The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
Reviews: Idolaters of Cthulhu; FrostFire Worlds Feb 2017
The Alban Lake Publishing catalog
The Rite of Writing Right
Spaceports & Spidersilk
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
New Releases and Reminders
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome to the August 2017 View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing. Let’s get started.
As we mentioned last month, Ecotastrophe II, edited by J Alan Erwine, is now out and available from Nomadic Delirium Press! Great stories in it, including two of mine! Woo hoo! Love the cover! Oh, and here’s the link: http://www.nomadicdeliriumpress.com/ecotastropheii.htm
Reviews of two of our publications have been posted. Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Press, the illustrious publisher of pulp fiction and of the Bombay Sapphire series, has gifted us with his review of The Idolaters of Cthulhu, edited by H. David Blalock. That review is here: https://bookinthebag.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/book-review-the-idolaters-of-cthulhu-edited-by-h-david-blalock/
Eamonn Murphy, reviewer for sfcrowsnest, has posted a review of the February 2017 FrostFire Worlds, and it can be found here: http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/frostfire-worlds-edited-by-tyree-campbell-book-review/
A word of caution: I don’t know how long these postings will remain in place, so I’d recommend going to read them asap.
The Alban Lake Publishing Catalog: Yes, you read that right. We now have a catalog of our publications available. It’s free; it’s on a pdf format. It’s updated every three months. It contains a couple of indexes—by title, by author. Each title contains a write-up and a specific ordering link, which works when you click on it in the pdf. We’ve already begun to distribute this via e-mail, as an attachment. If you would like a free copy of this catalog, please e-mail us at albanlake at yahoo dot com.
The Rite of Writing Right
The following article is also posted with The Kinder Muse, published by Life Coach Terrie Leigh Relf. I realize in many cases this piece is preaching to the choir, but . . . here we go:
It Just Ain’t That Easy
A man showed up on our deck a couple days ago. Said he was a carpenter. Wanted to know if we needed anything repaired. The railing for the stairs leading down from the deck needed to be replaced. But the man didn’t even have a pair of work gloves. He pulled a pair of pliers from his back pocket and asked if he could get to work.
Our sound system has been going on the fritz lately, so I scanned the Work Wanted in the Want Ads for someone who could repair it or install replacements. Fellow answered the phone. Said he could do that. I asked him about setting the bass and treble properly, and got no reply. I wanted to know if he could check out the woofers and tweeters, and he got very huffy and said he was a sound technician, not a veterinarian.
At the post office the other day I wanted to mail a book to Scotland. It was in a bubble mailer, with the address and return address clearly labeled. The postal clerk looked for Scotland on her stamp machine and couldn’t find it. I suggested she try the United Kingdom—sigh . . . which was the bottom line of the address on the mailer. The UK, she found. So far, so good. Then she said there was a PS Form 2976 that needed to be filled out. I pointed to it, lying beside the mailer. She said, “Oh, so that’s what it looks like.” She examined the way I had filled it out, then noted that the version of the form itself was July 2013. “It’s not the current form,” she said. I suggested that maybe she should check. She did, and [chagrined] allowed as how it was the current form. Then she looked at the form as if she did not know what to do with it. I refrained from making the obvious suggestion, and instead instructed her to tear off the selvage, set the top sheet aside for admin use, peel the back off the carbon copy, place it so the left-hand side is on the mailer just so, press down on it so that it sticks to the mailer, tear off the right-hand side, date-stamp both sides and the admin sheet, and give me the right-hand side for my records. She got snotty at that point [she’s a postal clerk, so what took her so long?] and said, “Don’t get huffy with me. I’m a fully-trained postal clerk.” [I didn’t doubt her].
Did I mention I’m a publisher and editor? Yeah, and I’m a damn good writer, too. Got this submission in the other night. Horror story. Author said he was a new writer, wanted me to consider his story for Disturbed Digest. Among other things, he had:
someone riding a stationery bicicle for exercise.
a bit of dialogue that read: “Well how are you John?”
a character whose curiousty was peaked.
a dog with it’s tale wagging.
At this point, I stopped reading. I didn’t even start the second page. I e-mailed back and told him I was declining his story because of improperly used words, failure to set off direct address with commas, and punctuation problems. I intimated that it was not my job to spell/use his words correctly, or to use correct punctuation for him. I suggested that he go over his story a few times to [try to] catch and correct these deficiencies—hay, wee awl makes misteaks—rather than submit the first draft.
Naturally, he wrote back and told me—among other things—that I was just “prejidiced against begining writers.”
Now, I have to admit that the first two scenes are fiction, while the one at the post office is only slightly embellished. But the moral of all this is: If you’re going to build a story, make sure you have the right effing tools.
Additional: For the record, as an editor I want writers to succeed. I’ll even help you, if I can [but I won’t write your story for you]. If you write a good story, then I have something to publish, and maybe make us both a bit of dosh. If you don’t succeed, I can’t. So I’m on your side. But I won’t publish shash. So check your tool box, and follow the instructions for each tool.
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. That number once again is: nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm
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.
FROSTFIRE WORLDS #17, AUGUST 2017
Starting our fifth year, with Karen Otto at the helm. For your reading pleasure she has selected, among other pieces, Dawn Vogel’s “Bringing Light to the World,” “The Fox and the Troll” by Joey Willis, and “The New Math” by Thomas Canfield. Debby Feo is the featured poet. Guy Belleranti’s “The Thing in My Closet” will make night-lights de rigueur. Here’s where you go to get a copy:
SCIFAIKUEST #57, AUGUST 2017
Celebrating our 14th year! The Featured Poet is Joshua Gage. There’s art and haiga [haiga combines art with haiku]; there are reviews of L.A. Story’s novels, “Criers” and “The Gifted.” And there’s “The Scifaiku Suite,” an article by Herb Kauderer. This ish is definitely a gottahavit! Here’s where you get it: http://store.albanlake.com/product/scifaikuest-57/
TRYSTS OF FATE #8, AUGUST 2017
Ending its fourth and last year, Tryst of Fate nevertheless bows out with a great issue. Stories are as follows:
Blame It on the Trees by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Beneath the Atlantic by Sandy DeLuca
Rail by Kevin Singer
Un-A-Were by Kristi Bradley
But a Shadow by Ian DiFabio
Any one of these is worth the price of admission. Come get a copy—you can do that here: http://store.albanlake.com/product/trysts-of-fate-issue-8/
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, EPISODE 3: THE BABEL DEVICE BY TYREE CAMPBELL
She’s back, and hotter than ever. Nakushi, a woman of the streets who was empowered by Agni, the god of storms, to become Bombay Sapphire, now finds herself overwhelmed with tasks. Her friend have been taken prisoner by the demon Kazeem, who provides the muscle for the gang known as the Deccan Dholes. Nakushi’s sister, Savitra, wants her dead. A rural village is in danger of flooding, and a bridge is out, preventing a large truck from delivering supplies to the village. A house fire threatens to kill a little girl. Finally, Kallia, another demon working for the Dholes, has invented a device that will prevent Nakushi from becoming Bombay Sapphire.
The shadows of Kazeem and the Dholes continue to fall hard on Bombay Sapphire. She must find a way to defeat the demon, who cannot be killed. Even if she succeeds, will that be enough to save her friends and her sister?
Published by Pro Se Press, but you can get a copy from our bookstore. Just go here: http://store.albanlake.com/product/bombay-sapphire-episode-3-the-babel-device/
NEO-MECHA MAYHEM BY PRIYA SRIDHAR
When a serial killer murders his own daughter, Corsair Heir Neil is determined to find the girl’s twin sister before she suffers the same fate. To do so, he must enter Neo-Mecca, an American military base disguised as a Japanese city of the future, and warn teenage Kaori before her father kills her. He finds himself unable to tell Kaori, however, wracked with guilt and trauma. Kaori, kind and oblivious, refuses to believe she’s in danger. Corsairs steal possessions and people to protect them from harm, but Neil is new to the Heir job with his elder brother murdered in the line of duty. He doesn’t want to steal anyone. Things only get worse, however, when Neil’s sister Nia barges in, determined to keep Neil safe by any means possible and to keep Kaori in the dark. The future has never looked more glittery, or deadly.
Neo-Mecca Mayhem is a cyberpunk dystopia adventure inspired by film director Satoshi Kon.
Here’s where you get a copy: http://store.albanlake.com/product/neo-mecha-mayhem/
CAN YOU SEE ME BY M. R. WILLIAMSON
After falling ill from a fever, Susan’s parents put her in their car to go to the doctor. Along the way, a blowout causes the car to crash, killing the parents, who are unaware that their daughter had already died back at the house.
Every morning after the accident, Susan awakens in her upstairs bedroom to await the return of her parents. Time passes, and the house gains a spooky reputation that makes it almost impossible to sell. Prospective clients have been unable to cope with the mysterious goings-on . . . until now.
Find out what happens: http://store.albanlake.com/product/can-you-see-me/
ILLUMEN #28, SUMMER 2017
More outstanding sf/f/mh poetry from some of the finest poets in the Solar System. Suchlike include Ashley Dioses, Kendall Evans, Deborah Guzzi, Mickey Kulp, Amanda Faye, Bruce Boston, D. B. Heath, and more. Also included is Alan Ira Gordon’s essay, “Why Read Poetry?” Features include “My Favorite Poem.” Even if you don’t [think you] like poetry, come give us a try.
DRABBLE HARVEST #8 – DEAR ASHLEY IN THE 24TH CENTURY
The theme for this issue—Dear Ashley in the 24th Century—was inspired by the Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers columns that frequented newspapers. We got to wondering what social problems would arise three centuries or so from now. The cover is a bit of irony—an android writing with quill and ink. The contents are similar in atmosphere. Come take a few moments out, relax, and peruse.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND #17, JULY 2017
This issue starts off our fifth year. Hot stories by hot authors. “Voracious” by A. C. Spahn. “Medicine Man” by Tim McDaniel. “Five Little Piggies: by David C. Kopaska-Merkel. “Sector 3” by Terrie Leigh Relf. A review of Neil Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology.” And yes, much more. [Rings reading bell] Come and get it!
SENTIMENTAL BY TYREE CAMPBELL
It’s a 99-cent story. Alien anthropologist meets French archeologist. One is curious, the other is resigned to solitude. You’ll gain some insights as to why we love. But bring a hanky.
JOURNEY TO TALAZIA BY SANDY DELUCA
Alicia is familiar with the supernatural. A ghost girl named Glenda, is her best friend. And she was raised by her enigmatic grandmother, Antonietta. The woman taught her magic—instructing her to keep Aloe and Foxglove tucked in her socks, Devil’s Bit in a locket—to utilize powerful spells when in danger.
When Alicia’s grandmother dies, she journeys to Antonietta’s second home on Talbot’s Bay—a mysterious city. By chance, she meets Mrs. Davini, an odd old woman who communicates with cats, and tells fortunes. The lady introduces Alicia to Bernard Danser, a numinous person who draws her into the realm of The Mysticals and a bizarre world—Talazia—a place that craves her magic.
Will Antonietta’s olden spells set Alicia free from darkness? Or will become a prisoner within an alternate world–forever?
SARROW BY TYREE CAMPBELL
The long-awaited companion story to Cloudburst is finally here!
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!
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…
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 . . .
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.
Monarch of Lightning by Danith McPherson. Clan conflicts drive a fantasy novel of broken alliances, assassination, tales of a secret place told to a little girl, a desperate flight to find safety, and the descendants of renegade Earth scientists marooned on a storm-ravaged planet as volatile as its politics. October.
Sisterhood of the Blood Moon by Terrie Leigh Relf. In this science fiction/fantasy novel, Miri sees a past she doesn’t recognize and a future she might, if she could just make sense of the present. And “The Offering” isn’t helping…yet. January 2018
Sylvia and the Duckbutts by S. E. Shellcliffe. You got duckbutts, kids, and an accidental space-time rift. What could go wrong? Planning on October.
The Brigstowe Dragons by Eamonn Murphy. It’s dragons. It’s in Brigstowe. There will be a quiz. Probably September.
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 January 2018.
Art by Sandy DeLuca. A collection of the artist’s work, including side notes about each piece. No release date set as yet.
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.” Autumn.
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 September, if not sooner.