Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the A Chimerical World Round Table Interview. Sitting with me today are Doug Blakeslee, Michael M. Jones, Nick Bryan, Saera Corvin, and S. D. Grimm.

Introductions

My name is Doug Blakeslee and I’ve sold almost a dozen short stories in the past two years. My current project is an urban fantasy novella that I’m in the process of revising while kicking out short stories.

I’m Michael M. Jones. Not only am I a writer, I’m also a book reviewer and the editor of Scheherazade’s Façade and the forthcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery. My stories have appeared in a number of places, including Clockwork Phoenix 4 and Jack-o-‘Spec. You can learn more at www.michaelmjones.com.

Hi, I’m Nick Bryan, London-based darkly comic genre writer, author of the weekly (and very British) crime comedy-drama webserial Hobson & Choi. Think Sherlock, but scrappier and more embedded in our reality. Details on http://www.hobsonandchoi.com

I write under the pen name S. D. Grimm. My first novelette Breathless was published last year. Since then I’ve had flash fiction pieces published in Splickety Magazine and a short story published in the anthology Pure Science Fiction and Fantasy. But I’m really excited because I recently signed a contract for my YA fantasy novel! You can check out more about that and my writing in general by visiting www.sdgrimm.com

 

Tell us a little about your story

Doug: This one [“Tamer of Beasts”] sprang to life when a friend of mine made an off-hand comment about Beauty and the Beast. He wanted to know about the flower’s POV. That dovetailed into a “what if the flower captured both of them” scenario. The Flowering Princess of Dreams is a collector of pretty things and quite harsh on her “guests” if they disappoint her. Tamer is one of her favorites and is put in charge of her latest acquisition, Beast.

Michael: “Keys” started life as a trickster piece, in which I took the idea of Saint Peter as the trickster to Jesus’ straight man (as seen in some South American storytelling traditions) and reinvented him as a Jerry Springer-esque figure, a talk show host who gets up to all sorts of wacky hijinks. Then I threw in the teens who encounter him after his latest escapade goes awry, an enigmatic musician, and a host of very furious fancies. Honestly, while it sounds complicated at first, there are layers to this story. The Fae play an unusual role, and it all ties together in unexpected ways.

Nick: My story “The Fool And His Money” stems from an idea I had a while back. I saw loads of news stories about the financial crash, explaining it in terms of bankers spending money that didn’t really exist.

And then, being a fantasy writer, I started thinking about where this imaginary cash really came from, how it would work and what the consequences might be. Faeries were the logical answer.

Saera Corvin: This story [“Gnome Games”] is something like a tribute to all those socks and underwear that get sucked into the black hole between the washing machine and the laundry basket.

S. D.: “Mark of Ruins” is about a teenage girl who lives with a secret: she has huge, pointed ears. It makes fitting in extra hard. But she’s headed to a new school and determined to hide her secret and just be normal—for once. Until she meets a secretive guy who might know more about her than he’s letting on. In order to get answers from him, she might just have to reveal the truth about herself, and hope it won’t scare him off.

 

What’s your favorite type of faerie?

S. D.: Naiads and water sprites.

Nick: Fairy cake. Or, in stories, the evil manipulative ones, as they’re just the most fun.

Saera: Norwegian Trolls. I always loved how the stories would talk about the little ones causing the most damage when they’d come down from the mountains and invade some poor farmer’s house.

Doug: Those that look fair of face but will mess up your day for a giggle or on a whim. It’s the troupe of pretty things aren’t dangerous. Many of the faeries that I write about fall into the Unseelie Court side of the equation.

Michael: I’ve always been particular to the pooka, however you want to spell it. Shapechanging tricksters? Sign me up. Little-known fact: the spelling “phouka” is apparently considered offensive by the Virginia DMV. That nixed my plan to get it as a license plate years ago. If you’ve ever read Emma Bull’s excellent War for the Oaks, you’ll understand why the pooka (phouka) is such a compelling concept.

 

Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when you write?

Saera: Sometimes it is. The kinds of music I like to have on varies depending on what hits my mood at the time. Mostly, I like hard rock, blues, and the golden oldies.

Doug: I use Pandora and tune into seeds that contain the likes of Lindsey Sterling, Kodo, the Yoshida Brothers, and other instrumental only artists. These are good for setting the mood and not distracting me from writing.

Michael: Oh, music is essential for me to get into the groove. I make playlists all the time. My tastes are eclectic: pop, rock, showtunes, classical—all that matters is that it has the right sort of energy and beat to engage my subconscious and drown out the outside world. Oddly enough, iTunes says that the track I’ve listened to the most is “Breakout” by OPM from the New Guy soundtrack, followed by “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria. Judge as you will.

Nick: I listen to music constantly – often ambient stuff like the excellent Spektrmodule podcast from Warren Ellis – http://www.warrenellis.com/?cat=63 – or the Gorillaz album The Fall – surprisingly good atmosphere music. I also listen to folk and indie rock, but only albums I really know back to front or it distracts me.

S. D.: It depends on the mood of what I’m writing. For “Mark of Ruins” I listened to Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson and Broken by Lifehouse—pretty much on repeat.

 

Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?

Saera: “Ramble on Rose” by the Dead

Doug: “This is War” by 30 Seconds to Mars. I used it for a superhero themed story about a young hero fighting against a tyrant. Never sold it, but I think it has some promise.

Michael: Many times, but most of those stories remain on the back burner. I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to unleash tales inspired by “Jessie’s Girl” and “Safety Dance,” the latter of which sounds like a very Fae tune. Oh, you can definitely dance if you want to…

Nick: Not sure a song has ever inspired a whole story, but I do have a habit of naming my work after them. Then changing my mind later because the content has nothing to do with the song.

S. D.: Yes! I know it’s a little country, but Why You Wanna by Jana Kramer sparked inspiration for a story about a young girl whose boyfriend comes back from a tour of duty as a changed man—genetically changed (in a super-soldier-gone-bad kind of way).

 

Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?

Doug: Zelda. She’d totally kick her mushroom highness’ butt.

Nick: I haven’t played a Zelda game since Ocarina of Time, but doesn’t Zelda turn into a ninja? Although it probably doesn’t matter if she’s still a ninja or not, I’m not sure Toadstool could take anyone in a fight. Not even Toad the tiny mushroom.

Michael: I’d rather see them team up and fight evil together. They’ve spent long enough being damsels in distress!

Saera: Neither: Toadstool and Zelda always call Mario and Link in to do their dirty work.

S. D: I’ve never played video games *gasp* so I’m going to have to go with a wild-card princess: She-Ra.

 

57d7e-final_talesoftheseeliecourt_650Where to find the books:

Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court  
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO  

Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court  
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC

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May 25, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview, Part 1

Today we have part 1 of a special Round Table style interview with the authors of both A Chimerical World anthologies.  Sitting with me tonight are Angeline Trevena, Chantal Boudreau, David Turnbull, and Nicholas Paschall.

Introductions

Angeline Trevena was born and bred in a rural corner of South West England where she still lives above a milkshake shop. She is a fantasy and horror writer, poet and journalist. Some years ago she worked at an antique auction house and religiously checked every wardrobe that came in to see if Narnia was in the back of it. She’s still not given up looking for it.

Find out more at www.angelinetrevena.co.uk

Chantal Boudreau – I’m an accountant/author/illustrator who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with my husband, Dale and two children, Gwyneth and Etienne. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, I write and illustrate horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and I have had several of my stories published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.  Fervor, my debut dystopian novel, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic University, the first in my fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War and Prisoners of Fate.  Learn more at my website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

I’m David Turnbull, a UK based writer. I’m a member of the Clockhouse London Group of genre writers who collectively have loads of published sci fi, fantasy and horror credits to their name as well as a few collaborative pieces. Recent anthologies featuring my own short fiction include ‘Breaking the Rules’ (Boo Books), Vignettes from the End of the World (Apokrupha) and Black Apples (Belladonna Publications). My short story ‘Aspects of Aries’ which appeared in ‘Astrologica’ (The Alchemy Press) has been selected to appear in Salt Publications’ Best British Fantasy anthology due for release later this year. You can find me at http://www.tumsh.co.uk/

Nicholas Paschall, horror and fantasy author. I’m a recurring columnist for Dark Eclipse Magazine and have been published in eight anthologies. I also maintain my own blog where I post stories freshly written, called the Nickronomicon. I have an upcoming story in Demonic Visions Four coming out early June that I would suggest anyone who is into the Unseelie get, as it involves them to a great degree.

 

Tell us a little about your story

Angeline: My story, ‘I’ll Watch Over You’, is a classic changeling story. It follows new mother, Ellen, in a downward spiral of superstition and paranoia, as she fights against a fae intent on stealing her baby. While Ellen’s husband believes her hormones are simply going haywire, her elderly neighbour fills her head with stories and her home with talismans. Becoming increasingly frightened and isolated, Ellen finds herself standing between her baby and the unknown world of the fae.

Chantal: I was researching Japanese mythology for a novel idea I had in mind and the research inspired my story.  I also had my thoughts focused on my friend Barb who was dying from pancreatic cancer and I think feelings of sadness and a sense of devotion to friends and family naturally transposed themselves into the story as a result.  Barb was the type of person always sacrificing for others and I think I brought some of her spirit to Sanae.

David: My story is a kind of ‘be careful what you wish for’ allegory. The farmer lusts after the thing that the boy has access to and is willing to commit murder to obtain it. He doesn’t realize the terrible mistake he has made till he gets what he desires.

The post revolutionary backdrop of the story has been one that I have used in several stories now, placing well-known fairy tale or nursery rhyme characters into a situation where society has undergone profound changes. In this case the source material was the nursery rhyme Little Boy Blue come blow your Horn. I wondered what else the boy might be calling with his horn other than sheep or cows.

The title The Wunderhorn comes from a 19th Century collection of German Folk songs Das Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Magical Horn) which was said to have been part of the inspiration behind the Grimm brother’s collection of fairy tales.

Nicholas: It’s a story about loss, and the beauty that can be found in all things, even misery. A fey of unknown species gathers the souls of singers and instrumentalists so that they can forever play for his eternal amusement. He hosts balls for his kind where his favorite specter sings a song of his native homeland. It is really a tale about how even in the most miserable circumstances, beauty can come forth. And, of course, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

What’s your favorite type of faerie?

Angeline: I grew up surrounding myself with the friendly fairies of childhood: flower fairies, tooth fairies, friendly little creatures that grant wishes and sprinkle fairy dust. But through my teens, I discovered there was a different side to the fae. Overall, I like to think fairies are more mischievous than downright evil.

Nicholas: Personifications of nature that have been corrupted are perhaps my favorite, like a dryad who has had her tree poisoned by human waste. The idea of flawed beauty in a creature that the idea of flaws doesn’t even exist has always brought a smile to my face.

David: The Brownie. I like the idea of a creature that makes its home under your doorstep and helps with household chores while your asleep but could cause all sorts of chaos and mayhem if you get on the wrong side of it. Anyone who likes gothic horror should read ‘The Brownie of the Black Haggs’ by James Hogg.

Chantal: I’m a seelie fan.  I especially like helpful fairies with an air of mischief and a sense of humour.

 

Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when your write?

Angeline: I often play music while I write, and find that it has a significant impact on my writing. I often choose specific albums based on the story I am hoping to write. One of my go-to bands is Counting Crows, and they have been the soundtrack to a lot of my writing sessions over the years.

I also use film soundtracks because they’re so full of atmosphere and emotion. My favourites are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Edward Scissorhands.

Chantal: Very much so – I try to match the music to the mood of the story: alternative rock, easy listening, pop, celtic, tribal…whatever suits the story.

David: There’s nothing like a good murder ballad to set the mood for a piece of dark writing. Particular favorites include the Everly Brothers’ rendition of ‘Down in the Willow Garden’ and the Nick Cave / PJ Harvey duet ‘Henry Lee’. Also, in keeping with my Scottish heritage, Euan MacColl’s ‘The Bonnie Banks of Airdie’ where the Duke of Fifes’ three daughters are dispatched one by one by a robber brandishing a wee penknife.

Nicholas: I listen to a variety of songs when I write, from dubstep versions of horror songs to country music, to J-pop. The music really influences the writing. Sometimes I’ll just listen to rain fall and write from what bubbles forth from my subconscious.

 

Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?

Nicholas: Of course! I think every author got the starting point of their story from either a song or seeing something. For me, Maestro came from listening to Jace Everrett’s “I wanna do Bad Things to you,” a song that is by far one of my favorites in the new age variety we’ve been seeing as of late.

Chantal: I wouldn’t say any song has inspired a particular story, but it has inspired some of my content while writing.  Songs have also inspired some of my story and novel titles.

David: I have a story in the forthcoming ‘Girl at the End of the World’ anthology (Fox Spirit) which features a girl with corkscrew hair, inspired by the line in the T Rex 70’s hit Telegram Sam – I ‘ain’t no where with my corkscrew hair. I’ve also managed to get a Metal Guru into the plot as well.

 

Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?

Chantal: My vote’s for Zelda.

Angeline: I can’t imagine these two ladies fighting one another. They’d far more likely just to go out for coffee and cake together. And why not?

David: I’m declaring Swiss style neutrality on this one.

Nicolas: That’s a tough one. Both get captured far too often to show any real fighting skills, though in recent years they’ve been added to brawler games to showcase their fighting skills, or lack thereof. I think I’d have to give it to Zelda, as she comes from a kingdom of warriors that are human, not anthropomorphic mushrooms. Hard to practice against a race of two foot tall fungus men and learn how to fight effectively.

With Zelda she would, as a princess, at least have the chance to learn archery. And with her constant kidnappings, she can probably defend herself better than the only human in all of Mushroom Kingdom.

 

Where to find the books:

Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court  32892-final_talesoftheunseeliecourt_650
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO  

Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court  
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC

May 24, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Chimerical World 2-Volume Anthology Cover Art Reveal!

And two new covers for two more anthologies that’ll be joining the SSP family. 🙂

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Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the new cover art by Enggar Adirasa for the anthologies A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court, edited by Scott M. Sandridge.

The anthologies compliment each other, with A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court containing 19 tales focusing on what humans typically refer to as the “good” faeries, while A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court contains 19 tales centered around those humans would deem the “evil” faeries. Yet as editor Scott Sandridge points out, Good and Evil are human constructs, things unfamiliar to the Fey themselves.

Both titles will be available in eBook format at the end of the first week of February, with the print version to follow one week afterward.

Here is a list of the authors and stories to be featured in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court:

“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown
“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker
“Taggers” by Christine Morgan
“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian
“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long
“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau
“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm
“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming
“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps
“Seelie Goose” by Eric Garrison
“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black
“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen
“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp
“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous” by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern
“Keys” by Michael M. Jones
“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge
“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin
“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle

Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

Here is a list of the authors and stories to be featured in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court:

“In Plain Sight” by Rebecca Leo
“The Wunderhorn” by David Turnbull
“Treehouse” by Kim Smith
“I’ll Watch Over You” by Angeline Trevena
“The Enemy of my Enemy” by Deedee Davies
“Maestro” by Nicholas Paschall
“Prey of the Boggart” by Rony Blechman
“Fear of Little Men” by Mike Pieloor
“Faerie Stories and the Bean Nighe” by Carmen Tudor
“Gifts” by Michael Schimek
“Djinn and Tonic” by S. Clayton Rhodes
“The Bet” by Jodi Ralston
“The Fool and his Money” by Nick Bryan
“The Yielding” by J. A. Ironside
“The Tamer of Beasts” by Doug Blakeslee
“The Last Sword of Barrow Thorns” by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Rose and the Dragon” by Steven S. Long
“The Brothers Doran” by John A. McColley
“Wonderland” by Stephanie Jessop

Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “evil” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.

But don’t be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.

About Scott M. Sandridge: Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, blogger, freedom fighter, and all-round trouble-maker. His works with Seventh Star Press as an editor include the anthologies Hero’s Best Friend, A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court.

You can find him at https://smsand.wordpress.com

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment