The Books Are Free But Magic Has Its Price

“Gorge released note after blistering note, and the audience soaked up his music like a rain of razor blades. They danced, whirled, and smashed together; they bled magic that flowed across smoky air, shimmering red and yellow with flashing stage lights, to feed the hungry core inside him. He hadn’t felt magic this pure and vibrant since his days in the Kingdoms; how ironic, he thought, to find it among these nihilistic, rebellious, angry young mortals. His left hand throttled the guitar neck, fingertips gliding among the frets, tapping and pulling the strings to slash out biting riffs until he reached a crescendo—

—and then let it all come crashing down.”

So begins my new novella, Three Chords of Chaos, a faerie-punk love story about music, mortality, decadence, and dark forces.

Published by Dark Quest Books, it will officially be released on May 31—but if you can keep a secret, head on over to Amazon, where it’s already available for order. Or if you’re the kind of bare-knuckle reader who likes your books the old fashioned way—free!—then check out my giveaway contests over on Facebook and Goodreads. Three Chord of Chaos follows Gorge and his mortal lover Delilah as they navigate the smoky shadows of the Big Apple’s underground punk clubs and the kinky, drug-fueled parties of the music world’s elite. A blend of punk music, urban fantasy, and evil forces, Three Chords of Chaos explores the dangerous nexus of faerie and mortal worlds where Gorge lives life on the edge.

The first time I wrote about Gorge was in “The Way of the Bone” (Bad-Ass Faeries: Just Plain Bad), set in the present, when Gorge stood at the top of the music world, playing to arena crowds, and moving ever closer to the darkness he sought to send to his enemies in the realm of the sidhe. In “Faerie Ring Blues” (Bad-Ass Faeries: In All Their Glory), I went back to 1960, only a few years after Gorge’s exile when Gorge learned how to live in the mortal world. Now, in Three Chords of Chaos, the time is the early 1980s, the place is downtown NYC, and Gorge comes into his own as he begins to understand how much magic and power there is for the taking in the mortal world—but also how deadly and vicious mortals can be.

Reviews for Deep Cuts

Reviews have started popping up for the recently released Deep Cuts, including one from Darkeva’s Dark Delights and another from Word Blurb. Many thanks to Dark Eva for calling out my story as “one of the most disturbing.” Deep Cuts is unlike any other anthology in which I’ve been published, a collection of new fiction that directly acknowledges the accomplishments and influence of women horror writers. With more than 60 concise blurbs for great horror written by women, it’s also a road map to some of the best short fiction that has shaped the genre. I’m incredibly proud to be part of it and happy to see it receiving some thoughtful commentary.

 

Deep Cuts Anthology–Now On Sale

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UPDATE, 2/18/13: Deep Cuts editor E.S. Magill has posted a report about the Deep Cuts book signings in California on her blog.

UPDATE: I Like Horror Movies has posted the full announcement for Deep Cuts.

Warning: cuts may be deeper than they appear. Nineteen short horror stories to give you shivers plus 60 recommendations for powerhouse tales written by women—those bloody stylings and chainsaw rhythms that have lain hidden like deadly gems among other great works.

“Deep Cuts smartly sidesteps the bloody ‘women in horror’ debate and puts its money where its mouth is. This fantastic collection, featuring both genders, pays tribute to the best dark tales told by women. A deeply cerebral experience that is at times honest and intimate, but always chilling.” —Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows

Introduction by Lisa Morton

MAYHEM
E.S. Magill on Nancy’s Holder’s “Crash Cart”
“Crash Cart” by Nancy Holder
“The Poison Eater” by Sandra Odell
“The Ditch” by Samael Gyre
“Practical Necromancy” by Sara Taylor
“Awaiting the Captain’s Ghost” by Michael Haynes
“Hollow Moments” by R.S. Belcher
“Mr. Casey is in the House” by Stephen Woodworth

MENACE
Chris Marrs on Yvonne Navarro’s “Santa Alma”
“Santa Alma” by Yvonne Navarro
“Sanctity” by C.W. Smith
“Red is the Color of my True Love’s Blood” by Colleen Anderson
“Lost Daughters” by James Chambers
“Mules” by Ed Kurtz

MISERY
Angel Leigh McCoy on Mehitobel Wilson’s “The Remains”
“The Remains” by Mehitobel Wilson
“Beavers” by Rachel Karyo
“Lucky Clover” by Kelly A. Harmon
“Pinprick” by Scathe meic Beorh
“Abby” by Patricia Lillie
“Clown Balloons” by Satyros Phil Brucato
“I am Victim” by Rob M. Miller

Cover art by Anja Millen.

Amazon.com (paperback)

EPIC Steampunk!

I just got word from editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail that the anthology In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk has been named a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award for Best Anthology. Congratulations to all my fellow contributors, to editors Danielle and Neal Levin, and also to editor Alma Alexander, whose anthology, River, published by Dark Quest Books, was also nomintated. My story in In An Iron Cage, “House of Automatons,” is my first published piece of steampunk fiction, although  it’s not the first I’ve written. The first piece is due to be published sometime in the not terribly near but not too, too far future–more on that soon, I hope.

UPDATE: To celebrate the In An Iron Cage’s EPIC Award nomination, the editors and Dark Quest Books are sponsoring a giveaway of three copies of the anthology on Goodreads. The contest runs through November 27.

 

Engines of Sacrifice Review in Lovecraft eZine

“The book is so Lovecraftian, in fact, that it could read as pastiche, were it not for the subtle meta-critical stance Chambers takes with the narrative, particularly towards the final moments. It’s this aspect of Engines that I really enjoyed, the way Chambers directly addresses the erroneous “kaiju terror” interpretation of the Mythos…”

It would seem I should Google myself more often.

I did so last night and unearthed a wonderfully thoughtful review of The Engines of Sacrifice by S.R. Jones on the Lovecraft eZine. Any writer will tell you how nice it is to read a review written by someone who really got what you were going for. Well, Mr. Jones really got The Engines of Sacrifice, warts and all, as he makes no bones about noting what he thought didn’t work as well as what did in his remarkably insightful and generally positive review. At the end of the day, many book reviews boil down to little more than one reader’s opinion. The best expand the conversation started by a piece of fiction–this  (in my opinion) is one of those.

 Thank you, Mr. Jones.

WHC Panel and Reading

I’ll be attending the World Horror Con this weekend, March 29 through April 1 with a couple of events on my schedule.

Thursday, March 29, 9:00 P.M., Panel: Why We Love Lovecraft: His works are more popular now than ever. Come hear why we love the grandfather of horror! (Peter Cannon, Bobbie B. Wilcox, Eric Swedin, James Chambers, Ross E. Lockhart)

Friday, March 30, 4:00 P.M., Reading.

And I’ll be showing off copies of The Dead Bear Witness, hot of the presses from Dark Quest Books, as well as The Engines of Sacrifice, published by Dark Regions Press.

My Lunacon Schedule

Here’s the list of panels and events I’ll be taking part in at Lunacon this weekend:

• Zombies Are the New Vampires, Sat 12:00 – 1:00, Westchester Ballroom A2

• What’s Hot – Graphic Novels, Sat 5:00 – 6:00, Westchester Ballroom A2

• Reading: James Chambers(M), Sat 6:30 – 7:00, Bartell

• What’s Hot – Webcomics, Sun 10:00 – 11:00, Westchester Ballroom A2

Corpse Fauna, Volume One, On Sale Now

The Dead Bear Witness front cover
Art by Glen Ostrander; Design by Christopher Mills

I’m excited to announce that my zombie novella, The Dead Bear Witness, is now available from Dullahan Press, an imprint of Dark Quest Books!

This is volume one of the four-volume Corpse Fauna series, which will complete a story cycle which I began writing in 1997. Although some of the Corpse Fauna stories were previously published, these new editions will present them in revised and greatly expanded versions with new stories to be published for the first time.

“The Dead Bear Witness” was the first to see print, in the 2004 anthology The Dead Walk published by Die Monster Die Books. It has been expanded to more than double its orignal length with a considerably richer story and deeper characterization. Also include in Volume One is the new story “Birch’s Refugees,” a 13,000-word piece that sheds new light one two of Corpse Fauna’s most important characters, Birch and the Red Man.

My intent with Corpse Fauna is to finally fulfill the potential I saw when I first wrote about Cornell and Della and a world where the dead come back to life.

A chronicle of survival in a world of the living dead. There is no Heaven or Hell; there is only blood and the dust of flesh.

True, it seems like zombie books (and movies, and television shows, and comics…) are a dime a dozen these days. But Corpse Fauna brings something unique to the genre in its characters, settings, social commentary, and the horrifying nature of its walking dead. A bullet to the head isn’t enough to stop the Corpse Fauna dead, and these corpses possess a strange and terrifying feature hinted at on the cover.

For more information, visit the Corpse Fauna page. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more about the series, including story excerpts and updates on the next volumes.

 

 

Dark Regions Redesign! Lunacon Looms!

A pair of quick updates while I work on a couple of major announcements to come soon, including a new page to be added to this site and news of my most recent collaboration with Christopher Mills

First up, Dark Regions Press, publisher of Resurrection House and The Engines of Sacrifice, has recently launched a revamped, redesigned website, complete with a new company logo. The new site looks great and is very easy to navigate. Drop by and check it out. Meanwhile, DRP is also running a free horror books raffle. Sign up for the DRP newsletter to enter.

Second, it’s that time of year again, the time for lunacy with the Lunarians at… Lunacon! Held once again the Escher Hilton (not it’s real name) in scenic Rye Brook, New York, Lunacon will take place on March 16-18. I’ll be attending and posting my programming schedule here as soon as I have it. Also in attendance will be my frequent partners in crime: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Russ Colchamiro, and Patrick Thomas.

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)
CREATING YOUR COMIC
(871)

[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

Sat
2:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
COMICS: THE ART OF SEQUENTIAL STORYTELLING
(869)

[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)
THE EVOLUTION OF DRACULA SINCE BRAM STOKER
(824)

[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)
WHAT MAKES H.P. LOVECRAFT UNSTOPPABLE? (826)

[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 www.sidhenadaire.com/books/DL.htm.
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

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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.