East Ghost lunch interviews

Thu 31 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We hear there’s an excellent review of Nathan Ballingrud’s book coming up in Locus which reminded me that a great interview (and a story) with Nathan just went up. Which reminded me about two more good interviews. Luckily it’s lunchtime here on the East Coast (today aka the East Ghost), a great time to sit down and enjoy an interview with your brains/candy/sweets/actual lunch:

Nathan Ballingrud at the Weird Fiction Review:

I think of horror as the literature of antagonism, and this is why it’s so valuable to us. For me – and of course I speak entirely of my own preferences – a good horror story is upsetting. It does not reinforce the status quo. It’s an act of hostility to some cherished assumption, whether it’s the durability of familial bonds, the presumed benevolence of God, or even the basic decency of our own hearts. Horror fiction should harshly interrogate everything that makes us feel content. It’s the devil’s advocate of literature. We absolutely need that, and that’s why it abides, whether we call it horror, or Gothic, or strange, or weird. It’s all an interrogation.

Kelly Link at Gigantic:

I think I’ve hit a point with TV shows, maybe less so with books, where as soon as I have an idea of where the show is going, I would rather be doing something else. I’m not really so interested in shows that are realistic, or what passes for realistic depictions of how men are figuring out to be men, if the women are secondary characters: which rules out Mad Men, Breaking Bad.

Susan Stinson at Lambda Literary:

All of the characters in the book are outside of my time. As a white woman writing across lines of racial identity, I know that I have built-in biases that I’ve acquired from the culture. I think we all do, and that’s one of the legacies of slavery. I didn’t know when I started writing the book that Jonathan Edwards was a slave owner. Once I knew that, it became clear that I needed to enter as deeply as I could into the minds and lives of the characters who were slaves in the household. Anything else would be a terrible omission based on fear. Several characters in the book are slaves. Jonathan Edwards owned slaves, a historical fact that Edwards enthusiasts sometimes ignore. So, I did my best.



Where are they now: Felice Ling

Tue 29 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Felice Shelby11 Pic7

After graduation, I started teaching first-grade at a charter school in Memphis, Tennessee. That was a bit of a struggle… As a result of the school’s financial problems, I only actually taught there for about half a year. The second half of that year, I took my magic, turned it into a street show, and brought it out onto the streets of Memphis. (I didn’t quite join a circus—though I did befriend a clown—but it was a lot of fun). On a similar vein, I used that experience (more recently) to write an article for Genii, an international magic magazine for magicians, titled “Women Street Performers: We Know Who We Are In.” That article is currently in review.

From Memphis, I flew all the way to Baoding, China (just south of Beijing) to teach English at a university. I was there for two years, traveling, teaching, and learning. In China, I quickly picked up on the presence of park performers: dancers, musicians, tai chi practitioners, Chinese yoyo enthusiasts, and—once—I even witnessed a group of five men tossing heavy sandbags among themselves.

So now I’m at the University of Chicago, working towards my Masters in Social Sciences, mainly because I am extremely curious about the lives of street performers in the US and in China. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing next – but I guess that’s what your 20’s are all about. I’m still writing (always) and still performing magic (always, as well). I’ve even started learning how to cook (or attempting to) so that I don’t have to eat sandwiches everyday. That’s actually what I miss most about SBP—lunches together and the tales we told while huddled over Easthampton cuisine.

DSCF0567

 

Photo credits:
“Magic” (Felice Ling performing at the First Annual Shelby Forest Spring Fest) by KimbaWayne Photography.
“Street Food Stands,” Felice Ling, Baoding, China.

———

Read more in the Where Are They Now series.



Local author’s novel imagines life in Jonathan Edwards’ Northampton

Thu 24 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Great, huge article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette about Susan Stinson and her 10-years-in-the-writing novel Spider in a Tree.
What the interwebs version does not show is the lovely picture of Susan and her book.

Two more items about Susan today, one good, one not so!

The not so good news: we shipped some copies of Spider in a Tree to Susan in California for her readings this week. When she told me they hadn’t arrived I checked with UPS and saw something I’d never seen in the “Activity” column: Train derailment(!). Hope all is well but I do not know if we will ever see those books again! Hmm.

The second, much better item, was an interview with Susan by her good friend Sally Bellerose on Lambda Literary. I’ve read a lot of interviews with Susan and I enjoyed this one the most!

Here’s an excerpt from the article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette to go on with:

UPS

The experience led Stinson, who works as a writing coach and has published three previous novels, to begin lengthy research on Edwards, on local history, and on daily life in Colonial America. One of the novel’s most interesting aspects is its portrait of a very different Northampton, with its abundant meadows and crops, its dusty (or muddy or icy) roads, and a smelly tannery, for some reason located in the center of town, just down the street from the Edwards house.

Edwards himself is something of an absent-minded professor, a man who lives a good deal of the time in his head, writing for hours and often neglecting his appearance. He’s fascinated by science and nature, both charming and perplexing his wife in one scene in which a spider crawls onto his finger: “He was regarding the spider almost tenderly … with the look of a boy scratching the nose of his first horse. He was dear to her, but so strange.”



Tyrannia is coming!

Thu 24 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Watch out!

And in the meantime: “The Philip Sidney Game” is now live at Interfictions.



Jonathan Edwards, slave owner

Wed 23 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

If you use Wikipedia as your source you will get a very strange take on slave ownership in the article about the preacher Jonathan Edwards:

In 1747 Edwards took in a slave, “a Negro girl named Venus”. He purchased the girl for 80 pounds from a man named Richard Perkins of Newport. Edwards was well known for such acts of charity and hospitality (from Glaros, A History of New England, 1997, no longer in print).

Edwards paid a whole year’s salary for the slave and then she worked for the family and was never freed. Slave owning has never been defined as an act “of charity and hospitality.” Who did this? Eeek?

Wikipedia. Needs editing!



Spider in a Tree gets a starred review from Booklist

Tue 15 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Susan Stinson with portrait of Jonathan Edwards Yale Divinity School photo credit Jeep WheatGreat news for Susan Stinson: Spider in a Tree has just received its fourth trade review and the best was saved for last. Booklist’s starred review goes out today:

“As a Puritan preacher who suspends listeners above the sulfurous fires of hell, Jonathan Edwards commands center stage in this compelling historical novel. With mesmerizing narrative gifts, Stinson exposes readers to the full force of Edwards’ brimstone sermonizing. But she also lets readers hear Edwards’ voice in other registers, giving compassionate reassurance to his troubled wife, extending tender forgiveness to a despairing sinner, reflecting pensively on how God manifests his wisdom in a lowly spider. But the Edwards voice that most readers will find most irresistible is his inner voice, laden with grief at a young daughter’s death, perplexed at his spiritual status as master of a household slave. . . . An impressive chronicle conveying the intense spiritual yearnings that illuminate a colonial world of mud, disease, and fear.”

Kirkus did not love the book. C’est la vie! Publishers Weekly gave it a very strong review and picked it as an Indie Sleeper. And Library Journal also just reviewed the book this week:

“Famous theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) comes to life in this mid-18th-century story of the First Great Awakening, a revivalist movement that swept Protestant Europe and the American Colonies. . . . Weaving together archival letters, historical detail, and fictional twists, Stinson vividly resurrects this emotional historical period prior to the American Revolution.”

The book is flying off the shelves in the Pioneer Valley and now we are seeing it beginning to be picked up regionally and nationally. Yesterday Susan read at the Yale Divinity School (where Edwards studied—check that photo above!) and tonight she is reading at the Stockbridge Library (where Edwards also lived) and with luck she will get either to sit at or take a photo of Edwards’s desk.

The she is off to California—the most open of the events is at MCC-San Francisco before coming back here for readings at Amherst Books, Porter Square (with Kelly!), and KGB Bar and the Book Reading Series in NYC. Busy times!

October 15, 6:30 p.m. Stockbridge Library, Stockbridge, Mass.
October 23, 12 p.m., American Studies, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
October 24, 4 p.m. Religion, Politics, and Globalization Program, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
October 25, 7 p.m. MCC-San Francisco. Reading and reception,150 Eureka Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
October 30, 2 p.m. reading, talk, Q&A, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
November 13, 8 pm. Amherst Books, Amherst, Mass.
November 18, 7 pm. Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass. (with Kelly Link)
November 21, 7 p.m. Drunken Careening Writers series, KGB Bar, NYC (with Holly Hepp-Galvan and John Schuyler Bishop)
December 15, 5 p.m. Bloom Readings, Washington Heights, NYC

Author photo courtesy: Jeep Wheat.



Boston Boo Festival

Mon 14 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ok, perhaps it is the Boston Book Festival but doesn’t the Boston Boo Festival sound more October?

Ok, again, so: this Saturday October 19 we will be at the Boston Boo(k) Festival in Copley Square selling books from 10 am – 5 pm. 

Susan Stinson is coming with us: come and get a signed copy of Spider in a Tree!

Just as at the Harvard Book Store Warehouse Weekend we are intending on selling books cheap! We want these books in readers’ hands!

We’re going to be at Table 48 on Dartmouth Street (between Sisters in Crime and Arts Emerson).

Besides cheap, cheap, cheap backlist we will also have Howard Waldrop’s new collection Horse of a Different Color.

And!

For those who missed it at the Harvard Book Store Warehouse Weekend we’ll be giving away a free chapbook to all buyers:

“The two story chapbook, North American Monster Stories, will never be for sale. The stories are the title story from Nathan Ballingrud’s collection, North American Lake Monsters, and “Up the Fire Road,” a story from Eileen Gunn’s collection Questionable Practices.

Should be fun, hope to see you there!



Steampunk!

Fri 11 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Books | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

9780763648435 · 10/11/2011 · Published by Candlewick Press in a beautiful trade cloth edition, audio, and ebook.
9780763657970 · 2/12/2013 · trade paper.

An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Orphans use the puppet of a dead man to take control of their lives. A girl confronts the Grand Technomancer, Most Mighty Mechanician and Highest of the High Artificier Adepts. Another girl, who might be from another universe, stuns everyone when she pulls out her handmade Reality Gun.

Welcome to a huge, beautiful anthology of fourteen steampunk visions of the past, the future, and the not-quite today.

Indies Choice finalist.
Locus Award finalist.
Los Angeles Times Best of the Year

Cover art by Yuko Shimizu.

More.

Reviews!

“Veteran editors Link and Grant serve up a delicious mix of original stories from 14 skilled writers and artists…Chockful of gear-driven automatons, looming dirigibles, and wildly implausible time machines, these often baroque, intensely anachronistic tales should please steampunks of all ages.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An excellent collection, full of unexpected delights.”
Kirkus Reviews (*starred review*)

“Within these pages, there’s a little something for everyone…This exceptional anthology does great service to the steampunk subgenre and will do much to further its audience.”
School Library Journal (starred review)

“Editors Link and Gavin treat fans, old and new, to an array of fantastically rich stories in this polished, outstanding collection…the result is an anthology that is almost impossible to put down… From rebellious motorists to girl bandits, the characters in this imaginative collection shine, and there isn’t a weak story in the mix; each one offers depth and delight.”
Booklist (starred review)

“It is about time that steampunk short stories really got a focused and creative exploration in YA lit, and this anthology of fourteen pieces is an excellent start.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

“In a genre based upon the re-imagining and reinvention of history, these authors manage to take their characters—and readers—to bold new frontiers, where, as contributor Dylan Horrocks writes, thanks to the “magic in technology,” things are “less drab, less logical, less straightforward. Everything’s a little more…possible.” ”
Horn Book

Table of Contents

Introduction
Some Fortunate Future Day” by Cassandra Clare
“The Last Ride of the Glory Girls”* by Libba Bray
“Clockwork Fagin”** by Cory Doctorow
“Seven Days Beset by Demons” (comic) by Shawn Cheng
“Hand in Glove” by Ysabeau S. Wilce
The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor” by Delia Sherman
“Gethsemene” by Elizabeth Knox
“The Summer People”*** by Kelly Link
“Peace in Our Time”**** by Garth Nix
“Nowhere Fast”**** by Christopher Rowe
“Finishing School”***** (comic) by Kathleen Jennings
“Steam Girl”****** by Dylan Horrocks
“Everything Amiable and Obliging” by Holly Black

* Reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Six, edited by Jonathan Strahan
** Reprinted in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, edited by Halli Villegas & Sandra Kasturi
*** Shirley Jackson Award winner.
Locus Award finalist.
Reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2012, edited by Rich Horton
**** Reprinted in Steampunk Revolution, edited by Ann VanderMeer
**** Reprinted in Steampunk Revolution, edited by Ann VanderMeer
***** Ditmar Award winner
****** Sir Julius Vogel Award winner.
Reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Six, edited by Jonathan Strahan



Kelly @ Random

Wed 9 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 9 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

So, the big news around here is that Kelly sold her next couple of books—and reprint rights to Magic for Beginners—to Noah Eaker at Random House. Yay!!

The first of the books is Get in Trouble*, Kelly’s first new collection of stories since Pretty Monsters (2008). Get in Trouble should be out in early 2015. It will be followed at some point by the second book, Novel As Yet Unwritten**.

Thanks as ever to Kelly’s fabby agent Renee Zuckerbrot of the Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency and to Kelly’s new foreign rights agent Taryn Fagerness who has already sold Get in Trouble to Francis Bickmore at Canongate Books—who did such a great job with Pretty Monsters.

Here is the proper and official announcement as reported in Publishers Marketplace:

Author of Magic for Beginners, which was a Time Best Book of the Year and on Best of the Decade lists from the Village Voice, Salon, and The Onion and Stranger Things Happen Kelly Link’s GET IN TROUBLE, another collection of short stories, and her first novel, to Noah Eaker at Random House, byRenee Zuckerbrot of Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency (NA).
Foreign rights: [email protected]

* Kelly assures me the cover design will not feature the word “Get” in tiny letters inside a huge “Trouble.” I say wait and see.

** Not final title.



Nook Daily Find

Mon 7 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Peter Dickinson’s Death of a Unicorn is the Nook Daily Find and is $2.99 today only at bn.com.

It has jumped up the charts throughout the day and now it is sitting pretty at #30 besides two of Nora Roberts’s books. Long may Lady MM rise!

ETA: #7!

It’s a Top Ten bestseller!

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Ben Parzybok and Sherwood Nation at PNBA

Fri 4 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Next fall we are publishing Benjamin Parzybok’s second novel Sherwood Nation and I am very happy to say that PNBA booksellers can get a very advance galley copy at the PNBA Trade Show Author Feast at the Airport Holiday Inn, Portland, OR, on Monday.

Sherwood Nation is a huge, amazing, scarily timely novel about a drought-stricken Portland, Oregon, and a nascent attempt to rebuild society from the grassroots up. If you read Couch, you’ll already know that Ben is a hilarious and smart writer and in the five years(!) he worked on Sherwood Nation he’s only gotten better. Everything he cares about is here: community, families (born and made), love, bicycling, doing good work, and looking after self, community, and the land we live on.

You’ll be hearing more (ok, there’s more below) about the book as 2014 comes on. With luck—and help from readers like you!—it will be one of the big books of next year!

We’ll have more galleys and giveaways as the publication date approaches but I wanted to get the heads-up out there to the people who are most likely to read and love this book as much as we do.

In drought-stricken Portland, Oregon, a Robin Hood-esque water thief is caught on camera redistributing an illegal truckload of water to those in need. Nicknamed Maid Marian—real name: Renee, a 20-something barista and eternal part-time college student—she is an instant folk hero. Renee rides her swelling popularity and the public’s disgust at how the city has abandoned its people, raises an army . . . and secedes a quarter of the city of Portland, Oregon.

Sherwood Nation is the story of the rise and fall of a micronation within a city.

Even as Maid Marian and her compatriots (a former drug kingpin, her ad-writer boyfriend, and many others) build a new community one neighbor at a time, they are making powerful enemies amongst the city government and the National Guard. Sherwood is an idealistic dream too soon caught in a brutal fight for survival.

Benjamin Parzybok’s Sherwood Nation is a love story, a war story, a grand social experiment, a treatise on government, on freedom and necessity, on individualism and community. 



Publication Day for Spider in a Tree

Tue 1 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Spider in a Tree cover - click to view full sizeWhat a day! And tomorrow well be celebrating in style at First Churches here in Northampton, Mass., with Susan (and you, we hope!). The church (“a large stone Gothic cathedral”!) is at 129 Main St. and the reading is at 7 p.m.

On this day that part of the government has stepped away from its duties and shut down the government, it is a relief to read the history of the church:

“The American Baptist and United Church of Christ congregations joined together in June of 1988 to become The First Churches. The First Church of Christ of Northampton, is the oldest congregation in our city and was established in 1661. The First Baptist Church in Northampton was founded under the leadership of Rev. Benjamin Willard in 1826. Now, both churches share in worship, fellowship, educational classes, programs, and mission and act as one congregation.”

Two groups working together. It can be done!

Today has been a long time coming for Spider in a Tree. Susan has been writing this novel for ten years. It is a strong, fabulous book about life in 1740s Massachusetts and the frictions between belief and work, neighbors and preachers, church and town. Jonathan Edwards and his (large!) family are at the forefront but also their slaves—how could people who called themselves godly own slaves? It was a different time, a different mindset, very hard to comprehend from here. Susan does a wonderful job of putting the reader into the heads of many of the people who actually lived in this town back then. I’ll put a small taste of it below.

Hope to see friends and neighbors tomorrow at First Churches. The reading is the first in Forbes Library’s local reading series and Broadside Books will be there with the book—as well as tickets for Susan’s Bridge Street Cemetery Tour on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. But, mostly, congratulations to Susan for this fabulous book and thank you for sending it to us!

Chapter 1: June 1731, Newport to Northampton

The girl saw a tall, gaunt man look up from a slice of raisin pie (she had baked it, perfecting her hand with cold water crust) when she walked into Captain Perkins’s parlor with Phyllis close behind her. She could see that he was the one doing the buying. Phyllis put a hand on the small of her back to position her near the table where the men sat. The girl stared at the oozing, dark-flecked pie from which the buyer had spooned a tiny bite.

“Mr. Edwards, this is Venus.” Captain Perkins spoke smoothly. “I kept her as the pick of the lot when I unloaded most of the cargo in the Caribbean on my last voyage. I got a shipment of very good allspice, as well.”

“Impressive,” murmured someone.

The girl held her hands clasped and her back straight, but her legs were trembling. Phyllis kept a hand on her back. She had said that there would be others in the room, come to witness the sale over pie and rum punch. The girl barely took them in.

She raised her eyes and found Mr. Edwards looking at her face. She felt locked out of her own mind, both numbed and spinning, but she held his gaze. This was improper, but he kept looking himself, steadily, into her eyes. He was, perhaps, twice as old as she was, so still young. He had on a black coat with a beaver hat resting on his knee. She could see that he was a stranger, and his collar marked him as a preacher. Whatever else he might be, as a person to exchange glances with, he was uncommonly intense.

Captain Perkins spoke up from his chair. “She’s a dutiful girl. And she’s already had the small pox.”

. . . 



Spider in a Tree

Tue 1 Oct 2013 - Filed under: Books | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

October 2013 · 9781618730695 · trade paper · 336pp | 9781618730701 · ebook

Jonathan Edwards is considered America’s most brilliant theologian. He was also a slave owner. This is the story of the years he spent preaching in eighteenth century Northampton, Massachusetts.

In his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Mr. Edwards compared a person dangling a spider over a hearth to God holding a sinner over the fires of hell. Here, spiders and insects preach back. No voice drowns out all others: Leah, a young West African woman enslaved in the Edwards household; Edwards’s young cousins Joseph and Elisha, whose father kills himself in fear for his soul; and Sarah, Edwards’ wife, who is visited by ecstasy. Ordinary grace, human failings, and extraordinary convictions combine in unexpected ways to animate this New England tale.

Reviews and Notices

“Edwards sees evidence of divine grace everywhere, but in a world “haunted by work and sin,” the characters fight to sublimate their bodies and the natural environment, and their culture is shaped by a belief in the uselessness of earthly pleasure and inevitability of mortality and judgement. This combination of “absence, presence, and consolation” motivates the complicated inner lives of these well-realized characters, whose psyches Stinson explores in empathetic and satisfying depth.”
Rain Taxi Review

“The book is billed as “a novel of the First Great Awakening,” and Stinson tries to do just that, presenting us with a host of viewpoints from colonists to slaves and even insects. She gives an honest imagining of everyday people caught up in extraordinary times, where ecstatic faith, town politics and human nature make contentious bedfellows. Although the novel was slow to pull me in, by the end I felt I had an intimate glance into the disparate lives of these 18th-century residents of Northampton, Massachusetts.”
Historical Novel Review

Rick Kleffel interviews Susan Stinson (mp3 link).

“Ultimately, ‘Spider in a Tree’ is a lesson in what not to expect. Stinson eludes the clichés usually associated with religious extremism to peel away the humans underneath. We speak of a loving God, who asks us to embark upon a deadly war. We most easily see the sins in others that we are ourselves guilty of. Every ambition to perfect ourselves has a very human cost. As we reach for what we decide is the divine, we reveal our most fragile human frailties. Words cannot capture us; but we in all our human hubris, are quite inclined to capture words.”
The Agony Column

The Mindful Reader: A wonderful read about Jonathan Edwards and the Great AwakeningConcord Monitor

Awakening Edwards: Jonathan Edwards in the hands of a Northampton novelistValley Advocate

Local author’s novel imagines life in Jonathan Edwards’ NorthamptonDaily Hampshire Gazette

“As a Puritan preacher who suspends listeners above the sulfurous fires of hell, Jonathan Edwards commands center stage in this compelling historical novel. With mesmerizing narrative gifts, Stinson exposes readers to the full force of Edwards’ brimstone sermonizing. But she also lets readers hear Edwards’ voice in other registers, giving compassionate reassurance to his troubled wife, extending tender forgiveness to a despairing sinner, reflecting pensively on how God manifests his wisdom in a lowly spider. But the Edwards voice that most readers will find most irresistible is his inner voice, laden with grief at a young daughter’s death, perplexed at his spiritual status as master of a household slave. . . . An impressive chronicle conveying the intense spiritual yearnings that illuminate a colonial world of mud, disease, and fear.”
Booklist (Starred Review)

Interviews

New: BookslutReligion Dispatches

Lambda LiteraryWriter’s Voice, Book ConnectionPlum Journal, “How to Fall

9/26/13 Springfield Republican: Writer Susan Stinson of Northampton honors theologian with Bridge Street Cemetery tours

Read more