Archive for September, 2014

Press Release: From a Tilted Pail

Niteblade contributor Ajay Vishwanathan is celebrating the release of his book, From a Tilted Pail and we’d like to help spread the word 🙂



From a Tilted Pail: Exploring Seven Journeys of Struggle and Triumph

Atlanta, GA – The world gets smaller with every flight that takes off for some far away, exotic destination. But do travelers ever really see the heartbreaking stories of locals from their 4-star hotel balcony? From a Tilted Pail by Ajay Vishwanathan transports the reader into the lives of people in small towns and villages, and their everyday struggles.

Ajay loves India. And it shows in his simple but eloquent portrayal of the strengths and blemishes of the beautiful place. He delves into the lives of the underprivileged, and follows the struggles of those imprisoned by circumstances, their spirit of hope and celebration of triumphs. Each story is poignant, coaxing readers to appreciate things oftentimes taken for granted.

Ajay Vishwanathan brings acute world awareness and champions life’s hurdles through his lyrical prose. The editor-in-chief of the Foundling Review, Ajay’s work has been published in more than 90 literary journals, including The Minnesota Review and The Southern Humanities Review. In addition to his passion for the written word, he also has a Ph.D. in microbiology, and spends his days researching ways to battle AIDS and the HIV virus. Ajay currently resides in Georgia with his family.

From a Tilted Pail

By Ajay Vishwanathan

Publisher: Queen’s Ferry Press

Sold at:

ISBN-13: 9781938466403

Release: July 30, 2014




AJC Decatur Book Festival (Aug. 29-31, 2014) – Ajay Vishwanathan will be a featured panelist and will debut his book, From a Tilted Pail



Through deft storytelling, Vishwanathan turns the story of hopelessness into one about the resilience of the human spirit, a theme that lurks just beneath the surface, and unites all the characters in From a Tilted Pail.

In a slim collection of 92 pages and seven stories, Ajay Vishwanathan delivers a powerful tour de force and captures the essence of the human endeavor—hope chasing away despair, and light, darkness.

Concise, yet power packed sentences are truly the star attraction of this collection.

Poignant, profound and perceptive, Vishwanathan’s collection is chicken soup for the soul, simmered to perfection.

“There is a lyricism in Vishwanathan’s writing which reflects the warmth and vastness of the land he described and the depth of his people.”

Barbara Bruce, KVSL radio (107.9 FM)

Ajay’s writing reminds me of O’Henry. But he takes it to another level with his poetic prose.

Jen Michalski, author of Could You Be with Her Now and The Tide King: “Vishwanathan is a magician who pulls hope out of a hat.”

Anis Shivani, 2012 Pushcart winner, The Huffington Post Columnist, and author of My Tranquil War and Other Poems and Anatolia and Other Stories: “I admire Vishwanathan’s ability to step right into the skin of the other—his perception of the female sensibility is particularly acute—without any sense of patronization or exoticism.”

Robin Stratton, editor of Boston Literary Magazine: “Ajay Vishwanathan’s From a Tilted Pail will break your heart with seven exquisitely crafted short stories about the longing for liberation, and the triumph of setting another spirit free.”

Michael Salcman, author of The Enemy of Good Is Better and editor of Poetry in Medicine: “This is a remarkable collection of exotic short stories…whether the subject is an execution, a silk factory, a snake hunter, a facial deformity, or the keeper of lamps in a village shrine, each tale has the force of parable…”

Terri Kirby Erickson,
author of Telling Tales of Dusk and A Lake of Light and Clouds: “Ajay Vishwanathan is in love with India—the deep, abiding love of a man who sees very clearly his beloved’s strengths and flaws. There is such beauty in these stories, but also heartbreak, loss, and the kind of cruelty most of us turn away from rather than face head-on, yet he doesn’t flinch. He loves ‘her’ still, and by the time you finish this jewel of a collection, so will you.”

Stefanie Freele, author of Feeding Strays and Surrounded by Water: From a Tilted Pail is a brave, powerful exploration of the painful struggles that happen when characters are trapped between strife and the universal human need for freedom.”

10 Things To Know About The Clockwork Dagger

Beth Cato -- photo by Corey Ralston PhotographyFrequent Niteblade contributor Beth Cato‘s novel launched today and in order to help her celebrate we’re pleased to share this guest post —

10 Things to Know About The Clockwork Dagger


#1: It’s not on Earth, but it’s still historical fiction.
The technology, fashion, and grimness are based on post-World War I Europe. This influences everything from the steam cabriolets on the street to the suspicion that the meat at lunch isn’t beef, but horse.

#2: Medicians use healing magic.
My heroine, Octavia Leander, is trained as a healing magi and as a traditional doctor. She uses blessed herbs to draw on the power of the Lady’s Tree.

#3: The Lady is a world tree.
Most people in Octavia’s society regard the Lady as a figure of mythology. They scoff at the idea of a gigantic tree whose roots moor the world and whose omnipresence touches all life on the continent. Octavia fervently believes, but then, her connection to the Lady is quite unusual.

#4: It’s a colorful world.
Caskentia and the surrounding kingdoms and city-states are populated by various skin colors and cultures.

#5: The geography is inspired by eastern Washington.
Familiarity makes for a more realistic world. I lived north of Seattle for several years while my husband was in the Navy, and I miss the area. The topography within the book is similar to that of Mount Vernon on down toward Portland, with additional cameos by Mount Rainier and dry eastern Washington.

#6: There’s a touch of romance.
The chemistry is there, but it’s not the focus of the book. Octavia’s real priority is to stay alive and keep others alive, too.

#7: Old school RPGs play a role, too.
Final Fantasy IV, VI and Secret of Mana were my obsessions as a teenager and their influence has never left me. The Lady is directly inspired by Secret of Mana. Old school gamers will recognize tiny homages hidden within the book.

#8: The Hindenburg helped me out.
I wanted to create a realistic airship for the action in The Clockwork Dagger. The Hindenburg is both tragic and infamous, and there’s extensive resource material to draw from. My airship the Argus uses the Hindenburg’s floor plan cut in half, but many of the room details are almost exact. One significant modification: the boost of aether magic to keep it afloat.

#9: Gremlins FTW.
When I created my own sort of gremlins, I had no idea that the ugly-cute green-skinned critters would become one of the main appeals of the book.

#10: Agatha Christie contributed to the plot.
My mom raised me on Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries. My initial idea for The Clockwork Dagger was “Murder on the Orient Express, on an airship.” Everything else built from there.


The Clockwork Dagger is available today at all the usual suspects:

~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~

About the Author:

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Beth’s short fiction can be found in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other magazines. The Clockwork Dagger is her first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Crown, will be released in 2015.

Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Niteblade #29: Porcelain Doll

Cover_Sept2014_noissnI am incredibly proud to announce the release of the September 2014 issue of Niteblade — Porcelain Doll.

This issue (which is #29 for those of you keeping track at home), contains:

St. Winifred Medical Center, Abandoned by Joshua Gage
Shelba’s Brood by M.E. Garber
The Gate of Horn by Megan Arkenberg
Dancing with the Departed by Anna Zumbro
Porcelain Doll by J.A. Grier
There She Stands by Nathaniel W. Phillips
Awakened by Sandi Leibowitz
Lena’s Confession by Kristi Brooks
Valediction for the Dungeon Master by Mark Jones
The Crew by Doug Blakeslee

It’s a great selection. It’s interesting to watch how themes emerge from the slush pile and I feel like this issue has strong flavours of hauntings and love… and sometimes the both together.

You can preview all the stories and poems at our website — Niteblade #29: Porcelain Doll and if that intrigues you, pick up a downloadable copy at the Niteblade Store (which means we don’t have to pay anyone commissions) or, if you prefer, at the following third party websites:

Porcelain Doll at Smashwords
Porcelain Doll at Amazon
Porcelain Doll at Kobo