Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shark Attack!

It's not as bad as it sounds. Today, the Great White EBook Shark took a bite out of Monstrous Affections. But ever since that Benchley incident back in the '70s, sharks have really gotten a bad name when it comes to playing rough.

The Great White EBook Shark website is a very constructive kind of shark attack. The Shark as he/she calls him/herself takes bits of prose that strikes the Shark's fancy. As the name suggests, the site is in the business of highlighting and promoting ebooks, by pre-digesting the writing on a word-by-word, em-dash by em-dash, colon-by-comma level.

So far, the Shark has wondered how devout Christian readers might feel about the introduction of the Crucifix glitch in Peter Watts' Blindsight; analyzed the comma-conjunction structure in Kelly Link's Magic For Beginners; and taken a close and loving look at an oppressively long and evocative paragraph from Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

This afternoon, the Shark had a good long sniff at "The Mayor Will Make a Brief Statement and then Take Questions" - and swam by, leaving the text unmolested.

Here's the verdict:

OK, I give up. There is nothing to say except that the following story is very, very creepy – and very, very well written.
Next time, I must remember to trail a little chum in the water. That drives the sharks crazy, I'm told.

Here's the link.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I really owe Rose Fox a nice dinner out...

Rose Fox is the genre fiction editor at Publisher's Weekly and the author of the Genreville blog. Last year, PW gave Monstrous Affections a starred review. Then Rose put it in the bottom end of her top ten sf/f/h books for 2009.

And now, she's done it again. In her Feb. 23 blog entry, as she was wondering why there weren't more out-of-country nominations for the Bram Stoker Award this year, she had this to say:

Meanwhile, my first thought when I looked at the Stoker ballot was “Where are the non-Americans?”. Not that there are so many on the Nebula ballot–China Miéville might be the only one, actually–but while plenty of top-notch SF/F was published in the U.S., there is no question in my mind that the best horror of 2009 was published by ChiZine Publications in Canada and HarperCollins’s new Angry Robot imprint in the U.K. Slights should absolutely be on that ballot, and Nekropolis, and Monstrous Affections or at least a couple of stories from it, and probably a selection or two from Horror Story and Other Horror Stories (which I haven’t read, but have heard very good things about).
For the record: it is okay that I didn't end up on the Stoker ballot. I have a Bram Stoker Award already, for mine and Edo Van Belkom's short story Rat Food. I received a very nice Black Quill Award, for Monstrous Affections, just the other week. People are buying and reading Monstrous Affections, so ChiZine is making a profit on the money they invested in me, and I am too.

And Stoker or no, I'm stoked that Rose thinks my book deserves one.

Read the whole thing right here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is that a steel banana in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?*

It was just over a week ago that I met up at east-end coffee shop Tango Palace with Devon Wong, the literature and theory correspondent for steelbananas.com - a very cool webzine that subtitles itself 'that post-pomo variety show' - and his photographer, Matt, for a chat about Monstrous Affections, the art of horror and comedy, why lying is sometimes a good thing, and the vocal stylings of Tom Waits. I wore my black leather coat and glowered up a storm to put the fear into 'em, but it didn't work. We went outside to take a picture of me and said our goodbyes.

Well you got to know it doesn't take long for something like that to end up on the internet. So yesterday evening, I came home from a birthday dinner of meat and meat (go, carnivorous yard-apes, and try the goose foie gras at The Black Hoof on Dundas Street West at the top of Trinity Bellwoods Park; go now) to the spectacle of me, on the cover, and the interview itself posted right here.

So go check it out. Devon and Matt did me proud, I think.

And while you're there, feast your eyes on the rest of the journal, which includes articles on everything from break-ups and the movies, to dinosaur porn. I'm bookmarking it all. Although possibly not at work.


* Sorry, steelbananas.com; couldn't resist.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monstrous Affections wins a Black Quill Award

Some time back, I mentioned that Monstrous Affections was nominated for a Black Quill Award, for Best Dark Genre Fiction Collection. Well today, I found out that it actually won the award, in the Readers' Choice category. Which means that readers of the webzine Dark Scribe Magazine old and new weighed in on which story collection they liked best. And this year, enough weighed in on Monstrous Affections to give it the prize.


I assume some of you yard-apes had something to do with that. So thanks, yard apes! Also thanks to Dark Scribe Magazine, which sponsors and administers the three-year-old award. And congratulations to all the winners and nominees, especially Jameson Currier, who won the Editor's Choice award in the same category for his story collection The Haunted Heart and Other Tales.

Here's their press release:

Black Quill Award Winners Announced

FLYNN, SIMMONS TAKE TOP HONORS IN BLACK QUILL AWARDS

LONG ISLAND, NY, February 9, 2010 — A master of otherworldly suspense and a literary fiction darling have taken top honors in the 3rd Annual Black Quill Awards, as winners were announced today by DARK SCRIBE MAGAZINE, the virtual magazine “dedicated to the books that keep readers up at night.”

Chicago-based author Gillian Flynn snagged the coveted Editor’s Choice award for DARK GENRE NOVEL OF THE YEAR for her sophomore effort, DARK PLACES, while veteran dark scribe Dan Simmons took Readers’ Choice honors in the same category for DROOD, his historical reimagining of the last years of Charles Dickens’ life. Simmons was nominated in the same category in 2007 for THE TERROR.

The Black Quill Awards were handed out in (8) categories honoring works of dark genre literature – horror, suspense, and thrillers – from both mainstream and small press publishers. While six of the awards recognized literary efforts, two of the awards recognized important aspects of book publishing and promotion: cover design and artwork and book trailer production — a growing marketing aspect of dark genre publishing. Peter Mahaichuk and César Puch dominated the BEST COVER ART AND DESIGN category for their work on Michael Louis Calvillo’s AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT for Bad Moon Books, while Calvillo himself took Readers’ Choice for BEST SMALL PRESS CHILL. Filmmaker JT Petty won Editors’ Choice for BEST DARK GENRE BOOK TRAILER for his work on the book trailer for real-life wife Sarah Langan’s AUDREY’S DOOR, while up-and-coming trailer producer John Palisano took Readers’ Choice in that same category for Gary Braunbeck’s FAR DARK FIELDS.

First-time nominees fared well in this year’s Black Quills, with Paul G. Bens Jr. taking top honors in the BEST SMALL PRESS CHILL category (Editor’s Choice) and Stoker Award-winner Lisa Morton scoring an Editors’ Choice nod for her editing work on MIDNIGHT WALK in the BEST DARK GENRE ANTHOLOGY category. Jameson Currier snagged an Editors’ Choice award for BEST DARK GENRE FICTION COLLECTION for THE HAUNTED HEART AND OTHER TALES, while David Nickle picked up the Readers’ Choice award in that same category for MONSTROUS AFFECTIONS. Editor Michael Knost took Editors’ Choice honors in the BEST DARK GENRE BOOK OF NON-FICTION category for the how-to compilation WRITERS WORKSHOP OF HORROR, while frequent Stephen King chronicler Bev Vincent earned Readers’ Choice honors in the same category for his THE ILLUSTRATED STEPHEN KING COMPANION. Elsewhere, Sarah Totton and Harry Shannon earned Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice nods, respectively, in the BEST DARK SCRIBBLE category. Totton’s short story “Flatrock Sunners” appeared in the UK print magazine BLACK STATIC, while Shannon’s “The Night Nurse” ran on the webzine Horror Drive-In.

Prolific genre editor Ellen Datlow – a double nominee this year – added a Black Quill Award to her lengthy list of honors for her editing work on POE: 19 NEW TALES INSPIRED BY EDGAR ALLAN POE. This was Datlow’s third nomination, following last year’s nomination for INFERNO: NEW TALES OF TERROR AND THE SUPERNATURAL and a second nomination this year for her work on the LOVECRAFT UNBOUND collection.

Nominations for the Black Quills are editorial-based, with both the editors and active contributing writers submitting nominations in each of the (8) categories. Once nominations are announced, readers of DSM cast their votes for their picks in each category. For this year’s outing, more than 3,300 votes were cast by the magazine’s readers. In a unique spin intended to celebrate both critical and popular success, two winners are traditionally announced in each category – Reader’s Choice and Editor’s Choice. Winners receive recognition in DSM, inclusion in press release materials announcing nominations and winners, a virtual icon to be used on their own website, and a handsome award certificate.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tesseracts 14

I was really torn for a minute there. Brett Savory put out word yesterday that the Table of Contents of Tesseracts 14, the next edition of the long-running Canadian sf anthology he's co-editing with John Robert Colombo, will be revealed shortly. Because it is a big secret.

Some time later, I got this... email from Brett. And I thought to myself - can I brag about it on my blog yet? Is it ethical? If it's not, is my ass covered by good company?

I did a google blog search. And doing so, I found this, and this, and this.

My ass, I figure, is covered by good company.

* * *
And so...

You heard it here first, Yard-Apes: my story "Basements," a rambling meditation on the war on terror, home renovation obsession and the need to wear trousers when guests show up, will be listed in the table of contents of Tesseracts 14 when Brett and John finally get around to posting it.

This is the seventh Tesseracts volume that's contained a story of mine. In addition to having a clear conscience, I am also delighted to be a part of what promises to be an excellent anthology, given the company.

Like the stories in my collection Monstrous Affections, "Basements" will be sealed behind a shriek-inducing cover by the inimitable Erik Mohr.

Monday, February 1, 2010

There must be something (under) the water...

I'm beginning to think that my hometown of Toronto has more in common with Arkham, Innsmouth and Dunwich than just its aura of loathsomeness to the rest of the country.

Turns out this town is, like Innsmouth, a bastion of eldritchery.

Case in point: Joseph Nanni, a local H.P. Lovecraft fancier and film-maker of great energy and talent. His blog, Bad Advice for Good Times, notes that he and his fellow cultists are embarking on their first feature film, Drawing Baphomet.

I do not know Joseph Nanni personally. I do not know what Drawing Baphomet is about. But I have been enjoying his short Lovecraftian films - The Necronomicon, Casting Call of Cthulhu, and right here, Elder Sign:



Ftagn.