Sunday, March 20, 2022

SMOLFair Keynote & Main Reading Events

SMOLFair has sprung and will continue to bring you cool small press virtual events, publisher tables, and wild discounts through the 26th. 

We kicked things off Friday evening with our Keynote Event, featuring Brian Evenson. If you missed his amazing speech, reading, and Q&A, dry those tears... we recorded it for your viewing pleasure!

2022 SMOLFair Keynote Event, Featuring Brian Evenson

We also co-hosted an amazing SMOL Brunch Reading with Alternating Current Press yesterday. Our joint authors knocked it out of the park! It featured readings by Cameron Mackenzie, Jayne Martin, Jackson Bliss, Sara Rauch, Leah Angstman, Jen Michalski, Ryan Ridge, Suzi Q Smith, David Leo Rice, Tyler Friend. But you had to see it to believe it. And see it you can, down below:

Alternating Current Press & TNBBC Publicity's 
SMOL Brunch Reading

Which events have you hit up so far? Which ones are you  most excited for? 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Blog Tour: Eugen Bacon's Mage of Fools

We're happy to help Meerkat Press support the release of their latest title Mage of Fools by participating in their blog tour. And if you're at all into winning free stuff, they're running a giveaway where you can potentially win a $50 book shopping spree.

Click here to enter!

Welcome to our Indie Spotlight series, in which TNBBC gives small press authors the floor to shed some light on their writing process, publishing experiences, or whatever else they'd like to share with you, the readers!

Today, we are shining the spotlight on Eugen Bacon

Eugen Bacon is an African Australian author gradually growing her black speculative fiction writing in novels, novellas, short stories, essays and prose poetry to a global gaze. She was recently announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships, and appears in four works shortlisted in the 2021 British Science Fiction Awards, including her collections Danged Black Thing (2021) by Transit Lounge Publishing and Saving Shadows (2021), a collection of black speculative prose poetry and microlit by NewCon Press, for Best Art.

Publishers Weekly listed her newest novel Mage of Fools in the Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Books Spring 2022.

 Eugen’s debut novel Claiming T-Mo (2019) by Meerkat Press is a Jekyll-and-Hyde conundrum that happens when a father flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society. The story tackles themes of identity, engaging with difference, betwixt, inhabitation, a multiple embodiment—recurring themes in Bacon’s storytelling.

Eugen is fond of poetry for its abstract, fluid and subversive nature, and says, “Poetry is timeless, intense, insistent and metaphoric. It comes with immediacy and you can write it from the gut.”


Let’s chill out with Eugen, find a little more about her interests:  


Why speculative fiction?

I’d define my writing literary speculative fiction, where poeticity, musicality of the text and playfulness with language is a penchant. In a form of subversive activism, speculative fiction empowers a different kind of writing with its unique worldbuilding that has, over decades, emboldened writers like Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison to write a different kind of story that’s also about writing oneself in.


Where is your writing space?

My writing begins in the head and on scraps of paper, scribbles in notepads everywhere. By the time I settle down to the writing, it’s about putting the pieces together.


Writing ritual?

Increasingly I find myself experimenting with prose poetry that sometimes slips into the opening, closing, sideline or core of a story. Sometimes I write to music, or the news—where else would I find stories of carnage?


Writerly crush?

Toni Morrison. In shaping my own voice, I was drawn to writers of literary fiction, counting Anthony Doerr and Michael Ondaatje, and found commonalities in riveting dialogue; in the depth of characterisation; in the ambition, adventure and variability of writing that discourages bad writing. These favourite authors seduce me with bold writing that spotlights mood, reorients prose and courts characterisation. They anticipate me, the reader, until I mislay questioning and instead find curiosity.


Are you structured or unstructured as a writer?

It’s increasingly a balance of both. I am an experimental writer. I love to explore the uncanny and step beyond traditional expectations of genre. I am enchanted with language (Morrison), and playfulness with text (Roland Barthes), each taking me to a space where I can be, become, and my characters can be, they can become.

 A short story or prose poetry begins with a question, or a curiosity. I am seeking to find something, and sometimes I don’t know what it is. It may be a longing or a memory, a dirge or a possibility. The quest is fluid, and I am open to where it might take me – sometimes to a newer question, or curiosity. 

It is intentional when I write a novella or a novel, because I chart its skeleton and have an idea of its core players, of the events that might drive them and, vaguely, why. Often, I tuck little stories and poems inside, layered vignettes invisible to the reader, but they carry the mutability and intensity of a short story, which seems to power my longer forms.


If you could improve your writing right now…  

A part of me would love to have the craft and patience to write a series maybe. But that’s not telling it straight. The short form is my love and, at 49,000 words of a novel, it’s Mt Kilimanjaro.         


When I’m not writing…

I am reading—I love short stories, collections, anthologies, black spec fic poetry. I love watching a film or documentary that moves me or triggers my mind (nothing is waste), and fine dining (but, the pandemic).


Reading right now…  

Susan Midalia is a titillating Australian short story writer, and she brings me back to my fondness of the short story. She’s not a speculative fiction writer and her literary shorts—about 2,000 words each or so—are something else! My favourite is An Unknown Sky and Other Stories.  


Best film…


I’d like to start with Matrix, which I love, but no. John Carter, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars, moves me in many ways.


In your writing, what are you most proud of?

I’m truly happy with where I am at in my writing, the global visibility that my work is getting and the publishers it is attracting. Danged Black Thing was my biggest breakthrough in Australia. I’m excited about Mage of Fools by Meerkat Press, the publisher who made me.

I like how my upcoming collection Chasing Whispers (2022) by Raw Dog Screaming Press is turning out. Despite the pandemic, I have managed to be incredibly prolific, and I am grateful to my ancestors and all the generous readers, critics, writers, editors and publishers who extend to me many opportunities that thrive me.


Releases March 15, 2022

Speculative Fiction | Dystopian | Afrofuturist


In the dystopian world of Mafinga, Jasmin must contend with a dictator’s sorcerer to cleanse the socialist state of its deadly pollution.

Mafinga's malevolent king dislikes books and, together with his sorcerer Atari, has collapsed the environment to almost uninhabitable. The sun has killed all the able men, including Jasmin’s husband Godi. But Jasmin has Godi’s secret story machine that tells of a better world, far different from the wastelands of Mafinga. Jasmin’s crime for possessing the machine and its forbidden literature filled with subversive text is punishable by death. Fate grants a cruel reprieve in the service of a childless queen who claims Jasmin’s children as her own. Jasmin is powerless—until she discovers secrets behind the king and his sorcerer.

BUY LINKS:  Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble





Outside the double-glazed window, a speck grows from the moonless night and yawns wide, wider, until its luster washes into the single-roomed space, rectangular and monolithic. One could mistake the room for a cargo container.

The space, one of many units neatly rowed and paralleled in Ujamaa Village, pulses for a moment as the radiance outside grows with its flicker of green, yellow and bronze. The cocktail of incandescent light tugs along a tail of heat. Both light and heat seep through the walls of the khaki-colored shelter, whose metallic sheen is a fabrication, not at all metal.

Light through the window on the short face of the house—the side that gazes toward Central District in the distance—rests on the luminous faces of a mother and her two young children, their eyes pale with deficiency in a ravaged world. It’s a world of citizens packed as goods in units whose short faces all stare toward the Central District that will shortly awaken in the dead of the night. The light drowns the toddler’s cry of wonder.

As sudden as the ray’s emergence, it evanesces and snatches away its radiance, leaving behind hoarfrost silence. A sound unscrolls itself from the darkness outside. First, it’s a thunderhead writing itself through desert country—because this world is dry and naked, barren as its queen.

The lone cry of a wounded creature, a howl or a wail reminiscent of the screech of a black-capped owl, plaintive yet soulful, rises above the flat roofs screening the wasted village. The cry is a dirge that tells an often-story of someone in agony, of a hand stretched out to touch an angel of saving but never reaches. A second thunderhead slits the sound midcry, nobody can save the mortally wounded one.

Jasmin closes her eyes. She needs no one to tell her. She knows.

Everybody knows—except the children. That King Magu’s guards—so few of them, yet so deadly—have found another story machine, and its reader.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

SMOL Brunch Reading


Alternating Current Press and TNBBC are teaming up to bring you a fabulous early afternoon event chock full of SMOL sized readings by these fabulous authors. 

The event kicks off at 1pm EST on Saturday 3/19 and you can join via zoom here:

See you there! 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

SMOLFair is Baaaack!


As some of you may know SMOLfair is back, and I'm thrilled to be participating behind the scenes against with creators and organizers Jesi Buell, Miette Gillette, Mandana Chaffa, Wendy Fox, Annelyse Gelman, and Kamden Hilliard.

If you're not familiar with it, SMOL Fair is an alternative book fair which will be 'live' from March 19th to the 26th.  In addition to featuring hundreds of small presses, there will be organized readings and opportunities for readers to connect with authors and publishers. To attend events, check out our calendar here.  To enter give-aways, follow SMOLfair on Twitter or Facebook

Participation is 100% free.  If you're a small press publisher or author, and plan to host anything remotely bookish during that week and wish to have your event listed on the events calendar, just hop on over there and fill out the form on the site!

Our Keynote Event

Friday March 18th, 9pm EST

Award-winning small press author Brian Evenson will be kicking off SMOL Fair with a keynote address and Q&A. He has written and translated dozens of books, most recently The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell: Stories (2021, Coffee House Press) and Song for the Unraveling of the World (2019, Coffee House Press), which won a Shirley Jackson award and World Fantasy award.

Will we see there for the kickoff? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Eat Like An Author: Stacy Wilder

When most people get bored, they eat. When I get bored, I brainstorm new series and features for the blog, and THEN eat. A few years ago, as I was brainstorming and contemplating what I wanted to eat, I thought how cool it would be to have a mini-foodie series where authors share the things they like to eat. Photos and recipes and all. And so I asked them, and amazingly they responded, and I dubbed it EAT LIKE AN AUTHOR. 

Today, Stacy Wilder shares with us some insight, and recipes, from her recently released murder mystery novel Charleston Conundrum.

When I’m writing, I’m typically sipping on a cup of hot tea or indulging in a glass of shiraz depending upon the time of day. My husband and I both enjoy a good glass of shiraz. Our favorite is Molly Dooker, The Boxer. My favorite hot tea is English Breakfast served with milk and honey.

When I was writing the cozy mystery, Charleston Conundrum, I hadn’t envisioned including recipes. As the story evolved, I thought how fun to give readers recipes that they could potentially serve at a book club meeting. Charleston Conundrum contains four different recipes, main dish, salad, a sandwich recipe, and dessert.


Liz Adams is the private investigator and the main character in the book. Here is the recipe for her King Ranch Chicken which she served to the romantic interest in the book, Brad. The dish was also served at the book launch party for Charleston Conundrum:

Liz’s King Ranch Chicken


1 can cream of mushroom soup                                8 oz. (2 cups) cheddar cheese

1 can cream of chicken soup                                     1 package corn tortillas

1 can Rotel tomatoes                                                 1 white onion diced

1 cup chicken stock                                                   1 green bell pepper diced

rotisserie chicken                                                       1 Tsp ancho chili powder

9x12 baking dish                                                        ½ tsp garlic salt

Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place corn tortillas in a bowl and cover with chicken stock. Soak until soft.

Shred chicken. Fine dice onion and bell pepper. Combine soup and cheese in a separate bowl. Use half of the tortillas to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half of the chicken on top followed by half of the onion and green pepper. Season. Follow with half of the cheese/soup mixture. Repeat. Pour can of Rotel on top.

Bake for thirty minutes.



The Conundrum Cocktail (tastes like a tropical Cosmo) debuted at the launch party and will be featured in the next book in the series, Carmel Conundrum. Typically ideas for the series either pop up in the middle of the night or bubble up as I’m journaling in the mornings. The scene to introduce the drink in Carmel Conundrum came to me in the middle of the night a few days after the event.


1 ounce orange vodka

.75 ounces vodka

.75 ounces St. Germaine

.25 ounces Malibu rum

.25 ounces lemon juice

.25 ounces lavender syrup (add more to taste)

Splash of grenadine

Pour ingredients into a martini shaker. Mix, add ice. Shake multiple times. Strain and pour in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

One of the characters in Charleston Conundrum, Lou, the murder victim’s business partner and a suspect, has the odd habit of breaking into random songs. Included in the book is a playlist of songs that are mentioned in the story. The playlist is also available on Spotify under Charleston Conundrum.

All of the recipes and the playlist can also be found on my website,

Everything you need for a book club party – Food, Drink, Music! Enjoy.


Stacy writes mysteries, children’s stories, short stories, and poetry. Her debut novel is the first in the Conundrum mystery series. Her mission is to deliver a delightful story to readers of all ages while benefiting a larger community. She donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books to causes that support wildlife conservation, and the homeless, both people and pets.

As well as writing, Stacy is passionate about her faith, family, Labradors, the causes that she supports, the beach, art, and reading books.

She and her husband live in Houston, Texas with a totally spoiled Labrador retriever, Eve.

You can find Stacy’s website at

About Charleston Conundrum: 

Liz Adams never imagined when she moved to Charleston with her truth sniffing Labrador retriever, Duke, that she would use her skills as a private investigator to avoid winding up on Death Row.  Liz’s life is upended when her best friend, Peg, is murdered and she becomes a suspect. Liz’s gun was the murder weapon. Tensions flare between Liz and the cops as she rises to the top of their suspect list. 

At the request of Peg’s father, Liz agrees to take on the investigation. Riding a roller coaster of emotions, Liz uncovers many secrets Peg kept from her despite their being best friends. The suspects include a cast of characters: the ex-husband, the boyfriend, a coworker, several neighbors, and family members.  

Charleston Conundrum takes the reader from Charleston, South Carolina, to Paris and back in the emotional unraveling of Peg’s life and death to a killer ending.