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Lucy A. Snyder

Lucy A. Snyder fantasy authorLucy A. Snyder has a BS in biology and an MA in journalism and is a graduate of the 1995 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. She has worked as a computer systems specialist, science writer, biology tutor, researcher, software reviewer, radio news editor, and bassoon instructor. In her past life as an editor, she published Dark Planet and edited for HMS Beagle. She currently produces a column for Horror World on science and technology for writers. Learn more at Lucy A. Snyder ‘s website.

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Spellbent

Spellbent — (2009-2011) Publisher: Jessie Shimmer’s roguish lover, Cooper, has been teaching her ubiquemancy, the art of finding the magic in everyday things. But things go terribly wrong when the couple try to call a rainstorm in downtown Columbus. A hellish portal opens, and Cooper is ripped from the world. Worse yet, a vicious demon invades the city. Jessie barely manages to slay it, but she’s gravely wounded and the capital’s center is destroyed. As if losing an eye and a hand isn’t bad enough, the city’s ruling mage, Benedict Jordan, brands her an outlaw. With only her ferret familiar to help her, Jessie must find the dimension Cooper’s trapped in and bring him back alive before sinister machinations make both of them vanish for good.

Lucy A. Snyder 1. Spellbent 2. Shotgun Sorceress 3. SoulbournLucy A. Snyder 1. Spellbent 2. Shotgun Sorceress 3. Soulbournfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Spellbent: It’s a good book even before we get to Hell

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Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder

It’s just a routine rain spell. Jessie and her teacher and lover, Cooper, head to the city park to call up a storm and make a few bucks. But something goes horribly wrong. By the end of the night, Cooper has been sucked away into a Hell realm, and Jessie has suffered devastating injuries.

Then, things get worse. Benedict Jordan, the leader of the city’s magicians, gives Jessie a choice: either she agrees not to rescue Cooper, or else she becomes anathema. Jessie is definitely not the kind of girl who’ll leave her boyfriend to rot in Hell, so she chooses anathema. Jordan proceeds to ruin her life and leave her with nothing. Nothing, that is, except her never-give-up attitude and Palimpsest, an uptight ferret familiar who is described as having the voice of a Canadian librarian. (Not knowing any Canadian librarians, my brain has substituted an unh... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, April 2014

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“Sleep Paralysis” by Dale Bailey is the opening story of the April 2014 issue of Nightmare, getting things off to a fine start. Bailey’s first person narrator, a skilled undertaker, has found comfort in his wife, beautiful and young, while he is plain and in the autumn of his years. The wife is extremely active in charity work, gone most days and many evenings, leaving her husband to work and spend nights at his club — a situation that has caused rumors that she married him solely for his money, and is engaged in rather more private charity than she admits to. The narrator refuses to give the rumors any credence, but they begin to weigh heavily upon him despite his resolve. Bailey writes in a formal style appropriate to the narrator’s profession and the time in which his story is set (which is never explicitly stated, but appears to be around the turn of the last century), setting the tone ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Jamais Vu, Issue Two

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Issue Two of Jamais Vu does not fulfill the promise of Issue One (reviewed here).

“Valedictorian” by Steven Wolf is a post-apocalypse story, though there is no hint exactly what happened; we only know that few have survived, none of them adults, and the world is littered with dead bodies.  Wolf’s first-person narrator is a high-school-aged boy who, with his friend Gretchen, shows up at the local high school every school day. Gretchen is the one who insists on this, and she engages in serious self-study. The narrator just sleeps, although he changes classrooms on schedule and eats during the “assigned” lunch period. The two of them regularly interact with a group of younger children, around nine or ten years of age, who soon make it apparent that this story is a variant of William Gold... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, August 2014

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The August issue of Nightmare Magazine is exceptionally good, and given the generally outstanding nature of this publication, that’s saying something. All four of the stories this month are excellent by any standard.

The magazine opens with “Dear Owner of This 1972 Ford Crew Cab Pickup” by Desirina Boskovich. It’s a letter from a woman with terrible insomnia to a man who wakes her every morning at about 3:00 a.m. by revving — and revving, and revving — the engine of the titular vehicle before heading home from a night at a local tavern, where he tends bar. The woman has written to the man at least three times before, asking for his consideration, explaining that she is exhausted from tending to her hospital... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, Women Destroy Horror Issue

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I wouldn’t normally review a magazine from last month, but the October issue of Nightmare Magazine is something special, and it’s still available. In this issue, Women Destroy Horror! Issue 25 is devoted to horror written by women, the result of a Kickstarter originally intended to help women destroy science fiction (in the June 2014 issue of Lightspeed Magazine) that met its stretch goals. (Full disclosure: I contributed to the Kickstarter.)

The guest fiction editor of this issue is Ellen Datlow, who is the foremost horror editor working today, of any gender. She picked a lot of great stories for this special issue. Her editorial reminds us that women not only once dominated horror, but actually invented it. Ghost stories and gothic tales were written by women for decades before Read More

Shadowed Souls: One way to audition a new Urban Fantasy series

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Shadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes

Shadowed Souls is an invitational anthology edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes. Butcher is the author of three fantasy series: THE DRESDEN FILES, THE CODEX ALERA, and THE CINDER SPIRES. Hughes is an established short fiction writer who has edited several anthologies including Chicks Kick Butt, Westward Weird, and Maiden Matron Crone.

The theme of Shadowed Souls is, “good isn’t always light and evil isn’t always dark,” and the eleven stories here showcase main characters — often from the writer’s series — who struggle not to give in to the monster within... or to keep it contained. W... Read More