CONTRIBUTORS: PAGE ONE

Our main goal here at The Kyanite Press is to uplift indie voices. We hope to discover new talent, work with established authors, and create a truly unique and cutting-edge journal. Please check out our contributors and support them by visiting their websites, following them on social media, and purchasing a copy of The Kyanite Press!

Andrin-Albrecht

You can find out more about Andrin at his website.
You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

“Edge of Fire” – Autumn 2019

Andrin Albrecht was born in 1995 in Switzerland and had fallen in love with both reading and writing from the moment he actually learned to read and write—first in German, and after a sufficient amount of school, increasingly also in English. He currently studies for a Master’s degree in English literature at the University of Zurich, with intermezzos in Colorado and Singapore, and in what spare time he has left enjoys skiing, traveling, composing both modern and classical music, and playing the electric guitar in several bands.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
From an early age on I’ve been in love with supernatural stories of any kind, but also with stories that come across like puzzle pieces: anything that’s multi-layered, allusive, rewards re-reading and digging deep beneath the surface. If also always been partial to darker tales and quite tragic endings.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have always adored Michael Ende, George R. R. Martin and especially Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as the manga artist Kentarō Miura. More recently, that group has been joined by Thomas Pynchon and Mark Z. Danielewski, who do things with language that I had never thought humanly possible …

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
I would definitely wish for my writing to be enjoyable rather than missionary. But, I guess if anything there is an underlying conviction in the way I approach writing that true beauty is created by contrast, that horror and splendor often need to go hand in hand.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The playfulness of it, the absolute freedom it offers: in speculative fiction, ideas can be played out, combined and pitted against each other that would never work within the constraints of realist writing. It has all of the advantages but none of the disadvantages of writing solely about reality.

amennk

You can find out more about Kenneth at Deviantart and Tumblr. You can also contact him via email.

“Diamond Tears” – Winter 2020

Kenneth Amenn is a long-time fan of Golden Age science fiction and has been influenced by Asimov, Bradbury, Dick and Heinlein. His hobbies include writing jokes, amateur film making, and voice acting. For a long time Kenneth has only written poetry, but has recently fulfilled his life-long dreams of writing short stories and submitting them to magazines. He prefers to write in the genre of science fiction, but also experiments with other genres like horror and suspense. He has one brother and two sisters, and he now lives with them in Chicago; along with his cat Peanut.

 

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

I like science fiction, horror and suspense stories.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Philip K. Dick.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?

October Country by Ray Bradbury and I, Robot by Issac Asimov.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?

I don’t like the idea of influencing people, and prefer for readers to discover for themselves what my stories mean.

You can find out more about Sam at pepperwrites.com, and about her series at nothingbutglory.com.
You can also follow Samantha on Twitter.

“For the Greater Good” – Sep/Oct 2018
“Yusupov and the Marinov Merchants of Death” – Winter 2020

Sam Amenn is a sci-fantasy writer living in Chicago with their pea-sized pup. Their story “For the Greater Good” was published in Kyanite’s Volume 1, Issue 1 and their fanfic “Warrior’s Spirit” was published in the Samurai Trooper 30 Year Anniversary Fanzine. They love writing about revolutionaries, madmen, humanoid crocodiles, and arachnid-based creatures. When they are not writing, they are protesting, reading, or chasing after squirrels with their dog. With a deep love of everything gothic or historical, Sam blends the 19th century scifi with the gothic tragedy of Shirley Jackson and the absurdity of 20th century history into most of their stories. They are currently working on For the Next Killer Who Dies, the first book in their sci-fantasy series.

 

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I love writing about revolutionaries and madmen, the kind of people who shape the world. I also love writing about worlds that are on the cusps of great change, where the old rules no longer work, because I think that’s when we truly see what characters are made of.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
The authors that had the biggest impact on me are Ray Bradbury, Alan Moore, Stanislaw Lem, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Shirley Jackson, Victor Hugo, Albert Camus, David Mitchell, and Hamid Ismailov. They subverted expectations while providing incisive social commentary, which is what I strive to do.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
I think the message is: stay true to yourself, so the world must accommodate you and not the other way around. Many of my characters are difficult people, but they know who they are, and they refuse to bend to a world that doesn’t want to accept them.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
Speculative fiction interests me because it’s a real-life version of Dorian Gray’s picture. We can try to appear as pristine and charitable as we like, but speculative fiction reveals us as we are-horrific and beautiful. It doesn’t condemn, however, it offers redemption, if people are willing to listen.

ames

You can find out more about Alexis on her blog, and connect with her on Twitter.

“Sanctuary” – Winter 2020

Alexis Ames is a writer living in Colorado who first picked up a pen when she was eleven years old, and hasn’t put it down since. Science fiction is her preferred genre–more specifically, exploring the changing relationship between humans and technology. Her work has previously appeared in publications such as Prismatica Magazine, The Corvus Review, and The New Accelerator. She can be found on Twitter, and a list of her current and upcoming stories can be found on her blog.    

 

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

My favorite kinds of stories to read are ones that are chock full of queer characters, but the story isn’t about them being queer. I want to read about characters like me who get to go on adventures through space and time, and visit worlds I never will.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?

I’m most interested in writing about characters who go up against the rigid rules of the world they live in. I’m interested in characters who shouldn’t be together, but who make it work anyway. I like characters who aren’t good, but who make the choice to do good things.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?

I read a variety of genres, but in speculative fiction, some of the authors whose stories were most formative for me as a teen include Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Melissa Scott, Storm Constantine, Elizabeth Bear, and Lynn Flewelling.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?

I’ll never visit Mars or meet an android or explore the solar system, so reading and writing speculative fiction allows me to live out a life I’ll never know. It satisfies the dreamer in me.

Zachary is online at zacharyashford.com, Twitter and Facebook.

“Scolopendra” – Halloween 2018

Zachary Ashford is the former creative director of a rock n roll radio-station, heavy metal journalist, and current high school teacher. Born in the UK, but a long-time resident of Brisbane in Australia, he likes his horror pulsing with monsters, breathless with tension and soaked in blood. His work has also been published in Dark Moon Digest.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
While I have a soft spot for schlock horror, I love a horror story that makes some sort of social comment. I read a lot, and if it’s got a monster and something to say, I’m pretty much a sucker for it.

Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many. It’s really hard to go past an author like Stephen King. He really sets the bar. I’m a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk. Authors like Tad Williams, Neal Stephenson, China Mieville write incredible stories – and then there are the classics: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Shelley…does Shakespeare count?
[Editorial Note: Yes.  -B.K.]

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I like to write the kind of stories I’d like to read. For me, it’s about looking at a finished product I’ve crafted and knowing I’d like to read it. I like to come up with creative ways to ask questions about the world around me.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
It sounds clichéd, but the pure escapism of it. For me, these are the stories I grew up on, and nothing transports you to a world of childlike wonder like a story that adds a touch of the mystical or unexplainable to the world we know.

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Find out more about K. & Lyra on their website, Twitter, and Amazon!

“The Nemesis” – Halloween 2018
“No Fear of Storms” – JAN/FEB 2019

K. Baldwin and Lyra Ricci have been close friends for over ten years now, and counting. They have to be; they usually wind up in the same padded cell from time to time. They enjoy passing stories back and forth between one another, and though they live many hours apart (Save for the time spent in the aforementioned padded Hilton) they have the uncanny knack of causing mischief on a worldwide scale. Unless supervised, of course. Note: K. and Lyra should be used as a topical solution only. Do not take them orally. Lyra is safe as a suppository only in emergency situations.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Fantasy or horror. Maybe a humorous narrative non-fiction

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I enjoy writing fan-fiction. I have friends in several fandoms that love to get special fics as gifts.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
There was a very old series when I was a child called Billy and Blaze. I was crazy about horses growing up and that series really whetted my appetite for reading.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
The underdog can always come out on top. Almost always.

COMING SOON!

Jpeg

You can follow Caroline on Twitter.

“The Dream Weaver of Wolfsbane Lane” – Autumn 2019

Caroline Barnard-Smith lives with her husband and three daughters in Devon, England. In her past life she wrote vampire novels and horror stories but since stumbling into an enchanted land hidden in the back of a wardrobe she has been writing fantasy. She has no plans to stop any time soon.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
When I first started writing seriously in my early twenties I wrote horror fiction and I’m still drawn to the dark and gothic.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
My favourite books when I was young were The Chronicles of Prydain and A Wizard of Earthsea. Then I discovered Terry Pratchett and although I was far too young at that point to understand all the jokes, I was hooked on the Discworld books for a good long while.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
Strong female characters feature strongly in my work. The message I try to convey is really a message for my three daughters: Be brave, be fearless and never let anyone tell you can’t pursue your passions.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
Real life is often boring. It’s paying bills, doing chores and getting stuck in traffic jams. Speculative fiction is the opposite of that. I strongly believe real life would be vastly improved if you could fly a dragon into work and end the day in a tavern playing drinking games with dwarves.

Berman-Gorvine, Martin

You can find out more about Martin at his website and his blog, and follow him on Twitter.
You can find out more about Days of Ascension HERE.
Martin’s books are on Amazon.

“The Greatest Confidence” – Nov/Dec 2018

Martin Berman-Gorvine is author of the ”Days of Ascension” horror novel series published by Silver Leaf Books: All Souls Day (2016), Day of Vengeance (2017), Day of Atonement (2018), and Judgment Day (coming spring 2019).  He has also authored seven science fiction novels: the Sidewise Award-winning The Severed Wing (as Martin Gidron) (Livingston Press, 2002);  36 (Livingston Press, 2012);  Seven Against Mars (Wildside Press, 2013);  Save the Dragons! (Wildside Press, 2013), which was a finalist for the Prometheus Award;  Ziona: A Novel of Alternate History (as Marty Armon), an expansion of the short story ”Palestina,” published in Interzone  magazine, May/June 2006 (Amazon/CreateSpace, 2014);  Heroes of Earth (Wildside Press, 2015);  and Monsters of Venus (Wildside Press, 2017). 

Martin lives in Maryland with his wife, the youngest of his three sons, four cats, and two dogs. 

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Satirical science fiction, psychological horror, or anything with well-developed characters.

Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Charles Wilson, Stephen King, John Lukacs (the historian), Henry David Thoreau

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I am drawn to stories about overcoming the overcoming of various forms of captivity, physical, psychological, and spiritual. People don’t value their freedom highly enough.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The fantastic creatures, landscapes, and events of speculative fiction can free the imagination to address some of the burning concerns of everyday life that otherwise can slip between the artist’s fingers.

Paul Blake Author Photo - cropped

You can find out more about Paul at his website.
Connect with Paul on Twitter and Facebook.

“Racing Vengeance” – MAR/APR 2019

Paul Blake started writing in 2016 when he took a creative writing module to complete his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree after failing far too many programming modules. He discovered a passion and has been writing since. His first novel, A Young Man’s Game was published in 2018. He regularly posts short stories on his website. He is currently outlining the sequel to A Young Man’s Game and also working on a ninja based novel.

Paul is 43 and lives in London, England with his wife and three boys.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

I love losing myself in a thriller. I must have read Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series of books over and over. I like stories where I learn things as well as experience the excitement of the story. Michael Crichton was great at this: Explaining DNA extraction in Jurassic Park, 14th Century France in Timeline.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favourite authors are Tom Clancy, Michael Connelly, Sean McMahon, M. N. Seeley, John Prescott, Neal Stephenson, Micah Thomas, Nick Harkaway, David Morrell, Cory Doctorow, Bill Aicher, Peter Clines, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Michael Marshall Smith, Tom Rob Smith, Ernest Cline and many more.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?

As I’m still relatively new to writing, this was actually the first fantasy style story I have written. My novel is a spy thriller, and my short stories are allsorts of different genres and styles. I guess I’m still finding my groove, but having fun doing so.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?

Thriller writer David Morrell is a huge influence on my work. I’m a fan of his novels, and his book on writing: ‘Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing’ was a godsend in the planning and execution of my novel. I highly recommend it for any author.

Janet Forbes publicity pic

You can find out more about Janet at her website.
You can also follow her on Twitter.
Finally, be sure to check out World Anvil, and learn more about the world of Lyra there!

“The Hand that Holds” – Autumn 2019

Janet (J. D. Blythe) grew up on an archaeological site and was raised largely by wolves. Straddling Mediterranean, American, British and Dutch cultures, her writing includes themes of outsiders, history and the power of knowledge. As well as writing, Janet has worked professionally as a historical music consultant, recorder player, opera singer, teacher and Dungeons and Dragons performer. She is also the Founder and CEO of World Anvil, the worldbuilding platform which helps writers build and market their world settings and works. Janet lives in London with her husband, alpha reader and co-conspirator, Dimitris.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Definitely stories in the fantasy genre, though I’ll read anything, from 12th century cookbooks to hard scifi! I find that fantasy provides the holy grail of stories, for me – plot-heavy, wondrous worldbuilding, engaging characters, and a sense of fun combined with a weighty message. Not that I’m a demanding reader!

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
Terry Pratchett’s books practically brought me up, and Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea Quartet, Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris and Stuart Turton’s 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle all heavily influenced my writing. The authors behind the podcasts Writing Excuses and The Worried Writer are also hugely influential in my journey as a writer.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
A lot of what I write deals with messages I think are important – the need for tolerance and understanding with the ultimate goal to bring people together, for example. People are all different and that difference shouldn’t be a problem. I also love writing about the power of knowledge and history – one of the symptoms of archaeologist parents!

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
I love creating worlds where hope, bravery and persistence bring about change, and stories in which one person can change the world. I don’t believe that our world is like that right now, and that’s why I enjoy speculative fiction, creating a space where the individual is powerful and can change the world for the better.

Erica Ciko Campbell Bio Pic

You can find out more about Erica on her website, and connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

“The Eternal War” – Winter 2020

Erica Ciko Campbell made her writing debut on backwater internet forums in the early 2000’s. Since then, she hasn’t been able to resist tormenting her friends and family with the occasional dark science fiction story. She loves cosmic horror and anything that sounds like it could have been written by a grumpy, displaced 16th century vampire. Currently, she’s working on the second book of the Tales of a Starless Aeon series while seeking representation for the first. She lives with her husband Jeremy and sheltie Charlie in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York.

 

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

Ever since I first read A Clockwork Orange at 13, I knew I was a sucker for unreliable narrators. I also love stories with bittersweet endings, or even ones where darkness wins. Space operas with zero mention of Earth will always have my heart, and so will antiheroes.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?

My greatest influence of all time is H.P. Lovecraft. When I read his work for the first time, it was like meeting an old friend. His legacy finally put a name to the stuff I’d been writing all my life: Cosmic Horror!

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?

I want my stories to be a quiet place where all lovers of darkness can feel at home. I hope my writing can help others embrace their true selves, no matter how afraid they are of being judged. If I can put my darkness in the open, so can you.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?

I’ve always felt out-of-place in the real world, but speculative fiction allows me to create my own rules. It gives me the power to bring everything I ever dreamed about to life without limitation or judgment.

You can find out more about Mike at mochapman.com.
You can also follow him on Twitter.

“Hiss, Whistle, and Crack” – Halloween 2018

Mike Chapman is a Science teacher who lives in the rolling golden fields of Suffolk in the UK with his wonderful wife and three lovely daughters. He enjoys reading horror and Golden Age science fiction and has written stories ever since he was little. His crime and speculative fiction short stories have been published in print and electronically in the UK and US and he has won national competitions for them. Mike is currently editing a collection of short stories in a range of genres and hopes to be publishing it soon.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I like stories that are tightly-written and structured. One of my favourites is Catch-22 because of how it’s told in a non-linear manner: actions in it echo backwards and forwards throughout the novel. I also like anything that has a vision of the future that’s never been explored before.

Who are your favorite authors?
My favourite authors are: Isaac Asimov – for the scope and optimism of the distant futures he imagines; Alastair Reynolds – for his grungy, morally-ambiguous Revelation Space universe; HP Lovecraft, and the early works of Stephen King – because some of his short stories are terrifying!

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
One of my favourite stories is ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ by HP Lovecraft. Not only is it a deeply creepy story, but it also doesn’t reference his overfamiliar Mythos. At its core, it’s a story about inevitability and decline: both the protagonist and the town have an inescapable, unpleasant fate.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
I think it’s the ability of speculative fiction to change some aspect of our present or hypothesised future and see how that affects people and society. If humans developed the technology for immortality and lived for a million years, would we still be human or would we be something new?

leo charles m - cropped

You can follow Leo’s blog on Medium; and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Commaful.

“Triumvirate” – JAN/FEB 2019
“Flight and Failure” – JUL/AUG 2019

Leo Charles M. is a lover of reading and writing from Jersey City, NJ USA. He has a passion for world building and storytelling, making grand worlds and populating them with crafty gods and clever heroes. He dabbles in poetry. This (Triumvirate – v1i3) is his second published short-story from the world of Chronicles of Mayhem. His dream is to one day publish his fantasy novel.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I love big expansive fantasies and intimate characters. A good magic system is always important too.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I’m a big fan of sci-fi and science fantasy. I also like to write reviews for books I’ve read or films and shows I watch. I write poetry as often as I can.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
Game of Thrones, Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings are major influences in the world. The magic system is like the Force from Star Wars along with elements of Dune’s Prescience.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
Triumvirate is an anthology tale that connects to my unpublished fantasy novel. I really enjoyed these characters and wanted to write their origin story.

Chad D Christy Headshot BW

Find out more about Chad and read his blog at chaddchristy.com.
He does the Twitter (badly) and the Facebook (very badly).

He shares his interests and visual inspirations on Pinterest.

“Echoing Carcossa” – Halloween 2018

“Worth Dying For” – Nov/Dec 2018

Chad D. Christy is just a guy who likes to write. He’s been a journalist, a retail manager, a dungeon master, a self-defense instructor, and a paramedic. His first story was scrawled in crayon at the age of six. His most recent work, That’s What Neighbors Are For, is a collection of literary short stories. He has also written two novels: the steampunk horror adventure, Through the Blind, and American Fantasy, an adventure set in an arcane post-apocalypse.

He currently lives with his wife and son in Columbus, Ohio.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
If a story has great characters, I’m in. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about the story. I need characters who are relatable, sympathetic, or at least interesting. And they must operate with an intrinsic consistency.

Who are your favorite authors?
First, thank you for not making me pick just one.
Robert A. Heinlein is top of my list, but after him, the line isn’t as smooth. In no particular order there’s H.P. Lovecraft and Robert W; Chambers. Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard; Raymond Carver and James Thurber; and Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work
Individual accountability and active hope. Active hope doesn’t sit waiting for the world to spontaneously get better; it’s a hope that drives forward spreading the light the world needs. Without individual accountability, active hope cannot exist. If we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, and instead blame others for our woes, we can’t even get started.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The best thing about these stories is how even subtle changes to the nature of reality can direct a reader to examine deeply-rooted, unquestioned conventions. When done right, speculative fiction can ask powerful questions and penetrate the most stubborn minds with grace and precision.

Clark, Adrienne

You can find out more about Adrienne at her website, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
You can also find her books on Amazon.

“Away” – Winter Digest 2018

A past winner of the Alice Munro short fiction contest, Adrienne Clarke’s work has appeared in several publications including, New Plains Review, Silly Tree Anthologies, and in the e-zines The Devilfish Review, Rose Red Review and the Long Island Literary Journal. Her first YA novel, Losing Adam, garnered a silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I’m a passionate reader of books of all kinds, but the stories that have stayed with me are the ones that inspired a deep sense of empathy, so much so that when I look back on the characters and their struggles I still feel my breath catch a little.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
A lot of writers have inspired me in different ways, but the three that come immediately to mind are Emily Bronte whose darkly romantic voice always inspires me; Alice Munro for her unmatched ability to somehow transform the ordinary into something extraordinary, and Kazuo Ishiguro for his devastating prose and buried anguish. There is nothing sentimental about his writing and yet I can still recall passages from his books that made me sob. Haunting and restrained, this is the kind of writing I admire most.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
I’ve always been attracted to the concept of epiphany: a moment of shimmering truth, large or small, experienced by one of my characters. I always hope that my readers, on some level, can experience that feeling of illumination.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
Raised on fantasy novels, reading inspired me to always look for doors to other worlds. I may not have found my Narnia yet, but I still believe in magic. A lover of all things mysterious and unexpected, I’m drawn to speculative fiction because I think it allows us to explore human nature in a different, and sometimes, wholly unexpected way.

Find out more about Stephen at scoghlan.com.
You can also connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

“Targeted” – Sep/Oct 2018

“The Prisoner’s Diary” – Halloween 2018

“The Last Ride of the Inferno Train”
Winter Digest 2018

Hailing from the capital of the Great White North [Canada]Stephen Coghlan spends his days erecting buildings, and his nights reveling in the dreamscape. Since 2017, he has produced a myriad of flash fictions, short stories, novellas and novels, including, but not limited to, the GENMOS Saga, the Nobilis series, and has had his works read on podcasts and featured in anthologies.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Anything, really. I absorb just about any book I can get my grubby fingers on, although I have a penchant for war documentaries and science fiction with cyberpunk themes.

Who are your favorite authors?
Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski, Garth Enis, Hiroaki Samura, just to name a few

Outside of books, what is your favorite format of storytelling?
I love to tell stories and jokes of experiences to people and watch them react. Verbal word crafting is a dying art.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The ability to create and showcase your imagination. Each of us see the world in many lights, but only talk of the once society considers “normal.” Spec lit lets us light up all the shadows, or throw them into stark relief.

Professor Cognome

You can find out more about I.M. at his Facebook page.

“Harold and the Cookie” – Halloween 2018
“Lowell’s Second Chance” – Winter Digest 2018
“Shut Up and Brew the Coffee” – MAY/JUN 2019
“Interrupted Thoughts” – Winter 2020

Professor Cognome is the pen name for an academic hiding from nosey colleagues who (wrongly) think that writing about monsters and airships disqualifies them as a serious writer. When not writing, Bolt likes to drink coffee and/or fine cognac while disappearing into some other author’s world through a book (and will continue to do so, at least until the TARDIS shows up to do it for real). The author lives in the wilds of New England with their partner, two future authors, their faithful dog Chewbacca and the ghosts of at least two cats.

Professor Cognome also appeared in our 2018 Halloween issue under the nom de plume I.M. Bolt.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
Steampunk! Many of my pieces are placed in alternate versions of local historical settings, with the ever important question of “what if?” driving the change. I can’t seem to help playing with time and space, and usually throwing in a monster or two, just for good measure!

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
Authors I read over and over include Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austin and Stephen King. From them I learned the basics of character, language, world building and plot. More recent influencers on my writing style include Lemony Snicket, Stacey Richter, Scott Westerfield and Diane Wynne Jones.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
I like to challenge expectations while still being entertaining. Philosophical questions like “What makes someone a monster?” can be explored in ways that are fun and drive the plot forward, while leaving the reader intellectually satisfied. Mary Shelly showed us this was possible 200 years ago, so why not try?

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The sense of possibility and wonder, even when those things ultimately lead to more difficult emotions, like fear or moral outrage at injustice. In this format we are free to build worlds that are both far kinder and more brazenly fantastic than the one we currently inhabit.

dickinson

Find out more about Daniel on his website, and you can connect with him on Twitter.

“Escape from Ogre Island” – Winter 2020

Daniel Dickinson enjoys writing. He has been writing since a young age, and has created an entire world since then, which he can move characters around in. He has a wonderful family and is a proud father with a beautiful wife. He enjoys traveling, and photography as well as food and art. As a hobby, he takes his daughter and grand kids camping at least twice a year.  

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

High Fantasy or Sword and Sorcery.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?

I love being challenged to write outside my comfort zone. I find it invigorating, and it forces me to think about other genres and how they work as a story telling method.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?

Growing up, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman were huge influences, along with Piers Anthony. The most recent influence has been Diana Gabaldon.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?

The message I try to convey to my readers is the strength of the dynamic friendship between characters that allows them to overcome all obstacles.

 

Durant

You can find out more about Azaria on her website and on Amazon. Also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“On Darker Waters” – JUL/AUG 2019

Azaria M.J. Durant started writing when she was very young with ambitions to publish by the time she was twenty. Sure enough, she self-published her first novel, an epic fantasy called Broken Arrow (Darkened Destiny #1), in the year of her twentieth birthday. A year later, she is getting ready to launch the second book in what is planned to be a six book series. When not writing, Azaria enjoys sketching concept art for her stories, coaching beginning writers with their plots, character, and worlds, and chatting for hours with her fellow writing friends.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I enjoy stories in the fantasy, dystopian, and sci-fi genres. I like new and imaginative worlds, complicated characters, plots that keep you guessing, themes that get you thinking, villains you can love and hate at the same time, and a glorious battle of good verses evil.

Who are your favorite authors?
Suzanne Collins, Megan Whalen Turner, JRR Tolkien, Jennifer A. Nielson.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I enjoy writing fantasy most, but I would like to try writing science fiction and/or dystopian at some point in the future. My current WIP is an epic fantasy series of six novels called Darkened Destiny, the second of which will be released by the end of May 2019.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
I like that it isn’t anything like reality, but at the same time, it is very much like reality, and we can learn a lot from it. Speculative fiction personally gives me an escape from reality, and as a writer it has been an outlet through which I can express myself.

You can find out more about Gary on his website and follow him on Twitter.

“Classified:  Agent of D.A.R.T.”
– Halloween 2018

“Mother of All Storms” – JAN/FEB 2019

Gary Fagan is a Thirty-Six year old bachelor with no children or major responsibilities. And so, he spends much of his free time creating stories that interest and amuse him. He thought that if he enjoyed the stories, others might as well; which lead him to start sharing them with friends and loved ones.

From there he tried unsuccessfully many times to garner the attention of agents and publishers alike. The rejections process stung, but he continued writing anyway. He wrote them because in his mind, they needed to be written or they would have driven him mad.

[Editorial Note:  A little madness is a healthy part of the creative process.  – B.K.]

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
My favorite kinds of stories to read would be in the Urban Fantasy genre; if I had to nail down any one specific genre, but I also enjoy classic noir detective novels and the occasional Weird Tale.

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite Authors are: Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Cassandra Clare, Rick Riordan, Robert Jordan, Mickey Spillane, Franklin W. Dixon, and Piers Antony.

However, my favorite storyteller is Scheherazade. Simply for the fact that telling compelling stories literally saved her life.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I enjoy writing about a broad spectrum of subjects. From awkward romances to high flying action. Usually I tend to write about the stories I tell myself before I go to sleep. Sometimes they’re thrilling and filled with action and…uhm…yeah. Other times they’re filled with drama and emotion.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
I would say my biggest influences in the urban fantasy genre are Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Merry Gentry novels. When it comes to Weird Fiction and Sword and Sorcery I’d say my influence would be Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and his Conan collections.

Felix, Kati cropped

You can find out more about Kati at her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.  She also has poetry on Allpoetry!

“The Gate” – Winter Digest 2018

Kati Felix began her bizarre and fascinating career in middle school. As she grew older, writing morphed from a hobby into a full-on obsession. With international experience and a solid literary background, she hopes to share her writing with as many word-lovers as possible. When she’s not scaling the Swiss Alps in search of dragon eggs, she can be found among stacks of empty tea boxes and buckling bookshelves, typing out yet another story about immortal vikings or the ill-behaved Fae.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Some of my favorite stories of all time are Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. The former is pure adventure, and the latter is darkness and terror. All these elements have shaped what I read and what I write.

Who are your favorite authors?
Without a doubt, Diana Gabaldon is top of the list, followed by Patricia Briggs, Tolkien, Anthony Ryan, Larissa Brown, Madeline Miller, and Holly Black. I have so many more, but these are always at the top of my TBR pile. Also anything about Vikings or Scotland is a huge bonus.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
While adventure, romance, and a twisted theme are compelling, I also adore writing characters who see themselves as deeply flawed and still try to give their best to others. I identify so much with the Aragorns of the world, the Vaelin Al Sornas, the October Dayes, and so many more.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
For UF/PR – Patricia Briggs. I began reading her Mercy Thompson and Alpha&Omega series in high school, and it has been an epic love affair. I mentioned Diana Gabaldon before. The way she uses subtle physicality to depict deep emotion and personality is a huge influence on my writing process.

Rachel Ford

You can find out more about Rachel at her blog and on Amazon. Also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  

“Good Neighbors” – JUL/AUG 2019

Rachel Ford is a software engineer by day, and a writer most of the rest of the time. She is a Trekkie, a video-gamer, and a dog parent, owned by a Great Pyrenees named Elim Garak and a mutt of many kinds named Fox (for the inspired reason that he looks like a fox).

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I love stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. If it has robots, dragons or aliens, well, that’s even better.

Who are your favorite authors?
Alexandre Dumas, H. G. Wells, Una McCormack, Victor Hugo, J. R. R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
Time travel and space travel. Oh, and dragons and robots. Occasionally, robotic dragons.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
If readers took one message away from my work, it would be: never give up hope, and never stop striving to make the world right. There’s nothing as powerful as good people working for good reasons.

Hansson, Marcus

You can find out more about Marcus at his website and follow him on Twitter.

“Stone Faces” – Nov/Dec 2018

Marcus Hansson studied law in Scotland and Sweden, which is where he discovered his love of places cold and quiet. After graduation, the obvious next step was to try and make a paltry living writing and working in video games. It’s still paltry, but it’s getting there. Hire him to write something, why don’t you! Link is to the left! Marcus begrudgingly lives in Paris, wishing for cold and quiet, like a little old man with surprisingly smooth skin.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
One of my favourite things in stories is when something in them gives form to a thought I’ve never been able to express. By doing that, stories reshape the world. Oh, and I’m a sucker for twists, revenge, and underdogs.

Who are your favorite authors?
Steven Erikson, Stephen King, Ursuka K. Leguin, Clive Barker. There will be more. I’m eternally grateful to these people. I’d be raving mad without them, or even worse, completely sane.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I also write for and about video games. Branching dialogue may occasionally break my brain, but it’s too awesome to ignore.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
Sometimes. Not in general. But if I did, I’d tell you to go read my work and find out there.

TR-Hendricks

Find out more about Tim at his Website.
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

“Tears for Avalys” – Autumn 2019

T.R. Hendricks (Tim) is a former United States Army Captain who served two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat arms and military intelligence officer. He discovered his love for writing in the 9th grade when he composed a poem solely out of quotes from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, subsequently earning an “A,” and has been doing it ever since. Hailing from a 60′ x 100′ plot on Long Island, NY he now lives in a different 60′ x 100′ plot on that same traffic congested spit of land. Tim is married and the proud father of two little girls.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

While I tend to gravitate towards fantasy, I’ll read anything that transports me from the here and now to the story on the page. My reading choices are as eclectic as my writing.

Who are your favorite authors?

Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan are all time favorites in the fantasy realm. I also enjoy Bernard Cornwell, Jonathan Maberry, Brad Thor, Justin Cronin, Jeff Shaara and of course, George R.R. Martin.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?

Admitted genre jumper. There are so many stories bouncing around in my head it’s a wonder I can focus on anything. I have a thriller series underway, two separate fantasy series, a bunch of historical fiction standalones across different periods, and some horror and speculative mixed in for good measure.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?

I believe in the ultimate triumph of good over evil. It may not be apparent, or even occur in your lifetime, but eventually light banishes the dark. In that regard you can bet my heroes will come out on top, it just might not be in the way you’re expecting.

Find out more about Benjamin at his Website.
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Find his books on Amazon and Goodreads.

“The Rookery at Smeaton Abbey” – SEP/OCT 2018
“The Children of Blackmarsh” – Halloween 2018
“Baba Yaga and the Ailing Child” – Winter Digest 2018

Benjamin Hope is the author of Victorian gothic-steampunk crossover, The Procurement of Souls. His sequel, A New Religion, is due for release in 2019 and he is also currently working on a collection of cautionary fairy tales. He blogs regularly on the writing process and offers up recommendations in 60 words for speculative and gothic fiction on his website at www.benjamin-hope.com. He occasionally guest lectures at universities on public speaking and lives in Hertfordshire, in the UK, with his wife and daughter.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I’m a speculative man in the main but I love anything with a dark edge and messages or ideas that simmer below the surface. I love language too so poetic prose are a draw. Then again, I’m always ready to devour a brutal adventure from the likes of Joe Abercrombie.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
Countless authors have influenced (and continue to influence) me on my writing journey but to name a few and the reasons behind them: Edgar Allan Poe for his gothic verve; Joe Abercrombie for his pacing and characters; Susannah Clarke for her world building; and G.W.Dahlquist for his ingenious plots!

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
As The Rookery at Smeaton Abbey suggests, I love exploring fairy-tales, fables, allegories and everything in-between. Yet my newly released full-length debut, The Procurement of Souls, is a gothic-steampunk crossover about bio-alchemists! And this is the unifying factor; the thing that delights me most: story-telling through a gothic lens.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
The thing I love about speculative fiction is that the only limitation is your imagination. There is no end to the creativity it can inspire.

ironside

My Facebook is public and documents my travels, writings, and other activities. Readers should feel free to reach out to me there.

“The Standing Stones of Uzul” – Autumn 2019

Luke Michael Ironside is an author and English teacher from the tiny island of Guernsey, just off the coast of Normandy. Aside from his writing, Luke is an avid traveler and takes inspiration from his journeys around the world. He has also lectured extensively for the Theosophical Society in England, India, and the Philippines. He has previously worked as a primary school teacher at state schools in Vietnam and presently works as a teacher for Chinese students online. He resides in Yerevan, Armenia.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
Most of my other writings have been non-fiction. As an English teacher, I have written some articles on teaching English as a foreign language. I have also had numerous articles published on subjects related to comparative religious studies (specifically Hindu studies) and on the history of the Theosophical movement. I intend to write further stories about Daaren of Eastmere, detailing his adventures as he matures and makes his way in the world.

What books and/or authors would you count among your primary influences?
I draw from a wide variety of authors, books, and genres as influence for my work. In the sword-and-sorcery genre, I am particularly influenced by the writings of Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Lin Carter (Thongor of Lemuria). I also draw influence from various other genres, such as Bildungsroman (coming of age), historical fiction, science fiction, and epic fantasy.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
As humans, we are hard-wired for stories. All stories attempt in some way to comment upon or reflect the human condition. I hope my work in some way presents a fictional representation of real life in which the readers can identify with the characters and situations they must face.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
Speculative fiction boldly explores new worlds, systems, ideas, and ways of life. The only limitations are those imposed by the authors themselves. From the magical realms of epic fantasy to the far-flung star systems of science fiction, speculative fiction provides us with an imaginative expanse in which we may be equally entertained, inspired, horrified, and impressed.

You can find more about Sage at their website www.storiesundermyskin.com.
You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

“I Love My Town” – Halloween 2018

Sage P. Irwin publishes creepy, strange, and speculative short stories to their website and is working on branching out to wider audiences. They like to ask questions, imagine alternatives, and be scared. They are a queer and non-binary author who strives to normalize and explore the existence of these identities through their work. They hold a degree in English and gender studies from the University of Toronto, work in the nonprofit sector, and do most of their writing from an attic room in the Kawarthas.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I love scary stories, weird stories, and imaginative stories. I enjoy stories with narrators that are personal, reflective, and occasionally a little “off”. I love fiction that closely resembles the world we live in with just one thing out of place.

Other than what we see here, what else do you enjoy writing about?
I write about haunted packages, alien encounters, demons, ghosts, and the end of the world. Currently, I’m working on a story about a journal that affects reality as well as a novella about a person and a gorilla roaming around a post-apocalyptic Vancouver.

Do you have an overall message you wish to convey with your work?
Queer and trans folks exist and we deserve to have our stories told. Gender neutral pronouns are something people should start getting used to. We are also allowed to be more than our identities. Not all of our stories have to revolve around coming out.

What is it about speculative fiction that draws your interest?
I love the way some speculative fiction explores the dynamics of power and oppression in this world and others. I think SF can make for incredibly effective social commentary, reflecting on the questions raised by philosophy and politics in a creative way.