Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Libraries, Bookstores, Black History Month

Okay, folks, major league two-part favor:
1) show your local librarian this article in which Library Journal named Wind Follower was named as a novel suitable for Black History Month

2) In Late January, remind your librarian and your local bookstore about Wind Follower. So they'll have time to include it in their Black History Month display.

That's it. Thanks. -C

Latest in Spec-Fic

CSFF and the Lost Genre Guild are putting together a special Christmas Gift Ideas issue of Latest In Spec, listing Christian speculative fiction that released in 2007 If you authored such a book, we need your information. Latest in Spec-Fic is a truly beautiful resource:

One Lord Many Tribes

Sometimes when I'm in church on Sundays, I find myself thinking about all my Christian brothers throughout the world. Think of it, as we lift up holy hands to God, as we take our communion, all around the world, God's children are praising Him. All throughout heaven, songs are being sung to the glory of God.

I've got to say that that just amazes me. To think that all my brothers across the world are praising God with me. "Let us exalt His name together."

As a creative person, I have always loved God's creativity. The Creator made so many things that we see and so many things that we will never see. Sea worms under the ocean, insects in the side of rocks. The Creator has even made some creatures that I don't personally like. Mice and snakes, only to name a few. And He seems to have a weird extreme love for beetles. But nevertheless, I love him with all my heart.

As Christians, we love nature and we love the God of nature. We love our brothers and sisters in Christ -- even those who belong to other cultures and ethnic groups. Yet, we North American Christians often do not understand those other cultures. I dare say, some of us rarely read books by folks in other cultures....even if those folks are Christians.

When I wrote Wind Follower, two books influenced me. One is Eternity in their Hearts, by Don Richardson. It is an account of missionaries and their encounters with different cultures.

The other book is One Church, Many Tribes : Following Jesus the Way God Made You by Richard Twiss and John Dawson. A great book written by a Native American Christian pastor.

I'm sure there are other books out there. I recently saw an East Indian Christian who explained how Jesus Christ -- the Divine Guru, the Light, The remover of the Sin Debt-- is the fulfilling of many East Indian hopes.

Out of all nations, God has created a people. In heaven all His children will know and understand each other. But it would be nice if we could begin understanding each other's cultures now.

Seek out a specfic book written by someone from another culture. Or a Christian multicultural romance. And if you aren't in the mood for fiction, these two books are highly recommended. May the Lord richly bless you with His love this holiday season. -Carole

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Native American Pastor Richard Twiss of Wiconi International

has given a Guarded BOOK RECOMMENDATION for this YA book; PG-13

This is what he wrote:

Knowing I won’t get a lot of love from of few people for recommending it, for people who want to get an insiders view of the typical life of a reservation young person, I nonetheless highly suggest you get a copy of
Sherman Alexie’s new book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

It won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, is currently #1 on the Book Sense Best Sellers List for children, and is #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List in chapter books for children. The book has also been selected by Publishers Weekly (11/5/07) as one of the "Best Books of the Year."

Told in a typical Alexie humorous way, it paints an honest, all too real (the PG-13 part) and painful picture of the challenges faced by kids on the Rez everyday. Because I grew up with very similar circumstances as a young boy on the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Reservation and later, I laughed out loud many times and cried quietly while reading it. If you like it let me know what you think; if not, just pray for me.

So, if you're looking for a kid's book on Native American or Minority Issues...and if your child can handle the PG-13 aspects of life on a reservation, here's a great Christmas present idea.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Coming up short

Back in the day -- about two years ago-- I made a vow which I'll call the 2-2-2-2 vow. The upshot of this vow is that EACH year I would always try to end up in 2 fiction anthologies, hook up with 2 printed journal/ezine magazine editors, publish 2 poems in a poetry anthology, and write 2 essays for non-fiction anthologies. Hey, I was a lit major. We valued anthologized stuff. Anyways, here it is... almost 2008 and I haven't finished any short fiction let alone gotten accepted in any anthology. I've come up short.

In my own defense -- I always have something to say in my own defense-- unlike Hemingway who said he wrote his best short stories when he was avoiding his longer novels, I simply cannot truly focus on perfecting a short story when I'm in novel-mode. Either the short story starts becoming a novel, or I just flitter back and forth through all my Works-in-progress or play a computer solitaire game.

So now I'm trying to catch up. And strangely, three Asian-themed stories have popped into my mind. And, yay, one of them is almost finished. It's called So Far and it's written in future tense, second person. It's lovely and I just have to fight my novelistic soul which wants to turn it into a prequel for Wind Follower. ::shaking head here::

Anyway, there I was...all psyched to begin the second short story which wanted to be a monologue and which I decided to name Villager Uncle Li. Yep, my Asian obsession again. (Lord knows when this obsession began. Maybe after I saw the Jet Li movie, Hero.
But I go to my friend's house and her son says to me, "Ever heard of
Herman Li? He's great! As good as Buckethead." So of course, being a gal who listens to music in order to write, I end up spending my thanksgiving listening to Herman Li who, amazingly looks like how I pictured my main character Loic in Wind Follower. I also loved the coincidence and synchronity. The upshot of all this is that I actually felt as if God was urging me to finish my stories. The short ones about gorgeous Asian guys anyway.

Which gets me thinking. How am I gonna pay back all those artists -- visual or musical-- who have inspired me?
Folks like Dwight Yoakam, Jackson Browne,and
Axl Rose.

Yes, yes...although so much of my writing comes from some erotic part in my mind, there are some women aritst out there I actually listen to when I write. I just can't think of them right now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Some Calls for submissions

We will be paying 1¢ per word and a copy of the anthology. We prefer stories under 6,000 words. Payment will be upon publication. Also, please indicate in your email to WHICH anthology your are submitting even though we do provide separate emails below.

We are getting some submissions that seem to be forgetting the basics so there they are in repeated in short form:

(1) Submissions should be in standard MS format, except for 1" margins and 12 point font. Do not paste the text into the email window. We prefer attachments in Microsoft Word document or in Rich Text Format (RTF). or text (if you must).

(2) All submissions hould have contact information in the cover letter and in the document: Name, address, phone # and email.

No Simultaneous submissions

(3) Multiple submissions are fine, but only one story will be accepted. If you're submitting to both anthologies, fine. Do it one MS at a time. Do not submit multiple MS to each anthology, wait until you hear back from the editors before submitting again. Yes, you may submit to BOTH anthologies.

(4) Include brief publishing history, BIOs will be asked for if the story is accepted.

(5) Dark Hart is buying FNASR. (First North American Serial Rights.)

(6) If the story has been printed already let us know. Reprints are being considered last for this anthology. Given the repsonse we are already received, we doubt we will be using Reprints.


Note the titles on these anthologies may be added to and/or changed slightly as they develop.

(1) Terrible Beauty: Beauty that causes people to do unspeakable things, beauty that masks something else. Use this theme in a unique way, and get back to us. Maximum story length: 7,000 words. We want variety, surprises and fresh ideas. There is no set or expected way to approach this topic, so go for it! SF, Urban, and Historical settings are fine.

If it is NOW October 1st or beyond, send your submission for the Terrible Beauty Anthology to:

(2) Traps! Theme guidelines: Use the two quotes from Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967), the famed wit of the Algonquin Club in NYC, provided below as inspiration. Please use both some way in your story—not literally, but creatively. See above for what we look for. Ditto on all points: 7,000 words max., etc. Make it intricate, but easily comprehensible. Yes, we do know that is an oxymoron.

Trapped, like a trap in a trap.

By the time you swear you're his
Shivering, sighing
And he swears his love for you is
Infinite, undying
Lady, make a note of this
One of you is lying

If it is NOW October 1st or beyond, send your submission for the Traps Anthology to:


DarkHart Press is a small independent trade publisher based in Ward Hill, Massachusetts. We publish 4-6 novels/short story anthologies per year and our authors are paid royalties. Please query via email or snail mail before sending your novel.

Note: We are not a subsidy press. We pay our authors and DarkHart pays for all associated costs of advertising, printing and promoting the books we publish. if you have any other questions, please ask.

We do accept short story submissions via email—but ONLY for anthologies during the times when we are reading and the stories should relate to themes we are looking for, however, longer works (novellas/20,000 words +) or novels should be sent via snail mail to our mailing address. Please send queries or short story manuscripts to:

For all other submissions, please use this address:

DarkHart Press
PO Box 8009
Ward Hill, MA 01835

Our Philosophy, Aims and Publishing Needs:

DarkHart Press publishes these types of fiction:

• Horror
• Dark Fantasy or Dark Fiction this includes, Science Fiction with dark elements
• Cross-genre that includes these elements—romance can be up to an equal component or subplot, but we do not publish romance novels with dark/horror elements.
Submission Guidelines
Short Fantasy Fiction for inclusion in
Paper Blossoms,
Sharpened Steel:
Tales of Fantasy from the Far East


The anthology will feature roughly twenty-five short stories between
3,000 and 9,000 words.

We are looking for stories of fantasy in East Asian-based settings. We want tales that are heavily influenced by Chinese, Korean, or Japanese folklore and history. We are not looking for stories set in the modern day. The mid-to-late 1800's is as late as you should venture. Submissions need not be set in our world, but can be set in created worlds that are influenced by the cultures listed above.
Examples of books and movies with similar themes include (but are not limited to): Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (novel), Shaman Warrior by Park Joong-Ki (Korean manwha), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (movie, the fourth book in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy by Wang Dulu, and a graphic novel series), the Chinese legend of Hua Mu Lan, the Tomoe Gozen trilogy by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, and Kwaidan
by Jung and Jee-Yun (graphic novel).

No electronic submissions. Please include a SASE for reply.
Submission Period: May 15, 2007 to December 15, 2007
Reading Period: December 15, 2007 to January 15, 2008
Responses will be mailed by January 31, 2008

Rights: 1st World Publication Rights in the English Language
Pay: 5 cents per word upon acceptance of final draft, as an advance
on pro rata (based on final page-count) share of 35% of net revenue

Mail your story to
Fantasist Enterprises
PBSS Anthology
PO Box 9381
Wilmington, DE 19809

Short Fantasy Fiction of Any Theme or Sub-genre
We are always looking for short fantasy stories to be entered into the "Fantastical Visions Contest" for possible inclusion in our next Fantastical Visions anthology. For more information on the contest,
see the Contest Page.

Fantasist Enterprises

Spec the Halls is a contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. The holiday may be fictional or real; it may be Christmas as we know and love it, or it may be something much stranger.
What do I mean by speculative? I mean science fiction, fantasy, or even horror, of traditional and modern varieties. Mixed genres or slipstream is okay. Horror must be of the supernatural, dark science fiction, or dark fantasy variety. However, although I am including horror, I am not accepting relentlessly downbeat submissions. This is a celebration of the holiday season, so I have a couple of caveats. There must be at least one sympathetic character (for fiction and poetry), and there must be at least a glimmer of hope at the end.

Do not submit a retelling of the Christmas story without a speculative element!

This year, I'm trying something new. There will be two versions of this contest: paid entry, and free. The free version will remain the same as last year--you must post the story in a publicly accessible place and a link will be posted on this website. The paid entry version won't require it to be posted online.

Paid Entry Guidelines | Free Entry Guidelines

Paid Entry Guidelines
Entries must be first received between Thanksgiving (November 23rd) and Christmas (December 25th). Winners will be announced before Groundhog Day.
Entry Fees:
Fiction - $5
Artwork - $2.50
Poetry - $1
One prize is given for each category. The prize is 70% of entry fees received, and will be paid through PayPal. Not to mention the joy and delight of spreading the spirit of Christmas...and twisting it to your own ends. As this is the first year Spec the Halls has a paid entry category, I can't predict the number of entries.
Multiple submissions are accepted.
Reprints are perfectly okay, though I'd like to know where the work previously appeared.

Fiction may be of any length, from short-short to novella, but if it runs past 10,000 words it better be pretty amazing.

Artwork may be in any medium, so long as it fits the theme. The image size must be no more than 1000 pixels wide and no more than 800 pixels high.

Poetry may be in any style, from medieval traditional to free-form.

How to submit:
Paypal your entry fee to with your submission title in the Note field.
Then email

What to put in the submission email:

A subject line in the following format: "Paid Submission - [Fiction/Artwork/Poetry] - [Submission Title]". For example, "Paid Submission - Fiction - The Nightmare Before Christmas".

Your full legal name and mailing address.

A pseudonym, if you would like to use this on your story instead of your real name.

A note stating whether or not there is violence, sex, or swearing in your story.

No attachments.

By submitting work to this contest, you agree that this work is entirely your own, that you have the rights to it, and that it in no way violates the rights of another entity. If your submission is chosen to win, you agree to grant exclusive rights allowing it to be published on the Spec the Halls website for a period of two months after the contest winners are announced and to grant non-exclusive reprint rights during the contest period (Thanksgiving through Groundhog Day) next year. You understand that a winning submission will be archived on the site as the site manager determines, though it will be removed at your request except during the two time periods defined above. If you are under eighteen, your parent or guardian has given their agreement to your submitting under these terms.

Free Entry Guidelines
Entries must be first posted between Thanksgiving (November 23rd) and Christmas (December 25th). They must stay online until Groundhog Day (February 2nd) or until the winners are announced (Groundhog Day is the outside deadline that I'm setting myself for the decision). However, it should be noted that submitting earlier (when there's less competition) will increase a submission's chances of being a "Featured Submission."
One prize is given for each category. The prize is $25 for fiction, $15 for artwork, and $5 for poetry. Not to mention the joy and delight of spreading the spirit of Christmas...and twisting it to your own ends. Prizes will be paid through PayPal.
There is no entry fee.
One submission only per category. You may submit to more than one category.

Reprints are perfectly okay, though I'd like to know where the work previously appeared.

Fiction may be of any length, from short-short to novella, but if it runs past 10,000 words it better be pretty amazing.

Artwork may be in any medium, so long as it fits the theme. The image size must be no more than 1000 pixels wide and no more than 800 pixels high.

Poetry may be in any style, from medieval traditional to free-form.

How to submit (and here's where it gets interesting):
The point of this contest is to share the (speculative) spirit of Christmas. To submit, you must place your story/artwork/poem on the internet in a publicly accessible forum. This means your website, your blog, a shared documents/images service that allows you to share with everyone, or an online community that you belong to. This should be an ad-free space with no pop-ups, and it should not be cluttered up with lots of links. I understand that some free website providers have banner ads that cannot be removed, and I will make allowances for this. If you like, you are welcome to put up a simple "donate" or "tip" button from PayPal or a similar service on your submission page. You must be able to provide a static address link for your submission. Do not use weird fonts or text/background colors for poetry or fiction submissions.
When you post your submission online, you must include the following text in the upper left-hand corner:

This [story/artwork/poem] is a part of the Spec the Halls contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. You may find descriptions of and links to other entries at Spec the halls
It should be noted that many online magazines count posting a short story online on your website as publication, in terms of giving up first publication rights if not in terms of publishing credit. If you are not comfortable with this, consider submitting to the paid entry version of Spec the Halls.
After you've posted your submission, send an email to

What to put in the submission email:

A subject line in the following format: "Submission - [Fiction/Artwork/Poetry] - [Submission Title]". For example, "Submission - Fiction - The Nightmare Before Christmas".

A link to your submission page.

Your full legal name and mailing address.

A pseudonym, if you would like to use this on your story instead of your real name.

A note stating whether or not there is violence, sex, or swearing in your story.

No attachments.

For fiction, a brief promotional "teaser" of thirty words or less. This should not be a summary of the work. Think of the cover copy on the back of a book.

For artwork, a link to a "sample" of your submission. This sample should be 100 x 100 pixels. This sample may be a scaled-down version of your artwork, it may be a small portion of the piece, or it may be a combination of the two.

(For poetry, the teaser will be the first two lines of the poem, so no teaser needs to be included.)

By submitting work to this contest, you agree that this work is entirely your own, that you have the rights to it, and that it in no way violates the rights of another entity. If your submission is chosen to win, you agree to grant exclusive rights allowing it to be published on the Spec the Halls website for a period of two months after the contest winners are announced and to grant non-exclusive reprint rights during the contest period (Thanksgiving through Groundhog Day) next year. You understand that a winning submission will be archived on the site as the site manager determines, though it will be removed at your request except during the two time periods defined above. If your submission is not chosen to win, you understand that the site may at its discretion continue to link to the submission unless you request otherwise. If you are under eighteen, your parent or guardian has given their agreement to your submitting under these terms.
What I will do with submissions:
I will post links to all submissions on the contest website, along with the submission teaser or sample, updated weekly. There will be a weekly "featured submissions" page, where I'll put up a very short beginning excerpt of fiction and poetry or a mid-size sample of artwork, along with a link to the submission. A weekly email containing the same information will be sent out on a roughly weekly basis. You may subscribe to this by sending an email to with "Subscribe" in the subject line.
Spec The halls guidelines

BAD A$$ Faeries and CRY HAVOC
Hello All,

Well, the deadline for Bad-A$$ Faeries and Cry Havoc are rapidly drawing near. We are starting to get submissions, but nowhere near where we hoped we would be. To that end, I am copying everyone that expressed an interest, as well as those I feel might be intrigued by the project. (Feel free to circulate this announcement.)

Please send a query email with your idea so I can direct you in another direction if someone is already working on something similar.

To give the new-comers some details about the anthologies here are the basics:

Title: Bad-A$$ Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad

Premise: Urban Fantasy stories about tough faeries. Basically in professions or with interests that you would least likely expect faeries to be in. For this volume a faerie must be the antagonist. In other words, both bad-a$$ and bad. This is not to say there can't be good faeries in the story as well. (for those that aren't sure what constitutes urban fantasy, it is a story in a modern setting with fantasy elements).

Word Count: approximately 5000 to 7000 words

Payment: One comp copy per author and a pro rata portion of $1.25 each book sold

Deadline: November 30, 2007

Submission Guidelines: Please see my website at

Ideas to Avoid:
(Used in first volume) Biker Faeries, mob faeries, detective faeries, ghetto faeries, assassin faeries, ossuary faeries, cowboy faeries, indian faeries, street urchin faeries, Puck,?gang faeries

(Submitted for second volume) Nazi elves, world war two faeries, faerie reaper,
pirate faeries, heavy metal faeries, faerwolf, corporate raider faeries, repo
faerie, evil tooth faerie

Stories We Might Like to See: bounty-hunter faerie,?hocky or rugby player faerie,?mercenary faeries, teamster faeries, construction worker faeries, robber faeries/bandit faeries...that kind of thing. And one thing I'd really like to see...a cops-and-robber faeries story.

Keep in mind, though a faerie has to be a bad guy, that doesn't mean their can't
be good faeries in the story too...

Second Anthology:

Title: Cry Havoc - Stories of Conflict Between Men, Monsters, and Machines

Premise: collection is broken into section: Pure Fantasy (Men vs. Monsters, no tech), Historic Fantasy (any combination of the three, primitive tech (like DiVinci or such), Urban Fantasy (any combination of the three, modern-day tech), Soft Sci Fi (any combination of the three, future projection tech based on current design or theory), and Hard Sci Fi (Men vs. Machines, anything you can imagine, even if the science doesn't yet support it)

Word Count: approximately 5000 to 7000 words

Payment: One comp copy per author and a pro rata portion of $1.00 each book sold

Deadline: November 30, 2007

Submission Guidelines: Please see my website at

We have an off balance amount of submissions for Historic and Urban Fantasy, and
Soft Sci Fi, so focusing on one of the other sections might be advised.

Thank you and best regards,

Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Author of Yesterday's Dreams
Author of Tomorrow's Memories
Editor of Bad-A$$ Faeries

The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
Hardback Book Publication • $1000 Award • Selected Poems in Tampa Review

Manuscripts must be previously unpublished. Some or all of the poems in the
collection may have appeared in periodicals, chapbooks, or anthologies, but
these must be identified.

1. Manuscripts should be typed, with pages consecutively numbered. Clear
photocopies are acceptable. Manuscripts must be at least 48 typed pages; we prefer
a length of 60 -100 pages but will also consider submissions falling outside this range.

2. Please submit your manuscript as loose pages held only by a removable clip or rubber band and enclosed in a standard manilla file folder. Do not staple or bind your manuscript.

3. Entries should include two title pages, one with author's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (if available), and one with no author information. Author's name should not appear within the manuscript.

4. Entries must include a table of contents and a separate acknowledgments page (or pages) identifying prior publication credits.

5. Submissions must be postmarked by December 31. Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but the University of Tampa Press must be notified immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

6. Include a nonrefundable handling fee of $20.00 for each manuscript submitted. Make check or money order payable to "University of Tampa Press".

7. The winning entry will be announced in Spring/Summer, together with a list of finalists. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard for notification of receipt of manuscript, and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for notification of contest results. No manuscripts will be returned. All contestants enclosing SASE will be notified following the final selection.

Manuscripts should be sent to:
The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
University of Tampa Press
401 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33606


CFS: Alligator Juniper-Genre Blur


In our 2008 issue of Alligator Juniper, we’ll be featuring a special section on genre blur. Introduced by Margot Singer’s essay “On Genre and Voice in Creative Nonfiction,” which claims “there is no such thing as non-hybrid form” and “that voice is the only formal distinction between fiction and nonfiction,” this special feature in AJ will explore work that challenges easy categorization and expands or destroys our notion of “genre.”

We’re looking for submissions that revel in their inherent hybrid nature, that combine and confuse genre, that experiment with voice and form. We’re looking for writing that fills in the cracks: lyric essay, prose poem, flash fiction, fictional essay, epistolary half-truth, mythic memoir…whatever you can think of that pushes us to consider—and re-consider—how to categorize the work.

Because of our limited space, shorter pieces (500-3,000 words) are encouraged, although we will consider longer pieces of merit.

Deadline for submission is January 1, 2008. Send a cover letter with a paragraph containing your explanation of how your piece blurs genre, in addition to an SASE to:

Alligator Juniper
Prescott College
220 Grove Avenue
Prescott, AZ 86301

Questions: Contact Rachel Yoder at or (928) 350-2012



Guest editors: Sebastian Matthews and Camille T. Dungy
Deadline: February 15, 2008

The introduction to the Oxford Book of Nature Writing, claims that “the most
convincing nature writing is… a history of our views about ourselves.” This is most certainly true; however, the prevalence and scope of Black writing with nature as a core theme has been generally underestimated. Many poems by Black American writers incorporate treatments of the natural world that are historicized or politicized, thus inclining readers to consider these poems political poems, historical poems, protest poems, socio-economic commentary, anything but nature poems. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes literature about nature or the environment is limited to poems that address the pastoral or the rugged, spaces and subjects removed or distanced from human contact. Such compartmentalization excludes African American nature poetry, which frequently engages contemporary and historic concerns within social, political, and cultural contexts. The result of such assumptions is that lists of American nature writers rarely include many African American names.

As guest editors for the journal Ecotone: Re-imagining Place, we’re making a call for poems by Black poets about and engaging the natural world. Founding Editor David Gessner says this about Ecotone’s mission: “Much of our best writing grows out of the land. More specifically, it grows from rich, overlapping areas, those unstable, uncategorizable places that aren’t one thing or another. Biological ecotones are areas of great species diversity and biological density, of intense life and death; literary ecotones are the places where words come most alive. These edges—between genres, between science and literature, between land and sea, between urban and rural, between the personal and biological, between the animal and spiritual—are not only more alive, but more interesting and worthy of exploration.” Black poetry in America has recorded perspectives on the natural world as different as the Black perspective on this country. We’re looking for poems that re-imagine the boundaries of the genre, poems that remind readers that we are always part of the natural world, even when we feel most alienated from it.

Please submit up to 4 poems, by February 15, 2008, for an Ecotone feature issue on nature poetry by Black American poets. Send poems c/o Guest Editors, Ecotone, P.O. Box 9594, Asheville, NC, 28815. Include your name, address, email and an SASE.

--Camille T. Dungy & Sebastian Matthews
Guest Editors of Ecotone: Re-Imagining Place

Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
CLOCKWORK PHOENIX: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness is a new annual anthology series edited by Mike Allen, to be published by Norilana Books starting in 2008. The anthology's literary focus is on the high end, and it is open to the full range of the speculative and fantastic genres.

Editor Mike Allen says: " Clockwork Phoenix is a home for stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren't afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques. But experimentation is not a requirement: the stories in the anthology must be more than gimmicks, and should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. I will value a story that makes me laugh in its quirky way more than a story that tries to dazzle me with a hollow exercise in wordplay.

"The stories should contain elements of the fantastic, be it science fiction, fantasy, horror or some combination thereof. A straight psychological horror story is unlikely to make the cut unless it's truly scary and truly bizarre. The same applies to a straight adventure fantasy or unremarkable space opera -- bring something new and genuine to the equation, whether it's a touch of literary erudition, playful whimsy, extravagant style, or mind-blowing philosophical speculation and insight. Though stories can be set in this world, settings at least a hair or more askew are preferred. I hope to see prose that is poetic but not opaque. I hope to see stories that will lead the reader into unfamiliar territory, there to find shock and delight."

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books in a trade paperback edition in the Spring of 2008, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.

PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance as an advance against royalties, then a pro rata share of royalties after earnout, plus a contributor copy.

WORD LENGTH: Up to 10,000 words, with longer stories having to be exceptional.
DEADLINE: February 1, 2008.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story via e-mail, as an RTF file attachment. Your e-mail subject line should say "Submission: Story Title". Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email. It should have your name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing
credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike.

We look forward to reading your most inspired work.

Far Far Away (tenative title) will be a themed print anthology about the worlds that exist alongside our own, unseen, be they on the other side of the looking-glass, in virtual reality, or in the sewers under the city. We especially like slipstream or cross-genre. Also: humor, SF/Fantasy, experimental, and/or surreal. Stories without any element of genre may be considered if they do a fantastic job of making Mundania seem like a foreign world. Elements of horror are fine, but we'd rather you evoke a sense of wonder than dread. Show us what exists just outside of the everyday, and turn what's under our noses into a land far, far away.

Deadline: February 29, 2008
No reprints.
Fiction from 100 to 6,000 words, and we may publish one novella of 10,000 to 15,000 words.
Submit work in the body of the email, or attached as a rtf, doc, or odt.
If your work is selected, we will purchase FNASR at the following rates:

$10 for flash (<1000 words)
$25 forshort stories (1000 + words),
and $50 for a novella of >10,000.

You will get an e-mail confirmation that we received your story, but you may not get your acceptance or rejection until after the submission deadline. To accomodate this, we will allow you to send up to four submissions to a total word count of 6,000 words (whichever comes first) OR one novella up to 15,000 words. Simultaneous subs
okay, if marked as such, and please notify us as soon as you can it your story is accepted elsewhere.

Submissions go to Adicus R. Garton and Brian Worley, editors.
Subject line like this (or our spam filters may eat it): FFAsub/Title/name

susurrusantho (at)

Recommended Reading:

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Otherland by Tad Williams
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zalazny
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Anthology Guidelines - "Subtle Edens - The Elastic Book of Slipstream"

This book will be a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. To be edited by Allen Ashley. To be published as an original paperback by Elastic Press in Autumn 2008.

General Information:

All works must be original to the author(s), not under consideration anywhere else and not previously published. Any quotations from other people's work must be either public domain, approved by the quoted
author or fall under the "body of a review" copyright allowance. As a general rule: Write your own material, don't rely on someone else's!


Allen Ashley has made the following provocative statements:

"Slipstream is essentially a 1990s and noughties extension and subtle reconfiguration of New Wave science fiction."

"How do I define science fiction? Somewhere between 1967 and 1974."

Slipstream uses the tropes and ideas of science fiction, fantasy and horror but is not bound by their rules and will often make those elements only a minor feature of the story rather than its raison d'ĂȘtre. Likewise, a plot and set-up may appear conventionally literary but fall outside the staid boundaries of the mainstream.
Slipstream may start off with a science fictional or broadly realistic appearance but then take a sideways step into its own unique microcosm or socio-psychological state. Slipstream writers may sometimes experiment with form, presentation and the usurpation of traditional techniques but these are not ends in themselves. As with all great literature, Slipstream is concerned with people, perceptions and the human experience. Slipstream contains and proudly maintains a strain of solipsism and encourages the individual viewpoint and the unique vision. We appreciate the sentiments behind the recent coining of the phrase "The New Weird" but reject this notion as limiting and somewhat off-target.

In a sound bite, Slipstream is somewhere between the literary aspirations of the mainstream and the pulp excitement of genre fiction.

Slipstream is a living genre. J. G. Ballard called science fiction the true literature of the twentieth century. Here in the noughties, we believe Slipstream is a vital genre and is the only true literary response to the challenges of the new millennium.

As you can see, Allen is already halfway through his anthology introduction. But then again, maybe Slipstream is the genre that ultimately defies easy categorisation. Throw off the constraints of branding, marketing and labelling! Make Slipstream what you believe it to be.

How to Submit Stories:

If all the above hasn't put you off - and it ought to have done, folks! - then we'd really like to read your work. Stories should be written in English, be original, unpublished, not under consideration elsewhere and no longer than 5000 words in length. Standard presentation rules apply. Please send "Disposable" paper copy plus C5 stamped addressed envelope. We can reply by email if you prefer.
Overseas contributors: we will only reply by email. The editor prefers to relax on a sofa and enjoy reading a hard copy of your opus - he was brought up on books, you know. For email submissions, please query first to check what mood he's in.

Send your manuscripts to: Allen Ashley, Editor - "Subtle Edens", 110 Marlborough Road, Bounds Green, London N22 8NN, England.

Please allow 8 weeks response time.

Please email Allen if you have any queries about this anthology, no matter how trivial or, indeed, testing!

Presentation Guidelines for the Novice:
Typed; double spaced; white paper; black ink; one side of paper only; title and author name at head of each page; page number on each page; word count on final page or title page; manuscripts in English. Use a
conventional, legible font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Courier New set at 12 or 14 pitch.

Non Fiction:
We will be publishing a few non-fiction articles within the body of the book but all of these have now been commissioned.

Please Note:
Submission period closes: on Friday 29th February 2008 or when we're full, whichever is appropriate. Watch the Elastic Press site for regularly updated information.

You will be paid for your work in copy / copies of the book. Elastic Press receives no Lottery or Arts Council funding and is completely independent from any multinational media organisations. We survive because discerning readers buy our books. Thank you.

With their titles having been regularly short-listed for prestigious awards, Elastic Press made the great leap forward in 2005 and won two British Fantasy Society Awards - Best Anthology ("The Alsiso Project"
Ed. Andrew Hook) and Best Small Press.

Bite Size Guidelines:
"Subtle Edens - The Elastic Book of Slipstream" - anthology.
Allen Ashley requires:
Original Slipstream stories up to 5000 words.
Payment: via Contributor copy / copies.
Response Time: 8 weeks.
Closing date: 29th February 2008.
Send "Disposable" hard copy manuscripts to:

Allen Ashley, Editor - "Subtle Edens", 110 Marlborough Road, Bounds
Green, London N22 8NN, England.

Finishing line press
10th Year Anniversary CHAPBOOK COMPETITION
A prize of $1,000 and publication will be awarded by Finishing Line Press for a chapbook-length poetry collection. Open to women who have never before published a full-length poetry collection. Previous chapbook publication does not disqualify. All entries will be considered for publication. The top-ten finalists will be offered publication and will be included in the New Women's Voices Series. Submit up to 26 pages of poetry, PLUS bio, acknowledgments, SASE and cover letter with a
$15 entry fee by

Deadline: Feb. 15, 2008 (POSTMARK).
Judith Montgomery will final judge.
Winner will be announced on our website:

Send to:
Finishing Line Press
P O Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324


In Bad Dreams - Volume Two: Where Death Stalks
(An Anthology of Contemporary Horror)
Edited by Mark S. Deniz & Sharyn Lilley
The unnatural sea creature off the coast of Maputo in Mozambique; the blood sucking vampire in Valdivia, Chile; or the disease ridden hag in Braitslava, with her words of poison. Vampire, werewolf, spirit; creatures of the night; the paranormal; abominations or just plain misunderstood.
Some may run to their deathly embrace; others will flee the largest cities, thinking themselves safer in a city with less victims to attract 'their' attentions. All will find it is not safe, there is nowhere to go, for wherever you run, you can be sure 'they' are waiting; watching and waiting...

We want your best urban supernatural stories; we want disturbed original tales from every corner of the globe. We want stories set in the cities least used (from a literary sense). While we won't automatically reject an excellent story based in London, the same story set in Manchester will be more likely to get our attention.

We don't want light and fluffy tales. We don't want clichés. Give us a dark and scary, terrifyingly real world. A world where you need to pinch yourself to make sure you are awake and not actually living In Bad Dreams.

We are looking for original pieces of fiction, not previously published in any format.

Payment: $20 AUD plus a contributor copy

Word length: 2,000 - 5,000 words (longer stories will need to be discussed with us before submitting)

Reading period: begins on 1st October 2007.

Deadline: 1st March 2008. This is not a rolling submission project and so we will inform authors as to whether they are successful or not as soon as possible after this date.

To submit: Send your original, previously unpublished submission, in rich text format, as an attachment only. Put 'IBD2: Submission' followed by your story title in the subject line of your email. Send to

In the body of your e-mail please include your mailing address, contact e-mail address and the word count of your story.


Reply to: AND
Deadline: March 31st 2008

'In the Telling', an anthology of new writing edited by Susan Richardson and Gail Ashton, to be published by Cinnamon Press, seeks poems that tell any kind of story - old and new, real and imagined, fairytales, myths, urban legends, about people, places, artefacts - in fresh ways.

Please email up to 4 previously unpublished poems, maximum 50 lines each, in a single attachment to BOTH editors: gailashton (at) and suerichardson (at) by March 31st 2008.
Please write 'submission: In the Telling' in the subject line.

I am looking for stories from all branches of sf/f/h that also include a strong "romance" element or, conversely, romance that is fantastic, supernatural, paranormal, futuristic, etc. As far as I know, no one has ever attempted this type of "best of" anthology, so definitions are ambiguous. If in doubt, send it.

This is a reprint anthology so I am only reading material published in 2006 for it. E-published material is acceptable, but please -- no self-published fiction! I strongly suggest that authors contact their publishers/editors to send review copies of books and magazines (or PDFs of them) or to supply URLs or e-versions.

This is an exciting opportunity to showcase outstanding short fiction, but it is also a new project. Unlike other "year's bests" I don't yet have established relations with many publishers so I am hoping for cooperation from all sides.\

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Abandonment Part I

Okay, I have got to get my reviewing act together.

I am trying my best to pick up several books I've abandoned. Some I abandoned because they were just too Euro-centric high fantasy and I just was not in the mood. Others I abandoned because I got myself into this fix because the fibro attacked and I couldn't think -- except for the novel. Yep, I couldn't even think to review music. Pitiful. But I am determined to finish these books. Before the end of the year.

The books include The Hidden Stars by Madeline Howard, Wysard by Carolyn Kephart, the Assassins of Tamurin

I have a couple mysteries:Such a killing Crime by Robert Lopresti, and a mystery-romance by Genie Davis called Five O'Clock Shadow. (I like her stuff a lot.)

Some Christian novels: A conspiratorial suspenser called Ninety Days and its sequel Air Rage -- by Sam Yarney, A spec fic story called Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges, and Time Masters by Geralynn Beauchamp.

I also have a few kid YA books:

the Dreamer by Matthew G McMillan (about a fantasy dreamworld), Secret of the Dance (by Susan Eileen Walker)

Not to mention about 30 CD's and an audio book by Walter Moseley called Cinnamon Kiss.

I also have to get up-to-date with movies. Lately, I actually have been unable to sit through movies I consider terribly bad. This isn't to say they are normal B movies. I can sit through a b movie no matter how bad. I DO have a sense of fun, thank you. But if a movie has pretensions...well, I just can't deal. Maybe I'm getting old and impatient. Maybe I just know what I don't like.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Born to be adored: my first book signing for Wind Follower

Well, I just returned from my first book signing for Wind Follower. It was a "Calling all authors" thingey to celebrate the anniversary of the local Barnes and Noble.

Anyways, I learned a lot from this experience so here goes.

First thing I learned: Do NOT eat mackerel and coconut before a book signing. I don’t know what possessed me but I just had to make the stuff. (It’s called run-down, by the way and it’s a Jamaican delicacy.) One spends the entire time asking one’s sitting mate: Do I smell fishy? (And of course the honest ones alsways say, “yes, you do.” So I was constantly going to the bathroom to wash my hands.)

Second thing I learned: Do NOT trust your older son to bring the car up in time. Just don’t. All night partying etc just doesn’t give way to mom-trying-to-be famous. I had to take a cab to the signing. That kid owes me.

I enter and Nick Olivieri, the CRM who is coordinating the event, is busy moving things and arranging things. The guy is good, let me tell you. Props!

Well, I noticed – cause well I noticed– that the writer I was sitting beside had her amazon reviews all printed out in front of her. Immediately, I tapped Nick. (I got really good at tapping and nagging the poor guy but he was a sport.) Could he go online and go to my website for my reviews? Ten minutes later, he returns with printed copies of my online reviews.

Next thing that happens, a big vase of roses arrives for yours truly. My friends, Mike and Lisa had sent it. They are responsible for feeding the folks at a local army base around here. I was so happy and just felt super-loved. Hey, nobody else had a dozen roses in front of them.

These things go on forever and if the CRM is an easygoing guy he’ll give everyone two or three chances at the apple. The first time I went up I was wonderful the second time I was flustered. This leads to two bits of education.

Third thing I learned: Have two or more ways of presenting the book. I ended up going up three times. First time was amazing. A real high. Then a second woman went and she read from her book. I realized I hadn't read. So at the end of the first round I got up and said to the people: "Oops, forgot to read!" So I read one of my favorite chapters (not the prologue, which is mighty powerful.) Then on the second round, I spoke again and got nervous cause I had already said what I had to say the first go round. And, after shouting out to the store: "I hope no one here has any torture issues" I read the prologue.

Fourth thing I learned: When you’re nervous don’t tell everyone. Two of the other writers told me they didn’t know I was nervous until I said.

Fifth: Bring business cards, postcards, bookmarks. Okay, okay, I should’ve known this one.

Sixth thing: Create a mailing list made up of names culled from people you met at your last store visit. This co-writing team had tons of visitors. Maybe it was cause they were writing a childcare book for parents, who knows? But while the other eight writers were sitting around looking forlorn, these guys seemed to sell a lot of books. Strangely, though, this leads to

the seventh thing I learned: bond with the other authors. The two aforementioned writers ticked the rest of us off. Not because they had all those fans but because they kept to themselves before and after the event and basically acted as if they were the hottest thing since slice bread. At the end when all the writers were exchanging business cards (see above) and news of future events no one approached these superior biddies who were obviously so convinced they were big fish among unimportant small fry. One of the writers I met is in charge of a writers group tour and she's signed me up to go to the Newburgh signing in January.

Eight thing: bring out the microphone early. Enough said.

Ninth thing: Bring a digital camera. Now I have to wait for Nick to send me a couple of photos from his digital camera.

Tenth thing: Bring something to eat. Or bring money to buy something. Better yet: Bring a gopher. These things go on forever sometimes. Note to self: Older son owes you.

Eleventh thing: Don't be too humble. There was a very kind man there with us. His name was Ralph something or other. He is a professor emeritus from New York University and he self-published a book. But he never got up to speak. He kept saying he hated marketing. We chatted a lot. But I don't quite remember his last name. Not good. I don't even remember the name of his book. Interesting, uh?

Twelth thing: Tell the store about other books you were involved in. I totally forgot about the anthologies I was in: Fiction anthologies such as So Long Been Dreaming, edited by Nalo Hopkinson or Fantastical Visions III edited by William Horner or Nobody Passes: essays on gender and identity, edited by Matt/Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein. He's got a great blog over at Nobody passes blogspot Very painful blog, though. So don't go there unless you can deal with sexual pain. Anyway, the thing is I totally forgot that I could have mentioned these other books.

Thirteenth thing: Bring a written list of Juno Authors or other friends' books. The only other Juno Books I saw in the bookstore were Gail Dayton’s The Eternal Rose and Matt Cook’s Blood Magic. I looked for Amberlight by Sylvia Kelso and several others but couldn’t find them. But, of course, I had to depend on my memory for several names. But there's something else about a list. Folks kept asking me stuff as if I was a font of knowledge. Who were good Black crime fiction writers? I thought of my good friend, Robert Fleming. A great writer. Mentioned him, of course, because his name was at the top of my brain. Mentioned Brandon Massey. Cause I remembered his name. But I didn't mention Walter Moseley. Simply forgot he existed. Other folks asked who some great black spec fic writers were: I mentioned Nnedi and Zahrah the Windseeker. Got messed up on how to spell Nnedi's last name. Wasn't sure if her last book was The Shadow Speaker or The Shadow Seeker. Remembered Tobias Buckell's Ragamuffin and Crystal Rain when someone asked about Black Science Fiction writers. Mentioned Tananarive Due, Sheree Thomas, Nalo Hopkinson, Steven Barnes. But for the most part, I was a total blank. So next time I'm gonna have a publicity packet which includes names and titles of black spec fic writers, black crime writers, black christian writers, and Christian writers. Yep, I've got a month and a half until the Newburgh B&N reading so I've got a lot to do.

Anyways, at the end of the presentation, Nick decided he would have an autograph table. So those of us who were eligible for the benefit were asked to sign some of our books. I signed ten. He had ordered 30 and I think we sold five while I was there. The others will be divided and placed in the Fantasy, Romance, and African American sections. I suggested (Okay, so I'm pushy. I'll admit it.) that he turn Wind Follower face forward so black folks walking in the Fantasy section would see that there was a black character on the cover.) Anyway, I am now in four different sections of the bookstore. I almost asked him to put Wind Follower on one of the endcaps but that would've meant another author being removed. I'm pushy but I'm not selfish. So I let that one go.

Here is a great link for what to do at conferences...which also help about book-signing

Other writers at the reading were:

Carolyn Doggett Smith who has self-published nonfictions such as The Absentee American and Strangers at Home. About American children raised in other countries. The book she was selling is called The House of the Faun: A novel of Pompei. The book is available on amazon and at The house of the faun

There was also Drs Albert and Alvin Silbert, educators who have written a book called, When Bad Grades happen to good kids. The book is on amazon. Their website is Strong learning

Norma Lehmeier Hartie, who is the Grand Prize Winner of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. Her book, Harmonious Environment, competed against 2,404 total entries this year in nine different categories. Harmonious Environment was also a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Home & Garden category and a finalist in the Nautilus book awards. Her blogsite is harmoniousenvironment blogspot

Tony Higgins, A Jamaican Welshman now living in NY whose book True Believer: a violent tale of love, Greed, and betrayal is about a cop who finds himself in a governmental conspiracy.

My friends, Dan (also my webmaster), my friend, Margaret, and Christine (who dressed me and photoed me on the book jacket) and my husband's boss, Craig Yoe .

All in all it was fun. And may I say, I was born to be adored. Yep, I’m a ham who just eats up attention. And honestly, I am so lovable... and I have a weird kind of fun-loving quality that is downright catching. So, yeah, I had to tone down all this wonderful personality to let others shine. This kind of thing can become addictive, though. -C

Friday, November 16, 2007

Latest reviews and interviews

Here are the latest Wind Follower doings:
A review at:

A post on Mirathon's blog

An interview in Fantasy Magazine

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Love Again

Well it's happened. I've fallen in love with Danny, my main character of my WIP, Inheritance.

I'm listening to:
Nancy Wilson's How Glad I am,
The Vogues' You're the One,
and Dwight Yoakam's The Heart That You Own
Yep, I've got it bad.

His name's Danny. He's real cute. Actually, no. He's not as cute as all that. I describe him as having a pleasant-but-non-descript face. I read somewhere that the face of a main character shouldn't be described too much. Something about reader identification and reader wishes and reader libido. Whoever said that -- sorry I forgot-- probably gave far better reasons than I could probably think of, but I think his/her assessment is pretty right on. Beauty and individual tastes vary so much. In my case, although my other WIP contains two absolutely beautiful men, I honestly like guys with pleasant non-descript faces.

Anyways, my past crushes aside, I'm glad this crush is kinda taking me over. I'm more likely to finish the novel that way. Of course hubby will have to live with this crush of mine.

I don't know how it is for other women writers but I become absolutely hard to live with whenever I fall in love with a main character. My hubby, Luke, was safe when I was writing Wind Follower because Loic (WF's main character) was based on my sweet teenage son...a kid I wanted to strangle every minute of the day. But Danny... Ah, Danny! He'll be a problem for the beloved husband.

Unfortunately, in creating a perfect male character for my female character I ALWAYS think about the guy's perfect sense of humor, his perfect body --yeah, Danny has a wonderful body-- his insightful understanding of the heroine. Dangerous thoughts all. Then the next thing I know: I'm falling in love with some guy literally created for a female character. And I begin whining and complaining at hubby and telling him all his flaws.

Mercifully, I am somewhat morbidly introspective. I can never quite delude myself into thinking that my nagging is part of the creative process. I get all guilt-ridden and upset with myself ...and yet, the crush remains. Prayers, emails from writer friends, long weepy phone conversations with friends about "what exactly constitutes a true love" --All of no avail. The crush --masturbatory and insane and narcissistic as it is-- tends to continue until I finish the story. Then miraculously, the love spell breaks.

That's when --I swear! This ALWAYS happens-- I realize the created character actually reminds me of my hubby. I say to him, "Sweetie, you're my true love!"

So, whether I know it or not. After Inheritance is accepted by a publisher and on book shelves, I'm going to realize in a blinding flash of spiritual light, that Danny has been living with me all along, that unreal imagined Danny is really the living-breathing Luke lying at night beside me in bed. And how wonderful that will be!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two Poems

Well, I'm working on my WIP, Inheritance and decided to drop the paranormal (kinda) altogether. ::rolls eyes:: There go some nano-numbers. Anyway, I want a gently magically realistic interracial love story. Yep, am aiming for gentle and sweet. ::smile:: Now, for those of you who didn't know I was a poet, here are two poems:

POEM #1: SNOW WHITE (This is one of a series of poems all based around fairy tale characters)

I do not like the name: Snow White.
No one could be that pure.
But, accepting it, let us move on.
Such purity,
existing in a world as political as a castle,
could be daunting, unnerving.
And for a beautiful queen,
learned in intrigue,
reared in flattery,
such purity would not only be daunting,
but also an affront.

I am thinking of a girl I met in college,
an idealist at twenty,
who wrote untouched,
unbroken songs,
about white unicorns.

This girl was hard to stomach.
And not that I spent hours
in front of mirrors--
but simply looking into the mirror of her songs
showed how diminished,
broken and unwhole
my songs were.

This is not to say
I side with the queen.
Only that I understand.


I did not visit you on the day you died
although my mind was on you
all that day


when I mentioned visiting you
my driver said
the hospital parking fee was high
and I said
I might call him anyway at 3:00
but then at 3:00
another friend called
and invited me over
and although you=d been on my mind all day
I immediately forgot you


the afternoon sun was so bright
oh so very bright
and the afternoon air was so sultry
and a certain sweet someone I loved
would be there
and for five months
I=d been forgetting you anyway
so it was easy enough
to forget this time
although the thought of you
on that particular day was so pressing

and never once
all that day
and all that night
as I worked that party
did it occur to me

that this hospitalization was your last
And that you were dying
And that God was telling me
to visit you to say goodbye.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I got an email this morning from a black woman Christian writer.

The upshot of the email is that we black women must be very careful how we use our blogs and cyber talk because the powers-that-be in the (white) world will use our own words to make nooses and hang us.

She suggested I be very very very careful about what I say and how honest I am because white people have a great deal of power. A black person, therefore, must know when to be quiet. You know: the old "be very careful about being too honest with white folks because they'll just think you're bitter or angry or uppity" warning.

Ah gee. I hear what she's saying. And she's probably right. My problem is this: I have battled fibromyalgia for 23 years. For instance all this week I slept maybe two or three hours each night. And last night I went to bed at 9 and woke up two hours later at 11:30 and was up all night. Typical. Fibromyalgia has a lot to do with stuffed down anger. Plus my son has had to battle non-verbal autism. And try being sleepy and handling that kind of thing during the day. I'm 48 and I truly believe that because I personally tend to stuff down what I think I have destroyed my health. I really can't afford to stuff things down anymore.

But even so... I'll be careful in the future. I'll try to put my thoughts about my personal issues only in my books. As my friend warned.

Black women are always telling each other what to do for our own good. It's stifling and I'm sure this "protecting you from yourself" kind of warning has perversely been the cause of major illnesses in our bodies. We make each other ill by forcing each other to be silent in order to preserve each other's health and livelihood. And honestly, I felt this horrendous wave of tiredness and rebuke flow through my body as I read through her email. Reminded me of all the silencing stuff that got pushed down my throat when I was being raised by my Methodist minister grandfather. I tell folks rebuking other black folks (however gently) are responsible for ruining moods, health, and projects.

Of course, there are certain kinds of people in the world who get really uncomfortable when they see someone who doesn't quite conform to standardized behavior. I had a friend once whose clothes always matched. Always. Once she visited me wearing yellow socks, yellow, shirt, and a yellow headband. Honestly, except for her jeans, she looked like a gigantic banana. She wanted me to go somewhere with her. But first...she wanted me to change. I had on a purplish shirt and greenish jeans. "You don't match," she said. As if the fashion laws were as unchallenged as the cosmic spiritual laws. I didn't answer her back. (I told you: I allow folks to tell me what's wrong with me but I rarely tell them what's wrong with them.) But I did think she was seriously rigid.

So yeah, it might be that this advice-giver is someone who is closed off and simply freaks out whenever she deals with folks who she considers odd. And black women are notorious for reining in folks they think are "not behaving right." Personally, I think the world is too full of black folks hiding their hearts from white folks. But maybe, like Anne Frank, I still trust in the kindness of human nature.

Even so I'll be careful about how I speak about my own issues in the future. And I'll be very very very careful about what I reveal to white folks.

I've never been an advice-giver because I understand how wounding it is to a person's soul to be "lectured" but I tend to kow-tow when someone gives me "advice" for my own good. And to prove my point, while i read her email I deleted all the personal rants on any blogs I'm connected to. It might make my blog a bit safe and bland...but it'll make me safe too. At least that's what my friend says. And we who are in a fibromyalgia battle value our emotional safety.

Thanks. -C

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wind Follower Book Tours

Well, Folks, the Wind Follower tour has begun. I feel so blessed. Most new books aren't helped along like this when they enter the world. But to have a blog tour! It just makes my heart leap with joy. I owe these folks mucho.

So far, it's been great. A few bloggers had problem with the sex in the story, some with instances of violence, some with the writing style. Some don't think my Characters are very "good" or they think the ending is depressing. But hey, if we use that criteria Abraham, David and all those Bible heroes are also evil. And the end of the Bible would have to be depressing cause in that also only a remnant of the people of earth are saved. I can only say that Loic's religion is one based on "a faithful acceptance of God's love for him", not on how "good" or noble or well-behaved he is. As for my character Satha being unladylike, I can only say that when you marry into a culture different than you own, you incorporate the extreme aspects of those cultures. Someone who converts to one religion from another is often more religious than those born into it. As for the sex scenes, honestly, there is nothing even vaguely lustful about the sex scenes in Wind Follower. The various sex scenes show a fearful manipulative teenager trying to get a woman pregnant so she'll stay with him, a rape, sex between two life-wounded people trying to put their shattered lives together, and the Abraham-Hagar sex scene as it probably was.

I celebrate humanity. What can I say?

Anyways, check out the interview at Shades of Romance . There'll be a review sometime during the month on Shades of Romance Blog

The folks involved in the Christian Fiction Review Blog will be posting stuff from Dec 2 - Dec 8. So if something isn't up on their respective sites yet, it will be up later.

Christian Fiction Review Blog
Disturbing The Universe: Reviews And Rants
Queen of Convolution
The Lost Genre Guild
The land of my sojourn

The Writers of Color Blog Tour participants are:
East of Mars
Greg Banks
Rachel Lindley
Moondancer Drake's blog

Other interviews and reviews --from folks not in the tour-- can be found here:

This information will be posted on my blog at the following sites around the first or second week of December.

Dark parables
Carole Mcdonnell Blog
Fiction beyond the ordinary blog

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

Faith Awakened is a Christian speculative fiction novel by Grace Bridges which plays with the idea of virtual life.

Here is the blurb:

If you could design your own virtual world
to live in, what would it look like?
If you lived on a dark and empty planet,
how far would you go to save your life?
Is God a computer programmer?
And can he take you to heaven... before you die?

Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges from Lulu Press and Waitemata Books. In virtual stasis to escape a deadly virus, an ex-slave in Ireland finds far more than just survival.

Here's the youtube trailer

This is the Amazon site for those who want to order it.

Other authors touring Grace's book include Caprice Hokstad, author of The Duke's Handmaid. You can check out Caprice's blog here. According to Caprice, the book is kind of a cross between the Matrix and The Stand. Interesting, uh?

Lyn has a review up at
Bloggin' Outloud

Check out Rachelle Sperling's
Land of my sojourn

You can also check out Geralyn beauchamp's blog.

There are, of course, reviews for Faith Awakened at the Christian Fiction Review Blog

Check out a review at Book Stove

And there's a really great interview with the author here at Lena Nelson Dooley's blog

Also check out an interview with Grace at
Virtual book tour de net blogspot

Although the story is set in the "virtual world" of Ireland, and Grace, herself, is an Irish New Zealander living in Germany, the internet is a small place and you can contact Grace at the following sites:




The Lost Genre Guild/

Plus you can also visit her site:

Author spotlight: Rae Lindley

Rae Lindley is an African-American Christian speculative Fiction writer. Her new book Cimmerian City has come out. I don't know if there are Christian elements in this particular book but I know it's great spec fic.

Here's the blurb:

In the 21st century, corporations rule the world, science is big business and governments no longer exist. A war breaks out between two races…and one of them isn’t human.

Stripped from the headlines of today's news, Cimmerian City is a novel spanning 10

Greed can turn a good man’s heart to stone. This is especially true in the age of commerce and large corporations. No new pill can be taken without a laundry list of side effects that the patient may have to endure. But what if the side effects are more dangerous than the pills are helpful? What if the side effect causes the patient to be immune from standard dangers, such as firearms, the climate, etc., but causes them to change into otherworldly beings?

It is seen through the eyes of a young woman named Raven Blackheart. It is a future where corporations rule the world and political parties have been dismissed. An Earth that is recovering from a global war that has divided two races: Humans and Dracins, quick, tough skinned creatures that are children of the side effects from 20th century pharmaceuticals. Raven awakens in this world as a product of both races and nurtured by the vice president of the main corporation in the world as a symbol of the union of races. With her help, Vice President Tyler Deamond’s corporation can take both beings off Earth, which is quickly becoming a waste planet, and to a new terraformed planet. But, as Raven learns, nothing is as it seems, especially concerning humans.

Check out the animation she made for it:

Or you can check out The world of Cimmerian City on google video

These are some of her reviews so far.

" utterly unstoppable tale which latches on to the reader from the first sentences, then sets a death-defying pace through realms known and unknown, flying the reader through plot twists and turns, character delineations, and theme."

-Annie Haws of Wild Child Publishing

"This is one story that has a high impact punch, a great plot that is fast paced and so intriguing that you cannot put this one down."

-Terry South of Quality Book Reviews

"Cimmerian City is a clever, engaging tale with all the trappings of a thriller at its finest. Much like "The Matrix" before it, Lindley's tale does an excellent job of enshrouding the truth within a tapestry of well-constructed lies, forcing you to keep questioning every new development until you finally understand the significance of what lies at the core. With a rich cast of compelling characters and enough action to keep you checking your pulse, this story of deceit, greed, treachery, and ultimate redemption deserves to take its rightful place alongside the best that Tom Clancy or James Patterson could ever offer.

Beneath it all, though, Cimmerian City is a classic tale of the underdog at his/her finest, leaving you no choice but to root for Raven throughout all her many battles against foes of all sizes - recognizing your own daily struggles as they play themselves out in her life before your very eyes. In this day and age of unchecked multi-conglomerate corporate takeovers, Lindley's narrative should serve as a wake-up call to us all that the possibility of such a controlled future in our own time may not be so far-fetched..."

- Theresa Logan of 'Apex Reviews'

"Cimmerian City shows us a frightening outcome to current fears of crises on every front. From global warming and rampant pollution, to race wars and violence, from global control of the world's economy by a handful of corporations, to controversial medical experimentation for profits for a drug-dependent society. Here is the extreme vision that Cimmerian City give us of the haves and the have-nots. The few people who can afford to protect themselves from this severally damaged world and those who are subject to the uncertainty of daily life."

-Kir Royal of Cocktail Reviews

Interviews of Rae are at Romance At Heart Interview

Oh My news international

Conversations with writers

Apex Reviews Interview

AuthorTalk! Interview Spotlight

You can visit Rae's website/ and blog to find out more about her.

Other writers touring Rae's book are:

Greory Banks/, Moondancer Drake,
East of Mars, Nicole Kurtz

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wind Follower sex controversy

Of course I knew it would come. It had to come. Wind Follower was rejected by several Christian publishers because of
A) six small but important sex scenes
B) its anti-imperialism anti-Manifest Destiny stance and
C) its interracial/intercultural relationship.

I'm sure some of them also rejected it for other reasons also:
1) They know their consumer base just aren't concerned about the lives and loves of dark-skinned folks.
2) Wind Follower was a bit too complicated for the typical Christian reader. (Unfortunately, readers of Christian fiction aren't exactly challenged to think outside of the easy-reader romance box.)
3) They themselves are squeamish about seeing anything noble in so-called pagan spirituality, especially the spirituality of dark-skinned folks (Christian publishers don't mind elves, dwarves, etc because well C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein used them. And of course Euro-folklore and Euro-paganism is acceptable.)

I got the following email from a Christian reviewer over at Quills of faith

Hi Carole,

After reading a couple of reviews on your book, I'm afraid that I am going to have to decline your offer to review Wind Follower. The fact that one of the reviews clearly states that there is explicit sexual content in the book disturbs me. This is not something that I personally would care to have in my home, or read about, (I also have a teen-age son, and would not want him picking it up and reading something like that), so I would have a hard time meshing the premise of a Christian story with explicit sex intertwined.

Please understand that I am not judging you; I just wouldn't feel comfortable reading your book after having seen that review. (the review I am referring to can be found here: )

I hope you understand.


The funny thing is that her teenage son would probably have been profoundly touched by the book. The son of a friend of mine, grand-son of an Arab woman who is a Buddhist-muslim-New ager, said when he began reading Wind Follower the book made him reassess his life. I have a twenty-year old son and I would have no problem with him reading Wind Follower.
Anyway, I replied. And honestly, I couldn't help but be facetious.

Thank you so much, Tori. I understand.

Yes, I've seen that review. It's a great one.

I wonder, though, do you recommend that your son read the Bible? Explicit sex in that too.

Yes, yes, I told you I was facetious.

Now, I noticed there weren't any reviews for books by black authors on her site. So yeah, there is a Christian priggishness about sexuality. But honestly, many Christian romance readers do have a certain idolatry for pale skin and auburn tresses....and they find it hard put to deal with the fact that dark-skinned folks can have noble romances. And honestly, if it's really about sexuality...well, I'm not going to get into a big to-do about it. Intelligent and wise Christians have argued for decades (with deeper and better reasoning than I have) about Christian fiction priggishness and they have never managed to change the mind's of certain people. So I won't even go there. I can't think of any typical christian romance that has ever affected a nihilistic teenager in much the way that Wind Follower affected my friend's grandson, though.

See, this is why I stay clear of conservative Christians sometimes. So many kneejerk reactions. -C

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