Thursday, May 24, 2012

Publishing News: "A Late Season Snow" Accepted for Publication in 'Suction Cup Dreams: An Octopus Anthology' for Obsolescent.Info

2012 has got to be the year of the octopus.  It seems you can't avoid these slithering, majestic beasts these days, from the home and hearthy pages of Country Living to retailers like Anthropologie and Plasticland.  Etsy is blissfully littered with octopodes (that's pronounced "oc-TOP-a-dees", kids... Yeah, I had to look it up, too), while Zazzle has literally thousands of octopus designs from which to choose.  Even liquor pimps are getting in on the tentacly action (or are just big fans of Clash of the Titans), tying the oddly hilarious and always euphemistic phrase "Release the Kraken!" with sugary hangovers and half remembered drink orders that included tiny umbrellas and plenty of fruit.

I often wonder if this new cultural interest in the octopus isn't somehow tied with the often cartoonish - but fully encouraged - attention lavished on Cthulhu the last few years, which only seems to grown by the day.  Indeed, the Great Priest has made tentacles sexy to humans young and old in a way that old school Japanese erotica couldn't to all but a handful of devout raw seafood lovers.

But regardless of the reason, this squid ain't complaining, as I love the amazing little buggers, who seem so alien to this earth, but have been here longer than almost all of us, making them truly more earthly than any living thing scuttling across the dusty, dry surface.  This planet was populated by more of them and for far longer than we can even comprehend.  Oh, BTW, have you seen the vid of an octo aping its Big Uncle C and marching across dry land like it owns the joint?  Check it:

Scouting mission, obviously.  He might seem awkward moving on terra firma, but these suckers are fast learners, 400 million year survivors, and masters of camouflage.  One might be sitting next to you right now.  Check out how long they spend at the water fountain.  Anything more than five seconds and you just might have a cephalopod double agent in your midst.

Keenly on trend, an perhaps to appease the rise of our invertebrate overlords, small press (not an e-publisher, but one of proper pulpy pages) founder and head dreamer David Joseph Clarke put out the request for submissions for Suction Cup Dreams: An Octopus Anthology late last year, and Ives and I answered the call.  She concocted a fabulous, extremely twisted noir fairy tale ingeniously titled "Vulgaris", which was accepted soon after submission.  As I karate chopped through a few deadlines, I put together a shorter piece titled "A Late Season Snow", which was born after an early morning vision burrowed into my head and wouldn't leave.  I don't want to give anything away, but I chased a particular image backwards until it revealed its birth, and then put fingers to keyboard.  I shoehorned my way in just as the door was closing.

This will be my first published tale that is decidedly non-Lovecraftian (tentacles notwithstanding), and hopefully hints of things to come as I venture out from Arkham more and more in the coming years.  I'm getting my sea legs, and although I will always come back home to the legend haunted shores of Kingsport and Innsmouth, I'm excited to also explore what interesting and often horrifying vistas lie over the horizon line, far removed from Lovecraft Country.  But still, you can take a boy out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy, so...

Aside from the honor of being in the company of a distinguished group of writers (most with whom I am unfamiliar), this also marks the first  time my beloved Ives and I will appear in a book together.  Gods, monsters, and creativity willing, this won't be the last time either, if I can hold up my end of the Devil's bargain.  Her story "Vulgaris" is a sweeping, elegant yet brutal piece that shows exactly what she can do with a quill dipped in blood.  I'm rarely awed by living writers, but I am constantly awed by her chops and ability to adapt voice and tone for the settings and characters at hand.  She's a literary tsunami bearing down on the shore.  Hard.  I suggest you all take cover.

The recently announced ToC reads as follows:

Suction Cup Dreams: An Octopus Anthology presents eleven stories about the most fascinating of marine animals, the noble octopus. Due for release in July 2012, this book is the premiere anthology of and will be available at fine bookstores nationwide and online.

Table of Contents (in no particular order)

“Unearthly Pearl”, Brenda Anderson
“Daughters of Tethys”, Camille Alexa
“Empathy Evolving as a Quantum of Eight-Dimensional Perception”, Claude Lalumière
“Talk to Us”, Danna Joy Staaf
“The Octopus Garden”, D. Thomas Minton
“Three-Hearted”, Elizabeth Twist
“A Stranger Returns From An Unexpected Trip to the South China Sea”, Henry W. Ulrich
“Vulgaris”, Ives Hovanessian
“Obey the Octopus”, Joe Jablonski
“Venus of the Waves”, Karen Munro
“A Late Season Snow”, T.E. Grau

Hawk your baubles and pawn your trinkets and set aside a few shekels for this anthology, which will be available in just over a month.  It's shaping up to be a very special book for a variety of reasons.

Step lively and be kind to the reef, for these are the Days of the Octopus, and I bow humbly and willingly to our ancient cousins as they plot the reclamation of the earth.  Hopefully they'll spare those who have sympathetic literature on their shelves.  Maybe you can write off the purchase of Suction Cup Dreams: An Octopus Anthology as a new clause in your life insurance policy, filed under the subset labeled Catastrophic Global Destruction via Squishy Aquatic Ancestors.  It's definitely worth a shot.  What do you have to lose, other than everything?
Ridiculous cuteness cannot mask their ambitious intent

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