Melanie Tem, my wife of 35 years, passed away Feb 9, 2015. She was a writer, an oral storyteller, a teacher, a social worker, a mother and grandmother, my best friend, the love of my life. She received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards for her writing, which included almost a hundred short stories, twelve solo novels, and numerous plays, poems, and storytelling performances. Among her novels: Prodigal, Wilding, Revenant, The Yellow Wood (her latest, now out from ChiZine), and Black River, a fictional exploration of grief as a hero's journey. As a social worker and administrator she worked for the elderly, the disabled, and adoptive children and parents. A speech of hers on unconditional commitment is still used in parts of the country in the training of prospective adoptive parents. Our life together was about writing and literature, art and music, children and grandchildren, good humor, and our love for each other. More than anyone I've ever known she was committed to good works and trying to do the right thing, and at a time when people are deeply divided over religion and politics she always tried to respect other people's beliefs and opinions even when she didn't understand them. I learned from her that even at its worst life is infinitely interesting, a lesson that got me through the death of our son Anthony in 1988, and which we wrote about in The Man on the Ceiling. I believe that lesson will get me through the days to come.
THE YELLOW WOOD
Published by ChiZine. Buy directly from the publisher or from your favorite bookseller. Amazon and Barnes&Noble links provided below.
Publishers Weekly Review:
"Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award winner Tem (1949?2015) enters some disturbing psychological territory with this contemporary story of five siblings struggling to cope with the talents imposed on them by their father. Alexandra Kove was always expected to be more than any of her siblings but, fed up with her father's interference in her life, left their family home in the yellow woods. Returning after 30 years, she attempts to separate who she is from the person her father tried to create. She starts to suspect her father's influence over her family might go further than a lifelong contest of wills as she uncovers evidence of his unconventional parenting methods. Tem balances her insightful depictions of people made deeply neurotic by an overbearing parent with the creeping presence of the uncanny, suggesting there is more to the Kove family's obsessions than childhood trauma. The book beautifully exploits the fine line between merely weird and genuinely unnatural."
Winner of the 2014 Bram Stoker Award for Novel
Steve Rasnic Tem's Blood Kin is pure Southern Gothic with a sharp left turn into horror. The influences streaming through this hybrid include William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Cormac McCarthy, Fred Chappell, Manley Wade Wellman, and the mountains and hollows of the author's southern Appalachian childhood. Alternating between the 1930s and the present day, this dark vision of ghosts, witchcraft, secret powers, snake-handling, kudzu, Melungeons, and the Great Depression is told from the dual points of view of Michael Gibson and his grandmother Sadie. Michael has retreated from the world to the quiet Appalachian home of his mysterious mixed race forebears to take care of his grandmother?old and sickly but with an important story to tell about growing up poor while bedeviled by a snake-handling uncle and empathic powers she but barely understands. In a field not far from the family home lies an iron-bound crate buried under kudzu vine. Michael understands that hidden inside that crate is something which will cause the deaths of everyone he knows if he does not understand her story well enough. Solaris Books.
"With one story taking the strain whenever the other encounters an obstacle, this two-headed snake of a tale is superbly structured and gracefully paced, whilst the plot proves almost unstoppable. If Justified followed the fortunes of a little girl and a perverted preacher rather than Raylan Givens and his brother from another mother... if it turned on real human horror rather than revolvers at dawn... well. Said show might not make for the closest of touchstones, no, but it and Blood Kin share a gen-you-wine Southern fried flavour, not to mention a knack with characters and narrative, both of which Tem imbues with depth and tremendous texture.
It's a bloody good book, to be sure, but be warned: Blood Kin is brutal and gruesome too." -- Niall Alexander in Tor.com
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DAUGHTERS needs reviewers:
With the recent ebook repackaging of our high adventure fantasy DAUGHTERS we need some reviewers. If you're willing to put up a review, send us your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with your preference of digital format, and our publisher will gift you the book via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Highborn Evonna is unhappy with her constricted choices and troubled by her brother Alden's dabblings in wizardry. In the great city that is her home, where nothing unplanned ever happens, something has gone terribly wrong. Everywhere are signs of chaos and creeping madness, rumors of plague, and intimations of worse to come. Answers come unexpectedly with the arrival of the subhuman Thet and the amazon Gwynn. Together, the four unlikely companions bring unimagined change to the city... and are themselves changed in unimaginable ways.
You can buy this electronic book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords, or directly from Crossroads in any ebook format for $2.99:
New ebook collection out Now: ABSENT COMPANY collects two of Steve's early books of ghostly, supernatural tales: the 33 stories in The Far Side of the Lake combined with his haunting exploration of the intersection of reality and delusion, the novelette Among the Living. "It's not uncommon to believe yourself awake when you are, in fact, sleeping. Far less common is to believe yourself sleeping when you are, in fact, awake." Otherwise available only in expensive collector's editions. ABSENT COMPANY is the only available source for the electronic editions of these tales.
You can order from Amazon at:
The Smashwords link is: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467697
Also available from Barnes & Noble.com and all other ebook outlets.
New Ebook Covers
Crossroads has recently refreshed the looks on two of Steve's ebooks. You can buy these titles through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or directly through the publisher at:
HERE WITH THE SHADOWS
Among my favorite reads are those early 20th century single author ghost & supernatural collections by such British authors as Burrage, Caldecott, Cowles, Dare, & M.R. James?stories characterized by indirection, suggestion, and the careful selection of words. I've long wanted to bring out my own version of such a book clearly influenced by my exposure to those collections. So I'm proud to announce that in January Ireland's wonderful Swan River Press will be publishing my Here with the Shadows, a volume of supernatural impressions and quiet vacancies, in an edition of 400 copies. Among the stories are three originals as well as several tales whose only previous appearance has been in obscure magazines and rare limited edition anthologies. None of these stories have appeared in my previous collections.
Available for Pre-order at: www.swanriverpress.ie/shadows.html
NOW read an excerpt, a new story "The Still, Cold Air," available as part of The Swan River Press Reader, with some great supernatural tales by other writers: a free download in two formats for either the Kindle or the Nook: http://www.swanriverpress.ie/reader.html
Celestial Inventories features twenty- two stories collected from rare chapbooks, anthologies, and obscure magazines, along with a new story written specifically for this volume. All represent the slipstream segment of Steve Rasnic Tem's large body of tales: imaginative, difficult-to-pigeonhole works of the fantastic crossing conventional boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, horror, literary fiction, bizarro, magic realism, and the new weird. Several of these stories have previously appeared in Best of the Year compilations and have been the recipients of major F & SF nominations and awards. Among the transforming events in these twenty-two genre-bending stories: an office worker and his wife fade into a literal invisibility; a photographer discovers the unexpected in the faces of dead children; a girl moves onto a strange street when she fails to return from trick-or-treating; an artist devotes his career to contracting diseases; a plague of head explosions becomes a new form of terrorism; a couple's aging dismantles reality; and a seemingly pointless life finds final expression in bits of folded paper.
ChiZine Page: http://chizinepub.com/books/celestial-inventories.php
Onion Songs is a collection of 42 short stories spanning the writing career of Steve Rasnic Tem, with an emphasis on the bizarre, the off-beat and the meditative. Here Tem confronts the big questions of human experience (ageing, death, identity, relationships) like a collector digging deep in the clutter of an attic and pulling out only the most unexpected and most telling finds.
His style tersely poetic, Tem is able to give fine reproductions of the texture of everyday life while writing with all the invention of unrestrained nightmare. The mindscapes contained here, where circus clowns cling to meaningless office jobs, skeletons fall like snow, 'true unicorns' rummage in garbage piles, and fires are liable to break out at any moment, first engage us deeply where things ache most, then compel us to keep reading with a beauty that, for all its strangeness, we finally recognise as human.
"Tem lets his characters, their situations, and their emotions creep up slowly on the reader. His style is thoughtful and poetic, and the tension he builds effectively sustains well-crafted plots. He has found a perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward..." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Consistent in quality and diverse in content, as impressive as it is impressionistic... Onion Songs is the strongest collection of short stories that I've read in the last year. - Peter Tennant in Black Static
"The 42 stories in this collection showcase the often bizarre, always enlightening works of one of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature. Tem's prose paints vivid and compelling images. His stories feature people who contemplate death, sanity, love, loss, and other human issues from original points of view." -Library Journal
OUT NOW! Steve's first all science fiction short story collection, Twember is volume 7 in the NewCon Press Imaginings series. 11 stories including 2 originals. Editions include a signed limited hardcover and a Kindle ebook.
2. A Letter from the Emperor
4. The Day Before the Day Before
5. Pathetic Fallacy
9. Forty-three Thousand Sunsets
11. At Play In The Fields
12. The Long Afternoon of the Human Race
For the hardcover:
For the Kindle ebook version:
Or at Amazon UK:
Ugly Behavior collects 19 of Steve Rasnic Tem's best noir tales, ugly stories about people behaving quite badly indeed. These are the stories in that box under your bed, pushed all the way back against the wall, the one that takes some effort to get to, the one you thought your momma didn't know about.
"Ugly Behavior is a powerfully dark collection of crime fiction showcasing Steve Rasnic Tem's handling of uber-disturbing themes, characters, and confrontations. All of the pieces here are unsettling, wrenching, and affecting, yet polished to a poetic perfection. The author valiantly goes to the bad places and shares his insights so you don't have to face head-on those same vicious struggles. As always, Tem demonstrates impressive range and sensitivity in this grouping of black jewels."
--Tom Piccirilli, author of The Last Kind Words
"Steve Tem is a writer's writer and he and his stories are hidden treasures. Here are some of those beautiful gems revealed." --Joe Lansdale, author of Edge of Dark Water
"Lusciously grizzly, creepy, and original, glimpses into the souls of people you would never want to meet. Tem actually scares me--hard to do--and I love it." --Vicki Hendricks, author of Miami Purity
"I've not only read Steve Rasnic Tem over the years I've also learned from him as both a writer and a human being. He's one of the true masters."--Ed Gorman, author of The Poker Club
"I've read a lot of stories by Steve Rasnic Tem and have never failed to be impressed by their extraordinary range and originality."--Otto Penzler, editor of The Best American Crime Writing
Publishers Weekly: "As Tem notes in his introduction, the 19 short stories in this strong collection explore "the terrible things we do to ourselves and to each other." He gets things rolling with the haiku-like "2PM: The Real Estate Agent Arrives," which contains a bite at the end that is more powerful than had it come after pages of text. Equally subtle is "Saguaro Night," in which the daughter of an acclaimed landscape artist gradually reveals the backstory to her father's most famous, and most disturbing, painting. Done in a style the artist called "tormented expressionism," the canvas depicts rows of blackened saguaro leaning toward a small red-orange one in the background, "their cactus deity." Readers should be prepared for images of graphic violence in "The Child Killer" and several other entries. If not every story has the impact of "Saguaro Night," fans of dark fiction and exquisite prose will find plenty to like. (Aug.)"
New Pulp Press: http://www.newpulppress.com/titles/ugly_behavior/
In Concert Audiobook Now available from Audible
In Concert collects the collaborative short fiction of Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem, who have worked at the cutting edge of imaginative fiction for over a quarter century. In the twenty-one tales herein, the reader will find fear, joy, and mystery. In Concert showcases the wide range of their collaborative work. The title story tells of a lonely elderly woman who achieves rapport with a lost astronaut through the power of music.
In "The Icy Region My Heart Encircles," an aging Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, keeps the heart of her late husband on the mantel and is haunted by her dead children and the living incarnation of her Monster. And in "The Man on the Ceiling," the authors take turns telling of the fears and darkness common to all families, while reminding the reader that "everything I tell you is true." The publication of In Concert is an event well worth celebrating. Read by Abby Elvidge.
The Deadfall Hotel is where our nightmares go, it?s where the dead pause to rest between worlds, and it?s where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena go to rediscover life ? if the things at the hotel don?t kill them first.
Think of it as the vacation resort of the collective unconscious.
With the powerful prose that has earned him awards and accolades, Steve Rasnic Tem explores the roots of fear and society?s fascination with things horrific, using the many-layered metaphor of the Deadfall Hotel. Drawing inspiration from literary touchstones John Gardner and Peter Straub, Tem elegantly delves into the dark corners of the human spirit. There he finds not only our fears, but ultimately our hopes.
"...just when you think you've found the lay of the land in this most rich and fertile of imaginative plains, and you're thrown a twist or turn, or simple line of speech masquerading as so much more. Just when you think you've nailed a certain style or emotion in the text and again it buckles and surprises."- Spooky Reads
"Deadfall Hotel is everything a horror novel should be. Steve Rasnic Tem is at the height of his powers with this effort. If you're a fan of horror, the weird, or just plain old great storytelling, give Deadfall Hotel a read. You won't regret it." FEARnet
"This is no ordinary novel. It is not a comfortable read and it is incredibly surreal. However, it is a book that must be read." Terror Tree
"A dark and moving story of love, loss and change, with a posse of horror kittens thrown into the mix." The Guardian
"Steve Rasnic Tem has created a strange and wonderful world, filled with the curious and the marvelous...as much a place of joy as it is of sorrow, something [he] captures brilliantly in this extraordinary novel." -- Maureen Kincaid Speller in zone-sf.com
THE BOOK OF DAYS
Unabridged Narration by Nathan Lowell: Run Time 8 hours & 6 minutes
Steve's second novel, The Book of Days consists of a short story told each day by a man trying to talk himself back to sanity. A kind of literary sampler quilt, these daily inventions emulate the styles of everything from traditional ghost stories to the works of O?Henry and James Whitcomb Riley, from westerns to fifties science fiction to boy?s own adventure stories. As a sequence illustrating the narrator?s deep internal struggle, these dark stories take on additional weight, making each one a sharp shock that builds to an electrifying whole.
Praise for The Book of Days:
A finalist for the International Horror Guild Award in the novel category. ?Steve Tem possesses both the guts and the ability to try about anything with his fiction and his best work (like ?The Man on the Ceiling? co-written with Melanie Tem) is often that which strays farthest from the oft-trod trail . . . In Tem?s skilled hands, the intangible is made tangible through metaphor and imagery. [Here] he transcends his own gimmick to achieve a work that is both intriguing and inspirational.? ? Paula Guran, Cemetery Dance
?This contemplative odyssey is easily one of the more risk-taking and rewarding books of fantasy published this year.? ? Publishers Weekly
On the audiobook: "BOOK OF DAYS by Steve Rasnic Tem has elements of horror, fantasy, and even romance to it, but it's really a poetic homage to childhood itself, when we conjured entire worlds out of sticks in mud, and the future held limitless promise....Prepare for an unusual experience that is also, in a magical way, familiar. Narrator Nathan Lowell is ideal to voice the character, as he possesses the right sense of timing and tone, knowing just when the sentences need to flow together like a poem." -- Audiobooks Today
You may listen to a sample of this audiobook by going to the ordering website.
SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT
Unabridged narration by Ann Richardson: Run time 7 hours and 20 minutes
Leila Blackwell suffers from keratitis, a condition that, coupled with prior eye problems, is slowly robbing her of her sight. Nevertheless, she stubbornly tries to maintain a "normal" lifestyle, often forsaking the companionship of her lover Cathy to act independently, as any fully sighted person might do. It's thus that she finds herself alone in a public rest room when a familiar male voice penetrates the silence, saying, "Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you."
Leila finds herself kidnapped and confined in a basement, slowly and steadily losing her site, as she is forced to engage in a batlle of wills with a man who beleives he is acting to save her soul. Through a series of harrowing escapes and confrontations with obstacles both real and self-imposed, Leila must try to survive to reach freedom, and her life, without losing her sanity in the process.
You may listen to a sample of this audiobook by going to the ordering website.
Unabridged narration by Terry Daniel: Run time 7 hours
This is the author's first all-audio short story collection, containing a selection of science fiction and horror short stories hand-picked by the author for Speaking Volumes.
"[Tem's] stories have the compression of poetry. He is able to create rapidly a mood of menace and revulsion." -- Publisher's Weekly
Contents: Among the Old, Celestial Inventory, The Disease Artist, Head Explosions, In These Final Days of Sales, Origami Bird, Out Late in the Park, Taking Down the Tree, Invisible, Mirror Man, The Strangers, The Company You Keep, Underground, Mouths, The World Recalled, Yesterday
Order directly from the publisher. Available as CDs or as an MP3 download:
MELANIE'S THE ICE DOWNSTREAM NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK FORM
Nineteen tales of dark, psychological horror from the pen of one of the modern masters of dark Fiction, award-winning author Melanie Tem. This is her first solo short story collection.
The Ice Downstream / Sitting with the Driver / The Rock / The Co-op / Secrets / Daddy's Side / Loving Delia / Aspen Graffiti / Chameleon / The Better Half / Memento Mori / Trail of Crumbs / Pandorette's Mother / Pele / Cousin Claudine / Fry Day
This eBook is available in MOBI (Kindle) EPUB (Sony / Nook / iPad / Kobo) PDF (Adobe) and PRC (Mobipocket) formats.
MELANIE'S WRITING CLASS AND EDITING SERVICES
E-mail for information about Melanie's ongoing writing class (fiction and non-fiction, all genres; $10 per class) or about her editing and in-depth critiquing services ($40 per hr).
MELANIE TEM: Storyteller
"Telling the poetry of everyday life"
In the last quarter century, the ancient oral tradition of storytelling has seen a revival in many countries. In America, the first storytelling festival was in Jonesborough, TN, and that's where "telling" got into my blood a little over a year ago, when I sat in the audience transfixed by a master teller and found myself thinking, "I can do that! I want to do that!"
Now there are storytelling festivals in almost every state, including at least three in Colorado, and the Jonesborough festival attracts some 9000 tellers from all over the world. Having been a writer all my life, I'm exhilarated to have discovered all this, for there are stories that must be told without being written.
Here are some of mine:
"Margaret's 'Possums," which is really more about Margaret than about 'possums
"Come Live with Me," about Alzheimer's and poetry
"Cousins," in which shared experiences give rise to very different memories
"An Ordinary Little Life," about how the stories we tell, sometimes without even knowing it, can change someone else's life.
To arrange storytelling for your group or gathering, contact me at email@example.com or 303-477-0235.