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Archive for January, 2012

All You Can Do is Breathe

“All You Can Do is Breathe”, from Ellen Datlow’s Blood and Other Cravings, is doing rather well.

 

It’s made the preliminary list for the Stoker Awards, and Paula Guran has just announced the Table of Contents for her Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. My story is amongst the other gems! Am thrilled to be in this book.

Here’s the full TOC:

 

• “Hair” by Joan Aiken (The Monkey’s Wedding & Other Stories / F&SF July/August)
• “Rakshashi” by Kelley Armstrong (The Monster’s Corner: Through Inhuman Eyes)
• “Walls of Paper, Soft as Skin” by Adam Callaway (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #73, July 14, 2011)
• “The Lake” by Tananarive Due (The Monster’s Corner: Through Inhuman Eyes)
• “Tell Me I’ll See You Again” by Dennis Etchison (A Book of Horrors)
• “King Death” Paul Finch (King Death)
• “The Last Triangle” by Jeffrey Ford (Supernatural Noir)
Near Zennor by Elizabeth Hand (A Book of Horrors)
• “Crossroads” by Laura Anne Gilman (Fantasy, Aug 2011)
• “After-Words” by Glen Hirshberg (The Janus Tree and Other Stories)
• “Rocket Man” by Stephen Graham Jones (Stymie, Vol. 4. Issue 1, Spring & Summer 2011)
• “The Colliers’ Venus (1893)” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Naked City: New Tales of Urban Fantasy)
• “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head” by Margo Lanagan (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower, Vol. 1)
• “The Bleeding Shadow” by Joe R. Lansdale (Down These Strange Streets)
• “Why Light?” by Tanith Lee (Teeth)
• “Conservation of Shadows” by Yoon Ha Lee (Clarkesworld, August 2011)
A Tangle of Green Men, Charles de Lint (Welcome to Bordertown)
• “After the Apocalypse” by Maureen McHugh (After the Apocalypse)
• “Lord Dunsany’s Teapot” Naomi Novak (The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities)
• “Mysteries of the Old Quarter” by Paul Park (Ghosts by Gaslight)
• Vampire Lake, by Norman Partridge (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2)
• “A Journey of Only Two Paces” by Tim Powers (The Bible Repairman and Other Stories)
• “Four Legs in the Morning” by Norman Prentiss (Four Legs in the Morning)
• “The Fox Maiden” by Priya Sharma (On Spec, Summer 2011)
• “Time and Tide” by Alan Peter Ryan (F&SF, Sept/Oct 2011)
• “Sun Falls” by Angela Slatter (Dead Red Heart)
• “Still” by Tia V. Travis (Portents)
• “Objects in Dreams May Be Closer Than They Appear” by Lisa Tuttle (House of Fear)
• “The Bread We Eat in Dreams” by Catherynne M. Valente (Apex Magazine, Issue 30, November 2011)
• “All You Can Do Is Breathe” Kaaron Warren (Blood & Other Cravings)
• “Josh” by Gene Wolfe (Portents)

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Zombie vs Robots

The first Zombie vs Robots story is live!  It’s written by Brea Grant, Dexter actress!

My story, “The River of Memory”,  is due out on March 2. I’m considering throwing a party. Come as a zombie, or a robot, and I’ll feed one lot offal and the other lot Irn Bru.

http://idwpublishing.com/zvr/

These are the stories and writers upcoming:

Brea Grant — “Pammi Shaw: Creator of Gods and Also Blogger” (1/20/12)
UnderCity’s lone survivor continues her blog and meets (creates?) a digital deity with its own ideas about fighting the zombie apocalypse.

Brea Grant is sometimes a writer (We Will Bury You; Suicide Girls), sometimes an actress (Heroes; Dexter; Halloween 2) and all-the-time a nice person. She is currently directing her first film.

Steve Rasnic Tem — “To Denver (with Hiram Battling Zombies)” (1/27/12)
What happens when high-test chronic is tainted with potent zombie blood? Will it be a high to die for?

Multiple award-winning author Steve Rasnic Tem has published over 300 short stories in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. His latest novel is Deadfall Hotel.

Nancy A. Collins — “Angus: Zombie-Versus-Robot Fighter” (2/03/12)
A young man is trained by his scientist father to fight zombies, robot-style. What could go wrong?

Nancy A. Collins is the author of numerous novels and short stories, including the best-sellingSunglasses After Dark, and was a writer for DC Comics’ Swamp Thing. She is a recipient of the Bram Stoker and British Fantasy Awards, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy, Eisner & International Horror Guild awards. Left Hand Magic, the newest installment in the acclaimed Golgotham series, is now available.

Nick Mamatas — “Throckmorton’s Bad Day” (2/10/12)
Years before the zombie apocalypse, an enterprising and amoral young college student (later to become “Dr. Throckmorton in the ZVR comics) tests experimental street drugs on the local users. The results will have unforeseen consequences for his future self.

Nick Mamatas is the author of several unusual novels, including The Damned Highway with Brian Keene, and The Last Weekend. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s SF, Long Island Noir and many other magazines and anthologies.

Amber Benson — “Mademoiselle Consuela and Her Army of One” (2/17/12)
Like a princess locked in a tower, Consuela lives on a secluded island with only her loyal warbot for company. Then the pirates come…

Amber Benson is an actor, filmmaker, novelist and amateur occultist who sings in the shower. Best known for her work as Tara Maclay on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, she is also the author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones series and the co-director (with Adam Busch) of the feature film, Drones.

Don Webb — “The Wizards vs. the Bots” (2/24/12)
Can black magic control zombies? What about warbots?

Don Webb has 20 published books ranging from the nonfiction occult classic Uncle Setnakt’s Nightbookto the best weird west book, Webb’s Weird Wild West.

Kaaron Warren — “The River of Memory” (3/02/12)
An Amazon goddess thinks she can restore humanity to zombies; a warbot has doubts.

Kaaron Warren is an award-winning horror and science-fiction writer based in Australia. She has two short story collections and three novels in print.

Lincoln Crisler — “Kettletop’s Revisionary Plot” (3/09/12)
A distraught scientist travels back in time in a desperate attempt to save his wife and prevent the discovery of the deadly Z Virus.

Lincoln Crisler is author, editor and reviewer as well as an active-duty soldier in the United States Army. His books include Magick & Misery and Wild. He is the editor of the dark-superhero anthology Corrupts Absolutely? He has served as a contributing writer for The Horror Library and Shroud Magazine.

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Sparks: Dan Abnett

Dan Abnett is an amazing writer. He writes action scenes that play out before your eyes like a movie. He’s funny, clever and he’s my son’s favourite author. Here, he discusses where his sparks come from. I’m exactly the same; so many of my ideas come when I’m sitting in that stasis of public transport.

“My ideas come by train. And bus. Mostly train. Public mass transport, basically. I presume they buy their own tickets.

When I first started writing, even in a vaguely professional capacity, I was commuting in and out of London for work. Daily journeys on trains, on the Tube. It was the only time I got to think, the only enforced free time between a full day at work and a full night of writing. This was, of course, during the Punic Wars, before the advent of laptops or smartphones. Yes, we had pencils. Yes, we did. But there wasn’t much opportunity to sit and write on a crowded South Eastern commuter train. So I’d sit and think instead.

Ideas do come from other places. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find them on the pillow, and sometimes, sometimes, I actually deliberately think them up. With my brain.  After twenty-five years, I have honed the requisite professional skills to actually be able to sit down and, at will, during regular business hours, come up with fit-for-purpose ideas ready to be used in commissions. It’s a learned skill. Like riding a bike. Or cutting keys. Or cobbling.

But some of the best ideas are the ones that come out of nowhere and mug you. Or the ones you find at the back of the drawer (before you look, it’s a metaphorical drawer). Or the ones that apport into the middle of your kitchen floor during an otherwise ordinary afternoon.

Or the ones that arrive by train.

What do I do with them? I seize them! I seize them, I say, and I clap them in chains! …Well, I write them down for later use. I think you know when a spontaneous, unbidden ideas is a corkingly good one, just as you know that if you don’t record its finer points fast, before it fades like a waking dream,  it will just be a memory shaped like a good idea, the moulded space in which a good idea once fitted, rather than a working good idea that you can use because all the plugs and adaptors, and the instructions, are still in the box.  Before I learned to write things down, to recover them and prepare them for a later use, I lost many because of the foolish notion that I would remember them when I got home or needed to use them. Sometimes I remembered the idea, but not the point, the one tiny detail that made the idea usable and good. Sometimes, all I remembered was that I’d had an idea. I am still haunted by the memory of forgotten ideas from years ago, by the empty shaped spaces. And I have a good memory.

Why trains? I’d say because the world goes by. It’s not a specific and focused inspiration, like a good book or a newspaper feature, it’s just a series of views, a moving panorama of nonspecific life, none of it intended for, or prepared for, observation. It just goes by. There are either subliminal hooks buried in it, or it’s simply enough to have a moving, non-static visual feed to get my brain firing. Like ambient visuals.

I must learn to get on trains more often, to deliberately seek out the resource rather than accidentally use it because I happen to be going somewhere. The endorsements speak for themselves. This summer, I had, at one point, three big jobs that needed to have ideas developed for them so I could submit and pitch. I wasn’t exactly struggling, but the ideas were not coming out cleanly. I had to go up to London for a signing, and on the train ride home – a journey of just fifty-five minutes – I ‘received’, without trying, without effort, all three, one after another.

I wasn’t even thinking about the pending jobs.

From my house, if the wind’s in the right direction, I can sometimes hear trains passing through the local station. Buses grumble by the retaining wall at the end of my quiet street.

I think they’re trying to tell me something.”

Dan Abnett is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning comic book writer. He has written over forty novels, including the acclaimed Gaunt’s Ghosts series, the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies,  The Silent Stars Go By (the 2011 Christmas Doctor Who novel), Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero, and Embedded. He lives and works in Maidstone, Kent. Dan’s blog and website can be found at www.danabnett.com

and you can follow him on Twitter @VincentAbnett

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