May Deadlines

Thu 28 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Winter was so busy that I haven’t kept up with this but here are a few May deadlines from A Working Writer’s Daily Calendar 2011—which is now 50% off. And now we’re working on the 2012 edition. I’ll try and post more as the year goes on and at some point we’ll post some of the articles, too.

May 7: International Poetry Competition
Prize: $1,000 + publication for 20 entrants.
Manuscript: Poems must be your original creative work, not published in a national print publication. (Online or strictly local publication is permitted, as long as you hold the copyright.)
Eligibility: Previous winners, associates, friends, or students of the judge are ineligible.
Fee: By mail: $5/first poem, $3 /each additional. Online: See website.
Atlanta Review
P.O. Box 8248
Atlanta, GA 31106 Read more



Make a bookstore pop up

Thu 28 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Go on!



One Story Ball

Wed 27 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This Friday in Brooklyn there’s only one place to be: the One Story Literary Debutante Ball—and Small Beer Press are very proud to be one of the sponsors!

When: Friday, April 29, 2011, 7pm – 11pm
Where: The Invisible Dog Art Center
51 Bergen St. (between Smith St. & Court St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Invisible Dog is located half-block from the Bergen Street F station. There are special cocktails. There is a freight elevator and on the walls of the shaft an Italian painter has drawn the words to Dante’s Inferno. Upstairs, there’s a VIP party with a champagne table hosted by the Bubble Lounge, hors d’oevres and a swing band, Lapis Luna. There are 60 incredible pieces of art in the art auction by both established and emerging artists. Dani Shaprio is the host, there are  cookies baked by the One Story staff, and after the debutante presentations, the dancing begins! If you’re wondering what to wear, Marie-Helene Bertino has written a helpful post here.

All literary events should end with dancing! Sounds like an excellent evening. Maybe even see you there?

7pm – 9pm
Gallery Opening & Silent Auction,
Drinks & Hors d’oeuvres

8pm – 9pm
Presentation of Debutantes & Mentorship Award

9pm – 11pm
Dancing & Celebration



Stranger Things Happen blank book

Wed 27 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Stranger Things Happen Blank BookForgot to post this here yesterday: always thought it would be fun to make a Stranger Things Happen blank book and now it’s available with 200 blank blank blank pages for your sketching and writing.

Best thing to do with it though is to stare at it on the subway (don’t forget to turn the pages!) to freak out your fellow riders.



What I See (14), by Karen Joy Fowler

Tue 26 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Author

What I See, part 14 by Karen Joy Fowler

Some things happen fast here—the sun comes up and advances during my walk. The tide comes in or goes out. Spring arrives. This seemed to happen overnight. I got up one morning and the yard was filled with wrens, there were butterflies in the park, and the mustard is much taller than Mojito by now. It’s all in purple, white, and yellow bloom. On a warm day, I feel that I could sleep in it like Dorothy in the poppyfields. A man at the park recommended taking the greens home and cooking with them, but I’d have to know which ones no dog had pissed on first. MJ could tell me, but she can’t be bothered to.

Winter is still evident in the landscape. The park trees must be shallow-rooted because so many large ones were upended in the rains. There are vantage points in the park from which the trees all appear now to slant. Up at Natural Bridges, a fallen tree wrecked the butterfly-viewing suspension walkway. No dogs are allowed on it, so MJ and I have never been, but we can see the wreckage from the road.

Down in Lighthouse Field, some new paths have opened and some old ones closed. One trail I used to take is a pond now and other ponds also remain, attracting egrets and mallards, though most of the mud has dried out and tracks are passable again.

Yesterday was clean-up day. The Wallendas did a highwire act at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk that attracted crowds and helicopters; there were fireworks and it was all very tempting, but MJ and I went birding instead. Here is what we saw: pigeons, scoters, gulls, cormorants, blackbirds (red-winged and Brewers), a mallard duck pair, a few brown pelicans, a covey of California quail, two snowy egrets, one blue heron, one hummingbird, and many small brown sorts I can’t identify.

Today we happened on the rangers talking amiably to a man who’d slept in the park last night in a hammock. He was apparently on a long bike ride and I was taken with his high and not so-high-tech gear. I suddenly wished to take a long bike ride myself, a trip of many weeks, with hammocks and portable stoves. But then I thought that eventually I’d have to bike uphill, which I don’t care for much. And where would MJ sleep? Many bugs to be worked out of this mad nomadic plan. Including actual bugs, I’m guessing.

Previous posts

——

Karen’s latest story is “Younger Women” available on Subterranean Online. She is also moderating the Tiptree Book Club .



You’re invited to a wedding

Thu 21 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Joan Aiken giveawayThe Monkey’s Wedding! It’s out there in the world and 5 of the first readers will be the winners of our competition.

We used random.org (it was really odd to see if choose 2 consecutive numbers!) to pick 5 commentors each of whom will receive a copy of The Monkey’s Wedding and then used it again to choose 2 of those 5 who will also receive an original copy of the issue of Argosy containing one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories—as well as any goodies we have lying around the office.

Here are the winners and their fave pseudonym, own pseudonyms, or theoretical pseudonyms (you can see more here):

Alison” said, “My favourite pseudonym has always been Currer Bell, because it sounds like a name for the smartest cat in the world. I have only ever published under my own real name, but I used to blog as Girl Detective. It was a misnomer, though, as I rarely did any detecting. As for a pseudonym I would like to use, perhaps in a nod to my beloved Brontes, I would go by Argyle Bell. Just like the ring of it. (Heh. Sorry.)”

Kate” told us of her fondness for “Edward Gorey’s pseudonyms, particularly Dogear Wryde and E.G. Deadworry.”

The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories cover - click to view full sizeHeather” amused us greatly with her names and stories: “Once in high school we all wrote down fake names on a marching band trip. I was the only one who didn’t get caught, because the band mom didn’t recognize “Emily Dickinson” as a fake name. I was embarrassed for her as I meekly called “here!” I’ve written under H.L. Shaw, assumed by those who don’t know me to be male, and my husband has written under a pseudonym assumed to be female, which amuses us greatly. Not that I’ve had the guts to use it, but I’ve always thought a good nom de porn (for a science fiction writer) would be Jane Pushbush Sr. (sorry, sorry), I can’t get the 360 VR Porn Of Sluty Whores out of my mind.”

Tammy” picked “Tabitha Stevens” as she “was a big Bewitched fan as a child, and our initials matched.”

And lastly Alissa disappointed us by revealing, “I once had a plan to write some science fiction stories under the name Buck Starweaver, but never actually did. I still think Buck might find his way into a future story or two as a character as opposed to my pen name.”

Meanwhile . . . out in the world the book acquired a lovely starred review from Publishers Weekly (yay!) and a few more pre-pub reviews.

We hope you enjoy this lovely and occasionally macabre collection and do feel free to spread the word. It’s readers like you who make the difference with books such as ours!

* “This imaginative posthumous collection includes among others six never before published short stories and two originally published under a pseudonym…. Wildly inventive, darkly lyrical, and always surprising, this collection—like the mermaid in a bottle—is a literary treasure that should be cherished by fantastical fiction fans of all ages.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Aiken writes with surpassing spirit and alertness, never ceasing to find interest or amazement in the traps people set for themselves. Some of the stories are slight, but Aiken’s elegant restraint and dry wit never fail to leave their mark.”
Kirkus Reviews

“From a bottled mermaid brought home from a sailor’s adventures at sea to a vicar reincarnated as a malevolent cat, fantasy is combined with magic, myth and adventure to form weird, wonderful and immersive tales.”
For Book’s Sake

“Aiken’s vivid descriptions move nimbly through pastoral meadows and circus chaos, gothic grotesques and quirky romances. In the end, all of her narratives tease the reader by rejecting our desire for neatness or closure. No didacticism here. As Aiken’s narrator sweetly laments, ‘No moral to this story, you will be saying, and I am afraid it is true.'”
California Literary Review



What list has (2)

Wed 20 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Karen Joy Fowler, Peter Straub, Richard Butner, Laird Barron (many times!), Caitlin R. Kiernan, all in one place?

The Shirley Jackson Awards have announced their

2010 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees(!)

Congratulations to Karen (for being nominated in the short story and collection categories!) and all the other authors. The awards will be given out at Readercon in July—see you there?



The Monkey’s Wedding ships . . .

Wed 20 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Good news from our printer: The Monkey’s Wedding has shipped out to our distributor—and the distro has started shipping it out! So, soonish, we will have it and be able to ship it to you you you, you lovely reader, you. Due to me travelling, the ebook will go out up on most sites (including Weightless)  a day after publication day: April 19th.

And: if you’d like a taste of the book here are a few opportunities for the short fiction reader:

“Hair” will be included in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

“Spur of the Moment” will be reprinted in Eleven Eleven—I love the cover of the 10th issue—which is a fabby multi-genre lit journal from the California College of the Arts.

And, with travelling having stopped everything: you still have a day or two to win one of five free copies of the book—plus two readers will receive an original issue of Argosy with one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories in it!



The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories

Tue 19 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Books, Joan Aiken | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

April 19, 2011 · hardcover · 224 pp · 9781931520744 · $24 / ebook · 9781931520430

“Hair” was a Shirley Jackson Award finalist and reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

“It’s always the children’s book writers that you have to watch out for.”
—Jessa Crispin on Aiken—including an interview with Kelly Link—in Kirkus Reviews

“Part of a storytelling tradition that predates MFA programs and quiet epiphanies, and she concerned herself with a snappier brand of narrative entertainment.”
Review of Contemporary Fiction

“Joan Aiken’s collection of short stories The Monkey’s Wedding may sport a creepy cover illustration by artist and author Shelley Jackson, but the stories inside, which make the commonplace sinister, bear more of a resemblance to the work of another literary Jackson: the queen of the Gothic short story and author of The Lottery, Shirley Jackson. Like Shirley Jackson’s elegantly suspenseful tales, Aiken’s stories use the commonplace to show the darker truths beneath the familiar, but with a twist of humor and magic that makes the collection thought-provoking and fun, and one that begs to be shared and revisited often.”
Bookslut

“Brisk, matter-of-fact accounts of annoying mermaids, hospitable devils, unionizing mice and robot prototypes that make flipping light switches an act of menace. And the women range from self-willed wives to beautiful stunt motorcyclists to knitting spinsters. Sometimes they conform to the stereotypes of the times they were created in, but Aiken is full of surprises: Her plots and characters continually wander off the beaten track, leaving far behind what fantasist Lord Dunsany called ‘the fields we know.'”
The Seattle Times

“The entire collection is immensely enjoyable. The older stories date from the ’50s to 2002. They are short and sharp—not quite whimsical, though whimsy is a word that occurred to me—but they have a dark edge, simply a shadow sometimes (but rather more oppressive in a story like “Hair”) as well as a sense of unplannedness that somehow elevated the stories in my mind.”
—Rich Horton, Locus

Joan Aiken’s stories captivated readers for fifty years. They’re funny, smart, gentle, and occasionally very, very scary. The stories in The Monkey’s Wedding are collected here for the very first time and include seven never before published, as well as two published under the pseudonym Nicholas Dee. Here you’ll find the story of a village for sale . . . or is the village itself the story? There’s an English vicar who declares on his deathbed that he might have lived an entirely different life. After his death, a large, black, argumentative cat makes an appearance. . . .

This hugely imaginative collection of incongruous, light, and unexpected stories features Shelley Jackson’s spooky and eyecatching cover painting inspired by the story “A Mermaid Too Many” and includes introductions by Joan Aiken as well by her daughter, Lizza Aiken.

“Hair” was reprinted in the July/August issue of F&SF.
“Spur of the Moment” was reprinted in the eleventh issue of the journal Eleven Eleven.

Reviews

* “This imaginative posthumous collection includes among others six never before published short stories and two originally published under a pseudonym…. Wildly inventive, darkly lyrical, and always surprising, this collection—like the mermaid in a bottle—is a literary treasure that should be cherished by fantastical fiction fans of all ages.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Each story has a surprise or twist. Many are ironic, go-figure pieces. They are just like real life, only more so. VERDICT: This book will appeal to readers of short stories and literary fiction. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Aiken writes with surpassing spirit and alertness, never ceasing to find interest or amazement in the traps people set for themselves. Some of the stories are slight, but Aiken’s elegant restraint and dry wit never fail to leave their mark.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A writer of great skill and charm.”
Booklist

“Almost all the stories assembled in The Monkey’s Wedding—except for the devastating title story itself, from 1996, and “The Fluttering Thing” from 2002, which is set on a journey towards Final Solution; it is even more terrifying than The Scream, also 2002—flow with a porcelain lucidity and gaiety that manifests the high energy of Aiken’s early prime.”
—John Clute, Strange Horizons

“William Powell and Myrna Loy needed only ninety minutes to sparkle in The Thin Man, and the good-natured, prevaricating, meet-cute stars of “Spur of the Moment” require just twelve pages to showcase their equally impressive bantering skills.”
—James Crossley, Weird Fiction Review

“From a bottled mermaid brought home from a sailor’s adventures at sea to a vicar reincarnated as a malevolent cat, fantasy is combined with magic, myth and adventure to form weird, wonderful and immersive tales.”
For Book’s Sake

“In the author’s introduction, Aiken claims that many of her stories are inspired by dreams. I only wish my dreams were half as entertaining as Aiken’s tales.”
New Pages

“Perhaps one reason Aiken’s stories have weathered the decades so well is that they are concerned with the lives of ordinary people–they just happen to be ordinary people who live in a world where a mermaid or other such mythical or supernatural being might suddenly appear in order to play mischief with one’s well-maintained schedule.”
Green Man Review

“Aiken’s vivid descriptions move nimbly through pastoral meadows and circus chaos, gothic grotesques and quirky romances. In the end, all of her narratives tease the reader by rejecting our desire for neatness or closure. No didacticism here. As Aiken’s narrator sweetly laments, ‘No moral to this story, you will be saying, and I am afraid it is true.'”
California Literary Review

Things You Might Like

  • Aiken’s brilliant characterization
  • The fantastic mix of fantasy and realism
  • Incredibly visual writing
  • The ease with which the author skips from twee to slightly disturbing
    Bullet Reviews

“A fine introduction to her work – and may very well ensnare you forever.”
—Aishwarya Subramian, Practically Marzipan The Sunday Guardian

Table of Contents

Introduction by Joan Aiken
Introduction by Lizza Aiken
Girl in a Whirl

Hair
Harp Music
Honeymaroon
Octopi in the Sky
Reading in Bed
Red-Hot Favourite
Second Thoughts
Spur of the Moment
The Fluttering Thing
The Magnesia Tree
The Monkey’s Wedding
The Paper Queen
The Sale of Midsummer
Water of Youth
Wee Robin
A Mermaid Too Many
Model Wife
The Helper

Praise for Joan Aiken:

“Aiken writes with the genius of a born storyteller, with mother wit expanded and embellished by civilized learning, and with the brilliance of an avenging angel.”
The New Yorker

“The wit is irrepressible, the invention wild. . . . Such delicious lightness, paradoxically, is the fiction’s raison d’être.”
—Ed Park, Los Angeles Times

“An extremely active and creative mind, in all ways dedicated to the enjoyment of the reader.”
The Short Review

“Admirable stories for any age because they are dug from a delightful mind. Many will drop into their readers lives like those enriching stones which break the surfaces of still pools and leave rings long after their splash.”
Times Literary Supplement

“A consummate story-teller.”
The Times

“Joan Aiken’s invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come.”
—Philip Pullman

“The best kind of writer, strange and spooky and surprising, never sentimental or whimsical.”
—Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners)

“Distinguished and sometimes beautiful writing.”
—Naomi Mitchison, New Statesman

About the Author

Best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken (1924-2004) wrote over a hundred books (including The Serial Garden) and won the Guardian and Edgar Allan Poe awards. After her first husband’s death, she supported her family by copyediting at Argosy magazine and an advertising agency before turning to fiction. She went on to write for Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, Argosy, Women’s Own, and many others. Visit her online at: www.joanaiken.com.



What list has

Mon 4 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Kathe Koja, Emma Straub, Paolo Bacigalupi, Grace Krilanovich, Jenny Erpenbeck all in one place?

Melville House has announced the longlist of finalists for the first Independent Booksellers Choice Awards.

Congratulations to Kathe Koja and all the other authors! The short list goes out on May 1st, but everyone knows: it’s an honor to be nominated. So thank you, indie booksellers. We loves ya!