Are you writing like a person whose pen keeps the world alive?

Tue 24 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The question above comes from the pen of Mary Rickert, who unquestionably is keeping the world alive with her words. We’re publishing a new collection of stories by Mary today You Have Never Been Here and in writing this post I am frustrated that I have to put words in front of you at all as all of Mary’s are better and more worth your time.

“Gothic literature, diluted, over time, into its architecture of moors and castles, is actually an exploration of the human experience as cohesion of the beast and the divine.”

“I try to remember that in every culture, in every age, there were things believed as universally true that later were proven false. We are all victims of the illusion of our time. I try to look beyond the veil, and I’m sure I fail. I try to remember the veil exists.”

— from “Process as Photosynthesis” An Interview with Mary Rickert by Annie Bilancini on SmokeLong Quarterly.

You can also read Mary’s letter to a young writer on the Story Prize blog:

Dear Young Writer,
I know many people have told you to make the language invisible, but what if they are wrong? Consider the possibility that words are not mere instruments of description but tools of alchemy.

Of course you can read some of her stories online: World Fantasy Award winner “Journey into the Kingdom.”
The Mothers of Voorhisville.” “You Have Never Been Here.”

This is Mary’s fourth book after publishing two collections and an amazing novel last year, The Memory Garden. Of herself she writes:

“Mary Rickert grew up in Wisconsin but moved to California as soon as she was eighteen. She still has fond memories of selling balloons at Disneyland and learning to boogie board in the ocean. Sometimes she would go to the beach early in the morning, before any one else was there, sit in the lifeguard’s tower and write poetry. After many years (and through the sort of “odd series of events” that describe much of her fiction) she got a job as a kindergarten teacher in a small private school for gifted children. She worked there for almost a decade before leaving to pursue her life as a writer. Her first novel, The Memory Garden was published in 2015. There are, of course, mysterious gaps in this account of her life and that is where the truly interesting stuff happened.”

I have no idea what went on in those mysterious gaps. I know she sold her first painting before her first story. I know that her stories have won awards. I know that when Mary writes a story I have no idea where it will go. I have no idea what the spaces will be. What the rhythms, the rhymes will be. I know I’ll have to get off this treadmill. Push aside the idea that I’ll get stuff done. Push aside the world as I know it. Step into the world as Mary sees it.

Electric Lit: Diff’rent Strokes for Different Folks

Sat 21 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Yep, Ayize Jama-Everett has a great short personal essay on Electric Lit:

“Yo, Dudley a faggot!

What happened?” . . .

That’s what my childhood friend got out of the very special two-part episode of “The Bicycle Man” on Diffrent Strokes. I’m going from memory, rather than re-watching the episode on YouTube because I want to talk about how the show impacted two black kids living in the city where the show itself took place. Diffrent Strokes often put episodes in front of us we were supposed to watch as a family. But not all families are the same. . . .

Read it.

Win a free copy of You Have Never Been Here

Sat 14 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

You Have Never Been Here cover - click to view full want to give you a fab book and all you have to do is go post a comment to enter!

What’s the book about?

Why, here’s a handy review in Booklist!

“Rickert’s latest collection contains haunting tales of death, love, and loss. In stories that are imbued with mythology, beasts, and fantastical transformations, Rickert captures the fanciful quality of regret and longing. . . . Rickert’s blend of dark and whimsy is reminiscent of Angela Carter. Perfect for readers looking for something unique, melancholy, and fantastical.”

It was never the Lovecraft award

Thu 12 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 4 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Dear H.P. Lovecraft fan who are upset that the World Fantasy Award statuette will no longer be Gahan Wilson’s bust of HPL: you have my sympathies. It’s hard to see the cultural assessment of someone you love and respect change as time passes.

But: being rude and insulting writers? That can stop now, thanks.

Winners returning the award seems a bit over the top to me — I just got one and I’m not giving it back! — especially as the HPL publishing biz seems to grow and grow and no one is saying don’t read his books. He’s taught all over the country and there are so many of his books out there that even if all his titles were . . .  by some eldritch and unspeakable pact . . . (sorry) taken out of print right now there are so many copies in used book stores there is no way people would stop reading him.

I’m curious what the new design will be, although I don’t envy the board the choice. But this was never the Lovecraft award, it’s the World Fantasy Award. Who knows: from now on it may change every year, every 40 years.

I’m proud of — and grateful to — everyone in the writing, reading, and publishing community who worked towards this change and for the World Fantasy Convention Board for recognizing the need for change.

Peace in our time!

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.29.40 PM


Quick thoughts on WFC 2015

Mon 9 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 3 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Buy this from Powell's!Holy bananas, that ended surprisingly well!

  • This is why I never write these things. There’s too much I’ll miss and that’s an hour I should have been napping after the weekend working working!
  • The book room was a huge, great well-lit space with tons of space for the crowds of eager readers ready to snap up hot hot books. Sadly said readers seemed to be seduced by Saratoga Springs’s lovely streets and great restaurants and mostly did not appear. Or they couldn’t get memberships or something. Darn it.
  • That said, Ninepin Press sold tons of copies of The Family Arcana from our table. People love Jed’s story-as-pack-of-cards.
  • Lovely restaurants: Karavalli (Indian, wow); Hattie’s (all the sides = dinner for this happy vegetarian); Four Seasons (very handy for a box lunch for still happy parent and child); Cantina (Mexican: can you sit 10 people with no reservation for Sunday lunch? No problem — nice, thank you!).
  • Out-of-con experiences: taking a 6-year-old to a con immediately changes everything. There are too many people, it’s chaotic, it’s an unfamiliar space — and, yes, that’s just me. But she made half a dozen books and met some friends so it was not all bad. And: hotel swimming pool, of course! Kid’s museum: high five for pre-arranged play dates! Another of course: the park. Hooray for finding the Triton’s pool and the statues of Pan, Dionysus, and the Maenads as well as leaves, man, leaves. You can do a lot with leaves and a bit of Greek mythology goes a long way.
  • Meanwhile: Gary K. Wolfe reviewed Mary Rickert’s new book You Have Never Been Here in the Chicago Tribune. All right!

The Three Ps:

  • Panels: they were epic! I suppose as I did not go to any, see out-of-con-experiences above, previously mentioned (and sometimes coldly abandoned) table in book room, and the theme was Epic Fantasy. There were some people I’d have loved to see on panels but I did not. C’est la vie.
  • People: it is great to see friends and meet people only known online or . . . once-were complete strangers. I had one meeting at the con with Ron Eckel of Cooke International who does a fab job of selling our books abroad (dammit, that reminds me I have a list of things I have to send him) and otherwise “relied” on happenstance, which worked out mostly ok but for everyone I did not actually see. Oops.
  • Parties: I got to two (er, I think), Kickstarter and Ellen Kushner et al’s Tremontaine, and they were both busy and well supplied, yay! The latter was such a happening that I ended up sitting on the floor outside chatting for a long, long while with many good people.


  • The art show was great! We got a tiny skull with crown papercut by Kathleen Jennings and a fantastic painting we’ve admired for years by Derek Ford.
  • I sneaked a galley of Sofia Samatar’s forthcoming novel The Winged Histories to one of the happiest people I know, Amal El-Mohtar. Yay!
  • Chatted with Jeffrey Ford and Christopher Rowe. Why pick those two out of the hundreds? Because we like to transmute art into commerce and 2016 will see Jeff’s new collection A Natural History of Hell coming out and 2017 will see Christopher’s debut collection for which you should put in an extra pair of socks because it will knock them right off you and fortunately he is a much better writer than me so his book is actually good while my blog posts are, well, here we are, it never will end, will it?


  • The bust of H.P. Lovecraft is done and gone as the World Fantasy Award. Well done Gahan Wilson for making it in the first place and the board for making the decision. The world changes and we change with it and everyone I know is happy about this change.

Goofy story:

  • On Sunday we went out to lunch with friends rather than taking the kid to the banquet. At 1:30 or so I got a phone call from Gordon Van Gelder (one of the award administrators) who asked if we’d be at the award ceremony later as he was wondering if our kids could have another play date while the adults droned on about awards. I thought this was a great idea so we made a play date.
    Which made sure we were back at the hotel.
    In time for the awards ceremony.
    In which we received an award.
    I swear I am not usually this dense (um, honestly . . .) but since the kids had had such a good time on Friday I figured this was legit. Ha again! I’ve even been party to wrangling unknowing award winners in the past. If anything I thought, hey, maybe Kelly’s story . . . ? but I really thought, ooh, playdate = happy kid. Hats off to Gordon, nicely done.

And the awards!

Congratulations to all the winners — and the nominees — especially Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory at ChiZine whose work ethic and determination to push great, dark books into the world is unequaled. It was fantastic to see the collection award shared between Angela Slatter and Helen Marshall. I hate awards because it is silly that not everything gets the prize. I was happy to remember Kathleen Addison’s The Goblin Emperor had won the Locus Award and I cannot wait until Kai Ashante Wilson starts racking them up. I wish Life Achievement award winner Sherri S. Tepper had been there because some of her books blew me away and I’d have liked to thank her but I see I can send her a card here, so I will.

It is an honor to have been nominated and a surprise to win. I did not have a speech — not hubris, I just thought the jury would go for something else as these awards tend towards the darker side of fantasy and as ever it was a very strong category. But afterwards I realized how silly I was: the book had a decent chance: it is called Monstrous Affections, the stories are bleak, amazing, dark, scary, fantastic. Of course I think it should win all the awards (hello Mr. Nobel Prize, do you do YA anthologies? Have you read Alice Sola Kim’s story that ends the book? Dare you to read it all alone late at night . . .) but still. And. Also. Anyway.

Thanks to the writers and artists in the book — this award is obviously really all about their stories. Thanks to Deborah Noyes our editor at Candlewick Press as well as Nathan Pyritz the designer and everyone at Candlewick who have made working on this book (and Steampunk!) such a joy. Thanks also to cover artist Yuko Shimizu and as always to Kelly’s fabulous and steadfast agent Renée Zuckerbrot. We’re grateful to the judges for their hard work and to the readers everywhere who have allowed us to keep living the dream.

2015 Holiday Shipping

Mon 9 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This is our annual post about holiday mail dates: like the zombies, they’ll be here slightly faster than expected. As usual, our office will be closed over the holidays, this year that’s from December 24 – January 3, 2016. It is unlikely we will ship over that period. (Weightless is always open.)

Order now, order often!

Here are the last order dates for Small Beer Press — which, in case you’re thinking about waiting until the last minute to order some chocolate Christmas trees are about the same as every other biz in the USA. Dates for international shipping are here.

All orders include free first class (LCRW) or media mail (books) shipping in the USA.

But: Media Mail parcels are the last to go on trucks. If the truck is full, Media Mail does not go out until the next truck. And if that one’s full, too, . . . you get the idea. So, if you’d like to guarantee pre-holiday arrival, please add Priority Mail:

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut Off Date
First Class Mail Dec-20
Priority Mail Dec-20
Priority Mail Express Dec-23

Order now, order often!



Travelling back to 1975

Thu 5 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Or, at least, the WFC in Saratoga Springs this weekend. (It’s not the town, it’s just some of the panels.) We’ll be in the Dealers’ Room with a tower of books so high you can see the present from the top. We have deals! Come on by! (Ok, if you’re not there are are in the US and want the same deals, Send Money by Paypal and you’re on.)

Also on the plan for the weekend: swim (maybe not in the Springs . . . ), visit the new Northshire Books, visit the kids museum, visit the bar, visit the bar, you know how it it. We are also transporting secret whiskey for someone who is not us, very exciting. Say hi if you’re there! I’m the one arguing with the 6-year-old while Jedediah Berry and Emily Houk of Ninepin Press sell our books and their cards!

Google Plays so fair

Thu 5 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This is what GooglePlay advises publishers who get pirated copies of their books taken down:

This message is to inform you that the book you reported, “TITLE”, provided by PIRATE, has been removed from Google Play and should no longer be available for sale within approximately 48 hours.

You have the choice to allow customers to keep copies they already purchased. Alternatively, you may choose to revoke customers’ access to the book. We urge you to consider allowing customers to keep copies already purchased because, in our experience, revoking access creates a poor user experience.

Right. How about the poor publisher experience? That’s right, no one cares. Yay.

Consistently resisting easy categorization

Sat 24 Oct 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Entropy of Bones cover - click to view full sizeI think that’s my new favorite description, a t-shirt or a mug waiting to happen. When people ask what kind of books we publish they often have an idea already: short story collections that resist easy categorization — except Ben Rosenbaum’s collection, The Ant King, it being what it says on the label: Plausible Fabulism. But while that thing about short story collections is true, it’s only one part of a whole that changes half a dozen times or more every year when we publish another book.

Last week Charles Yu used that phrase to describe Ayize Jama-Everett’s The Entropy of Bones in the New York Times Book Review. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like books that consistently defy being stuck in a category, give it a shot:

“Jama-Everett’s book consistently resists easy categorization. Chabi’s mixed racial background offers a potentially nuanced look from a perspective that seems underserved. And by setting the book in a weird, if recognizable, Bay Area, ­Jama-Everett captures something about the way it feels to live so close to so much money and yet so far; he traces the differences between postindustrial East Bay towns, the gray melancholy of an older city, the particular feeling of struggling while surrounded by otherworldly wealth. If the book veers among different approaches — now a philosophical kung fu master story, now a seduction into a rarefied subculture, now an esoteric universe made from liner notes and the journal entries of a brilliantly imaginative teenager — there’s nevertheless a vitality to the voice and a weirdness that, while not always controlled or intentional, is highly appealing for just that reason.”

Read the first chapter on

David Mitchell on Ursula K. Le Guin

Fri 23 Oct 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

“Adulthood brings more demanding critical standards and many a childhood favourite has been booted off my podium of most cherished books, but my admiration for Le Guin’s artistry has only grown with every rereading.”

I imagine that many people I know feel the same way.

Read the whole thing on the Guardian.


Mon 5 Oct 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015Out there in the world, the peoples they reads the books. What do they say? They like ’em! Just wait to see what’s going to be reviewed next week. Oh? Oh yeah, mmmhmm.

But I am meanwhiling here first about Sofia Samatar who has two stories in the inaugural edition of HMH’s latest addition to their Best American series: Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015. Also: are there more SBP authors  in this book? Yes! See Nathan BallingrudKelly Link, and two stories (Holly Black’s and Paolo Bacigalupi) from Monstrous Affections received honorable mentions.

It’s interesting to look at the list of stories passed on to Joe Hill by series editor John Joseph Adams to see where they were first published.

You can read Joe Hill’s introduction to the book on Entertainment Weekly where he calls Sofia ” a rising star in the genre” and “a young she-can-do-anything star” and describes her two stories as “incredibly different and equally breathtaking stories.” Absolutely!

More fun Best American fun news? Yes! Owen King’s story “The Curator” from Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 31 got a honorable mention nod in T.C. Boyle’s Best American Short Stories 2015.

Meanwhile over in bookland, Mary Rickert’s You Have Never Been Here: New and Selected Stories received two lovely trade reviews from PW and Kirkus. We’re sending out our last few galleys now and fingers crossed we will have the book on hand at World Fantasy Con in Saratoga Springs in a month or so! Mary will be there and we will not be running out of books the way we did with Archivist Wasp at Readercon. Dammit! (Sorry again, Nicole!) See below for links to the reviews. Suffice to say if you’ve enjoyed collections we’ve published by Elizabeth Hand, Nathan Ballingrud, Kelly Link, etc., etc., this one is for you.

And we are working on another collection, this one for July of next year by none other than Jeffrey Ford. But, hey, enough for today. More on that manana!

“Beautiful, descriptive prose enriches tales of ghosts, loss, and regret in this leisurely collection. . . . Fans of Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link will appreciate Rickert’s explorations of myth and memory.”
Publishers Weekly

“Short stories about people haunted by loss and transformed by grief. Ghosts walk through this collection. Witches are rumored. People collect bones, sprout wings, watch their feet turn into hooves. Above all, people tell stories—stories that cast spells, stories that change the world. In “Journey into the Kingdom,” a tale about ghosts who walk out of the sea has a powerful effect on a young widower. In “Anyway,” a mother asks herself what she would sacrifice to save her son’s life. In the collection’s longest story, “The Mothers of Voorhisville,” a group of women are drawn together when they realize their newborn babies have something very strange in common. Not every piece sings, but those that do have a powerful, haunting effect. As the mother of a dead girl puts it in “The Chambered Fruit,” the best of these stories show how “from death, and sorrow, and compromise, you create,” how “this is what it means…to be alive.” Rickert’s (Holiday, 2010, etc.) writing is crystal-clear, moody, occasionally blood-chilling. Her characters maneuver through a world where strange, troubling transformations are possible, but they live and breathe on the page, fully human. The worlds Rickert creates are fantastical, but her work should appeal not just to fantasy fans, but to anyone who appreciates a well-told tale.”
Kirkus Reviews

Growing Your Own Hops: So Easy You Don’t Need to Read This

Thu 1 Oct 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Michael

IMG_2024“Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed” said Henry VIII in 1519—at least according to a t-shirt I bought from the excellent Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, NC. Their point being ironic: ole Henry doesn’t know what he’s talking about; they love hops, we all love hops. Except, of course, for those of us who don’t—and not without reason: craft brewers have conspired to beat our taste buds to death with them. I sympathize with the hop haters. For years I counted myself among them, as becomes obvious on paging back through Literary Beers past on how to brew beers bittered with sage, rosemary, alehoof, sweet fern, chamomile, yarrow, wormwood, spruce, chiles and cacao. Inevitably, however, all-encompassing lover of fermented culture that I am, hops brought me back around. Take it from someone who’s devoted years of homebrewing experimentation to figuring out how to brew beer without them: hops are delicious. Thanks to an explosion of new breeds, they’re available in as many varieties and as complex flavors as wine grapes or cider apples. Used with discretion, they’re a balm for every palate. Used with abandon, they possess the palate-killing power to move even the hardcorest of neckbearded hopheads to tears—but this latter proclivity among beer nerds was only half the reason I spent years avoiding hops in my homebrew. The other half was what it took to get them. Hop shortages in the US and UK drove up prices, necessitating the importation of hops, at significant cost in dollars and fossil fuels, from Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand. I want my ingredients as local, low-cost and low-footprint as I can get them. Which motivation found me hunting hop substitutes in the woods, where footprints were literally all I had to give to get them. Once I found myself in possession of a little land, it was only a matter of time before I tried growing my own hops. As it turns out, it’s easy—ridiculously so, as long as you live someplace cool and wet, ideally within a half-dozen degrees of the 42nd parallel.

Follow me to learn how.

Read more

Back in stock: The Serial Garden

Wed 30 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

With all the celebrations and reviews for the new Virago edition of The Serial Garden in the UK — for example, The New Statesman:

“Virago Modern Classics reissues The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken (£8.99, eight-plus), a long-lost collection of stories about the imperturbable Armitage family, whose small village must endure unicorns, fairy godmothers and more. Inexhaustibly imaginative, Aiken was one of the 20th century’s greatest children’s authors. Witty, zany and entirely sane, this is a necklace of diamonds.”

— I’m very happy to say that we had the opportunity to reprint our Big Mouth House edition. It arrived from the printer a couple of weeks ago and has been shipping out to (I would suppose) very happy readers since.

Our edition has a cover by Beth Adams and interior illustrations by Andi Watson and the Virago edition, which I’m very much looking forward to seeing, has a cover and interior illustrations by Peter Bailey.

The Serial Garden cover


“It’s a delightful summary of one side of Aiken’s talent: whimsical, funny, a series of brilliantly imaginative ideas stitched together with dream logic. But along with the happiness, there is often a tug of melancholy, of love unrequited and yearnings unsatisfied – as in the title story, in which a cut-out cardboard garden on the packet of an obscure German brand of cereal is the gateway to a vanished past. It is the mixture of irrepressible gaiety and invention with the tragic that makes Aiken one of the great children’s authors.”
The Telegraph

“A delightful whimsical set of stories about young Mark and Harriet Armitage and the fantastical things that just happen to them, where if the lawn is full of unicorns you can count on their father to rush out and try to stop them eating the roses. These stories are funny and often unexpectedly poignant. They also don’t have a wasted word or scrap of information. They’re both charming and genuine in a way that few things manage.”
—Jo Walton

Celebrating the Liminal world!

Tue 22 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Entropy of BonesHey, today is the day that the third liminal novel comes out! At last here comes The Entropy of Bones. The first  review the book received was a star from Publishers Weekly:

“Rooted in Chabi’s voice, the story is spare, fierce, and rich, and readers will care just as much about the delicate, damaged relationship between Chabi and her mother as the threat of world destruction.”

and they are not wrong. It is a hell of a read. Chabi is a girl who is having trouble finding her place in the world. Then she meets a strange guy down at the docks who offers to teach her his unique martial art. No wonder her mother is worried. But the weird training she’s getting is just the start.

There is nothing like these books out there. They are international, fast-paced, and set in the moment all the while being infused with a deep sense of history. You can read more about the books here:

Largehearted Boy: Book Notes playlist
SF Signal: The Liminal People and The Entropy of Bones
City Lights: 5 Questions

and especially Michael Berry’s essay in the LA Review of Books:

“Slavery and indenture are themes that run through all three books. Taggert’s own relationship with his boss is more that of a servant to his master than that of a mentee to his mentor. At one point, Nordeen tells Taggert, “I told you from the beginning we all serve someone.” That harsh truth runs throughout these novels, recapitulated in interesting and often heartbreaking ways. No matter how much wealth they possess or what near magical abilities they command, each Liminal is concerned with controlling others and being controlled by someone else. Jama-Everett is skilled at moving beyond simplistic notions of good and evil and presenting the full complexity of master/servant relationships.”

More? More: The Liminal People, The Liminal War, The Entropy of Bones.

Pretty neat

Tue 22 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Strange Horizons is 15!

Sun 20 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Has it really been 15 years? I wasn’t at the Worldcon when Mary Anne Mohanraj kicked things off but I have been a big fan of the site ever since. Sure, they published me (for which, SH editors over the years, many thanks!) but it’s really not that. I sent stories to the magazine — through their submission portal of course — because I was so impressed with it and enjoyed the writing they published and I wanted to be part of that! The whole magazine is such a gift to the world, to the readers and writers of today and for those in the future. That it’s run by a huge staff of volunteers has amazed me for what, fifteen years! I love the tea parties at Wiscon. I am so happy there’s a podcast!

Every year (unless I, er, forget, sorry!) we donate some prizes to the fundraiser and this year we have a couple of bundles of print and ebooks, an LCRW chocolate sub (always fun to send out!), and I think a special something else. I need to check and make sure before I say anything about that!

To support the fund drive, Strange Horizons has a special extra issue that will be published as fundraising thresholds are met. One of those bonuses is Kelly’s newest story, “The Game of Smash and Recovery.” So, I really hope you will go ahead and support the magazine!

Donate Now Through Network for Good


[I think these links will work, if not, please go here.]

Here’s to 15 more years!

New Vincent McCaffrey

Fri 18 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Dark Heart of NightNo, sorry, it’s not another Hound novel (argh! we keep asking, he says one of these days), but, it is new McCaffrey. Here’s the description:

1937. A young press photographer for the Daily Mirror falls in love with a crusading reporter. There’s murder before breakfast and a beer and a beating for lunch. Just don’t be late for dinner or a deadline. And remember, sometimes it’s not your best shot, but taking the shot you have that counts. This is Fiorello LaGuardia’s New York, where Thomas Dewey battles Lucky Luciano and the mob, millions are out of work and maybe out of luck, Stalinist is set against Trotskyite and the German American Bund harbors Nazi spies. It’s a time of hard bitten city editors, soft-hearted molls, Seabiscuit and The Babe, when Winchell’s gossip paid the bills for Hearst’s newspaper empire, where a nation moved to the beat of Goodman and Gershwin, and Hepburn and Stanwyck filled our silver dreams, while Hughes and the DC-3 arose, Earhart and the Hindenburg fell, the 20th Century Limited departed and Superman arrives in the nick of time.

and you can start reading here:

Chapter 1. Sunday, March 14, 1937

Chapter 2. Sunday, March 14, 1937

Chapter 3. Sunday, March 14, 1937

or go straight to ordering it in paperback or ebook here.

Silicon Valley Reads: Sherwood Nation

Mon 14 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Sherwood NationHuge West Coast news: Benjamin Parzybok’s Sherwood Nation is one of two novels chosen for the 2016 Silicon Valley Reads program. The program theme this year is “Chance of Rain”

The program begins with the 2016 Kick Off Event on at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26,  at the Heritage Theater (Campbell/San Jose) where Author in Residence Emmi Itäranta (Memory of Water) and Visiting Author Benjamin Parzybok will be interviewed on stage by Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro.

Ben will return to Silicon Valley for at least a dozen events during three week-long trips during the spring — the complete events calendar will be available by the end of the year.​ We’ll have more on this as it develops so in the meantime we’re just looking forward to all the readers in Silicon Valley reading Ben’s fabulous book! Yay!


Silicon Valley Reads is an annual community program that ​selects books focused on a contemporary theme and offers free events throughout Santa Clara County to engage the public in reading, thinking and discussing the topic. Our goals are to encourage the love of reading and learning and to have a welcoming forum where our diverse community can come together to share different perspectives.”

Two movies!

Fri 11 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Right now it knocks me over to write that two Small Beer books are being filmed: the title story of Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life and Others and Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire.

Story of Your Life is being filmed in Montreal, Canada, with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, and Solitaire is being filmed as OtherLife in Perth, Australia, with Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Cocquerel, and TJ Power.

There are always books and stories being optioned (recent film interest has centered on two novels: Ayize Jama-Everett’s forthcoming The Entropy of Bones and Carol Emshwiller’s Philip K. Dick award winner The Mount) and some of it pans out and much of it doesn’t so it’s a total thrill that these two stories are actually on their way to the silver screen. Many things will happen between then and now but I’m just going to take this moment to celebrate. Whoopee!!

Solitaire: a novel cover - click to view full size Stories of Your Life and Others cover - click to view full size

You Have Never Been Here Giveaway

Thu 3 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Goodreads Book Giveaway

You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert

You Have Never Been Here

by Mary Rickert

Giveaway ends September 17, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Fri 28 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Lede not buried! See: Kelly will be doing these things and I will be doing these things.

Brissy: is where we are headed. Near the Great Barrier Reef is where we were. (Photos: um, maybe when my camera and laptop start talking again.) Melbourne: where we are for Kelly to do Melbourne Writers Fest stuff. Also: Melbourne has a Burmese restaurant and a zine store.

Here’s Kelly’s sched. in Brisbane:


and mine:

Gavin BWF

Solitaire = OtherLife!

Thu 27 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Kelley Eskridge has just announced that her novel Solitaire has just begun filming in Perth, Australia! (You can read the press release here) and Kelley’s happy post here.

OtherLife Countdown Clock

OtherLife is directed by Ben C. Lucas (Wasted on the Young), a fiercely talented director and writer who brings depth and heart and passion to the film. The script is written by me, Gregory Widen (Highlander, Backdraft, The Prophecy), Lucas Howe, and director Ben Lucas. The film stars the fantastic Jessica De Gouw (Dracula, Arrow, and the forthcoming Underground), as well as Thomas Cocquerel (Kidnapping Mr. Heineken) and TJ Power (Eat Pray Love, The Sapphires, Wasted on the Young).”

Keeping the Printer Busy

Tue 25 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Ayize Jama-Everett’s third Liminal novel The Entropy of Bones is coming out soon. More on that very soon! Chabi is going to kick some ass. You heard it here first. Go see him read, Sep. 16, 7 p.m. at the mighty City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco. (Locus has The Liminal War in their Notable Books list.)

Archivist Wasp is shipping from the printer. Wait, is this April? Nope. This is the second printing. Pretty happy about that. If your fave store doesn’t have it at the moment, ask them and they’ll be able to get it in a week or so.

What else is at the printer? Also, seems odd to write this about a book we originally published in 2008, but The Serial Garden is back at the printer (yay!) — another Big Mouth House title! That should be in stock early next month. If you’re in the UK, you might want to pick up the fab new Virago edition with cover and interior illustrations by Peter Bailey. (And a new UK edition means new blurbs! i.e. Chris Riddell, “What a thrill to discover this gem from the witty and endlessly inventive Joan Aiken.”)

Also, we recently reprinted yet another Big Mouth House title, Lydia Millet’s first Dissenters novel, The Fires Beneath the Sea. Lydia is working on the third and last book right now and we expect to have more info on that later in the year.

We printed galleys of Mary Rickert’s New and Selected Stories. We printed so many things!

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories - VMC 2130 (Paperback)  The Serial Garden cover - click to view full size

From far away

Mon 24 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Take a deep breath. Hold it. Read a book. Let it go. Feel better? Dead? Not sure? Me neither.


Read the first chapter of Solitaire on the Seattle Review of Books, a consistently readable new endeavor from Paul Constant and Martin McClellan.

Paul Di Fillippo read Delia Sherman’s Young Woman in a Garden and in this month’s Asimov’s points out a serious flaw: “The only flaw in this collection is that there are not more stories on the table of contents. You need this in your library.”

Theo Fadel, who illustrated our forthcoming edition of John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding is updating her website. Just wait until you read her new bio.

Translator Sue Burke writing at Asymptote on translating Angélica Gorodischer’s favorite novel Prodigies: Different Beauty, Equal Beauty.

Check out this video and article by Laura Newberry as Susan Stinson gives her Bridge Street Cemetery tour and they talk about the new cemetery preservation efforts.

Humanity’s a frog being slowly boiled in a saucepan” says Deborah Walker in the latest in Michael J. DeLuca’s series of contributor interviews for LCRW 33.


M.E. Garber (“‘Doomed’ is such a bleak term. Are we ‘doomed’ if we have to live differently than we have in the past? If we have to adapt to radically changing situations? If many of us on the planet die, while others struggle onwards? I think not, and yet others would argue yes. Then again, as I said earlier, I’m a bit of a closet optimist.”)

Nicole Kimberling: “I forgave the trees for their indiscriminate air-based sperm-cell distribution. After all, they can’t help it.”

Giselle Leeb: “I worked in the Karoo, a semi-desert, counting plants for a botany lecturer during three of my summer holidays, and that’s when I discovered a conscious love of the earth.”


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