Douglas Smith's blog

New Online Story: "The Red Bird"

On Spec coverNote: this story is no longer available online. If you're interested in reading it, please check out the ebook version in my online store.

I've just posted a new online story, "The Red Bird." This story first appeared in the excellent Canadian speculative fiction magazine, On Spec in what was called their "World Beat" issue (see original cover to the left), featuring stories set in different locales around the world. My story is set in what may or may not be late fourteenth-century Japan, and is included in my collection, Chimerascope. The story will remain online for about a month. If you like it, you can check out excerpts of other stories in Chimerascope and order it in trade paperback or ebook format from the store.

Best Actor and Actress Wins for "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down"

By Her Hand movie posterAt the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival last weekend, Zoe Daelman Chlanda won Best Actress and Jerry Murdock won Best Actor for their roles as Cath and Joe in the film adaptation of my story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down." Congratulations to both, and a thanks from me for the wonderful jobs they both did in bringing the characters to the screen. Well deserved wins! Director Anthony Sumner was also nominated for Best Director and Best Editing, and the movie for Best Film, and imo, should have won them all. He did a fantastic job on the film, and I'm very proud to be associated with this movie. The movie has several more upcoming screenings across the US at various film festivals, including the latest addition – the ninth annual Spooky Movie Film Festival in Washington, DC, Oct 21-25. I have the complete list of the movie's festival appearances, plus lots of other info on the film on my dedicated "By Her Hand" page. You can help with getting this film into one particular festival. I mentioned the movie trailer contest for the New Orleans' Vampire Film Fest in an earlier blog post. This festival picks its entries based on the votes that trailers for the candidate movies receive. Check out the link to the trailers in my blog, and if you like the one for "By Her Hand...", please vote for it (you have to sign in to your YouTube or Google account in order to vote). And congratulations again to Zoe and Jerry!

Ideomancer loves CHIMERASCOPE

Chimerascope coverAnd yet another kick-ass review for my latest collection, Chimerascope, this time from the fine online magazine, Ideomancer. Some excerpts:

"[A] superb collection of Douglas Smith’s previously published speculative fiction, stuffed with Aurora nominees (and one winner) and Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror honorable mentions. Spanning a wide spectrum of classic sci-fi, stories inspired by mythology, and post-apocalyptic fiction, this is a collection you’ll want to own and re-read. ... It’s a complex mix: one of the many reasons this collection succeeds so powerfully."

You can read the entire review at Ideomancer here.

ChiZine Publications is alive and well, thank you very much!

Please tweet this! Here's a note from Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory, co-publishers of ChiZine Publications, the wonderful folks who have done such a great job publishing my collection, Chimerascope:

"Recently, Leisure Books, due to financial difficulties, had to cease its sponsorship of There is a note up on explaining the details, but this has no effect on ChiZine Publications. The sponsorship agreement never covered CZP, and CZP never had any business relationship with Leisure—we're not an imprint or subsidiary; we are a privately held company. Rumours we are going out of business or in financial trouble are completely false. If anything, based on advance numbers for our Fall books, we're doing better than ever. Don't miss our October 22nd Toronto Fall launch!" —Brett & Sandra, Co-Publishers

And I will add that you should check out the amazing CZP catalog for an excellent selection of novels and collections from this up-and-coming Toronto small press, a catalog that prompted this response from Publishers Weekly:

"Chizine Press continues to hit the mark. I don't know what's in the water up in Canada, but it's turning out some great writers, and CZP is finding and publishing them with amazing alacrity. If I could subscribe to a publisher like a magazine or a book club—one flat annual fee to get everything they publish—I would subscribe to CZP. I think the only U.S. imprint I would say that about is Orbit, and CZP is just a touch better at hitting the literary-and-deeply-creepy mark that I love so much."

"By Her Hand..." movie gets 5 nominations at Oklahoma Film Fest

image from movieWoo hoo! The film adaptation of "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" received 5 Nominations at the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival, including Best Short Film, Best Director and Best Editing (Anthony Sumner), Best Actress (Zoe Daelman Chlanda), and Best Actor (Jerry Murdock). Congrats to Anthony, Zoe and Jerry, and everyone involved. You guys did a great job and deserve this. Hope that you win them all! The film festival runs Sep 3-5 in Tulsa.

"By Her Hand..." Movie in Vampire Film Fest in New Orleans

The movie based on my short story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" is competing in the Vampire Film Festival Trailer Contest in New Orleans! Cool! And you can view the entries and vote! Follow this YouTube link to view the trailer, and if you like it, please click on the "Thumbs Up" icon at the bottom! You'll need to log in to either your Google or YouTube account to vote. The story is not a pointy-toothed (or sparkly) vampire tale, but it is definitely a take on vampirism. Some selected reviews:"a haunting variant on the vampire legend with an understated and brutal ending."

—Publishers Weekly, Jan 2010

“Highlights among the stories include Douglas Smith's delightfully creepy ‘By Her Hand, She Draws You Down,’ about a young woman who is driven by a mysterious hunger to sketch people and steal their life force as her horrified lover looks on.”


—Kristine Huntley, Booklist (the review journal of the American Library Assoc., 2002)

“...examines vampirism from an unusual and genuinely horrifying angle.”

—Nick Gevers, SF Site Review, 2001

"I was reminded of the tone of some of Harlan Ellison’s best work, particularly those collected in Deathbird Stories, where many of the protagonists seemed to be the unwitting victims of dark, irrational forces."

—Mike Driscoll, The Fix, November 2008

“...a title that rules. ...psychic vampirism, creepy street performers, the horrors of small coastal towns. And Smith took the story somewhere that surprised me. The twist is sustained.”

—Jay Lake, Tangent Online, November 2001

Read all the reviews here. Hope that you'll check out the trailer! You can read more about the movie here: here.

Another great review for CHIMERASCOPE

Chimerascope coverAnother nice review for my second collection, Chimerascope, this one in the August issue of Broken Pencil, The Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts:

"Smith is obviously a gifted writer in the genre of science-fiction. … Smith paints his worlds so well that you are transported within a paragraph or two and remain in transit until the short story ends -- a challenging feat to be sure. Smith takes common science-fiction topics, such as love between alien races, and manages to find a new way to have his tales unfold. … Smith tells them with a flair that breathes life into his characters. … [The] familiar traits that drive human needs and wants -- such as ambition, pride, love, hate and fear -- are what piece these stories together and give them a life of their own."

Read the full review here. Read more about Chimerascope here, including excerpts from all the stories and more reviews, and how to order.

Sixty-five swings (or never give up on a story)

Warrior Wisewoman 3 coverI have a "new" story, entitled "A Bird in the Hand," in the upcoming anthology, Warrior Wisewoman 3, due out this month. See right for the beautiful cover. I include quotes around "new" because I wrote this story fourteen years ago, the second story that I ever wrote (so if you do track this one down, please be gentle). I'd actually sold this story a couple of times in the past, but those markets both folded before the story was published. For any short fiction writers out there, there is a lesson here. Despite the mounting pile of rejections and the frustrations of two close calls, I kept the story in the mail (or email), and was finally rewarded with a sale to a respected anthology series. How many times did I keep it in the mail?

Sixty-five. That's right. Sixty-five swings and a miss (not counting the two phantom sales) before it found a real home and saw the light of published day. This is my record for rejections before a sale, breaking my previous high (set last year on a story written the same year as this one) by ten. If any of you have read my story "Spirit Dance," this is another tale about the Heroka, my race of shape shifters, and the Tainchel, the shadowy covert government op that hunts them. An early review states "a very interesting turn-around story, in which our expectations are upended at the last minute. ...a good read, and sadly, far too relevant to our own present world."

A new collection! In France!

I've been approached by Benoît Domis of DreamPress regarding a publishing a collection of my fantasy stories in France. We're still working through the details, but it would be published sometime in 2011. More info to follow. Benoît was formerly the publisher and editor of the excellent French dark fantasy magazine, Ténèbres, in France, which published two of my Heroka shapeshifter stories, "Spirit Dance" and "A Bird in the Hand." Check out their great covers below.

Readings in Edmonton in May 2011

Assuming that the nice people at the Edmonton Public Library get their requested Canadian Council grant funding, I'll be doing two readings in Edmonton the weekend of May 27-29, 2011. One of the readings would be on Sunday May 29 at EPL's monthly Writers' Corner (these take place the last Sunday afternoon of the month), and another would be at the Strathcona County Library, a very short distance from Edmonton, on either the Friday or the Saturday. More details to follow in January once we hear about the funding request.


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