Posts tagged R'lyehian spirituality
A good Sunday evening to all! Scott Jones here, editor of the upcoming Martian Migraine Press anthology, Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis. It’s been some time since any updates were posted here (what with Christmas, and day jobs, and so on… you know the drill) and for that I apologize. Work has been progressing on the annual anthology for 2016, and the following is a brief post to bring Migraineers up to speed on that progress. Thank you all (readers, authors, artists, family and friends and sundry other supporters) for your patience, understanding, and good will.
The submissions window for the anthology closed on 15 December 2015. We received close to 200 submissions between August and December. Nearly every one of these stories has been read; I have five left to go over. Most of the rejections have been sent out already, and there are a few more coming. I’d like to thank each and every writer who took a chance on sending something in; I know the feeling of taking a risk and also the discomfort of rejection, but this is the business (as it is, and more on that below) and not everyone can be in the book. But… a shortlist (of 32 tales) has been made, and from these I hope and plan to have the final ToC put together by the end of this month.
I will readily confess here that the reading process for this anthology has been rougher than previous projects. Fitting stories to the theme has proven to be slippery, a fact which I find personally embarrassing, as I’m the guy who wrote the book on #KeepingItRlyeh. (I should take that as a good lesson in R’lyehian Spirituality: just when you think you’ve got the angles right, the thing — a book of stories, an idea about the world, a life, etc. — shifts and mutates and shows another boggling facet of its multifarious self.) The act of balancing horror, mysticism, and a kind of “awed lightness” with these shortlisted stories has been a tricky one, and I’ve gone back and forth and back again on many of them several times. The next two weeks I expect to be especially harrowing. I know, I know: no sympathy. I do this to myself. But I love it, after a fashion, so there.
I am very excited about this book. I have already purchased a long novella that perfectly exemplifies the theme, and on the other end of the ruler, a short poem that is a perfect jewel of #KeepingItRlyeh thought. Also, the cover art has been bought and paid for, a wonderful piece by Seattle artist Alix Branwyn. She has been a real pleasure to work with.
Note that I’ve mentioned purchases and items being bought and paid for. If you follow the triumphs and travails of the horror-and-weird-fiction small press at all, you have likely heard of the recent implosion of a small press in the UK. I have not followed this item too closely, but from what I have picked up, it appears that the outfit in question fell from the sky due to a combination of bad business practices, debt, health issues, and social media outrage (much of the latter entirely justified). Authors were not paid, or waited an unreasonably long time to be paid what they were owed; readers did not receive their books; snark and dishonesty and general weirdness appeared to be the norm.
This has made me uncomfortable for a number of reasons, not least of which is the pain of seeing a small operation showing its belly and issuing forth a death rattle. If you’ve been a Migraineer for any length of time, you’ve likely sussed that this is a one-entity operation, with all the stresses and doubts that incurs. I can hardly even call myself a micropress, let alone a small press. It’s been suggested by wiser heads that MMP is something of a “boutique” operation, and I’m OK with that. Certainly the one or two releases a year qualifies the press for that descriptor. I try to carefully curate a small selection of niche titles, and the annual anthology — Conqueror Womb in 2014, RESONATOR last year, and of course the upcoming Cthulhusattva — are the highlight of the MMP publishing schedule. Would I like to work with more authors, “build the line-up”, and put out more titles? Yes. Can I? No. I know this. To over-extend myself like that would be unfair, to authors, to readers, to myself.
I’d like to stress, though, in the wake of the unfortunate news out of the UK, that MMP authors do get paid. Due to the niche nature of MMP titles, royalties are not a reasonable option (at this time, anyway). For Conqueror Womb (back when MMP was starting out and only doing ebook releases) the payment rate was a flat fee plus a copy of the ebook and three other MMP titles of the authors choice, paid within a month of publication, if not long before at the time of contract. For RESONATOR (which was released as a trade paperback and an ebook) the pay rate was .01 a word plus two contributor copies (and in the case of one author, six copies for their friends and family), also paid out within a month after the book dropped. This year, authors with stories in Cthulhusattva will be paid semi-pro rates (.03 a word) and with some of the shortlisted stories coming in at around 7k words, that’s no small chunk of change (and I should mention that not one dollar is kickstarted or indiego-go’d or what have you) … but by now I’m sure you can see the progression I’m attempting. MMP is evolving, learning from our betters, and becoming more of what I believe it can be,
I don’t say all this to toot my own horn. I’m Canadian, and they freeze that trait out of us up here. I say it to confirm my commitment to doing the best I can with what I’ve got, despite the tiny size of my endeavour here, and to honour the relationship between myself as editor and the hard-working writers who take a chance on the Martian Migraine experience. There are no “gentlemen’s agreements” here: there are contracts and deadlines, payouts and commitments. With this years anthology, I will also be promoting the book better and wider, to indie bookstores across North America and the UK, and getting it into the hands of more reviewers. I’m genuinely excited about Cthulhusattva, and I hope that excitement and pleasure will be reflected once the thing is born and out in the world.
Which, as mentioned, will be happening soon! Stay tuned for official release dates, pre-order information, and other promotional goodies. And again, thank you, Migraineers, for your patience, good will, and of course for reading MMP books and #KeepingItRlyeh.
Vive le Boutique!
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Scott R Jones is the author of the short story collections Soft from All the Blood and The Ecdysiasts, as well as the non-fiction When the Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality. His poetry and prose have appeared in Innsmouth Magazine, Cthulhu Haiku II, Broken City Mag, Flesh Like Smoke, Cthulhu Fhtagn!, Broken Worlds, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and upcoming in The Children of Gla’aki.
Here at Martian Migraine Press HQ, one need only take a cursory glance at our catalogue to understand a very basic thing about us: we love Howard Phillips Lovecraft, warts and all. From our authors, who work with Lovecraftian themes in their poetry, fiction, and weirdly arousing erotica, to our cover artists and graphic designers, and yes, our discerning readership (who can smell a weak pastiche from a mile away, the smartypants!) it’s clear: to be affiliated with MMP, you gotta be Keeping It R’lyeh, in one form or another.
And if you consider yourself Lovecraftian in any way, then you know the Old Gentleman’s birthday is this week, on the 20th. Yes, had Howie lived longer, he’d still be dead by now! Because 124 years is a long time for any organism, let alone one who subsisted on beans, crackers, coffee, and ice cream. Oh, and lengthy correspondence, let’s not forget that. Christ n Cthulhu, HPL would have loved chatrooms, we’re thinking. Can you imagine him utterly destroying Reddit these days? Yes.
Which is all to say we, like you, are celebrating Lovecraft’s birthday, his contribution to the literature of the Weird, and his influence on our own authors and various projects (more on which in a post of the very near future!) by offering readers a present or four. OK. Exactly four presents.
If you’re an Amazon customer and own a Kindle (or have a Kindle app installed on any device – they’re nifty that way) then scoot on over to the Big A for the following MMP ebook deals!
R’LYEH SUTRA by skawt chonzz – FREE AUGUST 19 & 20 (Amazon link HERE)
No less a Mythos luminary than Wilum H. Pugmire recommended this chapbook as “charming”, “delightful”, with “lovely poetic prose, all quite Lovecraftian”. Originally limited to a run of 50 chapbooks from Martian Migraine Press, R’LYEH SUTRA is now available as an electronic chapbook. Recalling Spicer and Burroughs, these are poems that explore the shifting, fractal edge of madness, that question the nature of identity, consciousness and language, and do it all with wry humour spliced with a species of alien sexuality. As the title implies, there is an obviously Lovecraftian occult inspiration to the work: in fact, the original, physical run of the book contained, in the form of an insert, a portion of a large hand-written document received in a brutal channeling session from an ultra-terrestrial entity, which chonzz experienced in the spring of 2011. Each copy is therefore utterly unique, a facet of a whole that perhaps should never be viewed in its entirety, and likely never will. This electronic edition seeks to replicate that reading experience with hidden links to previously unreleased segments of that occult document.
PRIESTESS (Blackstone Erotica Volume 1) by Justine Geoffrey
FREE AUGUST 19 & 20 (Amazon link HERE)
If you think that “Lovecraftian smut” can only be poorly written cheap rip-offs of standard hentai themes, then we couldn’t be more happy to educate you in just how weird and wonderful a truly loving approach to the sexuality that breeds between the lines of the Cthulhu Mythos can be. Justine Geoffrey’s BLACKSTONE Erotica series combines raw, character-driven eroticism with mind-melting horrors and a cheeky sensibility that draws from the best of the pulps, Hammer horror films, and of course Lovecraft and, in the case of the first BLACKSTONE book, the muscular energy of Robert Bloch’s classic Mythos tale The Black Stone. This collection brings together all four of the BLACKSTONE books in one massive volume! Follow a novice Priestess of the Black Stone as she calls up prehistoric sex-gods in the mountains of Eastern Europe, gathers power and partners in the glitzy dungeons of London’s BDSM scene, and mates with monsters in subterranean chambers of lust and horror! Priestess also contains excerpts from Blackstone Book 3, Yellow Sign Bound and Justine’s Orgy in the Valley of the Lust Larvae PLUS a special essay from the author on the weird-erotica writing experience.
CONQUEROR WOMB: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath
Kindle Countdown Deal AUGUST 20 & 21 (Amazon link HERE)
(“What’s a Kindle Countdown Deal?” Starting at 8AM PST on Lovecraft’s birthday, the price for this book will be ONLY 99 CENTS. So get it then, because by 2PM another dollar gets tacked on. And so on, until the book is back at it’s regular price of $5.99 late on the 21st.) This anthology is easily the most popular MMP title of 2014! with Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath, Martian Migraine Press and editors Justine Geoffrey and Scott R Jones bring you 18 pulpy tales of fertility and fear, hot sex and chilling sacrifice! Stories that squelch, tales that both titillate and terrify, from some of the best writers working in Lovecraftian horror and mind-bending erotica today: Wilum H. Pugmire, Molly Tanzer, Don Webb, Christine Morgan, Kenton Hall, Brian M. Sammons, Jacqueline Sweet, Copper Sloane Levy, Annabeth Leong, and Christopher Slatsky, along with fresh new voices. From nighted glades where frenzied orgiasts work unholy magic to slick urban dungeons of unbridled pleasure; from fertility clinics to fevered dance clubs; from the misty depths of the past to the unthinkable future, join us as we offer praise and abundance! Iä! Shub-Niggurath!
WHEN THE STARS ARE RIGHT: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality
by Scott R Jones – REDUCED from $7.99 to $2.99 AUGUST 20 ONLY!
(Amazon link HERE)
Yes, the book you’ve been hearing about. The one Laird Barron says “gives Thomas Ligotti a run for his money in the Cosmic Horror Philosophy arms race.” The twisty little tome that Leeman Kessler of AskLovecraft.com calls “a crime scene!” The appalling text the mere mention of which caused the venerable S. T. Joshi to raise an incredulous eyebrow! The one that’s making Lovecraft spin wildly in his materialist-atheist grave on his birthday this year. Are you “Keeping It R’lyeh”? Sons of Cthulhu, Daughters of Dagon, you know there’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s picking up Jones’ groundbreaking work on R’lyehian mystical thought and getting down with the Deep Ones in ways you can’t even imagine! Not yet. Not until you’ve taken the Cthulhusattva Vow and entered the Black Gnosis. With a Foreweird from noted Gnostic author Jordan Stratford and beautiful illustrations by Michael Lee Macdonald. When The Stars Are Right is currently out-of-print, so this electronic version is the only way to acquire the book at the moment. And at $2.99, it’s a steal. BUT ONLY FOR ONE DAY.
Thanks for celebrating with us, Migraineers! (As ever, feel free to drop a review on any of these titles once you’ve put yourself back together after reading!) Happy Birthday, H. P. Lovecraft. Here’s to another 125 years of new and exciting interpretations of your horrors.
Martian Migraine Press: the Best Kind of Headache!
UPDATE: SOLD OUT! Thanks for reading!
Folks, the thing is done: we are 1 copy away from being SOLD OUT of the original print run of When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality, the groundbreaking work of Lovecraftian mysticism and life-enhancement by Scott R Jones. Once this last copy is purchased and mailed away from MMP HQ, only electronic versions of the book will be available, at least until we make arrangements for a second printing (which should be soon, by Halloween 2014 at the latest)… but that’s an entire summer season away, people! Do you really want to wait that long to start #KeepingItRlyeh? Nope.
So, we’re loading up this final copy with extra goodies from MMP: purchase your copy of WTSAR (autographed by Jones) and you’ll also receive a very rare copy of R’LYEH SUTRA and two MMP ebooks of your choice at no extra charge. The Sutra has been out-of-print since 2011, and there were only 50 copies made at the time: this copy is from our special reserve of 4.
Here’s how to pick up this blow-out pack of weird goodness (we’ve made it simple): order WTSAR from its page HERE (through Paypal) and we’ll work out all the details from there through email.
Our thanks go out to everyone who bought When The Stars Are Right, all those who reviewed it, and the many individuals who have embraced the #KeepingItRlyeh philosophy!