Wednesday, April 18, 2018

L. A. Times Festival of Books!

Kyle and I will be signing at the HWA booth #828 on Sunday, the 22nd from 3-5pm at the L. A. Times Festival of Books at USC!  We will have Diaries and Tomes available for sale and of course, we'll sign anything you have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Withering Update

A few days ago, The Withering was just a ms, a work in-progress.  I finished my first round of edits, saw it was cleaning up nicely, and decided that I should probably pitch this collection somewhere.  I always had the perfect place I wanted to send this particular collection in mind and, of course, I was nervous to pitch it, but decided to just do it.  I waited in agony for about a week and then received an email saying they were interested!  That blew me away.  I was sure I would have to shop this around a bit before receiving a positive response.  After I received that response, my collection began to feel more real to me.  This was now something a publisher wanted to look at it.  It was now desirable. 

As it became a bit realer to me, I realized, man, I need someone to write an introduction to this, but who would write that??  I tried to think of writers who this collection would resonate with and I came up blank.  A few people suggested a few names and then Kyle came up with who we both felt was the perfect person for this collection.  I decided to be bold again and shoot this person a message to feel them out.  They said they'd be happy to read it and would only write one if they liked it, because they do not write intros or blurbs for things they do not like.  That makes perfect sense to me and is how it should be. 

And now I'm freaking out because The Withering just got even more real.  A publisher is interested and I have a potential, possible author of my introduction.  Of course, they both might hate it when they read it, and if so, you'll hear about that here.  But for the present, I will keep my optimism!

Now to the progress of The Withering itself.

The Withering is not for a young audience.  Yes, it's my juvenilia that spans approximately between the years of 2001-2011, but it's very dark.  There is no fantasy, much less light fantasy, in this collection.  Supernatural and psychological horror are its primary themes, with some dark nature and gory/body horror.  There are currently 49 poems but I'd like to add at least one more to make it at hit 50.

The Withering is very different from Diary of a Sorceress.  The Withering does, however, contain a couple Sorceress poems that didn't make it into Diary of a Sorceress.  I felt they didn't fit well with the newer poems.  Other than that, I don't feel the collections are similar. It is meant to sate my readers' appetites until Diary of a Vampyress is finished.

After another round of edits, I shall submit it.                 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

L. A. Vintage Paperback Show

Kyle and I had a blast this year at the L. A. Vintage Paperback Show.  We manned the HWA table and I was able to sell all the books I brought which was awesome. 

(John Shirley shows off his favorite illustration in Diary of a Sorceress.  Maenads by Steve Santiago.)

There was a big birthday celebration for Bill Nolan after his signing.  They brought out 2 cakes and he was definitely surprised. 




(William F. Nolan)

After Kyle and I manned the table for a few hours, we ate, and then wandered through the booths.  I scored a couple of goodies.

I also got a few autographs.

(Gary Gianni signs my Bran Mak Morn book.)

Then after the show, we headed to Days Inn for the awesome after party at the pool.  This is the main attraction for me.  I love hanging around with everyone that I don't get to see except for a few times a year.

(Pete Atkins and Dennis Etchison)

(Dennis mistakenly takes his cigarette ashes for his drink.)

(Me, Dennis, and Jenny Brundage)

(Me, Dennis, Jenny, and Stephen Provost)



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Writing Update

I have so many ideas for themed poetry collections and it's probably not for my own good.  But I love themes!  And I tend to write many different poems that lean to a certain theme.  Here's the lowdown of what diabolical blasphemies I'm conjuring up.

I really need to focus on one collection at a time and not be distracted by shiny new themed collection ideas.  So the next collection that I want to publish first is The Withering.  If you've been reading my irregular writing update posts, then you know that the Withering is a collection of juvenilia that contains a select few of my poems from my teenage years.  My goal is to have about 50 poems in the collection but as I'm editing them, I find that some fit perfectly into one or another of my themed collections.  Therefore I'm continuously dividing up my poems and spreading thin my collections.  So I'm trying to *not* to do that.  So far, I have 48 poems in the Withering, which is divided into 4 sections; Nature, Supernatural, Psychological, and Body/Gore horror.  This is, of course, a horror collection.  I have about 16 more poems that need to go through their initial/first edit.  Then I can go through the collection a few more times for their final polish.  After that, I can look for a publisher!  Should be fun.

The Withering, I would say, is very dark and personal, for it shows much emotion and has a lot of themes dealing with inner daemons.  During my teenage years I was going through a very hard and dark time.  A lot of shit, completely out of my hands, happened and I lost a lot and almost lost someone.  I won't go into details but let's just say it was a somber and disturbing time.  Therefore, somber and disturbing poetry ensued and it'll all be in the Withering for your viewing pleasure.

Launching from the past and into the future, is the next diary in my diary series, Diary of a Vampyress.  This collection follows after Diary of a Sorceress.  We say goodbye to the Sorceress, Ashiel, and her journey (though their may be a brief hint to her character), and follow the vampyress, Countess Nadezhda, or Nadia, for short in her journey.  Nadia had a few introductory sonnets in the mini sonnet cycle in DoaS.  This collection is aimed to be more Gothic in nature than DoaS.  Diary of a Vampyress currently has 29 poems and is made up of 8 sections so far.  They are currently Vampires and Devils, Witches and Werewolves, Femme Fatales, Romance, Nature, Otherworldly, Halloween/Autumn, and Apocalypse.

The next 3 are part of the series and are diaries as well.  For now they will remain unnamed.

The first is light and dark fantasy themed and currently contains 10 poems with 4 sections.

The second is a devotional containing hymns, verses, invocations, evocations and the like aimed toward different deities and pantheons.  The majority, however, is Norse and Celtic themed.  Mythological poems can also be found within.  It currently has 26 poems and 5 sections, which is divided up by pantheon.         

The third is a water themed collection.  Seas, oceans, lakes, rivers, and all the creatures and stories, legends, and myths surrounding them will be in here.  It currently has 7 poems and 4 sections.

And last, but not least, is my winter collection.  It is not planned to be part of the diary series and will stand alone as a collection devoted to my favorite season.  I want to emphasize that this is *not* a Christmas collection.  Yule, midwinter, and St. Lucia's Day will be a part of this but I do not plan on having Christmas poetry in here.  I am considering including Krampus but that's as far as I go.  I'm also debating whether this collection should have reprints or should be all new winter poems.  I'm leaning toward having all my winter poems, published or not, in here to make it a complete collection of all my winter poems.  With that idea in mind, I have 6 poems slotted for it.  5 reprints and 1 unpublished.

So there it is; my crazy themed poetry collection ideas.  This should keep me very busy for the next few years. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Manfish and Other Tales: World of H. P. Lovecraft Ten by 13th Hour Books


I have received my contributor copies of Manfish and Other Tales Ten by 13th Hour Books.  This is a special edition celebrating over 25 years of publishing the 'zine.  My poem, Djinn Deceiver, comes separately in it's own little booklet or greeting card, as it comes with an envelope.

(My own booklet with Allen K. cover art!)

Unfortunately, this publisher has no online presence that I am aware of.  To order this, you can contact Leslie Thomas at Thomasa893[at]aol[dot]com or write to him at 
13th Hour Books
P.O. Box 9803 
Alexandria, VA 22304


Table of Contents

What is a Ghoul from "Chilling Tales #13" December 1952 Illustrated by Eric Gould
The Sands of the Desert from "Adventures into the Unknown #6" August 1949 Illustrated by Robert H. Knox
Man-Fish from "Adventures into the Unknown #30" April 1952 Illustrated by Robert H. Knox

Booklet

Djinn Deceiver by Ashley Dioses Illustrated by Allen K.







Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Time of the Sorceress — An Interview with Ashley Dioses by David E. Cowen translated by Titanilla Pánczél into Hungarian

So this may be one of the most badass things to have ever happened to me.  And that's getting translated into another language!  Here is my interview with David E. Cowen translated into Hungarian for The Black Aether, edited by József Tomasics.


A boszorkányok kora – David E. Cowen interjúja Ashley Diosesszel

A weird irodalom hagyománya nem csak prózai művekben él tovább, hanem a költészetben is, aminek egyik elismert kortárs képviselője Ashley Dioses. A The Black Aether egyre több figyelmet fog fordítani a weird költészetre, bemutatjuk a költőket és interjút készíteni velük; ennek a sorozatnak az első lépéseként David E. Cowen a The Horror Writers Association honlapján megjelent Diosesszel készített interjúját, és a költőnő egyik versét fordította le Pánczél Titanilla, Cowen és Dioses engedélyével.

Hamarosan a TBA is jelentkezik egy saját interjúval, és további versfordításokkal.

Weird. Rémisztő, furcsa, hátborzongató. A legtöbb szótár szócikkében előbukkan a magyarázatban ez a kifejezés: „valami természetfelettire utal; hátborzongató, rejtelmes”. H. P. Lovecraft, önmaga egy tökéletlen ember, aki iparkodott mesterségét tökéletesíteni. “Weird Fiction”-nek titulálta munkáját. S.T. Joshi a klasszikus The Weird Tale könyvének előszavában állítja, hogy a weird tale „mint műfaj nem létezik, hanem egy világnézet eredménye.” A weird tale már sok éve a horror műfajának állandója. Ashley Dioses csillaga felmelkedett a weird költészet részhalmazában. Dioses gyakori közreműködője a Spectral Realms című folyóiratnak, mely szerkesztője S.T. Joshi. Dioses odaadó rajongója az alműfajnak, ezért talán nem is véletlen, hogy a Hippocampus Press büszke kiadója Dioses első rémisztő verseskötetének a Diary of a Sorceress-nek (Egy boszorkány naplója).

A szövegezés rendkívül kifinomult, a versek visszaküldik az olvasót a hagyományosabb, rímeket, versmértéket és mitikus utalásokat alkalmazó versekhez. Ez a kötet nem utánozza Poe-t, hiszen Dioses képeit és a műveit antik múzsák ihlették. Dioses könyve több körben is nagyfokú dicséretben részesült és bizonyosan sokáig fogunk még emlékezni rá, mint az idei Stoker-díj (StokerCon 2016) egyik esélyese.

Kezdjük a könnyű kérdésekkel. Már a hátsó borító egyértelműen a “kortárs weird költészet” kategóriába sorolja be a művedet. Magyarázd el az olvasónak mit jelent ez és a kik voltak rád hatással a kötet megalkotásánál.

A weirdben megtalálható a természetfeletti szemléletmód, melyben az atmoszférán van a hangsúly. Verseimet bőséges atmoszféra jellemzi és számos természetfeletti és fantasztikus elemet is tartalmaznak. Poe, Clark Ashton Smith, H. P. Lovecraft és David Park Barnitz voltak rám legnagyobb hatással.

Az összes vers erősen rímel, ami hagyományos formája és védjegye a weird költészetnek. Némelyik ütemhangsúlyos, de van amelyik nem. Ez egy vers sajátosságának következménye, vagy előnyben részesíted ezt a stílust, esetleg valami más törekvés?

Igazából mindegyik vers ütemhangsúlyos, de az egyszerű jambikus pentametertől (ötlábú verssor) az Alexandrine-nek is nevezett jambikus hexameterig (hatlábú verssor) és még más formák is váltakoznak, a vers hangulatától függően. Tapasztalataim szerint bizonyos témák megkövetelnek egy bizonyos ütemet és én az ösztöneim segítségével igyekszem a megfelelő formát használni.

Érzékelhető a nyomás azoktól, akik a weird költészethez ragaszkodnak és teljességgel lenézik a kortárs szabad verset, sőt hamis költészetnek nevezik. A weird költészet a szabad vers antitézise lenne?  Miért a hagyományos formát választod a kortárs írásformák helyett? Olyan ez mint egy varrónőnek, aki a kézi öltéseket preferálja a gépivel szemben? A kézműves szövet megalkotása maga a jutalom?

Úgy gondolom hogy amikor költészetről van szó, nem feltétlenül a vers formája teszi azt Weirddé, hanem a versben levő témák. Például két csodálatos kortárs Weird költő Wade German és Ann K Schwader a szabad versformát használják. A formális vers sodrása számomra sokkal muzikálisabb és illik az írási stílusomhoz. Egyszerűen nem az én műfajom a szabad vers, és ezért nem írok ebben a stílusban.

Bársonyvörös ajkakon
(On Amaranthine Lips)

Bíbor kelyhem megkívánja
Vámpírom nyelvét invitálja.
Odabenn az édes nektárt érzi
És kortyaival legsötétebb bűnét véti.
Bíborszín ajkamon csókja
A gyönyört csípőm felé hajtja.
Fagyos ölelése halhatatlan,
Mégis akarom hogy karjaiban
Tartson, és ti, fenti csillagok
Távolról is lássatok.

Pánczél Titanilla fordítása

A költeményeidben számos archetípus megfordul: varázslók, Pán, zombi-jellegű valkűrök, warlockok, goblinok és más fantasztikus lények. A fantázia birodalmat hangsúlyosabbnak érzem mint horrort, ami merőben különbözik Lovecraft munkájától (a régi isteneket és csápos képű szörnyeket majszoló pingvinre gondolok). Számos versed utal szerelemre és eltűnő szerelemre is. Megkedveltem pár fantasy-író alkotását akik a Te verseidet olvassák. Ebből kifolyólag én úgy látom hogy a munkád egyfajta hidat képez a fantasy és weird fikció között. Igazi horrorként tekintsz a munkádra vagy inkább egy hibrid ami a fantasyt, a weird fikciót és a horrort is egybeolvasztja?

Úgy tűnik a weird tulajdonképpen nem más mint az első szerelmem, a fantasy és a második szerelmem, a horror keveredése. Természetfeletti és a fantasy elemeket nagyon sok weird regény és költemény tartalmaz és ámbár én nem írok óriás albínó pingvinekről (jóllehet ez egy zseniális ötlet!), szeretem vegyíteni a horrort a fantasyval és/vagy a természetfelettivel.

Meg kell kérdeznem. Számos versedet egy bizonyos K. A. O.-nak ajánlottad. Vele kapcsolatban még a “Crimson Tome”-ra [Skarlát kötet] is utaltál. Ki ez a rejtélyes személy és hogyan befolyásolta a munkádat?

Oh, hol is kezdjem? A K. A. O. monogram Kyle Oppermant rejti, vagy ahogy a közösségi médián ismerik K. A. Opperman aki már 5 éve a kedvesem. Az interneten ismerkedtünk meg. Kyle a költészeti szerkesztője volt a Dark River Pressnek, egy ma már kihalt magazinnak. A The Horror Zine pont akkoriban adta ki az első munkámat. Kyle olvasta a művem, és emailben kért, hogy küldjek verset a Dark River Pressnek.

Kyle előtt sosem hallottam a weird fikcióról vagy weird költészetről. Megismerkedésünk előtt sose hallottam H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert W. Chambers, M. R. James és mások neveit. Biztosan kijelenthetem, hogy teljesen más lenne a munkám nélküle. Kyle a verseim szerkesztője is. Minden egyes verset átnézi, mielőtt valahová beküldöm őket.

Mi a következő lépés számodra?

Jelenleg két projekten is dolgozom. Az egyik egy zsenge horror versgyűjtemény, a címe The Withering (A hervadás). Körülbelül 50 verset fog tartalmazni, amiket még tizenéves korom előtt, valamint tiniként írtam. A második projektem egy következő verseskötet, Diary of a Vampyress (Egy vámpírnő naplója). Ellentétben a Diary of a Sorceressel, amelyet témák alapján csoportosítottam (fantasy, természet, románc/erotika, horror), a Diary of a Vampyress tárgy szerint lesz elrendezve, mert ez a gyűjtemény a gót és természetfeletti horrorra koncentrál. A Diary of a Vampyress felszínesen követi Nadia történetét, aki már a Diary of a Sorcress első 4 szonettjében is megjelent a róla szóló szonettsorozatban.

Ashley Dioses


Ashley Dioses dark fiction író és költő dél Kaliforniából. Idén debütált a Diary of a Sorceress című hagyományos formájú sötét versgyűjteményével, ami a Hippocamus Press gondozásában jelent meg. Verseit publikálta a Weird Fiction Review  5, 7, és 8, Skelos 1-3, Weirdbook 31-34, Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror és más lapok. A Spectral Realmsban megjelent Carathis című versét Ellen Datlow Az és legjobb horrorja hetedik kötetébe válogatta be. A Horror Writers Association által rendezett 2016-os versbemutatón is szerepelt a Ghoul Mistress (Hullarabló Szerető) című költeményével. Aktív tagja a HWA (Horror Writers Association) és SFPA (The Science Fiction Poetry Association) társaságoknak. Ashley Dioses blogja itt, facebook oldala pedig itt érhető el.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spectral Realms No. 8

My copy of Spectral Realms No. 8 by Hippocampus Press has arrived!  My poem, A Witch's Memoir, appears inside.  This poem may or may not be about my past life.  ;)


This eighth issue of Spectral Realms features a diverse array of poetry from the pens of such acclaimed poets as Adam Bolivar, Ashley Dioses, K. A. Opperman, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Ann K. Schwader, John Shirley, and Richard L. Tierney. Wade German contributes a cycle of four evocative poems, “The Nightmares”; Manuel Pérez-Campos, with “The Vortex That Ate Poseidonis,” pays tribute to the memory of Clark Ashton Smith; Liam Garriock, a promising young writer from Scotland, contributes the moving prose-poems “The Spirit of the Place” and “Past, Present, and Future”; Charles Lovecraft pays homage to his namesake in “The King of Horrors, Howard Phillips Lovecraft”; in “The Final Masquerade,” Alan Gullette turns the King in Yellow mythos upside down; and Mary Krawczak Wilson channels Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” in “Sea Creatures.”


Among the classic reprints is a poem by Farnsworth Wright, longtime editor of Weird Tales, published in that immortal pulp magazine under a pseudonym; and Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s chilling “To a Young Murderess.” Frank Coffman contributes a long and incisive analysis, “Verse vs. Free Verse,” in which the virtues and failings of free verse are keenly dissected. Sunni K Brock reviews Christina Sng’s scintillating volume A Collection of Nightmares, and Leigh Blackmore assesses the many strengths of Michael Fantina’s Alchemy of Dreams.


Once again, Spectral Realms #8 is a testament to the remarkable renaissance of weird poetry in our time.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Poems 
Through Druid Oaks / Leigh Blackmore   
Belladonna / Abigail Wildes   
The Flitter-Bird and the Bloom of Doom / Richard L. Tierney   
Dr. Cat Tree / Jessica Amanda Salmonson   
The Nightmares / Wade German   
The Voice of the Mary Celeste / M. F. Webb   
A Longer Winter / Benjamin Blake   
Succubus Waltz / Joshua Gage   
A Witch’s Memoir / Ashley Dioses   
A Frenzy of Witches / David Barker 
The Girl and Her Wolf Dog / Christina Sng 
The Vortex That Ate Poseidonis / Manuel Pérez-Campos 
Fleeting Existence / J. T. Edwards 
Terrarium / Oliver Smith 
The Return / Ian Futter 
Gas Giant / F. J. Bergmann 
The Spirit of the Place / Liam Garriock 
Red / Mary Krawczak Wilson 
The Old Courthouse / Don Webb 
The Black Hunt / Adam Bolivar 
Forever the Covens Break Us / Claire Smith 
Lycanthrope Moon / Frank Coffman 
Look Beyond / Darrell Schweitzer 
Pumpkin, Oh Pumpkin! / Will Hart 
The World Turns / Kendall Evans 
Looking After Death / John Reinhart 
The King of Horrors, Howard Phillips Lovecraft / Charles Lovecraft 
The Scrying Mirror / Chelsea Arrington 
Desert Witch / Rob Matheny 
The Milk Hare / David Barker 
The Fetch / K. A. Opperman 
Nosferatu / David Schembri 
Hiding the Corpse / Shawn Ramsey 
The Final Masquerade / Alan Gullette 
A Modern Exorcism / Ian Futter 
The Vellum of the Damned / Joshua Gage 
Berserker / Benjamin Blake 
When We Fall / Christina Sng 
Mama Drool / Ross Balcom 
Germina Amoris / Oliver Smith 
The Ballad of  A.M. / M. F. Webb 
Past, Present, and Future / Liam Garriock 
Odd Todd / Jessica Amanda Salmonson 
The Waning Hours of Woe / J. T. Edwards 
Sea Creatures / Mary Krawczak Wilson 
Stanzas of the Metaphysical Student Found in a Notebook / Manuel Pérez-Campos 
The Sudden Raving of a Quiet One / John Shirley 
Procession of the Expendable / David Barker 
The Stalking Horror / Frank Coffman 
Memoirs in the Dark / Christina Sng 
Facing the Demon / Ian Futter 
Volunteers / Ann K. Schwader   
Hollow of the Night / F. J. Bergmann

Classic Reprints 
The Death Angel / Farnsworth Wright 
To a Young Murderess / Arthur O’Shaughnessy 

Articles 
Verse vs. Free Verse / Frank Coffman 

Reviews 
The Exquisite Nightmares of Christina Sng / Sunni K. Brock 
Of Femmes Fatales and Lost Worlds / Leigh Blackmore 



Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror by PS Publishing

My copy of Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror by PS Publishing has arrived and it is beautiful.  I have achieved a personal milestone being a part of this series and by contributing a poem nonetheless.  This is the first hardcover I have ever been in.  You can find my poem, On a Dreamland's Moon, within.


SYNOPSIS
This sixth volume of S. T. Joshi’s acclaimed Black Wings series demonstrates as never before how infinitely malleable are H. P. Lovecraft’s weird conceptions. The twenty-two stories and poems in this book run the gamut of modes and genres, but each of them is fueled by elements large and small drawn from Lovecraft’s inexhaustibly rich corpus of writing.

Cosmicism is central to Lovecraft’s imaginative vision, and it oftentimes is manifested in tales of archaeological horror. In this volume, stories by Ann K. Schwader, Lynne Jamneck, Don Webb, and Stephen Woodworth treat this motif in varying and distinctive ways. Lovecraft’s work is also infused with a profound sense of place, as he himself was attached to the familiar locales of his native New England but also travelled widely in search of new vistas to stimulate his imagination. Here, stories by Tom Lynch, Aaron Bittner, W. H. Pugmire, and Darrell Schweitzer summon up the landscapes of diverse realms in America to tease out the horrors embedded in them.

Alien creatures are featured in many of Lovecraft’s greatest tales. In this volume, William F. Nolan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Steve Rasnic Tem, Jonathan Thomas, and Jason V Brock summon up multiform monsters inspired by Lovecraft’s notions of hybridism and alien incursion. The forbidden book theme is deftly handled by Caitlín R. Kiernan, and the notion of other worlds lying just around the corner from our own is the subject of stories by Donald Tyson and Mark Howard Jones. Finally, David Hambling cleverly adapts Lovecraftian concepts to the locked-room detective story.

In commemorating the incredible efflorescence of weird poetry in our time, this book presents poems by four leading contemporary poets—Ashley Dioses, K. A. Opperman, Adam Bolivar, and D. L. Myers. Each of their works fuses skilful use of rhyme and metre with compact evocations of Lovecraftian themes. H. P. Lovecraft’s work is likely to continue inspiring writers for many generations, and this volume presents a vivid snapshot of what can be said in this idiom by sensitive and talented authors.


CONTENTS
Introduction     S. T. Joshi
Pothunters    Ann K. Schwader
The Girl in the Attic    Darrell Schweitzer
The Once and Future Waite    Jonathan Thomas
Oude Goden    Lynne Jamneck
Carnivorous    William F. Nolan
On a Dreamland’s Moon    Ashley Dioses
Teshtigo Creek    Aaron Bittner
Ex Libris    Caitlín R. Kiernan
You Shadows That in Darkness Dwell    Mark Howard Jones
The Ballad of Asenath Waite    Adam Bolivar
The Visitor    Nancy Kilpatrick
The Gaunt    Tom Lynch
Missing at the Morgue    Donald Tyson
The Shard    Don Webb
The Mystery of the Cursed Cottage    David Hambling
To Court the Night    K. A. Opperman
To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks    W. H. Pugmire
Mister Ainsley    Steve Rasnic Tem
Satiety    Jason V Brock
Provenance Unknown    Stephen Woodworth
The Well    D. L. Myers


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Skelos 3: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy by Skelos Press

Finally my contributor copies of Skelos 3: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy by Skelos Press have arrived!  I've been waiting months for these.  My poem, The Prideful Scribe, appears within.




Table of Contents:
Short Fiction:
Ten Thousand Drops of Holy Blood by John R. Fultz 
Cats of Dornishett by Michelle Muenzler 
Book of Blasphemy by Keith Taylor 
The Collection by Rhona Eudaly 
The Muttwhelp by Edward M. Erdelac 
The Killing by Scott Cupp 
Edderkop by Lynne Jamneck 
Curse of the Dripping Blade by Christopher Fulbright 
Fat Charlie by S. Boyd Taylor 
Invitation to Dine by Cynthia Vespia 
Last Pale Light in the West by Josh Rountree 

Novelettes:
Dead River Revenge - Part 1 by Chris Gruber 
Pawns in the House of Ghosts by John C. Hocking 

Poetry:
The Prideful Scribe by Ashley Dioses 
By the Deep-Green Sea by Peter Rawlik 
Woman in the Feathered Mask by K.A. Opperman 
Destroyers by Wade German 
The Last Battle by Aurela Wilder 
Rogue by Chad Hensley 
Jirel by Pat Calhoun 

Essays:
The Boys from Atlantis by Bobby Derie 
It Seems to be a Sort of Monster: Misrepresentations of the Cephalopod in the Fiction of Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft by Jack Staines 

Special Features:
Skull Session - Editorial by Mark Finn 
By Crom! by Rachel Kahn 
Images of the Southern Gothic - A Photo Gallery by Aimee Reist 
An Interview with Lynne Jamneck and S.T. Joshi by Jason V. Brock 

Contributors:
The Bone Yard - Reviews 
S.L. Edwards, Dave Bryzekski, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Jim Lee, Luke E. Dodd

Artists:
Front cover: William Blake. Back cover: Allen Koszowski. Interior: Virgil Finlay, Victor Hugo, Rachel Kahn, Allen Koszowski, H.P. Lovecraft, Esteban Maroto, Alphonse de Neuville, James Doyle Penrose, Hugh Rankin, Aimee Reist,Valentin Serov, Jeffrey Shanks, Tim Truman, Mr. Zarono 


Friday, February 23, 2018

ToC for Darkling’s Beasts and Brews

Darkling’s Beasts and Brews by Lycan Valley Press Publications is an interesting anthology that pairs drink recipes with dark poetry.  When I first heard the open call for this, I knew I had to submit something.  Not only did I submit a poem, but a few drink recipes as well which all have found a home inside these pages.  My poem, The Power of the Moon, appears inside and is the only werewolf poem I have ever written.  This book is, unfortunately, not yet out and currently has no set release date.  So I shall tease you all with the ToC and cover art until there is a link to purchase it.  I am so excited for the collection.

DARKLING'S BEASTS AND BREWS -- POETRY WITH A DRINK ON THE SIDE


(Cover art by M Wayne Miller, Cover design by Kealan Patrick Burke)

SECTION 1 -- COFFEE AND TEA (11 coffee/10 tea – alcohol and non-alcohol) 

The Monster Mash by John C. Mannone
The Morning Named Apollo: A Chimeric Blood Song by Stephanie Wytovich
The Lycanthrope by Paula Berman
The Hunter by E.M. Eastick
The Eyes by Mark Mihalko
Fated to Die by Sarah Tantlinger
With Bared Teeth by Javier Gómez
In Our Past Mortality by Jay Rohr
Lust in the Full Moon by Khalil Goddard
Frontier Winter by Catherine Bult
Evolution of a Young Lover by Frank Heather
Nosferatu by Michael Hanson
Redcap by Kurt Newton
The Night Whispers by Sarah Cannavo
A Witch Reflects on Loss by Rie Sheridan Rose
Backwards Footprints by Donald Armfield
Secrets of the Loch by Louise Smith
A Siren’s Pursuer by Donald Armfield
Hunger by Candice Robinson
The Novealla of Vuowro (#) by Ron Riekki
Figment Fantastica by Taye Carrol

SECTION 2 -- COCKTAILS AND MIXED DRINKS (alcohol)

The Seafloor God by Ethan Hedman
A Kelpie’s Promise by Trisha Wooldridge
Siren’s Song by L.S. Reinholt
Widow’s Weeds by Linda Lee Ruzicka
Skin Walking by M.F. Senger
Stolen by Jillian Bost
Bedtime by Lynne Sargent
The Witches Give Birth by Joshua Lupardus
The Rattling Tree by Rob E. Boley
The Confession by Timothy Tarkelly
An I’d Swally the Little Bairns by Kimberly Brannon
Plague Ship by Emerian Rich
Death by Breaths by Gerri Leen
Eternal Epitaph by Don Campbell

SECTION 3 – SMOOTHIES (non-alcohol)

And They Ride by S.L. Scott
Noppera-bō by Samantha Lienhard
Black Vampire by Lavel Wideman
The War Witch by S.L. Edwards
The Power of the Moon by Ashley Dioses
Fisherman’s Lure by Ken MacGregor
The Beast I Am by Jyothika Aaryan

SECTION 4 – MILKSHAKES (alcohol and non-alcohol)

The Scab That Oozes by Nick Manzolillo
Nightmare Upon Dissolution by Jason Ellis
Night On The Town by Andrew Dunlop
The Faerie Rules by MJ Mars
A Prank Too Far by Anne E. Johnson
Whitechapel Werewolf by Samantha Potts
An Vorvoren a Senar by Darren Lester
Frankenspider by Minerva Cerridwen
The Vampire Ogrencisi by Shalom Aranas
Moon in Purple by Morphine Epiphany
Antlered Avenger by Kimmy Alan
He, The Forest by Jay Outhier
Feetures by Shawn Chang
We Are Legion by Allison Shepherd

SECTION 5 -- HAIKU SHOTS (alcohol)

Haiku by Darkling
Haiku by J.E. Mason
Haiku by Sarah Yasin
Haiku by Diane de Anda
Haiku by Vanessa Noel Graham
Haiku by Marjoleine Holsbeek
Haiku by Darkling

SECTION 6 -- PARTY PUNCH (alcohol and non-alcohol) 

Torture of a Pirate by Ethan Nahté
Food Shopping by Anne M. Gibson
Smoketown Zombies by James Quinn
Just Put Out Your Hand by Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Hunger for Life by Andrew Hudson
My Parents Don’t Like Kali ‘Cause She Drives A Mustang by Wolf Boy
Dinner with Jerry by Sally Max
Eventide by K.A. Opperman
Sodium-Vapor by Lisa Treece
When Monsters Share by Shawn Chang
Underneath the Red Moon by Linda M Crate
Siren of the Woods by Qurat Dar
Tommy’s Knocking by Patrick Winters
New Fur for Old Skin by Oliver Smith

SECTION 7 -- KILLER CLOWN RECIPES (non-alcoholic) 

Clown Night by L.S Reinholt
Within the Darkness of the Carnivále by Donald Armfield

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Women in Horror Month- Guest Blogger

Today I am a guest blogger on The Warrior Muse, run by Shannon Kenoyer Lawrence for Women in Horror Month.  You can find my article, Dark Enchantment, republished here from the Official Newsletter of the Horror Writer's Association, December 2015/Volume 25, Issue 185.

The following piece first appeared in the Official Newsletter of the Horror Writer's Association, December 2015/Volume 25, Issue 185.

Dark Enchantments:


I was in middle school when Edgar Allan Poe became my influence in becoming a poet of dark and Gothic verse. I have always been a huge horror and fantasy fan and he filled my horror craving in poetry. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found my craving for fantasy and dark fantasy poetry fulfilled as well.

The poetry of Clark Ashton Smith struck me in a way only Poe had struck me before. His poems were rich in imagination and his words were so spell-binding that they read like an enchantment from my lips. His poem “The Witch with Eyes of Amber” is such an example.

The Witch with Eyes of Amber
I met a witch with amber eyes
Who slowly sang a scarlet rune,
Shifting to an icy laughter
Like the laughter of the moon.

Red as a wanton's was her mouth,
And fair the breast she bade me take
With a word that clove and clung
Burning like a furnace-flake.

But from her bright and lifted bosom,
When I touched it with my hand,
Came the many-needled coldness
Of a glacier-taken land.

And, lo! the witch with eyes of amber
Vanished like a blown-out flame
Leaving but the lichen-eaten
Stone that bore a blotted name.

With those first two rich, enticing lines, that poem begs to be read aloud and so should all poetry. A poem should be written in such a way that it enchants all who hear it. For dark poetry as well, a poem should begin with a grabbing line and end with a line that will haunt the reader after they’ve finished it, just like any horror fiction piece.

Smith is known for using elaborate and, oftentimes, difficult vocabulary, but one needs not a dictionary to evoke stunning imagery. My poem “Witch’s Love,” published in Centipede Press’ Weird Fiction Review 5, compares a witch’s lover to various images of nature and is written in iambic tetrameter, which lends itself to a musical beat when read aloud.

Witch’s Love
Twin moons of palest crystal set
In cerulean eyes; star-fire
Enflames his crown with ruby jets
As red as Hades’ grandest pyre.

My lavender and rosehip blend,
Enchanted with my witch’s touch,
Was not used as I did intend;
His heart, at once, was in my clutch.

His taste is honey on my lips,
His silver tongue is sweeter still,
His touch is silk on my soft hips,
His love is master of my will.

He is the cosmos and its ice,
The oak and its deep steadfast roots,
The green absinthe and its high price,
The diamond from the ash and soot.

In only me his interest peaks,
For I alone enrapture him.
In me my magick love he seeks,
For I choose love not on a whim.

I am his witch and he, my love.
He, my desire, for only I
Can melt his ice from skies above, 
And temper his poisonous high.

Each line is wrought with words to evoke one of the senses and creates a picture to shape the reader’s imagination. The vivid colors, the thick lavender scents, the smooth feeling of silk, and the sweet taste of honey can all be conjured forth with a reading.

I’ve heard that not all poetry should be beautiful, but doesn’t the very word inspire beauty? When you watch movies and a character executes a memorable line, isn’t it often remarked as being almost poetic? When you watch a romance, doesn’t poetry come to mind? Well, when it comes to horror, beauty can be a bit more subjective.

The beauty of words and the evocative images they evoke are not just limited to fantasy or even dark fantasy for that matter. This is also what makes it fun to write dark, horror-filled verse. Is your poem aimed to inspire fear or is it written to disgust your audience? What senses would you want to conjure up? Make your audience taste the blood spilled in your verse, conjure that metallic taste, and that sticky hot mess on their fingertips. Make your audience feel the cold steel of that dagger or the acidic taste of poison on their lips. Inspire fear with the magic of words that will slice through the tension-filled air.

My poem “Carathis,” published in Hippocampus Press’ Spectral Realms No. 1, and also chosen for Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror Volume Seven recommended reading list, is written after the character from William Beckford’s Vathek. She is a dark sorceress who is the epitome of evil and, in writing this poem, I tried to replicate the sense of dread I felt when she appeared on the page.

Carathis
Her skin of burnished bronze, so silken to the touch;
Her hair of blackest midnight, wafting scents of such
Intoxicating aphrodisiacs; and her
Enticing eyes of hazel that made weak hearts stir,
Belonged to the dark Sorceress of high Samarah.
Fools only would court this dark queen whose mouth is marah.
Her heart was ice within a cage of blackened bone.
Carathis was her name, and she would rule alone.

Inside the high witch-tower of her dark delights,
She decked her walls with hanging bodies all alight.
Her floors were red, her followers were all deaf mutes,
And mummies who attended to her brews of newts.
Emitting fumes of mummies and the blazing flames
Frequently filled her working space as, without shame,
She practiced rituals, with offerings spread out.
Her tainted mind had found for certain, without doubt,
An entrance to the Palace of Subterranean Fire.
A place of treasures and rare knowledge to desire.

Such sacrifices of serpents and scorpions
Soon insufficient grew, and fresh new champions
Were needed to appease her gods of pain and Death.
Servants, friends, children were the same, for every breath
Could easily be stilled, for passage down below.
Reciting savage incantations soon let go
Her earthly limits, and she entered down with bliss
Into the palace where, awaiting, was Eblis.

He greeted her as newly hired within his ranks,
And offered food and wine, which eagerly, she drank.
He gave free range of his grand palace, and she soon
Surveyed every dark corridor. How she did swoon
When finally she came upon her long sought prize:
The talismans of Soliman that held the skies
And conquered all beneath them! Quickly grabbing one,
Her heart burst into flames with a heat like the sun!
Explosive cachinnation pierced the many halls
As her shrill screams forever echoed in his walls.

- After William Beckford’s Vathek

A poem should have beautiful language. Beautiful language, not necessarily the theme, makes a beautiful poem. If you describe the stiffened contours of a lifeless lover or the mangled cadaver of your latest plaything, then describe it richly, beautifully, darkly. Show the details of her crimson-stained hair or conjure the scent of his aged and rotting flesh. Do not spare a single psychotic notion in your verse.

David Park Barnitz, the author of the Book of Jade, is a perfect example of an author who could spin such enchanting language while describing a corpse. For example, consider these lines from Barnitz’s poem “The Grotesques”: “As one that the sweet pangs of passion bore. / And from its passionate mouth’s corrupted sore, / And from its lips that are no longer red,” (8-10). A dark romance with a fallen lover makes me wonder how long ago those lips were still red! I can feel his passion and can imagine the corpse from these lines. It creates a heavier blow than simply telling me he has lain with a dead body. The language is striking here as it is with the rest of the poem.

Now enough of love! Excuse the romance, and let’s get back to the horror. Not everyone wants romance in their horror and dark verses but that doesn’t excuse the lack of that enthralling language. Let’s look at another one of Barnitz’s poems, “Corpse.” “A dead corpse crowned with a crown of gold / Sits throned beneath the sky’s gigantic pall; / Gold garments from its rotted shoulders fall,” (1-3). A very fitting image for the title and it does not disappoint.

With a title as captivating as “Corpse,” you should expect the poem to cover, well, the corpse. A lot of images come to mind when reading or hearing that word. If you have such a title that you have your poem wrapped around, do not disappoint your readers with lack of imagery. Make your images, your lines, your verse more haunting than any image they can conjure up.

If you aim to strike fear, rather than repulsion, with your verse, not too many examples can instill the demise of Man and conquer that feeling with the last two lines of Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm.” “That the play is the tragedy, ‘Man,’/ And its hero, the Conqueror Worm,” (39, 40). Whether you wish to instill fear, repulsion, or drear lamentation, do it with your language. Even if the horror is subtle and only hinted at, enthrall them with your language. Poe did an excellent job at hinting at the demise of his narrator in these famous last lines from “The Raven.” “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor/ Shall be lifted—nevermore!” (107, 108).

Spin your dark enchantment around your readers and spellbind them with words they can ever be haunted by.

Friday, February 16, 2018

51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair

Kyle and I attended the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena on Sunday for the first time and had a blast!  We were happy to see Obadiah Baird, editor of the Audient Void, who came down from Oregon to be a vendor of the Book Bin. 

(Kyle, Obadiah, and me)

I supported the Book Bin by buying a signed edition of Phantoms and Fancies by L. Sprague de Camp. 


Later, we met up with the mysterious Sam L. Edwards, author of Borkchito: Occult Detective.  I was glad I could convince him to join us.

(Sam L. Edwards)

We perused every booth and saw so many cool things.  For instance, I had the privilege to hold in my hands, The Hornbook of Witches by Leah Bodine Drake.  And glimpse hand-written manuscripts by H. P. Lovecraft and spy Clark Ashton Smith's signature.  I found a very nice copy of Dreams from R'lyeh and snagged that.  We also found some questionable titles which only confirmed my belief that I am, in fact, a deity this whole time.... ;) 

(Deity it is then!)


   


Interesting Statistics

I keep strict records of where, when, and what I've submitted to throughout the years, starting when I first subbed my work in 2011.  Here is just an interesting list of rejections and acceptances for the curious.

Total Publications Submitted To- 226
Total Rejections- 389
Total Acceptances- 165
Withdrawn Work- 57
Contests Won- 2

8 years of submitting work.  Incredible. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review of Test Patterns edited by Duane Pesice from Planet X Publications (2017)

Test Patterns edited by Duane Pesice from Planet X Publications (2017) is reviewed by Des Lewis on his blog.

Introduction- Michael Adams
Stories and poetry from Matthew M. Bartlett, Philip Fracassi, Cody Goodfellow, Joe Pulver, Rob F Martin, Sean M. Thompson, Jill Hand, Sarah Walker, Brian O'Connell, Russell Smeaton, Frederick J. Mayer, K. A. Opperman and Ashley Dioses.

Here is what he had to say on my poem, Hands of Chaos.


I'm not exactly sure what is being said here (except that he didn't like my spelling of 'fae') and whether or not this is a positive review. *shrugs*

I have not yet received my contributor's copy so full ToC will be posted then.
Edit- Full ToC

Table of Contents:

“The Woman in the Forge of Saturday Night” by Joe Pulver
“Evidence of Absence” by Scott Graves
“I Am Become Death” by William Tea
“The Judge” by Philip Fracassi
“The Snake Beneath My Skin” by Sarah Walker
“The Hands of Chaos” by Ashley Dioses
“The Nomenclature of Unnamable Horrors” by Peter Rawlik
“Golden Girl” by S.L. Edwards
“Scenes From a Forgotten Diorama” by Brian O’Connell
“You Can’t Go Wrong with Grass-Fed Beef” by Jill Hand
“Abettor” by Ruth Asch
“Work Group” by Pete Carter
“The Cliffside Tavern” by Sean M. Thompson
“One Evening in Whitbridge” by Scott Thomas
“The Velveteen Volvo” by Nathan Carson
“Outre Non-Limitations” by Frederick J. Mayer
“The Kumiho Question” by Frederick J. Mayer
“I’ve Lived in This Place a Long Time” by Can Wiggins
“The White Terror” by Frank Coffman
“Symptom of the Universe” by John Claude Smith
“Sustenance of the Stars” by Scott J. Couturier
“Alien Shore” by Rob Martin
“Ye Hermit’s Lay” by Adam Bolivar
“Bridge” by Don Webb
“Balls” by Russell Smeaton
“Call Me Corey” by Matthew M. Bartlett
“Hero Mother” by Cody Goodfellow
“Red-Eye” by Mark Rainey
“Séance” by K.A. Opperman
“Looking for Ghosts” by Duane Pesice


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Projects Update

Current Progress-

The Withering- 50 poems
Diary of a Vampyress- 28 poems
Project 3- 15 poems
Project 4- 24 poems

Some poems cross the line between Gothic and dark fantasy and I'm having a hard time placing them in the best spots.  That also makes this fun though.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cemetery Dance Reviews Diary of a Sorceress

Joshua Gage reviews Diary of a Sorceress on the Cemetery Dance blog!


Diary of a Sorceress by Ashley Dioses
Hippocampus Press (October 2017)
170 pages, $15 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Ashley Dioses has established herself as one of the leading voices in contemporary weird poetry. Known for her meticulous use of rhyme and meter and her melding of the strange and the romantic, Dioses has gathered some of her recent poetry into her first collection—a scintillating assemblage of nearly 100 poems short and long, published and unpublished. Titled Diary of a Sorceress, it is a really exciting collection of weird and dark fantasy poetry sure to appeal to any reader.

Diary of a Sorceress is broken up into four sections: “Atop the Crystal Moon,” “Kiss the Stars,” “Star Lightning” and “On a Dreamland’s Moon.” Each section reads like its own chapbook of poetry, focused around one particular theme. “Atop the Crystal Moon” seems to be focused on fantasy poetry. “Kiss the Stars” seems to be focused on more nature-based poetry. “Star Lightning” is a chapter of love and romance poems. “On a Dreamlands Moon” is the darkest, and more horrific, collection of poems. Each section propels the reader forward into the next, creating a very complex tome of poetry.

“Atop the Crystal Moon” is the most fantastic of the four chapters. It contains poems about creatures like unicorns, Pegasus, gorgons, selkies, satyrs, etc. It really covers a lot of classical western fantasy tropes. However, these poems are not the trite and cliché offerings that one might expect from a new poet, especially one dealing with formal poetry. These poems are rich in imagery and narrative, and create clear pictures in the minds of the reader. The eponymous poem of this section is an eight=page poem that leads the reader through a fantasy-soaked journey. It is an impressive undertaking, both in length as well as in craft, and it really serves to catch the reader’s attention and enrapt them in Dioses’s language.

“Kiss the Stars” continues the dark fantasy ideas from “Atop the Crystal Moon,” but focuses on more natural images and subjects. This is a chapter of plants and gardens, though Dioses still manages to make them dark. For example, her poem “Graveyard Blossom” begins:

The scent of roses sweetens all behind
The graveyard gates, yet graves so far away
Could not send forth a fragrance so refined
Like phantom rich perfumes, without decay.

This olfactory imagery juxtaposed against the setting of a graveyard serves to pull the reader into the poem and really helps to evoke the scene that Dioses is trying to create. Readers of this section will be caught up in the imagery and the dark spells that Dioses weaves.

“Star Lightning” takes a shift and moves into more romantic poetry. Dioses continues with some of the imagery from the previous chapter, but it’s now set in a more romantic setting. For example, in the poem “Lover’s Witch,” we get this image:

Her love, a spell, is wound around
My soul, like lingering perfumes
That emanate from floral crowns
Of belladonna all abloom.

When the poems in this section work, they work well; however, there are many poems in this section that seem too personal, and take the reader out of the fantasy realm that Dioses has created. As such, this is the weakest section of the book, and fortunately not the last.

The final section of this collection, “On a Dreamland’s Moon,” is probably the most horror oriented of the four. Dioses moves between traditional horror tropes to the explicitly raw and grisly, as in the poem “The Rotting Goddess”:

Her reddened fingertips pluck at the strings
Of the intestines strung throughout her loom.
She weaves the fates of fighting men and kings
While severed heads are hanging in the gloom.

This is an excellent section to end the book on, a horror-driven selection of poems with tributes to some of the great names in horror literature.

Overall, Diary of a Sorceress is an excellent initial effort by a promising young poet. While the book has its weak spots and could have been curated more, it stands as a solid first book by a poet who has a lot to add to horror poetry.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Weird Fiction Review #8 by Centipede Press

Weird Fiction Review #8 by Centipede Press is on sale for $19 at the Centipede Press website.  It contains my poem, To Court the Dragon and the Snake, which was inspired by the Penny Dreadful episode, "A Blade of Grass".