The Dead Bear Witness

Art by ghastly Glen Ostrander. Announcement coming soon…

Z-7 Reviews The Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon

Self-appointed expert on strange pulp and literature, Timothy L. Mayer has reviewed The Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon on his blog. After a quick recap of DL’s pulp history, he goes onto say lots of nice things about the book and its authors, including this about my contribution: The best story in the collection is “The Devil, You Know” by James Chambers. Not only does Chambers give us a Chinese-American diamond fence named Lee who dresses and talks like a cowboy, but he has The Domino Lady captured by a band of Satanists. Taken to a yacht off the coast, the Domino Lady is recruited by their sinister leader and forced to watch obscene rituals. It has all the sleaze factor you might expect from the shudder pulps, including a naked Amazon whipping men to death. Off course, The Domino Lady is a little too smart for her captors.

Drop by Z-7 Headquarters to read the full review and check out the rest of Timothy’s blog, which is full of great posts about pulp fiction both classic and new. The Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, published by Moonstone Books in 2009, is available on Amazon.

Philcon 2011

Philcon, which is having its 75th anniversary this year, is the annual convention hosted by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society–although it’s held in Cherry Hill, NJ. I’ll be appearing there Saturday and Sunday to sign books, talk about writing, and generally hang out and have a good time. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. My tentative schedule of panels is listed here:

Sat 11:00 AM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Robert Kauffmann (mod), Phil Kahn, Brian Koscienski, James Chambers]

You have an idea for a comic? Great, but now what?  We’ll discuss online vs. print publishing, revenue sources, getting started, and keeping your comic going

2:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

[Panelists: James Chambers (mod), Phil Kahn, Brian Koscienski, J. Andrew World, Ahlen Moin]

A discussion of how to use art and dialogue to tell your story, panel by panel

Sat 8:00 PM in
Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)

[Panelists: Alison Campbell-Wise (mod), Carole Buggé, Jonathan Maberry, Stephanie Burke, James Chambers, Roman Ranieri]

You can’t keep a good vampire down for the count. He’s been staked, exposed to sunlight, drowned, dissolved, etc. countless times, but he’s still with us. He has, however, changed considerably over the years. Did you know that Bram Stoker’s creation actually appears in broad daylight at least twice, suffering no ill effects? That he begins as an old man who gets younger? That he has charnel breath? Let’s explore the ways this character has evolved, and the stages has gone through.

Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)

[Panelists: John Ashmead (mod), James Chambers, Chris Pisano, Darrell Schweitzer, Eric Avedissian, Roman Ranieri]

Great writers, we contend, are the ones the critics cannot stop. Major critics, notably Edmund Wilson, tried, but to no avail. Today Lovecraft is famous world-wide.  Yet when he died in 1937, his only published book was a wretchedly amateur production which had barely sold a hundred copies.  What made the difference?  Was it all those role-playing games and plush Cthulhu toys? The movies? Or something inherent in the texts

Halloween Haunts Update

If you haven’t checked out the Halloween Haunts event running this month on the Horror Writers Association Dark Whispers blog, hop over there fast before Halloween is over and all the good candy is gone! Some great posts are still to come, with more book giveaways and a B&N Nook loaded with free novels to be given away on Halloween. The entire month of posts, interviews, and excerpts are still available on the site. And if you missed my Halloween tale, The Dead Have the Best Candy, which kicked things off, you still find it here.

The Truth About Editors

My friend and frequent editor, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, runs a nifty blog dedicated to providing advice, information, and insight for authors about the ins and outs of writing. It’s called The Literary Handyman. Occasionally she runs posts by guest bloggers, and this week, it’s my turn, writing about some things authors can do to make their life easier and be more successful with their writing by making their editor’s life easier. Read it here. Danielle has lots of other good articles archived, with new ones added regularly. Her blog is a great resource for writers.

More Love for the Dragon!

Editors are like dragons.

They’re sometimes wise, often grumpy, and they covet gold in the form of good writing. They like to sleep a lot too, under mountains of manuscripts, but once you get them going, they’ll torch villages to make sure every last mixed metaphor, split infinitive, and threadbare cliche is scorched to ash. Therefore it strikes me as most appropriate that the editors of Dragon’s Lure have garnered a nomination for Best Anthology at the 2012 EPIC Awards. My story, “He Who Burns,” appears in the book, introducting Max Toth, forensic alchemist of New Alexandria. And here’s the official announcement:

Dark Quest Books and Editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jennifer Ross, and Jeffrey Lyman are proud to announce that Dragon’s Lure has been selected as a finalist for the 2012 EPIC Award for Best Anthology. Dragon’s Lure is a multi-author anthology with contributions by:  John Grant, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Patrick Thomas, James Chambers, Misty Massey, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike Penncavage, CE Murphy, Hildy Silverman, Bernie Mojzes, Randy Farran, CJ Henderson, Claire Stephens McMurray, Robert E. Waters, DC Wilson, Jean Marie Ward, Keith RA DeCandido, Anna Yardney, Jeffrey Lyman, James Daniel Ross, and David B. Coe.

This is not the first recognition bestowed on this collection. Recently the Washington Science Fiction Association announced the finalists for the 2011 WSFA Small Press Award,Jean Marie Ward was among those short-listed for the honor, for her short story “Lord Bai’s Discovery,” which is one of the stories in Dragon’s Lure. In addition, Vonnie Winslow Crist was among the top ten finalists in this year’s Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll for her story Weathermaker. To learn more about the book, please visit
Congratulations go out to our contributors and all the other authors honored by the committee with finalist status in their categories.


Dragon’s Lure Review















My story, “He Who Burns,” appeared in the anthology, Dragon’s Lure.  It was one of a number of stories I’ve written where I’ve managed to surprise myself. A dragon story wasn’t on the horizon for me in any form until I was asked to contribute to this anthology. What I came up with was a definite change of pace for me, one I enjoyed writing, and one that seems to have gone over very well with readers. Most recently Dragon’s Lure garnered some kind words from the You Gotta Read Reviews blog, which said, “…each of these tales were a delight which isn’t often the case in anthologies.” My story features Max Toth, forensic alchemist in New Alexandria, a city with a salamander problem.

Halloween with the Horror Writers Association

For about the last two months, I’ve been working on a special project for the Horror Writers Association: HWA Halloween Haunts.

Thirty-one special blog posts for the thirty-one days of October. Horror writers blogging about Halloween and the HWA, about the nuts and bolts of writing, about their books and projects, all to celebrate Halloween and horror writing for the month of October. I’ve been working with a great group of writers–novelists, short fiction writers, poets, screenwriters, non-fiction writers–all of whom have generously donated their time, words, pictures, and in some cases books and e-books that we’ll be giving away throughout the month. It launches today on the HWA blog, Dark Whispers.

The first post is mine, The Dead Have the Best Candy, a true Halloween story.

With posts and interviews from people such as Bruce Boston, Ellen Datlow, Gabreille Faust, Don D’Auria, Nancy Holder, John Hornor Jacobs, Jonathan Maberry and Janice Bashman, Nick Mamatas, Lisa Morton, Weston Ochse, Norman Prentiss, Anne K. Schwader, Matthew Warner, and many others, Halloween Haunts will be the scariest thing going on the Web this Halloween. I encourage you to drop by, check it out, and enter for a giveaway.


Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review fo EOS

“Chambers’s damaged characters cling to hope even as the world comes apart at the seams, making the insanity and despair of their circumstances poignant as well as deliciously creepy.” –Publisher’s Weekly,

It’s short but sweet…

Publisher’s Weekly gave The Engines of Sacrifice a starred review.

I Was a Weblog Dropout

Welcome to my new website and blog!

If you visited my old website more than, say, half a dozen times, you probably noticed that I didn’t update it often. That’s because it was a lot of work! Whenever I had time to spare, getting some real writing done usually trumped wrestling with my .html editor to update my site. I’d built the thing clunky and hard to maintain, and through multiple computer switches and software changes, it only became more difficult to work with.

Not so this new, spiffy site built using WordPress!

Click around a bit and you’ll find plenty of information about my published and forthcoming works, such as The Engines of Sacrifice, soon to be published by Dark Regions Press. It’s already getting some great reviews that I’ll be posting here soon. There are also lots of free stories and excerpts to read and even a video. And as time goes by, I’ll be adding some new features and content.

The biggest change, though, is probably the addition of a functional blog.

This is not my first attempt at blogging. That came circa 1997. Since Webster’s officially dates the first known use of the term weblog or blog to 1999, that makes me a genuine Internet pioneer. Heck, I was blogging before there was a word for it. Back when I was running to support my comic book Shadow House, I was making regular posts to the website and soliciting comments from readers. That’s blogging, right? Of course, that was all pretty much over in 1998, which means I’m also an Internet pioneer at quitting blogging!

I was so ahead of the curve I started blogging then quit before there was even a word for it. I should’ve been a dotcom millionaire, but I gave it all up to write fiction and comics.

What can I say? I needed more face time in my life.

But that wasn’t the only time I quit blogging, either. Nope, here’s my last post, from 2010 for my oft-neglected Blogspot blog. That went a little better, running about three years.

So what makes this latest blogging attempt different?

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

Stick around and find out.