Hey, Internet! I’ve teamed up with the dashing and brilliant Claire Trévien to make a magazine. It’s called Verse Kraken, and it’s a place for weird, interstitial, experimental, multi-media, collaborative and other not-quite-usual stuff.
And it is currently OPEN TO SUBMISSIONS for issue one, scheduled for summer 2013. What are we looking for? See above. Basically – writing/art/photography/film/animation/music/hybrid-offshoots-thereof/other that in some way plays with form, style, genre, and/or engages with thematic borders and in-betweens.
The full guidelines can be found here.
For our first issue, we’re asking for submissions in response to one of the three ‘spurs’ currently on our website. These are things we’ve selected from the public domain, which we feel have loads of potential for interesting riffs or reinterpretations.
We’ve had some great stuff in the inbox so far, the majority of it traditional poetry. So if you want a tip: try us with other media, or interesting combinations!
We’ll close to submissions on the 31st of March. Send us your strangest!
My novelette ‘Boat in Shadows, Crossing’ appears in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, home of the finest literary adventure fantasy on the web. Click here to read it!
This is my first professional fiction credit, and I’m thrilled that it’s in such a splendid magazine – one that’s published some of my favourite short story writers including Yoon Ha Lee and Aliette de Bodard, to name just two.
‘Boat in Shadows, Crossing’ is set in my weird fantasy city The Town Where Salt-Plums Grow, a setting which has been mulling and mutating in my dreams since I was 14 or so. It’s a story about love, ghosts, transformation, and a predatory boat. It starts:
Come, let me whisper you a tale of the city where I was born, the Town Where Salt-Plums Grow. A summer tale: dark and succulent, with a bite of chill—the kind we love to tell on warm thick nights…
I have not one but THREE upcoming appearances to announce, yay!
First up is a Penning Perfumes night at the Clerkenwell Tales bookshop in London, on November 28th. If you’re intrigued by the idea of a night in which poetry and scent share the spotlight, please come! I’ll be reading my Narcisse-Noir-flavoured piece, alongside some wonderful poets, and there will be a brand new poetry-inspired perfume to sample. Here’s the poster:
Tickets are just £5 and can be bought here.
AAAAAAAND, to make things a whole lot less London-centric, Penning Perfumes is going on tour in the new year – to Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol. There will be a mix of poets from the original project and new voices in each city – here’s the full schedule and line-up. I’ll be reading in Bristol on February 27th.
I’ll also be reading at Pigeon Poetry: The Winter Gents on December 15th, at the Poetry Café in London. This is a lovely, intimate night run by the cross-genre TREMers Theatre Company - I read at their first poetry night back in June and it was very special, and I can’t think of anything better to do on a cold winter’s night that cosy up in a warmly lit basement and share words.
I’m running a one-day fiction writing workshop in Bangkok this Saturday – come along if you’re in town!
It’s at the British Club, starting at 10 a.m., and is for beginners and more experienced writers alike. We’ll be exploring the fiction writing process from inspiration to first draft and beyond, and by the end of the day workshop members will have started developing a new piece of fiction.
Practical stuff: the British Club is at the end of Silom soi 18, and the guard will let you in if you say what you’re there for. Food and drink can be bought throughout the day with coupons available at reception. If you’re planning on coming, please email me!
See you there!
First up, a book I’ve been excited about for the longest time is almost among us – Anil Menon and Vandana Singh’s Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana. LOOK at the table of contents. I’m still a bit dizzy that they’ve included a story by me, too.
Anyway, anyone who’s in, around, or can feasibly get to New Delhi by this Thursday should go to the publisher’s ‘Myth Breakers‘ open mic/reading event, where the book’s being launched. I wish I could!
And another cool bit of anthology news – Clockwork Phoenix 3 (originally published in 2010), containing my story ‘Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day’, is now available as an e-book! You can get it at Amazon UK, Amazon US, or Weightless Books.
There’s also a new review of the book out from the Little Red Reviewer, who has nice things to say about my story, and the anthology as a whole.
A final bit of awesome news: thanks to Mike and Anita Allen’s tremendous fundraising work on Kickstarter, there’s going to be a pro-paying Clockwork Phoenix 4! And more – check it out.
There are good things afoot in the short speculative fiction world.
On Tuesday night we launched the Penning Perfumes anthology. A new kind of enchantment: roomful of poetry and perfume lovers, sharing their crafts, finding intersections between the two. I opened the night with my Narcisse Noir-inspired poem ‘Ryhme of the Manic Pixie Dream-Crone’, which was fun, but the best part was for sure listening to all the other poets’ pieces and sniffing the scents that went with them. Listening to fragrance and smelling words.
The book is now available to buy, and for a limited time will come with a free scent pen – containing either a perfume that inspired a poem, or a perfume inspired by a poem. And it’s only £5! Click here to order.
This was a delicious, magic-laced, interstital wonder-project, and hopefully just the start. My thanks to Claire Trevien and Odette Toilette for dreaming it up, Nick Murray for making such a beautiful book, and everyone who participated in any way.
I’m very proud to have my poem ‘Terrunform’ reprinted in Here, We Cross, a collection of queer and genderfluid poetry from Stone Telling, edited by Rose Lemberg and published by Stone Bird Press. It’s lovely, look:
If a collection of queer speculative poems from diverse voices appeals to you (as it should!), you can get it at Amazon US; if you need further encouragement, here’s the Table of Contents:
Alex Dally MacFarlane – Sung Around Alsar-Scented Fires
Nancy Sheng – Inner Workings
Michele Bannister – Seamstress
Jack H. Marr – Lunectomy
Shira Lipkin – The Changeling’s Lament
Dominik Parisien – In His Eighty-Second Year
Bogi Takács – The Handcrafted Motions of Flight
Hel Gurney – Hair
Mary Alexandra Agner – Tertiary
Amal El-Mohtar – Asteres Planetai
Jeannelle Ferreira – Ardat-Lilî
Mari Ness – Encantada
Lisa Bradley – we come together we fall apart
Samantha Henderson – The Gabriel Hound
Alexandra Seidel – A Masquerade in Four Voices
Sonya Taaffe – Persephone in Hel
Sergio Ortiz – Rain and Sound
Sonya Taaffe – The Clock House
Peter Milne Greiner – The Earth Has Rings
Adrienne J. Odasso – Parallax
Tori Truslow – Terrunform
Peer G. Dudda – Sister Dragons
(I’m in some pretty incredible company there!)
Speaking of ‘Terrunform’, check out the AWESOME CAKE that my amazing friend Eleanor Turney made for my birthday, illustrating said poem:
And speaking of Rose Lemberg, you should definitely check out The Moment of Change, her new anthology of feminist speculative poetry. It has poems from some wonderful friends including Alex Dally MacFarlane, Hel Gurney and Koel Mukherjee, as well as some of my favourite poets including Amal El-Mohtar, Catherynne M. Valente and Sonya Taaffe. And Ursula K. Le Guin! And lots more! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Available from Amazon US or Aqueduct Press.
On a final poetry note, I’m reading at the Scratch+Sniff Penning Perfumes event tomorrow night in London, at which the Penning Perfumes pamphlet will be launched – I’m told the event’s sold out now, but I’ll post more about the pamphlet when it’s available to buy.
Penning Perfumes is featured in the Independent today! So nice to see such a cool project get some high-profile coverage. I’m one of the “dozen poets” mentioned; our poems are all now turned in and our mystery scents revealed. It’s very interesting to read the blurbs for my perfume and see where my poem’s narrative intersects with the perfumer’s narrative, and where they diverge.
To see/hear/smell the results, come to the ‘read and sniff’ even in London’s Book Club, 12th June. Book here!
Frabjous day! My story ‘Train in Vain’ has been shortlisted for the James White Award. Check out the full shortlist, with excerpts from the stories, here. And wish me luck!
The winner will be announced at the BSFA awards this Sunday. I’ll be there, and at Eastercon generally, so drop me a tweet or something if you’re around and want to say hi. I promise I’m alright!
Yesterday, I went on a poets’ field trip to a perfumers in Marble Arch, London. I came home with a mystery scent sealed in a silvery capsule, and I have a month to write a poem from it.
The commission is part of a project called Penning Perfumes, the brainchild of Claire Trévien and Odette Toilette. The end result will be a pamphlet and a perfume & poetry evening in June. I’m a bit in awe of some of the other poets involved, and swooningly excited about the whole thing.
The project got off to an awesome start. Les Senteurs has some amazing perfumes, and we got to spend an hour playing with them all. I fell in love with a few: Lonestar Memories by Tauer, a cowboy perfume all whiskey and leather and oil; Cardinal by Healey, which smells like a Roman Catholic church; and Bois Naufragé by Pierre Guillaume – figs and shipwrecks. These perfumes are poems in themselves. If anyone ever wants to get me an expensive present… There were other fun ones: chocolate scents, a rose scent that smelled like real living roses, jasmine and cigarettes, nutmeg and pepper (that one even *tasted* nice). I didn’t love them all, but tried most of them – except for one, the male ejaculate scent, because why would you. (Well, some of us did, and reported that it was… accurate.) Here’s the shop, with us playing inside:
I went away with a blank brown envelope, containing my mystery sample and a letter with instructions. I love not knowing what my perfume is called, what it contains, what its story is. All I have is the scent. I have no idea what’ll come of this. Here’s to adventure!
Follow the project at the Penning Perfumes blog, or on twitter using the hashtag #penningperfumes.