Books I’ve Read: The King in Yellow Tales: Vol. 1

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I just finished reading Joseph S. Pulver, Sr’s collection: The King in Yellow Tales vol 1. Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been buried in text books for the better part of the last decade and my brain was starved for anything that wasn’t concerned with mastering the art of diagnosis, but for me, this book was something special.

I must confess that up until relatively recently (within the last six months or so) I had not yet found the yellow sign, so to speak. I was unaware that Robert W. Chambers, Joe Pulver, or the King in Yellow even existed. I was introduced to the mythology when I began tuning in to The Lovecraft eZine webcast which features Joe Pulver as a recurring panelist. Inspired by curiosity about the play which induced madness in all who read it, I did what any reasonable person would do: purchased Chambers’s King in Yellow. I found it quite readable for having been written at the turn of the 20th century, but I digress.

Having familiarized myself with the source  material, I was ready to see what had been done to expand the mythology. This is where Joe Pulver comes in; it is my understanding that he’s the undisputed contemporary authority and Earthly familiar of the King in Yellow himself. It only seemed natural to start there.

I picked up King in Yellow Tales: vol 1 with zero expectations. I’d never read Joe’s work before, so I had no point of reference—good or bad.

This collection is not a breezy afternoon read. By that I mean that many of these tales do not follow a traditional narrative structure. The language, the formatting, and the unease that results when these elements combine whisper madness in your ear. Often, there are no (easy) answers, and one must read between the lines to decipher the yellow text just waiting to be revealed.

Among my favorites were:

The Carl Lee & Cassilda Trilogy (Carl Lee & Cassilda; An American Tango Ending in Madness; Hello is a Yellow Kiss)

Chasing Shadows

My Mirage

A Cold Yellow Moon (with Edward R. Morris, Jr.)

With each of these tales I was swept into a dreamworld of ashy daylight and jaundiced shadows, and despite having never traveled these roads before, there was a familiarity to it all. Like returning visit to your hometown after time and memory have rendered it unrecognizable, but still there is that pull…

You belong here.

These are stories to be experienced, not consumed. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to read, pages that can be opened and closed in an afternoon and then tossed back onto the pile without a second thought, this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in something deeper—if you’re willing to burn the torch, venture into the shifting darkness, and risk glimpsing something not of this Earth—then I highly recommend this collection. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for your friends. Hell, buy it for your enemies because you just never know…

I have another of Joe’s anthologies, the recently released A House of Hollow Wounds. It isn’t next on my TBR pile, but after KiY vol 1, it will probably move up a couple of spots.

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Publication Announcement: Ecdysis

The contract has been signed and returned, and the requested period of confidentiality has passed, so I’m pleased to announce that I’ve sold my story, ECDYSIS, to Flame Tree Publishing.

 

Sometimes, signing contracts is exciting!

Sometimes, signing contracts is exciting!

 

Ecdysis will appear in the forthcoming anthology, Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Short Stories. The following description is from the product page:

With a new foreword by Dr Dale Townshend, this is a chilling selection of brand new stories, and essential tales of horror from the infamous pens of Walter de La Mare, William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, Henry James, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and other nefarious authors… A dazzling collection of the most gripping tales of horror, vividly told.

 

Hardback Deluxe edition, printed on silver, matt laminated, gold foil stamped, embossed.: 280,000 words, 480 pages, 25 illustrations

Hardback Deluxe edition: 480 pages, 25 illustrations

 

I’m thrilled to be a part of this collection, and I hope that when it becomes available you’ll consider checking it out. Publication is scheduled for August 15, 2015.

Double the celebration! Double the Flash!

Good afternoon. Happy Father’s Day and Happy Solstice.

For those of you who don’t follow my other blog, The Angry Hourglass, I host a weekly flash fiction challenge that takes place over the weekend. It’s part of a vast and colorful (or colourful for my friends across the Atlantic) online flash fiction community that I’m happy to be a part of. As with many communities that share a passion, we’ve created a nickname and hash tag to identify ourselves and share our love on social media: #FlashDogs. Over the past few years, the Flash Dogs have come together and created an anthology series (all proceeds donated to charity) featuring the medium we all hold dear—flash fiction.

What does any of this have to do with Father’s Day or the Summer Solstice?

This year the two holidays coincide. They also happen to coincide with the release of the Flash Dogs’ second anthology, that is itself a two-volume piece. These themed volumes are aptly titled Solstice: Dark and Solstice: Light.

photo from The Flash Dogs website

photo from The Flash Dogs website

I have a story in Solstice: Dark, but even if I didn’t, I’d recommend picking up this set. The quality of writing that these writers produce on a weekly basis (and many of them several times per week, depending on just how many flash fiction challenges they tackle) is astounding. I wish I had the stamina to produce like these folks.

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Me and Dad and unofficial Flash Dog mascots, Cayenne and Poncho

So! Celebrate Father’s Day! Celebrate Solstice! Celebrate Flash Fiction and the mission of literacy! Swing by The Flash Dogs website and follow the links to your favorite flash format (print or ebook) and enjoy.

I have a few updates regarding upcoming publications that I will announce in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.