Summer Vacation

gone fishingSo here in the US, this weekend is a long holiday weekend.  Monday is Memorial Day.  It’s pretty much what it sounds like, a holiday to buy furniture on sale and get sunburned remember fallen military personnel.  It’s considered the unofficial start of summer, and usually involves buying furniture and other items on sale cookouts, memorial services at military cemeteries, and hanging out with family and friends, usually near a grill and a lake if there’s one in the area. Continue reading

Interspecies is a Great Shared World Anthology

Interspecies-final-v2-1-735x1024Interspecies
Ally Bishop, ed.
Kosa Press
ebook $0.99 until June 7, $4.99 thereafter
Print edition forthcoming

Normally I would post this review on Futures Past and Present, my science fiction blog, since Interspecies is most definitely science fiction and not fantasy.  However, I’m making an exception for a couple of reasons.  First, my friend Woelf Dietrich is a contributor, and I want the book to do well.  This blog is the one that gets the most traffic.  I’d also like to thank Woelf for sending me the review copy.  Interspecies doesn’t go on sale until the 27th, so keep your eyes peeled.  I’ll post an update here with pricing information and links when it does.

Second, Kosa Press (long “o”; I’m not sure how to get the bar over the “o”) is an interesting publishing venture, and I want to give it some exposure just on general principles. I’m a big fan of innovative publishing strategies, especially those that cut out a lot of the middle men.  The authors get more money per sale that way.  Kosa Press is a group of writers who have gotten together to publish not only their works but other writers as well.  Interspecies is their first anthology.  What’s different about this group is that some of the writers are in San Francisco, and (at least) one is in New Zealand, making this an international collaboration.

I can hear you now saying, “That’s all well and good, but what about the book?”

I’m glad you asked that. Continue reading

Manly Wade Wellman Turns 113

manlywadewellmanFantasy author Manly Wade Wellman was born on this date (May 21) in 1903.  Wellman isn’t as well known today as he used to be, and should be, but he has a devoted group of fans.  (I include myself in that number.)  I’ve looked at some of it here, here, and here.

Wellman is best known for stories that incorporate the lore and legends of the Appalachian states.  Of these, the John the Balladeer stories are the best known.  They concern a wandering minstrel in the mountains.

Wellman was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his nonfiction work Rebel Boast.  He also beat out William Faulkner in 1946 for the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award.  Faulkner didn’t take it well.

Night Shade Books publshed a five volume set of Wellman’s short fiction.  The volumes are long out of print and highly sought after today.  Haffner Press publsihed a complete collection of the John Thunstone occult detective stories in 2012.  They quickly went out of print.  Wellman’s works are somewhat available.  Prices can vary widely.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read some of his work.

Bloodsounder’s Arc Concludes

Chains_of_the_Heretic_TP_COVER_FINALChains of the Heretic
Jeff Salyards
Nightshade Books
Hardcover $25.99
Trade Paper $15.99
ebook $14.99

And so it comes to an end. I finished this book over a week ago, and I’ve found myself reluctant to write the review. At first I thought it was just time constraints. I had final exams to write and to give and to grade. I had all the usual stuff that happens at the end of the semester that takes up time. Like averaging and posting grades. Meeting with students about why they had a C when they were sure they were going to get an A. (That didn’t happen this semester, but you get the idea. I did have some meetings with a few folks about grades.)  Or why they have the grade they have when they didn’t attend most of the labs.  (This always happens.)

But those things are over and done.  I’ve got plenty to do to get ready for summer classes and fall, what with the new lab room coming online.  But none of that is urgent, and much of it depends on other people doing certain things before I can do certain other things.

So what’s my point rambling on like this?  I finally realized that by writing the review, I was done with the story and the characters.  (Those that survived to the end, at least.)  And I didn’t want to be done. Continue reading

Preliminary David Gemmell Ballot is Live

_41941602_gemmellrex_203300The preliminary ballot for the David Gemmell Awards is now live.  You can vote here.  There are three categories:  the Legend Award for Best Novel, the Morningstar Award for Best First Novel, and the Ravenheart Award for best cover illustration.

We here at  rank the Gemmell Awards as one of the most important, if not the most important, in the field.  It’s open to all fans, there’s no gatekeeping fee you have to pay, so go vote!

Why I am Supporting the Skelos Kickstarter

FB_IMG_1461612969109-2The Skelos Kickstarter launched today.  Here’s the link for those of you who wish to save time by skipping this post and going straight to pledging.

Now, why I am supporting.

And, no, it’s not because I’m a contributor.  I would support this Kickstarter even if I weren’t involved at some level.

Let me rephrase that.  I would support the Skelos Kickstarter even if I weren’t contributing to the first issue.  Because I would be involved.  As a reader, if nothing else.

Allow me to pontificate.  *Climbs on soapbox*  I care deeply about the fields of weird fiction and dark fantasy.  They are some of my favorite genres to read in.  I want to be able to read new works, and I want to see the field grow and expand.  Plus I want to know what is out there that I might have missed.  That’s where the reviews will come in. Continue reading

Skelos Kickstarter is Launching

FB_IMG_1461612969109-2The Skelos Kickstarter is going to launch on Tuesday (May 10).  Skelos is a new journal that will publish fiction, articles, and reviews related to Weird Fiction.  It’s edited by (in alphabetical order) Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeff Shanks.  They’ve lined up an impressive first issue.  I’m sure you’ll recognize some of the contributors.  *blushes modestly*

I’ll have more to say when the Kickstarter launches next week, but for now here’s the press release Jeff sent out earlier this evening.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: skelospress@gmail.com

SKELOS: THE JOURNAL OF WEIRD FICTION AND DARK FANTASY LAUNCHES KICKSTARTER ON MAY 10TH

May 5, 2016 – Skelos Press is proud to announce the launch of its new flagship journal with a Kickstarter campaign that will begin on Tuesday May 10th. The first issue of SKELOS: THE JOURNAL OF WEIRD FICTION AND DARK FANTASY will feature a never-before-published fantasy piece by Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane) illustrated by the legendary Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, Coming of Conan, Prince Valiant). Also featured is a new sword and sorcery novelette by Keith Taylor (Bard series, Cormac Mac Art), a long-awaited sequel to his classic tale “Men from the Plain of Lir” originally published in WEIRD TALES. This story will be illustrated by the fantastic Tomás Giorello (Dark Horse King Conan). Another highlight of the issue will be a tale of dark fantasy from World Fantasy Award nominee and John W. Campbell Award nominee Scott A. Cupp.

SKELOS is edited by Mark Finn, author of the World Fantasy Award-nominated BLOOD AND THUNDER; Chris Gruber, editor of Robert E. Howard’s BOXING STORIES from the University of Nebraska Press; and Jeffrey Shanks, co-editor of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated UNIQUE LEGACY OF WEIRD TALES.

Editor Mark Finn stated, “I’m excited to be part of the editorial staff for this journal. We are finding and publishing material that we love to read, and read about. There’s a long-standing tradition to weird fiction, and we think we can contribute something new and exciting to it.”

The first issue will contain short fiction from such talented writers as Charles Gramlich, Dave Hardy, Jason Ray Carney, Ethan Nahte, Scott Hannan, and Matt Sullivan; a fully illustrated adaptation of Grettir and the Draugr from the Icelandic sagas by Samuel Dillon; weird verse by Frank Coffman, Pat Calhoun, Kenneth Bykerk, and Jason Hardy; Insightful essays by Nicole Emmelhainz, Karen Kohoutek, and Jeffrey Shanks; reviews by Charles Hoffman, Bobby Derie, Keith West, Todd Vick, Paul McNamee, Deuce Richardson, and Josh Adkins; and with illustrations by Mark Schultz, Tomás Giorello, Samuel Dillon, and David Cullen.

The Kickstarter campaign will run until June 10 and the issue will begin shipping in late June with an ebook version available at the same time. More information can found at the Skelos Press Facebook page – www.facebook.com/skelospress – or you can follow the project on Twitter @SkelosPress.

A Review and an Apology

HFQbestcover1Back in February, I was home sick with the flu.  Being well-medicated, I spent most of the day asleep.  At one point early in the afternoon, I woke up and got out of bed for a little while.  I checked email since I hadn’t looked at it all day.  There was an email from Adrian Simmons informing me that the new issues of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly was live and a request for a review.  I responded in the affirmative and went back to bed and pharmaceutical induced slumber.

And completely forgot about the email.

So, first, Adrian, I owe you an apology for dropping the ball.  A huge apology.  I’m usually not this careless.  I apologize for not getting the review up sooner.

When I looked the other day at the website, I saw that two of the four fiction pieces were the first of two parts.  i’m going to hold off reading those until the next issue goes live.  I’ll review the stories in their intirety then. Continue reading

Frank Belknap Long at 115

Frank Belknanp LongToday is Frank Belknap Long’s birthday. He was born on Arpil 27, 1901, for those of you who are reading this on a day other than when I posted it. Since it’s late, that’s probably most of you.

Long was a prolific writer of weird fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and Gothic romance. (Charles Rutledge discussed them on his blog a few years ago.  Here’s an example.)  He is probably best remembered today as one of the Lovecraft circle.

I’ve only read a small amount of his work. I’ve found him to be one of those writers who either hits with me and hits it out of the park or completely strikes out. (My wife was just watching a baseball game, so naturally you’re getting a sports analogy.

He was one of five authors (along with Lovecraft, Howard, Moore, and Merritt) of the round-robin story “The Challenge From Beyond”, which I discuss here.   My favorite story of his that I’ve read is “The Houonds of Tindalos”.  This is arguably Long’s most important work, at least in terms of influence.  I’ve paid tribute to it in one of my unpublished sword and sorcery tales I hope to see in print one of these days.

I’ve got some writing to do tonight, so I’m going to have to wait until the weekend to read any of his work.  I’ll do that when I’ve got a bit of time, along with reading some more Davidson.