Another of my Swancon 2010 purchases, Scary Kisses was launched with cupcakes and readings by contributing authors. Not only was there a lot of promise in those snippets, the cover was gorgeous and it promptly went into my stash – and to the top of my very, very, very large to-read pile.
Liz Grzyb has compiled a fabulous collection of paranormal stories about love. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, elder gods, witches, dragons and unnamed evil all get a place to shine, or lurk. Some of the stories worked better for me than others, as always happens in any anthology, but the whole ensemble is a fine dish of literate goodies!
Standouts for me were:
Felicity Dowker’s “Bread and Circuses”, a dark, disturbing, moving story of love after the zombie apocalypse
Ian Nichols’ “Fade Away” pleased me by delivering an ending I wasn’t expecting
I find I want to read more set in the world created by Angela Slatter and L.L. Hannett in “The February Dragon”
Kyla Ward’s “Cursebreaker: The Welsh Widow and the Wandering Wooer” demonstrated a refreshing and lively prose style, and is another one with potential for a whole universe of fascinating stories
My fondness for “Date with a Vampire” by Annette Backshall bloomed the instant the heroine refused to play her part, and the Perth setting was nice. Let’s see more paranormal fiction set in Australia, folks!
D.C. White’s “Pride and Tentacles” is just the right fluffy bit of fun to round off the collection and for some reason I find I’m not the least bit surprised by Cthulu’s choice of book.
There’s a lot of great work coming out of Australian small presses at the moment, and Western Australian seems to be leading the charge with its SF and fanasy publishers, like Twelfth Planet Press and Triconeroga Publications. The latter has published Scary Kisses and it’s worth checking both publishers out for their back catalogue and upcoming books. In the meantime, buy Scary Kisses and support Australian small press, not because it’s Australian, but because it’s great.
I’ve just completed the first draft of a new short story, called ‘So hard to find good help’. It’s a vampire story, of course. The trouble is, it started out as a comic horror story, and ended up a gruesome little drama. In the rewrite I will have to find a way to make it sit as a drama, and then change the name. Or maybe I can up the humour, and keep the title. It’s a bit frustrating when stories go and change their sub genre on you without your permission.
It’s fun writing short stories again, though. I haven’t done it in nearly 20 years. My first attempt at it after the long hiatus, a zombie story called ‘The Truth About Brains” was picked up by a Canadian anthology, ‘Best Zombie Tales” and will be published in volume 2 later this year. My current plan is to write another four or so short stories, on horror/humour themes to submit to an Australian small press. I’d really like to work with them, but I don’t really have very long before the deadline, so I’ll have to wait and see if I produce enough material that is good enough to submit to them.
I’m also trying to cover some of the horror monsters I haven’t dealt with yet. I have a werewolf and a mummy story in mind, and I am trying to pull together some ideas for a ghost story of some description. Though I did write a play that was a ghost story once, and perhaps it would lend itself to prose. Hmmm.
I lived in Egypt in the early 1990s, when my husband and I taught English as a Foreign Language at a school in Cairo. When we left after two years (to go to Poland), as a farewell present I was given a watch which had the numbers in Arabic lettering. The strap was a slightyly odd design so when it broke the first time it was a bit tricky to replace it. Over the years it broke several times, and eventually a replacement couldn’t be found. I hung onto it for sentimental reasons but it sat in a cupborard.
Then my friend Mary began making jewellery. I gave her the watch and asked her to use her imagination, and this is what she made for me.
It’s so wonderful to have this memento of my life in Egypt made into a new memory, incorporating my friend’s creative gifts and her thoughtfulness in appling her talent and imagination to something that was meaningful to me. I also love the solidity of it, the weight of it against my skin, as though the memories associated with it have become more tangible.
If you like this, please visit Mary’s Etsy page, Subtle Lunacies. She gave me the pendant as a gift, and I would like to thank her by encouraging everyone to discover her work. Mary is also the author the The Wolf House series, the YA vampire series I so often plug on my blog.