Double Trouble at the Fox Den

Double release day! 

Today we are delighted to announce we have unleashed a mass of femme fatales on the unsuspecting public. Available now from Fox Spirit Books are two exciting volumes of high heels and deadly doings!

The third in our Noir series of anthologies edited by K.A.Laity is ‘Drag Noir‘ where the drag scene meets the seedy world of Chandler and Hammett, where glamour meets grit, where everyone wears a disguise.

Cover by S. L. Johnson
Cover by S. L. Johnson

And from Alchemy Press editors Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber we are delighted to bring you ‘Wicked Women‘! Women who write their own rules, skate along the edge of the law and generally aim to misbehave.

Cover by Sarah Anne Langton
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton

So join us for double trouble!

If you would like review copies or to interview the editors please contact adele@foxspirit.co.uk

Drag Noir: Redfern Jon Barrett

RedfernJonBarrettDisability as Drag
Redfern Jon Barrett

Regardless of the social progress made in recent years, our world is still not yet kind to the subversive: women who love women remain the target of stares and lewd comments; men who love men have blood which is considered unclean by the majority of the planet’s health authorities (because ‘AIDS was invented by homos’); whilst men who dress as women are still victim to physical and verbal abuse. Public acceptance may be on the increase, but as every queer person and drag queen knows, we have a long way to go.

Meanwhile, a different yet parallel rights movement is fighting for its own social and legal equality: rights for the disabled. Those with cerebral palsy are still the target of stares and verbal abuse; those with mobility needs are still denied access to the majority of the planet’s public transportation (back of the bus? You’re not even getting on!); whilst closed-circuit hearing loops are still absent from most public spaces. Progress has been made, but as every blind or autistic person knows, we have a long way to go.

Of course there are more similarities between disability and gender nonconformity than my structuring two similar paragraphs on each. Firstly, each has the ability to make the public uncomfortable, as each causes us to question our own identities: whether the shaky and often-transitional nature of our perceived gender, or our immortal able-bodiedness. Each presents us with  a deviation from the norm which a great number of people still feel uncomfortable with, and which presents this difficult truth: that the privilege one receives for cis-heterosexuality or able-bodiedness is a result of random chaotic chance.

The second similarity is that both gender nonconformity and disability have been heavily medicalised by both public discourse and institutions. The very term ‘homosexuality’ was coined in an attempt to diagnose a mental condition; trans people are subject to intense physical and mental scrutiny by medical professionals who pass ultimate judgement on their personal identities; the disabled are also still viewed through this same medical lens. Are deaf people merely a medical condition, or a culture with its own language and social groupings? The nonconformists share a history of dehumanising medical discourse. Both groupings have been the target of eugenics programs. It is this similarity which prompted me to write my sci-fi short story ‘Straight Baby’.

It is this shared discourse lies at the heart of the story. In a world in which parents have (or believe they have) genetically engineered every aspect of their children, the disabled and the queer face the same threat of marginalisation and persecution. This shared struggle is embodied in Thomas, a disabled homosexual who faces intense persecution because of the random chaotic chance of his birth – a deviance which can never be truly eradicated, regardless of technological advancement.

Yet the story also examines the interplay between his identities as a gay, disabled man. Whilst other gay men are beaten and arrested when caught with other men, Thomas’ physical disability has, thus far, allowed him to escape the clutches of the heterosexist legal system. In this future, as in our own time, the disabled are frequently viewed as asexual. Thomas’ physical state covers his deviance as a homosexual: his disability is his drag.

Yet Thomas’ drag is not merely external. He manages his position in society via an internal drag, mentally conceiving of himself as a female femme-fatale – a perspective which allows him to navigate his affairs with married men. In short, Thomas is a sexual being in the ‘asexual’ drag of disability, perceiving himself in female terms. Each ‘deviance’ contradicts and reinforces the other. He is a threat masquerading as harmless.

At its root, the story is based in the fact that every struggle is a shared struggle. Gay men and wheelchair users, lesbians and the blind, drag queens and the autistic have all been marginalised by social and medical discourse. Without solidarity and recognition of our shared fight, we risk a future in which society once again uses technology in an attempt to eradicate the nonconformists – a future in which no drag can save us.

DRAG NOIR is out tomorrow!

 

Drag Noir: Becky Thacker

Becky Thacker
Portrait of the author in her younger days

How I Came to Write ‘Geezer Dyke’

Becky Thacker

A port stop during a cruise disembarked us in Mexico, facing a row of tour vans and buses.  Most of these were staffed by sign-wielding native folks with weary, worldly-wise faces; obviously they did this job for the living it provided and not because they found it fun. One of the tour guides was a lesbian, white-skinned, aging none too gracefully, and it was evident from her accent that she’d begun life as a North American Midwesterner. She looked and clearly felt, however, more akin to her brown-skinned career associates than to the flocks of North American tourists who surrounded her. We wondered what, or who, had led her to this path.   And of course, romantics that we are, we wondered whom she went home to when her day of tourist-wrangling was over.

DRAG NOIR: Out this Halloween!

Cover by S. L. Johnson
Cover by S. L. Johnson

 

Fox Pockets Update

I wanted to thank everyone for their continued patience.

Due to the sheer quantity of excellent submissions and the number of other books we are putting out this year the Fox Pockets have not been completed in the time we anticipated. I will be emailing writers over the next week regarding all the remaining pockets with the exception of the Evil Genius Guide, which is to have a guest editor.

The books will be going ahead, albeit a little later than we anticipated. Missing Monarchs will be out in 2014, the remaining titles may slip into the first half of 2015.

FS big thing 72

The Girl at the End of the World Vol 1

The end is nigh!

The first volume (city cover as shown) of Girl at the End of the World is now available via amazon worldwide. The alternate ‘girl’ cover and ebooks will be going live over the next few days so keep an eye out!

Cover 1 Book 1
Cover 1 Book 1

Volume 2 is due for release at the end of July.

It’s the end of days. The sky is falling, the seas are burning and your neighbour is a zombie. It’s brutal out there. It’s every man for himself and these heels are going to have to go; you simply can’t run in them!

Across two volumes, The Girl at the End of the World offers forty-one striking visions of the apocalypse and the women and girls dealing with it. From gods to zombies, from epic to deeply personal, from the moment of impact to a future where life is long forgotten; bestselling authors and exciting new writers deliver tales you’ll still remember when holed up in a fallout shelter with one remaining bullet and a best friend with a suspicious bite mark on their neck.

The two volumes feature a number of new and established authors including Adrian Tchaikovsky and best selling crime novelist James Oswald.

 

Drag Noir: Creamy Contents, No Filling!

Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)
Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)

While the order of stories may be subject to change, here’s the stories you’ll be reading when Drag Noir pops out in a couple months from now with a faboo cover from S. L. Johnson:

The Meaning of Skin – Richard Godwin

Wheel Man – Tess Makovesky

No. 21: Gabriella Merlo – Ben Solomon

Geezer Dyke – Becky Thacker

Lucky in Cards – Jack Bates

Trespassing – Michael S. Chong

Chianti – Selene MacLeod

The Changeling – Tracy Fahey

Straight Baby – Redfern Jon Barrett

Kiki Le Shade – Chloe Yates

Protect Her – Walter Conley

King Bitch – James Bennett

A Bit of a Pickle – Paul D. Brazill

Stainless Steel – Amelia Mangan

The Itch of the Iron, The Pull of the Moon – Carol Borden

 

We’ve got a whole lot of interesting takes on the theme from folks around the world. I hope you will enjoy — I know I did as I sweated the choices. I was afraid I might not have enough submissions; instead, I had to make tough choices among some fine stories but the ones that made the final selection brought surprises and delights as well as that elusive noir spirit.

Doll yourself up and get ready for this one.

Bushy Tales

The bushy tales series was how it all began. If I were looking to buy a pub in 2012 Leicestershire would now be the proud home of The Nun & Dragon Pub, but instead it’s the home of Fox Spirit Books and our first anthology ‘Tales of the Nun & Dragon’.

Come, rest your weary bones, draw a flagon and hark to the tales of Nuns & Dragons, of bravery and steadfastness in the face of mighty and implacable foes. Settle down and indulge yourself in wild flights of fancy brought to life by your fellow travellers.”

The Nun & Dragon is a local like no other – share in the wild and wonderful tellings of a gifted panoply of authors, tales replete with wonder, a liberal coating of mysticism, the odd splash of darkness and a sprinkling of grim humour.

nun and dragon - ebook cover (2)

With stories by: Sarah Cawkwell, Mhairi Simpson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jasper Bark, Mark West, Joan De La Haye, Simon Bestwick, Colin F Barnes, Andrew Reid, Ren Warom, Pat Kelleher, Cat Connor, Peter Ray Allison, S.J.Caunt, Wayne Simmons, Geraldine Clark Hellery,  V.C.Linde, Catherine Rogers,  Jay Faulkner,  Sammy H K Smith,  Francesca Terminiello,  K.A. Laity,  Karen Davies

The second book in the series ‘Tales of the Fox and Fae’ is also out.

Deep in the woods where wild things lurk you’ll find foxes and rarer creatures, the fae. Join us for tales of faeries at the bottom of the garden, foxes falling foul of their own nature, battles fought in the night where human lives hang in the balance. Not all faeries are good, not all foxes are hunted. Welcome to our Tales of the Fox & Fae.

fox-and-fae front-cover-1

With stories by:  Andrew Reid,  Margret Helgadottir,  James Bennett, Chloe Yates, Alec McQuay, Haralambi Markov, Peter Ray Allison, Jasper Bark (writer) & Soussherpa (artist) & Bolt-01 (letterer), Geraldine Clark Hellery, Jay Faulkner,  T.F.Grant,  Cat Connor

The final ‘Bushy Tales’ book, ‘Tales of the Mouse and Minotaur’ is coming later this year.

Tales of the Mouse and Minotaur explores the adventure of mice (and rats) and twists on greek mythology. It also sees the return of Gilrain.

All three books feature cover art by Vincent Holland-Keen and internal art by Kieran Walsh. In Mouse and Minotaur Kieran will be collaborating with Joe Kolessides on the internal art. I’m excited to see the images for that!

Call for Stories: Drag Noir

Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)
Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)

“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”
RuPaul, Lettin it All Hang Out: An Autobiography

Drag is a broad concept; noir is a fairly narrow one. Drag can be a way of playing with gender or it can be a matter of survival. In the noir world, it can be almost anything: camouflage, deceit, truth — or a skin to be shed at will.

Otto Penzler has always been really strict in his idea of noir:

Look, noir is about losers. The characters in these existential, nihilistic tales are doomed. They may not die, but they probably should, as the life that awaits them is certain to be so ugly, so lost and lonely, that they’d be better off just curling up and getting it over with. And, let’s face it, they deserve it.

Pretty much everyone in a noir story (or film) is driven by greed, lust, jealousy or alienation, a path that inevitably sucks them into a downward spiral from which they cannot escape. They couldn’t find the exit from their personal highway to hell if flashing neon lights pointed to a town named Hope. It is their own lack of morality that blindly drives them to ruin.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but I think noir ends up being a fairly bleak place — one where any bit of glamour or adopted power can be worth the gamble of discovery. It may even be worth flaunting it.

Can you tell who’s Dressed to Kill?

As RuPaul advises,”When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”

That’s what we want for DRAG NOIR: this is a call for stories where glamour meets grit, where everyone’s wearing a disguise (whether they know it or not) and knowing the players takes a lot more than simply reading the score cards. Maybe everyone’s got something to hide, but they’ve got something to reveal, too. Scratch the surface and explore what secrets lie beneath — it’s bound to cost someone…a lot.

Mercedes McCambridge in ‘A Touch of Evil’

 

An anthology is not a democracy; it’s a benevolent dictatorship. All editors have their tastes or quirks: if you want a clue to my sensibilities, check out my extensive bibliography and of course, read Weird Noir and Noir Carnival.

Stories should be:

  • Previously unpublished anywhere
  • Not submitted anywhere else
  • Length 3-8K
  • Formatted: Times New Roman, regular, 12 point; 1″ margins; 1 space after full stop; lines spaced 1.5; use paragraph formatting to indent first line not tabs; no header/footer
  • Identified with a title, your name (and pen name identified as such), working email address on the first page: file name should include your surname & the title
  • Submitted in RTF format via email to katelaity at gmail with your name, the story title and total word count included in the body of the email; make sure the Subject line includes “Submission: Drag Noir” + your name
  • Due by March 20, 2014.

We will ask for world-wide print & ebook rights for a year and pay £10 via Paypal plus a copy of the paperback. The fabulous Stephanie Johnson has been persuaded to create another fabulous cover image! We plan to launch the book in July 2014.

Butler Gender

‘Girl at the End of the World’ a call for submissions

Ok foxy folk we have a new anthology call for Christmas Release.

‘Girl at the End of the World’.

What we want: pre, during, post and not remotely related to apocalyptic stories, in the SF, Fantasy, Horror and Crime genres. Clearly female lead characters who pack a punch. Roughly speaking 5,000-10,000 words per story.

It’ll be £10 token payment, a copy of the finished book and if it clears it’s costs profit share for the first two years sales.

The closing date is 31st August 2013 so we can get it sorted in time for a Christmas release, because nothing says Merry Christmas like the end of the world.

These details will be added to the submissions page, where you can already find details of house style etc for your story submission.

 

If you’ve submitted in the last week or so to any of our other books I will be updating the tracker soon, sorry for the delay.

Also we are still accepting author posts for the blog.