Now You’re Thinking with PORTALS

Three days from now, my third appearance in a ZNB anthology will be published.  PORTALS features my story, “Hard Times in the Vancouver Continuum,” alongside an amazing array of authors.  The ZNB team specializes in making great theme anthologies, and I honestly wait to hear when the next round of anthologies will be announced.  Writing to a prompt, or taking an idea thrown out at random and crafting it into a story, is a fun challenge for me.

But the real challenge is to make sure small presses like this can keep going.

Every time a book comes out I’m asked, “How can I get it?” or “What’s the best way to support you?”

The answer comes down to three things: Buy, Review, and Recommend. Buy the book – preferably a physical copy so if you bump into me, or another author, we can sign it. Review the book on, especially on Amazon. Do you know it takes 50 reviews for a book to get noticed by the great Amazon algorithm? If it’s not noticed, it won’t be spotted and recommended to others.  And that last R – Recommend – is key. Tell at least two others about the book. Encourage them to buy.

“Where do I get a copy?”

Well, you can go to the link behind the amazing cover for PORTALS to the Amazon pre-order page for the Kindle Edition. But I recommend you go straight to the source: ZNB LLC.  You can get the Ebook edition, the limited Kickstarter mass-market paperback, or the trade paperback edition.   When you do get a copy, read it, review it on Amazon (even if you hate it – a review is a review and gets us noticed), and recommend it to a friend. Again, if you like it. And given the folks in the table of content, you’re bound to find something you like.

But what about the other anthologies?


You can still get copies of THE DEATH OF ALL THINGS from these sources: Trade PaperbackKindleNookKickstarter Edition (limited)

and you can also get my first appearance in the anthology ALIEN ARTIFACTS from here as well: Trade PaperbackKindleNookKickstarter Edition (limited).  And while you’re at it, if you are admiring some of the absolutely amazing artwork here, you can get the covers as prints!  All three covers are by the amazing Justin Adams.  You can get art prints. You can find the cover for PORTALS, THE DEATH OF ALL THINGS, and ALIEN ARTIFACTS right on the ZNB page, along with the other amazing work for anthologies which, alas, do not feature my writing.

Oh, and for those  who are interested, my story under the name A.J. Harris in the STRANDED anthology is still available. Watching all the authors come together to help write the back copy and log-lines for their stories is a cherished memory.

Now, go forth. And remember, for any author you want to support: Buy, Review, and Recommend!

Memento Mori – Paul Darrow, Tanith Lee, and “Sarcophagus”

Actor Paul Darrow passed away this week after a brief illness, and the world is the lesser for it. You can check out any number of memorials, especially about his work on Blake’s 7, but for me, he had another honor. He is, as far as I know, one of two actors cast by my favorite author, Tanith Lee, in a novel. You can check this entry on Kill the Dead here but anyone who reads the book will easily hear Darrow’s voice in the main character.

And, sorry Tanith, I did hear Michael Keating in the other role, intentional or not.

This was, in some ways, Lee and Darrow’s third collaboration. The first was in the series 3 episode of Blake’s 7, “Sarcophagus.” You can find some lovely reviews of it out there (including its own TV Tropes page) but I adore it as a near perfect “bottle” episode.

If you’re unfamiliar with a term, a “bottle” episode comes from ‘ship in a bottle.’ It’s a budget saving episode, designed to take place in pre-constructed sets with minimal guest actors and other items which could bloat the budget. They show up on Science Fiction shows all the time because they save money and production time. At best, they’re used to give the actors a chance to interact, show their characters in a different light. At their worst, they’re an excuse to save money.

And then there is “Sarcophagus.” It starts with a shadow play which, frankly, gives you the whole episode. But from there, it extends to all of the characters, enveloping them in what could have been another ‘alien on the loose’ show. But, instead, it highlights every character and gives them a chance to shine. Michael Keating gets to show off his magic skills as well!

The dialog sparkles (even Tarrant gets in a good line or two!) but the show really belongs to Jan Chappel, playing two roles, and Paul Darrow as two people who are mourning losses in their own way. That undercurrent of loss, death, and mourning runs through the whole show, ending with a quiet moment showing both characters back in the saddle, ready to move forward.

I wish I could get my hands on the script. I wish I could ask Tanith Lee about the writing process, or talk to Paul Darrow about filming it. But, instead, I can look through the completed episode. I can see the way the characters take on the roles of the figures in the shadow play. I can watch how little character moments give our actors more meat to work with than two series worth of gadding about in a disused quarry.

We can look. We can mourn. And then we can move on, with memories of the events and all they’ve shown us, good or ill, in our hearts.