With a Little Help from My Friends

Spring is here. Bursts of activity and creation, from outdoor events to the bright shiny new work of authors, publishers, and all those types that bloom in the sunshine, full of new work and bright words.

Writers and their affiliates (from presses to magazines to podcasts) get hell on the Internet for self-promotion – and a lot of the time, GAWD, rightly so – but sometimes friends are friends, and the PSA/The More You Know message of this post is that when no one is looking, and for no other reason than being good people, this group of miscreants and snake oil salesmen will unblinkingly throw sponsorship money to a 9 yr old in Southern Ohio for an event at his elementary school. And one will blink, and think how lucky, to have “networks” that are more than that word, associates and peers that are friends.

Selflessness is supposed to be its own reward, but here’s my kid kicking some ass at the Ninja Dash obstacle course/fun run. He was sponsored by Booked. Podcast (Livius Nedin and Robb Olson, Thunderdome Press (Mike Gonzalez), GAMUT Magazine (Richard Thomas), his friend Elijah Kasper (from PLT days), Kay & Allen Hayes, and Heather & Jeremy Barker. They expected nothing from him, but he wore a sponsor shirt with all their names.

Thanks to your generosity, my son gets to smash a pie in the face of his favorite teacher on the next-to-last day of school

And yes, since you asked, that green glitter shirt-lettering was all destroyed when I washed it, and the inside of my washing machine looks like a disco.

Happy summer!! And thank you for being a part of my life!!

Menacing Hedge Spring Issue

Simultaneous arrival of warm weather and Menacing Hedge’s Spring Edition!

This issue marks the first batch of short fiction selected just by my hand, so I do hope everyone enjoys these six stories. I wade through hundreds of submissions to come up with a handful of perfect diamonds, and it will never cease to amaze me that I get to do this: assemble a banquet of stories written by authors far more adept at both wordsmithing and navigating the imagination.

Spring also marks the first issue with Susan Yount as official Menacing Hedge Artist! Her work is so darkly beautiful.

So have it! Poetry and fiction, sunshine and blood.

Happy Spring!

“Don’t Tell Mom” by Susan Yount

Click:

Menacing Hedge Spring 2017

Five Days Left to Enter “Fairytale Day” Goodreads Bundle Giveaway

February 26 is International Fairytale Day, so what better day for Craig and I to give you a pile of books and stories by a plethora of authors that cover the spectrum from horror to crime to magic realism to noir to mystery to comedy to love story, and everything else you can think of?

Click the link below to enter: the pile of books includes not only the only 3 hard copies of Serious Moonlight thus far in existence, but also The Sound of Loneliness signed by the author Craig Wallwork, Quintessence of Dust signed by the author Craig Wallwork, Radium Girls signed by the author Amanda Gowin, Gutted: Beautiful Horror signed by (one of) the author(s) Amanda Gowin, as well as the Booked. Anthology!

And, Serious Moonlight, our short story duet, will include brand new bonus flash stories from both of us in these print copies.

Escape. Make a bed of these books and roll around in other worlds, while on break from making this world a better one.

Fairytale Day “Serious Moonlight” Goodreads Giveaway Bundle (click)

Edmund Dulac

Edmund Dulac

 

(All proceeds from Serious Moonlight go to International Medical Corps)

Menacing Hedge Five Year Anniversary

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Menacing Hedge Summer 2016

Summer 2016 marks 5 years of Menacing Hedge, and I’m happier than happy to be a part of this family. The Summer Edition is full of good stuff – check it out, while we keep reading for Fall. ❤

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth

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you and I are not snobs. We can never be born enough. We are human beings;for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery,the mystery of growing:the mystery which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves. You and I wear the the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming. Life,for eternal us,is now;and life is much too busy being a little more than everything to seem anything,catastrophic included.   -e.e. cummings

 

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2016 Scares the Shit Out of Me

 

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Seriously.

It’s only the 2nd day of the year, nice easy Saturday night full of peppermint candy, Lana Del Rey and sleeping dogs.

Last night was Sherlock’s ‘The Abominable Bride’ (which was better than all of S3 put together, and I loved S3), and this afternoon was ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ with my almost-8-yr-old son in his Darth Vader sweatshirt and my cool-as-hell hubby (and it was GREAT! I was afraid to hope, after the prequels). So. I’m high on Moriarty and Chewbacca.

The year ahead lies sprawled in an almost impossible glowing light. These Lite Brite blips of things to come, and they seem too good to be true:

  • the first edition of Menacing Hedge I’ve worked on as full-fledged co-fiction editor with my incestuous sibling Craig Wallwork, out pretty much anytime – and conspiring with the beautiful crew there
  • more and more unbelievable announcements about the Gutted:Beautiful Horror anthology – just a lil ole book coming out this year with me in it….AND Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, Richard Thomas…that’s not even all!! It’s just too hard to type out all the names, and they’re not even DONE with the ToC!
  • AWP LA, which I guess is some sort of “conference” or something, but whatever – I’ll be spending April Fool’s Day in California with the crew that welcomed me into the bosom of ‘Warmed and Bound’ nearly five years ago, only that crew times ten…ocean and bowling and books with some of the best people I’ve ever met or am about to
  • Tentative plans for a vast and ambitious family vacation that, worst case scenario, would take place next summer instead of this one
  • Tentative plans to finish a semi-vast and very-ambitious linked short story collection surrounding the concept of Frankenstein’s Monster and the freedom from the burden of chronological memory…that, worst case scenario, will be completed next summer instead of this one (it would take some massive laziness to drag out an entire extra year)
  • Jewelry – Jewelry!! Work!! They call it work, I call it a kitchen and laboratory full of adoptive family, gems, and magic lasers and elf-sized tools. They let me hang out there, and talk about movies and gold and life, and pay me for it…
  • my son and I have started the Harry Potter series, a mere two hours ago, and he’s into it
  • Richard Thomas has extracted a promise for a story from me for Gamut, which seems like something I should have to fight to get into
  • Craig Clevenger wants to podcast with me for a couple guest episodes of Booked.
  • My sister is going to give me another niece or nephew – another minion for my son!

Can I just stop there, and take a breath?

My fear is justified, yes?

Because this is my life, and I want to deserve it. I want to deserve the people and the love and the pictures in my brain and the roof over my head and the happiness,

and I don’t want to take a breath, or cough, for fear I’ll wake….

So, before I do, in this world now I want to say: I love you all. I appreciate you all. You’re heavy and light and wispy and warm in your love and support and confidence and laughter and conspiratorial smiles. My family, my friends, my work family, my writing , my reading compadres, my Sherlock-fiends, my fellow mothers of beautiful strong babes, my ladies in the shadows that whisper to me that I’m good enough.

Thank you. By the Stars and the Moonlight and the magic of breathing, I wish you all as beautiful a 2016 as you’ve made possible for me, just by being a part of my life.

-Amanda

 

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(Magical Shiny Shoes to dance through the year)

When the Saints Go Marching In…

(Alex is an AWESOME teacher!)

A Seriously Big Day

So.

I’ve had a lot of good news recently.

Let’s jump right in!

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In 2016, Crystal Lake Publishing is releasing an anthology called “Gutted: Beautiful Horror” that editors D. Alexander Ward and Doug Murano describe as “A series of stories that explores the tension between beauty and horror, wonder and terror, sorrow and transcendence. It’s a book of scars, regret and loneliness. But through it all, it’s a book where hope can still exist and beauty can still thrive.” They’ve only made a few Table of Contents announcements – four names thus far, to be exact, and they go as follows:

Neil Gaiman (you read that right)

Brian Kirk

John F. D. Taff

ME! YES, ME!!

The story they accepted is my much-labored-over, genre-crossing, over-long and painfully dear to me “Cellar’s Dog.” It clocks in at over 6k words and involves Appalachia, hounds, drugs, myth and the tiny glimmer of hope for redemption. I couldn’t be prouder that it’s this story out of everything I’ve written that will be included alongside these incredible people. And I can’t WAIT to find out who else will be in the book.

And! AND!

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Artwork by Brian Despain

The beautiful people over at Menacing Hedge are bringing me on as a Fiction Editor to sift and slush with Craig Wallwork, which is kind of like being asked to come over to best friend’s house to play as your JOB. I love Kelly Boyker and I love Craig, and it’s incredible to be helping choose the short fiction for a journal I submitted to with crossed fingers!

I’ll begin reading now-to-soon-ish, so send us your best!! The Fall Issue will be up soon with more specifics…

So.

I guess I’ll go to sleep, and see if this is still true in the morning.

Seriously, Autumn 2015, I frickin’ LOVE you….

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Well Hey, September

And in a blink, summer disappeared!

It’s cool, though. I’ve been selling jewelry and being Mom, and as the leaves get crinkly and the toads disappear I’ll slide back into my writer-bubble and my skin will feel settled again….

Speaking of!!

The last week I’ve had a good run.

Firstly, Kevin Catalano did an article for Entropy Magazine about 25 Badass Female Short Story Writers, and BOOM! I was in there. Click the link to the article for sure, because all these females kick some short story ass and there are links galore to their stories for proof of their prowess, including to my story “Teetotaler.”

5 + 20 Female Short Story Writers You Should Be Reading RIGHT NOW

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And then today I sorta accidentally found out my story “The Line Forms on the Right” from the Burnt Tongues anthology (edited by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Rhomas and Dennis Widmyer, Medallion Press) was Long-Listed for the Best Horror of the Year, Volume 7, edited by Ellen Datlow. Not only were some of my bestest and most favorite writing peeps on the list, but also the likes of Caitlin Kiernan and Etgar Kerat! I fully realize there are a lot of names on there (it’s called a ‘long list’) but that’s just more good company to be in. Check this out:

Full Rec List – Best Horror of the Year,Volume Seven, edited by Ellen Datlow

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And of course get the ACTUAL REAL VOLUME SEVEN, it’s obviously amazing. As is Burnt Tongues, which had SEVEN stories on the long list!! The link for BT is in the Links tab above.

I’m a happy girl!!

More news to come, but we’ll talk about that in October. For now, I’ll leave you with a little Bobby Darin – the song that inspired my story in Burnt Tongues, and one of my favorites of all time.

Love to you all!! ❤️

 

 

Ocean

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Allow Me to Buy Your Love with Free Books in Honor of Sunshine!

Last night I discovered two things:

1. Goodreads has an author stats page thingie

2. LOTS of people have Radium Girls marked on their “To Read” shelves.

So! The only thing to do is come up with a plan to gently shove Radium Girls over to allllll the “Currently Reading” shelves. Summer is coming. There’s no reason my glowing green baby shouldn’t be on your tablet or in your tote bag, ready and waiting when you reach for some good words.

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In honor of so many well-intentioned readers, and the upcoming One Year Birthday of Radium Girls, I talked to my lovely friend and publisher Mike Gonzalez, and…

Here’s the Plan

From May 5th through June 5th we shall hand out e-books like candy. As a show of good faith and even better intentions, all you need to do is TAG ME in a photo of ANY OTHER copy of a paper publication I’ve been in that you already have in your possession. Doesn’t matter where – post in the comments here, or tag me or Thunderdome Press on Facebook, or Twitter: @mandajoon (me) or @monkeywright (Mike Gonzalez) or @ThunderDomeMag (the Press), or on Instagram: @mandajoon (me). I don’t care if it’s actually even a pic of you with RG, we’ll still collect your email address and give you an ebook to pass on to someone else!

Here’s the List

Post a pic of ANY of the following with a tag:

Exigencies

Burnt Tongues

Radium Girls

The Booked. Anthology

Cipher Sisters

LA1K

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Warmed and Bound

And! When that giveaway is over it’ll officially be my birthday and we’ll give away some paperbacks, too! And and! There will be a 4-day Free Radium Girls for Kindle weekend. I want these stories in your hands!

Last year when we were getting Radium Girls together I really didn’t want to do any…um, well, promotional work, so I didn’t blurb-hunt or really advertise or whatever, but since the release I’ve gotten a lot of cool reviews and whatnot, so I’ve collected that and shall put it here, in a “Don’t Take My Word for It” section:

Praise for Radium Girls:

“These stories glow in the dark.”
– Craig Clevenger, author of The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria

“I loved it, that’s for damned sure. Radium Girls is a great book.”
– Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike and Cry Father

“Her work exists in the rarified air only found at high altitudes…Gowin unfolds a series of portraits of exquisitely flawed and powerful characters.”
– Kelly Boyker, author of Zoonosis, editor of Menacing Hedge

“Gowin is the tornado, lifting the flotsam of society and spinning it around and around until it lands just south of Kansas where magic and colour are just beyond reach.”
– Craig Wallwork, author of The Sound of Loneliness and Quintessence of Dust

“Radium Girls puts beauty in places you probably shouldn’t find it and makes the reader question the norms they’ve come to accept.”
– Livius Nedin and Robb Olson, The Booked. Podcast

May your Spring and Summer be be full of sunshine and words. Thanks for letting me be a part of it!

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Bring on 2015!

My son is WAY more excited about the New Year than you. It’s a fact. Allow me to illustrate:

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2015 is the year of hoverboards, power laces and flying cars. Or, in my kid’s mind, the year it all becomes POSSIBLE. So cross your fingers that the designers of sneakers make a knock-off cheap kid-size replica of those multi-thousand dollar power laces they HAVE promised.

There are plenty of “best of” lists of this and that, so I’m just going to skip it and do a pimp recap post of things I’m writerly happy about from 2014 and link ’em all here. Because I’m ready for 2015, too, so let’s just skip the nostalgia for 2014 (of which I’ll have none) and get one with the new! Shiny clothes and dehydrated pizza for everyone!

Offerings:

Radium Girls

My firstborn! Full of cicadas, mental institutions and beauty.

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Order Radium Girls

 

Cipher Sisters

Technically this is from 2013, but I’m still pretty proud of it. Mike and I stitched this quilt with twisted beauty.

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Order Cipher Sisters

 

Burnt Tongues

My brush with fame! Edited/selected by Chuck Palahniuk. And no, my story here is not in RG 🙂

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Order Burnt Tongues

 

Exigencies

Coming April 2015, but there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on this very moment to win one of ten free Advanced Reading Copies! (This story isn’t in Radium Girls, either!)

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Enter to win an advance copy of Exigencies

 

Curiouser and Curiouser

Author interview site, sister site, home of my nosy alter ego Alice. Author interviews that have nothing to do with writing. The schedule is erratic, but recently there’ve been interviews with everyone from Karen Abbott (Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy) to Ben Whitmer (Cry Father). No money necessary, it’s merely collected anecdotes and gorgeous information.

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Read author interviews at Curiouser and Curiouser

 

Booked. Podcast

Robb and Liv were crazy enough to have me on THREE TIMES this year – once to talk about Radium Girls, and twice for holiday specials with my fellow space cadet, Jesse Lawrence. The Radium Girls review/interview is the only episode of these three I can recommend if you’re under 18, related to me, or know me through my son. The holiday specials are full of horrifying language and subject matter, extremely fun, and rated a strong R leaning towards NC-17. Free entertainment!! Booked., I love you….

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Click to listen: Booked. #209 – Radium Girls

Click to listen: Booked. #225 – Halloween Spookedtacular!

Click to listen: Booked. #231 – Christmas Extravaganza Spectacular!

 

I hope you find some enjoyment here!

Mainly, I hope you kiss your loved ones, take a deep breath and jump headfirst into 2015.

Happy New Year!

– Amanda

 

Nobly Salvaging the Close of 2014

It’s been a soul-suck of a year, right? On a legal level, human level – and on a personal and family level, at least ’round here. It’s easy to write off the rest of it, to just kind of say “DONE” and start smearing that dry eraser across the wasteland that was 2014.

But seriously, is that any way to go into a New Year? Any way to Start Fresh? Just calling the bad stuff a wash and limping through the holidays so we can change that number at the end and pretend we’re dragging nothing behind us?

I’ve said repeatedly that’s what I planned to do. Just try to make it through and have this year be OVER. Because yeah, we had our high spots, but the lows make us ashamed, don’t they? We can’t leave it this way. I’ve spent far too many quiet hours, feeling useless and helpless, waiting for the calendar days to go faster!

It won’t work. Giving up and trying to forget never works. So we HAVE TO do some things these last few weeks of 2014, to show in good faith we DO have hope for 2015, and we’re going in riding the high of already having a jump on a better new year.

Don’t worry, this isn’t all ‘general advice’ purple prose type stuff, I’m getting ready to lay some assignments on you peoples! I’m tired of sighing and squinting into the distance. Boohoo on sitting still. Get off your asses. There’s plenty you can do, and it’s easy, and it helps.

Here we go:

LOCALS OF THE JACKSON-VINTON AREA:

Jackson-Vinton Community Action, in conjunction with the Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and Operation Warm, are (for the second year in a row) doing a kid’s coat drive to beat ALL coat drives! We’re talking brand-spanking-new coats for kids, gorgeous and well-made, from toddler through age 17. I’ll post the info on how to qualify below.

How can you help??

1. Share the flier, so people know where the events are, how to qualify, who to call. I’ve plastered it all over Facebook.

2. Peel a twenty, or a twenty and a ten off your Christmas spending money and go to Walmart, Kmart, The Dollar Store, CVS, Walgreen’s, wherever – and buy as many pairs of gloves and toboggans as that will buy, then get ahold of me or Community Action (740-384-5119), or drop them off directly at the CA office, and we’ll have gloves and hats to go with the coats. Lots of businesses and organizations in the area are on board and have done this – we even got a ton of scarves from the Columbus Crew!

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3. Go through your closets and drag out all those sweaters and jackets and winter coats (for kids and adults!) you haven’t worn in years, run them through the wash and bring em on up to Community Action. Or me. Or any of the lovely people that work there. I’ll be up there a couple times a week through spring sorting, and wouldn’t it be cool if someone stopped in to get a coat for their daughter and also found three nice sweaters and a pair of boots to take home to her as well?

THE INFO!! Click to enlarge, and please save and reshare…image

 

LOCALS OF THE WORLD:

Operation Paperback – they’re like a hub of reading material for the troops – vets, those deployed, et al. Since the 1999 this awesome organization has been getting reading material and enjoyment out to the men and women in all aspects and branches of the service. It’s SUPER EASY and SUPER LOW PRESSURE to sign up as a volunteer. There are no requirements or parameters to your level of participation: when you have extra  books, you simply log in and look for an address (a base, hospital, home) looking for those kinds of literature, print out an Operation Paperback shipping label, and send it on its way! I highly recommend signing up to get the “special requests” email newsletter – it arrives every so often and is worth a scan, so you can go “oh, I have some extra Stephen King paperbacks” or  “Well I have read the *insert name* biography eight times! I could probably let it go,” and get an address and send those along!

Here’s the site: OPERATION PAPERBACK

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So there you go. Get up. Christmas ain’t ALL about you. And this year is not lost. Don’t give yourself an easy out to do nothing and give over to 2014-induced ennui. Yesterday, in just a few hours, I saw a lot of coats go to a lot of kids. I saw a lot of people come in with their paperwork in order on their lunch hours or before or after work to make sure their kids were taken care of. And it heals my soul to think that maybe I helped a little.

Peace, and Happy Holidays!!

– Amanda

 

Operation Warm Main Site: http://www.operationwarm.org

 

“Exigencies” is coming!!

Add it to your ‘To Read’ shelf on Goodreads, pre-order it on Amazon! I can personally vouch for a lot of these other authors, both their work and as Good People, not to mention our lovely editor Richard Thomas whom I assume never sleeps… Chuck Wendig is doing the Foreword, that INCREDIBLE cover is by Daniele Serra, and there will be interior illustrations to go with stories by Luke Spooner. It’s a book and a half!

the story I have in here is actually one I feel really good about: based on a memory of the story I was told as a child about a distant relative. Almost thirty years later, after writing “The Owl and the Cigarette” I found out the memory and the story were basically myths created by my child-mind mashing together several details and people into one beautiful, false memory. So in this Anthology I  contribute a fictional re-telling of a true story that never actually happened…

 

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Click to Pre-Order ‘Exigencies’

HALLOWEEN IS HERE! Family Trick or Treat & Booked. Spookedtacular!

Happy Halloween! It may be rainy and damp, but the weak light and various colds have not dampened spirits this week. Below, see what happens when my son says “Star Wars” and then listen to what happens when Booked. says “What plan? It’s Halloween!” Thanks for a helluva week.

Also, ‘sexy’ Han Solo is just Han Solo – dig my lean….

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Click the Booked. pumpkin to be transported to the SPOOKEDTACULAR!!

Click the Booked. pumpkin to be transported to the SPOOKEDTACULAR!!

 

 

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