Friday, January 20, 2017

New Year, New Post

First post of 2017! I was going to keep off the Internet today for fear of sending clicks that guy (I think we all know the guy I mean)'s way, but just wanted to link to Bob Pastorella's kind profile of me/review of Experimental Film, here: A very nice way to start the day indeed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Murray Leeder at Luma Quarterly asks me some interesting questions here ( I also found this while surfing around randomly on YouTube, which is so weird, seriously.;) 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Two more podcast links: The Writer and the Critic dissect Experimental Film here (, while I talk with the Unreliable Narrators here ( As ever, the interview was a lot of fun, though we had a bit of technical difficulty here and there. I was quite amazed to find myself picked up by The Writer and the Critic, meanwhile, two very sharp cookies out of Australia. A good month for podcasts!

In other news, Kerry Clare at 49th Shelf asked me questions about Experimental Film, here (

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sunburst Award

So...Experimental Film won the 2016 Sunburst Award for Best Adult Novel. Link here:

This has basically been a really, really good year.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

StoryBundle Tie-In Interview: Kenneth Mark Hoover

Kenneth Mark Hoover is the author of Haxan, another book available in the same Weird Western StoryBundle as my own A Book of Tongues. Last night he published an interview with me, here (, so I'm returning the favour. Mark's a gentleman and a brilliant writer, someone whose investment in the genre is both deep and genuine. I hope you all enjoy discovering something about his process, and check out StoryBundle's Weird Western package before it's no longer possible.

Mark: Thank you so much for doing this interview as well! Here are my questions.

1. Why did you choose to specialize in the weird west genre?

Thank you for inviting me, Gemma. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Well, I started in the genre when I began to listen to the old Gunsmoke radio episodes. They were very different from the television series. Much more violent, and they dealt with adult situations which television couldn’t, or wouldn’t touch. That hooked me immediately, and I decided I wanted to do something in the western genre, but with an added supernatural flavor. Not necessarily to spice things up, but to write the weird western genre in an honest way that portrayed both the people and culture with historical accuracy.

What drew you here, and what keeps you here?
I think it’s the story potential in both respects. I love the creative freedom it gives. There’s a lot of versatility available to a writer in this genre, and as a creator that definitely appeals to me. It gives me a lot of running room which I love. I often describe it as my own little corner of the universe where I can play with matches. I like the dangerous aspect of it. I think that probably says more about me than the stories I write.

2. Haxan the town appears to attract archetypes who often seem to have stepped wholesale out of other stories--myths, legends, classics of literature. Was this something you planned from the beginning, or is it an alchemical sort of idea that crept up on you in mid-writing?

I think it sort of crept in, to be honest. I wasn’t planning on that happening. But again I believe it’s a logical extension of the potential of the genre. But even when I bring these things into the story I want them to behave and react in a historically accurate manner given the culture of the Old West. I never want the West to be only a backdrop. I try to construct the stories in such a way that the West itself is a necessary character. I may not always be successful in doing this, but it’s always on my mind.

3. Quaternity is both Haxan's sequel and its prequel, not to mention a single narrative rather than a story cycle; it seems to reference Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, not so much directly as in tone--it's bleak, black and bloody beyond belief. Please tell me how the process of writing Haxan worked into writing Quaternity (if it did), and if you always had [your hero Marshall John] Marwood's back-story in your mind.

I always had Marwood’s back-story in mind when writing Haxan. I approached both novels with the same intention: I wanted to present the Old West the way it was, not the censored and sterilized view Hollywood and television has often given. It was a bleak and brutal existence. You had people from all different cultures and backgrounds struggling every day to survive. There’s nothing romantic about that. When I was writing the novels I would ask myself, “What would Hollywood do? I’ll do the opposite.” It wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t doing the opposite. I was actually showing how these people acted and behaved. They were mean and they were violent and they lived in a land literally soaked in blood, and it didn’t bother them that much as long as it wasn’t their blood being spilled. I really liked that a lot because I personally believe that is the historical core of humanity. All you have to do is open a history book. Those are pretty powerful themes to write about, and I like exploring them from all different angles.

4. You say one of your favourite writers is Alice Sheldon, also known as James Tiptree Jnr. What in particular do you think Sheldon taught you as a writer?

She taught me through her stories how to be uncompromising and how to write honestly, even if you had to be brutal to do it. Sheldon never wrote a dishonest word in her life. She didn’t write safe stories. All her fiction stands with a firm foundation of her own beliefs leavened with a tremendous amount of artistic creativity. I can’t match her creativity, or her artistic genius, but I can match her honest belief to write as boldly and courageously as possible. I think that’s a good lesson for any writer.

5. You began by writing science fiction, then transferred genres. Do you ever see yourself going back to SF?

Certainly not in the weird west genre. I’m very particular about what genres I want to include into a western setting. No SF, no generic werewolves or vampires or Cthulhu monsters. I have always believed the most dangerous monsters are human. Those are the monsters I often try to reflect in my westerns. I do, however, have a 3-book contract with The Ed Greenwood Group coming up and they are all hard science fiction novels taking place in a shared world. I’m very excited to be a part of that and I’ll start working on them next year.

6. What do you love most about New Mexico, and why did you pick it for the background of your Haxan stories?

I love everything about New Mexico. It’s maybe the one place I feel at home. I love the people, the culture, the country, just everything about it. It’s a beautiful state, and I like the idea of Haxan, this dark and violent town, and John Marwood, a dark and violent man, placed in that gorgeous setting. It provides a very strong emotional dynamic which I like to explore in the stories.

7. Though the world of Haxan is dark, it's also often funny as hell. Is this deliberate? Do you think the Western's conventions and language lend themselves to comedy?
Oh, it’s deliberate. If all I wrote about was the darkness of Haxan I think that would be too oppressive. It would lose a lot of its emotional power and it would bore me. People aren’t just one thing. They have many sides and limitless layers of emotions to them. As a writer it’s incumbent upon me to portray that as honestly as I can. I also think, yes, Old West conventions and language definitely lend themselves not only to comedy, but the ability to portray our modern lives from a different perspective. It’s really one of the reasons I like working in this genre so much.

Thank you, Gemma, I’ve really enjoyed this a lot!

The Weird Western StoryBundle is still available here ( Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Weird Western StoryBundle

Here's the skinny:


The Weird Western Bundle - Curated by Blair MacGregor

Welcome to our Weird Western Bundle, where wide frontiers, flintlocks, whiskey and revenge meet swords, airships, terraforming, magic, myths, and dragons. You'll find stories here set in the snows of old Alaska and the heat of contemporary Arizona, post-Civil War San Francisco and post-colonization planets, and places the seem as familiar as any wooded mountain or wind-swept desert... until tigers and dragons and horses that are so much more than you might assume burst into the scene. The different aspects of the Weird Western spirit in this bundle will give fans of the genre something they haven't seen before, and folks new to Weird Westerns a wide sampling of its fantastic offerings.

I was raised on a combination of SFF and Westerns. Star Trek and Gunsmoke, Asimov and L'Amour, Lonesome Dove and Battlestar Galactica. I was just as thrilled to shake the hand of Hugh O'Brian of Wyatt Earp fame as I was to meet Katherine Kurtz, author of the Deryni world. It's been a joy discovering more writers combining the genres, raising their unique voices, and upsetting the familiar with the fantastic. The result is a Western setting that respects history and the people who created it while spinning in unique powers, esoteric challenges, and the terrifying magic of discovery.
You'll learn the secrets behind the post-quarantined expanse of ranchland in James Derry's Idyll, and the reasons the man of Joe Bailey's Spellslinger is ready to make a stand. There's the subterfuge and wild ride of Gemma Files's Book of Tongues, and the smart, snappy adventure of Lindsay Buroker's Flash Gold novellas.

Dangerous wonders and determined enemies fill J. Patrick Allen's West of Pale, and Steve White's New Worldbrings chainmail and strange powers to the frontier. Kyra Halland puts rogue magery and danger in a dusty Western town in Beneath the Canyons, and Kenneth Mark Hoover gives us a time-wandering lawman in Haxan.

And I'm thrilled to share the debut of Judith Tarr's first novel of a new series, Dragons in the Earth, set in present-day Arizona, and filled with horses and dragons and the power of the desert itself.

StoryBundle let's you choose your own price, so you decide how you'd like to support these awesome writers and their work. For $5—or more if you'd like—you'll receive the basic bundle of four great novels in DRM-free ebook format. For the bonus price of at least $14—or more if you'd like—you'll receive all nine novels. If you choose, a portion of your payment will go toward supporting Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.

The Weird Western Bundle is available for only three weeks. It's a great opportunity to pick up the stories of nine wonderful writers, support independent authors who want to twist your assumptions about the West, and discover new writers with great stories along the way.– Blair MacGregor

The initial titles in The Weird Western Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
  • Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover
  • Dead West Vol 1.: West of Pale by J Patrick Allen
  • Idyll by James Derry
  • Spellsinger by Joseph J. Bailey
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $14, you get all four of the regular titles, plus five more:
  • Hexslinger Vol. 1: A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files
  • Horses of the Moon Vol. 1: Dragons in the Earth by Judith Tarr
  • Daughter of the Wildings Book. 1: Beneath the Canyons by Kyra Halland
  • The Flash Gold Chronicles I-III by Lindsay Buroker
  • New World Book 2: Hair of the Bear by Steven W. White
And as special thanks to our newsletter subscribers, all of you who subscribe get New World by Steven W. White for free! Grab the free first book in the New World series before you start on book 2, Hair of the Bear, found in the bundle.

This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
  • Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for and

For more information, visit our website at, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

P.S.: I have Launch Day giveaway codes, if anyone's interested! Please contact me (Gemma) through Facebook.