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Warmed and Bound
So it has come to pass that The Velvet has finally put together an anthology. It is called Warmed and Bound. Since you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, I will give some backstory…
The Velvet started out as the forum for author Will Christopher Baer (Kiss Me, Judas and Godspeed, et al.), which immediately sprang to life and grew to include Craig Clevenger (The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria, et al.), and soon after Stephen Graham Jones (Demon Theory and It Came From Del Rio, et al.). I was the 18th person to join the site, if I remember correctly, and also remember becoming wholly addicted to the site and the other Velveteers (a phrase I actually coined; I say this only because I am proud of myself for that fact) — this was before Facebook and Twitter.
The site become a sanctuary for fans and other writers to conspire and collaborate. I remember we had a competition thread, where we would publish links to anything we had published, and we’d race to fill the thread with evermore links. The Velvet is where I got my first real education when it came to writing. The Velvet is where I got my biggest flux of inspiration.
Over time, I drifted apart to work on other projects. Occasionally I’d pop back in and say something, but it was never really the same. I was always welcome there (The Velvet Warms and Binds…), but the issue was really me. I guess I’d been gone so long that I didn’t feel like I could give the site as much love as it deserves. It is more than just a site, actually. It is a living, breathing, feeding thing. It is a community unlike any other I have encountered. And it will always be my first love, internetically speaking.
Now that you have the long and short of it, I am pleased to announce that The Velvet has finally put together an anthology (it would seem our competition thread was not good enough, and rightly so). The aptly named Warmed and Bound will be available FRIDAY JULY 22nd for $15.95 on amazon.com (ebook details forthcoming). It features works from Craig Clevenger, Stephen Graham Jones, Chris Deal, Sean P. Ferguson, Anthony David Jacques, and about an assload of other excellent writers. It also features a foreward by Steve Erickson (author of Zeroville and others). I don’t think I need to say how badass this book is going to be.
So by all means, buy this thing and read your face off. It will not let you down. If you trust in anyone, trust in your good old Uncle Daniel. I never give book recommendations, so you know this one’s the real deal. And again, if you want to join the best forum of all time, get thine ass to http://www.welcometothevelvet.com, and for the book’s website: http://warmedandbound.com.
What they said about Tablet & Pen:
So we just got around to collecting all the praise for Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes of the Modern Middle East – A Words Without Borders Anthology edited by Reza Aslan
“Strapping … smart, sensitive.” —Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post
“A stunning rebuke to the argument that there’s a clash of civilizations [and] shows how
we can move beyond politics.” —Oscar Villalon, The Daily Beast
“Compulsively readable….This is a treasure house; a worthwhile attempt at canonizing
20th-century central-Islamicate writing.” - Robin Yassin-Kassab, Financial Times
“An invaluable selection of writing….Aslan’s anthology illuminates the soul and
imagination of a region now inflamed by revolution” —Anna Mundow, Boston Sunday
“That sense of literature as connective is the animating spirit of Tablet & Pen… the
book uses the work of 59 authors to make a strong case for the power of fiction, poetry
and essays to connect us at the level of the heart. This is the triumph of Tablet & Pen, to
connect us at the level of our humanity, no matter where we may be from.”—David L.
Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“An enormous and impressive anthology of 20th-century Middle Eastern literature.
It all hangs together exceedingly well, and the carefully conceived scaffolding is in
service of some extraordinary literature. An impressive success that spans vast regions of time and territory, this is that rare anthology: cohesive, affecting, and informing.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review
“An attempt to illuminate and share a maligned culture through art….Tablet & Pen
becomes a project in self-understanding, a discussion among Middle Eastern writers
about their worlds and their art.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Sweeping in style, content, form…. [An] impressive variety of short stories, poems,
essays.” —Associated Press
“A provocative and illuminating survey of poems, short stories, novels, memoirs,
essays and drama that allows us to glimpse the previously unseen faces of the Middle
East…Tablet & Pen is a literary banquet with so many astonishing dishes that we can
hardly complain there are not yet more on the table.” —Jonathan Kirsh, The Jewish
“Provides an exquisite glimpse into life behind a century of headlines — in cafes and
kitchens, schools and jails. We witness poverty and hierarchy, love and murder, family
devotion and rape, humble pastoral settings and brutal violence…It brings us worlds that are new, yet ring familiar, immersing us, in the way that only good writers can, in others’ tales and making them our own….This work not only brings us up to date on the region, it reminds us of literature’s vital link to identity.”—N.S. Morris, Los Angeles Review of Books
“This looks to be the book to have on this subject if you can only have one. Essential for
all academic libraries—an entire literature course could easily be built around this one
book—yet highly recommended for general readers as well.”—Forest Turner, Library
“Just to hold it is to feel in the possession of something remarkable, even transgressive: a history of the Middle East that rejects the stories created by the west to justify incursions, or soothe consciences, and instead asserts a new story, told by Middle Easterners themselves and in the most beautiful terms.”—The National
“The anthologist’s job is about creating borders, be they historical, formal, chronological etc. As an editor, Aslan makes a double music as he pushes against the notion of border and statehood imposed by the West, while using the historical reality of partition and colonialism to bring forward the very specific ideas of exile and isolation that recur in almost all of the poems and stories in this book.”—Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Guernica
“Many truths are brought to life in this remarkably energetic and gloriously multicultural
volume from a crucial part of the world” —Donna Seaman, Booklist
“The aim of this book is to provide a different, more authentic perception of this rich andcomplex region, an image not fashioned by the descriptions of invaders, but rather one that arises from the diverse literatures of its most acclaimed poets and writers …And it is not only the authors who are a revelation but the translators as well, including Kieran, Sholeh Wolpé, Basharat Peer, Edouard Roditi, and Erdag Göknar. Great translators are almost as rare as great writers, and it is a joy to see so many of them represented in one volume.” —Brooke Allen, The Barnes and Noble Review
“The book argues that the long-imposed colonial vision of the Middle East as exotic,
savage and erotic continues to shape the way the West understands the region. It
asks readers to instead examine the depictions of the region through the words of its
residents…The beauty of these direct sources is in their rawness, which allows the
reader to draw their own conclusions…Reading the literary flair of these authors, whose
writings are largely unknown in the UK, makes this book a must-read.”—Hannah
“There is a wealth of wonders here. I know hardly anything of any of the authors whose
work can be found in the pages of this rich and beautiful book: and there¹s nothing so
exciting to me as a sense of literary discovery.” — The Times of London
Defy the Dark Anthology: Win a Review Copy!
[Update: this contest is now closed (the winner was MITAUKANO), but stay tuned for more fun and giveaways in the future!]
Today was a happy package day! The UPS guy brought me a box of ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) of Defy the Dark, an upcoming anthology featuring 16 stories by critically-acclaimed and bestselling YA authors and 1 by a super talented teen writer, all of us exploring things that happen in the dark.
My story, “The Moth and the Spider,” is about a girl named Cali whose suicide plans are interrupted by a wrong number caller.
Other authors include Carrie Ryan, Aprilynne Pike, Jon Skovron, and Saundra Mitchell, just to name a few! Published by HarperTeen, the book hits the shelves this June. But I’m giving away an ARC to one lucky follower (with a U.S. mailing address) this weekend! All you have to do is follow this tumblr and then like or reblog this post to enter. I’ll select a winner at random this Saturday night.
Granta's Best of Young American Novelists 2
I recently received a copy of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists 2. And though I haven’t started reading it yet, I am looking forward to diving in. I was a little disappointed that Nell Freudenberger made the cut. I thought Lucky Girls was mediocre at best - but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt with her sophomore effort. Besides, she seems to fit nicely into the the context of the other writers: Americans seem conflicted about where they stand relative to the rest of the world. As Edmund White, who was a judge, noted (taken from the Introduction by Ian Jack) “what might be called the Peace Corps novel, written about the encounter of the young privileged American within the developing world. Often his idealism is sorely tested by cynical insurgents or by poorer but more worldly foreigners.”
Although I will wait to read the selections before I more thoroughly pass judgment, I can’t help but be a little cynical myself - one, of how the books were chosen (by a panel who solicited books from publishers, agents, etc.) and two, of how the selection seems to have a theme, a statement, that I can’t help but think is a bit elitist, academic and not about America or an American sensibility, nor is it about writing - despite how good the writers are or will become. But again, I don’t want to jump to conclusions…
Image from my contribution to Solipsistic Pop #4
This post is probably going to make the most sense to the artists out there, but does anyone experience soul crushing fear when drawing their comic for an anthology? I do. God, always. Pretty much every time I get invited to submit work for an anthology it leaves me confused, grumpy, and self aware of all my faults.
Why? Well, with anthologies your strip is only as good as the one it follows or precedes. That’s a terrifying and perhaps an unfair prospect, especially when more often than not the work is so varied within anthologies. Your work is being judged against other people’s, literally from page to page. It’s unsettling to think that work that is good, funny and enjoyable in its own context can be torn down and dismissed because someone “liked the other dude’s work better” or “that person draws better houses” or whatever.
(I know that’s a little unfair; you read an anthology because you like the subject or the people behind it, not because you enjoy ripping into people’s work in some Simon Cowell-esque judgemental nightmare - but that’s how it feels to me as a creator.)
(oh god, you know I’ve just worked it out, I’m terrified that this guy…
…is reading everything I do.)
I bring this up as the past few days I’ve been working on my entry for the fourth issue of Solipsistic Pop, a brilliant comic anthology that I’ve appeared in twice already and still for the life of me can’t spell the title correctly on the first go. The line up is stupid good and full of young bright eyed talented types, it’s the sort of line up that makes you want to do your best work, y’know. You don’t want to be “the shit one” in a line up like that. So, naturally this week I’ve had a bit of a crisis of faith with my artistic abilities, second guessing my contribution to the anthology and having such a bad time drawing it I started over…twice. It’s only a one page strip, I’m sure if it was two pages I would have had a complete breakdown. I know deep down that this a good thing; that this fear is actually a desire to do good work and produce a strong strip and I am pleased with my comic, I just have no idea how it’ll fit within the context of the anthology. But I have faith in Editor Humbers that he wouldn’t let my strip get past the gate if it wasn’t good enough.
New livejournal post!
Sarah made a post on her livejournal today announcing she has another anthology called Truth & Dare which released in the United States today and is out in the UK next month!
A review form Kirkus reads: ”Truth-telling can be dangerous, as anyone knows who’s traveled the angst-filled terrain of adolescence. With remarkably few exceptions, the short stories in this collection exemplify the best of the form, drawing readers immediately into the lives of characters who confront the hard truths of alienation, love, trauma and sex. Some are humorous, like Sarah Rees Brennan’s “The Young Stalker’s Handbook,” about two girls’ comical encounter with a good-looking boy in a fast-food restaurant, and the editor’s own contribution, “Scrambled Eggs,” told entirely in Tweets. Others are unsettling, like Sherry Shahan’s “Iris and Jim,” a vividly weird story of love between two anorexics, or Matthue Roth’s lush and startling “Girl Jesus on the Inbound Subway,” about a Russian-American boy in Philadelphia who follows a girl from the train. Saundra Mitchell’s “The Last Will and Testament of Evan Todd” is the powerful story of a boy reclaiming his life after an icy drowning. A girl auditioning for school play [sic] finds success where she least expects it in Heidi R. Kling’s “Headgear Girl,” while Emma Donoghue’s “Team Men” gives the Biblical story of David and Jonathan a modern twist as two soccer players explore their homosexuality. Fans of Ellen Wittlinger and Gary Soto will be pleased to find them included in this edgy anthology for teens who dare to face the sometimes-ugly truths of life.”
Sarah also talks about diversity in YA and the struggle it can be to include POC and LGBTQ teens. She talks about a number of people, herself included, who had to fight to get their characters included.
You can read the whole post, and share your thoughts, right here.
Book of the day: The Wicked Wood (Tales from the Tower vol.2) edited by Isobelle Carmody & Nan McNab
From the story ‘Seventy-two Derwents’ by Cate Kennedy:
Mrs Carlyle has given us all exercise books and said we are going to try to keep a journal this term. This is mine. She says it’s better if we don’t feel self-conscious so we don’t have to put our names on the journals. They will be anonymous. She says she would just like to read them.
Mrs Carlyle has two budgies, a boy and a girl, and they have built a nest. If they have baby budgies and if I’m allowed she will give me one. You have to wait until they’re old enough to leave the nest before you can take them away from their parents because they need special looking after. In my mind I can picture this. The babies would live in a soft little nest inside the milk carton Mrs Carlyle has put inside their cage as a nesting box.
In this companion to The Wilful Eye, six much-loved writers - Catherine Bateson, Victor Kelleher, Cate Kennedy, Maureen McCarthy, Nan McNab and Kate Thompson - give fresh voice to age-old stories of abandonment, desire and entrapment.
Can someone refer me to someone who has and is willing to sell copies of works by F. Landa Jocano and E. Arsenio Manuel? Reprods or originals, just as long as they’re readable.
(Particularly Philippine Prehistory: An Anthropological Overview of the Beginnings of Filipino Society and Culture by Jocano)
“The short stories in this collection exemplify the best of the form, drawing readers immediately into the lives of characters who confront the hard truths of alienation, love, trauma and sex. – Kirkus Reviews, 4/1/11, re: anthology TRUTH & DARE, out April 26.”—
Via co-contributer Saundra Mitchell This collection contains stories from Jennifer Boylan, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cecil Castellucci, Emma Donoghue, Courtney Gillette, A.M. Homes, Jennifer Hubbard, Heidi R. Kling, Jennifer Knight, Michael Lowenthal, Liz Miles, Saundra Mitchell, Luisa Plaja, Matthue Roth, Sherry Shahan, Gary Soto, James St James, Shelley Stoehr, Sara Wilkinson, Ellen Wittlinger, and Jill Wolfson.
Yay! You will all get to read it soon!