Publishing News: Into This Darkness Peering Now Available for Kindle Preorder

Into This Darkness Peering, written by me and illustrated by Marika Brousianou is now available for preorder on Amazon Kindle. The book, which will be released in print and Kindle Unlimited soon, features 32 full-illustrated gothic horror poems and flash fiction pieces.

You can preorder your copy now leading up to the official release on August 26th.

Preorder your copy by clicking any hyperlink or image in this post, or by clicking here.

Here is the official book description, along with some sample interior pages.

Peer into the darkness of midnight and the macabre with these 32 illustrated gothic horror poems and micro-fictions. From the dark, enchanted forest, to the furthest reaches of cosmic space; from the collective memory of myth and story, to monsters conjured from our own subconscious minds, these are the tales of the abyss. We invite you to gaze beyond the boundaries of reality and into the nightmare realms. Join us if you dare…

Interior page, Into This Darkness Peering
Interior page, Into This Darkness Peering
Interior page, Into This Darkness Peering

Remnants: The Kings of New York (Excerpt)

As I continue to recover from my broken hands (I start occupational therapy today), here is a free excerpt from my story, The King of New York, which was published last in the Remnants shared world, post apocalyptic, science fiction anthology from Fedowar Press. This is the second edition of Remnants, and the new edition includes some stories which were not included in the original, Kyanite Press edition. You can purchase Remnants in both print and ebook editions by clicking any of the hyperlinks on this page.


The Kings of New York

By A. A. Rubin

How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow, she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces—Lamentations 1:1

At midnight, the oracle climbs her tower and sings her lamentations to the stars. Her skyscraper no longer pierces the heavens; its massing is no longer symmetrical. The Art Deco spire lies in pieces, scattered across the rubble that used to be 5th avenue. The pinnacle, incongruously complete, sticks out of the wreckage, piercing the carcass of a monster more dangerous than any Hollywood gorilla, like a lightning bolt from Olympus or a spear thrown down from heaven.

The observation decks have long-since fallen, so she stands atop the tallest remaining setback in the open air, like a prayer-caller on a minaret, singing her story, and searching for signs of The Swarm through the night, until the sunrise.

We call her Cassandra. We do not know her real name. She does not speak coherently about the present. She sings of the past and of the future in riddle and metaphor. Everyone she knew is gone, killed by The Horde because they did not heed the warnings of the dead she claims speak through her.

That she is alive and so many are dead is her proof of her prophecy, and so we listen, and on nights like this, when she’s silhouetted by the full moon against the midnight sky, we almost believe.


To read the rest of the story, buy Remnants in either print or ebook editions.

Publishing News: Remnants Back In Print

The Remnants shared-world, post apocalyptic science/fiction/horror anthology is back in print, this time from Fedowar Press. The book features two of my short stories, “The Forgotten” which was included in the original publication, and “The Kings of New York” which is new for this edition.

In the world of Remnants, strange clouds on the horizon herald the coming of the swarm. The undulating masses of the horde cannot be stopped. Terrifying creatures roam the Earth, seemingly with no aim but to devour all that stands before them. Experience the end of the world as we know it with these seventeen tales of horror, survival, and hope. The world ends in a frenzy of death and miasma of terror, but what will become of the remnants of humanity?

The edition includes 17 takes of post-apocalyptic horror, including the two stories I mentioned above.

My story, “The Kings of New York” follows the eight remaining survivors in post-apocalyptic New York City as they prepare for the dreaded inevitable return of the monsters who killed the 8-million people who used to live there. It is written in a lyrical style, which is atypical of the horror genre, and yet it still fits into the shared, nightmare world of the anthology.

“The Forgotten” is a dark Freudian tale of young orphan who tries to remember the sound of his mother’s voice on the eve of his first battle against the monstrous horde and swarm, and his initiation into a band of children on there own against the terrible monsters.

Remants is a shared-world, created by Stephen Coghlan. It was originally published by Kyanite Publications.

The new edition is available on Amazon, in ebook, paperback, and hardcover editions. Get yours today.

News and Notes: Loki, Nerds of The Round, Remnants, The Great Command Meant

Some recent news and notes:

Last week I was, once again, a guest on the Nerds of the Round show. This episode was a discussion of episode 2 of the Disney+ Loki show. Be forewarned, it contains spoilers. Check it out here:

In publishing news, Remnants, the post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror anthology which includes my story “The Forgotten” has been picked up by Fedowar Press and will be reissued later this year. Check out the info here.

I also have received my copies of The Great Command Meant (Arcane Inkdustries). The comics anthology includes a short story I wrote, illustrated by Christina Castro, as well as a full-page mixed media art piece I made. If you backed the Kickstarter, you should be receiving your books soon (if you have not already done so). Let me know what you think.

Publishing News: Galaxy 2 and Poetica 3

It’s release day for two anthologies in which I have work published.

Poetica 3 includes my poem “A Monster Lives Inside Of Me”. It’s a dark, speculative poem, kind of like Poe crossed with Terry Pratchett.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094CWJNR8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_EGHVX5YQFS09768XK1QX

Galaxy 2 includes “The Wishing Well”, a fairytale horror micro fiction. It’s a story to which people react really strongly, in a positive way.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0949H4JDC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_90REDJX319R3ZMQ4MFVD

Both anthologies are published by Clarendon House Publications.

Get your copies today.

Writing as Creative Play and The Remnants Anthology Release

I find it very sad that grown ups are not encouraged to play creatively. Most adults, following along with the conventions of contemporary society and do not engage in active, creative play. They rely on the creations of others to escape their dreary, every-day lives by watching television and movies, listening to music, reading books, and perhaps going to an art museum. Very few grownups, write, paint, compose, etc, Even when they do think creatively, it is often done in connection with their jobs, and therefore, they are creating for others—a boss, a company—rather than for themselves. In contrast, children are encouraged to play to draw, to make up stories and songs. Whether they consider themselves to be creative or not does not matter. Most children engage in creative play.

Many of the so-called-weird people who become successful in the arts encourage others to engage in creative activity as well. They claim, that there is a fulfillment one gets from doing art that is directly related to doing something creative for yourself. My favorite formulation of this idea is Kurt Vonnegut’s. Vonnegut, in a number of different places, encouraged his readers (and his listeners when he delivered his message as a speech) to engage in creative activities, even if what they end up producing is bad. One does not need, as Neil Gaiman exhorts his followers to do, make good art, rather, even making bad art is way of making “life bearable,” according to his view. “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake,” Vonnegut claims.

I wholeheartedly agree, and I believe that the reason for this positive effect is the connection between making art—good or bad—and the creative play in which most people engaged as children. I have often, when speaking of my own writing, compared it to a (slightly) more socially acceptable version of childhood play.

During a recent live reading and discussion about the Remnants anthology from Kyanite Publishing (which was just released today), I extended that metaphor a bit further to explain the different mediums in which I write and connect them to common ways that children play.

When I want to play alone (and as an introverted writer-type, this is the kind of play in which I engage the most), I write short stories or poetry. During this type of play, I am the only one affecting the outcome of the “game.” When I want to play with others, I make comics. In this type of play, I collaborate with others to create. I work with an artist, and sometimes a team comprised of separate pencilers, inkers, colorists, and letterers, to create the final piece. We each have input into the story, and we collaborate to affect the outcome.

The Remnants anthology offered me a new way to play. Remnants is a “shared-world” anthology. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, created by Stephen Coghlan. Each of the authors in the anthology had to write a story which took place within this same, shared, world. Because of my background in comic books, I usually explain a shared world like the Marvel or DC universe. Each comic (or movie if you prefer) must take place within the shared world, but each is also the unique creation of the artists who made it. A Denny O’Neil Batman story is different from an Alan Moore Batman story, but they are both, recognizably Batman stories and therefore must follow the parameters of that universe. You could say the same thing about Kenneth Branagh’s Thor movie compared to Taika Waititi’s.

Similarly, the stories in the Remnants anthology each reflect the styles and talents of the authors who wrote them, yet they all take place within Stephen’s world. Writing for this anthology presented certain restrictions in terms of what I was allowed to do in the story, but it was also freeing in a way as I could just concentrate on writing the story without having to do all the world building associated with writing this type of science fiction story.

To return to my metaphor, writing this story was like go over someone’s house and being allowed to play with their toys. In this case, Stephen built this incredible world, a for a little while, he allowed me—and the other writers whose stories are included in this anthology—to come and play with it. The result’s which you can read in the anthology, are truly remarkable in they way they differ in tone, style, and content while all being true to the shared world.

I hope you consider purchasing a copy of Remnants, and reading my story, “The Forgotten,” (follow any of the hyperlinks throughout this post, including this one), and I really hope that if you endeavor to do something creative this week. Write a poem or story, draw a picture, write a song, even if you feel you’re doing it poorly, the benefits are immeasurable especially during these trying times.

Connect with me on facebooktwitter, and instagram for all my latest news and discussion.

Revealed: Frankenstein’s Monster’s Name!

People who run in literary circles are fond of pointing out that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor* in Mary Shelley’s famous novel, not the monster. They revel in pedantically correcting people who refer to the monster as Frankenstein to such a great extent that anyone who is reading this blog has either corrected someone or been corrected by someone on this very point. But what is the creature’s (for such he is most commonly called in the novel) actual name? I’m sorry to say—and this will really tick off the literary types—it’s probably Frankenstein.

Allow me to explain: The titular character in the novel is the human scientist Frankenstein. He is the obvious protagonist, the tragic Romantic genius, the modern Prometheus, etc. This fact is not in dispute, and it is obvious to anyone who has read the novel. But Frankenstein is the doctor’s last name. His first name is Victor. His name follows the traditional western convention where his first name, Victor is his personal name, and Frankenstein, his last name, is his family name. He has inherited his last name from his father, Alphonse Frankenstein. Most of the other characters in the novel follow the same conventions, including Robert Walton Henry Clerval, Elizabeth Lavenza, etc.  Even the characters who are not identified as having both a first and a last name in the novel, are named with either a fist name or a last name. Presumably, they have the missing half as well. A character like Mr. Kirwin, for example, most likely has a first name even if it’s not related in the novel.

Now the creature, famously, is not given a name by Victor Frankenstein upon his creation. He is rejected and cast out, a fact which he laments later in the novel. But even through he doesn’t have a first name, the very fact that his creator is named Frankenstein would, likely, make his last name Frankenstein. True, he does not have a biological father as he is a hodgepodge of parts from various humans, but had the doctor raised and trained him to be part of society, legally—or at least by convention—his last name would, most likely be Frankenstein. When the doctor disowns him, he does not lose that appellation. The creature, himself, would have to disavow the name himself, which he never specifically does, and which, at least the first half of the story he would not likely do, given his characterization. Thus, while the monster’s does not have a first name, his last name, is, most likely, Frankenstein.

To quote one of the greatest anti-pedants of all time, “How do you like them apples?”

Like the famous philosopher Descartes, I welcome well-reasoned challenges in the comments.

Be sure to connect on facebooktwitter, and instagram, and check out the links page to read some of my published work.

* Nowhere in the novel is Victor Frankenstein identified as “doctor.Calling him “doctor” engages in the exact same kind of conflation of the movie and the novel that leads people to call the monster Frankenstein.