The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
Notes from the Underground – In the Beginning
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology
Drabble Contest #8 Winners
Bombay Sapphire update
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
Spaceports & Spidersilk
New Releases and Reminders
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome to the April 2017 View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing. Someone asked me recently how the Alban Lake logo came about. It was designed per my instructions by Teresa Tunaley. I wanted a lake, a tree line, and a reflection of that tree line—which is what I got. The idea was to show a peaceful place for reading, preferably reading something we published.
We’ve decided to do two Drabble contests, starting on 1 May 2017. The first will be a special drabble, themed to Alien Bedtime Stories. The guidelines will be adjusted for this one, because it may not be possible to present a bedtime story in 100 words. Therefore, writers will be allowed to submit joined drabbles, as in Part 1 and Part 2.
The other Drabble contest will be themed to Adventures in Plumbing. Have fun!
Notes from the Underground: Not all stories win awards, or even get nominated for them. But there are lots and lots of good, solid, readable stories that merit your attention; that warrant a cup of coffee and a box of Russell Stover chocolates and a couple hours on the sofa. That’s what we publish at Alban Lake. Oh, sure, we have some award-winning stories and award-winning writers. Our works have received hogsheads of nominations. We’re proud of that. But in any category in any year there can be but one winner. Don’t let that deter you from the rest of the lot. You know where our bookstore is. See you there.
In the Beginning . . .
Violence is the leitmotif of the Universe(s). Just ask a supernova, the source of all those wonderful atoms that make up anything more massive than helium—including the Earth, and you. Violence can be seen in the raging splendor of colliding galaxies (e.g., the Mice, aka NGC 4676) and in the quiet ferocity of a distant erupting volcano (say, Mauna Loa).
It should not surprise us then that violence finds its way into our methods of artistic expression, i.e., what can be lumped together as “media.” Thus far I have cited examples of real violence. Those galaxies are in fact colliding; lava is at present flowing in rivulets from the mouth of that volcano. For that matter, somewhere on the savannahs of Kenya, a leopard is doing violence to a warthog—or perhaps vice-versa. In Antarctica, an iceberg is calving from a great glacier, and waves of water from the splash overwhelm everything in their paths, including penguins. These events occur.
In humanity’s earliest forms of “media,” artistic expression meant the depiction of real events. On the walls of Lascaux and other caves in southern France, we find recordings of hunts of mammoths and reindeer. These events occurred. Hunters went out and jabbed, stabbed, and slew what they wanted to eat. Sometimes, the hunted jabbed back. Perhaps these cave paintings may be likened to what we used to refer to as a “newsreel.”
This just in: woolly rhinoceros slain. Painting at 11.
At some point—we’re not sure when—a bit of surrealism was added to the painting. It might have come about through the inclusion of ritual; if the right god were bribed or otherwise placated, it would assure the success of the hunt. If the hunt were unsuccessful, it might indicate that the bribe or offering was insufficient, or that the wrong deity had been approached. Perhaps the food was improperly prepared, or at the time of the tribal offering a woman was “unclean.” A measure of uncertainty was added to the mix.
A measure of fiction.
It was obviously important to get the fiction right. But how? Well, artists are artists. But they needed someone to direct traffic: thus arose the shaman.
No one had ever seen a god, but the shaman knew what one (or more) looked like. Artistic depiction—“media”—began to adapt to the new circumstances. In Australia, for example, the aborigines specialized in rock paintings—some of which were not merely supernatural, but otherworldly. Yes, these folks were primitive, but it has been pretty much established that the figures they described originated in their “dreamtime.” As reality, some of the images are bizarre and weird; as fiction, however, they have continuity, and in terms of “dreamtime” they make a lot of sense. Lest you dismiss these images as primitive and ignorant, I have two words for you: Dali, and Picasso. Plus ça change . . .
So I have arrived at a rudimentary equation: depiction plus fiction equals . . . hmm. We’ll get to that later.
A note regarding Spaceports & Spidersilk:
At Alban Lake we assume that those of you who have children would like them to read science fiction and fantasy now and then. The problem—as you might see it—is that there is scarcely any material for readers of ages, say, 6 through 96. And you’re right—such material is rare. But Alban Lake publishes several kid-safe pieces just for younger readers. FrostFire Worlds comes out quarterly. In our store you’ll find coloring books, novellas, novels . . . In addition, Nomadic Delirium Press, another excellent small indie, publishes a quarterly eBook magazine called Spaceports & Spidersilk that also has kid-safe sf/f. Here’s the link: http://nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm/ Try it out. Each recent issue is $1.00, as are most of the back issues, so order a few downloads.
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology
The next Lovecraftian anthology from Alban Lake Publishing is now open to submissions. Guidelines are now posted in the Guidelines option in the Toolbar. Read, then write. Let’s see what you got!
Drabble Contest #8:
The 8th Great Lakes Drabble Contest has closed, and here are the winners:
First Place: “Time is of the Essence” by Debby Feo
Second Place: “Seeking Advice on Vacation Time-Travel from the Abbyvox Cortex 2400 Computer, 15 March 2317” by J. J. Steinfeld
“Can This Marriage be Saved?” by Marge Simon
“A Long Way from Dolly” by Patrick Winters
Congratulations to them all!
Drabble Harvest #8, themed to “Dear Ashley in the 24th Century,” will be released on 1 May.
Bombay Sapphire update:
I’m now told by the publisher, Pro Se Press, that Bombay Sapphire, Episode #3: The Babel Device, will be released in the second quarter of 2017. Of course, it would help if you’d read the first two episodes. Here are the links to them:
eBooks & eStories
As I’m sure many of you know, Amazon is no friend of the small independent press or of self-published folks. Amazon makes sure first that they get what’s coming to them [ooo, one can only hope]. Now, in the Alban Lake store, many of our titles have eBook versions that you can ORDER DIRECTLY FROM US! The prices are much the same as Amazon charges, and sometimes even less. But what this means for those authors who are due royalties is that while they still get the same %, it’s % of more dosh. So come support your favorite authors.
Some of you may already be aware that we’re touting a new product line: single sf/f/h e-stories for 99 cents each. Come buy one. Or more.
Spaceports & Spidersilk
This quarterly magazine for younger readers of sf/f is available only as a download. But it’s also only $1.00. If you want your children to read kid-safe sf/f, here’s a great place to start. Published by Nomadic Delirium. Just go to nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm, pick out the issue[s] you want, and order away. btw, adult readers might like these magazines, too. That number once again is: nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm
Outposts of Beyond #16, April 2017
Completing our fourth year, we find in this issue some stories that will take you all over the universe[s]. “For the Good of the Settlement” by Vonnie Winslow Crist, her version of JFK’s “Ask not…” “The Metal Moai” by D. A. D’Amico. Jessica Marie Baumgartner’s “Cold Awakening.” Just to name a few. Flash fiction by Terrie Leigh Relf and Lauren McBride. Poetry includes pieces by Christina Sng, including her “Annalise Wanders the Forest;” David C. Kopaska-Merkel; Kendall Evans; Terrie Leigh Relf; and Debby Feo. A movie review of Star Trek: Beyond. And more. Here’s the link:
Illumen #27, Spring 2017
This issue features Pages for Deborah Guzzi and Herb Kauderer; poetry notes from Kauderer, Amy Kotthaus, and Sarina Bosco; and poems by Bruce Boston, Kendall Evans, Marge Simon, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Alan Ira Gordon, Priya Sridar, and many more. Come check it out. You’re not afraid of a little poetry . . . are you?
The Caves of Titan by Debby Feo
Students at the Galileo Interplanetary School explore new-found caves on Titan, where they encounter the Cenote People and learn to get along with them—and with each other, as they continue to grow and learn in a diverse student body. Still, there are conflicts to resolve . . . and some of them might put an end to the school!
Note: link should be activated by 16 April.
To find out more, and to order a copy [which you really should do], go to:
The oceans have evaporated as the Earth warmed. It is a time of desolation as the remnants of humanity live in small settlements scattered on what once was the ocean floor. Men are paramount, women are breeders. People do what they can to get by.
One breeder dares to say “No!” to all this: Sarrow. Refusing to breed, and more skilled and resourceful than most men, she sets off to seek her identity and her destiny. Along the way she encounters Karthan, a kindred spirit. Like her, he searches for himself. They are equals.
But the elements conspire against them: earthquakes, salt storms, volcanos, flash floods. And there are raiding parties who seek to capture and sell slaves. Where are Sarrow and Karthan to go?
Up, says Sarrow. I believe in you, says Karthan. Thus the perilous journey back to the land begins.
broken bottle of time by John Reinhart
Reinhart burst on the speculative poetry scene fairly recently, and what an explosion of talent! Herein you’ll find a fine mix of sf/f/h and speculative poems. It’s the stuff that makes you squirm or smile or pause to think. His is a mind that takes on all kinds of challenges and serves up some exceptional work such as:
nothing like a tunnel/I do see the light/ it’s flashing
The last section is my favorite, with its uniquely surreal take on time passages. It totally blew me away.
- Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award® winner, Grand Master Poet, SFPA
And here’s the link. Come and get it!
BRIEFING: Nyx has been ordered to kill a rogue operative named Ripien, who has aligned himself with an organization called Pangaea. She is also to acquire whatever info she can regarding the organization. But there is more than one Pangaea, and none of them claim Ripien. A leak in Blacklight compels Nyx to regard everyone as inimical—and no one is who he or she claims to be, even her boss, Deven. Nyx has four days to complete her mission…if she lasts that long.
The Adventures of Colo Collins & Tama Toledo in Space and Time by Tyree Campbell
Out on their first date, high school seniors Colo Collins and Tama Toledo are taken aboard a spaceship and offered the chance to intervene in various events in the Universe. These events can range from stopping an asteroid from striking a planet to helping someone find her house keys. But there’s a catch: both Colo and Tama have to agree that the intervention is to be performed . . . and sometimes they’ll have to perform the intervention themselves!
Maze to the Monsters Heart by Tyson Lewis
She fell in love with the man who captured her, who wanted to devour her flesh…and worst of all he was not even human. Here is the story of Leda, a talented graduate student in poetics at UCLA who gets herself tangled in a web of cultic magic, monsters, and conspiracies. Through her harrowing tale, Leda is abducted and fed to a legendary monster living in the abandoned railcar lines under Los Angeles. But instead of meeting an early demise at the hands of her minotaur captor, she finds herself caught in an unhuman love that traces the razor-thin line between monster and human. Through the language of dreams, Leda and the minotaur join in an unholy affair of the heart that leads Leda into an even more dangerous world of powerful, secret societies that have their own mysterious interests in Leda’s new-found love. With a surprise ending that reveals the depths of Leda’s passions as well as the black magic that binds her to her minotaur, Maze to the Monster’s Heart will fill you with delight as well as terror. Equal parts H.P. Lovecraft and Joss Whedon, this is weird fiction at its most erotically monstrous.
Astropoetry by Christina Sng
“I have always enjoyed Christina’s poetry, but I didn’t know what a delightful trip I’d be taking when I started reading this collection! Many of her poems are tiny SF story capsules, just begging your imagination to take flight. Among these, one of my favorites:
On the cliff walls of Mars,
Inscriptions from the ancients:
Secrets to wormhole travel;
Follow them to a new world.
But there are the darkly mystifying as well:
The dead circle the mountain
An endless loop
Don’t miss the space leviathan, or the dragons of UCF-1.01!
Christina, I want you to write the rest of the stories you have tantalized me with in your fantastically fresh and marvelous collection!”
Marge Simon, SFPA Grand Master, 2015
‘Nuff said. Here’s where you get a copy.
The Best of Both Worlds, Vol 1.
Nomadic Delirium and Alban Lake, both publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and all points in between, have collaborated to bring you the very best of what they published in 2015. The selections within come from The Martian Wave and The Fifth Di…, and from Outposts of Beyond and FrostFire Worlds. Their settings might be an inner planet or a world-that-might-be. Their themes are universal, involving choices we all have to make at one point or another in our lives. This is science fiction and fantasy literature at its finest.
This is the first anthology of its kind; it won’t be the last.
To order, go here: nomadicdeliriumpress.com/blog/product/the-best-of-both-worlds-vol-1/
State of the Art by Lorraine Pinelli Brown
Jack Dugan’s lonely heart has been lightning-struck by a young and beautiful high school teacher, named Christine Day, whose shining, impeccable, loveliness was Heaven sent just for him. From afar, Jack watches and admires her; yearns, burns…for the entire gift of her. A single look, a fleeting glance from his Christine, would give him something to live for. But Jack’s great love never seems to notice him, even on those days when he works his way up close to her, close enough to breathe and savor the freshness of her clean, bouncing hair…the perfume of her lily-white neck. She, however, does not see him. Jack wracks his brain as he pushes his mop each day for good ways to strut and preen before her. But before he actually works up the nerve, he must make himself better somehow…and he turns to technology. Out of the frying pan…
The Scream by K. S. Hardy
K. S. Hardy combines Grimm and Poe and Hitchcock into a spooky and mind-bending darkness where what you see isn’t always what you get. Read this one with all the lights on, and look over your shoulders while you turn the pages.
Abra Cadaver by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
For those who have not yet been introduced to the beyond-the-left-field-fence humor and serious side of Thirdy Lopez, this ku-llection is for you. We’ll keep this simple:
sore and exhausted
pillow swallows me whole
stones rain from heaven
real nightmare begins
when rocks sprout teeth
dead hamster twitches
witch doctor in training
There’s lots more inside . . .
Potters Field 6, edited by Robert J. Krog
From the editor’s introduction:
The stories in this volume were selected to entertain, but also to have some quality of edifying those who choose to read them all. Many of them deal with murder and will bring up in the minds of the reader questions perhaps of injustice and justice. Others may bring up matters of hope and despair or of the supernatural and the beyond. This volume does not seek to answer all of those questions, only to entertain and perhaps edify with some inkling of hope that may gleam through the horrors the stories within may unfold. Many of the stories are quite fantastic, some are quite mundane, if horrifying, in their details, and some despite the necessary and true to life horror, yet bear a message of hope. With the reading of them all, the reader may come to see some of the depth and breadth involved in the singular thing that is an unmarked grave. It may bring the reader to wonder about the unknown buried in their own cities and counties and perhaps even to seek to know them in what ways may be available or, if nothing else, to pray for them as some faiths do encourage or require.
Miskatonic Dreams, edited by H. David Blalock
Miskatonic Nightmares, edited by Herika R. Raymer
In Arkham, Massachusetts, stands a university steeped in mystery and legend. After its human students have left for their dormitories, its haunted halls often host phantasms of things unspeakable. Its classrooms are never truly empty. Its auditorium reverberates to ghosts of words chanted in other planes. Its library guards tomes not written by human hand.
Find out about those times when no human foot strides the halls of nighted Miskatonic University. The truth behind the unexplained sounds from the science wing, the murmuring from the rooms dedicated to music and art is revealed. Learn the meaning of those words drawn in blood there in the basement. Discover actual workings of the late night denizens who brave those passageways.
Not just for fans of Lovecraft. All y’all are welcome to come thrill and chill.
The Salt Man by Keith Gordon
Mister Salt has fallen on hard times. Business is bad. His scams are sour. His best days are long behind him, but at least he still has his pride. As far as he’s concerned, he’s still worth his salt. But all that changes when Nephram Taine, a lost-long friend, yanks him from the bottom of a bottle and sets him on a collision course with his buried past. Taine has no other choice—there’s no one else in the Free Isles who can help him, no one else who can unlock the secrets of an impossibly ancient artifact with a trail of death cluttering its wake.
Petrolea by Daniel M. Bensen
Victor Toledo went to Titan for its oil reserves. Doctor Feroza Merchant has made it her mission to stop him. The wild robots of the petroleum jungle want to strip the flesh from their bones.
Stranded in the mechanical jungle, the engineer and the biologist must cooperate not only to survive, but to understand the alien ecosystem around them. Where did these self-replicating robots come from? Who created their ancestors, and why? What they discover could open space to humanity, or it could destroy our civilization.
The Night Café, edited by Tyree Campbell & Sylvan Bree Baker
Van Gogh thought of “The Night Café” in this manner: “I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime.” We treated “The Night Café” not only as a depiction of Van Gogh’s mood, but also as an allegory and a metaphor. For this reason, you will find some work in here that does not occur, or only briefly occurs, in a café. Don’t let that stop you from reading . . . and feeling . . . and “seeing” what Vincent Van Gogh “saw.”
Among the stories in The Night Café you’ll find “Vincent and Paul in the Yellow House” by Alan
Ira Gordon; “After Midnight at the Night Café” by Kendall Evans; “Cravings” by Priya Sridhar; “In Your Absence” by Rhonda Eikamp; a novelette, “The Starlight Club” by Christian Auger. Plus interior atmospheric and mood art by Marge Simon, and “Circus Troupe” by noted English writer Claire Smith.
Come spend a few nights in The Night Café.
Polyxena, Princess of Troy by Ailsa Zheng
Nine years into the Trojan War, fifteen-year-old Polyxena catches the attention of Achilles when he kills the brother standing next to her, Hector.
They meet three times in secret. A romance begins to bloom, but Polyxena is cautious. She despises her brother Paris for starting the war by choosing love over his family, and wants to be nothing like him.
Eventually, Polyxena finds out her brother Paris has laid out a trap. Armed with a secret that can bring Achilles down, Polyxena must choose a side who will live: the brother she does not love, or the enemy she does.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND
We still continue to need more GOOD science fiction, including Space Opera. Check out our guidelines, and write something already. Entendu?
And we expect to be adding more each month.
Time Off by John Shoberg. A science fiction novel with all the good stuff: conspiracy, crime, bad guys, a plot [always a critical item], and a quality of writing that takes you right into each scene. Looking at August or September.
Nymph by Shelly Bryant. Another excellent and exquisite collection from Shelly, this one continuing in the spirit of Numina, published this past year. Scheduled for late-April 2017.
Art by Sandy DeLuca. A collection of the artist’s work, including side notes about each piece. No release date set as yet, but probably June-ish.
Neo-Mecca Mayhem by Priya Sridhar. A novel by the author of Carousel [which you should read]. Looking at June for this one.
Journey to Talazia by Sandy DeLuca. This novelette will keep you checking your own home for ghosts! May.
A Danger to Self and Others by Tyree Campbell. His first, and probably last and only, poetry collection. Includes the 3rd place Rhysling from 2003, “Not One of Us.” May.
At the present time we publish seven print magazines. Four are quarterlies, three of which publish short stories, poems, articles, and art. Outposts of Beyond features science fiction and fantasy. FrostFire Worlds presents science fiction and fantasy for younger readers. Disturbed, or Disturbed Digest, caters to the darker side with dark fantasy and horror, as well as paranormal. Scifaikuest, also quarterly, publishes scifaiku [haiku with a science fiction or fantasy, sometimes horror or humor, twist] and other minimalist poetry forms. Bloodbond is a semi-annual magazine of stories, poems, art, and articles about vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters; a science fiction twist to the material is preferred, but not mandatory. Illumen is a quarterly digest of science fiction and fantasy poetry, including articles and art. Lastly–so far–Trysts of Fate is a semi-annual digest of paranormal romance.
A word here about horror and dark fiction in general. We’re not into gore, splatter, gouts, gushes, fountains, and so forth. It’s not really scary, just icky. Our horror is spooky. We’d rather rattle your nerves than make you retch. That’s about enough said on that topic.
So, let’s see some submissions and some subscriptions!
And please be sure to stop back in May, if not sooner.