“Sometimes the ash catches a spark and sometimes the flame splutters back to life.”
Lacking a better target, fate’s hammer falls on a heart already smashed to shards. That heart belongs to Anna, a young, apathetic student weighed down by the drudgery of her daily routine. Seeking an escape, she comes across a stranger called Teej who promises to open her up to a whole new world. A world of Aesthetes: writers, musicians and artists who are so preeminent in their respective fields that their abilities allow them to alter the very fabric of reality. The magical worlds they create are known as “Hazes” – possibility spaces where the world becomes dream, and the dreamer is God.
Seeking to escape tragedies in her past, Anna forsakes her old life to enter the dangerous world Teej has shown her. As a Metik, his job is to police the dream. To protect people from the Aesthete’s, and even challenge them within their own domain when they threaten the lives of the innocent. And to do that he needs a bodyguard. An Undreamer. Someone who can demolish Haze’s. A fighter and a warrior who can tear down the dream world. Teej believes he has found his new protector and guardian. His new Undreamer is Anna.
“In a world of dying light, you’re a bonfire in the night.”
As Anna travels through Haze’s – from endless deserts of purple sand to run-down bars on the moon – she learns that there’s as much beauty in the world as there is horror. With a complex conspiracy at work within the community of Aesthete’s that threatens to undermine reality itself, Anna will have to look deep within herself – and eventually will have to face the horrors of her own past – to save her old world as well as her new one.
Tarn Richardson's The Risen was published in May 2017.
Information about Tarn Richardson:
Consisting of The Hunted (free prequel novella), The Damned (2015), The Fallen (2016) and The Risen (2017), The Darkest Hand trilogy unleashes the flawed but brilliant Inquisitor Poldek Tacit upon a Europe engulfed by the First World War. The Damned was one of the book depository's 'Books of 2015'.
Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Risen:
1917. As war and revolution consume the world, the End Times have arrived. With the apocalypse imminent, the world needs a hero to push back this tide of darkness and save all from the return of the Antichrist. But where is Poldek Tacit, the only Inquisitor able to compete against such daunting odds? Old allies unite in a desperate race to unmask and stop the Antichrist before he can assume dominion over all lands and nations, while the Darkest Hand squeezes any remaining hope from those who wish to find an end to the war which has already claimed countless lives. The final chapter in The Darkest Hand trilogy serves up a fitting, fast-paced and action-packed finale to this epic work of dark fiction, where long-buried secrets within the vaults of the Vatican are unveiled and mankind's hopes of redemption from the forces of evil hang by a single, precarious thread.
A REVIEW OF TARN RICHARDSON'S THE RISEN
Nightscript: Volume III (edited by C.M. Muller) was published in September/October 2017.
Information about C.M. Muller:
C.M. Muller lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and two sons - and, of course, all those quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore. He is related to the Norwegian writer Jonas Lie and draws much inspiration from that scrivener of old. His tales have appeared in Shadows & Tall Trees, Supernatural Tales, and Weirdbook.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Nightscript: Volume III:
An annual anthology of strange and darksome tales by twenty-three of the finest contemporary scribes. Simon Strantzas, Rowley Amato, Malcolm Devlin, M.K. Anderson, Charles Wilkinson, Daniel Braum, Christi Nogle, David Peak, Clint Smith, Amar Benchikha, Cory Cone, Inna Effress, Christian Riley, Adam Golaski, Jessica Phelps, Stephen J. Clark, Armel Dagorn, James Everington, Rebecca J. Allred, John Howard, David Surface, Julia Rust, M.R. Cosby.
A REVIEW OF NIGHTSCRIPT: VOLUME III (EDITED BY C.M. MULLER)
Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Christopher Charman.
About Christopher Charman:
When he isn’t selling houses as a real estate broker or playing jazz, Christopher Charman is writing. His undergraduate degree in Egyptian Archeology from UC Berkeley led inevitably to a 20+ year career in technical support and information technology, but Chris returned to a state of grace and sanity by completing his MFA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University in 2013. He has black belts in two Japanese martial arts and is a founding practitioner of Nanatokan Aikijujutsu. Chris lives in Santa Cruz with his partner, two sons and dog, who is extremely expressive but unfortunately does not use words. Alex and Dog Go Hunting is his first published novel.
About Alex & Dog Go Hunting:
Alex doesn't have much to her name despite her knack for thieving and her passionate love of Veronica. When Alex is arrested and her relationship with Veronica shattered, she has only one way to clear her name and avoid life in prison.
Years later, and now an asset of the US government, Alex has been transformed into a Special Ops assassin, and she has the engineered genes to prove it. Fighting her way through every blacklisted mission possible, and loving every minute of it, it isn't until she's de-listed and on the streets that she meets David, a genetic whiz, who suspects there's a flaw hidden in her new and improved DNA - a flaw that may prove fatal.
Forging an uncanny relationship with Dog, a canine with incredible abilities, Alex learns that there are more dark rooms filled with government conspiracies than even she knew existed. As they dodge a desperate military, Alex realizes she'll have to face one of her worst battles yet: one of the heart.
Alex and Dog Go Hunting joins the ranks of such female-kicking-butt offerings as La Femme Nikita, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Wanted and adds a bit of Alias and Aeon Flux. It's Christopher Charman's debut novel.
GUEST POST: What's Your Process? by Christopher Charman
Simon Avery's The Teardrop Method was published by TTA Press in September 2017.
Information about Simon Avery:
Born in 1971, Simon Avery lives and works in Birmingham.
Over the last twenty-two years he has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Crimewave, The Best British Mysteries IV, Beneath the Ground, Birmingham Noir, Terror Tales of Yorkshire and Something Remains.
He has been nominated for the Crime Writers Association Dagger award and the British Fantasy Award.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Teardrop Method:
Krisztina heard the song and she followed it across the city...
Winter in Budapest. In the midst of a terrible personal tragedy, singer/songwriter Krisztina Ligetti discovers she can hear songs of mortality. She spends her days following these songs until they lead her to people at the precipice of death. From the fading bars of their final breath, Krisztina takes the story of their lives and turns them into music.
When Krisztina is reunited with her father, a reclusive 60s pop star, she believes that she has finally found a way out of the darkness, but then she begins to receive news clippings detailing each of the deaths she has been witness to. A man in a porcelain mask who seems to be everywhere she looks and a faded writer who shares Krisztina's gift seem to know her, know that the past has a hold on them all, and that it won't stop until someone has paid the price.
A REVIEW OF SIMON AVERY'S THE TEARDROP METHOD
Richard Gessner's The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy was published by Rain Mountain Press in September 2017.
Information about Richard Gessner:
Richard Gessner's fiction has been published in Air Fish: an anthology of speculative work, Rampike, Ice River, Coe Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Happy, The Act, Sein und Werden, Skidrow Penthouse, The Pannus Index, Fiction International and many other magazines. A collection, Excerpts from the Diary of a Neanderthal Dilettante & The Man in the Couch was published by Bomb Shelter Props. Gessner's drawings and paintings have appeared in Raw Vision, Courier News, Asbury Park Press, Rampike, Skidrow Penthouse, and exhibited at Pleiades Gallery, Hamilton Street Gallery, Cry Baby Gallery, The Court Gallery and the Donald B. Palmer Museum. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
Information about The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy:
"What Gessner does best, perhaps, is create microcosms - self-contained worlds in which he has made up the rules and established the action. I'm reminded of a drop of water, which, under van Leeuwenhoek's microscope, turned out to be teeming with alien creatures possessed of varied modes of swimming. I am reminded of Blake: Gessner dramatizes the Romantic poet's belief that there is a world in a grain of sand. The Conduit, one of the more visionary pieces, demonstrates Gessner's ability to expand space and uncover its inhabitants in a seemingly infinite regression. It begins as the tale of a man who has been stabbed in the heart crawls into a sewer pipe to die, but the pipe is an existential anomaly - 'Huge, wide, longer than all-seeing memory' - and harbors not only the wounded man, but also a good chunk of the universe.
"The surreal aspects of Gessner's stories recall the work of French author Raymond Roussel (1877-1933). In Roussel's novel Locus Solus, for example, we encounter a scientist who has invented a balloon-powered, road- building machine, which, using human teeth of varying hues of brown, is assembling a mosaic of a Native American warrior. While this is the sort of oddity a reader shouldn't be surprised to turn up in a Gessner fiction, the language Roussel uses is Victorian in its formality and almost scrupulously objective - at least in translation - as might befit a scientist. Roussel's novel is carried not so much by his style as by an array of ingenious curiosities. Gessner strikes a more equal balance between the poetry of the prose and the parade of strangeness, between whimsical wordplay and the progression of the tale itself.
"He is also relentlessly funny. Virtually every paragraph in Excerpts from the Diary of a Neanderthal Dilettante - the title is self-explanatory - presents the reader with material worthy of a stand- up routine." - Vincent Czyz
A REVIEW OF RICHARD GESSNER'S THE CONDUIT AND OTHER VISIONARY TALES OF MORPHING WHIMSY