Spotlight: Suburban Death Project, by Aimee Parkison

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Suburban Death Project
by Aimee Parkison
Genre: magical realism, dark fiction

A disturbingly brilliant collection of experimental fiction exploring love, loss, and mourning. The twelve stories comprising SUBURBAN DEATH PROJECT sparkle with disturbing brilliance, revealing in full why Aimee Parkison is so widely celebrated for her innovative narratives and experimental fiction.

SUBURBAN DEATH PROJECT breathes life into what is barely surviving: ill-fated families, frightening relationships, and dangerous loves. With a dark humor serving to make unimaginable traumas both tolerable and knowable, Parkison delves into marriage and mourning, lust and loss, and violence and its aftermath. She exposes the horrors of life in its bodily form and relieves them with a passionate wonder burning so brightly it outshines age, death, and family secrets. In average American households, families haunt each other while still alive as they recompose into dragonflies, peach trees, squirrels, ducks, owls, shadows, tunnels, and zoos of endangered species. Pinned to boards for study, peered at by voyeurs, videoed by neighbors, or vivisected for the greater good, each body in these riveting stories undergoes an unflinching examination.

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About the Author:

Aimee Parkison is the author of several books of fiction. Her work has won numerous awards and fellowships and has appeared in numerous journals in English and in translation in Italian. Her fiction has won the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize from Fiction Collective Two, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, the Kurt Vonnegut Prize from North American Review, the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, the Jack Dyer Prize from Crab Orchard Review, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, a Writers at Work Fellowship, a Puffin Foundation Fellowship, and an American Antiquarian Society William Randolph Hearst Creative Artists Fellowship.

Aimee Parkison is a full professor at Oklahoma State University, where she teaches novel writing, contemporary fiction, exploratory narrative techniques, experimental fiction writing, and workshops in the Creative Writing Program’s BA, MFA, and PhD course offerings. Parkison has taught creative writing at a number of universities, including Cornell University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Oklahoma State University. Parkison has served as a visiting faculty member at the British Council’s International Creative Writing Summer School in Athens, Greece, and as a fiction faculty member at Chautauqua Writers’ Festival. Since the summer of 2019, Aimee Parkison has served on the FC2 Board of Directors.

Aimee Parkison author photo 2022

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Spotlight: The Sky Nymph Trilogy, by Charlie Godwyne

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SERIES INFORMATION

 

The Sky Nymph trilogy is an MMM romance that is best read in order, featuring spirituality, found family, and falling in love with one’s best friend. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

The Sky Nymph series is about finding one’s way in the world, and reconnecting with nature and the spirit. As Ollie searches for meaning, he turns inward toward his Higher Self, and solidifies his bond with two men who are also on the path.

Author: Charlie Godwyne

Genre: Contemporary MMM Romance with spirituality and magical realism.

Trope: Best friends to lovers

Themes: Finding home, finding family

There are no cliffhangers. Each book ends happily, with a happily ever after at the end of the trilogy.

The books should be read in order.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 4 flames (Detailed, but slow burn to set up.)

 

BOOK DETAILS 

BOOK 1

Book Title: Infinite

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Length: 50 000 words / 186 pages

Release Date: March 24, 2021

The start of a trilogy that is best read in order.

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

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I’m on the run, leaving behind everything I’ve ever known.

I’m on the run, on a blessed path that leads me straight into their arms.

Blurb 

In 2026, Oliver Smith emigrates from the United States to Austria, to start a job as an editor for Boutique Press. Anxious, tired and broken, he hallucinates an angel comforting him on the plane. Ollie assumes it was a dream, but the Catholic contract lawyer Moritz who picks him up at the airport assures him that angels are real.

As Ollie builds a new life on the other side of the world, working his job while trying to keep himself together and hold his shadows at bay, he meets Bryn, a young man who practices a secret magic and sings gentle prayers to the sunset. Bryn is married to Moritz, the same contract lawyer who helped Ollie settle in and who keeps showing up and cooking for him in the evenings. But things have gone wrong: Bryn and Moritz are separated, pending divorce.

Ollie and Bryn fall fast together, becoming best friends, and as Ollie gets to know Moritz’s caring heart he realizes he has feelings for this beautiful man, too. It’s clear that Bryn and Moritz still love each other. As Ollie works to bring them back together, he finds himself being healed in return and drawn into their loving embrace.

Infinite is the first book in the Sky Nymph series and is a 50,000-word MMM romance with magical realism, patient angels, typewriters on bicycles, and lots of espresso. Although Infinite takes place in the magical Vienna of the Augarten series, it can be read as a standalone.

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Nebulae

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Length:  37 500 words / 152 pages

Release Date: September 8, 2021

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

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I pray, Angel, please keep my lovers safe…

 

Blurb 

In 2027, one year since emigrating from the United States to Austria, Ollie has settled into a happy life in Vienna with his two boyfriends, Moritz and Bryn. He has handled nearly all of his lingering debt, and is excited to embark on the next stage of life with his partners.

But on the eve of Fasching, Vienna shuts down. The Schöner Himmel coffee shop is forced to close, and with the mandatory ambulance service and the military deployed, Bryn and Moritz are called up. As his loved ones fall to illness and injury, Ollie works himself to the bone, helping his friends keep the Schöner Himmel, the Buchinger book bindery, and the tailoring shop running. With nowhere else to turn, he prays to his guardian angel, eager to seek spiritual refuge in dark times.

Instead of giving comfort, the angel challenges him to face what he is running from. Alone, without the support of his lovers, Ollie can no longer deny his greatest fears and must accept the test his angel has set for him. To awaken to the mystery and the forest of a myriad ways, Ollie must stand and fight what chases him.

He has found his home. Now, he must find the way forward.

“The path lies open before you,” the angel says. “Will you take it?”

Nebulae is a 37,500-word MMM romance featuring magical realism and endurance through hard times. It is the sequel to Infinite and is thus best read in order. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

BOOK 3

Book Title: Etheric

Length: 35,000 words / 146 pages

Release Date: December 15, 2021

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

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 Come what may, I have what it takes to hold us together.

 

Blurb 

Two years after the events of Nebulae, Bryn, Moritz, and Ollie are enjoying peaceful days and continuing to build on their relationship. Meanwhile, Milly—Bryn’s sister—and her wife, Grace, have always wanted children, and as planned, Milly starts trying to conceive with Ollie’s help. Bryn never thought he’d become a parent or even an uncle, but seeing everyone around him so happy at the prospect of children, he is doing his best to open his heart to the fruitful gifts that life can bestow.

Then circumstances take a turn, and Bryn is left holding the reins of an exhausted and stressed-out family. With Moritz working non-stop at a local law firm, Ollie’s panic disorder rearing its ugly head, and the addition of a little bundled-up blessing who had a rough start coming into the world, suddenly everyone is relying on Bryn to lead. Yet Bryn’s intense self-doubt leaves him feeling like he isn’t anywhere near good enough—or strong enough—to be all that his two men and their fragile baby need.

As magical forces become active in Vienna, Bryn must make a choice: refuse his role and watch his family fall apart, or invoke his higher self and come into his own to navigate the spiritual and magical flow of the world.

Etheric is a 35,000-word MMM romance featuring magical realism and the cutest baby ever. It is the third book in the Sky Nymph series, which is best read in order. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

 

 

About the Author 

Charlie Godwyne lives in Vienna and loves to walk at Augarten and shop at book binderies. A translator by trade, Charlie loves to take train trips around Europe and hopes to one day learn how to play the banjo.

Sign up for Charlie’s release-only newsletter and get a free short story from Equinox, in which Gabriel, Florian, and Solomon take a dip in the Danube.

Author Links

 Website and Newsletter sign-up   

BookBub: @CharlieGodwyne   |   Goodreads

 

 

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Author Interview: The Raven and the Pig + Giveaway

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The Raven and the Pig
by Lou Kemp
Genre: Magical realism
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As the music dies, the magician Celwyn is mortally wounded.  His darker, immortal brother Pelaez brings him back, barely, with his magic. The party of protagonists travel on the Nautilus to the Cape Verde Islands and the healer of immortals.  During the journey, Professor Kang and Bartholomew can not tell if Pelaez will keep his brother alive.  Captain Nemo is ready to evict Pelaez forcibly, and keeping Celwyn alive is the only thing that restrains him.

After Celwyn is saved, the healer requests payment for his services. This sends the adventurers to the catacombs in Capuchin where their experience is one they will not forget. Before it is over, several of the protagonists question why it seems everyone from warlocks and vampires to witches, seem to be congregating in their world. Before it is over, some of them become surprising allies, and a few of their allies turn against them.

In part II, work on the new flying machine begins in earnest bringing attention from the Mafioso and a cherub-like warlock called Duncan.  After a final battle with Duncan, the flying machine is destroyed and everyone at their compound is murdered by one of their own.

Excerpt:

Prelude
The rolling hills near Odessa, north of Constantinople 1867

With each step he took, Professor Xiau Kang sensed the intensity, and importance of what he would find. Above all, he felt the weight of his sadness. He had done his best to ignore that there was no guarantee Captain Nemo had located Thales, if Nemo failed to find him, Jonas Celwyn would be dead within a matter of days, perhaps hours.

A long time ago, on the Zelda, the magician had doubted a mechanical man could feel. Kang paused, swaying on his feet as he fought to regain his control; at this moment, the automat knew real despair, a wrenching grief that they would lose Jonas. He swallowed hard and walked faster, climbing to the top of the berm.

There she was! The long black submarine lay still in the water. A single sailor stood on patrol, and another perched in the cage on top with a spyglass.

Kang called, “I’ll get Mr. Celwyn. Please let the Captain know we’re here.”

Conductor Smith joined him as they ran back to the coach. The others had seen them and began unloading the magician onto the stretcher that Kang had fashioned for this moment. He skidded to a stop and grabbed Celwyn’s hand.

“The Nautilus is here. It isn’t far.”

In the distance, a low hum reached them; the sound sputtered and grew stronger.

The magician’s eyes opened slowly, like a thread from his memory raised his lids, impelling him to look. Everyone, including Jonas, gazed upward, as if they had already known what was to come.

The noise grew louder, and then a bright yellow flying machine crested the low hills and headed toward the estuary.

“Yes!” Kang shouted, raising his fist in triumph.

The plane swerved to the north, banked, and then flew toward them again in a wide arc.

“Oh, my God, it’s Bartholomew,” Elizabeth exclaimed.

Bartholomew wore a broad smile and his scarf fluttered in the breeze as he sailed over them. He waved. As he banked again, the engine revved and he turned, descending for another pass. Celwyn raised himself onto an elbow to wave back.

“Hurry,” Kang said. “Bartholomew is going to land. We have to get Jonas onto the ship.”


Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book?
The Violins Played before Junstan began when I wanted to write a story for the Mystery Writers of America anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. It had to be something unusual, and Jonas Celwyn came to me. The catalyst was that he was a magician and immortal.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?

I’m a better writer, and a better judge of which points of view I needed the story to be in—which one works best to propel the story or explain it.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

How I identify with Celwyn and the protagonists, and enjoy them. They are friends.

4. What does the title mean?

The violins represent the power behind Celwyn’s magic. Junstan was where he was supposed to deliver Professor Kang.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

No.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

Yes, each of the books has a strong moral thread and even stronger band that binds the protagonists together. Beginning with book 2, Pelaez’s hatred of war propels the story.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

The scene in the forest when Nemo wakes up after an attack to find Celwyn passed out on top of him.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

I’ll answer this as the one that was the most fun since none were challenging. Pelaez is a complex, moral, and immoral, character.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
Finishing book 5.


Author Bio:

Early work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.

I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.

More information is available at LouKemp.com. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.
Milestones:

2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.

2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.

2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.
Present The full length prequel, The Violins Played before Junstan, to the Celwyn book series is published on Kindle. The companion book, Farm Hall is also published where Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn’s brother, makes his first appearance. The remaining books in the series: Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died, will be available beginning in August 2021.

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Giveaway

Lou Kemp will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner, a 2nd randomly drawn winner a mug and pen with the book image and a 3rd randomly drawn winner will win a eBook via rafflecopter during the tour.

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