Another of my Swancon 2010 purchases, Scary Kisses was launched with cupcakes and readings by contributing authors. Not only was there a lot of promise in those snippets, the cover was gorgeous and it promptly went into my stash – and to the top of my very, very, very large to-read pile.
Liz Grzyb has compiled a fabulous collection of paranormal stories about love. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, elder gods, witches, dragons and unnamed evil all get a place to shine, or lurk. Some of the stories worked better for me than others, as always happens in any anthology, but the whole ensemble is a fine dish of literate goodies!
Standouts for me were:
- Felicity Dowker’s “Bread and Circuses”, a dark, disturbing, moving story of love after the zombie apocalypse
- Ian Nichols’ “Fade Away” pleased me by delivering an ending I wasn’t expecting
- I find I want to read more set in the world created by Angela Slatter and L.L. Hannett in “The February Dragon”
- Kyla Ward’s “Cursebreaker: The Welsh Widow and the Wandering Wooer” demonstrated a refreshing and lively prose style, and is another one with potential for a whole universe of fascinating stories
- My fondness for “Date with a Vampire” by Annette Backshall bloomed the instant the heroine refused to play her part, and the Perth setting was nice. Let’s see more paranormal fiction set in Australia, folks!
- D.C. White’s “Pride and Tentacles” is just the right fluffy bit of fun to round off the collection and for some reason I find I’m not the least bit surprised by Cthulu’s choice of book.
There’s a lot of great work coming out of Australian small presses at the moment, and Western Australian seems to be leading the charge with its SF and fanasy publishers, like Twelfth Planet Press and Triconeroga Publications. The latter has published Scary Kisses and it’s worth checking both publishers out for their back catalogue and upcoming books. In the meantime, buy Scary Kisses and support Australian small press, not because it’s Australian, but because it’s great.