The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
The Night Café – now closed
Potters Field 6 – now closed
FrostFire Worlds announcement
A Hopeless Cause
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
New Releases and Reminders
New Drabble Contest Announcement
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome back to The View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing. Let’s finish up some old business first. The Night Café is closed, and we’re still working on it. The lineup should be set by next weekend [i.e., 18 July]. Still shooting for 1 September. Potters Field 6 is closed to submissions, and Robert J. Krog is busy at work, busily establishing the final line-up and otherwise staying busy. Shooting for 1 October on this one.
At this point I’m still waiting to hear back from Dave Blalock regarding Miskatonic Dreams. I will add the appropriate posting here as soon as I hear from him, so watch here.
As reported earlier, the new submissions address for FrostFire Worlds is firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who have submitted work to the previous address between around 12 January and now [and even beyond] need not fret. Sylvan and I will get to those as well. We’re always receptive to sf and fantasy adventures for younger readers, so get cracking on those stories.
A Hopeless Cause
“Some people run/some people crawl/some people don’t even move at all.” Pozo-Seco Singers, a one-and-done from around 1966.
Some people read/some people write/some people read and write/some people text but hardly read at all except for skimming.
If we allow technology to murder literacy, then we also allow it to murder dreams. Reading presents possibilities unlike anything in the audio-visual media. Reading—fiction or non-fiction—and ONLY reading gives you the answers to the six basic questions: who, what, where, when, why, and wow. Reading, and ONLY reading, enables you to focus on the matter at hand, because it is very difficult to multi-task while you read. Even snagging the occasional chocolate-covered cherry and taking the infrequent sip from a gin-and-tonic are maneuvers more autonomic than deliberate, while you are sitting there engrossed in reading.
More and more, reading is becoming an antiquated form for the communication of ideas. Sometimes it seems as if readers [okay, and writers] belong to a semi-exclusive society—abandoned by some folks, never even joined by others. You can view the wall at conventions.
“I don’t read much.”
“I don’t have time to read.”
“I’m just getting back into reading.” [But I’m not going to buy a book because I need to get that Darth Vader bobblehead].
Points to companion: “She’s the reader. I’m with her.”
Those are walls that are difficult to breach. But it’s not us who are locked inside those walls; it’s the other folks. By getting them to read, we dislodge a brick or two from that wall. Maybe even erect a ladder, or put a grapnel on a rope. If they don’t read much, or don’t have time, or somebody else reads, it’s a tough wall.
Unless the convention is specifically literary, most folks who browse the dealer room are looking for trinkets. Still, a good ten to fifteen percent of attendees buy books—which is why we do well enough at those venues, despite the distractions of tee-shirts, mimosa-scented soap, period costumes, jewelry, and oddments.
Don’t get the idea that I’m writing this because I want you to buy our publications. Well, I do, but that’s not why. In the society you live—that great group of disparate people who constitute our population [indeed, the population of the Solar System]—the transmission of ideas, concepts, values, possibilities, and emotions, and with it the potential for thought and meaningful discussion, is diminishing. Thus the battles for us as small independent publishers, the battles for readers and writers, the battles for the next generation, are best fought by re-engendering readership. That’s why.
I’ve heard that this is a losing battle. That I’m preaching to the choir. That this is a lost cause. In response I think of Orlando Bloom as Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean, who said, “No cause is lost as long as there is one fool left to fight for it.”
As difficult as it is to get folks to read stories, it’s nothing compared to the difficulty of getting folks to read poetry. Oh, you should hear some of the responses I hear from folks at the dealer table. I’ve probably even botched a few sales by inviting their attention to poetry. You should see the panic in their eyes when they realize they’re looking at our poetry selections. I’m surprised they don’t rush off to the rest rooms to wash off the cooties. You think stories might be lost causes? Poetry is a hopeless cause.
Which is why this fool is going to fight for that cause.
Why read poetry? We’re going to answer that question over the next several issues of our poetry digest, Illumen—in short pieces written by genre poets. But the topics are not limited to genre poetry. As writers, you should read everything you can, not just Asimov, Sheffield, Vance, Cox, and Ringo, but Clancy, Dickens, the Brontes, Chaucer, Turgenev, Hamilton [there are several], Fleming, and so on. Why? Leaving aside the fact that they all tell good, solid, readable stories, the way they craft those stories can be instructive. How do you present the objects in a simple and somewhat medieval house? The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox, p. 201. Not that you copy him, no. But he does give an idea of how it can be done. The more you read, the more you find out how other writers approach problems you yourself encounter in your writing. Capisce?
And as writers [and readers] you should read poetry. I suspect the greatest fear we have of poetry involves comprehension: we have scant idea what the poet is trying to say. Worse, we’re afraid our peers might find out that we don’t understand it. Oh, dear.
It’s just words. But words arranged in such a way that they evoke our emotions—joy, sorrow, and all those intermediates. Those words tell us things we did not know or did not bother to consider. Robert Frost’s “Out, Out—” is a note about the brevity and uncertainty of life. Erin Donahoe’s “Beauty’s Lament” conveys sadness and longing for a state of life that seems unattainable. L. A. Story’s “Cap’n Jones” is a longing for a lost love. Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” immortalizes unquestioning duty. Eugene Fields’ “The Duel” demonstrates the futility of bickering [oh, you don’t know that one? Try “The gingham dog and the calico cat…”]. Rudyard Kipling’s “Tommy” shows how we regard our soldiers differently in times of peace and war. Sorry to run on like this . . .
These descriptions are accurate but superficial. Each of these poems has deeper meanings as well. Like art, beauty in poetry is in the eye of the beholder. Each of these poems is waiting for you, the reader, to behold a meaning or two.
Okay, enough ranting. Give poetry a try. Yes, you! Reader of fiction, you! Don’t have time to read, you! Terrified of poetry, you! Buy a poetry book. Not necessarily ours [although we would appreciate that]; there are several small presses that publish genre poetry and/or mainstream poetry. And if you run across something you don’t understand, well, you have social media and buckets of phone numbers, right? Surely someone you know can discuss it with you. That’s why you have social media. And if all else fails, e-mail me. Not that I have the answers—but I’ll try to help you find them.
Bottom line: [in Vin Diesel’s voice]: You’re not afraid of a little poetry, are you?
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.
Outposts of Beyond #13, July 2016
It’s the start of our fourth year! This issue features Kendall Evans, Michael D. Burnside, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Lee Clark Zumpe. Julia Warner has a novelette entitled “The Beetle Queen.” Poetry by the wonderfully talented Ashley Dioses and James B. Nicola. A Dune-esque cover by Patrick Kennedy of Nebraska. An article by Robert E. Porter. Interior art by Bill Reames of Arkansas. Don’t miss this issue!
Here’s the link for a subscription:
http://store.albanlake.com/product/outposts-of-beyond-one-year-subscription-us-orders-only/ Or you could just bop on over to our bookstore and have fun browsing.
Bombay Sapphire 2: The Deccan Dholes by Tyree Campbell
This one comes from Pro Se Press, but is also available from the Alban Lake Bookstore. A year has passed since Nakushi, a woman of the streets, was given the power to become Bombay Sapphire by Agni, the god of storms. Her sister Savitra has disappeared, but she continues to search for her while she fights the Deccan Dholes. The Dholes’ crime boss has been searching high and low for this hot blue superheroine who has cut deeply into his profits. Aiding him is Kazeem, a demon from the Hindu underworld, who longs to kill Bombay Sapphire.
Now, in late 1962, the Chinese army is invading India and slaughtering its ill-prepared soldiers. The Indian Prime Minister refuses to act, believing the Chinese diplomatic offers of friendship. Bombay Sapphire must act to save her beloved India, find her sister, and defeat the supernatural monster Kazeem. But has Agni given her too much to handle this time. Can Bombay Sapphire survive?
Drabble Harvest #6: Confessions of a Shapeshifter
It’s wacky; it’s hilarious; and it makes some interesting points: just what a good drabble collection should do. Edited as always by the Boortean Ambassador to Haura, Terrie Leigh Relf, this is a fun read for the whole family, no matter what shape they are.
http://store.albanlake.com/product/drabble-harvest-6-confessions of a shapeshifter/
Numina by Shelly Bryant
Another nonpareil collection of science fiction and fantasy poetry by one of the finest poets in the genres . . . or out of them, for that matter. Shelly Bryant takes you on a journey through classical notions of sky, life, and fire, and does so with lyrical precision. Don’t miss this collection.
Who is Peridot? She’s a young American woman named Ricia Ryder, stranded in France, and she has more problems than any superheroine should have to deal with.
On a tour of southern France, Ricia was robbed of her papers and her money, and was compelled to live off the grid. An ancient Celtic goddess gave Ricia succor and superpowers. Eventually Ricia took up with a young woman reporter who subtly hits on her—thus far without success—and whose job it is to expose Peridot’s activities to France’s viewing audience. Ricia herself is attracted to a gendarme who would arrest her immediately for violation of the National Treasures and Antiquities laws, should he learn that she sells precious French artifacts under the table. She’s been tasked with helping people, and with fulfilling a mysterious agenda whose end game could well result in the torture and deaths of those around her.
. . . and the goddess who empowered her to become Peridot is insane!
The Wolves of Glastonbury by Terrie Leigh Relf & Edward Cox
Yup, it’s a werewolf tale, and a gooood one. Noted writer of quirky stories teams up with noted writer of fantasy novels, and this is the result. What happens in Glastonbury stays in Glastonbury—even if it means the end of one of humanity’s longest alternate lifelines. The hunt is on for Claire and Ethan . . .
Want to know more [sure you do!]? Here’s the link:
The Butterfly and the Sea Dragon by Tyree Campbell
This is the first in a series of what are billed as Yoelin Thibbony Rescues, published by Nomadic Delirium Press and included in our listings as well.
So who’s Yoelin Thibbony? That’s what she calls herself now. She endured a cruel and abusive childhood, when there was no one to rescue her. Now she performs Rescues of people or things—sometimes for hire, sometimes for free. She’s been hired to retrieve stolen archives. But to perform this Rescue, Yoelin has to return to Havelox Rest, the world of her childhood—a world that still holds dark and bleak terrors for her.
And here’s the link—believe me when I say you’ll want to read this one.
Twists & Turns by G. O. Clark
You read him in The Saucer Under The Bed [or you should have]. And in White Noise. Now he’s back.
“There’s one thing you can expect from poet/author G. O. Clark: the unexpected.
This book might be too much fun for you, so be very careful when handling it, okay?”
–J.L. Comeau, Creature Features online.
They’ll be saying this and a lot more about Twists & Turns. G. O. Clark writes rather like O. Henry: You never know what’s around the corner, but you just have to find out. Come find out.
Saturnial School Scenes by Debby Feo
“Saturnial School Scenes” focuses on a school on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The school has students from pre-school age to the end of high school. The school’s name is the Galileo Interplanetary School, aka the GIS. Students come from throughout the Solar System and beyond. Some of the students and one of the teachers have wings, either feathered or bat-like. The GIS is located in the Xanadu region of Titan, in the Eir Macula Colony, the first colony settled by Humans from Earth.
The 38 students of the GIS take several field trips a year, including a trip to the Water Reclamation plant on one of the Rings of Saturn. Their principal, Mr. Falusappedd, always accompanies them on their excursions, and sometimes his extra set of eyes, on the back of his head, are very useful in keeping them safe.
Here’s the link for this fantastic school: http:store.albanlake.com/product/saturnial-school-scenes/
Stellar Possibilities by John J. Dunphy
The master of combining flash stories with haiku is back, and this time he has a collection loaded with foibles, anecdotes, scifaiku, dreams, fantasies, and huh? what? If you’ve read an issue of Scifaikuest, you know his work. And if you don’t know his work—you should get acquainted. Here’s how:
Being 8 – Asleep and Awake by Gilda A. Herrera
Myrtle Martinez, eight, lives two lives: her normal awake life and her dream life in a place called Mystic. Mystic is a world of fun and magic where kids swim in clouds, play with robotic dogs, and have helpful sidewalks. Mystic’s surrounding mists can make it a dangerous place with its powerful magic. After her mother is injured and falls into a coma, Myrtle’s awake life fills with the difficulties of an absent mother. In Mystic, Myrtle and her Mystic friends go on a quest for the mysterious Mystic horizons which promise to reunite Myrtle and her mother. The overriding theme of kids helping kids and others, Myrtle’s awake life friends aid her, while she and her Mystic friends help other kids in bubble dreams trouble of loneliness, a kidnapping, and a lost ambition. In Mystic’s Picturebook Land, the Mystic gang helps a clumsy polar bear, a trapped robotic man, and a grumpy gorilla. Myrtle’s best self overcomes life’s obstacles in both her worlds
You can [and really should] get a copy of Being 8 – Asleep and Awake by going to: http:store.albanlake.com/product/being-8/
Bombay Sapphire Episode 1: The Nehru Maneuver by Tyree Campbell
This one comes from Pro Se Press, but is also available from the Alban Lake Bookstore. Here’s the skinny: In late 1961, Nakushi, a woman of the streets of Bombay, India, has been pushed to the limit by her ungrateful clientele, the Portuguese who still control parts of India. When she prays for assistance from the gods, Agni—the god of storms—answers her. By bestowing various powers upon her, including flight, invulnerability, and the ability to speak any language [important in multilingual India], he gives her the power to become Bombay Sapphire, champion of those who are wronged or endangered and liberator of those who are enslaved. But her first major goal is to free India from the Portuguese. To do that, she has to find a way to force the Prime Minister to take action.
Meanwhile, Nakushi’s sister Savitra wants Bombay Sapphire to use her powers to make them rich. Against the backdrop of this sibling rivalry, Bombay Sapphire makes enemies of the Deccan Dholes, the gang that terrorizes Dharavi, the great slum where Nakushi and Savitra live. But wherever Evil rears its ugly head, wherever people need help, there will be Bombay Sapphire.
Order your copy here [and watch for Episode 2, coming soon]: http:store.albanlake.com/product/bombay-sapphire-episode-1/
Quantum Women by Tyree Campbell
This one comes from Nomadic Delirium Press and is available through the Alban Lake Bookstore.
A quantum is a self-contained unit—of energy, light, and so forth. It exists in and of itself, irrespective of its surroundings. But it can be, and usually is, part of a team. A quantum woman, then, is a self-contained person, independent, yet willing to be part of a team if the right teammate comes along.
Quantum women aren’t superheroines with superpowers, they’re not “chicks in chain mail,” although they might be, as Pamela Sargent wrote, “Women of Wonder.” For the most part, quantum women are everyday folks in a science fiction or fantasy setting. They might be home-makers or home-wreckers, homely or homey, but all of them are focused, determined, willful, and independent. To those who have men in their lives, they are partners and companions, equals and not subordinates.
And yet, like any of us, they can find themselves in extraordinary situations where a bit of heroism can save the day. You’ll encounter them on these pages.
NEW DRABBLE CONTEST
The Great Alban Lake Drabble Contest #6 is now open. As advertised, this one is themed to noted fantasy novelist Edward Cox, a Brit whose favorite things besides warm woolen mittens are Oscar Meyer bacon and a Colonial pastry known as the bear claw. Specifically, this contest is themed to his personal difficulty. He had mentioned on FB that he was getting nothing more done with writing than to stare at the monitor. So the theme is: “What if the monitor is staring back at you?” So, have fun with this one, and please check the guidelines before you submit.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND
We continue to need more GOOD science fiction, including Space Opera. Check out our guidelines, and write something already. Capisce?
At the moment, our announcements are a tad limited. However, we’re working on a bunch more, and will have some of them, at least, available here in June. Meanwhile, try these.
The Scream by K. S. Hardy. It’s a collection of Bradbury-esque dark fiction, highly recommended and disturbingly entertaining. Prospective publication dates are 1 September and 1 December, so we can coincide it with issues of Disturbed Digest.
A Wolf to Guard the Door by Tyree Campbell. It’s an apocalyptic novel with a few aspects that started coming true shortly after the manuscript was completed. Unlike other apocalyptic tales, this one doesn’t include war and violence. It’s a struggle of average folks for survival—and hope for the future. It could have begun yesterday…or tomorrow. Almost there…
Small Spirits: Dolls of Darkness by Marge Simon, art by Sandy DeLuca. Two of the tops in their respective fields combine forces to bring you an eerie selection of dark poetry. Each of the 33 poems is accompanied by a relevant color [yes, color!] illustration. Shooting for October, in time for the Stoker Awards.
Polyxena, Princess of Troy by Ailsa Zheng. Homer only gave you half of it, from the perspective of the winners. Ms Zheng tells you the rest of the story. Sometime early this autumn.
Petrolea by David M. Bensen. This novella takes you to an alternate moon of Titan, where living machines upset the apple cart. At the present time, Petrolea is under a slight revision, but the release date should be mid-autumn.
Built to Serve: Robot Poems by G. O. Clark. Budubudubeep! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger. Yes, Gary Clark is back with another round of nerve-grinding, laughter-pealing, mind-tickling poetry that will knock your socks off even when you’re barefoot. Release date uncertain as yet, but sometime this year. Watch for future announcements.
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 semi-annual 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 August, if not sooner.