Featured Releases – Cosmic Love, Absolute Heaven

 

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Absolute Heaven Blurb: Absolute Heaven is an omnibus of poems that capture the darkness which hides deep in the mind. Devilishly blurring the lines between romantic hatred and grotesque love, Absolute Heaven is a work of raw emotion, blood and nightmare that spans all genres of horror. Not for the faint of soul or the weak at heart.”
Cosmic Love Blurb: Solemn and dreamlike, Cosmic Love paints a vivid image of love and hurt in the wake of an unknowable future. An infusion of science and magic, heart and mind, this poetry collection rains down its verses like stars. Cosmic Love is nothing short of inspiring with its dark, imaginative romances.

The first two official entries in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection. Besides Absolute Heaven, which is namely cut material and is massive, the series will be made up of short chapbooks that I’ll be publishing periodically from 2019 to 2021. There is set to be fourteen books, and each time one comes out I’ll be doing a series of commentary. I’d rather do this than promotional material on this blog, I think that’s far more interesting. People will be less pressured to decide if they want to read them or not. Some digital editions will be free indefinitely.

Cosmic Love and the upcoming smaller entries after it are available in paperback for a standard of $6USD for a brand new copy, if you prefer print, but the digital copies are or are soon to be. It’s now out internationally in ePub, you’ll just have to check your favourite book-vendor to see if they’ve got it.
Absolute Heaven is on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. If either of these look interesting to you, I’ve been trying hard to repair my earlier efforts, so I’d appreciate adding them to Goodreads or picking up a copy. It’s up to you, though.

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✨Cosmic Love – A Free eBook✨

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My treat to you. Cosmic Love is the first entry in an ongoing saga of personal poetry, which will span a wild spectrum of genres. As a whole, the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection is contemporary poetry blended in with some experimental, haiku and fantasy-horror touches. If you’ve followed this blog long enough to have a copy of the old version, throw it out and get this one. It’s far superior. I promise.

This is the link to the ePub, PDF, and international Kindle edition. The paperback is available to buy on Amazon as well, in most regions, with a slightly prettier Kindle version to be out on there soon. It would be out today, but there were some difficulties publishing it.

Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1096296942
eBook – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/793028

Since this will be free forever, do me a favour and rate or review it if you download a copy. We can make Cosmic Love hit the top 10 in free books! You can do this on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever you get your books. This is a lot more helpful to an author than most promotions end up being. These are not the only regions or sellers Cosmic Love will be available from, it’s also soon to be on Apple Books, Kobo, and a few others, so if you have one you’d rather get it from, it might be on there. You’ll have to check back in a few days.

Final News on Cosmic Love

I’ve tried really hard, however tempting it is, to never set explicit publication dates for upcoming publications, because I almost never meet my own deadline for one reason or another. I didn’t this time, either! I fully meant to publish Cosmic Love three days ago, but I’ve had to learn a new paint program and relearn formatting ePubs (which is grueling), so it was held up somewhat.

The good news is, the cover’s done other than adding the title text, so it ought to be out in all formats, worldwide, by the end of the month. The international edition is digital-only, but you can then get it for free in pretty much any country, and after that a paperback and Kindle version will be out in all regions on Amazon. Absolute Heaven will be out directly after it, but only in Kindle and paperback for now. It’s far too large for me to want to type out an ePub version right now.
You really don’t understand how horrible ePub formatting is if you’ve never survived it. I have nightmares about doing it under time constraints. The Kindle version was hard enough with that book’s tricky art and poem formats.

I’ve actually finished editing and typing out the next three in the series, so they should come out pretty cleanly and without delay in mid-May. I won’t be publishing anymore poetry in book form until later this year, so I’ll have time to focus on my fiction and school. Thank you guys so much for reading, liking and following my poetry on here, and the book reviews too. I appreciate it! 🙂

I think that when the first five books are all out in paperback, I’ll be doing a giveaway of the series through Goodreads. And by that, I mean through a Goodreads event because I’m not paying that ridiculously high giveaway fee when they don’t even pay for the shipping. So if you want, follow me on Goodreads to know when that is.

Some Unexpected Progress

Some fortunate news at last! The four chapbooks I’ve been talking about and revamping are currently being primed for publication! To my own surprise after the fact, I was hit with a sudden surge of productivity last week and wrote all four of them from Tuesday to Friday morning. This work needs to be edited, obviously, but barring the completion of illustrations and covers, they’re pretty much done. I expected that to eat up at least another three weeks. The only solution to feeling incredibly tired with having nothing done by the end of the day, apparently, is to do EVERYTHING in a few days.

That being said, I am rather proud of this incarnation. They are cleaner, richer and more resembling legitimate poetry compilations rather than some blog freebies. I ought to get news back soon of a much darker series of poems in the works and when it might be published as well. I don’t want to talk about that one yet, but I genuinely think it was the darkest thing I have or ever will write, and honestly never expected something like that to get picked up for publication.

Cosmic Love, MHz, Blood Ballet and Infinite Summer will return sometime between April 5th and April 25th. They’re going to be free in all eBook formats, but might also be in paperback if they add up to at least 50 pages apiece. I’d rather offer much of my poetry for free, as that’s kind of the nature poetry has always had. It opens it to more readers. I guess the larger ones or ones I’m not in charge of pricing will still cost something, but it’s something I post pretty much every week publicly, so I don’t see the point for the smaller ones. Anyway, I hope you love them and it’s something you anticipate, I promise they far outdo the first (which are still posted back in the archives starting here if you’re curious).

Phantom Mechanism – Rebooting MHz

I don’t think I’ve ever even talked much about the original MHz that came out last May. I made it and still never knew what to think of it, was the problem. It also had a strange, rather off-putting cover which I suspect is why it didn’t get the views the others did. That, and MHz is also the only one of the chapbooks whose haiku I never posted episodically on this blog.
I guess it doesn’t matter because the series was initially an experiment in the first place, and just now are being revived as actual, tangible books, and no one in particular has nitpicked it except for me… but something about this one always made me feel peculiar. Bashful about it, even, from square one. I never wanted to promote it. MHz has the most interesting potential and yet I feel will always be damned, because how do you recommend a surreal mashup of sci-fi and Japanese horror inspirations, but in a poetry format?

MHz will definitely be the most entertaining and reigns-free to reboot. There are less rules or direction necessary (not that there was a plethora with the other three, exactly). And yet, I think it will always be the least popular. I might be wrong, but we’ll see in May or April.

The new MHz, and to a lesser extension the old MHz and the touched-up segments that showed up in Absolute Heaven (which I still need to prepare a print book for, as grueling as it will be), are loosely based around the imagery found in the filmography of Shinya Tsukamoto. If you have zero idea who that is, you absolutely need to look it up right now.
The colour-cast look to Tsukamoto’s films is entirely dreamlike – to the point of them feeling like re-watching some of your weirdest dreams that you recall pieces of at random times. I love that aesthetic dearly, and several of those movies. They’re not really story-heavy, relying more on personal interpretation and just good old-fashioned entertainment for your visual cortex. Tsukamoto, in general, is sort of the “anti” pretentious art film. His movies are artsy, but like a painting, not a philosophy thesis that the director is intent on shoving down your throat.

Am I getting off-topic? Okay, well, MHz is set to be the last redone chapbook at this point. I’ve entertained doing a fifth one just because they’re fun and relatively easy to write and I think people will like reading them, but I’m afraid attempting storytelling is taking a precedent over my poetry right now, and probably still will be when these come out. I have the date April 21st in mind for the first two (Infinite Summer and Blood Ballet), and the second half should come right behind. I know I keep talking about them but they will actually be in print soon. Promise.

Woodland Dreams – Rebooting Infinite Summer

The Infinite Summer reboot is actually on the verge of being finished. All it lacks is a final edit and a cover, so it ought to be out first, I suspect around March. Infinite Summer was my favourite one, and that remains true. This is the “lightest” one thematically, having a ghostly, romantic fairytale vibe. Probably should’ve spent the time I spent on the original on useful literature, but hey, it was pretty fun.

At the risk of deflating my own update post, I honestly don’t have as much to say about it as I imagined I would. I have fewer aspirations with its makeover than the others, I guess. The old versions of the haiku are still posted starting here. I don’t think I’ll remove these, even though they’ve gone through variable changes. There’s not really a reason to. It could be quite fascinating to see the improvements, or disagree with them if you thought the old were better.

If you’ve ever thought about trying your hand at fantasy poetry, you ought to. Don’t be shy about displaying it, either, there needs to be more genre poetry in the world. Fantasy is general is a sort of imagination exercise, but fantasy with the loose non-limits of lyricism is even more so. Not too many publish their fantasy poetry, it seems. Continue reading “Woodland Dreams – Rebooting Infinite Summer”

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.

Loverboy is $1 on Kindle

Just a friendly reminder that the Kindle edition of my debut is only a $1 (or the equivalent). I’ve worked very hard to make this collection the most beautiful, stylistically and linguistically that I am able to, so please consider buying a copy if it looks interesting to you. It’s available in any countries that have Amazon, and if you purchase a new copy of the paperback, you get a download of the Kindle version as well for free. Both versions look quite good, actually, I’ve made doubly sure that they do. There’s samples for your convenience.
It is also on Kindle Unlimited for the time being but I’m afraid I’ll be letting its KU license expire later this month so that I can publish it in ePub.

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Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon India

Bleak Feminine – Rebooting Blood Ballet

Oh, Blood Ballet. You… I really don’t like you, Blood Ballet. But we’re going to remedy this. The anodyne for this chapbook being, well, kind of terrible, is completely redoing it in the way I should’ve done it initially.
The Blood Ballet that is available as part of Absolute Heaven is more what I wanted it to be, but still not exactly. I wanted it to portray a “feminine gruesomeness” with a horror-movie aesthetic. This go around with the full book, I want it to be somewhat more feminist. Not in an overbearing way, just through dealing with more women’s issues. That’s what it was supposed to be but ended up being like, gross-out junk and surrealist nonsense.

Without going into a tangent, and believe me it would be the god emperor of tangents, I think that just the female experience in general lends itself to a lot of horror – biological, psychological, you name it. Yet rather than mollify unpleasant experiences by discussing them openly, many would rather put up a very thin façade that all women are happy all the time, no matter the circumstance.
I actually received that message, more or less, with a rejection letter for a poem once that works revolving around the problems of women should only be more “empowering” or “inspirational”, that what I wanted to say was too dark for mainstream consumption. They could’ve just said “your writing straight-up sucks” and it would’ve been less offensive than that.

I don’t even care about the poem but I will never let that comment go, because that is not reality. You cannot keep only the good and snuff out the negative if you want someone’s real experiences in a book. Continue reading “Bleak Feminine – Rebooting Blood Ballet”

Intergalactic Romantic – Rebooting Cosmic Love

Cosmic Love is the most popular book on my Goodreads page. It’s out of print! On purpose! I was originally going to keep it out of print and direct interested readers to Absolute Heaven, which still includes the original content, but I think the idea of Cosmic Love deserves a makeover as a real book instead of a half-assed freebie.
The cover was more work than the insides on the first run. The cover took around three weeks whereas the poems took about three to four days to write and revise. I’m painting the cover digitally or using stock photos this time, so the work will actually go towards the sustenance of the chapbook rather than solely the cover.

Besides the technicalities, though, the four upcoming chapbooks have individual themes that I feel reflect four different layers of darkness. Kind of like Dante’s Inferno but entertaining instead of you know, taking you through eternal torment. Hopefully.

Cosmic Love began with the idea of “romantic parasitism” and a lot of surrealist sci-fi imagery. Some was good and some read kind of drunkenly – I had to edit the second half much more heavily than the first. Out of the four, it’s the second-lightest in terms of content. The level of grotesque and dark themes is apparent but still pretty low and with a basis in fantastical, more delicate prose.

If you want a copy, it’ll probably be free in eBook. Don’t know if I’ll attempt a paperback or not, that’ll depend on how many pages it ends up being. If it’s under 50, then probably not.

Loverboy is $1 on Kindle

Just a friendly reminder that you can get my debut on Kindle for about the price of a candy bar. Except Loverboy lasts longer and won’t rot your teeth.
It’s an eerie, romantic collection with some intricate little drawings, and is also available in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re in the US and buy the paperback new, you also get a copy of the Kindle edition for free.
Sales made from my independent books help to make new ones possible, so please consider getting a copy, sharing it with your friends, and if you wish to do so, reviewing it on Goodreads so more people will know about it!

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KCMYBPD
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KCMYBPD
Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07KCMYBPD
India – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07KCMYBPD

Poetry Chapbooks Remixed

I’ve been dead sick for the past week, you know, the usual sabotage of my writing, so I haven’t got to post any updates or much of anything that I desired. But, a while back I had posted that I was taking my free haiku chapbooks out of print.
I want to thank everyone who read those, as haphazard as they were, as they all had over 230 downloads since April! How embarrassing! But I’m at least appreciative there was an interest in such an unconventional series! (I was going to insert a poor joke here that there wasn’t even a shirtless muscular man on the cover, but there actually was on MHz’s cover. Haha.)
I did leave the old edition of Infinite Summer up just so I would have a publication and keep my authorship on Smashwords.

What I’m digressing from, though, is that I’m re-releasing all four of them in early 2019 as full-length chapbooks. The haiku, title poems and original introductions will be included in a mega-compilation at the end of this year also, so they will be widely available in old and new form.

I don’t want to risk going on like a long-winded advertisement, so I’ll just say these have become rather personal to me. No, I really don’t like how they initially turned out, but I will like what they metamorphose into. I feel like you should make something you’re proud of, and it’s never too late to transform work to its full luster.

Visit Smashwords using this link and I’ll make a small commission. 🙂

Last Day for Haiku Freebies!

This is the very last day to get eBook copies of my haiku freebies, or at least the old versions. New versions, reimagined as full-length chapbooks, will be available by 2019. I’ve expressed my distaste for the originals pretty openly, though most of this was born from the way their design was mutilated by Smashwords’s formatting. The haiku themselves were quite fun to write, and seem to have been well-received.
Anyway, if you want something unusual to read – Cosmic Love, MHz, and Blood Ballet are all free. Infinite Summer is still listed as “name-your-price”, so can be gotten for either free or $1 USD. Blood Ballet and MHz are darker and more surrealistic, while the other two are more romantic. Take your pick.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BloodRedVelvetBooks

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Get a copy of Loverboy on Amazon.

Loverboy is Free on Kindle Unlimited!

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Loverboy is now free on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time! It is available in all regions that have KU on Amazon, but to buy it for your Kindle is only $1.99. A free sample is available.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KCMYBPD
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KCMYBPD

This is a dark romantic compilation that blurs what lines there are between horror, solace and sorrow. Please give it a try if you’ve enjoyed my work on this blog. Review copies are also available via request on my Goodreads page.

Add “Loverboy” on Goodreads

Loverboy is $1.99 on Kindle!

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My debut dark poetry collection is now available on Kindle! It’s available in most regions for $1.99 USD or equivalent, including the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and India. Please consider buying a copy if you’ve enjoyed my work on this blog. I promise it’s lovely. A free sample can be downloaded or browsed on Loverboy‘s Amazon page, and a different sample can be read here. The paperback will be out later this month.

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KCMYBPD
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KCMYBPD

FROM THE BLURB:
“The hearts you take are the legion you make. Will I love you still… I say that I will.”

“A fever dream of romantic grotesque, Loverboy is a dance of love, heartache and hatred that intertwines horror with beauty as if they were never separate.
Classy and sensual like a forbidden fairytale, this collection of dark poetry paints its phrases from bittersweet fantasy, gender identity, mental illness, broken heritage, obsession and society.
Each poem in S.M. Shuford’s debut holds a unique heart to itself, whether it is shattered, whole or darkened and awaiting death. Loverboy is a collection for those who have ever felt lost or broken, like wandering ghosts who cannot find their way back home.
Fully illustrated, this edition includes an exclusive introduction piece and a preview of the experimental compilation, Absolute Heaven.”

Add “Loverboy” on Goodreads.

“Loverboy” Free Preview

A poem from my collection, Loverboy, which arrives to eBook format November 9. Initially, Loverboy was going to be published on Halloween, but I decided rather last-minute that wasn’t a brilliant idea. Many who might be interested would be off, well, Halloween-ing rather than shopping for books to read.

The fortunate news being, it gave me time to spiff up the illustrations, so it should be quite lovely when it’s born in print later!
Initially the eBook will be available through Amazon, then most other major booksellers for $1.99. I’ll try to get the option for Kindle Unlimited as well. Review copies are available via direct request through its Goodreads page. Comment on my author review for more info!

“Blush of Innocence”, from Loverboy

To love me you say, is breaking your heart

Blush of innocence, an untouched rose
An embryo in the soul emitting pain
But you breed this deadly thing for me,
Medallion of hurt to fuel a waking dream
I say no words as you carve our flesh
For now, forever now we are one

To love me you say, is breaking your heart

A fluctuating rose whose touch
Is like scissors to the stomach
You siphon your blood to chance a kiss,
Or to cage me in an obsessional mind
I say no words as you mend our flesh
For now, forever now we are one

To love… to love… to love…

The blush of the unravelling rose
It agitates the complex you fear inside
Take blade to throat to keep it sacred –
Untouched but loved, enticing but pure
I say no words as we share one flesh
For now, forever now we are one

Copyright ©2018 S. M. Shuford
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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

💖Loverboy & Absolute Heaven💖 – Poetry to be Published Late 2018

Loverboy

A fever dream of romantic grotesque, Loverboy is a heart-piercing dance of love and hatred. Dark, classy, and sensual as a forbidden fairy tale, this collection of poems paints its phrases directly from raw fear, bittersweet fantasy, mental illness, broken heritage, gender identity, obsession and nightmarish visions.

Absolute Heaven

Absolute Heaven is a dream-infused omnibus that captures the darkness of the heart in its palm and never lets it free. Devilishly blurring the lines between romantic hate and grotesque love, it spans emotions of the mind from wistful clouds of fantasy to the abyss of occult fears.

Loverboy and Absolute Heaven are two companion compilations of mine that are going to be published later this year. Due to a wait on publication rights for a few individual poems, the dates can’t be set officially yet, though they should be out by December in any case. I’m lobbying for October 31st (Halloween, of course!) as a date for the first one.

They are both brimming with poems and art, and pretty large for poetry compilations. I believe in rather full-figured compilations that look beautiful on a shelf and are enough for a total experience. Loverboy is a traditional book and its sister Absolute Heaven is experimental, collecting all of my haiku books and more conventionally-styled poetry as well.

Both will be available at most major retailers, though I am giving away ARC’s to book and poetry reviewers for a limited time (ARCs will be sent out July 28th if you sign up for one) – which you can read more about on their Goodreads pages below. Feel free to inquire, though I ask that you have done at least 5 book reviews that I can see publicly on any book-blogging platform. Covers and samples should be out soon.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40205210-loverboy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40201442-absolute-heaven

Examples of my work can be found, well, everywhere on Blood Red Velvet, as well as on my Tumblr blog.

💖MHz💖 – Release Date and Sample Haiku

MHz and Absolute Pressure – two sets of haiku breathing from the same lungs. Chaotic, obsessive and industrial, these poems pump out the hallucinogenic fumes of dreams.

MHz is the next-to-last free haiku eBook I will be publishing for awhile. Inspired by Japanese horror, cyberpunk art and ambient music, it’s definitely one of the stranger compilations. In tone, it’s a mix of lonely fluorescence and metallic nightmares.

It will be out either May 31st or June 1st on Smashwords and Kobo in all formats. A friendly reminder that you can get new versions of all of my haiku compilations as free downloads here.

They can all be read on my blog as well, and are tagged by their titles. MHz, along with the other haiku and a multitude of other poems are being compiled in a large omnibus called Absolute Heaven later this year, if you want to add it to your list. I am giving away a certain number of digital review copies through Goodreads if you want to request one. Anyway, here are the sample haiku as well as the sketch for the cover:

Underneath the ground
You will always feed me from
The plateau of blood
——
He comes bearing fruit
Iron, rust in the juices
Loose poisons, strange thoughts
——
Concerto of teeth
Interlude of barbed briar
Visions of starving
——
A severed ghost head
Grinding the strings of plasma
In gears of the clock

 

MHz(Line)(c)SMShuford

 

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

51—
A rabbit’s lost tail
There waits a blood-toothed bear here
Hungers patiently

52—
Infidelity
Serpentine gourds hold for me
Dawning amnesia

53—
Somewhere a lung floats
Disembodied but laughing
Violet stains I hear

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI”