The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
A Few Words About Writing
Reviews: Idolaters of Cthulhu; The Salt Man
The Alban Lake Publishing catalog
The 10th Great Lake Drabble Contest
Sales Sales Sales!!!
Lonely anthology update
Spaceports & Spidersilk
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
New Releases and Reminders
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome to the November 2017 View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing. Let’s get started.
First, a couple of quick but important notes. 1, we have a plethora of new listings for this edition of View from the Lake. As is true with the entirety of our publications, no matter what sort of SF/F/H you like to read, we’ve got you covered. 2, a few of the new listings do not include links. We’re still posting publications in the store. Please, please keep checking back—we will include a link as soon as it is posted in the store. And 3, although a book or magazine is a great gift any time of the year, we are coming up on a holiday season in which giving is the leitmotif. Hopefully you’ll consider giving some of our publications—we’re pretty good, you know.
During a recent writers’ Wednesday conference call facilitated by Terrie Leigh Relf the question of the prior outlining one’s story arose. The query came from a writer who was advised that she needed to prepare a detailed outline of her novel before actually writing it. Now, there are many books on the market that concern themselves with the writing process. I daresay not a few writers will spend more money on such books than they will ever earn from their writing. These books provide advice, and even recommendations on how-to with regard to each of the facets of writing as well as the process itself from concept to completion. I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s all good advice.
There are folks who obsess over strict adherence to rules. Such obsessions, probably more often than not, become speed bumps or impediments to the writing process of the individual. In other words, some writers allow themselves to get in their own way. So try to wrap the ole gray matter around this: adapt the writing process for a particular story that is most comfortable for you. Virtually everything you read in how-to-write books is advisory, not commandment. You may find that the process that works for one story does not quite work for another—so you make adjustments, n’est-ce pas?
Personally, I’ve written some stories off the top of my head, or with at most half a page of working notes. I’ve also delineated and detailed some stories prior to writing them. Sometimes I’ll start a story just to get the feel for it, then pause and jot notes, and write on, then pause, and so on. It works for me. It might not work for you. Then again, it might.
It’s usually a good idea to have a few notes about the physical appearance of your characters. If Laura is a blue-eyed blonde when you start your story, she can’t have gray eyes and black hair halfway through it—well, unless she’s dyed her hair and is wearing colored lenses. Sometimes, especially if there is a raft of different characters, it’s easy to lose track of who looks like what. So jot notes.
We’ll talk more on this in the future. Meanwhile, write comfortably. But write.
As we mentioned earlier, 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.
The Salt Man by Keith Rogers Gordon, has been reviewed by Eamonn Murphy of sfcrowsnest, and it can be found here: http://sfcrowsnest.info/the-salt-man-by-keith-rogers-gordon-ebook-review/
Tommy Hancock of 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/
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 copy of this catalog, please e-mail us at albanlake at yahoo dot com.
The 10th Great Lake Drabble Contest:
We’re now open. The guidelines are posted in our Guidelines option on the tool bar on the main page. The theme is Shapeshifter Brothel. Have fun!
Special Store Sale
We’re in the process of phasing out all back copies of Aoife’s Kiss [sf/f, some h] and Beyond Centauri [sf/f for younger readers]. All issues are now $1.00 each in our store, plus a modest S&H. You’ll have to browse for them. This sale will last until copies are exhausted, or on a date to be determined. It’s good sf/f for experienced readers and for younger ones.
Special Clearance Sale
Instead of browsing through the store for Aoife’s Kiss or Beyond Centauri, we have a special offer: 10 different issues of either magazine, at random, for $9.00 plus $6.00 S&H [which would be pretty much the actual shipping. To take advantage of this offer, please contact Karen Otto at evilbookworm at yahoo dot com, or myself at albanlake at yahoo dot com. Supplies are limited. No, seriously, they are.
Only the Lonely
We’re still looking for two or three more stories that deal in some way with loneliness or solitude. Science fiction or fantasy please; dark material is okay, but not horror. If you have something, send it to me at albanlake at yahoo dot com. RTF attachments, please. 3K-9K word count. If all goes well, we’ll release on 1 January 2018.
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.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND #18, OCTOBER 2017
Science fiction and fantasy are the staples of Outposts. This issue features stories by Karen & Bill Otto, Pedro Iniguez, Vaughan Stanger, and Tyree Campbell. Stories deal with everything from warfare to the afterlife, and stops in between. Robert E. Porter shares an article, and Betharyelle Taylor provides cover art titled “Wasteland.” Seasoned with poetry, including an epic by Kendall Evans. So step right up and place that order!
ILLUMEN #29, AUTUMN 2017
This issue features an article by Kendall Evans that discusses the history of a Chinese pirate, Ching Shih, who was basically the Mulan of the pirate world along the Chinese coast in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. Also featured are a pair of writers from India, Preeti Singh and N. Ramasubramani. Plus David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Lisa Timpf, Shelly Bryant, Marie Vibbert, and lots more. You’re not afraid of a little poetry…are you?
BLOODBOND #9, NOVEMBER 2017
And a Happy Hallowe’en to y’all! Now for the screaming… This issue of Bloodbond howls with “Little Howl on the Prairie” by Thomas Pluck and “Scruffy Dog” by D. S. Ullery. Patrice E. Sarath’s “Blood on the Snow” brings a poignant perspective to the dark side, while “Reverse Horror Story” by Mark Morgan might keep you awake for a while. Debby Feo releases a couple chomping stories, and Deborah Guzzi appalls and delights at the same time. Bring your own earplugs…
FROSTFIRE WORLDS #18, NOVEMBER 2017
This issue features “Red Monster” by Jessica Marie Baumgartner, “The Earth Groans” by Daniel R. Julian, and “When the Signal Ends” by Rebecca Linam, plus the timely “The Last House on Hallowe’en Night” by Gary W. Davis. Poetry by Lauren McBride and JD DeHart will amuse, and to top it off there’s Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert’s “Interview with the Faerie. Russian artist Viktor Led provides the cover art, and Vonnie Winslow Crist the interior illustrations. Trick or Treat…
THE MAD VISIONS OF AL-HAZRED, H. DAVID BLALOCK, ED.
The best-known bit of the Cthulhu Mythos, besides the name of the Old God itself, is a book supposedly penned by a mad Arab of the 8th Century, detailing the truth behind the Old Gods and how to deal with them, good or ill. Titled Kitab al-Azif by its author, the book became better known by its modern name The Necronomicon.
In this volume, we look at that author, known to us by the name Abdul al-Hazred. In these stories, based on Lovecraft’s mythos, we explore the facets of who he really was, his real name, his calling, and his eventual doom. We also discover how the entities spoken of in the al-Azif continue to exist and exert their onerous hold on humanity’s consciousness.
SPECIAL DRABBLE HARVEST #1
What stories do beings on other worlds tell their children? Find out in our Special Drabble Harvest #1, where the theme is “Alien Bedtime Stories.” In your face, Grimm Bros!
MONARCH OF LIGHTNING BY DANITH MCPHERSON
Clan conflicts drive a 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.
Her husband murdered, the pregnant Janvian seeks refuge in the Wilde. The power-mad mystic, Sage, has driven her there, in order that the lightning-charged air will turn her baby into a mystic and, eventually, a hereditary monarch. Sage plans to kill her and take the baby to raise for his own purposes. Janvian, who has temporarily abdicated her position as monarch, must reclaim her position within a year, or lose it forever. And her only hope for assistance lies with the Mirage Clan—which might not even exist!
A DANGER TO SELF AND OTHERS BY TYREE CAMPBELL
What is the difference between ordinary poetry and science fiction poetry? The answer to this question can be found in Tyree Campbell’s poetry collection, A Danger to Self and Others. Science fiction poetry, when it’s serious, has the entire cosmos to consider. And when it’s playful, it has the entire universe to play with. On the serious side, take a look at Campbell’s poem “Evolution,” which opens the collection. Or you want playful? Read his poem titled “How the Solar System Really Lost its Tenth Planet,” or “Garden Party.” And did I mention it has dragons? – from the Introduction by Kendall Evans.
INTO DARKNESS PEERING, TYREE CAMPBELL, ED.
The title comes from a line in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” Stories include “Resurrection Casserole” by Sarina Dorie; “Madame Astrofiammante’s Curiosity Shop” by Richard H. Durisen; “The Sound of Wood Burning” by Kendall Evans. Also featured are Bruce Boston, G. O. Clark, Jennifer Crow, Russell Hemmell, and many more. Should be read on 1 November 2017 for best effect…
THE BRIGSTOWE DRAGONS –DRAGON EGGS BY EAMONN MURPHY
In old Brigstowe, capital of Wessex, King Tobrytan has fallen under the influence of the evil sorcerer Kemshah and no one is safe. Rich and poor alike suffer heavy taxation and anyone who protests is a traitor. The dragons who protect the city are helpless because Kemshah has stolen their eggs and they dare not defy him.
Kenric is a telepath who works in the dragon caves. His father Alden, once a friend of the king, has been arrested on trumped up charges of treason and will be executed in three days. The young Kenric must somehow save his father and free Brigstowe from the tyrant’s yoke. His only hope lies with a band of outlaws and a stranger from a strange land.
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/
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?
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.
And we expect to be adding more each month.
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
Galaxy Jump by S. E. Shellcliffe. You got a kid named Sylvia and some critters known as the duckbutts, and an accidental space-time rift. What could go wrong? Planning on January.
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.
Candle and Pins by Jacqueline West. The subtitle is Poems on Superstitions. Be sure to carry some salt with you to throw over your shoulders at the black cat. And mind those ladders! February or March 2018.
The Brigstowe Dragons 2: Return of the Black Magician, by Eamonn Murphy. Hey, it’s dragons. What’s not to like? April 2018.
The Comfort of Screams by G. O. Clark. Poetry from a master of the unusual, the perspective not taken. March or April 2018.
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.
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 December, if not sooner.