2011 Shirley Jackson Awards

2011 Shirley Jackson Awards Winners

Boston, MA (July 2012) — The 2011 Shirley Jackson Awards winners were announced on Sunday, July 15th 2012, at Readercon 23, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Congratulations to all winners!

See the full list here.

Previous years’ winners can be found here: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.


Bound: Book 1 in The Crystor Series

“The characters in this book are well written and make the story come alive.” KrissyJ82

Amazon Kindle US: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Amazon Kindle UK: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Author: C. K. Bryant
Publisher: Dragonfly Press; First edition (October 8, 2011)
Print Length: 346 pages

Blood, death, torture, heartbreak and fear.  The young adult novel ‘Bound’ offers it all.

Kira’s life turn hectic when she joins her best friend Lydia for a walk through the forest for a photographic assignment, and they’re suddenly attacked.  When Lydia shapeshifts into someone and something Kira has never seen or believed possible, Kira’s first instinct is to run.  But how can she?  This is her best friends.

Even upon learning that her best friend is from another world (time or place?), Kira is loyal and will always protect and be Lydia’s best friend and the feeling is returned ten fold.

Octavion, Lydia’s older brother, is bent on a promise to keep his little sister safe at all costs, including sacrifice of his own life or those he loves if it came down to it.  Unfortunate love in these times tears Octavion’s heart in two as he protects his sister and Kira.  The shapeshifter, cursed by family blood line of Royals has his own tricks too and not to mention his pet companion, a snow leopard.

When scouts finally find Lydia on earth her entwined kindred spirit is revealed as the form takes Lydia’s body over and fights with precision and determination.  Shandira, the eldest sister, the traitor and death dealer will stop at nothing to claim the throne.  As she enters our world pain, suffering, blood and death shall flow with the forever cursed Dark Lords by her side.

Now, Kira’s loyalty and stubbornness may be the only thing that saves her, and her shapeshifter friends.

Amazon Kindle US: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Amazon Kindle UK: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

“The Brothers Grimm meets Lord of the Rings.” –Patrick Thomas, author of The Murphy’s Lore series

Amazon Kindle US:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Amazon Kindle UK:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Author: Roy A. Mauritsen
Publisher: Padwolf Publishing Inc. (April 16, 2012)
Print Length: 320 pages

Shards of a glass slipper pushes beyond the boundaries of alternative history.  But not our history, the history of fairy tales and fables. Well actually it creates a whole new world.  I was amazed to find CGI pictures of characters and scenery throughout the Kindle Version.

In the beginning we are taken to a secluded hut on a beach inhabited by a crippled young woman.  A young woman who hides a secret and her identity from the world.  Yet her disability has far from broken her will and spirit which is shown when she attempts to rescue a shipwrecked soul.

The scene shifts to a travelling pair, Patience and Hamelin, who are on a journey to deliver the shards of the much fabled glass slippers to the grave of Cinderella’s mother. Their travels are interrupted at the scene of the grave and both travelers, and they are thrown into the battle if tyranny, rebellion, and self-doubt.

Throughout the novel, we meet many characters from our childhood stories, with a whole new venture in the after-times of the stories we once known.  Hansel and Gretel turned witch hunters, Goldie Locks travels with her three furry companions, Snow White commands the rebellious army of dwarves battling against Queen Cinderella who has been corrupted with power.  Plus many more characters and sly yet quirky hints and mentions.

As the Frog Prince commands Queen Cinders army they also are searching for powerful artefacts in which they can restore the magic back to its full capacity.  In the process, they break an ancient treaty and the evil army and its leaders are faced with a whole new threat on the horizon.

I have to say the book is mostly ‘believable’, with the exception of the characters and creatures from An End World. Though many characters have already been pre-developed,  we find ourselves reading the development of Patience and  Hamelin as they find themselves adapting to their new lives. Thus being said we also follow the changes of the other predominant characters as challenges, heart ache, old and new love are thrusted upon them.

Launching Lou Morgan’s BLOOD AND FEATHERS



LOU MORGAN will be reading from and signing her fantastic debut novel, BLOOD AND FEATHERS (Solaris) at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Thursday 2nd August from 6 – 7pm.

The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating, and innocent civilians are caught in the cross-fire. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by a disgraced angel with a drinking problem – our heroine will learn the truth about her own history and why the angels want to send her to hell.

Blood and Feathers is a storming debut from a fresh new writer whose work is both violent and incisive, acerbic and witty. Morgan draws you into a new world of gun-toting angels and timeless battles that will blow you away.


“A hell of a ride, but heaven to read: eerie, compelling and very funny.” -Michael Marshall Smith

“Dark, enticing and so sharp the pages could cut you, Blood and Feathers is a must-read for any fan of the genre” – Sarah Pinborough


Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in SF, Fantasy and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for events, including Jonathan Ross, Kevin Smith, Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, John Landis, Terry Gilliam, Christopher Lee, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Stephen King.

For more about our signings please go to: http://forbiddenplanet.com/events/

Interview: John Claude Smith

John Claude Smith is a writer of dark speculative fiction, music journalism, and poetry. Most of the short fiction veers into horror, while the novels tend to meander into a weird mix of magic realism, psychological and supernatural nuances, and, again, horror. Late 2011 saw the publication of his first book, The Dark is Light Enough for Me, a collection of short stories. He presently exists in the SF Bay Area, though soon he will be in Rome again, where he truly lives.

Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o’ paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.

A: Usually on a computer, though many tales and, in particular, poems, start by putting pen to paper.

Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?

A: I can and often plan specific music for a mood I want to incorporate into a story, but ultimately, when locked in with the writing, it doesn’t matter. I hear the voices and motivations of the characters and the music is nothing more than white noise whispering for attention in the background.

Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?

A: When I’m deep into a project, specifically a novel, I write for specific periods of time on a daily basis. In between the novels, of which there are two down, with the third novel in the second draft, while I align research for the fourth, I will allow for a less regimented process. It’s a part of me as even when not writing, I’m thinking writing. The brain is quite cluttered with stories, stories and, yes, stories.

Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?

A: There are too many to consider, but the “pop-up” in my brain keeps registering Harlan Ellison as the one, and I would simply like him to enjoy the work…but express his enjoyment in traditionally effusive Ellison manner, perhaps.

Q: On the days where the writing doesn’t go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?

A: A musician for a post-punk band cut out of the mold of all the bands from England circa 1978-1982 or so, though I have horrible tendencies when playing guitar to turn into a thousand-notes-a-second speed-freak wanker, which derails my fantasy and sends me back to words.

Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?

A wide variety of everything, though for re-reading pleasure, I tend to lean toward a lot of writers whose work stretches even the genres they are slotted in, like Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, etc. Actually, last summer I did an in-depth reading and re-reading session with those two and a handful of other writers whose work sets the highest standard for what I enjoy, both stylistically and imaginatively, real quality and potency. It was a form of research. I plan to dig into a lot of Weird Fiction writers soon, to research much of what they do, dig into the heart of the weird.

Q: Where did the idea for your latest collection come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration?

The idea was there for quite some time as I have about 3-4 books worth of short stories. It just took my agent to say, hey, how about an ebook, and me responding, why not? I think of it as a good introduction to my work. Inspiration comes to me by simply listening to the world around me, reading widely, living without restrictions. Paying attention. The littlest odd notion can lead to something huge.

Here’s a little taste of The Dark: The excerpt is from the story “The Sunglasses Girl.” After an evening of sex in his car with what he thought was a prostitute, our main character, Trane, learns his assumptions were wrong:

She smiled, all teeth, vicious, gleaming with disgust, and took off her sunglasses.

“Remember, you made this choice,” she seethed.

The moment was brief. Description was useless, but Trane’s mind flashed with unexpected images: vast gulfs of infinite, starless space; yawning abysses where the lost tumbled for eternity; black scars that oozed blindness. He felt an oppression begin to suffocate him. She had no eyes, per se, just the empty sockets where they should be, empty sockets that defined the word “empty” in new, disturbing ways: fathomless wells in which the echoed response of the dropped stone would never speak. They epitomized nothingness, a vast, turbulent nothingness that indicated there was no soul within her, no self, nothing of substance—nothing!—but something of unspecified definition that roiled like a cavern of agitated bats. The nothingness started to leak like viscous black rivers from a whirlpool of resentment and hatred and loathing and spite and so much more negativity—negativity, that was what he witnessed; the whirlpool writhed with an omniscient negativity—Trane’s head pulsated with the pummeling weight of her wrath. He gasped, his erection went south, and she put the sunglasses back on.

It was only one moment.

You can find John on Facebook and Twitter as well as at his blog. Find out more about The Dark is Light Enough For Me and read reviews at Amazon and Goodreads. I just got started reading the collection while traveling back from Scotland and can recommend it for anyone who likes dark horrors with an almost Lovecraftian sense of unease. Thanks for being my guest today!

Review: The Language of Dying

PS Publishing

Blurb: A woman sits beside her father’s bedside as the night ticks away the final hours of his life. As she watches over her father, she relives the past week and the events that brought the family together . . . and she recalls all the weeks before that served to pull it apart.

There has never been anything normal about the lives raised in this house. It seems to her that sometimes her family is so colourful that the brightness hurts, and as they all join together in this time of impending loss she examines how they came to be the way they are and how it came to just be her, the drifter, that her father came home to die with.

But, the middle of five children, the woman has her own secrets . . . particularly the draw that pulled her back to the house when her own life looked set to crumble. And sitting through her lonely vigil, she remembers the thing she saw out in the fields all those years ago . . . the thing that they found her screaming for outside in the mud. As she peers through the familiar glass, she can’t help but hope and wonder if it will come again. Because it’s one of those night, isn’t it dad? A special terrible night. A full night. And that’s always when it comes. If it comes at all.

Review: In this intense novella we see an already damaged family dealing with the impending death of their father. Our narrator is the beleaguered middle child and daddy’s girl, who seems to be the rock holding everything together — until the cracks in her façade begin to show. Interactions with her siblings as they arrive for the vigil bring out the comfort of that shared experience, but also the strains of their lives together and apart. As her father’s life ebbs, she drifts into remembering the very worst times in her life and a memory of something that may or may not have happened — and what may wait outside the house. In his introduction, Graham Joyce calls the novella ‘fractured realism’ and it fits. A strong exploration of the dark spectre we must all find a way to deal with sooner or later.

– K. A. Laity