in this issue of Lazy Fascist Review. Women, LGTB individuals, people of color, and other traditionally “outsider” voices in the Mythos are particularly encouraged to submit. Lovecraftiana is evolving to be more accepting of “the other,” and this issue of LFR is committed to continuing that process. All authors are invited and encouraged to submit tales that expand Lovecraftiana while retaining its focus on cosmic horror, the grotesque, the fear of succumbing, weirdness in general, that beyond which man can (or should know), and so on.

Good luck, and send any questions to lazyfascistreview at gmail dot com with the subject heading LOVECRAFTIAN ISSUE: Question.

*If you submitted before these guidelines appeared, and wish to withdraw, or send one (1) additional story that you feel might be a better fit, you may do so. Also, if you submitted before these guidelines appeared and have submitted the story elsewhere, it WILL NOT be withdrawn from consideration. You get special dispensation. Lucky you!

I’m happy to announce that Films of High Adventure is back! That’s right, remember when Jesse and I used to watch turkeys like The Craft and then write up our thoughts and feelings in a vaguely amusing fashion? Or think we were in for a turkey, and then praise films that withstood the test of time? Like… I dunno, those were pretty few and far between actually.

Anywho, we’re back on it, doing it once a month for Pornokitch. The first installment is up: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Most enthralling, dude.

Next Thursday, keep your eyes peeled for the first in my new series, Pygmalia. I’ll deconstruct The Bride and rant about the patriarchy.

Mr VampireYikes! I wasn’t expecting this so soon in 2015, but Vermilion is… imminent here in ARC form,out in the world, digital and hard copy.

If you are a book reviewer, and would like to receive an uncorrected ARC for review, please contact Ross Lockhart at publicity[at]wordhorde.com. ARC!Also, if you know any book reviewers into some or all of the following, maybe send them this way, or at least spread the word: gender fluidity, weird westerns, steampunk-y things, sickness, death, and dying, sea lions, vampires, San Francisco, hiking, the Rocky Mountains, trains, bears, the Mr. Vampire franchise from the 1980s, ghosts, punching things, Big Trouble in Little China, friendship, sanatorium culture a la The Road to Wellville, hysteria, adventures, snow, mountains, sexual tension, mysteries, and… uh… I guess that’s enough to go on.

Thanks, and happy reading!

First: thank you, everyone who posted a new review of A Pretty Mouth yesterday. I’m at 25! Yay achievable goals!

Okay. Onward: I’m so excited to announce the existence of (and the imminent open reading period for) Swords v. Cthulhu, the followup to Stone Skin Press‘s Shotguns v. Cthulhu. Most exciting, for me, is that… I’ll be (co-)editing it with Jesse Bullington! My first anthology… aww… no, more like AWW YEAH!!

In short, we’re looking for adventure romps in which sinewy muscle and cold steel are pitted against the minions of the Great Old Ones, stories combining movement and violence with the existential despair at the heart of Lovecraft’s work; the cerebral cohabitating with rowdy action sequences. We’re also actively encouraging writers of color, women, GLBT writers, and other traditional outsiders to the Mythos to contribute. We want to have a Table of Contents as diverse as it is kick-ass, so please—if you want to submit, do, and if you know a writer who you think would be perfect for this, please tell them.

The full guidelines are here, on the Stone Skin Press site. Go forth—sally forth, even—and write us a tale of high adventure (and depressing weirdness)!

I have now officially completed and turned in the manuscripts for the two novels that will be coming out this year: my debut, Vermilion (in April), and The Pleasure Merchant (in November). But before that time, I’d really like to get A Pretty Mouth up to 25 reviews on Amazon. I learned last year that good things happen with Amazon’s algorithms when you have 25 reviews for a book, and as A Pretty Mouth is already at 18, I feel like this is… achievable.

If you’ve read A Pretty Mouth, whether you kinda liked it, or totally bazonkers loved it, I’d so appreciate it if you took a few minutes to put a review up on Amazon. (I assume if you hated it, you’re not reading this—but if you did hate it, and are reading this, go ‘head and review, I can take it.)

I am truly grateful for all the attention A Pretty Mouth has received since its publication back in 2012—new readers still seem to be reading and enjoying it, which is wonderful! I know books have an excitement life of six months to a year, so the fact that people are still discovering A Pretty Mouth is astounding to me. But, the sad truth is that while it’s always exciting and touching to hear personally from someone who enjoyed your work… it’s generally more helpful (if you’d like to see more from that author) if that praise is put into review form.

Anyways, I’ll keep this hat-in-hand begging short and sweet. Thanks in advance, no worries if you’re too busy or can’t even remember what A Pretty Mouth was about. Happy New Year, and watch this space for news about forthcoming projects!