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 ([ 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 ([ 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 [ profile] norilanabooks. The first of these is Under the Rose, edited by Dave Hutchinson ([ 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 ([ 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 ([ 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:


A couple of days later I heard from Dave Hutchinson ([ 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 ([ 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: (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.

March 2013

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