Miscellanea

It’s 2013 and I’m super excited for this year at Niteblade 🙂 It may not seem like there’s very much going on here in between issues but everyone has been working super hard in the background and I think this is going to be our best year yet. I just wanted to take a couple moments to share some quick updates:

  • Due to the recent changes at Duotrope we will no longer be offering our authors the option of donating their payment there. Now the choices for payment will be Paypal or a donation to Save The Chimps (for no deeper reason than it is a favourite cause of mine). Donations will be tracked and once they reach $75 I will match them and Niteblade will ‘Adopt a Chimp
  • Alexandra (our poetry editor) has posted a blog about how to write a cover letter. Go. Read it. I’ll wait.
  • All the fiction submissions in our queue have been read (as of 2:30 MST today). There are three I am holding for future consideration but I’ve left notes to their authors explaining that within the Submittable system.
  • All the poetry submissions in our queue have been read and Alexandra is holding a few for further consideration.
  • We have a new team of slush readers for this upcoming issue. Alexis, Megan and Samantha are all very actively reading your submissions and you ought to notice a speedier response time as a result.
  • We will be holding our annual fundraiser in March this year, and I will begin organising that and releasing details very soon.

Thank you very much for your continued support.

6th Annual Micro Award Nominations

It is my pleasure to nominate two stories from Niteblade for the 6th Annual Micro Award. The Micro Award is presented every year to stories that are no more than 1,000 words long. This year the Niteblade nominees are:

Dragons of Fire by Alexis Hunter, first published in June 2012

and

The Garden by Christopher DeWan, first published in December 2012

Good luck to the both of you 🙂

Niteblade Contributor Interview with Joseph M. Gant

Joseph M. Gant’s “Words of the Unprofound” appeared in one of the first issues of Niteblade. Since then he’s published a poetry collection titled Zero Division. In addition to writing he’s also editing.

When did you first recognize yourself as a poet?

I have been writing poetry since my early teens. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, and my writing took off proportionally to the amount of time I spent with the guitar. Unfortunately, I can’t sing. Having made this realization early, I quickly separated my endeavors and wrote poetry more for the page and played lead guitar with my shy back to the crowds.

 

What draws you to speculative fiction?

 

Authors like Lovecraft, Huxley, and Poe kindled my early love for literature. Kafka can even be said to have written some speculative material, I believe. I don’t tend to read by genre, but rather find myself drawn to works of great integrity or plain personal interest.

 

Is there a piece of writing advice you’ve never followed?

 

I don’t write daily nor try to live by that mantra. This exercise works for many, but I find the words either flow for me and need to come out or it doesn’t. When I force them, bad things happen and I am never pleased with the result.

 

In the March 2010 issue of Niteblade, Rhonda chose to publish your poem, “Words of the Unprofound“.  Is there a story behind how it came about?

 

“Words of the Unprofound” was born of its own finish. A tiny bit of language regarding a suicide’s advice to another was churning in my head until I decided to put a full poem behind it so I could write the ending. I do consider it a speculative piece because, for a poem, it is not very personal and was conceived in the womb of fantasy.

 

What have you been working on lately?

 

Since Issue 8 I have been Poetry Editor for Sex And Murder Magazine. We publish mostly fiction of the horror and splatterpunk type. Recently we, at the magazine, have launched S A M Publishing, and I have finished editing the first full-length poetry collection under that label.

Also, my own full-length poetry collection was recently published through Rebel Satori Press. Titled, Zero Division, I am quite pleased with the book, and I am working on a follow up book which is very similar in style but more refined.

Book cover of Zero Division

Is there anything else you’d like to share with Niteblade’s readers?

 

Hepatitis C . . . lol. Seriously,  read, and share what you enjoy with others.

Niteblade Contributor Interview with Damien Walters Grintalis

Happy book birthday to Damien Walters Grintalis! Her debut novel, Ink, from Samhain Publishing hits bookstores today. Damien Walters Grintalis lives in Maryland with her husband, two former shelter cats, and two rescued pit bulls. She is an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award-winning magazine, Electric Velocipede, and her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @dwgrintalis.

Ink by Damien Walters Grintalis

When did you first recognize yourself as a writer?

When I was in grade school, I wrote a few illustrated books and tried to sell them to the kids in the neighborhood. I’m certain I called myself a writer then, but I didn’t feel like a real writer until I started selling my work.

 

What draws you to speculative fiction?

I like the what-if of speculative fiction. It’s an immense playground of possibility limited only by a writer’s imagination.

 

Is there a piece of writing advice you’ve never followed?

I do my best not to follow the bad advice.  😉

 

In the March 2011 issue of Niteblade included your story, “Running Empty in a Land of Decay”. Is there a story behind how it came about?

The folks at Shock Totem hold a prompted flash fiction contest several times a year. One of the prompts was a pair of shoes, tied together via the laces, hanging over a power line, but what struck me most about the photo was the emptiness of the street and the houses lining it.

And from the strange dark little place where stories come from, I envisioned a man running down the center of the street and the echoes of his footfalls in the quiet. From there, the story just grew.

 

What have you been working on lately?

I recently finished edits for my agent on another novel called Paper Tigers, the first draft of yet another one called This Delicate Poison, and I’m working on a few new short stories.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with Niteblade’s readers?

If you read a story you like, tell someone. Recommend it to a friend. Spread the word. And if you’re a writer? Read the guidelines. Then read them again, just to be sure.

 

 

Niteblade’s 2012 Pushcart Prize Nominees

It is my pleasure and privilege to nominate three poems and three stories from Niteblade Magazine’s 2012 publications for the Pushcart Prize. My nominations are as follows:

The Silver Quarter by K.V. Taylor (March 2012)
Red Eye by Lisa M. Bradley (June 2012)
Seeds by Julia Rios (September 2012)
Where Dreams are Grown by Suzanne van Rooyen (September 2012)
The Second Law of Thermodynamics by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman (September 2012)
The Garden by Christopher DeWan (December 2012)

Congratulations and good luck!

Poetry Slush–Update

As of today, all poetry submissions have been replied to. If you sent in a poem and haven’t heard back yet, please contact me at alexa@niteblade.com.

All the poetry slots in our December Issue have also been filled which means that any poems that come in now will be under consideration for next year’s issues. Please remember: dark and/or fantastical, powerful, stuff that draws you in. Please send me some!

Dwarf Stars Nominee

Congratulations to Jamie Wasserman whose poem, Rules for Playing Hide and Seek in a Cornfield, is a finalist for the 2012 Dwarf Stars award. Yay! Rules for Playing Hide and Seek in a Cornfield was published in our March 2011 issue.

Niteblade Library Winner

The winner of a Niteblade library is Pete Aldin for the comment he left on John Clewarth’s blog post. Congratulations Pete, and thank you to everyone who participated in or visited our blog train 🙂

I’ll be in touch Pete.

And now…

You did it! You made it all the way through our blog train (or if you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here.) Whoot!

I think the best way to end the blog train is by sharing the table of contents for our latest issue (released today!). Issue #21 is titled Seeds. That’s a very intriguing way to begin our next five years don’t you think?

Issue #21: Seeds

Where Dreams are Grown by Suzanne van Rooyen
The Thing in the Rain by Jeremy Rosen
The Second Law of Thermodynamics by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman
Crimson-Hooded by Sandi Leibowitz
Scavengers by Anna Sykora
Phersu by Sonya Taaffe
What We All Heard and What Was Denied by Mary M. Alexander
The Moon is on Fire by Dan Campbell
and of course
Seeds by Julia Rios

This line-up, while short, is packed with awesome. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

But wait! There’s more!

I noticed, while traveling along with our blog train, that while there was obvious evidence of people visiting the blogs involved (shares on twitter, facebook etc.) there weren’t a whole lot of comments. I know. I get it. I don’t usually comment either. I’ll read something, and then not feel like I have anything intelligent to offer so I’ll move on, but bloggers? They love comments. I mean, they love them and I’d really like to encourage our readers to leave a few.

So. For every comment you leave on every blog post involved in this blog train (check here for the list again) or on one of the stories or poems in Issue #21 will earn you one chance at winning a fabulous Niteblade library. That being one .pdf copy of every issue we’ve ever put out. That’s twenty one issues of our awesome magazine ready to be enjoyed at your leisure. Surely that’s worth leaving a comment or two?

 

Horror Mounts

Horror Mounts
A guest post by Sandi Leibowitz

The noive of me, to agree to write a blog post for the Niteblade blog train.  (Forgive me, I just returned from California and am at my most New Yawkish.)  I have a confession to make:  I don’t “do” horror.  Don’t read it, don’t watch it.

The more I thought about it, I realized—well, I do in fact “do” horror, in my limited way.

I was one of those kids who rushed home from school every day to see “Dark Shadows.”  When I went off to sleep-away camp in the summers—it was agony to miss what was going on with Barnabas and the rest.  What was the big draw?

Setting, I think, came first.  Seriously, I was meant to live in the Old House at Collinwood.  I need mahogany-paneled corridors, a west wing unused by anyone but ghosts, a widow’s walk overlooking the sea, portraits of someone’s ancestors on the walls.  When the day arrives that I must use a cane, I positively will insist on one with a silver dog’s head.  Jonathan Frid, requiescat in pace.

Did I merely accept the horror aspects, because of the setting and the casting?  No.  I adored them.  I wanted to know more about vampires and witches and Tarot cards and werewolves and alternate time.   A good friend of mine, who I met in college and also was a DS fan, once mentioned that she was often scared by the program.  I never found it frightening.  I guess this version of horror lured me in because it was completely devoid of gore (which I detest), but reveled in the fantasy elements of horror.

Now that I think of it, in those days Channels 5, 9 and 11, which often aired old movies, sometimes—especially on Sunday afternoons—showed hokey horror films like the ones Vincent Price starred in.  Having gravitated towards “Dark Shadows,” I could hardly resist those.

When I was 11 or so, I discovered Poe.  My parents’ bookcase contained an old, hard-covered copy of Poe’s collected short stories, which I delved into out of curiosity—and then kept going.   I read them ravenously (no pun intended).  The main thing that attracted me was his use of language—that delicious, erudite vocabulary, that poetic use of alliteration!  Secondly, I relished the strange worlds he took me to—torture chambers, Italian castles, decaying mansions.  That shiver when you see the dark corridor he’s been leading you to all along…  The corpses that refuse to stay quite dead.   LOVE IT.

So—I DO “do” vampires and werewolves.  And ghosts.  And witchcraft.  Just no zombies (decomposition–yuck).

Ah, and later on, I was absolutely addicted to the “Night Gallery” series.  I remember going to school the morning after “Night Gallery” was on, and all my friends excitedly discussing the show.  I gave it up, however, after “The Doll” episode because it freaked me out.

So, so much for me not watching horror.  Well, I don’t READ horror.

Oh, unless you’re talking about the Anne Rice books, which I devoured in the 80s.  OK, I guess I do “do” horror, after all.

However, I’m not a horror writer.  I’m a fantasy writer, often dark.—Well, in fact last November Niteblade published my poems “The Cat Accursed” (based on a friend’s story of an Eastern European Jewish superstition, as reported by her grandfather) and “Allegory of Time”, and is about to publish “Crimson-Hooded,” a dark take on Little Red Riding Hood, where Granny devours more than just muffins.  And I’ve recently written two stories about the unruly dead and a poem about an island of creepy blindfolded crows, based on a dream.  Son of a gun, I guess I’m a horror writer.  Who knew?

So, I’ve been musing, why do people gravitate to horror?  What does it do for us?

I’m not one to run to Aristotle for my literary theory, but I do think that we enjoy horror, just as we enjoy tragedy, for the sense of catharsis.  I’m sure this isn’t a profound or novel analysis, but I think it must be true.

Life is filled with horror.  Filled.  This summer I’ve been dealing (albeit second-hand) with a lot of real-life horror.  A good friend of mine is spending over a month in Sloan-Kettering trying a new treatment for leukemia, since the last one didn’t work.  At the same time, another close friend has spent most of her summer in Florida looking after her hospitalized mother.  She’s in the same hospital where my mother died in 2008.  Talking to my friend brings me back to a place I don’t want to be.  Horror.

This year, two former students of mine were in the news.  The first was a teenager arrested for attempting to bomb synagogues and rabbis’ homes.  This would-be murderer was once a child to whom I read stories and taught the ins-and-outs of the Dewey Decimal System.  I helped him pick out books.  I wonder if he was one of those boys who only read R.L. Stine—I can’t remember.  Horror.

The second one was a boy who, with his older brother, was the victim of a freak accident; a metal laundry pole crashed onto them while they were playing in their back yard, injuring one and killing my student, the kindergartener.  Horror.

As I started thinking about writing this blog, the tragic shootings occurred in Aurora, Colorado.  What better example of real-life horror does one need?

We all know that at any moment, we could be hit by a car, or stricken by a disease, or become a victim of a fire or a mugging.  In July, I stayed home from my beloved monthly writers’ critique group meeting because of a massive thunderstorm going on at just the moment I was leaving my apartment.  I’ve never seen such intense, frequent lightning strikes.  Next day the news reported that a woman was killed by lightning not far from where I live.

Part of the pleasure of reading/watching horror is that we get to contain the things that terrify us.  Leukemia, mad gunmen, lightning—nothing you can do about those.  It will happen to you or you’ll be spared.  But ah—the horror in a book or movie—you feel the terror—but, no matter what happens to the characters, you survive unscathed.  And you don’t have to suffer from survivor-guilt.

What’s curious about the Aurora killings is the fact that they occurred in a movie theatre.  The people attending the movie were there to experience violence and horror and adventure vicariously—not in the flesh.  What was the gunman’s reason for picking a movie theatre?  This movie?  Is it that the vicarious experience of horror for him wasn’t enough?  It didn’t provide him with catharsis.  It only egged him on in wanting to partake of the creation—but not in an actually creative way.  Instead of writing a horror novel, or a dark fantasy poem, he felt the need to make it happen in real life.

Here’s to facing our terrors, our dark sides, in creative rather than destructive ways.  Read Niteblade, paint a portrait of a vampire, write a poem about succubi.  Keep the nightmares where they belong: in our actual dreams and in our art.

Well, I have survived my trip to California.  I’m afraid of heights and not keen on driving.  I’d been concerned about all the driving (alone) on Route 1, along the coast (but not down on the shoreline; up on the cliffs).  Parts of it were just as terrifying as I had feared.  Some parts worse.  I mean, no guard rails?  One false step and it’s—car off the road, tumbling down the cliffs, splashing into the ocean.  I spent days and days and days driving.  As time progressed, my fear didn’t lessen; it grew.  I cut three days off the northernmost portion of the trip because I was incapable of enduring yet another moment of “cliff-crawling.”

Having lived through terror (the red lines incised in my palms from gripping the steering wheel while cliff-crawling are proof), I am now ready to sit back, relax, and ride the Niteblade blog train.

~*~

A Note From Rhonda: The blog train continues on with a stop at Andrew Patterson’s blog tomorrow, and in case you didn’t see it, yesterday’s stop was at Sharon K. Reamer’s blog.

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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.