realthog: (Default)

A couple of new e-book anthologies are of some interest, at least to my relatives and those hoping to borrow money/scrounge free drinks from me.

First up is the e-book edition of Mike Allen's celebrated anthology Clockwork Phoenix, which won all sorts of accolades despite including my story "All the Little Gods We Are". The digital Clockwork Phoenix can be found (so far) at Amazon and in the Mythic Delirium/Weightless Books store.

The other just-published e-anthology to contain a story of mine is called Past Future Present 2011, is edited by Helen E. Davis (or should that be Helen e-Davis?), and is a great big bumper volume of sixteen -- count'em, sixteen! -- hitherto-unpublished stories by the likes of Keith Brooke, Vera Nazarian ([livejournal.com profile] norilanabooks), Mike Allen (him again), and Catherine Mintz. My own offering, so as you know what to avoid amongst all this good stuff, is a longish novelette (~10,500 words) called "The Girl Who Was Ugly"; unusually for me, it's a piece of straightishforward SF rather than fantasy or slipstream or noir or genre spaghetti or . . .


UPDATE: UK Kindlers can download Clockwork Phoenix here and Past Future Present 2011 here.




realthog: (Default)

Vera Nazarian's just-published anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders, in which I'm lucky enough to have a story, "Breaking Laws", has been glowingly reviewed by Leigh Kimmel at The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf. Obviously I've noticed Kimmel's discussion of the other contributions as nothing more than a sort of gray blur in my peripheral vision, but as far as I can gather it's overall the kind of review that will see Vera ([info]
norilana) printing off a thousand copies to decorate every wall in the house.

To my joy, Kimmel has very perceptively homed in on the fundamental darkness of "Breaking Laws", my humble attempt to open up a new thematic territory for urban fantasy:

John Grant brings us back to Earth, to a very gritty New York City in "Breaking Laws." It's said that this city has a beating heart, but in this story we see that poetic concept actualized in a way so fitting to a city that seems at once larger than life and yet somehow frightening, even corrupt. A fear that leads inexorably to the poignant ending. [. . .] a very dark story [. . .]

Of the anthology as a whole Kimmel concludes:

[. . .] a very impressive collection [. . .] I hate to use the words "hauntingly beautiful," since they've become so wretchedly overused to the point of becoming a cliche, yet in each of [the stories] there's a beauty that will linger with the reader long after the story itself has been finished. Sometimes it's bright and sweet, other times it's dark and poignant, yet in each of them is an acknowledgment of the indomitability of the human spirit, of the power of goodness to overcome evil and light to shine into the darkness. I really hope that Ms. Nazarian will be editing further anthologies in the near future.

realthog: (leavingfortusa)

Well done to Mike Allen ([profile] time_shark) for spotting this -- and a big shout of congratulation to the book's editor, Vera Nazarian ([livejournal.com profile] norilana), for having put the whole project together -- but the forthcoming fantasy anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders has received, even despite its containing a story by moi, a quite extraordinarily favourable review from Publishers Weekly:

Priced to sell, Norilana founder Nazarian's first anthology presents 11 intriguingly off-kilter fantasy stories where the unexpected doesn't so much jump out in the reader's path as subtly peek around corners. Tanith Lee's “The Sky Won't Listen” weaves a future on another world where the skies are filled with whales, ghosts, and loss. John Grant details an unusual way to kill a city in “Breaking Laws.” JoSelle Vanderhooft's “Death's Appointment Book, or The Dance of Death” is a tongue-in-cheek warning that Death can't be cheated, but doesn't mind if you try. Rhysling winner Sonya Taaffe proves with “Stone Song” that even her prose is poetic. Mike Allen's “She Who Runs” gives flesh to spells moving faster than time. A few ambiguous endings will put off some readers, but they don't diminish the overall high quality of the stories. (Jan.)

realthog: (Default)

Today brought the contract for the appearance of my story "Breaking Laws" in the anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders, edited by Vera Nazarian ([livejournal.com profile] norilanabooks), which is to be published in December.

At the same time as the contract came the somewhat distressing news from Vera that there are going to be other people's stories in the book aside from my own.

I mean . . . really!

Who are these interlopers? Well, I gather the running order has yet to be finalized, but the line-up looks like this:

The Sky Won't Listen by Tanith Lee

The Tin and the Damask Rose by Anna Tambour

What a Queen Does with her Hands by Erzebet YellowBoy

The Gifting of Nyla's Son by Linda J. Dunn

Stone Song by Sonya Taaffe

Sky Whales by Lisa Silverthorne

Death's Appointment Book, or the Dance of Death by JoSelle Vanderhooft

The Sugar by Mary A. Turzillo

She Who Runs by Mike Allen

Breaking Laws by John Grant

Only One Story But He Told It Well by Robert Brandt

(Notice how gentlemanly all the chaps are, letting the ladies go first . . .)

There's still some work being done on the cover, but at the moment it looks like this:

sky whales 2nd mockup


Yes, I know I've shown that image before, but it's so goldurn purty I thought I'd show it again! The artist's name is Ahyicodae and you can find lots more of her art here and here.




realthog: (Default)

I have stories appearing later this year in two anthologies published by [livejournal.com profile] norilanabooks. The first of these is Under the Rose, edited by Dave Hutchinson ([livejournal.com profile] hutch0), and this morning I saw the cover mockup for the book:

under the rose 1st mockup


The other is Sky Whales and Other Wonders, edited by Vera Nazarian ([livejournal.com profile] norilana). I posted the partial cover image a while ago; now the border has been completed, and there's only the lettering to come:

sky whales 2nd mockup


Needless to say, I'm chuffed to be in two such handsome vols!


realthog: (Default)

A couple of bits of Anthologies News have come in from two different sources over the past few days -- I stress the "two different sources" aspect because the news items share much in common.

First off, Vera Nazarian's ([livejournal.com profile] norilana's) much heralded anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders now has a firm publication date of December 2009. Among the authors in the line-up are Tanith Lee, Anna Tambour, Erzebet YellowBoy, Linda J. Dunn, Sonya Taaffe, Mary A. Turzillo, Mike Allen ([profile] time_shark) and, er, me. The story in question of mine is "Breaking Laws", an attempt to deconstruct -- as it were -- urban fantasy. I love this story to pieces, and very luckily Vera likes it too!

Vera passed along a preliminary cover visual for Sky Whales and Other Wonders. Done by Ahyicodae, this apparently still lacks a decorative cartographical border. It looks pretty stunning nonetheless, in my opinion:


Photobucket


A couple of days later I heard from Dave Hutchinson ([livejournal.com profile] hutch0) about a quite different anthology in which I have a story, the story being my short novella "The Beach of the Drowned" (another personal favourite) and the anthology being what was once called New Writings in the Fantastic #2 but had to be retitled when Pendragon Press, publisher of New Writings in the Fantastic (which I edited), declared an indefinite moratorium on new releases in response to the economic climate. Now called Under the Rose, the book is -- like Sky Whales and Other Wonders -- to be released by Norilana Books ([livejournal.com profile] norilanabooks); it's scheduled for October. I'm not sure who the other authors are in the ToC; as soon as I find out I'll add the info.

Meanwhile, I have to prepare myself to have my carotid arteries ultrasounded this morning -- their annual checkup. This is by no means as much fun as it might seem, since it involves someone sticking a blunt object very, very firmly into sensitive bits of my neck for protracted periods. Still, it's definitely better than my ultrasounding experience last fall, when one of the stenting wounds was causing problems and consequently what was being ultrasounded was my groin. It makes me limp just to think about it . . .


realthog: (Default)

Here's the offer I posted last night at the [livejournal.com profile] helpvera site.

==========

On offer are five signed and inscribed (or unsigned should you prefer; please state) copies of my story collection Take No Prisoners, published in 2004 as a trade paperback by Willowgate Press and with a spiffy cover by Audre Vysniauskas:

Photobucket

Of this collection, John Clute wrote:

Do not open this book until you are prepared to dive in and forget the day. The worlds of John Grant are harsh, interconnected, florid, fluent, fun; and, more than all of that, they are generous. His tales are long and full. And his characters [. . .] they live at full stretch, because John Grant gives each of them his own contentious, passionate, loving heart. Read and weep; read and laugh; but don't begin to read until you are ready for a long joy.

In The Third Alternative Peter Tennant commented at the end of a long and exceptionally glowing review:

John Grant does indeed take no prisoners with this collection of fine stories, but readers could do far worse than to allow themselves to be captivated by his vivid imagination and dazzling prose.

And in SF Revu Edward Carmien concluded:

These stories of literary fantasy all share the power to draw you along, watching their detail emerge and wondering what lies around the next corner, the next page.

There was also a jolly nice (and long) review of the book in Locus by Rich Horton, but I can't now find my copy of it. 

For a final plaudit, just look at that strapline on the front cover pictured above . . .

Whatever, I'm offering five signed copies of the book for $10.00 apiece -- that's the Buy It Now price. I'll ship for free within the continental US and at cost abroad.

==========

If interested, here's the page to start at. If interested in better stuff than any humble offering of mine (or if you just want to make a donation to help Vera Nazarian out of the ghastly hole she's in), go to the main [livejournal.com profile] helpvera page and start there.

help Vera

Dec. 5th, 2008 05:04 pm
realthog: (Default)


My publisher Vera Nazarian (her Norilana Books recently published my mosaic novel Leaving Fortusa) is distinguished in many ways. She's one of our premier fantasy authors, and one of the best friends a person could have. She's also one of the hardest working people I know. I couldn't respect her more.

But now, through no fault of her own, she's in deep financial trouble.

[livejournal.com profile] grayrose76 has opened up the new LJ community [livejournal.com profile] helpvera to see if our merry gang can assist Vera in digging herself out of the financial hole she's gotten into: the URL, if the above link doesn't work, is here. You can donate through the site, or you can bid on one (or more!) of the excellent items people have put up for auction, or you can do all of these things and put up something special for auction yourself.

Whatever you choose to do, I'm asking you please to go to [livejournal.com profile] helpvera right now.

realthog: (corrupted science)

Vera Nazarian has bought my 7000-word story "Breaking Laws" for her forthcoming anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders. I'm naturally delighted.

"Breaking Laws" is one of a pair of stories I wrote in the months before my heart surgery in which I tried to sort of reshape urban fantasy a little. I used to love this subgenre, but now whatever original work there might be going on in it seems to have been subducted beneath a tectonic slab of template series that feature vampire hunters, witch detectives, werewolf superstuds . . . (Yes, I realize I'm generalizing excessively, and, yes, I know a couple of these series are OK. But, most of them, I can't even get through the cover blurbs, which all seem identical.)

Part of my motivation for writing the two stories was also the connection to my interest in noir, the written fiction as well as the movies, even though "Breaking Laws" itself (despite the title!*) isn't really a noir-influenced piece at all -- unlike my longish story "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?", due to appear shortly in Postscripts, which positively reeks of noir influence, as of course does my Ed McBain-inspired novella The City in These Pages, due by the end of the year from PS Publishing. Both of these were written longer ago; the latter is also very definitely a piece of urban fantasy.

Gosh, this all sounds very pompous.

Anyway, I'm obviously thrilled to bits that Vera wants to add my story to what promises to be a highly distinguished contents list for the anthology.

*Talking about the story's title, this may well be changed for the final appearance. At the moment "A Handful of City" is a strong contender.
realthog: (Jim's bear pic)
 
I've just heard this morning that my "mosaic novel" Leaving Fortusa has sold (with the usual caveats about crossing the "t"s and dotting the "i"s in the contract) to Vera Nazarian of Norilana Books (aka [profile] norilanabooks). My notoriously ballbusting agent forwarded along to me the e-mail containing the guts of the offer, in which Vera remarked:

I've just finished reading LEAVING FORTUSA and it proved to be an amazing experience all the way to the end [. . .] Very complex, philosophical, mind-blowing, terrifying, in short, what the best science fiction should be.

The very last sentence was a profound WOW, and I think this is an extremely powerful book that should one day become a dystopian classic (I just hope not a self-fulfilling prophecy!).


Aside from a sneaky thought that this meant I already had my first cover quote sewn up (well, maybe not), it struck me that more publishers should learn to say things like this to the authors/agents of manuscripts they want to acquire. After reading Vera's comments I was prepared to agree to just about anything offered contractually! Fortunately, though . . .

I'll witter more about Leaving Fortusa in due course. At the moment I must finish off my Foreword to the Wimbledon Society Museum's edition of T.G. Jackson's Six Ghost Stories.


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