Fanzine Spotlight: Quick Sip Reviews

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.

So today, I’m pleased to feature the two-time Hugo finalist Quick Sip Reviews, a blog which focusses on reviewing short speculative fiction.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews to my blog:

Quick Sip Reviews header

Tell us about your site or zine.

At Quick Sip Reviews I review as much short speculative fiction as I can. For most of my time doing it, and through 2020, that meant basically a review post covering a short fiction issue or monthly content from a publication every weekday, with additional coverage of certain anthologies, novellas, collections, and the like. I’ve run some interviews, written a bit on reviewing and my own thoughts on genre related topics, and generally just tried as much as possible to celebrate the amazing works being produced in short SFF. Moving into 2021 I’m broadening my coverage but reigning in my review length, while moving to a weekly posting schedule rather than a daily one. But yeah. Short SFF reviews. It’s what I do.

Who are the people behind your site or zine?

While I’ve worked on collaborative blogs and projects like Nerds of a Feather and The Book Smugglers, Quick Sip Reviews has pretty much been my one man show since I started. So hello, I’m Charles Payseur! Hailing originally from the suburbs of Chicago, I now live in Western Wisconsin with my husband and two cats. Aside from my work at QSR, I’m also a fiction author and poet, and starting this year I’ll be adding anthology editor to my resume, as well as putting out a collection of my own short fiction.

Why did you decide to start your site or zine?

Equal parts love of short SFF and guilt. I actually got into reviewing kind of sideways, from a call at Critters.org to apply to review at Tangent. This was before I really knew anything about the field aside from having read in the genre since I was young. So I started reviewing there, and it’s not really something I was super happy with, for a number of reasons. So while I was reviewing there I applied to be a short fiction reviewer at Nerds of a Feather, and began a monthly column (The Monthly Round). My work in that brought me much more into the fandom side of things, and brought me onto Twitter, where I began to hear more about Tangent and its history. Because I’m sort of geographically distant from conventions and couldn’t afford to travel at the time, social media really was where I got to hear the conversations about short SFF reviewing that I had never been exposed to. And I decided I wanted to do something that didn’t empower Tangent to further the harm it was doing (a sentiment that was underlined by a homophobic review that Tangent ran that year and I got to witness from both within and without). It was then I made my excuses, left Tangent, and focused on my own work.

So, of course, I started a blog! I’d run personal blogs before and I just wanted to follow through on the promise of what I wanted to do in the field. I knew there was a hunger for longer form reviews that covered every story in an issue. So that became my mission, to cover everything put out at the venues that I would cover. So I picked a bunch of publications, both new and old, and got to work. I don’t know that I would have started or done as much if not for the desire to in some ways atone for my time at Tangent. But what’s sustained for the past six years is more than that, is the passion for short SFF and reviewing that got me into the field to start with.

What format do you use for your site or zine (blog, e-mail newsletter, PDF zine, paper zine) and why did you choose this format?

Blog 100%. Though I’ve recently changed the frequency and style of my posts, 2020 was probably the height of my blogging output, with posts every weekday. Aside from my bread-and-butter, reviews of whole issues, I also covered some anthologies, a bunch of novellas, and did some other miscellaneous nonfiction like interviews, essays, and updates. It’s just…what works for me, I guess. It fits my mission, with each blog post delivering full coverage of a particular issue or month of content. It also allows my reviews to be a bit more bite-sized, as over 40,000 words of content would probably get a bit long in the tooth for a monthly issue/zine format. Being a blog makes tagging and organization easier, which is important for those wishing to navigate based on author of publication or month. And again, it’s just something I was familiar with from running my own personal blog for a few years before I ever got into fandom.

The fanzine category at the Hugos is one of the oldest, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines and sites are important?

For me, it’s that it shows people engaged in the field in ways driven by their passions. Some of the very best work in nonfiction and media coverage is happening in fan spaces, in fanzines. Because it’s people doing work that they are compelled to do for the sake of the work. It’s not really about making money, even for those who manage to make some, because there are likely more profitable ways to spend time. It’s about doing something because you have something to say and…say it. Now, I won’t say that there are no barriers to entry, especially because it’s often unpaid or greatly underpaid and there’s always the question of who can afford that. But, that’s still a very low barrier to entry, considering that otherwise, gatekeeping doesn’t have a centralized structure. Anyone can start a blog for free and start sharing things, and that’s rather wonderful, especially when it’s engaged and engaging, when it’s based on a love of the genre or a love of what the genre could be. And really I just love thinking too much about stories, and that I could start a blog and find that a lot of people were into exactly what I wanted to do, that’s magical.

In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?

I could see fanzines being reframed further over time. Could a social media account (a Twitter feed, for instance) be a fanzine? No one is paid for being on Twitter, and certainly the case could be made that a feed that contained mostly “original work” should count as a fanzine, but something like that would privilege those with large platforms, regardless of how those platforms were built. Now, for me, that seems a little bit not in the spirit of things, but it probably would go a way towards addressing the concerns in the previous question, because a well known social media feed would likely draw votes based on recognition alone. Part of the issue in my opinion is that our online time has become so commodified that older traditions in blogging are running into the ways that social media companies have caught up to their own technology and leveraged their algorithms toward making themselves money. So there’s intense competition for attention, and given that fanzines tend small and unpaid, they do get a bit drowned out, or at least a bit fractured, which I think is why the vote totals tend to be lower and less concentrated. Part of it, too, is that the tools for being paid for fan work have increased, which is in one instance a very good thing, but in another a very complicating factor in what makes a fanzine a fanzine. A Patreon cannot be a fanzine by its very nature, nor can a paid newsletter or subscription anything. So where does that leave us as routes forward? I’m not entirely sure, though I am excited to see what shape it might take.

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

So, so many. I’ve worked with and deeply appreciate Nerds of a Feather and The Book Smugglers. I love what A.C. Wise does and the care and attention of her reviews. Bogi Takács, Vanessa Fogg, Alex Brown, and Maria Haskins are also wonderful. Jason Sanford does great coverage of the field, and really there’s so many amazing people doing heroic work as fans.

Where can people find you?

Blog: http://quicksipreviews.blogspot.com
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/quicksipreviews
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClowderofTwo

Thank you, Charles, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Quick Sip Reviews, cause it’s a great blog.

***

Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

Posted in Fanzine Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fancast Spotlight: Hugo, Girl!

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.

So today, I’m pleased to feature the Hugo, Girl! podcast, which discusses Hugo winners and finalists as well as other SFF novels from a feminist POV.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Haley Zapal, Amy Salley as well as Lori and Kevin Anderson of Hugo, Girl! to my blog today:

Hugo, Girl! logo

Tell us about your podcast or channel.

Hugo, Girl! is a book club-style discussion podcast. We all read the month’s selection, with someone designated as DM each episode, meaning that they’ll take the lead on guiding the discussion and providing a little research into the book and author. Before the episode, we painstakingly avoid discussing the book in our group chat lest we spoil the upcoming discussion and waste hilarious reactions. (This is harder than it sounds).

We structure each episode around recurring segments like Boob Talk, Misogynist Moment, and Goodies from Goodreads. We end with the hardest, and probably most divisive segment, “Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?” where we ostensibly decide if the month’s selection is more sci-fi or more fantasy, but in reality is code for “Did Haley like this book?” since she is a known Tolkien-hater.

One of our favorite reviews from Apple Podcasts described us like this – “Your smart, funny sci-fi book club: Three friends chat about books, share insights, and crack each other up.” That’s pretty much everything we hoped and dreamed our podcast would be!

Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?

Hugo, Girl! is hosted by three self-proclaimed space feminists: Haley Zapal, Amy Salley, and Lori Anderson. Our audio tech and editing wizard is Kevin Anderson. We all live and work in Atlanta, Georgia.

Haley has no memory of watching Star Wars for the first time — it’s always been a part of her consciousness. By 12 she was immersed in the Expanded Universe and writing her first novella-length fanfic. As an adult, she enjoys movies and books about space, and pondering if the speed of light really is the universe’s speed limit. She does not like fantasy, mainly because of all the horses.

Amy is a longtime sci-fi and fantasy fan. She cut her teeth on teen urban fantasy (including a dubious foray into vampire LARPing in her youth) and Star Trek:TNG and never looked back. In fact, her teenage commitment to one day wooing Wesley Crusher is probably how we got where we are today. Amy is fiercely committed to converting all of her friends to the Truth of nerdy pop culture, including but not limited to forcing them all to listen to the podcast.

Lori had no idea she was a sci-fi and fantasy geek until she was an adult, despite having read Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince series at least ten times between the ages of 15 and 20. She also read (and re-read) the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow series, but didn’t acknowledge the truth until her first trip to Atlanta’s Dragon Con in 2012. And there, a true geek was not exactly born, but at long last acknowledged and embraced.

Kevin’s first memory of being a “fan” is, of course, Star Wars (or maybe He-Man, who can say). From pretending to run from AT-ATs in the Northern Alberta snow, to puzzling over the timeline of Back to the Future, he was a fan from an early age. Soon every trip to the mall required a stop at the bookstore, where he would go straight to the Sci-Fi section, choosing books based mostly on cover art (this was before Goodreads!). He continues his fandom with yearly attendance at Dragon Con, cosplaying such characters as Herbert West (Re-Animator), Ned Flanders, the 10th Doctor (Doctor Who), and “Mad” Max Rockatansky.

Several years ago, during a mind-numbingly boring stretch of unemployment and in need of a worthwhile project, Haley set out to read all of the Hugo Award-winning novels. She started a blog with the most excellent pun name of “Hugo, Girl!” (think: you GO, girl!) to help chronicle her journey. No entries were made, sadly, but she did end up reading about 10 books before her funemployment was up.  She had caught the fever, however — and a seed was planted.

Fast forward a few years later. Blogs are out, and podcasts are in — at least for 30-somethings looking for a fun, creative outlet. Haley’s ex-girlfriend at the time had been doing a podcast with her best friend for a while, viewing it as a way to cement scheduled hang-out sessions while also reading cool books together. Inspired by this, Haley decided a podcast with her best friends was something she definitely needed in her life — and she had just the perfect, catchy name to help convince Amy and Lori. They were sold almost instantly.

The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?

High-powered studio creations, like Marvel movies, and industry-lauded best-selling novels may get a lot of attention (and thus awards) because they have deep pockets of funding, but fan-centered media and creation is the lifeblood of sci-fi and fantasy. A perfect illustration of this divide can be seen even in cons. Your hosts are passionate attendees of the Atlanta-based Dragon Con (Lori and Kevin even got married at the con, on the floor of the Marriot Marquis in 2014!). The costumes, the panels, the parties, the overwhelming joy you get from Dragon Con — it’s incredible. But it’s the more corporate cons like San Diego’s Comic-Con that get the biggest stars and hugest announcements.

Fan-based media is important because it fosters a sense of community with everyday people you can relate to. With just a little equipment (and it’s getting cheaper every year!) anyone can start up a zine or podcast — and as a result, the act of production has become much more democratized, offering platforms for diverse voices, points of view, and participants. Other fans tuning into a DIY fan podcast can also contribute as listeners, communicating with the hosts via social media or email to provide much-needed feedback and criticism. In this way, fan-created media can oftentimes create a sort of self-sustaining ecosystem, and it’s fun (and eye-opening!) to experience in real-time.

We were about a year into Hugo, Girl! when the pandemic hit, so we were forced to begin recording episodes remotely instead of huddled all around Lori’s dining room table. It was a bit of a change at first, but remote recording has really been a blessing, as it’s enabled us to collaborate with other podcasts all across North America, including Hugos There, Androids & Assets, and Gribcast.  We’ve hosted a couple of one-off book clubs via Zoom, which gave us the opportunity to meet other podcasters and many of our most devoted listeners. It’s been great connecting with people who enjoy geeking out over the same stuff.

In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?

If reading sci-fi for our entire lives has taught us anything, it’s that we’ll always adapt to whatever the prevailing technology is in our lives. We mentioned before the democratization of media production, and we think it’s only going to continue becoming more equitable, allowing nearly anyone to produce something that other people can read, listen to, or watch from anywhere in the world.

The media of the past was dominated by passivity  — reading words printed on a book shipped across the country, listening to a radio show beamed from 40 miles away. We believe the media of the future will keep evolving toward more interactivity, as people work on projects together and discuss, comment, and critique each other in near real-time.

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

For reading material, we enjoy The Science Fiction Project (it’s tough to Google, so here’s a link: http://lovehistory.net/blog/the-science-fiction-project/), the Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, Nerds of a Feather, and your blog! For listening, we recommend Hugos There, Androids and Assets, and Desi Geek Girls.

This one isn’t exactly fan work, but we also wanted to mention the podcast Newcomers because we think many of your readers might like it as much as we do. Two great comedians, Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer, watch all the Star Wars (yes, including the Christmas special) and Lord of the Rings movies for the first time and discuss. It’s lighthearted and hilarious.

Where can people find you?

We are Hugo, Girl! on Facebook, @hugogirlpodcast on Instagram and Twitter, and we can be reached via email at hugogirlpodcast@gmail.com. We’re pretty sure we’re on all the major podcast hosting apps, but if we’re not on the one you like, send us an email or a Tweet and we’ll try to fix that!

Thank you, Haley, Amy, Lori and Kevin, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Hugo, Girl!, cause it’s a great fancast.

***

Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

Posted in Fanzine Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fancast Spotlight: Appendix N Book Club

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.

So today, I’m pleased to feature the Appendix N Book Club, a fancast has the mission to read and discuss the books and authors listed in Appendix N of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide with varying guests.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Jeff Goad and Ngo Vinh-Hoi of the Appendix N Book Club to my blog today:

Appendix N Book Club logoTell us about your podcast or channel.

We are a podcast about the literature that inspires our tabletop RPGs. Initially, we only focused on the Appendix N: a list of “inspirational reading” located in the back of the 1979 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. Starting with episode 101, we are expanding the scope of the show to include ALL fiction that inspires our gaming. The first half of each episode focuses on the text from a literary perspective and the second half of each episode discussed the text from a gaming perspective.

Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?

Jeff Goad and Ngo Vinh-Hoi are the co-hosts. Both of us are fantasy tabletop roleplaying game enthusiasts who met in 2016 in Brooklyn, NY over our shared love of a game called Dungeon Crawl Classics. Each episode has a special guest and we have had guests ranging from Michael Moorcock to Jeannette Ng. Since Jeff is gay and Hoi is a POC, we also tend to chat about what it is like reading the fiction from a contemporary perspective. We also make an effort to have a diverse group of voices on the show as special guests.

Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?

The Appendix N Book Club started out as an in-person book club at a small coffee shop in Brooklyn, NY in 2016. Jeff organized it and Hoi attended regularly. Hoi was like “We should turn this into a book or a podcast or something!” and by summer of 2017 we launched the first episode of the podcast.

What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?

Our podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and just about anywhere else you can find podcasts. We chose the podcast format because we were both New Yorkers who listened to podcasts on the subway during our commutes and we thought that we should make a podcast that we would want to listen to.

The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?

Zines and podcasts are amazing formats because anyone can make them. There is no corporate gatekeeper who decides whose voice is more deserving of recognition. They are made for the people and by the people (cliche, I know!) and they are rarely motivated by financial gain (and good luck to those that are because that is a steep hill to climb!)

In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?

The lower the barriers for entry become, the more people are going to share their materials. The future of fan media is that it is a medium that is going to grow and will include more diverse voices and perspectives previously overlooked (or actively oppressed).

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

We are huge fans of the Cromcast, a podcast about Robert E. Howard and pulp fiction from the early 20th Century. We are also not the only podcast looking at literature from a gaming perspective. We would also recommend Sanctum Secorum and the Tome Show for anyone looking for more shows like ours. We also love many gaming podcasts like Spellburn, Gaming & BS, the Grognard Files, and the MegaDumbCast.

Where can people find you?

Our website is appendixnbookclub.com, our Twitter account is @appendix_n, and our email address is appendixnbookclub@gmail.com.

Thank you, Jeff and Hoi, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out the Appendix N Book Club, cause it’s a great fancast.

***

Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

Posted in Fanzine Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WandaVision engages in some “Breaking the Fourth Wall” and finally delivers some answers

Even though much of fandom decided to go to war this wekk, it’s still time for the latest installment of my episode by episode reviews of WandaVision, Marvel’s new sitcom parody/Dickian faux reality paranoia. Previous installments may be found here. Also, may I remind you that Disney is still not paying Alan Dean Foster and others.

Warning: Spoilers and pretty significant ones at that behind the cut! Continue reading

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fanzine Spotlight: Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

Today, I’m pleased to feature Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, a blog which discusses weird fiction and the Cthulhu mythos with a particular focus on the contributions of women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ people.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Bobby Derie of Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein. Bobby is also the author of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby DerieTell us about your site or zine.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein is primarily a review blog devoted to looking at Lovecraftian and Cthulhu Mythos media by or about women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks. While there is a long history of the folks participating in the Mythos, their contributions tend to get overlooked. This often involves an unflinching look at the contemporary racism of Lovecraft and his colleagues. Other features of the blog include special essays on the women who corresponded with Lovecraft, and spotlights on women and LGBTQ+ editors of Mythos anthologies. The blog updates about weekly on Saturdays, although sometimes there is also a special Wednesday piece.

Who are the people behind your site or zine?

Right now, mostly just myself. I’m Bobby Derie, a pulp scholar who focuses mostly on H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, and my published works have included Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014) and Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others (2019). Deep Cuts also features some original interviews with a couple of women editors of Mythos anthologies, discussing their experiences in their own words.

Why did you decide to start your site or zine?

During my research, I found quite a lot of material related to women, POC, and LGBTQ+ authors which generally didn’t get a lot of notice or recognition among fans or scholars. I thought a weekly blog would provide a good way to explore this “hidden mythos,” to draw attention to some of the more obscure and interesting works, and maybe force me to read a little out of my comfort zone. As it happens, I’ve ended up investing quite a bit of original research into Deep Cuts as well.

What format do you use for your site or zine (blog, e-mail newsletter, PDF zine, paper zine) and why did you choose this format?

I have done fanzines in the past, when I was briefly a member of REHupa (Robert E. Howard United Press Association), but at the time I got the itch to start up Deep Cuts, I wasn’t currently a member of an AMA, and the blog format allows me access to a broader audience and more immediate feedback. Doesn’t give the tactile satisfaction of a physical product, but I pretty much set my own schedule.

The fanzine category at the Hugos is one of the oldest, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines and sites are important?

Fanzines in the 1930s were the essential expression of being a part of fan culture; it was the medium of expression and communication. Correspondence and newsletters all played their part in the fan experience, but it was in the ‘zines that fans could get into argument, share original art, fiction, essays, and poetry, come up with acronyms and form theories. A lot of the community aspect of fanzines has since been taken over by internet forums and social media, but as far as curating content fanzines can and do still serve an important purpose today. They help shape the history and narrative of fandom and how it sees itself.

Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Other by Bobby DerieIn the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?

Blogs, digital fanzines, and websites are at once more widely available and a bit more ephemeral than physical fanzines. Same or similar functions, but at some point the site is hacked, or somebody doesn’t pay the hosting bill, or just gets abandoned, and then the content is gone unless it’s been archived. Fans tend to keep circulating old content if it’s of any value or interest, but whole chunks of the early internet have been more or less lost, even if you’re a serious digital archivist. It’s hard to tell what the future is going to be like – while many fanzines from the 1930s still physically exist in 2020, after nearly 100 years, there’s no telling what operating systems and data formats are going to be like in 2120!

I suspect fanzines will survive in some form so long as there are operating fandoms. While there has been a great push the last twenty years for the small-scale commercialization of fan-produced work (“turning the hobby into a hustle”), there are still thousands of people that just want to create and curate, as shown by the folks contributing to fandom wikis. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more fandom wikis be translated into semi-commercial prepackaged ‘zines through crowdfunding.

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

For fancast, I would recommend the Cromcast Chronicle ( http://thecromcast.blogspot.com/ ), which has been producing solid content on a regular basis, the guys are enthusiastic about their show and put a lot of effort into improving the production quality and staying on-topic while spreading their wings a little; recently, for example, they’ve been reading Karl Edward Wagner and Manly Wade Wellman, two great weird fiction writers who were huge but have sort of fallen out of the limelight today.

Where can people find you?

The blog is at https://deepcuts.blog, I occasionally run polls on twitter (@Ancient0History) to see what folks want as far as what new content is scheduled. Feel free to suggest something, I’m always looking for the next thing to review.

Thank you, Bobby, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, cause it’s a great blog that illuminates a side of the Cthulhu mythos that’s rarely seen.

***

Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

Posted in Fanzine Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fancast Spotlight: Hugos There Podcast

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.

So today, I’m pleased to feature the Hugos There Podcast, which has the mission to read all the Hugo winners with varying guests.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Seth Heasley of the Hugos There Podcast to my blog today:

Hugos_There image

Tell us about your podcast or channel.

My podcast is called Hugos There, and my tagline is “reading the Hugo-winners, one guest at a time.”

On each episode, I host a guest, and we discuss their choice of the winners of the Hugo Award for Best Novel. My guests have included authors, journalists, podcasters, sports writers, athletes, academics, theologians, and just ordinary SF fans like me. I love the randomness of having my guest choose the topic, so that in one episode we’ll be covering something from the 1950s, and in the next it could be the 2010s.

In 2020 I also started doing more general episodes under the title Comfort Reads, where the topic wasn’t limited to Hugo-winners or even genre fiction. Instead, the discussions revolved around what kind of books my guests looked to for comfort in troubling times. It seemed appropriate to do that kind of thing in 2020, and I intend to continue those episodes until I run out of guests.

Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?

Hugos There is a one-man show behind the scenes, but as I mentioned, each episode features a guest.

I also have a podcast focusing on adapted SF, called Take Me To Your Reader, that I co-host with my friends James and Colin.

Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?

I’d been doing Take Me To Your Reader for a few years and enjoying a lot of the stuff I was reading and covering, but I wanted to challenge myself to read a lot of SF books I’d heard about but just hadn’t gotten around to reading. Surprisingly, not every well-regarded SF book has been turned into a movie. 🙂

After looking at lists of “SF Books You Should Have Read,” I settled on the list of Hugo-winners. I didn’t find any other podcasts doing the same project, so I dove in, hitting up many of my favorite podcasters and asking them to guest on the early episodes.

What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?

I chose audio, mostly because audio editing is pretty straightforward and I didn’t feel video would add much to the project. Audio also pairs quite well with a book discussion format due to the prevalence of audiobooks. Listen to the book, listen to a discussion of the book. It’s a match made in Heaven.

The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?

If science fiction is worth anything, and I think we agree it is, it’s worth discussing and analyzing, and that analysis doesn’t have to be the sole province of professionals. Fanzines and fancasts are just so democratic, and the barriers to entry today are so low that literally anyone can carve out a niche and start producing great content.

The great thing about fan projects is that there’s a snowball effect to them. Often all it takes to encourage someone to create is to see that other people are doing it.

In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?

I guess I envision fancasts of the future being like the Parlor Walls from Fahrenheit 451. I jest, but I do see them getting more interactive. Especially coming out of 2020, the year of Zoom, it’s easy to envision the future being more and more collaborative as technology allows us into each others’ spaces. Which sounds creepy. But I mean in a good way.

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

I confess I don’t follow as many fanzines as I should, but I hope I get a pass because of the amount of reading I have to do for my podcasts. But I do have podcast recommendations. Some of my favorites include:

The other members (that I’ve discovered at this point) of the Hugo podcast collective, including Hugo, Girl, and the Hugo & Nebula Readership Podcast.

I also love Spectology for intelligent discussions generally of newer SF, and Sci-Fi Onscreen for fantastic SF movie reviews.

I’ve been enormously influenced by Jason Snell and The Incomparable over the years, and it’s no coincidence I mined his podcast for guests, having at this point hosted episodes with six people who are either regular contributors or people I met through their listener community. I’ll get the rest of them eventually!

The Sci-Fi Christian is another podcast I’ve followed for years and always look forward to their episodes, even if they put them out at a rate I have trouble keeping up with!

Where can people find you?

My podcasts sites:

Mostly you’ll find me on Twitter @hugospodcast, tweeting about grammar pet peeves, cooking adventures, and occasionally actually about SF.

Thank you, Seth, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Hugos There, cause it’s a great fancast.

***

Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

Posted in Fanzine Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masks and Magic 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Speculative Fiction

Masks and Magic banner
Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Mardi Gras speculative fiction by indie authors.

These Mardi Gras stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a lot of urban fantasy, horror and paranormal mysteries, but also historical fantasy, dark fantasy, religious fantasy, fairy tales, post-apocalyptic fiction and science fiction. There are angels, demons, Lucifer himself, dragons, ghosts, ghost whisperers, vampires, werewolves, witches, monsters, zombies, voodoo, ancient legends, family curses, cursed doubloons, human sacrifices, voodoo gods, kidnapped nuns, evil twin sisters, space cruises, precognition and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Mardi Gras.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

When a young bride goes missing on her wedding day in Acadiana, the locals blame the Terror, the legendary monster that stalks the Crimson Bayou.
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he’s pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…

When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family’s salvation…

When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.

This is a collection of three short horror stories of 7700 words or approximately 27 print pages altogether.

Krewe of Souls by Elaine CallowayKrewe of Souls by Elaine Calloway:

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

Tristan Pleasance is a ghost whisperer extraordinaire, but talking to his living father is another story. Family conflict prompts Tristan to bolt from his lifelong home in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to make a new life in New Orleans. But six months later, a family tragedy forces him to return home and he is thrust into a murder investigation where his past and future will collide.

Grace Lansing is a New Orleans columnist who yearns to write feature articles rather than puff pieces. To prove herself to her editor, she travels to the quaint town of St. Francisville to research their big Mardi Gras Krewe competition. But what seems an innocent cultural practice quickly turns into a web of intrigue—and getting too close to the handsome Tristan puts her in danger of becoming collateral damage.

Together, Tristan and Grace must find out who is responsible for the murders—before the Krewe of Souls is trapped forever.

Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.

New Orleans 1854: A young woman, driven by curiosity sneaks into a brothel and stumbles into a Mardi Gras masquerade. She discovers that the ball is in reality an erotic ritual paying homage to Lucifer, the Great Prince of Evil and she is the guest of honor. The Archangel Gabriel sends four warriors from a dying world to rescue her but they arrive too late; the cult has slaughtered the girl, offering her as a sacrifice to Lucifer.

Rural Pennsylvania 1954: The same cult takes control of an entire town when their High Priestess seduces the land baron who owns it. They engineer a series of extramarital affairs among the residents which culminates in ritual debauchery. Gabriel has his avengers return to Earth with orders to wipe out the cult but Heaven has a dark side. A rogue spirit with an agenda of its own plans to kill these out-world warriors and the archangel’s champions find themselves defenseless in the center of a titanic struggle between two opposing forces from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Carnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund EichCarnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund Eich:

Hans returned from the Great War, haunted. Not only by the horrors of the trenches, but haunted by visions of a more terrifying war to come. Would the parties and parades of Carnival 1919 offer him love and hope? Or doom him and his country to the devastation he foresaw?

 

 

 

Trapt by Rene FolsomTrapt by Rene Folsom:

Mardi Gras is coming, and no one is more excited than Jolie—The Big Easy’s resident good witch. Amidst the festivities, darkness creeps under the blissful veil of love she is entangled with. Her twin sister, the evil witch Melanie, is out to destroy Jolie before her powers can usurp her own, willing to stop at nothing to do so. Jolie, aided by Asher and his seven-man wolf pack, are set to keep New Orleans safe from Melanie’s sorcery, or die trying.

Enjoy the story of Jolie and Asher, a modern-day retelling of the classic tale Snow White.

Death Dealer by Graylin FoxDeath Dealer by Graylin Fox:

My name is Cimmerian. I’m a dragon shifter living in New Orleans. Someone is screwing up my pre-Mardi Gras plans by leaving mutilated human bodies all over town. I have to find out whether or not a demon is behind this. If so, are they building a human to animate with demon magic? If not, we have a human serial killer just in time for the town to flood with tourists.

Things were so much quieter on vacation.

Damn, I’m glad to be back at work.

Dead Velvet Cheesecake by A. GardnerDead Velvet Cheesecake by A. Gardner:

A hotel billionaire is dead, and Ember Greene is the prime suspect.

Misty Key’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations are approaching, and the Lunar Bakery is busier than ever cranking out beignets and King cakes. Ember is tasked with juggling her responsibilities at the family bakery with her newfound psychic duties which includes pet sitting a witch’s familiar named Whiskers.

But beads and baked goods fly when a body is found at the Crystal Grande Hotel, and a slice of the bakery’s red velvet cheesecake is to blame.

With an influx of tourists and religious protestors crowding the streets, Ember struggles to find the killer and clear her family name. After a parade float explodes, she discovers that the murderer has some unfinished business. Enlisting the help of her bloodhound Yogi, a pessimistic medium, and a troubled pet psychic leads her to one conclusion.

She’s been framed for murder.

Can Ember figure out who framed her before her family’s legacy is destroyed?

Mardi Gras Zombies by Bart GnarlyMardi Gras Zombies by Bart Gnarly:

Seven college friends who attend the University of Connecticut (UCONN) together take a road trip down to New Orleans, Louisiana in order to have a good time during the Mardi Gras celebration. Mark, Nikki, Laura, Destiny, JT, Abe, and Steve are staying in a luxury hotel right on Bourbon St to party their brains out and to get away from the cold weather for a few days of fun and debauchery. Their only goals for this escapade are sex and drinking lots of alcohol, while listening to Rock and Roll, Blues, and Jazz at various bars. Partying in the French Quarter as a group will just be a bonus. The guys and especially Mark want to see as many boobs as possible. Unfortunately for them a zombie apocalypse happens during the midst of the Fat Tuesday celebrations. An amazing and relaxing adventure turns into a desperate fight for their survival. Which of them will live to go home again?

The Hexorcist by Lily Harper HartThe Hexorcist by Lily Harper Hart

Ofelia Archer has a full life … which only gets fuller when a dead body lands in her backyard.

As owner of New Orleans’ premier supernatural speakeasy, Ofelia is always in the thick of things when the witch hits the fan. That’s no exception now … even when the local police start breathing down her neck.

Zach Sully has a colorful background. As a panther shifter, he keeps his true origins secret while walking the colorful streets of the French Quarter keeping law and order. A tourist murder draws him into new and uncharted territory, and a feisty witch is at the center of it.

Sully and Ofelia circle one another … warily … as they both try to solve a mystery that revolves around an outsider who somehow had ties to their little corner of the world. Eventually, they’re going to have to join forces … and it’s not exactly a comfortable meeting of the minds.

Chemistry is one thing. Trust is another. Ofelia and Sully will be forced to get over their inner misgivings and unite if they want to solve the crime … and stay alive in the process.

Welcome to a magical world, where the characters are colorful, the magic is fantastical, and the drinks are poured strong.

It’s Bourbon Street, baby, and you’ll never be the same again.

Creole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T. HolmesCreole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes:

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the perfect locale for a treasure hunt. When it coincides in the year of the Luperci festival, the magic world is turned upside down, and the feast of forgiveness turns into a fight of wickedness. This Mardi Gras festival is like non ever seen before or will ever see in the future.

Experience sibling rivalry at its finest as two sisters square off against each other for control of the book of roots. Unite with our hero, George Genois, as he is drawn deeper into the realm of magic and the forces of good and evil. If he thought his adventures with Mamuska and Ophelia were harsh before, then he is in for an even wilder time with these sisters. Each sister wants him as an ally, but George is interested in righting a wrong done only to him. Does George get his revenge?

A Rose at Midnight by Sylvie KurtzA Rose at Midnight by Sylvie Kurtz:

He abandoned her to save her life. Now he must convince her he still loves her before the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras . . . or condemn her to her death.

Nine years ago, Christiane Lawrence fell hard for a mysterious young music student. Even after he left her without a goodbye, the memory of Daniel Moreau haunts Christi every day when she looks at their daughter’s face.

Whenever Christi asked about her mother’s family, she was warned to stay away from the birthplace her mother fled. Now, grieving her parents’ death in a car accident, an invitation from Gabriel Langelier, a cousin she’d never met arrives, promising answers. This is her chance to give her daughter a taste of the family roots she never had.

What Christiane doesn’t know is that her mother’s warning sprang from real fear. Gabriel is obsessed with the legend of Rose Latulippe. He’s sure only someone from Christiane’s bloodline can fulfill his quest for eternal life. He must have her heart at midnight on Mardi Gras.

To save the woman he loved, Daniel made a bargain with the devil and abandoned her without explanation. And now she’s back in the middle of danger, bringing their daughter with her.

To have a second chance and earn Christiane’s forgiveness, Daniel has to convince Christi he still loves her before the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras . . . or send her to her death.

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

Battlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris LowryBattlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris Lowry:

He found them!

Two of his three children are alive and now that he’s found them he won’t let them out of his sight.

It’s time to find his youngest daughter.

The last he knew she was heading to a refugee camp with her Mom and step-dad. He’s got a map of the camps back at Fort Jasper waiting.

All he has to do is keep his kids safe as they search for answers and a trip back to Alabama. The safest route floats them down the river. It keeps the Z at bay, but delivers them straight into a fortress that feels like paradise.

He has a choice. Hide behind the walls with two thirds of his heart and let the world burn or take a chance and continue the hunt.

An easy job if it weren’t for all the damn zombies.

The Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi GrasThe Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi Gras by E. Miguel:

Space, there is a lot of it. Like really, a lot. As much space as there is though, it also happens to be very crowded. It is for this exact reason the Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardis Gras was created. While other cruises throughout the universe offer excitement and adventure, the Mardis Gras offers the mundane for those vacationers that are allergic to such excitement and adventure. The ship’s only constant inconstant is a Mardis Gras party held every other day.

Unfortunately for two passengers on the ship, this week’s cruise offers more than they signed up for. Escape pods, a slumbering Old God, and a Voodoo priestess robot all happen to show up on the unplanned itinerary this week.

Nocturne by Irene Preston and Liv RancourtNocturne by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt

It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…

For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

Krewe of Hecate by Sim ShattuckKrewe of Hecate by Sim Shattuck:

A group of Mardi Gras wizards descend to the Underworld and capture the goddess Hecate so that they can display her during Carnival. But they didn’t understand that having the goddess of the Uncanny upon the face of the Earth would do to three unlucky New Orleans residents.

 

 

 

Burgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer JacquesBurgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer Jacques:

You caught a doubloon at a Mardi Gras Parade – that was a bad thing.

Trent McGowan is going home. Home to his ailing mother. Home to the city of his childhood. Home to New Orleans. As Trent deals with the peculiar circumstances surrounding his mother’s illness, his family gets swept up in the excitement of Mardi Gras and all of the festivities of that intoxicating day. The jubilant crowds, breathtaking carnival floats, and oh yes, the throws! His youngest daughter Zoe catches one of those throws, a sparkling red doubloon, and that is where the story ends and begins.
Burgundy Doubloons is more than just a suspense thriller, it is everything that makes New Orleans the party capital of the world: only bloodier and darker.

For those who love a parade, Burgundy Doubloon answers a terrifying question: What if your child simultaneously caught a bead, and a murderous spirit? In this heart-palpating novel, you will meet the entire McGowan family, and the people determined to destroy them.

Finally, a paranormal thriller that takes place in New Orleans – as told by a native son who knows where the bodies are buried.

Poison and Wine by C.H. Valentino and Eldon HughesPoison and Wine by C.H. Valentino and Eldon Hughes:

Welcome to the Crescent City

Danni Toussaint has a nail in her chest as a mark of her debt to The Baron Samedi – a debt she can only repay with the souls he forces her to steal.

Michael Belew is desperate. Someone is kidnapping nuns in the Ninth Ward where he was raised an orphan, and he suspects a powerful enemy armed with voodoo magic.

When Michael asks for Danni’s help to find the kidnapper – or killer – they become pawns in a vicious game between The Baron Samedi and his brother, Lacroix.

The prize? Control of the most powerful source of magic in New Orleans.

Now, to protect the people of his city and save Danni from Samedi, Michael may have to sacrifice his soul.

Razor Valentine by Roland YeomansRazor Valentine by Roland Yeomans:

MARDI GRAS … MAGIC … MURDER

In 1947 New Orleans THREE KINGS DAY marks the start of the official Carnival Season. Carnival, coming from the Latin words, carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.”

Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, Our Lady of Holy Death, is stalking the French Quarter streets killing apparently at random. What does the psychotic actress, Irene Dupré, know of this entity and what lies behind the murders? She remains silent, only smiling. Santa Muerte’s strange acolyte lurks in the shadows watching, waiting. Waiting for what?

Frank Capra is filming a historical fantasy in the city with Jimmy Stewart, Cesar Romero, and the enigmatic Irene Dupré. Former O.S.S. operative, now the film’s Prop Master, Lucas, finds himself in the middle of the mystery with more questions than answers.

His lost love back from the dead, Ingrid Durtz, and his best friend, Mitchell Mack, are at a loss on how to stay alive, much less catch a supernatural killer.

Then, there is Lucas’ former O.S.S. team mate, Father Darael, whose gift of a Seraph Blade is literally a two-edged blessing. You see, Darael is a Seraphim Provocateur. And Lucas is unsure whose side he is really on, the Celestial or the Fallen?

Posted in Books, Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masks and Murder 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Mysteries

Masks and Murder banner
Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Mardi Gras mysteries, crime novels and thrillers by indie and small press authors.

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, small town mysteries, big city mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, medical thrillers, paranormal thrillers, YA thrillers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ghost whisperers, crime-busting nuns, crime-busting beauty queens, lawyers, serial killers, missing children, murdered fathers, missing mothers, missing masks, faked suicides, cursed doubloons, poisoned king cakes and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Mardi Gras.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Mardi Gras, 1975 by Frank ButterfieldMardi Gras, 1975 by Frank W. Butterfield:

Tuesday, February 11, 1975

Nick and Carter are in New Orleans, the Big Easy, for their first trip to Mardi Gras!

When Nick first opens his eyes that morning, he realizes he has a big hangover and no memory of what happened the night before.

Over a breakfast of coffee and grease, Miss Wanna Man, a local drag queen in the French Quarter, swings by to give Nick the Tea and let him know to watch his back. Apparently, he’s insulted Mr. Reginald Beauregard Jackson, III, who lives in the Garden District and that could mean bad news for Nick.

It’s an adventurous Fat Tuesday for Nick and Carter as they are confronted by the past and help a new friend embrace his future as only someone under Nick’s matchmaking spell really can.

As they say down in New Orleans, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Krewe of Souls by Elaine CallowayKrewe of Souls by Elaine Calloway:

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

Tristan Pleasance is a ghost whisperer extraordinaire, but talking to his living father is another story. Family conflict prompts Tristan to bolt from his lifelong home in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to make a new life in New Orleans. But six months later, a family tragedy forces him to return home and he is thrust into a murder investigation where his past and future will collide.

Grace Lansing is a New Orleans columnist who yearns to write feature articles rather than puff pieces. To prove herself to her editor, she travels to the quaint town of St. Francisville to research their big Mardi Gras Krewe competition. But what seems an innocent cultural practice quickly turns into a web of intrigue—and getting too close to the handsome Tristan puts her in danger of becoming collateral damage.

Together, Tristan and Grace must find out who is responsible for the murders—before the Krewe of Souls is trapped forever.

The Secret of the Other Mother by Laura CayouetteThe Secret of the Other Mother by Laura Cayouette:

It’s late 2009 and the Saints are undefeated on their way to the Super Bowl. Fresh off the Los Angeles red carpet of the movie she produced and starred in, vivacious Charlotte Reade heads to her family home in New Orleans for the funeral of Sassy, the woman who helped raise her mother.

When Sassy’s “adopted” twin daughters ask brainy and tenacious Charlotte to help them find their birth mother, she heads down a path that starts in a laundromat in the 1950’s and winds through costume experts and a burlesque tour before landing her on the infamous Bourbon Street.

Along the way, Charlotte reconnects to her own family history, uncovering clues to a family secret and the ghost who’s said to protect it. As her funeral trip extends through the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, Charlotte struggles with her dedication to the career she worked so hard for and the intoxicating draw of the culture, romance and soul of the city she’s always wanted to call home.

Izzy Rio's Wild and Pretty by Stacey L. CooleyIzzy Rio’s Wild and Pretty by Stacey L. Cooley:

When I was five years old, my father was murdered on Lundi Gras Day in New Orleans, Louisiana. That moment in time began a journey that changed my life forever. After that devastating day, my mother could not bear to live in New Orleans anymore. Against my grandfather’s wishes, she took me away with her to live in Rio de Janeiro with my father’s family. For ten years, we traveled together around the Caribbean, Central and South America visiting the Carnival People and trying to forget what we lost. My mother was looking for clues and a reason for my father’s unexpected death.

Just when you thought you knew New Orleans, I am back!

They say Mardi Gras Day is a time to forget all of your troubles.

Here is what happened on my Mardi Gras Day:
I lost the person that was closer to me than anyone else.
I was supposed to mask for the first time as a Mardi Gras Indian Princess . . .
But, I ended up on the run and fighting for my life.
I learned more about the Backstreet Carnival Culture than I ever wanted to know.

In order to survive, I must train and learn the art of being a Mardi Gras Indian.
Welcome to Carnival Time.
You will never be young again!

I AM IZZY RIO.

Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeonBullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon:

Let the good times roll?

It’s Mardi Gras time and Fortune is looking forward to seeing the spectacle firsthand, but when a visitor to Sinful is murdered during the celebration there, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie can’t help but wonder what happened. As they start looking into the woman and the family in Sinful she came to visit, their investigation sends them to New Orleans, right at the height of the Mardi Gras celebration. But instead of relaxing a little and enjoying the festivities, Fortune can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

When she catches sight of her father in the Mardi Gras crowd, she knows why.

Unfortunately, her father’s presence in Louisiana has brought with it a host of terrorists, all with only one thing in mind—locate and terminate Dwight Redding. Can Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie manage to evade the killers long enough to figure out why Dwight has returned from the dead? And will knowing the answer make things worse or better?

Sinister by Jana DeLeonSinister by Jana DeLeon:

Street kids are disappearing, but how do you report that to the police when, from their standpoint, the missing people didn’t exist to begin with? Hustle is certain that something bad has happened to his friend Jinx, and the only person he can turn to for help is private investigator Shaye Archer. Because Hustle helped the young PI while she was investigating her first case, Shaye has already formed an opinion as to his character and believes he’s telling the truth. As she digs deeper into Jinx’s disappearance, she discovers that Hustle’s friend isn’t the only one missing. As a frightening pattern emerges, Shaye wonders if she can find the missing kids…before it’s too late.

Ms. America and the Naughtiness in New Orleans by Diane DempseyMs. America and the Naughtiness in New Orleans by Diane Dempsey:

Who better than Ms. America Happy Pennington to grace Mardi Gras festivities in never-say-die New Orleans? She packs good looks, party moves, and sleuthing smarts—which come in handy when the king for an elite old-line krewe is bumped off during a Carnival parade.

All too soon Happy learns the centuries-old French Quarter is not all jazz, Creole cuisine, and cocktails: evil lurks there, too, even amid the pageantry of the Big Easy’s most gleeful season. Yet no ghost, vampire or even voodoo spirit will keep our scrappy beauty queen from nabbing the killer—not when the stakes are sky-high for someone near and dear to her heart.

Find out why readers call the Beauty Queen Mysteries “super-fun reads” they can’t put down until the last page is turned…

Shelter from the Storm by Tony DunbarShelter from the Storm by Tony Dunbar:

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE…ALSO CRIME

To out-of-town kingpin Willie LaRue, Mardi Gras seems the perfect time for a New Orleans heist – nobody, but nobody will be thinking about a single other thing. Parties, parades, chaos, alcohol – who could be concerned about a little thing like a bank job? Indeed, all might have gone well except for an out-of-season frog-flogger that threatens to flood the French Quarter – something even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t do.

Next thing you know the survivors – thieves and revelers alike – find themselves marooned together. As the LaRue gang plans its watery escape, raffish lawyer Tubby Dubonnet is obliged to take time out from his customary eating and loafing to thwart their murderous intentions. The body count rises as the tempest subsides, and Tubby finds himself fighting not only for his life, but (it seems to him) the very city itself.

A wry, compelling tale of The City That Care Forgot.

Dead Velvet Cheesecake by A. GardnerDead Velvet Cheesecake by A. Gardner:

A hotel billionaire is dead, and Ember Greene is the prime suspect.

Misty Key’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations are approaching, and the Lunar Bakery is busier than ever cranking out beignets and King cakes. Ember is tasked with juggling her responsibilities at the family bakery with her newfound psychic duties which includes pet sitting a witch’s familiar named Whiskers.

But beads and baked goods fly when a body is found at the Crystal Grande Hotel, and a slice of the bakery’s red velvet cheesecake is to blame.

With an influx of tourists and religious protestors crowding the streets, Ember struggles to find the killer and clear her family name. After a parade float explodes, she discovers that the murderer has some unfinished business. Enlisting the help of her bloodhound Yogi, a pessimistic medium, and a troubled pet psychic leads her to one conclusion.

She’s been framed for murder.

Can Ember figure out who framed her before her family’s legacy is destroyed?

Mardi Gras Murder, edited by Sarah E. GlennMardi Gras Murder, edited by Sarah E. Glenn:

Thirteen tales of crime set during the bacchanalia that is Mardi Gras. Featuring stories from Harriette Sackler, Marian Allen, Debra H. Goldstein and Nathan Pettigrew. The mayhem of Mardi Gras is served with a healthy dose of Cajun dishes and an unhealthy number of deaths. Dig into Bourbon Street Lucifer, Voodoo Honeymoon, a dish of Red Beans and Ricin, and other deadly treats.

 

 

Mardi Gras Madness by Alison Golden and Honey BroussardMardi Gras Madness by Alison Golden and Honey Broussard:

A timid traveler. A New Orleans adventure. A Mardi Gras murder…

Roxy believed that life never gives you more than you can handle. But when she’s fired from her wage-slave job, bullied by her co-workers, and her boyfriend abandons her, she decides she’s handled quite enough. Eager for a change of scene, Roxy with her white Persian cat Nefertiti head off to New Orleans.

The exotic sights, smells, and food of Mardi Gras coax the shy young woman out of her shell. Booking a room at a rundown guesthouse, Roxy is surrounded by a colorful cast of local characters. From tattooed waitresses to mystical tarot card readers, she quickly makes new friends and leaves her old life behind.

But she soon discovers that the Big Easy isn’t all beignets and jambalaya. A wealthy developer is eager to buy the guesthouse where Roxy lives and tear it down… until he turns up dead as a doornail! Before she can say ‘Mon Dieu!’, Roxy is caught up in a diabolical murder mystery… and her new friends are the prime suspects!

Roxy is determined to protect her pals, and save her new home. But is this anxious adventurer up to the challenge of solving a murder? Or will she become the killer’s next victim…

The Mardi Gras Murder by Jackie GriffeyThe Mardi Gras Murder by Jackie Griffey:

Like bananas, Sheriff Cas Larkin’s troubles are ripening in bunches.

A fully dressed woman is found drowned in the lake. He has a citizen no one can find, but hasn’t been reported as missing and all of her known acquaintances are standing in the way of Cas’s investigation. Then Judge Carpenter’s fiancée lands in jail, accused of a bloody murder way down yonder in New Orleans!

Now Cas must pick up the pace and connect the dots… before he goes bananas himself.

The Hexorcist by Lily Harper HartThe Hexorcist by Lily Harper Hart

Ofelia Archer has a full life … which only gets fuller when a dead body lands in her backyard.

As owner of New Orleans’ premier supernatural speakeasy, Ofelia is always in the thick of things when the witch hits the fan. That’s no exception now … even when the local police start breathing down her neck.

Zach Sully has a colorful background. As a panther shifter, he keeps his true origins secret while walking the colorful streets of the French Quarter keeping law and order. A tourist murder draws him into new and uncharted territory, and a feisty witch is at the center of it.

Sully and Ofelia circle one another … warily … as they both try to solve a mystery that revolves around an outsider who somehow had ties to their little corner of the world. Eventually, they’re going to have to join forces … and it’s not exactly a comfortable meeting of the minds.

Chemistry is one thing. Trust is another. Ofelia and Sully will be forced to get over their inner misgivings and unite if they want to solve the crime … and stay alive in the process.

Welcome to a magical world, where the characters are colorful, the magic is fantastical, and the drinks are poured strong.

It’s Bourbon Street, baby, and you’ll never be the same again.

Murder at the Mardi Gras by V. HurstMurder at the Mardi Gras by V. Hurst:

The Bryans and the Flannerys from ‘Murder at the JC’ and ‘Murder on the Cruise Ship’ take a vacation in New Orleans during Mardi Gras Season. They are soon recruited by their old friend FBI Special Agent Don Hobbs to search for a serial killer who murders a young woman each Mardi Gras for her kidneys. Clues lead the foursome to the killer and to a huge twist at the end of the story.

 

 

Murder at the Mardi Gras by Linda P. KozarMurder at the Mardi Gras by Linda P. Kozar:

When an esteemed professor of Louisiana history is found face down in a King Cake, young detective Annie Fournier suspects foul play and begins an investigation to find the person responsible. Her partner has little patience for Annie’s inexperience or gender and seems to enjoy mocking her at every opportunity. And to top that off, the crazy melee of Mardi Gras seems to hamper their progress at every turn. Will they weigh in on the identity of the murderer before Fat Tuesday ends, and will Annie prove that she has what it takes to be a detective?

Krewe by Jayson LivingstonKrewe by Jayson Livingston:

My name is Eugene Doyle Babineaux, Krewe to my friends. I’m a private investigator in Sacramento, California. My life is unassuming, and I like it that way. Things changed when I received a call from my brother. My mom was dead–suicide, he says. I didn’t believe it for a minute. So, I returned home to New Iberia, a small town in southern Louisiana, to look into Mom’s death. Once there, I reunited with old friends and foes alike. It seemed there were nefarious forces who did not want me poking around into Mom’s death. Rich people who keep company with bad people and who would stop at nothing to keep their plans hidden. What do Mardi Gras krewes, sugarcane production, and mob enforcers have to do with my mom’s death? I was about to find out, and things would never be the same.

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

A Masquerade of Saints by Nicole LoughanA Masquerade of Saints by Nicole Loughan:

In the third installment in the best-selling Saints Mystery Series small town Cajun, Fanchon, finds herself in some hot water, along with a few nasty crayfish. The heat gets turned up when she receives an invitation to join New Orleans high society. She’s ready to party until she receives a puzzling message from her favorite psychic to stay alert and wash her hands all night. When the warning seems all but forgotten the phone rings and Fanchon learns she should have been more careful. This adventure takes Fanchon from the bayou to the top of the floats at Mardi Gras with new characters and old friends to help along the way.

Chaos at Crescent City Medical CenterChaos at Crescent City Medical Center by Judith Lucci:

A New Orleans Attorney’s Mardi Gras Takes A Bloody Turn

Alex wanted a new life, but that often seemed out of reach as long as she was still tied to the same hospital as her ex-husband. Mardi Gras Season brought a welcome change in pace, and her upcoming date to the Mardi Gras Ball with art historian, Mitch Landry, was a step in the right direction. However, when she is called to a grisly scene at the hospital her plans are upended.

A Chilling Scene That Leads Deep Into New Orleans’ Underworld

The Wife of Louisiana’s Governor is discovered unconscious and covered with blood. This shocking scene leads Alex deep into unexpected circles of New Orleans, such as the local criminal underworld and the Voodoo culture.

Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center is a gripping Medical Thriller that will chill and surprise at every turn. You won’t want to put it down!

The Gay Mardi Gras Murders by Sylvia MassaraThe Gay Mardi Gras Murders by Sylvia Massara:

Mia Ferrari, smartarse, older chick, super sleuth, is back in her 2nd murder mystery and this time, she is up to her neck in drag queens, a rare diamond with a curse and murder most foul against the backdrop of Sydney’s world famous Gay Mardi Gras.

A female impersonator is found dead in her hotel suite bathtub and a rare diamond worth twenty million dollars is gone. The Gay Mardi Gras is fast approaching and Mia Ferrari, senior duty manager of the exclusive Rourke International Hotel Sydney, has to juggle a bunch of drag queens, a number of fabulously handsome gay men, a transsexual with a dark mystery, a young cop with sex on his mind, a close friend from the UK who is having marital problems and a mounting body count.

As Mia pits her investigative skills against her archenemy, Detective Sergeant Phil Smythe to solve the case, she not only becomes embroiled in the life of the people around her, but it looks like she is the next target for a serial killer with a grudge against gay men.

Mardi Gras Madness by Ken MaskMardi Gras Madness by Ken Mask:

While trying to free a lawyer friend convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, New Orleans private investigator Luke Jacobs is drawn into an international web of real estate fraud, pharmaceutical corporation misdealing and murder. Mardi Gras may have to be put on hold.

 

 

 

Mardi Gras Gris Gris by A.C. MasonMardi Gras Gris Gris by A.C. Mason:

Susan Foret is thrust into a murder scene when one of the town’s wealthiest citizens dies near her as the local Krewe’s parade is ending. A gris-gris bag containing tarot cards and several other fetish items is left dangling from the knife in his chest.

 

 

 

Rescued by a Kiss by Colleen MooneyRescued by a Kiss by Colleen Mooney:

All the fun of Mardi Gras—without the hangover!

New Orleans is a big, small town where everybody knows someone you know. They will see what you do and talk about it. It’s hard to steal a kiss at Mardi Gras and not be the topic of local gossip, especially if the man you kissed got shot at the end of the parade…

Colleen Mooney’s humorous, romantic, delightfully meandering cozy mysteries gua-ran-tee you gon’ have a authentic N’ Awlins experience, dawlin’! And a wild ride into the bargain.

Brandy Alexander’s the real deal–yes, that’s her real name and she’s not even a stripper, she’s an amateur sleuth, although her best friend Julia is.

Quirky characters are the norm in a town like New Orleans where anything can happen.

The Krewe by Seth PeveyThe Krewe by Seth Pevey:

Living up to the family name comes with a price.

When Felix is told his big brother committed suicide by throwing himself under a train, his gut screams foul play. But as the Mardi Gras season descends on the Big Easy, no one is interested in the conspiracy theories of a drug-addled rich kid.

Except, perhaps, one Carnival organization in particular…

A krewe that hasn’t been heard from in decades.

Felix will need the help of a police detective long past his prime, the family’s honor-obsessed butler, and a massive pork fortune, all in order to find justice for his big brother.

His name, his family, and his very life may hang in the balance.

Burgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer JacquesBurgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer Jacques:

You caught a doubloon at a Mardi Gras Parade – that was a bad thing.

Trent McGowan is going home. Home to his ailing mother. Home to the city of his childhood. Home to New Orleans. As Trent deals with the peculiar circumstances surrounding his mother’s illness, his family gets swept up in the excitement of Mardi Gras and all of the festivities of that intoxicating day. The jubilant crowds, breathtaking carnival floats, and oh yes, the throws! His youngest daughter Zoe catches one of those throws, a sparkling red doubloon, and that is where the story ends and begins.
Burgundy Doubloons is more than just a suspense thriller, it is everything that makes New Orleans the party capital of the world: only bloodier and darker.

For those who love a parade, Burgundy Doubloon answers a terrifying question: What if your child simultaneously caught a bead, and a murderous spirit? In this heart-palpating novel, you will meet the entire McGowan family, and the people determined to destroy them.

Finally, a paranormal thriller that takes place in New Orleans – as told by a native son who knows where the bodies are buried.

The Mysterious Masks of Mardi Gras by Connie TrappThe Mysterious Masks of Mardi Gras by Connie Trapp:

A 2.5 million dollar Harlequin Mask has been stolen right under everyone’s noses!
It was never out of sight—how could this have happened? The auction was invitation-only, which means only one thing: the thief is among them.

The New Orleans police are on the case, the room where the auction was being held is in lockdown, and no one can leave—not even the Mayor and his wife. Everyone there is a high roller and everyone there is a suspect.

Yet before the police can even begin their investigation, they already have their sights set on a prime suspect…the insider responsible for the distraction that allowed the thief to steal the mask without anyone even noticing. One Jane Dough, of Little Rock…

How in the world did JD get herself into this mess? Follow along as JD struggles to prove her innocence and uncover the real thief…

Mardi Gras Marathon Murders by Diane M. TwilleyMardi Gras Marathon Murders by Diane L. Twilley:

Mardi Gras has come to Galveston Texas, and with it the excitement of a new event, the first ever Mardi Gras Marathon. Gina Malloy, a young journalist, is very involved in the planning of the event. When she enlists the help of her aunt, Sister Catherine Malloy, she is delighted to discover that Sister Catherine’s friend, Martin Iberson, is the agent of one of the big stars of marathon events, Billy Champion. Gina is eager to meet Martin Iberson and his family, and perhaps get a chance to meet and interview Billy Champion.

All goes well, until evil shows its face, and two of the marathon runners are killed. With the help of their friend, police lieutenant Richard Tierney, the nun and her niece embark on the task of finding out who murdered the runners, and as things progress, they find their lives in danger as well. But from whom? And why?

Things become even more somber as they realize that the culprit could be someone they know. Eventually Sister Catherine deduces that to solve the murders she must understand the character of the killer, and she finally comes up with the shocking solution to the Mardi Gras murders.

The Mardi Gras Two Step by Barry M. VassThe Mardi Gras Two Step by Barry M. Vass:

A series of young girls, strippers, are found mutilated and abandoned in the streets and byways of the French Quarter in early 1972. As more bodies turn up, at first in the Mississippi River, and then across the river in Algiers, the detectives assigned to the case are baffled: what sort of deviant could be responsible for such horrific behavior? And then, as the chaos of Mardi Gras crashes in like a wave around them, they begin to suspect that the killer they’re looking for might not even be human…

Posted in Books, Indie Crime Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WandaVision Offer Up an “All-New Halloween Spooktacular”

It’s time for the latest installment of my episode by episode reviews of WandaVision, Marvel’s new sitcom parody/Dickian faux reality paranoia. Previous installments may be found here. Also, may I remind you that Disney is still not paying Alan Dean Foster and others.

Warning: Spoilers and pretty significant ones at that behind the cut! Continue reading

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love Through Space and Time 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Speculative Fiction

Love through Space and Time banner

Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Valentine’s Day science fiction, fantasy and horror by indie authors.

These Valentine’s Day stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have urban fantasy, a lot of paranormal romance, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, space colonisation, horror, alternate history, time travel, dragons, werewolves, wizards, ghosts, demons, aliens, robots, magical greeting card writers, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting ghosts, Viking ghosts, dinners with demons, grumpy cupids, love potions, Valentine’s Day in space and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Dinner With a Demon by Iokasti ArgiriouDinner With a Demon: It’s Valentine’s Day After All by Iokasti Argiriou

Apparently it’s Valentine’s day. A day dedicated to love? What in Aphrodite’s name is happening?

Anath – or Leda to Persa as she always refuses to call her by her demonic name – approaches Persa after all this time and she chooses this specific day. Is it a coinsidence? And then, out of the blue, the strangest thing happens. She asks Persa out on a date. A real date.

Ok, it was Persa’s suggestion, actually, but she never thought that Leda would go along with it. Now Persa cannot bow out and…she really hopes that this Valentine dude knows what he’s doing. Please, don’t let him be a sham!

Roses & Tails by Barbara BeRoses & Tails by Barbara Be:

She is an alien with silver-blue skin and a sexy tail, he is human and sometimes she doesn’t quite understand his customs. Like that strange human event of Valentine’s Day. He has something special planned for that day and it involves Zero G. But maybe he hasn’t quite thought this through. Sex in Zero G has some unique challenges.

This short story has previously been published in 2017 as part of the “Red Hots” anthology, which has been unpublished.

 

Valentine's Day by Zack BrooksValentine’s Day: A Charlie The Cupid Short Story by Zack Brooks:

Meet Charles Vefflin. A cupid stuck as a drone within a corporate company run by the Fates in Boston, he is doomed to cause people to fall in love with their soulmates for all of eternity. He hates his job and most people of the world. But a job is a job, and he isn’t going to let a little thing like people ruin the few pleasures in his life.

Join Charlie on the worst day of the year, Valentine’s Day, where he must make a young couple fall in love at a most unconventional party. See him deal with the idiocy of his co-workers, the lunacy of humans, and even run into a perverted old god. But, one thing’s for sure, he’ll see the job through. Even if it takes some liquid courage just to get through the night.

Valentine’s day is short story, about 6,500 words or 22 printed pages

Ballroom Blitz by Cora BuhlertBallroom Blitz by Cora Buhlert:

Anjali and Mikhail go on a Valentine’s Day date. Trouble ensues.

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so Mikhail and Anjali enjoy a well-deserved romantic dinner. But their date is rudely interrupted, when they find themselves caught in the crossfire of a turf war between two rival gangsters.

This is a Valentine’s Day novella of 23200 words or approximately 78 print pages in the “In Love and War” series by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert, but may be read as a standalone.

Valentine's Day on Iago Prime by Cora BuhlertValentine’s Day on Iago Prime by Cora Buhlert:

Kai and Maisie are about the celebrate their first Valentine’s Day on the planet Iago Prime. However, the holiday traditions they established back on Earth such as celebrating Valentine’s Day with a picnic on the beach are impossible to maintain in the hostile environment of their new home. But in spite of the many limitations imposed by living on Iago Prime, Kai pulls out all the stops to give Maisie an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

This is a science fictional Valentine’s Day story of 2200 words or approx. 10 print pages.

Cupid by Demelza CarltonCupid by Delmeza Carlton:

As a Cupid, Orel has plenty of experience helping other people find love, even if he’s unlucky in that department. But when he ends up covering for another Cupid at a speed dating event for singles in the leadup to Valentine’s Day, he dares to hope.

Can a lonely Cupid find love?

Or will he fall victim to the Cupid curse, too?

 

A Viking Ghost for Valentine's Day by Jo-Ann CarsonA Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day by Jo-Ann Carson:

To feed her three children, Widow Abigail Jenkins takes the only job available in Sunset Cove: night cleaner in the notorious, haunted tea-house. She figures the wild, supernatural rumors about the place are pure fiction. After all, ghosts don’t exist.

Eric Eklund a sexy spirit from Sweden is over a thousand years old. Having missed his chance at Valhalla, the Viking spends his time roaming the world and gambling. That is until he sees Abby whose feisty earthly-spirit turns his ghostly world upside down.

When the two meet sparks fly, but their romance is interrupted by a poltergeist hunting children.

What happens when you mix a naughty, Viking ghost built like a Norse god, a strong woman who suffers no fools and a nasty poltergeist? Answer: another fun, Gambling Ghost story.

A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s is a lighthearted novella filled with love, laughter and just enough ghouliness to thrill and chill you to the bone.

Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo PriceQuill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price:

What if the words you wrote came true?

Spellcraft isn’t exactly a respectable business, but it does pay the bills. At least, it should. Unfortunately, Dixon Penn failed his Spellcraft initiation. Instead of working in his family’s shop, he’s stuck delivering takeout orders in his uncle’s beat-up Buick.

Winning a Valentine’s Day contest at the largest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to get his life back on track—but something at Precious Greetings just doesn’t add up. And despite numerous warnings to quit pestering them about his contest entry, he simply can’t stop himself from coming back again and again.

It doesn’t hurt that the head of security is such a hottie. If Dixon had any common sense, he’d be scared of the big, mysterious, tattooed Russian.

To be fair, no one ever accused him of being too smart….

A Werewolf's Valentine by Zoe ChantA Werewolf’s Valentine by Zoe Chant:

Curvy cat shifter McKenzi Enkel gave up on love after one too many heartbreaks. What’s more, she declared war on Valentine’s Day. But then a handsome, whiskey-voiced stranger comes to town.

Sexy singer West, a lone wolf who lost his pack as a child, never stopped searching for his missing family. He sings when he can, fights when he must, and always moves on—until he meets the scorching hot McKenzi in the diner she reluctantly decorated for Valentine’s Day.

In a small town of shifters where anyone can find a refuge, West and McKenzi still feel alone. But as they begin to open their hearts to each other, he can’t make himself leave… and she can’t let him go. With Valentine’s Day approaching, can West and McKenzi forge a new pack… and find a love even they can’t deny?

My Maggie Valentine by Kate DanleyMy Maggie Valentine by Kate Danley:

Valentine’s Day is terrible. Especially when you’re Maggie MacKay and tasked with chaperoning the local high school Valentine’s dance. Join Maggie and Killian on a holiday, short story adventure. Sometimes you wrestle with demons. And sometimes they just want to cuddle…

A part of the Maggie MacKay: Holiday Special short story series. This stands independently from the main Magical Tracker series and can be read at any time and in any order.

WARNING: This adventure contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior. Proceed with caution.

Love Potion Sold Seperately by Nicole DragonBeckLove Potion Sold Seperately by Nicole DragonBeck:

Maggie Baker can’t think of anyone to ask to wear her corsage at this year’s First Days Celebration. After a visit from her fairy godmother, Maggie concocts her own Prince Charming, but when Charle arrives, things get more complicated than she bargained for.

 

 

 

Vintage Valentine by Cat GardinerVintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner:

Romance and time-travel meet Pride and Prejudice in this utterly romantic modern story. Step back in time to WWII-era for a sweet Valentine’s Day.

What begins as a begrudging visit to Time & Again antique shop turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. The unexpected happens! Love and lessons await Lizzy Bennet when she leaves her mobile device in the future. Travel with her through a portal to timeless romance back in 1943 where she’s looking up into the eyes of one dashing G.I. at U.S.O dance.

An 8,500 word sweet paranormal romance.

A Dragon's Valentine by C.D. GorriThe Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri:

“She’s given up on love, but he’s just begun…”

After five hundred years of servitude, Dragon Shifter, Callius Falk and his three brothers are finally freed from their bonds. Callius has one mission, to find his true mate.

Winifred Castillo spends her nights tending bar at The Thirsty Dog, a local favorite in Maccon City, New Jersey. After her boyfriend skips town with her rent money, she’s sworn off men. For good!

But what’s a Werewolf to do when a dark-haired stranger with golden eyes and rippling muscles claims her as his mate?

The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

Bear Valley Valentine by T.S. JoyceBear Valley Valentine by T.S. Joyce:

Colin Cross is a lone bear shifter living on the outskirts of Bear Valley. He likes his reclusive lifestyle, but when he musters the nerve to talk to the woman he has feelings for, being alone just doesn’t seem like enough anymore. When he finds Hadley on an online dating site, it’s the perfect way to build a relationship with her without dragging her into his dark past. Hadley is human, and humans don’t belong in his world, but a little online flirting never hurt anyone.

Hadley Bennett has had it with dating local townies. Determined to cast her net a little wider, she enters the chaotic world of online dating. When she finally secures a face-to-face date with the elusive Bearman28, it’ll be a Valentine’s Day to remember.

And if Hadley can handle his real identity, they just might find what they’ve both been searching for.

Bear Valley Valentine is a 20,000 word story with heart pounding romance, a thoughtful alpha bear, and spicy Valentine’s Day surprises.

For the Love of Cupidity by Raven KennedyFor the Love of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy:

First comes love, then comes mating, then comes the baby and some cupid training.

Cupidville is overrun with new cupid recruits, and it’s up to me to train them in time for Valentine’s Day. Too bad I have four mates who keep insisting that it’s time for me to take a break.

Juggling my role as the cupid boss, being a mate, and handling motherhood isn’t always easy, but it’s sure as hearts worth it. Let’s just hope I can get these cupid flunkies trained in time.

Author’s Note: This is a Heart Hassle novella just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Love Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. MiersLove Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. Miers:

A valentines day charity anthology featuring 8 exclusive stories from your favorite bestselling Paranormal and Fantasy romance authors! All proceeds will be donated to Room to Read!

How to Capture a Demon’s Heart – Graceley Knox & D.D. Miers
A Demon’s Plaything (The Elite Guards) – Amelia Hutchins
Deep Blue Sea – Pippa DaCosta
The Hellhound’s Legion: A Kit Davenport Novella – Tate James
The Heart Cantrip: a Family Spells Novella – C.M. Stunich
Eternal Hearts – A Forsaken Gods Series Novella – G. Bailey & Coralee June
A Damsel and a Demigod (The Guild Codex: Spellbound) – Annette Marie
The Fox and the Wolf – Clara Hartley

An Immortal Valentine's Day by Monica La PortaAn Immortal Valentine’s Day by Monica La Porta:

Once a playboy, Alexander Drako is now the happy father of three and eager to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special party held on Friday night to accommodate his nocturnal vampire friends. Everything is ready except for a small detail. Alexander has forgotten to buy the roses and orchids for his beloved Ravenna. Unable to disappoint her, and accompanied by his loyal friends, Marcus and Samuel, he sets out for Wolf’s Haven, a rehab center for paranormals, hoping to find some flowers left for sale in their greenhouse.

After a honeymoon around the world that lasted half a year, Peter and Ophelia have just landed back in Rome. While he would like to relax in their apartment, Ophelia is eager to see her friends. Most of all, she can’t wait to hug Quintilius, her adoptive father.

Ophelia’s call reaches Quintilius at Wolf’s Haven, where he’s volunteering, and he rejoices at finally seeing her again. However, he isn’t thrilled to see Peter, the man who stole the heart of his little princess. A sudden crisis at the rehab center forces Quintilius to focus his thoughts and energies on looking for Luisa, a girl who’s run away with a dangerous gang member.

By fate’s design, all the friends have reunited at Wolf’s Haven and agreed to help Quintilius in his quest. Will they be able to save the girl and return to their loved ones in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.

He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.

This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

Valentines Day Time Patrol by Bob MayerValentines Day: Time Patrol by Bob Mayer:

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity—or it will move apart.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What does it take to change history and destroy our reality? Change events on the same date, 14 February, in six different years. The Time Patrol must send an agent back to each day, with just 24 hours for each to defeat the Shadow’s plan to disrupt our time-line, creating a time tsunami and wiping our present out.

Ivar: 1929. Gunmen massacre seven people in the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre. Al Capone is consolidating his grip on the Outfit in Chicago. But what if it turns out very differently?

Eagle: 1945. President Roosevelt, heading home from the Yalta Conference, stops on the Great Bitter Lake to meet King Idn Saud of Saudi Arabia to discuss a relatively new topic: Arab oil. And a Jewish homeland.

Roland: 1779. Captain Cook, famed explorer of the Pacific, meets his fate in Hawaii.

Scout: 278. Saint Valentine is beheaded near the Milvian Bridge.

Doc: 1945. The Dresden Firebombing. Kurt Vonnegut is in a slaughterhouse as the first bombers appear overheard.

Moms: 1946. The ENIAC computer, programmed by six women, is unveiled to the public. The press thinks the women are simply models.

The mission, as always for the Time Patrol, seems straight-forward: keep history intact. No matter the cost.

But this time, things go very differently than in previous missions and one of the team members must make the ultimate sacrifice.

Rainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah MendlesohnRainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah Mendlesohn:

Authors featured are Harry Robertson, Edward Ahern, Victoria Zammit, Erin Horáková, Cheryl Morgan, Sarah Ash, Kathleen Jowitt, Sean Robinson, Garrick Jones and MJ Logue, and the settings vary from a mediaeval monastery to the ‘final frontier’, give or take the odd supernatural realm along the way. Stories of love in the past, present and future – all as fascinating in their variety as love itself.

 

 

My Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. MorseMy Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. Morse:

Roses are red. So is your blood. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’ve brought you something good. Abandon the chocolates, forget flowers and wine. Because these authors stories are bloody divine. Demons from Hell or a vampires kiss, this collection of stories you don’t want to miss.

 

 

 

Kelianna by Leah NegronKelianna by Leah Negron:

What my fellow countrymen do not realize is that the tales are true. From the leprechauns to the fairies, the banshees to the pooka, the merrow to the kelpie, the changelings to the far darrig, they all exist.

There are many more creatures; some of them are good and stand by us in the fight to keep the evil ones at bay. The others, the dark ones, try to destroy everything that is good in the world.

Now there is a new threat, one that I have never seen before. Thankfully, Tiamat sent word through the portals to warn me of what is coming.

It’s time to bring my forces together for the battle of a lifetime. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a Bloody Valentine’s Day.

Tiamat by Serenity RayneTiamat by Serenity Rayne:

You would think I was living a fairy tale life. I live in my ancestral home high up in the mountains, and I am heir to the Ice Dragon throne. With the standard court drama and Prince’s trying to court me that don’t measure up to the man in my dreams, life can be quite stressful at times. But in the darkness, an old evil lurks, one we thought my mother Aurora had extinguished long ago. Villagers start going missing by my father Klaus’s pack lands, and all signs point to the Strigoi. Time to help mom and get my talons dirty; this will be one bloody Valentines Day.

 

Love Magic by Jesi Lea RyanLove Magic by Jesi Lea Ryan:

“The day I met Derrick while playing my violin in the park was magical. Unfortunately, magic and love together don’t always mix.”

Oliver met Derrick while busking in the park, and they hit it off from the start. At first, Derrick’s “mysterious magician” vibe was intriguing, but after two botched dates, Oliver was ready to call it quits.

Fearing he lost his chance with Oliver, Derrick makes a last-ditch effort to win Oliver’s heart with a romantic Valentine’s date. But when love and magic collide, things tend to go awry. Will these two guys make it through the date unscathed?

Validated by Valentine's by Joynll SchultzValidated by Valentine’s by Joynell Schultz:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory’s perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone’s deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine’s day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who’s setting Ivory up to fail.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Dragon's First Valentine by Emily Martha SorensenDragon’s First Valentine by Emily Martha Sorensen:

There’s a new dragon visiting from Chicago, and she’s green, like Virgil! Unfortunately, this might cause a few small problems nobody anticipated.

As well as a few revelations and surprises.

And all while Rose is trying to figure out what to give her husband for Valentine’s Day.

 

The Draed Arrow by Grigor WeeksThe Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:

Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.

Posted in Books, Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment