Niteblade #30: Vampyrics is released!

Issue #30 VampyricsNiteblade is only partway to our sales/donation goal. Once we reached that goal we would release the web-based version of the latest issue free for everyone to read… but if I were to release it early, well, that would be a gift for all our readers and all the contributors to Niteblade whose work will be readily available to be read. Win/win!

So on behalf of myself and everyone at Niteblade, I’m pleased to announce the latest issue is available to read online now. Enjoy!

Issue #30: Vampyrics

Issue #30 VampyricsIssue #30 is alive and kicking! This one is pretty amazing and features monsters, traditional and otherwise, living nightmares, modernized hauntings, and subtle horror that will give you chills. The be specific, the table of contents looks like this:

Abominable Snowman by Ada Hoffmann
Cold by Thomas Wood
Nameday by Anne Carly Abad
A Million Miles Away by Christian Riley
Vampyrics by John Philip Johnson
Bindings by Jamie Killen
The Art by Sandi Leibowitz
Three Little Words by Sealey Andrews
Ghost Engine Updates an Ad for Angry Spirits by Anne Carly Abad
Date of Death by Stone Showers

It’s also available in more places than ever before. Check out this list:

So amazing! You won’t be disappointed.

Pushcart Nominations

2015CoverHomeNominating for the Pushcart Prize is always difficult. Picking six works from all Niteblade has published over the year? It’s freaking tough. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look over our archives and try to choose the six works you’d nominate from four issues. See? Hard.

This year it was made even more tricksy by the fact I was nominating not only from Niteblade, but also A is for Apocalypse. Luckily for me, I had back-up.

Poetry editor Alexandra Seidel helped me out with the nominations this year. And when I say helped me out I mean she was invaluable and pivotal when it came to making our poem-based decisions.

So with no further ado… this year the Niteblade nominations for the Pushcart Prize are:

Congratulations ladies, and good luck!

A Quick Word About Niteblade…

I announced Niteblade would be closing next year (after releasing issue #33) to all our contributors before I shared that information publicly. When I did, I invited anyone who wanted to, to write a guest blog about Niteblade to share here. The idea is not to be maudlin, but to celebrate that Niteblade existed and that while it did, it accomplished some things. The first person to take me up on that offer is John Bruni.

I think this will make you smile.

I know I did, and not just because he says nice things about me 😉


A Quick Piece on Niteblade

by John Bruni

When I was editing and publishing my genre magazine, TABARD INN: TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE, I used to get submissions from a writer by the name of Rhonda Parrish. She always sent very well-written stories, but they were never right for TABARD INN. While she wasn’t the writer I rejected the most, she was up there, and I felt bad about it. Every time I received a story from her, I wanted it to be The One because she just kept at it, over and over again.

Sadly, I never got the chance to publish her work. Back when I ran a mini-workshop on MySpace, I posted one of her stories for my fellow writers to offer advice, but she never made it into TABARD INN. Fast forward two years(ish), and I saw the submission guidelines for one of NITEBLADE’s anthologies, this one called LOST INNOCENCE. I had a story called “Outside Her Window, It Waits,” and it seemed to fit what Rhonda was looking for. What the hell? Why not give her a chance to reject me for a change?

I actually put that in the cover letter, by the way. A few months later, she got back to me: “As much as I would have liked the opportunity to pass on one of your stories as ‘revenge’ I just can’t bring myself to do it.” And she included my story in LOST INNOCENCE, which is an excellent anthology. If you haven’t read it, you should do so.

Rhonda is a hell of a great sport, and I’m glad to know her. It’s a shame that NITEBLADE is closing its doors. It’s a great publication (which, by the way, has lived longer than TABARD INN by far), and it will be missed. It will still live on through its 33 issues and various anthologies. Instead of mourning our loss, why not celebrate the very existence of NITEBLADE by picking up some back issues? You won’t regret it.

One more thing: she wrote a PS at the end of that acceptance letter. “I’m joking about the revenge thing . . . mostly ;)” I get a kick out of that every time I think about it.


One of my favourite things about this post is that there are people who submit to Niteblade again and again, and though their stories are good I pass on them, again and again, because they just aren’t right for us. And to those people I want to say — I’ve been in your chair. I know it’s not fun, but don’t give up 🙂

And for the record, I didn’t ask John to include that suggestion about picking up some back issues… but really, it’s a good one 😉

Niteblade is Closing

smalllogoThere’s no point in dancing around the subject, you can see it right there as the title of this post.

Niteblade is closing.

This hasn’t been an easy choice, I promise you. Niteblade has been a big part of my life for over seven years and means the world to me so I struggled to make this decision. Now that I have, however, it feels right. It makes me sad on some levels, but it feels right.

I’m not at the same place I was when I started Niteblade and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the spoons to give it the time and attention it deserves. I love it, I’m super proud of it, and I want to have it end while that is true. I don’t want to watch it decline or become a burden or a job to me rather than something I enjoy and love. And I don’t want it to have an abrupt closure–something planned and deliberate feels much more its style.

When I first met the man who is now my husband I asked him how old he was and, by way of offering me a hint he said, “It’s a magic number.”

He was 33.

Ever since then I have thought of 33 as a magic number, and that is why I’ve decided to make Niteblade’s 33rd issue her final one.

Our remaining issues look like this:

  • December 2014 – Unthemed / FULL
  • March 2015 – Dark Fairy Tales / Open
  • June 2015 – Unthemed / Open
  • September 2015 – Theme TBA / Open

The final theme is going to be somewhat eclectic, Alexa and I are both going to toss some images & ideas out and invite people to use any of them to help frame their contributions. For my part you can expect those themes to be things like bridges, magic numbers and doorways. I’m not sure what Alexa has in mind, but we’ll definitely post a blog / email an announcement once we finalize all that.

We want to go out with a bang, not a whimper, so in addition to having four more complete issues which are sure to be amazing  we’ll be hosting a small series of guest blogs from contributors, staff members and readers. Nothing too masturbatory, but I really want to focus on celebrating Niteblade’s existence rather than mourning its passing.

All great things may have to come to an end, but we’re going to make this particular ending spectacular.

Save the Chimps (2014)


Each contributor to Niteblade is offered a choice of being paid via Paypal or donating their payment to Save the Chimps. Once we’ve reached $150 in donations, my husband and I match that and Niteblade “adopts” a chimpanzee.

Well, we’ve done it again 🙂

With last month’s issue we reached the tipping point for donations and now it’s time to choose which chimpanzee we will adopt.

Please follow this link:

Adopt a Chimp

and read the profiles of the chimps who are available for “adoption”.

Then, choose which chimpanzee you’d like us to adopt and leave your vote as a comment to this post. We’ll be open to votes until mid-November and then we’ll tally them up and adopt whichever chimp gets the most votes.

Last year Rufus won by a landslide and we adopted him. Will he take it again this year? It’s totally up to you 🙂



On a related note, starting with issue #30 (December’s issue) we will be switching our charitable donations to support Fauna Foundation. They are also a chimpanzee sanctuary, but they are Canadian (like me) and their chimp adoption rates are lower than Save the Chimps new ones ($55 vs $300). This will enable us to make more frequent donations, and to an organization which is just as deserving as Save the Chimps.


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

Fiction Submission Status Update

This is just a super short update to let you know, the oldest unread fiction submission in our queue right now is from May 29th. If you submitted fiction prior to that you should have received a response or there ought to be a note on your story in the Submittable system saying I’m holding it for further consideration. If that isn’t the case, please feel free to query.

Thank you!

FTC Disclaimer
Unless otherwise stated all books reviewed here were received free of charge from their author or publisher. This, of course, does not affect the content of our reviews.