How to Become a Gargoyle in Two Easy Steps: Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, October 2019

Illustration by Fran Eisemann as it was created for CRES for Stemple’s “Still Life” using public domain and creative commons images.

Happy belated Halloween, my darklings!

Hands down and without any doubt whatsoever, this is my absolute favorite time of year. The cooling weather, the scent of fall hanging in the air, the rustling of dried leaves in the breeze, and the marathon of both good and terrible horror films on every platform are just some of the small signs that several days of awesomeness are on their way. Both the Celtic Samhain, Norse Álfablót, and the Día de los Muertos celebrations start on October 31 and run through November 2, leaving me in shadowy bliss for three whole days.


Oh, the Things that Dead Mages Say: Tales from the Magician’s Skull #3

Hello, my darklings!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the best-laid plans, eh?

Forgive me if I heave a massive sigh but, with all that’s been going on in my personal life lately, it’s becoming clear that I need to do a few things on easy mode for a bit instead of giving myself more work than I have hours in the day to complete. It’s terrible to have all these great ideas and intentions (at least, they’re great to me) and not enough time to get them done! During the week, I work at my usual day job and, on weekends, I work a second job as a painting instructor. I also review regularly for Tangent Online (TO) and I have my own trilogy that I’m trying to finish, as you can see on the upcoming works page.

Although, I must admit that things have changed since I first announced the release of Beneath a Red Hunter’s Moon. At that point, I was still on track for telling this story in a single novel but as I continue to write, the story continues to grow. It’s becoming clear that one book isn’t going to be enough. Not unless you’re into books that are 1,500 pages long, that is, which I’m guessing most of you aren’t, since it’s not a popular option in the publishing world. I’ll update that page here in a bit.


A Wish, Some Grish, & Fiery Fish: Cirsova, Winter 2019

Cirsova Winter 2019Hello, my darklings!

Sigh…

The best-laid plans, eh? I had wanted to have this particular review finished and posted by September 7 but that (obviously) did not happen. Suffice it to say that I’m a bit late getting this up and, for that, I sincerely apologize.

Still, it’s a good day here in Texas. I’m sitting here in the living room with my laptop, cup of coffee in hand (yes, I know it’s the middle of the afternoon…don’t judge me), while a beautiful storm rages outside. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about reading (or, in this case, writing about) fantasy and science fiction while lightning arcs across the sky just beyond the window glass.

On the downside, the dogs don’t share my enthusiasm for the storm. The thunder has all four of them packed around me and my lap desk like sardines right now. Then again, it’s three Chihuahuas and a Miniature Pinscher and they don’t take up much room.


Folklore & Theses: Beneath Ceaseless Skies #279 Review

BCS coverHello, my darklings!

Sigh….

I’m just going to say it right now. I have been very lax. Between finishing my thesis novel for my MFA, other coursework and my day job, I’ve not had much time to work on the website here.

But that’s all changing…I graduated!

Yes, I have completed the MFA in Creative Writing and can finally take a few desperately needed breaths. I’m still going to be working on the novel that has been my thesis for these last two years but I at least am not as crunched for time. And, if all goes well, I’ll still be on for a release date of late November. I mean, the feedback I received from my graduate panel was good and very constructive but, based on their suggestions, I clearly still have work to do before it’s ready for a proper edit with a good editor.


Going Native & Other Stories

Going Native Cover of man and woman melting into each otherHello, my darklings!

I must confess; I have fallen behind. Life has held me captive in her iron grip these last several weeks. Of course, that’s not to say that I haven’t been writing reviews. Quite the contrary, actually! I just haven’t had a chance to get them posted here.

It’s time to remedy that! So, without further ado…

Early in June 2018, I had the opportunity to review the 8th issue of Cirsova Magazine. If you’re not familiar with Cirsova, they tend to run fantasy and science fiction stories that are a bit outside the norm, which is one of the reasons I really like them. Among the nine stories presented in that issue, one happened to be “Going Native” by J. Manfred Weichsel. It was a tale that I found particularly enjoyable. When Mr. Weichsel contacted me to review his newly published collection of stories Going Native & Other Stories, which includes the titular “Going Native,” I was thrilled to do so.

Also, I meant to have this review up much earlier than this but, well, things didn’t quite work out that way.


Feel the Love: Fiction River #31

Magazine cover with title and black heartHello, my darklings!

A bit of news, then the review!

First, in the coming weeks, I’m going to take the advice of a colleague of mine and turn these short posts announcing the Tangent Online reviews into a supplementary review here as well. So you’ll see that happening, soon. I’m also going to be writing more “craft of fiction” articles over the next few months, ideally one per week right now. I’ve got one ready to go now that just needs a touch more editing before I post it. But it’s coming!

Anywho…

The 31st issue of Fiction River is out! This particular anthology, edited by Mark Leslie, is focused on love in all it many forms. Most of the stories were absolutely fantastic, others not so much. Still, I really enjoyed reading it.

For specifics, please see my full review over at Tangent Online.  You can click the link below and it’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

Fiction River #31: Feel the Love Review, published on TangentOnline.com on April 16, 2019.


Penanggalans, Pontianaks, and Were-Crocs, Oh My! (Strange Horizons – April 1, 2019)

Hello, my darklings!

The first edition of Strange Horizons came out today!

I have to say that I really enjoyed this issue. The focus in Nin Harris’ story “What Cradles Us But Will Not Set Us Free” is all on Malaysian folklore, with a really unique look at traditional Malay monsters. If you’re not familiar with the concept, the penanggalan is a type of female vampire. By day, she’s a normal woman but, by night, her head detaches from her body and goes in search of food—usually children—dragging her entrails behind her. A woman can become a penanggalan by choice and, in this tale, Harris gives us an interesting look at how a transformation can occur.

For specifics, please see my full review over at Tangent Online.  You can click the link below and it’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

April 1, 2019 Strange Horizons Review, published on TangentOnline.com on April 1, 2019.


Weirdbook Annual #2: The 3rd Cthulhu Mythos Megapack

Hello, my darklings!

Up for your viewing pleasure at Tangent Online is the latest issue of Weirdbook Annual.  I’ve reviewed another anthology edited by Douglas Draa which I really enjoyed. Not so much this time, though.  I’m not going to lie; most of the stories in this anthology were a miss for me.  That being said, there were a few that were well worth reading, such as Darrell Schweitzer’s “The Hutchinson Boy” and Franklyn Searight’s “Cellar Dweller.”

For specifics, please see my full review over at Tangent Online.  You can click the link below and it’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

Weirdbook Annual #2: The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack Review, published on TangentOnline.com on March 16, 2019.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies #272

BCS coverHello, my darklings!

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #272 arrived for your viewing pleasure on February 28, 2019.  This week, it features work by Nin Harris and R.K. Duncan.  Both stories are really quite good! Like most issues of BCS, there is a theme that unites the editor’s selections and this time, it’s the magic of water.  You’ll find mermaids and doors that lead through death to hidden answers.  Great stuff!

Click on the link below to read my full review, written for Tangent Online.  It’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #272 Review, published on TangentOnline.com on March 6, 2019.


The Artificial Man and Other Stories by Clare Winger Harris

Hello, my darklings!

Of all the assignments I’ve received from David Truesdale at Tangent Online, this was one I really looked forward to writing.

For those of you who don’t know Clare Winger Harris, I am very excited to introduce you to her here.  She wrote scientifiction (now called science fiction) and published under her own name at a time when women writers were usually forced to do so under a man’s name.  Not only that, her works greatly influenced the creators of Superman, then just high schoolers, and her story “The Ape Cycle” was the basis for the well-loved franchise The Planet of the Apes!

If you love science fiction, I highly recommend checking out this book.

For specifics, please see my full review over at Tangent Online.  You can click the link below and it’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

The Artificial Man and Other Stories Review, published on TangentOnline.com on February 25, 2019.