I don’t often write stories for specific submission calls, but every now and then I take a stab at it. I originally wrote “Aviatrix Unbound” as a contribution for a robot dinosaur publication a couple of years ago. The entirety of my knowledge when it comes to dinosaurs was gleaned from the 1988 animated movie The Land Before Time, so it took a little research to figure out what the hell to write about. I submitted in the final minutes, and it was accepted the same day. (Yay!) But a year later, the publication faltered and then sputtered out. (It happens.) And, there I was with a funky little story and nowhere to send it. After all, dinosaur robots are a pretty specialized subject.
Some time later, I saw a call from ParsecInk for the yearly Triangulation anthology. The theme was Extinction. It just so happens that I was on a kick about endangered species and extinct birds when I originally wrote “Aviatrix Unbound.” In the story, my robot dinosaur evolves into a simurgh and is on a mission to travel through time to save extinct birds. In all honesty, I just wanted to save the Carolina parakeet, a fabulous little bird known to be poisonous. Just like that, it all lined up.
I loved writing this piece, so I’m especially pleased that it found a home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Today, my first translated story has been released into the wild! My weird fairy tale mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” is titled “A Seed Planted,” and it was originally published in the anthology Hath No Fury in August 2018. On request, I sent this to the fabulous acquisitions editor Edward Lipsett, who then forwarded it to Akira Okawada, an editor of Night Land Quarterly (NLQ)
magazine. It just so happened that this piece fit the theme for Volume 21: “The Fantasy of Sky Realms.” My story was translated by the well-known speculative fiction translator Ottojiro Machikane, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see it reach a new audience. (Isn’t the cover beautiful?) Needless to say, I’m over the moon!
The table of contents features a pretty fabulous line-up:
Edgar Allan Poe: The Balloon Hoax
Ernest Hemingway: A Paris-to-Strasbourg Flight Shows Living Cubist Picture
Hugo Hall: The Other Side of the Castle of the Pyrenees Adam-Troy Castro: Red Rain Carina Bissett: A Seed Planted Alan Baxter: Crow Shine
M. John Harrison: Lords of Misrule
Margery Lawrence: The Man Who Walked on the Air
None of this would have happened, however, without the guidance of my mentor and friend Angela Slatter. If you ever have the opportunity to work with her, I can assume you that Angela’s wisdom is worth it’s weight in gold. I’ve had several of my stories critiqued through her Flensing Factory over the years. Each experience has been a master class on everything from plot development to character connections. If you’re not quite ready for an editor, you can still pick up a ton of information on her blog. She has several tidbits of practical advice in her recent column “What to Do When You Don’t Have a Book Coming Out.” It is great list of the ways you can diversify as a writer, and one of those items just happens to be about reprints (including translations). I highly suggest you read it.
That’s it for now. It’s pretty wonderful, isn’t it?
Hello everyone! I hope your summer is off to a good start. This is the last call for summer workshops at The Storied Imaginarium. There are only two seats open for the next course of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth. Both spots are in the workshop that starts on next Thursday (6/4). If you are looking for face-to-face interaction through scheduled online meetings, deadlines to help you generate new work, and additional craft gleaned through critique, this workshop might be for you. The dates and times for this course are as follows:
Thursday in the United States and Canada: 4-6:30 EDT/ 5-7:30 pm MDT/6-8:30 CDT/7-9:30 EDT (6/4, 6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/6)
Friday in Australia: 9-11:30 am AEST (6/5, 6/12, 6/19, 6/26, 7/3, 7/10, 7/17, 7/24, 7/31, 8/7)
The Summer workshop will be ten weeks long and include six modules. The maximum word count will be 3,000 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of two weeks. Workshops will begin the first week of June and will run through the first of August. The price is $500 with a 10% discount for returning participants.
The modules for Summer 2020 will be:
“Brother and Sister” & Gene Editing
“Jack and the Beanstalk” & Greenhouse Gas
“Bremen Town Musicians” & Ageism
“Godfather Death” & Transhumanism
“Donkeyskin” & Fatal Fashion
“The Ballad of Mulan” & Cross-dressing and Gender Expression
REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at email@example.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $500, payable to firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.
I was one of the co-editors of this fabulous anthology of the possible and unsubstantiated in support of RAICES. I also have a story included along with a whole host of fabulous authors including Nathan Ballingrud, Gregory Norman Bossert, Karen Bovenmyer, Christopher Brown, Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, Michael J Deluca, Gemma Files, A.T. Greenblatt, Nin Harris, Chip Houser, James Patrick Kelly, Marianne Kirby,Kathrin Köhler, Matthew Kressel, Jordan Kurella, Premee Mohamed, Sarah Read, Sofia Samatar, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Steve Toase, and A.C. Wise.
Want more weird dreams? If you purchase the Weird Dream Society anthology, let us know via Twitter (tagging @Weirddreamsociety1 #weirddreamsociety) or post to our FB page (https://www.facebook.com/weirddreamsociety) and one of the authors in the anthology–selected at random–will send you a postcard with some of their actual words written on the back.
My 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.
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,
a 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.
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.
In other news, my popular generative writing workshop is open for registration. Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth starts back up in June. 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!
I 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. )
A 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’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.
We 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.
So, 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.
Every 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
More 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.
I 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.
Although 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.
The 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!
In 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!