Nocturnal Admissions: Swine & Roses

Entry number five or six in my series of shorts about a third-shift psychologist. Special guest-reference to the work of Andy Reynolds, fellow New Orleans SF writer — check his stuff out here.

 

Nocturnal Admissions: Swine & Roses

Ever since I helped that smooth guy from Cafe Envie get over his affair with a sexually-frustrated ghost, my practice has begun taking on the occasional supernatural client. A number of them, unsurprisingly, have trouble integrating into modern society.

Andy is probably the one who gave Circe got my number. Dream girl? I can’t date clients. Pixie? It was more of a Chelsea cut. But manic? That’s exactly what her appointment that night was about!

“So,” she began, “after some bro-y sailor spread gossip about me being a battleaxe just because I wouldn’t line his crew up and blow ’em all in a row like a trained seal, I had to skip town for a couple thousand years. New Orleans seemed like a fun place with the vampires and all.”

“That’s just for tourism,” I said.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

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A Review, A Con, and Theatre Stories

Random updates to publishing ventures this weekend!

My short story “Steam & Hot Air” was praised in a writeup of Gallery of Curiosities on the blog Steampunk Way of Life. Thanks, folks!

I went to Bouchercon here in NOLA this weekend, got some signed Ken Wishnia books, had to snark on a guy for expressing surprise that we’re not a blight-addled swampscape a decade after Katrina, and got handed an entire pint bottle of whiskey by what I sure hope was someone officially employed on the con’s behalf. Hm.

This Sunday also marked the publication of two books I’ve contributed to! Longing is Esoterotica’s third anthology which includes a style parody of a favorite author of mine and a (rare!) actual confessional essay. Beyond Desire is a reissue of their first anthology which removes some material from performers who’ve parted ways and includes the scripts to our two Fringe shows. Our collective stories about the production of these shows could probably run longer than the scripts themselves, but I’ll share two of my favorites.

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Next Left Press

As an author whose book was released through a small publisher, at the start, I was worried about what kind of quality my eventual book would have. I don’t mean the words that I put into it, I mean the aesthetics of it. You can’t read small press authors without picking up on the fact that there are some pretty good books out saddled with lazily-designed covers and the same pupil-numbing sans serif font used for everything inside. Adage be damned, a book’s appearance can entice or repulse potential readers, and sometimes a well-designed book can be an art object all its own. Mine isn’t necessarily, but I know somebody who has made several.

Geoff Munsterman, who designed Northern Dandy, made a beautiful book out of what otherwise would have just been “zachb_collection.rtf” sitting on my desktop. He got a gorgeous, thematic image for the cover, designed and arranged the title around it, and even kept its color scheme in line with the other collections Sapiosexual has released.

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His artful design touches are all over the thing — inside as well. It’s faint in the picture, but there’s a cursive shadow beneath every title. Classy! I didn’t give him any guidelines for the interior, it didn’t even occur to me, but he put a wonderful amount of thought into it. When I’m at a reading I need to dress up to look as good as this book. Geoff’s book designs are swanky enough to meet the dress code at Commander’s Palace.

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Geoff Munsterman, and his chapbook operation Next Left Press, have been severely hit by the recent flooding in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. He’s lost the vast majority of his bookmaking supplies, thread and paper, to say nothing of the numerous books in his personal collection. If any of you are in the market for poetry manuscript critiques, design work, or considering putting out a hand-bound chapbook, I’d urge you to get in touch with him. He has done amazing work for my friends and I, and I would not be nearly as excited about being an author if the book I’m pushing didn’t look as good as he made it.

You can see more examples of his work at http://www.nextleftpress.com/ and get in contact with him at nextleftpress@gmail.com.