Thursday, July 29, 2021

Blog Tour: Ariadne, I Love You

 


We're happy to help Meerkat Press support the release of their latest title Ariadne, I Love You 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!


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For today's stop, we're thrilled to introduce J. Ashley-Smith, who will be reading an excerpt from the book. He is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and other materials. His short stories have twice won national competitions and been shortlisted seven times for Aurealis Awards, winning both Best Horror (Old Growth, 2017) and Best Fantasy (The Further Shore, 2018). His novella, The Attic Tragedy, was released by Meerkat Press in 2020 and has since been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, an Australian Shadows Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award.

J. lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.

You can connect with J. at spooktapes.net, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.




Click on the soundcloud icon below to hear J. Ashley-Smith read from Ariadne, I Love You





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Released July 20th, 2021
Dark Fantasy | Horror


About Ariadne, I Love You: 

Jude is dragged out of Alt Country obscurity, out of the dismal loop of booze and sadness baths and the boundless, insatiable loneliness, to scrub up and fly to Australia for a last, desperate comeback tour. Hardly worth getting out of bed for—and he wouldn’t, if it weren’t for Coreen.

But Coreen is dead. And, worse than that, she’s married. Jude’s swan-song tour becomes instead a terminal descent, into the sordid past, into the meaning hidden in forgotten songs, into Coreen’s madness diary, there to waken something far worse than her ghost.


BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 5, 2021

Audio Series: These Americans

 


Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.



Today, Jyotsna Sreenivasan reads a story from her collection These Americans, which released this past May. She is also the author of And Laughter Fell From the Sky. Both are about Indian Americans. She was selected as a Fiction Fellow for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines and anthologies.  She received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts. She was born and raised in Ohio. Her parents are immigrants from India. For information about Jyotsna as well as other writers who are children of immigrants, please see www.SecondGenStories.com.






Click the soundcloud bar below to hear Jyotsna reading from "Mirror", a story from her new collection.





About These Americans

Winner of the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize from the publisher, this debut collection of short fiction explores what it means to be an American, from the birth of a child to an immigrant couple to the death of a first-generation mother. The eight short stories and a novella examine mother-daughter relationships, immigrant parental expectations, fitting in, the concept of “home,” coming out as a lesbian, the process of becoming “American,” and the experiences of an Indian woman physician in the U.S. An earlier version of the novella in this collection was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize. 


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Blog Tour: The Bridge

 



We're happy to help Meerkat Press support the release of their latest title The Bridge 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!


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For today's stop, author J.S. Bruekelaar is reading an excerpt from the novel. J.S. is the author of Collision: Stories, a 2019 Shirley Jackson Award finalist, and winner of the 2019 Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. Previous novels include Aletheia and American Monster. Her short fiction has appeared in the Dark Magazine, Tiny Nightmares, Black Static, Gamut, Unnerving, Lightspeed, Lamplight, Juked, in Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy 2019 and elsewhere. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, where she teaches writing and literature, and is at work on a new collection of short stories and a novella. You can find her at thelivingsuitcase.com and on Twitter and elsewhere @jsbreukelaar.




Click on the soundcloud icon below to hear J.S. reading from The Bridge:






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Releasing June 22, 2021
Speculative Fiction | Dark Fantasy



About The Bridge: 

Meera and her twin sister Kai are among thousands of hybrid women—called Mades—bred by the Father in his Blood Temple cult. Meera is rescued by a mysterious healer and storyteller, Narn, but her sister, Kai, does not survive the Father’s “unmaking.” Years later, when the cult is discovered and abolished, Meera, still racked with guilt and grief, enrolls in college to take advantage of a generous new Redress Program. When Narn’s conjure stories buy Meera a free ride to a notorious horror reading series, she is soon the darling of the lit set, feted by the other students, finally whole, finally free of the idea that she should have died instead of her sister. But college is not all it seems—Narn has lost a sister too, and Meera agrees to try and find her if Narn will keep feeding Meera the stories that are opening her up to memories she’s never acknowledged, secrets she’s never wanted to know, about Narn’s and the Father’s connection to a violent campus stalker.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Audio Series: This I Can Tell You

 



Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.



Today, Brandi Spering joins us and reads an excerpt from her debut book This I Can Tell You, out with Perennial Press. Other works can be found in super / natural: art and fiction for the future, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Forum Magazine, Artblog & more. She resides in South Philadelphia where she writes, sews, and paints.







Click on the soundcloud bar below to hear Brandi read from her debut: 






About the book: 

This I Can Tell You walks in through the front door and looks under the sofa. It measures the length of the wall, taps to find the beams. It removes the hammer and the nails from the toolbox, places them in a line to find the difference. This is a poetic narrative that examines structures within a home. It navigates Spering’s muffled timeline due to the fragility of memory as a result of trauma and the secrecy maintained within a family, like a well-groomed dog.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Where Writers Write: CATHERINE GENTILE

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!


Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 



This is Catherine Gentile


Her fiction received the Dana Award for Short Fiction. Her debut novel, The Quiet Roar of a Hummingbird, was awarded Finalist Status in the Eric Hoffer Novel Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing. Small Lies, a collection of short stories, was released in October 2020. Her nonfiction covers a variety of topics and has appeared in Writers’ Market, North Dakota Quarterly, Down East, and Maine Magazine. She currently edits and publishes a monthly ezine entitled Together With Alzheimer's, which has subscribers throughout the United States. A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Catherine lives with her husband and muse on a small island off the coast of Maine. Her latest novel, Sunday's Orphan, is scheduled for release in September, 2021. Learn more at www.catherinegentile.com





Where Catherine Gentile Writes




I wish I could tell you I’m a tidy writer whose insights and inspirations flow whenever I assume an ergonomically correct position in front of my stand-and-write computer station; happily, my writing life broke out long ago from the confines of my office. Sure, I spend time in front of my wall-mounted computer screen, but the portion of my writing that feeds my imagination occurs long before my fingertips dance along the keyboard. In the early years of writing, I felt obligated to record every thought, in the event those precious words might be needed in whichever project I was working on. This necessitated having paper and pen at hand. I filled many tablets before I realized that I rarely returned to these jottings. I came to trust that other thoughts would come, and they would be just as good, or more so, than their predecessors.

 


These unruly thoughts often shy away from my computer screen and make themselves known when I am occupied with more physical activities—cooking dinner, gardening, riding my bike, talking to friends. If preparing a meal, I remove the saute pan from the heat and scratch a quick note on the back of a grocery list. I don’t claim to have pen and paper at hand when I am on my hands and knees in my gardens but, I do confess to having a small spiral notebook in the greenhouse, just in case. Bike riding doesn’t allow for taking notes, although the wind on my face blows away the cobwebs,  makes me feel as though I’m twelve-years-old again, and releases my imagination. Once I secure my bike to the car rack, I spend a few satisfying moments writing in the notebook I’ve squirreled away under the dashboard. Phone conversations allow me to scribble cryptic notes while listening to someone speak, a skill I mastered in college.

 


I have a work table in my office on which I sort out all these accumulated bits of paper. It’s a few feet from my computer station, where I insert those thoughts into my manuscript-in-process. Eventually, I settle into deep concentration, then the characters take command, and their stories ebb and flow. During this phase, I rest my wrists on the circa 1955 drafting table I inherited from my dad. I don’t recall him spending hours at this table; rather, he sketched on napkins, in notebooks, and on receipts. On the wall behind me, one of dad’s oil paintings, unfinished yet glorious in its sunrise yellows and hues of blues and orange, urges me on. As his memory reminds me, “Where there is activity, there is art.”

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Audio Series: In the Belly of the Bell-Shaped Curve

 




Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was iriginally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.



Today, Michael Carter reads an excerpt from his debut novel In The Belly Of The Bell-Shaped Curve. Michael graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in English and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He practiced law for years as a trial lawyer. Later, he worked in state government as a deputy attorney general and as chief counsel for a state agency that provides support to the impoverished and those in need. “In the Belly of the Bell-Shaped Curve” is his first book. To learn more about Carter, please visit michaellcarter.com.








Click on the soundcloud bar below to hear Michael read from his debut.








What the book is about: 

Turk is a frustrated claims adjuster for a large insurance company and has developed a plan that will free him from his boring life and make him rich. If successful, his plan will liberate a vast majority of human beings from the drudgery and monotony of their jobs. Turk hopes to create the Primo-Primate Project and train chimpanzees to operate technology like cash registers or machines used in manufacturing. Consumers would be able to buy the chimps as surrogate workers, in turn freeing humanity from the mundane and dull. Due to his job, Turk has access to the personal information of policyholders. To finance his project, he develops a scheme to embezzle money from the company by creating a fictitious claimant who suffers an injury. Once he crosses the line into white-collar crime, Turk’s life spirals out of control. He wanted excitement and more—and now, he’s got it, as he faces either madness or revelation.

Monday, June 7, 2021

David Leo Rice's Would You Rather

 Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, this series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20ish odd bookish scenarios....








WOULD YOU RATHER
David Leo Rice





Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

 Definitely my feet—I need to drink plenty of coffee while writing, so it’d be pretty hard if my mouth were otherwise engaged.

 

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

 One giant bestseller, so I could live off the royalties from that and then write the rest of my books with no commercial concern at all.

  

Would you rather be a well-known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

 This is a tricky one. If I can interpret the second option as “being considered a literary genius after I’m dead, but knowing now that this will happen,” then I’d be tempted by that. If not, then definitely being well-known during my lifetime.

 

 Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

 Have every sentence begin with one. That might actually be exciting to try, whereas no conjunctions… I can’t see myself running with that.

  

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

I have a fear of needles, so the tattoo option would be pretty dark, but I don’t see how I could not choose it. Having it play in the background would render almost everything else impossible—unless it were low enough that I could normalize and in time start to ignore it (and perhaps I’m underestimating my own ability for normalization, as we all do on occasion… who knows what’s playing in the background right now that we’re not hearing anymore?).

 

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

 Definitely overnight success, because that would free me up to write books I truly believed in afterwards (even if they had to be under a pseudonym, depending on how crappy my overnight success turned out to be).

  

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

  A character I hated, if I can interpret that as meaning “a character who represents a person I’d hate”… this kind of character could still be quite productive and illuminating to work with.

  

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

 Blood as ink, though only narrowly. Both would be grim, but at least my blood would more quickly replenish itself, and yield a higher volume to work with.

 

 Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

 Both seem pretty close to my process already, so I could go either way. Since I have to choose, I’d have the characters escape and reenact the novel in real life. That way, I could write a new novel about this process, which would fit pretty well with the novels I’ve written so far, which all involve reenactment in different forms. It would be a nice next step, actually.

  

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

 I’d try it without the letter E, if only to partake in such a classic experiment. I don’t know much about Chicago or Miami, but it would be nice to get my head out of New York and Los Angeles for a while. And I could always include my hometown of Northampton.

 

 Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

 Ban! That would be a cool distinction, and it would almost certainly guarantee a higher readership among the students. This one’s a win-win.

 

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

Hmm, I’d be kind of fascinated to hear Rand’s in-person bloviations, and to see how they compared with those in her books.

  

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

This might be the hardest one so far. No good option, as far as I can tell. I guess speaking in haiku, though it’d be a bitter pill to swallow, as I’ve always enjoyed long, drawn-out conversations. I suppose I could speak in many haikus in succession.

 

 Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?

 Ha, also tricky! If I could slowly teach myself the language of the other series, that might be intriguing, but if I had no prior knowledge and no reference materials, that’d be pretty tough. So, 50 Shades it is. And in fairness, I’ve never read it, so maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised.

  

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?

 I’d like to say rip it apart publicly, though I can’t tell how I’d feel if that actually happened. Still, anything’s better than total indifference.

  

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

 This is a great one! I’d go for the narrator—and maybe then have that voice narrate my Twitter feed as well, so I could ignore it.

 

 Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

 Pens and paper. I do write notes and edits longhand, but the computer is the center of my process these days.

  

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?

 Lying down. I think it was Truman Capote who called himself a “fully horizontal novelist,” and said that he needed to be “lying and sipping, sipping and lying,” in order to compose. If it worked for him, I’m game to try it.

 

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

 Naked. You only live once, right?


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David Leo Rice is a writer from Northampton, MA, currently living in NYC. He’s the author of the novels A Room in Dodge City, A Room in Dodge City Vol. 2, ANGEL HOUSE, and The New House, coming in 2022. His debut story collection, Drifter, is out this June. He’s online at: www.raviddice.com




Thursday, April 15, 2021

Page 69: The Paradox Twins

 Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....







In this installment of Page 69, 

We put Joshua Chaplinsky's The Paradox Twins to the test




Set up page 69 for us. What are we about to read?

 

This is a scene in which Max Langley, the more successful of the titular twins, is giving a reading at his local independent bookstore for his latest release—the third and final book in his epic YA sci-fi trilogy, The War For Anthropica. His brother Alan and their next door neighbor, Millie, are in attendance. There is also a glimpse of the "webmaster" in the form of a footnote. He is the unseen-assembler of the story we are reading, commenting and manipulating from the fringe. 

 

What is your book about?

 

The Paradox Twins is the story of estranged twin brothers who reunite at their father's funeral to discover they no longer look alike. They move into their father’s house to settle his affairs, only to reignite old rivalries and uncover long-hidden secrets, most of which involve the young woman who lives next door.  It is told in an epistolary format, comprised of excerpts from various memoirs, novels, screenplay adaptations, and documents of public record. It is is an experimental, sci-fi ghost story about the scariest, most unknowable quantity there is—family.

 

Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what the book is about? Does it align itself with the book’s overall theme?

 

I feel like it would be nigh impossible for any one page of this book to give the perfect example of what it is about, but if you included a few paragraphs in either direction, page 69 totally would. Sibling rivalry and the difficulties of family are huge themes in The Paradox Twins. It also has quite a bit to say about writers and writing and the creative process in general. The nature of stories and storytelling, and how malleable those things are. So with a little context, this is a pretty representative page, thematically. 

 




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PAGE 69

THE PARADOX TWINS





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Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor.com. He is the author of The Paradox Twins (CLASH Books), the story collection Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape, and the parody Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has been published by Motherboard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Pantheon Magazine and Broken River Books. Follow him on Twitter at @jaceycockrobin. More info at joshuachaplinsky.com.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Page 69: Whimsy

 Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....





In this installment of Page 69, 

We put Shannon McLeod's Whimsy to the test





Set up Page 69 for us. What are we about to read? 


What you’re about to read is an excerpt from the flashback chapter of my novella Whimsy. In this chapter the protagonist (also named) Whimsy gets into a car accident which kills her roommate and leaves her severely injured. Whimsy meets her roommate’s brother, Frederick, at the funeral, and they begin a flirtatious friendship. In this scene, they hook up, and Frederick seems to immediately regret it.

 

What is the book about?


The book is about Whimsy’s struggle with her body image and social anxiety after the car accident, which left her with facial scarring. The majority of the plot hinges on Whimsy’s relationship with a journalist, Rikesh, whom she meets several years after the accident when he writes a human interest piece about her. The story is about the ways Whimsy’s trauma creates obstacles in her relationships, feeding her isolation. 

 

Does this page give readers an accurate feel for the novel? Does it align itself with the book’s overarching theme?


This page provides a vignette of rejection, which is a big theme in this book. The scene somewhat foreshadows how her relationship with Rikesh plays out. Years after this flashback scene, Whimsy is still trying to figure out her needs and her worth. 




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PAGE 69

WHIMSY



He was careful as he kissed me. I leaned in closer. He lowered his hand, pulled it away from me, as I kissed his neck. His hand reappeared on my low back and snaked its way under my shirt. I pulled away. 

“Please, don’t touch me there,” I said.

He stood up and unzipped his pants. I grabbed him and did what came next. I rushed towards it without question. He seemed to be doing the same. I wondered if his arms were held over his head, like the guy I saw through the window, but I didn’t want to look up.

Afterwards, I asked him to lie down with me. I was supposed to lie only on my back, but I turned onto my left side to make room for him on the twin bed. He stood for a while before he joined me. The bed felt bigger, somehow, with both of us in it, with the way he found space enough to keep his back from touching my abdomen. I placed my arm over him. I hoped to signal that he could come closer. He must have been afraid of hurting me.

“It’s okay,” I said. “Just don’t lean your weight on my collarbone.”

He didn’t move or speak. I thought he might have been dozing off. I left my arm over him, but it felt strange. It looked like something that didn’t belong there, like a rubber hose draped over a birthday cake.

“I’m sorry.” He pushed himself up off the bed and stood. “I don’t have a lot of friends.” He sighed, “Basically just my parents, now.” It sounded rehearsed, his self-pity. He looked up at the wall, where his sister had once placed a whiteboard to write herself reminders and due dates. “I want you to be my friend.”




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Shannon McLeod is the author of the novella Whimsy (Long Day Press 2021) and the essay chapbook Pathetic (Etchings Press 2016). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Prairie Schooner, Hobart, and SmokeLong Quarterly, among other publications. Born in Detroit, she now lives in Virginia where she teaches high school English. You can find Shannon on her website at www.shannon-mcleod.com.