The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
Re: Bloodbond and FrostFire Worlds
New Drabble Contest
Drabble #8 Announcement
A Note from the Underground
Another Note from the Underground
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology
Spaceports & Spidersilk
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
New Releases and Reminders
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome to the May 2017 View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing.
Karen Otto has completed her intensive training as an editor, and has met the ALP requirement of being a published and paid writer. She has been assigned to edit Bloodbond and FrostFire Worlds, starting with the November and August issues, respectively.
As we announced last month, we’re opening two drabble contests this time. The theme for the regular contest, which is #9, is Adventures in Plumbing. The theme for the special contest is Alien Bedtime Stories. You’ll note in the guidelines for the Special Contest that you are allowed to submit two joined drabbles for the contest—just be sure to make it clear that the two are intended to run in sequence. Guidelines for both contests have been posted on our site.
Drabble Harvest #8, based on the previous contest, will go to print next week, and copies and pays will be mailed out as soon as we get the copies back, probably around the end of May.
A Note 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.
Another Note from the Underground: As some of you may already be aware, Terrie Leigh Relf hosts a conference call each Wednesday evening, and has invited writers and readers to participate. For details, make contact with her at tlrelf at gmail dot com. One of the topics that cropped up this past Wednesday was “mainstream fiction,” as opposed to “genre fiction.” The same topic also cropped up during my coaching session with Relf that Friday. We established that, to genre writers, genre fiction IS mainstream. I’m sure there are multiple definitions of fiction, some more detailed than others. But the reason the topic cropped up is that I have been considering writing a mainstream piece, and I wanted to review what I knew of the human condition and concepts. So I made a list.
This list contains abstracts that I—and pretty much all other writers and readers—already knew but without giving them shape or form via words. It is not a complete list—probably can never be completed—but in the abstract these words usually have some significance to the character[s], the setting, and/or the milieu. I brainstormed the list—writing down each word or words as they occurred to me, and I’m not going to organize it, because as I share it with you, perhaps you will develop your own stream of consciousness and expand upon this list. For what it’s worth, I shared the list with the four other folks who showed up for the conference call, and it was well-received.
So: keeping in mind that these words represent concepts with which you are already—or should be—familiar, here they are, in the order in which I thought of them [reading across]:
Betrayal Honor Friendship Love Hate
Apathy Transgression Lies Beliefs Dissent
Rights Protection Security Compromise Poverty
Chastity Discipline Interaction Cliques Parenting
Responsibility Blame Pecking Order Government Authority
Establishment Help Itinerancy Wanderlust Common Interests
Wealth Depression Social Responsibility Catastrophe
Failure Strangers Manipulation Cooped Up Anger
You may ascribe to these concepts any meaning you wish, for you alone know what these mean to you. But some of these abstracts usually are encountered in most pieces of fiction.
A word about context. As I wrote down this list, I did not adjust the words once I thought of a better one. For example, you’ll note the word ‘Itinerancy,’ followed by ‘wanderlust.’ When I wrote them, I thought the latter was a better word than the former. Now I am not so certain. For me, Itinerancy [which may not even be a word] refers to the human condition in which a person often moves around, for whatever reason. They have no career, but a sequence of different jobs, some lasting longer than others. Perhaps alcohol contributes to the lack of stability. It might also refer to such as migrant farm workers, who go wherever the crops are ripe. Wanderlust, for me, means I just gotta get out and see places. I emphasize ‘for me’ here, because you may have a different—and perfectly valid—notion of the meaning.
So there you have it. Add words to it if you wish. Share it. Hide it. It’s yours, for whatever it might be worth to you. I hope it helps.
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology
The next Lovecraftian anthology from Alban Lake Publishing is still open to submissions. Guidelines are now posted in the Guidelines option in the Toolbar. Read, then write. Let’s see what you got!
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.
BLOODBOND #8, MAY 2017
Completing our fourth year, the May 2017 issue of Bloodbond gives you “Mirra of the Star Pack” by Dawn Napier, “Small Necessary Things” by Angela Enos, and “Maenads” by Ashley Dioses, and lots of other spooky scary hairy stuff. Come celebrate with us.
FROSTFIRE WORLDS #16, MAY 2017
This issue completes our fourth year. Featuring a truly ‘frostfire’ cover, with spaceships and mammoths, FFW #16 presents “When You Wish Upon a Mermaid” by Rebecca Linam, “Feline Enemy #1” by Priya Sridhar, and “Carousel Ride” by D. M. Recktenwalt, as well as a humorous advertisement by Kim L. Neidigh, Misty Posey is the featured poet. Come find out what we’re all about…
SCIFAIKUEST #56, MAY 2017
This issue completes our fourteenth year. The featured poet is James W. Weaver III; in addition to the usual lot of minimalist poetry, there’s an article about the political ramifications of scifaiku, AND a cooperative joined poem, “Sandman,” by Vessislava Savova, Maya Lyubenova, and Gergana Yaninska of the Bulgarian Renku Group. You’re not afraid of a little poetry . . . are you?
NYMPH BY SHELLY BRYANT
Nymph marks the second book in the second phase or cycle of a series in which I am exploring the Wuxing, the Five Elements in Chinese cosmology. It is the Water book in the Fire cycle. Within the Wuxing, each element has a direct relationship with every other, and Water is the element that overcomes and destroys Fire.
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?
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!
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 . . .
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.
The Brigstowe Dragons by Eamonn Murphy. It’s dragons. It’s in Brigstowe. There will be a quiz. Probably August or 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 August or September.
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.
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.” Summer.
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.