Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 8

Rather than tooting my own horn yet again, I thought I'd mention this excellent crime anthology I've been reading. I'm about a hundred pages in and haven't hit a clunker yet. I'll probably review it elsewhere when I've actually finished it, but I really like the mix of famous names, not famous names and dark to light selections. It's got me thinking about authors I'd heard of though hadn't read yet, as well as given me a keen interest in the up and comers.
I think one of the key things about crime short stories is that they are such great examples of storytelling. They're never slight in the way that even good 'literary fiction' can be slight, because by definition in a crime novel, something has to have happened

Check it out. I got my copy through Book Depository . Although they're currently out of stock, they're usually pretty prompt about getting more in if there's a demand.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Carpathian Shadows

It's been several years now since these anthologies came out, but I got the usual friendly email about royalties from Rob Preece, publisher of Books for a Buck, the other day, and thought it would be a good time to mention this collection in which I have a story, partly because it's taken me awhile to put anything up on this blog, and partly because the process here was kind of interesting.  

My involvement with the project came about through having just taken part in the Muse Online Writers Conference created by the fabulous and really rather amazing Lea Schizas. I'll try to write that up soon, but if you have a little time to give to it in the beginning of October, this free writers conference has some great stuff going for it. Anyway, at the end of the conference, Lea posted a call for submissions for a new anthology. She gave the basic premise, and people were asked to submit stories around this idea. I noticed just now that an Amazon reviewer, Victor J. Banis, gives a concise account of the parameters:

This is a theme-anthology, horror stories with a bit of a twist. The visitors to the Cornifu Hotel, deep in the Carpathians Mountains of Transylvania, are individually invited for a free one day bus excursion to nearby Erdely Castle, said to be haunted. Each story is about a different group of travelers to visit the castle. And with that setting and that common theme, one can rightly expect vampires and ghosts and werewolves--just about all those things that go bump in the night show up here.

As it turned out, there were enough contributors to create two volumes, so that is what happened. My story ended up in Volume Two. In retrospect, the Volumes One and Two idea might not have been the best, as the stories are all standalones and don't have to be read in any particular order.

I am not really a horror story writer, or reader, although I love both Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as some tales from Poe. So my story didn't turn out to be particularly horrific, though I think it's still a pretty good tale.

As with most anthologies of this sort, there was some help with promotion expected, and although I can't now remember what I did in that line, we did all 'show up' one night at a live chat room and chatted with people about the book. I didn't really get to know the people from the first volume, but the writers in the second group were a nice bunch, and I even took a course from one of my co-authors, Kristin Johnson, on short screenplays at the next year's Muse conference which was very good.

Should you be interested, the books are available at the above mentioned Books for a Buck  (this link is to volume 2), and I just happened to notice and recall that my blogging pal has his review of my story linked there. He was kind enough to write a complimentary take on it. And if you do like horror, you should definitely check out his novel at Lyrical Press, where it is available in various ebook formats.