Is It Ever Okay to Ban Books?

You would think the automatic, short answer to this question would be a resounding “NO”, and you would be correct… ninety-nine percent of the time. There is the rare book that should be banned for promoting hatred, but unfortunately, these tend to only be published within private circles. The good thing about that is they’ll probably never reach the mainstream public, but the bad thing is that someone thought it necessary for hate lit to exist in the first place, and also that they sometimes slip into the library of public domain if they’re old enough or the copyright has expired. Who would ever want to own the copyright for a piece of hate lit is beyond me, though.

When you consider most classics were banned somewhere simply for being honest about uncomfortable topics, or “brazen” with their writing styles, it really makes most controversies with books seem pointless. I think that there are cases where toning down content or mild censorship for a specific audience are okay, or even a good idea. But it should always be the decision of the author to do so. Massacring the hard work of another because of your own cowardice is the sin of sins, to me.

What brought the question up is that I’ve seen a recent upswing in banning and ordering censorship edits of books within independent publishing – yes, independent books, you read that right. The avenue created expressly for freedom of content is not allowing certain books on their platforms. And before you ask, yes, it’s mostly erotica and horror being subjected to censorship. What are arguably two of the first genres to ever exist, along with fantasy, have been challenged right and left since conception. Continue reading “Is It Ever Okay to Ban Books?”

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Writing Progress – Project Gluttony

This is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write. The apt name Project Gluttony is a working title for a horror novel which will be part of a heptalogy loosely correlated to the seven deadly sins. It’s not exactly a series, but I’m treating it like one for the sake of progress. The books are barely related to each other, and might not even have the same publisher.
I feel like Gluttony will not be the most difficult of the seven, but it’s veering damn close, so perhaps it is better I’m getting it over with this year. Project Gluttony and Project Envy are the most pressing because they are the most developed – Envy has been much easier, since it’s basically a full-length adaptation of a short story I’d already written. (It wasn’t so short either, topping out at about forty pages.) Envy is also nearing completion, which means I’m allowed to take a break on it.

Gluttony, however, deals with more tender subjects that I have to be more careful with handling – namely abuse based in religion, and it is for the most part completely freestyle, since only a half-draft of the first two chapters existed, and I’ve since had to rewrite from scratch because they were terrible. I originally began the novel for an open call for pieces of horror fiction, which I’ve since forgotten the initial point of and is possibly long over. Continue reading “Writing Progress – Project Gluttony”

Writing Progress – Seven Sins Heptalogy

My book blogging unrelated to my own work is going on a soft hiatus throughout the summer. Reviews won’t halt, just slow to a crawl because this project will and is starting to eat up my already scarce reading time. Due to recent unforeseen upheavals in my life and this heptalogy, I won’t have as much opportunity to curtail the reviews, and would rather not update than risk posting something that was notably low-quality. Not a huge deal, this is just so you won’t be surprised when there’s more list reviews and re-reviews than previously unexplored books.

Anyway, what the seven sins heptalogy is, is not exactly a “series”. It is seven books that are tenuously related at best – I think some might be set in the same universe but with little-to-no overlap in settings and characters – but are labelled by their general theme. Project Envy, Project Gluttony, etcetera.

I have a lot of difficulty focusing on specific projects to finish, so decided to pull ten major ones that I cared about most from my list and complete them all before I allow myself to start anything new. I figure that if I can finish these works of fiction, I will be able to consider myself a true success as a writer, even if they don’t come out immediately after they’re done. Future works will flow out with far less distress. Continue reading “Writing Progress – Seven Sins Heptalogy”

A Note on “Reviews Revisited”

I have to restrain myself from re-reading older reviews sometimes, especially ones from before 2018. I’ve completely rewritten many of them, but the remnants are some sweet cringe. At least to me. Recently, I’ve been revisiting some of these books and I think I will start a new branch of book reviews on ones I’ve already covered, but may think differently about, or think they deserve a better (or worse) review upon another examination. I’ll list them as “Reviews Revisited”, so if you’ve seen the book on here before, you’ll know why. A lot of movie critics will do this, but books I feel take more of an effort to decide if you like it or not, or what it objectively deserves. They consume a lot more time to finish and have a more unusual set of nuances than film.

Not that it matters when you’re just writing reviews for fun, but it’s good to have some spores of integrity. People have worked hard on these, and though many of the authors whose work I’ve written about will never see it, several actually have, so I think on that off-chance, they deserve honesty. And anyway, it takes some effort to get a cruel review from me. It’s got to be some maggot-ridden dumpster fodder to get stamped with a one or zero-star rating.

I grade books a little bit differently from most reviewers, I believe. The Goodreads star system, for example, rates one-star as a standard “I didn’t like it”, but I personally consider two-star to be in that range for me. Two-stars or a low three is just an ordinary bad read for me. I didn’t like it but someone else could. It’s competent as a book, at least, if not enjoyable. One-star I reserve for books that are in some vein harmful, pure idiocy, bad pseudo-science, abusive, slandering, unreadable, poorly written, non-plotted pieces of smoldering, grade-F guano that should be left to rot, if they aren’t already being used as torture devices to get people to confess. It has to really suck, in other words. As far as I recall, only ten or twelve books have ever earned this place. I’ll get to those eventually, too.

The Book Genres I Don’t Like

At the risk of coming across as one with that title, I am not exactly a literature snob. I don’t care what it is, who wrote it, whether it came out as a mainstream title, indie, or had to be etched on a tome of warlock flesh. I do not care as long as it’s decently written and has visible effort put into it, even if marginal amounts. Transgressive or clean, unorthodox or classic, I like certain things about most types of books.

That being said, there are genres I won’t read and don’t like. There are a handful of exceptions in these genres that I’ve picked up, and I don’t think that they are “worthless” genres. Somebody loves them, or they wouldn’t be written and continuing to sell copies. I just have not acquired the taste for them. There are my opinions, I don’t fault anyone for finding something they love in these genres that I don’t see in them. To each his own.

Splatterpunk
This one pains me on a heartstring level. I adore horror. All of its subgenres, too… except splatterpunk. Splatterpunk is the black sheep (or bloodstained sheep?) of horror to me, I cannot force myself to like it no matter what. If anyone can point me to a quality splatterpunk book, please do! I want to like this subgenre so badly.

I’ve concluded that what I don’t enjoy about it is not the relentless violence, although that is admittedly pretty boring after so much exposure, but the ones I’ve stumbled upon have not been well-written. They read like edgy high-school essays sprinkled copiously with the thesaurus choices for “viscera” and “blood”. One exception is Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, which are decidedly more dark fantasy but have a distinct splatterpunk element and are a good read. In fact, Barker is cited as one of the fathers of the splatterpunk movement, but I suspect this is more for his Hellraiser works. (I liked the first movie, never read the novels.) I think splatterpunk can work when moderated with something else. Like, just describing gore is not going to evoke fear automatically, even in the very sensitive.

Body horror I find unsettling because it creates an “uncanny” effect – it seems human or animal, but it’s neither and your eyes and mind register that. Gore on the other hand is not fundamentally scary, not even in real life. In real life, it’s only scary because you want to get the person whose guts are hanging out to a freaking hospital. What could make that situation horror is if the hospital was an American one and turned them away, intestines in hand, because they didn’t bring their wallet.

Contemporary Romance and Harlequins
I know, I know. True lit snobs always bear an avid hatred for the romance genre. I don’t dislike romance, though. As is the case with splatterpunk, I feel like diluting the genre with some other genre or factor makes it better. As a pure chemical, it ain’t digestible. Like sodium and chloride. Individually, they are dangerous, together they are delicious table salt. Continue reading “The Book Genres I Don’t Like”

Writing Process – The First Chapter

I will, to the hour of my death, stand by the belief that the hardest part of writing any book, of any genre, is the very first thing you have to write. There’s a volume of quotes about this issue said by authors and public speakers throughout the years, and with reason. I’ve been toying around with a trio of novels in the time when I’m not working on cleaning up and publishing what poetry I’ve finished, and I’ll just level with you.

There is absolutely NO guaranteed way to make the first chapter easy on yourself. It’s going to be doubtful, aggravating and you’ll likely have more drafts of that chapter than any other in the book. Unless, that is, you just have years of experience under your belt already, but even then, a lot of highly-regarded writers still get “brain farts” when it comes to beginning a new project.

Something I’ve tried, and it seems, for some reason I can’t quite configure into an explanation, to make the first chapter flow easier is writing it down by hand. Isn’t that strange? For some reason, it’s easy to type out the rest of the story but the first chapter benefits from a sketchy draft on paper. You can try it if you want, see if it works for you. It’s not much to write, in any case, if it doesn’t work out. Everyone goes about the process in different (and often very eccentric) ways. I have tried and gleaned little else that helps, even having plenty of inspiration and reading about writing and reading books. None of that seems to mollify the beast that is Chapter One, at least not for myself.

Book Formats by Difficulty

This week I’ve had to reacquaint myself with digital book formatting for the upcoming Absolute Heaven and Cosmic Love, which ought to be out in at least their eBook formats by next week. If this helps anybody at all in deciding to publish their own book, these are in my own experience, the difficulty levels of designing each format yourself. Guides to these are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and a handful of other booksellers’ websites.

Easiest – Paperback, Hardback and Print

Print versions are the simplest because all it takes is typing out a good-looking PDF. There are a plethora of templates available to find the exact size you need for your book as well. You know exactly what it will look like without having to guess about much.

Moderate – Kindle

Kindle formatting has a steep learning curve, but once you’ve got it, it becomes very simple. It takes slightly longer than designing a print copy, but half the time of formatting an ePub. Kindle Create is a very useful program that takes most of the stress out of wondering what your book will look and behave like, so I’d recommend downloading that as well. The only tricky parts of Kindle formatting involve images and centering text, which a Kindle reader is somewhat touchy about. Kindle is very flexible and lenient on the author in general, hence why it’s so popular.

Hardest – ePub

Oh my God. Where to begin? Formatting an ePub book is nothing but raw hell. There’s just so many things that can completely ruin your work. If you have this format down pat, you should reward yourself somehow. I don’t even like the ePub format in general, nor do I own an ePub reader, but trying to work arounds its limitations is rigid, user-unfriendly and often a misery. And that’s for a basic book! Nevermind if it’s image-heavy or requires tricky text.
It’s Smashwords that burnt me out on wanting to push my ePub copies. It seems like nothing I tried could make the ePub versions I published with them look decent. Sometimes they came out damaged and smushed to bits, despite following the guidelines. Anyway, screw ePub. Kindle master race forever.

 

7 Hardest Types of Books to Review

I like to read pretty much anything that looks remotely interesting, I don’t care what genre, who wrote it, or the hows and whys of them pulling it out of their brain onto paper. As long as it’s decently-written and valuable in some way, that’s all that matters. That being said, when it comes down to reviewing it, that’s another matter entirely. Some reviews I absolutely hate writing, but still feel compelled to just because I took the time to read it. Comprehensive reviews even written for fun aren’t always easy. These are the categories that I still have difficulty reviewing after three years of practice. Have one of your own? Feel free to leave a comment below!

7. Poetry and Art

I adore reviewing poetry, as you’ll know. I’m actually a little proud of the fact that my most frequented review genre is one that’s considered among the most complicated to review. ARC reviewers often won’t accept poetry because it’s just that hard to articulate. Especially if it’s good or middling. Poetry isn’t visual exactly, but it’s an abstract, psychological feeling than a novel can’t provide in the same way.
Art and graphic novels are also difficult because they are more visual than writing. The review ends up being a lot of descriptive words, and reviewing several at one time makes it clear how same-y it can be. I don’t typically review every volume of a graphic novel or manga series for this reason, when it can be summed up in a few of its entries.

6. Indie Books, Especially Bad Ones

If you ever review indie books, the author will read it eventually. I find this kind of nerve-wracking, even though I value indie books and am lenient on their faults, if they have any. It’s awkward even to have an author “like” your gushing, positive review of their work, and I try to evade being trapped into writing negative ones if at all possible.
I enjoy neither dishonesty nor ripping on someone’s personal work, and those who do enjoy tearing apart indie ARCs ought to re-examine their relationship with books. You have to consider it’s one person doing a team’s job. If the book is genuinely bad and you’re still stuck with reviewing it, it’s better to be critical in a helpful way than critical for laughs. Continue reading “7 Hardest Types of Books to Review”

Some News on Upcoming Books

So, I’ve finally got somewhat of a clear idea on when all those books listed on the bookshelf are going to be published. Only took like six months, right!? It feels like it’s been 2019 for decades…

I’ll be doing an eBook giveaway on my entire body of work when the first three in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection are out, so be on the lookout if you want to get the whole lot for free. A rough schedule I’ve got mapped out for the time being. The first four books (not counting Absolute Heaven) will be free in their digital formats indefinitely. #5 might be free too, though #6 will cost a dollar. It was more of a challenge than the others, is the only reason. I don’t feel that’s outrageous.

#0 Absolute Heaven – A version of this is already out on Amazon, but a newer one with slight cosmetic and editing changes will be out around April 15-April 20.
#1 Cosmic Love – The old version, which is just haiku and the initial introduction, will be compiled in Absolute Heaven. It’s also in the archives of this blog, as I’ve noted before. The new version, a more realized book, will come out in ePub, Kindle and print sometime around April 16-May 1, around the same time as AH.
#2-#4 – These will probably be finished about April 21-May 5, but may not come out until later in May because poems in them might be featured in other publications first.
#5-#6 – #6 is more or less finished now, but again, there is a wait time, and #5 has to come out first, so these will be out between June and August.
#7-#12 – No idea. These are basically on concept levels only right now. There might be a #13 if I feel like writing it by then.

In other news, I have a traditionally published book of poems and one of short stories coming out in 2020, as well as two novels. But I’m not going to hype those up until their time. There’s not much point right now.

National Library Week – 5 Ways to Support Your Local Library!

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National Library Week runs in 2019 from April 7th to April 13th. This movement began in the United States, but I don’t see why it can’t be celebrated elsewhere as well. Libraries are vital for much longer than a week! These are five ways you can, very easily, support your local library.

1. Be a Frequent Patron

This is the simplest way. Borrow lots of books. Just having a heavy patronage supports a library more than anything. This seems obvious, but many public libraries have shut down, if not due to financial upkeep, then lack of patrons.

2. Donate Money and Volunteer

Whether you have a massive, metropolitan library or a remote one with a modest choice of books, many libraries will accept and are in need of donations. It can’t hurt, in any case. Depending on what country you’re in, your library system will still likely have some kind of group, such as the Friends of the Library Society, that support libraries through charities and volunteer work.

3. Recommending and Donating Books

Donate books that you don’t read anymore that are still in good shape to your local library. If you think your library does not offer enough of a certain type of book that there’s a demand for, say for example, science fiction, then you can donate books of that sort or personally recommend them for purchase. Continue reading “National Library Week – 5 Ways to Support Your Local Library!”

Upcoming Reviews & Books

I’ve been working more on professional book reviews for Realistic Poetry International than the ones I do for pleasure lately. (They are amazing people to work with, by the way, and very welcoming towards indie creators – something truly valuable given the current state of the publishing world!) I haven’t been in much of a spirit to write any reviews for books I’ve read. I don’t feel like there’s been much demand to necessitate rushing them out or anything. But, I’ve finally got a few of them stored up, so here are some to expect.

  •  Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
  • No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  • More Lovecraft Reviews, including The Colour Out of Space
  • The Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette

And a handful of others I haven’t decided on. But, since we’re on a roll with listing things, I have updated this blog’s bookshelf to include all thirteen entries in my upcoming poetry series. #0 through #4 are more or less finished, they only lack covers and well, being properly published. I have rough versions of #5 and #6, but are not sure of their titles or official content or genre. All of the entries fall into either contemporary or experimental poetry, that could be considered darker or lighter. Anyway, here is the upcoming list for those.

  • #0 – Absolute Heaven – A newer edition and paperback should arrive in April. There is a Kindle version on Amazon that won’t change much, save for a better cover.
  • #1 – Cosmic Love – In eBook formats around April 16th-21st, a print version slightly after.
  • #2 – Blood Ballet – Will likely come out around the same time in both formats.
  • #3 – Infinite Summer – Estimated publication April 16th-May 1st.
  • #4 – MHz – Estimated publication April 21st-May 8th.

Some Underrated Classics

Rummaging through vintage books and the public domain, I feel a lot like the hoarder goblin from Labyrinth, wanting to just keep all of them and somehow read them all simultaneously. I mean, you’ve got the quintessentials – Poe, Austen, Tolstoy, etc. but I kind of favour the lesser-loved. They haven’t been talked about to the extent that you already know the spoilers long before you’ve read it. These are a few pretty solid, varying shades of obscure books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading recently. Maybe they’ll get a full review one day (if they’re lucky).

Darkness Visible by William Golding

Golding is one of my favourite authors, but the bane of high schoolers. I think why so many of his other novels get overlooked is because of people who hated reading Lord of the Flies while they were pretty much living it out in school. That’s fair, but I think in some aspects, his later novels are better. A little more polished, if also much darker. Darkness Visible is about a man who was severely burned as a child during the Blitz, and becomes this sort of bizarre messianic figure. It’s written as a dreamlike occurrence, and is overall a very difficult book to describe, but I would recommend it for those with the stomach.

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Maybe not super obscure, but so many people are traumatized by forcing themselves through Atlas Shrugged that they forget Anthem. I’m teasing, but I don’t know that I’d ever be brave enough to attempt Atlas. I really did enjoy Anthem, as a dystopian work. It’s a strange story about thought police defeating the individual personality – a world where everyone is a hive mind who have never seen their own faces. An interesting fact about why it’s now in the public domain is that whoever owned the copyright kind of… forgot about it, apparently, and it never got renewed. Continue reading “Some Underrated Classics”

Loss and Returning to Blogging

There’s been a very brief span of dead air over the past two weeks. I realize I didn’t get around to some things I had promised, but I have recently had to trudge through a painful tragedy. These days have been one drawn-out night that will not pass into morning for me. It’s not really something that would be cathartic to discuss or that I’m prepared to discuss publicly – it was an absolutely horrible loss of somebody that I’ve known all of my life. To cope, and this may be the only remote positive that could’ve come out of it, I will be writing a lot more. More than my usual obsession with it compels me to. So, starting this Monday, I’ll likely be posting daily for a long while. I have some articles on writing tropes, a couple of poems, and some mixed-genre reviews in no particular fashion or order.

Unfortunately, given the circumstances, I’ve found a wealth of time for reading. But at a cost that was certainly not worth that. I do look forward to the next month or two at least, and I ought to know soon when I’ll have some more books out, so that will be something pleasant, at least. A series of reviews on the H. P. Lovecraft catalogue is coming up on the horizon throughout the rest of spring, which should be… a colourful ride. A colour out of space, you might even name it.

I should just tell you now that I hate early spring, and thought it fitting to focus on an author whose primary settings are flooded, moldy semi-sentient swamplands, which is the image I automatically get in my head when I think of the first half of spring. Others may see in pink and blue, but I see in grey and green, and not pretty shades of them either.

Bookshelf and Review Update

Just your run-of-the-mill improvements. I’ve renovated the bookshelf on here to include most of the self-published books I’ve written or that are coming out within the next year. I am less certain about ones that may be traditionally published, so they are not listed. Loverboy and the Kindle edition of Absolute Heaven are the only ones out right now. The reason AH doesn’t have a paperback is because I didn’t like the cover and the art will have to be re-scanned to a sharper quality specifically for that. At least if I want it to look good, it will.

Anyway, the reviews I wanted to do for Women in Horror, I really got bored with both of those books so I’ll be doing reviews for two different ones. It was going to be Thicker Than Blood and Alice in Zombieland, but now it will be Rebecca, Dolly by Susan Hill, and The Unfleshed by Lisa Vasquez. I have been extremely busy writing my own work, and was ill-prepared for a theme this month. No real blood lost, I guess.
Some other reviews coming up soon are Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century, and No Place Like Oz by Danielle Page, so stay tuned for those.

Musings on Explicit Content

The term “explicit” in the context of something that is not suitable for younger or more sensitive audiences is an interesting, and extremely loose term. One individual may think that a picture of a woman in a bikini is explicit, while another may think that only the most heinous, taboo acts of violence and sexuality are explicit. Judgment of the term varies heavily across a spectrum from mild to graphic to “why would a human make this” levels when it comes to art and writing.

Personally, I consider “explicit” content to have material that may be extremely upsetting, somewhat tasteless but not promoting harm, or has enough nudity that you couldn’t look at it at work. I agree… somewhat begrudgingly… to websites mandating an explicit filter, such as DeviantArt. Anyone who doesn’t have an issue with possibly explicit content can just turn the filter off.
However, if the website is for adults and older teens, there is no purpose in being childish like Tumblr and outright banning anything that might be explicit, even if most people would not agree that it is. I have difficulty using Tumblr that often anymore because their new filtering system seems to have broken my tag system, and little that I write shows up on the search anymore. But that’s a rant I’ve already gone through.

When does someone consider a piece they’ve done explicit? It’s a pretty different experience between visual media and writing. Most writers are very aware that their content might be inappropriate for some, seeing as they usually have a clear audience in mind, but what about art?
Artists usually don’t think of their work, at least I don’t think of mine, as something that would bother somebody else, because it just kind of happens for us without there being much thought. Nudity is natural to art, and has been since cave drawings. The beloved classics of art can get quite raunchy for their day, as well, though this doesn’t keep photos of them out of textbooks, as it shouldn’t! Continue reading “Musings on Explicit Content”

Upcoming Reviews and Art

I realize I’ve strayed a bit from reviews lately. I haven’t had and suspect I won’t have much time to read for awhile. I’ve been sprucing up some older ones to bring them up to quality and finish some NetGalley ARCs and abandoned reviews, but it’s not my highest priority in the face of larger projects, so maybe if you’re here for the reviews you’ll forgive me. 😉
It may look otherwise but I’m not actually that fast of a reader, I prefer to spend time with a book and take my time dissecting it. Piecing together a book of my own has really been my focus, so it’s been easier on me to post poetry and little articles.

February will bring a few more reviews, specifically for the events Women in Horror, and Black History Month, which both begin February 1st. There may be some unrelated books scattered in, but the main focus will be on darker fiction by women authors and books by African-American authors.

I am becoming more active on Twitter and DeviantArt after being dormant on most of my social media due to finally recovering from a long, drawn-out illness that kept me from wanting to bother. What else is there to do, really? I will also be redoing the gallery here. Eventually.
You can follow me on Twitter, if you want, though I can’t post some drawings there due to their content, so those will have to be on DA. I become very strange on Twitter though. Fair warning.
I will also be revealing an ambitious project, Haunt Me To Sleep, on there, which is a combination ghost story, poetry and horror fiction compilation, along with some other future shenanigans you might enjoy. It’s on Goodreads, too.

I never announced it formally, but horror-fantasy monstrosity Absolute Heaven has been available on Kindle for awhile. It had some mild problems that I haven’t been well enough to deal with, I don’t know if and when it will come to paperback. The Kindle version looks fine, though. For some reason, it’s never shown up on my author page. Absolute Heaven’s nature as a B-side to Loverboy has caused me never to warm to it, though I think it turned out quite solid if you enjoy experimental, fantastical and dark poetry. It’s only like 2 bucks for a lot of poems, so if you want, check it out. A fellow author wrote a very wonderful review for it that is worth reading if you might be interested.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M5P3LRV

Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019

2018, what were you, exactly? Were you the pit or the pendulum? A little of both perhaps? Just a skim against the axe’s edge, but still not as bad as it… could’ve been?
Ah well. There will always be another year for redemption.

Firstly, thank you all for reading my little book blog. This month was its one-year anniversary and I never expected it to do so well. In my spare time, I’ll be revamping it to look cleaner and include a good bookshelf for my finished works.
I have gotten rather unfocused with book reviews due to the poetry books I’ve been trying to perfect and release. Loverboy and Absolute Heaven are both finally out on Kindle if you want a copy. The paperback for Loverboy is available but AH‘s will need a bit of touch-up, as it’s kind of massive for what it is.
You’ll have to be patient with my independent book releases. I have a sensory disorder and other unrelated ghastly stuff tends to happen around publishing time, and it’s only me working on it. Better for the books to come out later than I want than come out incomplete, no?

Anyway, I’ve got so, so much planned for 2019. I have remixed versions of my four chapbooks, two separate poetry compilations (one of which may get traditionally published – yay!), and three rather intriguing fiction works.
I found the chapbooks extremely excrutiating to read in their raw forms, but I never really… received any negative feedback at all? There was like, one or two bad ratings somewhere, I think? So maybe it’s just my perfectionism, I don’t know. The horror ones I definitely found more stupid than the romantic ones, but guess which ones were more popular? Continue reading “Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019”

Looking for Book and Poetry Reviewers

If you’re a book reviewer interested in taking on either of my upcoming compilations, the ARCs will be finished and sent out in about ten days. Please let me know as soon as possible through the contact form or a comment! This helps me out, plus you get a free book!
One is contemporary and one is experimental and a combination artbook, both are poetry and both could be described as horror. The ARCs are in PDF format.
These have been year-long projects and both I believe have blossomed into something very wonderful. I am biased, though.

All I ask is that you have five or more reviews publicly visible on a blog or Goodreads. The style or genre of them does not matter. Requests for review copies will still be considered until October.

Info on Absolute Heaven

Info on Loverboy

Brief Request Hiatus [July 4-October 1]

Due to personal issues, backlogs and writing-related deadlines, I’m afraid that I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from individual book requests through Blood Red Velvet. It began July 4th and will probably end around the 1st of October. Requests made before July 4th as well as review trades from Goodreads will still be considered and / or accepted as usual, of course, and I will still reply to ones made after if there were any, but unfortunately I can’t accept any new ones until October. My apologies, I love to read new books and am flattered to get requests, it’s just that I have an extreme amount of work ahead of me, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough time to give them the full attention they deserve. Thanks for understanding.

-S. M., July 2018

Cancellation and Review Copies of Poetry

So there’s good and bad news. The bad news is that I’ve decided not to publish the last of my haiku books, Medical Heaven, individually. I honestly have no drive to do this, despite the fact that the previous ones got a surprisingly large number of downloads and views. I’ll still finish the original cover art, but it’ll just be a singular painting.

The good news, however, is that come late July-early August, I’ll be giving away review copies of two poetry collections of mine – Absolute Heaven and Loverboy. The first is an experimental (and massive) compilation including all 10 haiku books and 30+ traditional poems, and Loverboy is a standard collection of “romantic-grotesque” poems. I recommend both for older teens and adults due to dark and sensitive content – including topics of violence, trauma and mental illness. There is little-to-no explicit language, however.

They are early copies and may be missing some material, especially as several poems out of Loverboy may appear in other publications before it comes out. It won’t be anything that effects the book as a whole.

I’m not positive on the final publication date of either – I’m aiming for late 2018 at the earliest, but if you’re a reviewer interested in a free book, now is your chance to sign up for one. There are still about 40 or so copies left. Just let me know, either on Goodreads or in the comments. 🙂

-S. M., June 2018