An Anthology Release

Arterial BloomMy Snow White retelling “Rotten” is included in the Crystal Lake anthology Arterial Bloom was released a little early by Crystal Lake Publishing. This gorgeous book was edited by Bram Stoker award-winning author Mercedes M. Murdock. Kev Harrison, a reviewer at This Is Horror, penned a glowing review: “‘Rotten,’ by Carina Bissett borrows themes and motifs from a variety of well-known fairy tales, then knits them together into a beautiful tale of abuse and redemption. The descriptive language here is so stark, so stylised that it leaves a strong impression on the reader after the last page is turned.”

Snow White is one of those problematic fairy tales that I’ve explored more than once. Since April is National Poetry Month, it only seems right to share it here. My poem “Reflections” tackles this fairy tale from the stepmother’s point-of-view. This was originally published by Timeless Tales in the anthology Snow White: Issue 10, which features eleven Snow White retellings.

Reflections

Dining alone is an indulgence,
most women deny. They don’t
know the trick to it; the best
seat in the house is at
the center of the bar,

Snow Whitea high throne where one
can watch others watch one
in wall-length mirrors backed
by bottles filled with tonics
that decant our beauty.

Arms cradle roses red:
tiny white snowdrops
press against hooked thorns,
waxy leaves and crooked limbs
bound with dark ribbon.

I smile anyway,
reach for another martini,
like I don’t know already.
Gin bruised, ice cold, dry,
he tells me I’m beautiful.

This tale is a familiar one,
a preservative. The sword
is swift, again, he switches
from the recitation of his
portfolio to his daughter,

shy, in need of guidance.
Where is her mother,
I ask, but I know the answer.
The girl’s mother ran away
with a younger man.

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Vredenburg, Eric, editor. My Book of Favourite Fairy Tales. Jennie Harbour, illustrator. London: Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1921.

I’ve heard it over and over
again. The tale is familiar.
Daughters driving desperate
mothers away, not a pretty
story, the roses are deepening

to a dusky pink tinged with

darkest reds. I should meet her,
I say. Beauty banks on it.
My hand seduces. Smiles
are scimitars. Hair cloaks

bare shoulders like ravens
blackening. The look he gave
me I’ve known forever.
She won’t like you, he said,
you are her mother.

I am nothing like her mother,
I say, a lie of the darkest type.
Not only am I the girl’s mother,
I am also the girl.
It’s time we had a heart to heart.

“Reflections” by Carina Bissett. Copyright © 2018. Originally published in Snow White: Issue #10.

In other news, my popular generative writing workshop is open for registration. Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth starts back up in May. The topics for this section include “Little Match Girl” & Forest Fires, “The Riddle” & Poison, “Three Little Pigs” & Bacterial Weaponry,  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Magic Mushrooms and Depression, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” & Fake News, and “Koskei the Deathless” & Rejuvenation Research. I will also be opening stand-alone, self-paced modules. This first one will be out this month. It will be based on (you guessed it) Snow White. Best of all, this first self-paced module will be #free. Stay tuned!

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Craik, Dinah Maria Mulock. The Fairy Book. Warwick Goble, illustrator. London: Macmillan & Co., 1913.

 

Publication News

Terror at 5280I recently discovered that my story “The Gravity of Grace” is a finalist for the NESFA Short Story Contest. The winner will be announced BOSKONE 57 in February. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend to read, but a voice actor has been lined up to read a selection of my story. (On February 14, I will be hosting A Bloody Valentine, which will be held at Cottonwood Center for the Arts from 6:30-10 p.m. This event celebrates Women in Horror Month and is free and open to the public. )

HWA Showcase Volume VIA huge chunk of my time this year was spent teaching, but I did manage to publish a handful of poems and a couple of stories. The most recent publications include the poem “Lepus antilocapra,” which is included in the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VI, edited by Stephanie Wytovich, and my short story “Gaze with Undimmed Eyes and the World Drops Dead” is featured in Terror at 5280′ published by the Denver Horror Collective.

I have a few stories scheduled to come out early next year including the WILD-themed 2020 RMFW Anthology edited by Natasha Watts and Rachel Craft and the Arterial Bloom horror anthology edited by Mercedes Murdock Yardley and published by Crystal Lake Publishing. Other authors announced to date include Naching T. Kassa, Ken Liu, Jonathan Cosgrove, Christopher Barzak, John Boden, Jennifer Loring, Jimmy Bernard, Linda Marshall, Dino Parenti, and Armand Rosamilia. Cover art is by Todd Keisling.

Arterial Bloom

 

 

Bloody Valentine 2020

Life and Death.jpgI’ve been wanting to organize an event around Women in Horror Month for some time now. About six weeks ago, I simply decided to just do it. Just in case you didn’t know, women horror writers rule. They have created the most amazing and supportive community I’ve ever had the pleasure to be associated with, and I can’t wait to introduce some of my favorite writing poets, authors, and academics working in the field. This is going to be one hell of a party, folks. Grab your hats!

On Friday, February 14, 2020, the satellite chapter of HWAColorado will be hosting a Bloody Valentine event to celebrate #WomeninHorrorMonth. This event will be held at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts (427 E Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs) from 7-10 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Fiction is the focus in the main gallery with live and pre-recorded readings by L. C. Barlow, J. A. Campbell, Hillary Dodge, Angie Hodapp, Kate JonezGwendolyn Kiste, DeAnna Knippling, Shannon Lawrence, b.e. Scully, Angie Sylvaine, Sarah Read, and Mercedes Murdock Yardley. In the upstairs theater, the program includes poetry readings by Linda D. Addison, Andrea Blythe, Marge Simon, and Stephanie M. Wytovich. There will also be an academic segment featuring “Mapping the Collective Body of Frankenstein’s Brides” by Carina Bissett, a reading  by academic Alex Scully from the anthology Birthing Monsters: Frankenstein’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Cruelties,  an excerpt from Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson, and a presentation by the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference co-chair Michele Brittany. Additional programming upstairs is still being finalized.

Bloody Valentine signed booksWe have secured more than thirty-seven signed books by award-winning authors and editors nationwide to give away as door prizes. In addition to signed editions featuring all of the presenting authors and academics, a selection of other books collected so far include Uncommon Miracles by Julie C. Day, The Monstrous Feminine: Dark Tales of Dangerous Women published by Scary Dairy Press, Deadmen Walking and Death Doesn’t Bargain by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, The Manufacturer of Sorrow by Michelle Scalise, Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma, The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith, Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer, and The Line-up: 20 Provocative Women Writers, edited by Richard Thomas. Other authors and publishers who have committed to sending signed books include Hex Publishers, Lisa Morton, and Jeani Reactor at The Horror ‘Zine. The support for this event has been fabulous, and we’ve been receiving new signed books by authors each week.

To stay updated on this event, please consider Liking our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HWAColoSpgs/) and following us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CosHorror). You can also indicate your interest in attending on the event link (facebook.com/events/519546195564049/).

L0000339 Heart illustration, 18th century

Ladies of Horror Fiction Writers Grant

LOHFSo, this just happened: I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been awarded the inaugural Ladies of Horror Fiction (LOHF) Writers Grant, which was funded by indie author Steve Stred. I’m a fan of the Ladies of Horror Fiction, and I love the work they do to promote women horror writers. When I saw an announcement about the grant, I tossed completed my application and hoped for the best. I got that and so much more. Steve Stred funded the grant through the sales of his poetry collection The Night Crawls In. I love this idea, and I have decided to follow Steve’s example when I finally get around to publishing a poetry collection of my own.

the-night-crawls-in-steve-stredEvery year, I’ll be releasing a poetry collection, and my hope is to have an annual partnership with LOHF to deliver this grant. When I started to think of where I would want to donate pre-order proceeds towards, I first thought of an autism charity. My nephew Gabe has autism, and I thought it would be great to donate in that direction. But after chatting with my sister, she said it would be tough to make sure the money would actually be used towards something good, so she suggested looking for an after school cause or project. I looked around the area here, and found that most of the community groups were not very receptive towards teaming up. Not sure why, but all I received were standoffish phone calls, or cold email replies.

Then I thought about the writing community, and how I could do something to give back to such a warm, caring and fantastic group of people. I took a look around the various feeds I follow, and one group kept popping up time and time again, working hard to increase visibility for a group of writers who are often overlooked. So I approached the Ladies of Horror Fiction, and it was a go!

As I said previously, I want to make this an annual thing – to provide a LOHF Writers Grant every year, so I’ve already begun plotting next year’s release, and I’ll be reaching out to some other writers to see if they’d like to contribute, and help grow this thing even bigger!

So thanks to the awesome Ladies of Horror Fiction for being so kind to team up, and to all of you out there who will pre-order and help support an author – thank you! – Steve Stred, Ladies of Horror Fiction

 

StokerCon Recap

cropped-stokercon-2019More than 400 people attended StokerCon in Grand Rapids, securing its spot in HWA history. It was a whirlwind of panels and events, and I loved every minute of it. As part of my schedule, I presented my paper “Mapping the Collective Body of Frankenstein’s Brides” at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference coordinated by Nicholas Diak‎ and Michele Brittany. And Friday afternoon, I participated on a panel with Marge Simon and Lisa Morton on the HWA Scholarships. When I won the HWA Scholarship in 2016, it literally changed my life. I constantly urge others to apply for the amazing educational opportunities offered by the HWA, which made this particular panel especially meaningful.

StokerCon Donna Munro Gwendolyn Kiste Carina BissettI also had the good fortune to meet Gwendolyn Kiste, author of The Rust Maidens and the winner of the Stoker for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Along with Donna Munro and April Grey, Gwendolyn participated in the discussion on Fairy Tales: A Child’s Introduction to Horror, which I moderated. Hansel & Gretel, Baba Yaga, and Tam Lin were the favorites by far; Gwendolyn and I even snuck in a side discussion on Angela Carter’s fairy tales, which are definitely not written for children.

David E Cowen Carina BissettAlthough poetry is normally an outlier in these events, there was a strong interest in the form evidenced by full rooms of poetry reader and writers attending the panels Writing to Prompts: Prose, Poetry, and Sources of Inspiration and the Weird Poetry Panel: Weird, Horror & Otherwise Speculative Poetry. Buy my favorite poetry-related event at StokerCon was the Poetry Open Mic on Friday night. Poets of all levels were able to share their work. Highlights included readings by renowned poets Linda D. Addison, Karen Bovenmyer, Kyla Ward, Randy D. Rubin, Angela Yuriko Smith, and David E. Cowen, who was also a nominee for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection and my dining companion at the banquet on Saturday night.

Carina and Karen Stokercon 2019The awards banquet is always a stunning affair, and this year was no different. I celebrated in style with Marge Simon, Linda D. Addison, Stoker nominees David E. Cowen, Angela Yuriko Smith, Kyla Ward, and other new and old friends alike. It was a thrill to watch the Bram Stoker Awards handed out and to see the changing of the guard as John Palisano stepped into the role as HWA President. But perhaps even more exciting than that was the announcement that StokerCon 2021 will be held in Denver, Colorado. I look forward to welcoming all of the wonderful people involved in HWA to my home state alongside the other Colorado committee members Hillary Raque Dodge, Dean Wyant, and Lawrence Berry, who is also the president of the HWA Colorado Chapter. We can’t wait to share what we have in store for you!

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

MOA_logo2019_invertOn April 27, I will be participating in the annual Mountain of Authors event hosted by the Pikes Peak Library District. The event will be held at Library 21C (1175 Chapel Hills Drive) in Colorado Springs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop for a fairy tale poetry prompt, limited edition chapbooks, and more. Friends of the Pikes Peak Library will have a few anthologies featuring my work available for purchase including Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Stonecoast Review Issue 9, HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VDreamspinning: Award Nominees from Nonbinary Reviewand Birthing Monsters: Frankenstein’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Cruelties.

cropped-stokercon-2019In May, I will be at StokerCon. This annual event, presented by the Horror Writers Association, will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from May 9 to May 12.  I will be presenting “Fragmenting the Female in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” on Friday, May 10 at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference on the Myth and Femininity panel, which is scheduled from 9-10:30 am. I will also be on the HWA Scholarship Panel (with Marge Simon and Lisa Morton) from 12-1 pm. On Saturday, you can find me moderating the panel Fairy Tales: A Child’s Introduction to Horror from 10-11 am on Saturday with panelists April Grey, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Donna Wagonblast Munro. And I will be reading in Block 27 with Lucy A. Snyder and Janice Leach from 5-6 pm. See you there!

Poetry Publication

DantesInfernoCoverV3-5.5x8.5My poem “OH MAD ARACHNE: A Folle in Three Acts” is included in NonBinary Review #19 Dante’s Inferno, which was published by Zoetic Press in December 2018. This one came out in a wild rush of words, quite unlike my normal process of writing poetry. It’s based on the story of Arachne, just a tale of a woman tearing another woman down. Let’s just say I have no love for Artemis.

Arachne is mentioned in “Inferno” in relation to Geryon (Canto XVII). On a side note, Geryon is Medusa’s grandson and Medusa is yet another woman who was cursed by a goddess, only this time it was Athena. (Go figure.) My inspiration came from the Gustave Doré’s image of “Arachne,” from the 12th Canto of Dante’s “Purgatory” (see below).  However, when I realized Arachne was actually in Purgatory, not Inferno, I’d already written this poem. Luckily, my editor Lise Quintana loved it anyway and decided to include it in this marvelous issue. Enjoy!

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 “Arachne” by  Gustave Doré