I had the tremendous pleasure of assisting editor Wendy N. Wagner in assembling this special issue of Nightmare Magazine, which features works by Chuck Palahniuk (yes, he’s queer), Caitlin R. Kiernan, Lee Thomas and newcomers Alyssa Wong and Matthew Bright. Plus! There’s artwork and nonfiction and poetry, (I read slush for the fiction).
You can buy it here: Queers Destroy Horror
I’ve shared the image on social media, just not here. I’m doing so now! Wait until you see the interior art….
Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An ambitious, if uneven update of the King in Yellow set in modern Vancouver. The plot has echoes of Orpheus and Eurydice, with the ‘underworld’ being the surreal, doomed dreamscape kingdom ruled by an eldritch abomination. Graduate student and lucid dreamer Liz and her boyfriend Alex search for her missing friend, the artist Blake in Vancouver. They find themselves enmeshed in a sinister drug and magic fueled underworld.
Pros: The characters are for the most part, skillfully drawn. Kudos to the portrayal of the sexuality spectrum. Liz is an asexual in a loving, if complicated relationship with her boyfriend. Blake was involved with a male lover. All of these facts are presented in an organic manner. The writing is lovely and full of atmosphere. The nightmarish imagery of the liminal world of Carcosa, with its strange constellations and ruined, sky-piercing towers, is worth the price of admission.
Cons: The plot was a bit muddled, and a couple of characters—particularly the gun toting badass monster killer Lailah—was a bit of a false note. It felt like she belonged to a different story. The novel is short; I would have liked to linger in the author’s world a bit more. The loose ends the author leaves dangling would make an excellent sequel.
Recommended for fans of weird fiction, Caitlin R Kiernan, Shirley Jackson and the music of CocoRosie.
The artwork is complete for my illustrated onieromatic weird fiction piece, The Nectar of Nightmares. The publisher, Dim Shores Press, shared this snippet by the uber talented Orion Zangara, who captured one of the images perfectly!
image by Orion Zangara; copyright Dim Shores Press
The chapbook should be out in time for Halloween.
Dim Shores will release limited edition chapbook of a new short story of mine, “The Nectar of Nightmares.” It will be illustrated by the talented Orion Zangara. It will be out sometime this fall.
The NoN is contemporary dark fantasy, inspired by the “symphonic” technique used by David Mitchell in Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas and Bone Clocks.
Having an illustrated story is a bucket list dream of mine! Thanks to Sam Cowan of DS and Scott Nicholay for introducing my work to the press.
So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction, featured my first major sale (“A Bird of Ice”). It was an honor to be place alongside work by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Rick Bowes and Tom Caradamone. Publisher and editor Steve Berman is reissuing the book with a hot new cover.
I am turned off by Lovecraft’s fiction because of his lurid and insistent white supremacy. But Lovecraftian fiction, that plays with his tropes, can be philosophical, poetic and beautiful. I am currently reading AUTOPSY OF AN ELDRITCH CITY by James Champagne, a fellow Rebel Satori author, which modernizes and plays with Cosmic Horror tropes. Set in a fictional Rhode Island city, the stories are full of ominous dark fantasy imagery, full of nihilistic angst with a dash of bleak humor.
From the back cover copy:
Every city casts a shadow, some longer than others. And the city of Thundermist, Rhode Island casts one of the longest shadows of all. With a population of 40,000 people, it might not seem like the most populated place on earth, but every citizen there has a story to tell, some more sinister than others. Look past the city’s pious Catholic façade and you shall see dead children floating face down in its sewers, witches corrupting susceptible minds with blasphemous books, and demons capering on the frescos of its haunted churches. It is a city where even the most innocent of objects–a quilt, a video game, a snow globe, a notebook–can act as a key that unlocks the doors to Doom, Delirium, and Death. The city has long since faded away: all that lingers is its nightmares, in the form of these ten testimonials from the damned, tales of strange and unproductive thinking. Will you open these pages and conduct an autopsy of your own on this dead city? But be warned: the scalpel that dissects the shadows is also the scalpel that cuts both ways.