Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Weird Western StoryBundle

Here's the skinny:

THE WEIRD WESTERN BUNDLE

The Weird Western Bundle - Curated by Blair MacGregor

Welcome to our Weird Western Bundle, where wide frontiers, flintlocks, whiskey and revenge meet swords, airships, terraforming, magic, myths, and dragons. You'll find stories here set in the snows of old Alaska and the heat of contemporary Arizona, post-Civil War San Francisco and post-colonization planets, and places the seem as familiar as any wooded mountain or wind-swept desert... until tigers and dragons and horses that are so much more than you might assume burst into the scene. The different aspects of the Weird Western spirit in this bundle will give fans of the genre something they haven't seen before, and folks new to Weird Westerns a wide sampling of its fantastic offerings.

I was raised on a combination of SFF and Westerns. Star Trek and Gunsmoke, Asimov and L'Amour, Lonesome Dove and Battlestar Galactica. I was just as thrilled to shake the hand of Hugh O'Brian of Wyatt Earp fame as I was to meet Katherine Kurtz, author of the Deryni world. It's been a joy discovering more writers combining the genres, raising their unique voices, and upsetting the familiar with the fantastic. The result is a Western setting that respects history and the people who created it while spinning in unique powers, esoteric challenges, and the terrifying magic of discovery.
You'll learn the secrets behind the post-quarantined expanse of ranchland in James Derry's Idyll, and the reasons the man of Joe Bailey's Spellslinger is ready to make a stand. There's the subterfuge and wild ride of Gemma Files's Book of Tongues, and the smart, snappy adventure of Lindsay Buroker's Flash Gold novellas.

Dangerous wonders and determined enemies fill J. Patrick Allen's West of Pale, and Steve White's New Worldbrings chainmail and strange powers to the frontier. Kyra Halland puts rogue magery and danger in a dusty Western town in Beneath the Canyons, and Kenneth Mark Hoover gives us a time-wandering lawman in Haxan.

And I'm thrilled to share the debut of Judith Tarr's first novel of a new series, Dragons in the Earth, set in present-day Arizona, and filled with horses and dragons and the power of the desert itself.

StoryBundle let's you choose your own price, so you decide how you'd like to support these awesome writers and their work. For $5—or more if you'd like—you'll receive the basic bundle of four great novels in DRM-free ebook format. For the bonus price of at least $14—or more if you'd like—you'll receive all nine novels. If you choose, a portion of your payment will go toward supporting Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.

The Weird Western Bundle is available for only three weeks. It's a great opportunity to pick up the stories of nine wonderful writers, support independent authors who want to twist your assumptions about the West, and discover new writers with great stories along the way.– Blair MacGregor

The initial titles in The Weird Western Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
  • Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover
  • Dead West Vol 1.: West of Pale by J Patrick Allen
  • Idyll by James Derry
  • Spellsinger by Joseph J. Bailey
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $14, you get all four of the regular titles, plus five more:
  • Hexslinger Vol. 1: A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files
  • Horses of the Moon Vol. 1: Dragons in the Earth by Judith Tarr
  • Daughter of the Wildings Book. 1: Beneath the Canyons by Kyra Halland
  • The Flash Gold Chronicles I-III by Lindsay Buroker
  • New World Book 2: Hair of the Bear by Steven W. White
And as special thanks to our newsletter subscribers, all of you who subscribe get New World by Steven W. White for free! Grab the free first book in the New World series before you start on book 2, Hair of the Bear, found in the bundle.

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
  • Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

P.S.: I have Launch Day giveaway codes, if anyone's interested! Please contact me (Gemma) through Facebook.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ploughshares Article on Experimental Film

This summer is digesting my brain, bur if I haven't linked to this article about Experimental Film in Ploughshares (http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/every-movie-is-a-ghost-story-on-writing-about-film/) before, I really should've. It's quite brilliant.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Locus Review Now Up

I added a direct link to John Langan's flattering Locus review of Experimental Film, which they've now put up on the Web, possibly because of me winning the SJA. You'll find it in the side column, or here: http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2016/07/john-langan-reviews-gemma-files/

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Litreactor

By the way, this is also the third year in a row that I've been asked to teach my course about writing what you fear--still cunningly entitled Write What You Fear--at Litreactor. It starts October 18, 2016, so if you've got the money and you're interested in getting feedback from me, please do sign up. The deets are here (https://litreactor.com/classes/write-what-you-fear).

My Cup of Stars

So: as you may or may not have heard, Experimental Film won the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel. I also came home from Readercon to discover I'd made the Sunburst Award shortlist, in the Adult Fiction category. It's been a pretty good weekend, all told.;)

This is the text of my acceptance speech, which I scribbled down about five minutes into the ceremony:

"Somebody asked me last night [it was Dale Bailey], how long did this book take to write? And I said sort of four years and sort of four months...but really, I think in a lot of ways it's a book I've been rehearsing and preparing for all of my life. It's also very personal in a way that all my other work isn't, necessarily, so for it to be received with such grace and enthusiasm has been staggering. None of this would be possible without my friend, my family, my husband and my son. I'd like to thank ChiZine Publications and the ladies of the Bellefire Club, who mothered this book into existence, and every movie I've ever viewed or reviewed. I'd also like to thank Canada, cold land of identity disorders, the source of all my neuroses and whatever power I derive from them. When I first got word of this nomination, I thought that if I could win just one award, I'd want it to be this one. Thank you all for letting me live my dream. As Eleanor [from The Haunting of Hill House] might say, I got my cup of stars."

Those of you who'd prefer to watch me fumble my way through it while looking like a tank in a dress can access Scott Edelman's Periscope video (vine?), here: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1jMKgnBDlBPxL

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Readercon!



...is where I'll be, as of tomorrow afternoon. My schedule, for those who might be attending:

Thursday July 07
8:00 PM C The Works of Clark Ashton Smith. Michael Cisco, Gemma Files, Lila Garrott, Tim Powers, Darrell Schweitzer. It has been over a century since Clark Ashton Smith's first publications, when his first book of poetry appeared in 1912. He was something of a prodigy in those days, nineteen years old and being heralded by newspapers in California as a newly discovered genius, the Keats of the Sierras. He became acquainted with Lovecraft when Lovecraft wrote Smith a fan letter. We honor (and read) Clark Ashton Smith today precisely because he is unique. He spoke to us in a voice like no other, and he gave us visions of strangeness like no other. He was out of step with his times and proud of it. Join our panelists for a discussion of the works of the most recent winner of the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.

9:00 PM 5 The Life and Times of Mary Sue . Gillian Daniels, Gemma Files, Ben Francisco, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Natalie Luhrs. New Republic senior editor Jeet Heer wrote, in a short Twitter essay about Mary Sues, "The popularity of the term 'Mary Sue' really says everything you need to know about sexism in fandom/nerdom." Instead of unpacking the concept of Mary Sue, we'd like to zero in on the troubled history of this term, why it's troubled, and how better to talk about "self-insertion" in fiction without the sexism.

Friday July 08
3:00 PM AT Autographs. C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files.


8:00 PM A Reading: Gemma Files. Gemma Files. Gemma Files reads from an upcoming novella "Coffle."


Saturday July 09
11:00 AM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Samuel Delany, Gemma Files.

Sunday July 10
1:00 PM 5 Tanith Lee - A Retrospective. Mike Allen, Gemma Files, Lila Garrott, Theodora Goss (leader), Sonya Taaffe. Tanith Lee authored over 90 novels and 300 short stories, a children's picture book, poems, and television episodes. In 1980, she became the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award, for her book Death's Master. Yet in 2010, Tanith Lee mentioned she was still writing novels, and consistently publishing short stories, but publishers were not interested in her longer works. Lee's impact on the genres that make up slipstream fiction was significant. What leads a publisher to look at works from an influential, established writer and decide they are not worth the shelf space? How can we keep Lee in print, and in people's minds?

Hope to see at least some of you there!

Friday, June 17, 2016

New Review of Experimental Film!

John Langan reviews Experimental Film, very favourably, in this month's Locus Magazine:

There's a cache of lost films at the centre of Experimental Film, the fine, compelling novel by Gemma Files. The movies were made in the early years of the 20th century by a woman who herself went missing during what should have been a routine train journey to Toronto. Shot on highly unstable silver nitrate stock, the short films are variations on the same subject: a mysterious, veiled woman, her dress ornamented with beads or mirrors that make her flash and shimmer. She moves through a stylized farm landscape, bending to speak to a child labourer, when it becomes apparent that she is holding a sword in one hand.

Lois Cairns, the narrator-protagonist of the novel, first becomes aware of Iris Dunlopp Whitcomb's work at a screening of new independent Canadian films she is covering for a film publication. One of the filmmakers includes an excerpt from one of the lost movies in his Untitled 13. The result affects Lois profoundly, viscerally, leading her to interview Wrob Barney about the footage he's sampled. That conversation sets Lois on the path of investigating Iris Whitcomb's life and art. A film historian as well as critic, Lois immediately understands the earthshaking implications of the lost movies for the history of women in film, especially women who produced and directed their own work. She contacts a former student of hers, Safie Hewsen, now a budding filmmaker, and enlists her in documenting the search for Iris Whitcomb's films.

It isn't very long, however, before a series of escalatingly strange and unnerving events connected to her inquiry cause Lois to realize that there might be more to the missing movies than she anticipated. Her research reveals that the subject of Iris Whitcomb's films is a minor deity from Wendish mythology, Lady Midday, who interrogates farm labourers to learn if they are performing their work well and whole-heartedly. Gradually, Lois understands that what she at first took for dramatizations of a somewhat esoteric folk tale are in fact recreating encounters with an actual supernatural entity. What's more, Lady Midday has become entangled with Iris Whitcomb's work—especially the last piece she shot—to the extent that it can provide her a means of return in force to a world whose steady forgetting of her has reduced the deity to a fraction of her former strength.

The story of the forbidden text is, of course, a mainstay of horror fiction, from Lovecraft's Necronomicon to Barron's Black Guide. The number of works that have made movies their sinister texts is more select, but includes Ramsey Campbell's Ancient Images and Marissa Pessl's Night Film, as well as “each thing I show you is a piece of my death,” the story Files co-wrote with her husband, Stephen Barringer, and which served as something of a dry run for Experimental Film. Where this novel succeeds is in its understanding of film, from the process by which it is made to those by which it is disseminated and discussed; from its history to its culture. Lois Cairns is steeped in movies, and she incorporates her understanding into her narrative, pausing to deliver relevant information when necessary. Lois is a self-conscious narrator, always aware of how she's framing the story she's recounting, and including the reader in her strategizing. The result is an experimental novel about her quest for a set of films whose experimental qualities extend far beyond her expectations.

All of this would be impressive enough, but Files gives the story additional weight through her description of Lois's experience as the mother of an autistic child. From the early pages of the novel, Files shows the challenges Lois confronts in her son, Clark, whose autism causes him to speak mostly in quotations from popular media, and cannot communicate with Lois and Simon, her husband and Clark's father. Lois is unsparing about the trials of raising her son, but she leavens her bluntness with enough wit and warmth to bring her love for her son to complicated life. Clark's occasional distance from Lois, her remove from her idea of a stereotypical mother, expand the novel's concern with the lost, with what is missing, and give it an added poignancy.

At the same time, the novel's evocation of Toronto and the community of its filmmakers and critics results in a vivid sense of place. Details about the city's geography combine with details about the men and women who populate its film culture to create a setting that is an integral part of the narrative. Experimental Film could not happen in any other place and be the same novel: this is very much a Canadian book, concerned with the history and current state of Canadian filmmaking.


The recent republication of Gemma Files's first two collections of short fiction, Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart, was a reminder of how long and how well she has been writing. The last several years have seen a welcome uptick in her output, from the cosmic horror horse opera of the Hexslinger series to the story cycle that comprises We Will All Go Down Together, not to mention her stories in any number of anthologies. Experimental Film represents the next significant contribution to what is emerging as one of the most interesting and exciting bodies of work currently being produced in the horror field. Every film, Lois Cairns writes, is an experiment. The same might be said of every novel. This one succeeds, wildly.