Interview with John Kaiine

John Kaiine is an artist, sculptor, poet and story-teller, who’s worked with Immanion Press since 2011, both as an author (through his novel Fossil Circus) and an artist, in providing the sumptuous cover artwork for most of the books by Tanith Lee we’ve published. John and Tanith were married for 25 years, a relationship that ended with her death in 2015. John is currently working on intriguing new material, including the cover art he’s providing for the Tanith story collections we’re publishing this year. We thought it was time we asked him to tell us more about his work and what has and continues to inspire him.

JK Self Portrait 2018Self-Portrait by the artist, April 2019

 IP: It’s clear you’re interested in the peculiar and the macabre, John. What were your early influences in respect of films, TV shows, fiction and music?

JK: I didn’t go looking for the weirdness, it was just there. Perfectly natural. Environment was part of the influence. I was brought up in a weird part of London, Roehampton. (Roers) More on that later. It was early 1970’s, all was grim-garish post-hippy pre-punk inbetweeness. Fifty shades of brown tartan. There was still some respect in the air. Not much, but enough. Precious little hope, the three-day week with Gothic candlelit shadow’d evenings, but we had colour TV, so that made it alright. (Yeah.) But it was always the old black and white movies viewed on those screens that entranced me. King Kong, the original with Fay Wray, was the first film I ever saw. BBC2 showed old horror flicks on Friday nights; Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula. Beautiful visions, so much detail and emotion compared to TV with its old game show queens in sequin suits, Carry On movies, Northern soaps. Jimmy Savile O.B.E.  Kids TV was surreal and shite. Monty Python was cool. And wonderful Dr Who. Radio 4 spewed out the Goons. That was enough to be going on with. Fiction, to me, was all of the mythologies and American comics; same thing. I was what would now be called the Geek, who knew all the names of the DC and Marvel heroes and villains, and Atlas and Charlton’s, too. When all the school was drooling over Kevin Keegan, I was finding out as much as possible about Lon Chaney Snr. I was never really into music as a kid, although I always had a huge crush on Suzi Quatro. My brother had a massive record collection and I would sometimes root through some of the boxes, looking at the cover artwork. I recall some cool Roxy Music, Budgie and Wishbone Ash. He played me Napoleon XIV’s ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Haa!!’ one night and then he played the B-Side, which is the same song in reverse. That did something to me. Later on, the first album I heard and fully took on-board was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Kinda went downhill from there… And so, early creative influences and absolutely no respect at all must go to my prescription junkie psychopathic father who taught me to read and write when I was 2 or 3, respectively. My rest of ‘early’ was stuff that Universal Studios couldn’t, and really wouldn’t wanted to have churned out. Dear old Boris and Bela withstanding.

IP: How did you begin writing and creating art? Can you share details of your early career with us? 

JK: I was always drawing, making notes. It was a form of escape. I don’t have old artwork, just a remnant from when I was making notes/sketches for Fossil Circus. I have some early photographs. I always wanted to be a comedian – laugh or cry. That thankfully didn’t happen, but I was apprentice for a while to the wonderful special effects expert, Ian Scoones. That was amazing. I love the working film crew atmosphere. Other stuff happened. I was always creative throughout.

IP: Tanith wrote the previously unpublished story ‘Iron City’, which appears in ‘Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata’, around the time she met you. How did you meet? Would you say that the creative sensibilities – including a love of the unusual – you shared were part of what forged your relationship?

T&J1991John and Tanith in 1991

JK: We met at a Forbidden Planet publishing ‘do’, (‘Crying in the Rain‘) London 1987. We had never met, had no idea either existed and were both going to leave for different reasons. We were both persuaded to stay by two different lots of people. We ended up being in the upstairs bar and the old cliché (eyes across a crowded room etc) happened. We met for dinner a week later and that was that. When we first got together, because of age difference, Tanith was 39, I was 20, there was a lot of negativity from others. Age and also height discrepancies, I’m 6’6, she was 5’2. I recall some twat saying, ‘I give it six months’. Twenty-eight years later, twenty-five of those married, the only way we were parted was by death. Tanith literally died in my arms. But that was only the physical. She’s still around. And always will be. ‘Unusual’ to the both of us was natural for different reasons. That was apparent from night one. Iron City came around from word play. We both wrote a line each and at the end of the evening, she said. ‘Whatever happens with us, I will never be bored with you.‘ Creative sensibilities may have had something to do with it, we just liked throwing words and ideas around. Nothing more, nothing scholarly or pretentious. Kids who had finally re-found one another’s imaginary friends. Just the love of creating with images which came to be stories sometimes. Novels. Even trilogies. Our joint love of cats was integral too. We were forged by one another. (I have almost three decades worth of ornate tins/boxes full of notes, ideas, scribbled details, possible character names, titles. Some got used. The rest are gathered together.) I have an entire book of Sherlock Holmes short story ideas we came up with over the years.

Tin of IdeasThe Tin of Ideas, photograph by John Kaiine

IP: You collaborated on many of Tanith’s works. Could you talk about some of these collaborations?

JK: After Iron City ~ October ’87. We were walking through Richmond Park the weekend after the ‘nothing like this for 80-100 years‘ hurricane had arrived in England. Tanith had just signed up for a massive commitment. An epic erotic vampire novel. That was her real first time ‘ Vampire novel’. (Aside from, Sabella) Her working title was ‘The Colour of Blood‘. I said, ‘That’s crap, and it’s already been done.’ She laughed, nodded, agreed and for the rest of our afternoon picking through the devastation of uprooted trees, we came up with the title’ The Blood of Roses.‘ We worked well together; I could think of ideas as swiftly as she could write. Tanith had written so much; she appreciated a new fresh voice in her vast cacophony. Sometimes my suggestions fitted, sometimes not. At the end of the working day, we would sit down together, and Tanith would read what she had written, we would talk about it, very seldom making small changes. Any other editing was done when she typed it all up on her electric typewriter. Sometimes what I was making on Photoshop would trigger an image and she would write about who or what that was. (Israbel. Cold Fire.) She was always being asked to contribute to anthologies and when approached for a tale on vampires, dragons etc, her response would normally be “OMFG, I’ve done that to death!”

My response, “Do you want me to have a think about that…?”

“Yes, please.”

Then after dinner I would approach with a possible idea. If it struck the right note, the question would be if I ‘had written that down’.

We would always talk about plots, characters, ideas when out at lunch. Many a heavily-scribbled tablecloth was purloined, and fellow diners freaked out by enthusiastic new ways of killing. Sometimes we did that on purpose. Death by flamingo will always take first prize for that. (A Bed of Earth ) Another perfectly normal Indian lunch wrapped up with another unique death. The novels/ideas that come to mind are: Vivia – I suggested the whole kicking in the castle door, walking up to the bridal chamber with the dead horse image and actually quite lots of it, as she was getting to the stage where she wanted to write contemporary or at least not fantasy, however dark. Elephantasm – which came from a sketch of a skeletal giraffe looming over/through a Victorian four-poster. Reigning Cats and Dogs (how to find a new way to kill in a Jack the Ripper style… do it by time. Victims found ancient, bits newborn, child, embryonic) and all of The Scarabae Blood Opera. We had so much fun with that. She loved the true historical myths/legends of vampires, I just added new insights, days out wandering around the weird London that I knew and introductions to odd contemporary stuff. East London then was in the beginnings of being ‘gentrified’, so there were still real people and real places alongside the encroaching suits and overseas investors.

Tanith 1999Tanith Lee in 1999, photograph by John Kaiine

The highlight of OMFGness was when Tanith couldn’t get into the first Piratica book. It was meant to be about real pirates, yet she had a massive block on it. We found out why later. She went away with friends for a few days and I had that time to think about it. Return. Lunch. ‘About that pirate thing…’

<sigh> ‘Yes…’

‘You don’t want to write about real pirates, so why don’t you write about your favourite people.’

‘Do what? (it was actually, ‘what the fuck are you on about, John?’)

‘Who do you like best?’

‘Actors, you know that.’

‘OK, so they’re not pirates, they’re actors convincingly playing pirates.’

Long, silent stare, wine glass in hand, not knowing if she was going to launch it at me, then a lift of an eyebrow, and ‘have you written that down…?’ Result. Those books were always an excuse to intrude upon each other’s workrooms with lists of stupid names and surprisingly intense newfound pirate facts. She had a wall full of intricately detailed illustrated fighting pirate ships and everything else I could find for her.  Another short story, Black and White Sky, came about from one of our monotonous hour-long journeys to Maidstone when she was having to have radiotherapy every day. We were out in the wilds, stuck behind a tractor. I looked out the window and saw a magpie flying up out of a field of reeds, and then another, then another. I told Tanith to look and she saw what I was seeing, magpie after magpie rising up, rising up. She only said, “Are you writing that down?” I wasn’t, but I did later.

Years ago, when Coronation Street had excellent writers, we happened across an episode where an old witless guy was left to a character in a will. The germ of that became the short story, ‘Antonius Bequeathed.’ See, it was all very intellectually cultural and stuff. An idea could happen from a passed remark from a cab driver, and often ended up fifty pages later. I would begin writing novels or more often than not, long short stories and me being me, would hit ‘bored now’ and discard it. ‘Unlocked’ was one such, and Tanith asked if she could add to it. She did, I did some more, and the end result was especially beautiful. There are endless such examples, short stories, novels. All genres. I will always miss it, but so damned pleased that I wrote most of it down.

IP: I know there’s a story about what gave you the idea for ‘Fossil Circus’. Would you tell us about it?

Jerusalem Car Chase‘Jerusalem Car Chase’
Illustration from ‘Fossil Circus’ by John Kaiine

JK: Early 1970’s, I grew up in South-West London. Roehampton Village. Roers. <sigh> OK… Enviroment can manipulate character. It was one of the biggest housing estates in Europe, slab blocks, point blocks, low-level housing nestling within the Georgian landscape, ‘considered by many British architects to be the crowning glory of post-World War II social housing.’ Everywhere was concrete grey and leaf green. Science fiction architecture growing up, out of an endless forest. Now Grade II listed buildings. To the East and to the West the wilds of Wimbledon Common and miles of Richmond Park skirt the perimeters of the village. It was the home of a massive hospital, Queen Mary’s. Base of original false limbs making, burns unit, psychiatric specialist wards. Most of the patients there were encouraged to live within the local environment. So everywhere you looked were either limbless, horribly burnt, psychiatric, geriatric passers-by. Or any mixture. There was a substantial head count of Down’s Syndrome folk too, ministered to by heavily-veiled and wimpled nuns. It’s the home of The Priory, where celebs rush to now if they have any ‘bad’ publicity. In its glory days, Mervyn Peake convalesced there for a while. Looking back at it all, I don’t think I could have lived anywhere else. Everything was twisted, distorted, disfigured, beautiful, brutal… Different. Double amputee war veterans with tall steel crutches loomed on every corner. Shell-shocked old geezers rattled through Le Corbusier’s walkways. I recall a woman who had been in a terrible fire – she had no face, just an empty black shape held in place by a metal cage. A glamourous tobacconist lady with a wooden hand. Dangerous inpatients would often go AWOL from P1 and be at large. There were colourful fly-by’s from the pandemonium of escaped parrots that lived on Wimbledon Common. 1960’s bronze sculptures – The Three Watchers and The Bull, all verdigrised. It was near Heathrow and the planes were so low and loud. The first episode of Minder, Gun-Fight at the OK Laundrette, was filmed there. The Pope visited in 1982 and all the pubs in the district ran dry. Epic twilights. There always seemed to be a full moon. There is a tiny graveyard dedicated to the bones of nuns. It was totally fucking Weird and I loved it. (You can see now why I lost my job at the English Tourist Board advertisement agency…) My Mum worked at the hospital and sometimes brought me home junked artificial hands and arms to play with. I was brought up in an atmosphere of violence and nearly always threat in the air (my C word of a father was the inspiration for the seemingly indestructible serial killer Jerusalem Lamb), so losing myself in the much-needed escapism of myths, comics and horror films, it’s little wonder that my future landscape had already been painted for me. These memories and encounters forged the characters and backdrop to Fossil Circus. A much-used piece of advice to aspiring authors is Write about what you know. I did.

IP: What are your current inspirations for your art? Are there any stories behind the pictures displayed on your new Instagram page?

JK: OK ~ Instagram. It’s a free gallery for my art until I decide what I want to do about/create my own website. It’s waited this long, it can wait longer. I’m no lover of social media, (Neither was Tanith. She was offered a financially substantial publishing deal 2 years before she died, and she/we knew she was dying, and turned it down because contractually she would have had to have blogged the trilogy’s ongoingness. ‘Why fucking blog when you can use that time to write?’ Unquote.) I don’t FB, Tweet or whatever solipsistic rubbish. But I do understand the commercial viability of such. Instagram seemed the most contact-free option.  Inspirations… Not really. There are book covers there spanning twenty years. Life, therefore illness, death, grieving, mistakes and consequences got in the way and needed to. Art happened when it did. Art (for me) is easier than writing. Right now, and for a while, writing has been tucked away until I can be in that fucked up arena of luscious thought again. It’s coming.

MotherWentAwayToMakeYouCry‘Mother Went Away to Make you Cry’  by John Kaiine

Stories: There are quite a few Doctor Who images there. Reason ~ I had an art show in USA where I couldn’t attend. Apparently photographic images of mine of cemetery angels were taken to be Weeping Angels. These were popular and sold. Therefore: Doctor Who images sell. Gosh, really that obvious… Yep. So, taking advantage of several long weeks of disability last year, when all I could do was be stretched out and immobile, I opted to be stretched out in front of my lovely big work screen and submerged myself in hundreds of hours of past and present Who. I/We (Tanith and I) had been lifelong fans. I had been lucky enough to operate a working Dalek and she was asked to reincarnate the Doctor years before BBC reinvented the series. (The actor name in that particular Doctor frame then was Brian Blessed). I created myriad Who images, past, present and future. There will be (all being well) a Doctor Who art exhibition of mine later this year. (More on that later.) Other images are Giger inspired, long term doodles that slotted into others and become complete, and/or just stuff sitting around in ancient files and re-layered and re-curved.

WUTHERING DEPTHS‘Wuthering Depths’ by John Kaiine

Can I vent about Doctor Who here now…? Who is Epic, legendary, mythological. Enchanting, much-needed escapism since 1963. We/I followed it from Hartnell/ Pertwee through good, bad, indifferent, heart-rending, stupid, ‘wow, I wish I’d thought of that’, ‘meh’… We stopped watching during the 12th Doctor era (Capaldi was, and is, brilliant. But criminally let down by erratic writing: Midlife crisis sunglasses, electric guitar playing, bursting into scene on a “I don’t like soldiers, don’t like guns, weapons” Sherman tank forchristsake, and totally miscast choice of co-actors, feeble must-have PC companions, misandry and hijacked rank SJWness. Fair and equal rights to all, but please (no pun intended), please stop trying to ram it down our throats. To cannibalise a quote from a much-loved, wonderful writer friend of ours, who puts it so succinctly ~ “As if Tanith gave a fuck about this faddish, ridiculous PC stuff. She just told stories, since that was her vocation in life, and her own wisdom shone through as a natural part of her work. Others simply seek to demystify authors’ work, making it fit a certain agenda. They’re just draping their whatever’s trending right-on clothes on the mannequin of others’ genius.” (That being said, I’m really looking forward to that new possible Marvel movie re-boot with Dame Judi Dench playing the lead role in Black Panther.) I truly hope The Doctor returns one day, in whatever gender, beautifully written, acted and supported. With more Cybermen and Zygons.

IP: Do you plan to produce any more fiction or graphic novels in the near future?

JK: Yes. Absolutely. An editor has recently very unwisely approached me to participate in a Weird Landscapes U.K anthology, which will be a good way of easing back into writing all day long again. Bliss. Before Tanith died, I was working on (writing, photographing, Photoshopping) an on-line graphic novel, Flowers, for inclusion in David Lloyd’s, (V for Vendetta) online magazine Ace’s Weekly, but stuff happened and it’s sat on a hard-drive somewhere for four years. I’m not sure if I’ll revisit it or dramatically change it or offer something new. I have three unfinished novels which all need completing; Hollow. Mind-Sea-Wreckage. MoonThief. Or I may just piss everyone off with a sequel to Fossil Circus.

FlowersFrom ‘Flowers’ by John Kaiine

IP: Can you tell us what plans you have for your artwork? Is it available for people to buy?

Fuchsia copy‘Fuschia’ by John Kaiine
(Appeared on the cover of ‘Animate Objects’ by Tanith Lee (Immanion Press 2016)

JK: Some of my work is on Instagram, if anyone wants to buy an image, they can DM me. I am looking in to having an E-Commerce website build sometime this year. I offer a unique service – especially for Doctor Who fans. They tell me their favourite Doctor, companion, monster and I create an image incorporating all of those elements. One image, one layer, printed, Photoshop file deleted, they own the only copy. I will frame the image too from one of my many effected frames. I am going to begin having some of my designs printed on to fabric material and wallpaper too.

Our Lady of Maggots‘Our Lady of Maggots’ by John Kaiine

IP: Now, on to more frivolous things. What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you?

JK: How long have you got… Aside from my childhood and things that blur legality ~ a séance on a ripped-up snooker table, coming face to face with rutting stags in Richmond Park in 3am darkness and steaming, misty rain. Shopping trolleying down Caterham hill at great speed into oncoming traffic, falling off a cliff on the Isle of St. Mary’s, my time gravedigging and un-ivying Howard Carter’s neglected gravestone, meeting my doppelganger on the roof of Notre Dame cathedral, having my ‘soul realigned’ by my kinesiologist, Beryl. Walking through ghosts in The Stag pub, Hastings, being the only audience to an brass band of Down’s Syndrome folk playing Christmas tunes (1975), being accused of being German by Japanese tourists in Utrecht on our honeymoon! Being banned from Cornwall (1985), unearthing a Victorian human jaw bone while mud-larking on the Thames, and any of our numerous meetings with Harry Harrison and/or Ken Campbell. Every visitation in The Clown pub, Hastings. And just living in Hastings. I wouldn’t call Tanith and I meeting, weird. That was written, meant to happen. Weird is relevant. All of the above were great fun and very interesting. Weird to me is how the majority exist.

pirate day 2012
Tanith and John at Hastings’ ‘Pirate Day’ in 2012

IP: Who are your favourite authors, musicians and film-makers?

JK: Writers ~ Mervyn Peake, Graham Greene, John LeCarre, John Banville, Jean Rhys, Isak Dinesen. Angela Carter. Kafka. John Fowles. M.R. James.

Artists ~ Klimt, Beardsley, Edward Gorey, Howard Pyle, Durer, H.R. Giger.

Films ~ Plunkett and Macleane, Brotherhood of the Wolf, The Hitcher, BladeRunner 1 and 2, Freaks, The Man Who Laughs, Nosferatu, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dog Soldiers, Alien, Karloff’s Frankenstein, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, Fatherland, The Happy Time Murders, Mad Max 1, Mad Max Fury Road. Jumanji 1 and 2.

Recently – the excellent series Taboo, Bosch, The Punisher and of course every single episode of South Park. The Tick is very funny too.

Music ~ depends on what I’m doing – art or writing. Gary Numan, Tubeway Army, The Stranglers, Fields of the Nephilim, Marillion old, Marillion new, Curve, Gorecki, David Bowie, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Dead Can Dance, Rammstein, David Sylvian, Depeche mode, Sisters of Mercy, Fever Ray, Peter Gabriel. And my guilty Youtube video secret – Panic at the Disco

My favourite albums to work to are The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis, The Tubeway Army album, Marillion’s F.E.A.R, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Outside by David Bowie. Security, Peter Gabriel.

Favourite tracks ~ Sinister, The Stranglers. Freaks, Marillion. Jo the Waiter, Tubeway Army. Comfortably Numb. Rakim, Dead Can Dance. Carpet Crawlers, Genesis. Small Idols by Cyclefly. Panic at the Disco – We Write Sins Not tragedies. Anything by Rammstein.

IP: What is your ambition for 2019?

JK: I’m just 52 now and have an overwhelming feeling that my time is running out, so I need to achieve lots more. Working towards getting more of Tanith’s work back in print, The Blood of Roses will be republished by Immanion in 2020, more art shows, getting back into writing, a massive Doctor Who art project (Time is a Forgery), my own website and creating a series of Gothic portraits made from a hybrid of antiquing mirrors, photography, Photoshop and lots and lots of dirty white candle wax…

 Thank you, John, for all these wonderful stories you’ve shared with us.

John’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/johnkaiineartist/

 John’s novel, ‘Fossil Circus’ is available from Immanion Press. Following the recently-published Tanith collection ‘Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata and other Uncollected Tales’, we’ll be releasing two further collections of rare stories and curios in ‘Love in a Time of Dragons’ and ‘A Wolf at the Door’. John will provide the cover artwork for these as well as the forthcoming ‘The Blood of Roses’. All details will appear on this blog, and our page on Facebook.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTWORK FEATURED IN THIS INTERVIEW ARE COPYRIGHTED. PLEASE DO NOT REPRODUCE ANY OF THEM ONLINE OR IN PRINTED FORM WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF JOHN KAIINE, WHO MAY BE CONTACTED THROUGH IMMANION PRESS. info(at)immanion-press(dot)com

New and Forthcoming Titles – June 18

New Fiction

Immanion Press is releasing two fiction titles this month. ‘Mythumbra’ is the fifth collection of short stories by Storm Constantine, gathering all of her uncollected works. The previous volumes were ‘Mythophidia’, ‘Mytholumina’, ‘Mythangelus’ and ‘Mythanimus’.  This new book collects stories from various magazines and anthologies published over the last couple of years. It also includes a previously unpublished piece, ‘Master of None’.

9781907737879

‘Long Indeed Do We Live’ is set upon a desiccated, barren future earth, where life exists only in artificial domes. But the spirit of nature – perhaps vengeful – is persistent and can find its way through the cracks. ‘From the Cold Dark Sea’ is a Lovecraftian story of the peculiar inhabitants of a mansion, next to the ocean in Cornwall. A young woman goes there to restore a mysterious old book that seems to tell a weird history of creatures of the sea. The peculiar inhabitants of the nearby town might well have stepped from the pages. ‘A Winter Bewitchment’ spins an elegant tale of fantasy, exploring the mysteries of feminine allure. A countess, bored of her marriage, wants one last splendid fling, but it’s the witchcraft of her young companion which enables this, and the results are unpredictable. ‘The Saint’s Well’ is a tale of the unseen in the landscape and how ancient beliefs persist in hidden corners of the countryside. An agent of the Vatican investigates the alleged manifestation of a saint in a small Welsh village in the 1950s. Is this down purely to the imagination of a child, or something more – and of much earlier times. These are but tasters for the tales within this collection, which presents Storm Constantine at her story-telling best. Includes black and white illustrations by the author and Danielle Lainton. Cover by Danielle Lainton.

Contents:

The Drake Lords of Kyla, Long Indeed Do We Live, A Winter Bewitchment, The Saint’s Well, At the Sign of the Leering Angel, Master of None, In the Earth, From the Cold Dark Sea, In Exile, The Secret Gallery, The Foretelling.

Para Spectral is the fifth in the ‘Para’ series of anthologies, stories written by various writers within Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu Mythos. Each volume has had a theme for authors to play with, and the most recent book, subtitled ‘Hauntings of Wraeththu’ is essentially a collection of ghost stories – although with unusual twists. The tales have been written by regular contributors to the Mythos and we welcome a new author to the ranks in Zane Marc Gentis.

9781907737961

Hara are by nature acutely psychic, able to perceive far more beyond physical senses that humans ever could. In a haunted spot – whatever its nature, if only a lingering sense of guilt or terror from a past conflict – hara are more susceptible to witness whatever might have remained hidden to the majority of human eyes.

What ghosts might haunt a Wraeththu har? Phantoms of the dead – whether humans, hara or something else? Perhaps they perceive ‘stone tape’ memories of the past that have soaked into buildings, fields and forests to replay ancient events at certain times? They might face chaotic entities that cause havoc, or manifestations from etheric realms, beings that leak into earthly reality from the otherlanes. They could even experience inner hauntings, where a har harbours secrets of which he’s never spoken that come to plague him. All these and more manifest in Para Spectral. Includes 7 b/w illustrations by Storm Constantine. Cover by Ruby.

Contents:

Introduction – Storm Constantine
The Wraeththu: A Brief Definition of Their Origin
Recalled to Life – Maria J. Leel
A Handful of Sea Coins – Nerine Dorman
The Museum – Amanda Kear
The Kinder Lie – Fiona Lane
The Hardest Hue to Hold – E. S. Wynn
The Ghost of Who I Was – Zane Marc Gentis
Winds of Vengeance – Martina Bellovičová,
The Strangest Ghost of Apaley – Christiane Gertz,
The Emptiness Next Door – Storm Constantine,
Alas, What is Done in Youth – Wendy Darling

Future Fiction Releases

We’ve had inquiries about future Wraeththu Mythos novels. So, to answer readers’ questions: ‘Last Ride to Lyonis’ by Maria J. Leel is currently being written – we aim to bring this book out in early 2019. As for ‘Rosa Mundi’ by Kris Dotto – a book that has become almost legendary among Wraeththu enthusiasts – the author has not been able to complete the book. If we get any further news about this title it will appear on our blog or on our Facebook page. E. S. Wynn’s ‘Voices of the Silicon Beyond’, the concluding volume in his ‘Gold Country’ Wraeththu Mythos series will be published in August.

The final volume of the new editions of Tanith Lee’s ‘Blood Opera Sequence’ – ‘Darkness I’ – will be published in July with cover art by John Kaiine, 7 interior illustrations by Freda Warrington and an introduction by Sarah Singleton. John Kaiine has also asked us to bring out a new edition of Tanith’s novel ‘Vivia’, which we aim to publish in the last quarter of 2018.

Non-Fiction News

The Heart of the Elders: Good Elders and Their Influences’, by Lillith ThreeFeathers and Joy Marie Wedmedyk, will be published early this summer. The authors share astounding real-life experiences, magical blessings, and spiritual connections that prove the importance of Elders in Paganism. They provide essential advice to students and Elders on dedication, patience, accountability, being present for the experience, and using personal failure as a stepping stone. Building upon decades of unique personal experiences, they offer a practical guide to navigating respectful relationships across spiritual traditions. They include insights from interviews with more than thirty active Pagans/Neopagans, including noted teachers, writers, and Elders. No other book deals with the particular challenges of identifying Elders, their roles in our culture, and their impact on those they guide. The information gathered by the authors offers an adventure that will support your own personal path.

We’ve recently begun to work with author Simon Court on ‘The Inner Ways of Magic’ a four-volume series of books on path-working and visualisation. The series presents a complete manual of magic in the Western Esoteric Tradition, but focusing entirely with “inner” work, exercises using the imagination – also known as pathworking, the term used within the Tradition for vivid fantasy journeys. The first volume in the series ‘Paths of Earth and Moon’ will be released in the autumn and the subsequent titles will be published every 6 months.

Cornelia Benavidez’s new book ‘Transpiration: Poetry and Storytelling’ will also be published later this year. The first part of the book covers the author’s extremely interesting life growing up, and how her spiritual path developed. This is followed by her visionary and magical poetry. In the author’s own words from the introduction:

“All people wish and endeavour to be understood and to test boundaries for themselves. We desire to test and affirm what is true, for life is full of theories, possibilities and mysteries.  Storytellers, poets, scientists and adventurers all mine for their own kind of gold and, when they find it, their triumph is in not just the eureka of the find but the joy of sharing the journey as well as the discovery. In sharing with others, we are not just entertaining one another but teaching others of the joys and perils of the quest, be they internal or external. Perhaps one reason we have the drive to quest so bravely is to satisfy our hope of the other realities and possibilities available to us in life and beyond.  In this work are some of the highlights of my journey, what I have experienced and learned that has shaped my creativity and spiritual leanings. I hope that my journey from child to now makes you smile and encourages you to love in the face of our complex human existence and, most of all, teases your heart to write and speak of your own journey of experience and discovery.”

An as yet untitled book on dark goddesses, including pathworkings to visit these intriguing and sometimes almost forgotten deities, is still being written. It will include contributions from Caroline Wise, Andrew Collins and Storm Constantine, among others. More news when the project is further under way.

 

 

 

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Pop Culture Magic Systems by Taylor Ellwood is now available

Pop Culture Magic Systems

Pop Culture Magic Systems

Pop Culture Magic Systems is now available

In Pop Culture Magic Systems, Taylor Ellwood shows pop culture magicians and pagans how to construct a system of magic around their favorite pop culture. You will learn what a system of magic is, and what the essential elements are that can help you make your pop culture into a viable spiritual practice that helps you get results and explore deeper spiritual truths. If you want to level up your pop culture magical practice, this book will be your strategy guide!

You will learn:

Why a system is a map that helps you discover the territory of your pop culture magic.

How to match your pop culture mythology to traditional and new correspondences.

What the essential elements of magic are and how they can be applied to pop culture.

How to pick the pop culture you want to turn into a system of magic.

And much, much more…

“In a conversationalist tone, magical mad scientist Taylor Ellwood continues to take us through his forte of pop culture magick, but in this book he treads new and valuable ground. “Pop Culture Magic Systems” is not what you would think it would be, but then again, it is, and oh, wait, it kind of is what you may think it is! Confused? Well, in short, this is one of the best books on magic out there for one very big reason. This is a book on magical systems. Yes, I know that a lot of times we see books with the word “system” in the title, and that book walks you through a particular system of magick, but what if there was a book that gave you insight into what was behind all of those systems? Would that pique your interest? If so, this is the book for you.” – Bill Duvendack, author of Spirit Relations

“This book continues the exploration of magic in Pop Culture Magick and Pop Culture Magic 2.0 but stands on its own as a description of how to create a magical system. The techniques are aimed at experienced practitioners connecting magic with the stories of our times. How many of us have used the Force, or flicked a wand with a Harry-Potteresque Latin spell? Taylor Ellwood builds on this using the doctrine of correspondences to link pop culture ideas with traditional magical entities. Along the way he articulates the most original perspective on core principles since Isaac Bonewits listed his “Laws” in Real Magic.” – Brandy Williams author of Ecstatic Ritual

Unity of Vision in a Story Collection

Rhys Hughes, whose short story collection ‘Salty Kiss Island’ has recently been released by Immanion Press, shares his thoughts on creating a unity of vision in compiling a collection of short stories.

SKI one photo

My new collection of stories is my favourite among my books of stories, but I wasn’t fully aware of this fact until I actually held a published copy in my hands and took a deep breath. The sigh that came out was one of deep contentment and then I knew.

I have often said that such-and-such a book is my personal favourite and there have been many candidates for that distinction but Salty Kiss Island has a quality, I’m not sure what, that most others don’t have, an unplanned quality. Purity perhaps.

Not purity in the sense of lacking bite and darkness, but purity in the unity of the visions that the book assembles and disseminates. The stories just seem to fit together very nicely. They amplify each other. I feel great delight at the final sum of the parts.

We write stories over a long period of time, years, even decades, and when we collect them together into a book we can’t really know what the end result will be like. The stories weren’t written to be together, they are discrete pieces existing on their own.

And now they are suddenly required to appear with other stories, to dwell with neighbours between the covers of a book, and they are asked to do this because they have themes in common, or an approach or tone that categorizes them. They are allied.

How will they get along? This is impossible to predict accurately until the book is ready. Sometimes they will interfere with each other, quarrel, contradict, attenuate, decay. If they are juxtaposed like this, elements that weren’t weaknesses may become so.

For example, any repetition of ideas, moods, events and reactions will be plain to see. Such repetition may not be self-plagiarism on the part of the author, it may not be indolence, it might be convergent evolution, the same solution to utterly different texts.

But it won’t look that way to the reader, it will appear like a limitation or an obsession, unless the repetition has strong intertextual attributes and adds its pulsation to the bigger rhythm, to the heartbeat of the entire book, the general health of the fictive gestalt.

That is a difficult thing to engineer. It means that every time a story is being composed, the author responsible must take care not only with the aesthetic parameters of that particular work but also consider how it will unite with and complement every other story he or she has written or will write. This is surely too much to ask. The writer therefore must fall back on the emergency option of serendipity.

Happy chance can assemble a short story collection from many pieces that turns out to be harmonious, cohesive, synchronised. The stories may amplify each other in ways the author never imagined, reveal aspects that were hidden before the gathering. Such a story collection has the unity of a novel while remaining a true collection.

I never supposed that the majority of my fantastical love stories would appear in a single volume. It wasn’t planned at all. I didn’t even realise I was in thematic thrall while writing them. Each was just a new tale and a striving to express burning ideas, to get them out of my head and onto the page, where they would leave me alone.

But I truly believe it has turned out very well, better than I had hoped, and that Salty Kiss Island is an important stage of personal fulfillment on the somewhat rickety career ladder of my writing life. I am not especially successful in terms of sales, despite the critical acclaim my work garners, yet I am satisfied now. This book exists.

Every writer has a host of influences and inspirations. These might be situations and circumstances, remarkable people, abstractions, sensations, the desire to be different or to be the same. And other authors will always play a large part in the creation of a prose style, in the fundamentals of a writer’s vision and method. We attempt to imitate, then we rapidly go off on tangents, and our tangents collide and mesh with other tangents given off by other influences, and fly off again.

My fantastical love stories were influenced by my love of whimsy and invention, by certain individuals, by memories of (and yearnings for) the tropical life, by music from Brazil and Cape Verde, by the sea and stars, by the incredible writers Amado, Pessoa, Couto, Vian, Calvino, by hope and anticipation, and always by language.

salty kiss 1

Who is a Witch By Rowan Moss and T.S. Lamb is now available

Who is a Witch

Who is a Witch?

Who is a Witch? By Rowan Moss, illustrated by T. S. Lamb is now available!

Who is a Witch? Is a companion-reader book for children and parents exploring the basics – what makes a witch special and who a witch might be in a child’s life.

Whimsical illustrations and purposefully upbeat and simple language will delight the eye and open communication.

Each book in the Pagan Children Learning Series is a beginner’s introduction that allows room for discussion of your family’s own belief in every lesson!

 

Goddess 2.0: Advancing a New Path Forward is now available

Goddess 2.0

Goddess 2.0

The newest Megalithica books anthology Goddess 2.0: Advancing a New Path Forward is now available.

You are not alone if you believe domination and authoritarian patriarchy are destroying countless lives and our planet.  There is a more sustainable alternative and it’s not new.  In fact it’s ancient.  Exiled for a time, but making a return, the Sacred Feminine has become indelibly integrated into our lives, reminding humanity during this time of crisis that the ideals of the Great She offer a pathway to secure a more sustainable future.  As people lose faith in organized religion, as the paradigm of power shifts across the globe, as climate change quickly approaches a point of no return, people are leading using their divine intelligence gleaned from Goddess teachings to find solutions and sanctuary.

We are witnessing this awakening across the globe as people from all walks of life and cultures turn to Goddess, deity, archetype and ideal, to evolve from the malignant chaos we face today.  Using the wisdom and activism suggested in Goddess 2.0: Advancing a New Path Forward we see through the lens of spiritual, cultural and political leaders sharing the many ways Goddess Spirituality has grown and matured in the minds of Her advocates to inspire the birth of a new world and usher in a time of security, partnership, peace, equality and prosperity for all.

Contributors Include:  Anne Baring, Starhawk, Carol P. Christ, Riane Eisler, Barbara G. Walker, Cristina Biaggi, Elizabeth and Robert Fisher, Shirley Ann Ranck, Bob Gratrix, Patricia ‘Iolana, Nancy Vedder-Shults, M. Isidora Forrest, Karen Tate, Amy “Amalya” Peck, Linda Iles, Andrew Gurevich, Charlotte L. Cressey, Delphine DeMore, Tabby Biddle, Trista Hendren, and Harita Meenee.

Goddess 2.0: Advancing a New Path Forward is a book of deep spirit and caring toward all. The authors in this anthology are calling for compassion in a country and, indeed, much of the world, which increasingly considers money to be the most important underlying factor of civilization: a paradigm of patriarchy. The authors suggest a very different paradigm, both moral and spiritual, that is essential at this time, when destruction of natural resources, wars, ethnic cleansings, and acts of terrorism are the norm. The suggestions offered in this anthology include that of Cristina Biaggi, who appeals to us to embrace the Dark Goddess — to embrace and process terror and death, with compassion. Karen Tate, the editor of this anthology, asks us in her own essay to reawaken to myths and sacred stories of the feminine, in order “to set people free to lead a more creative and authentic life.” Trista Hendren asks us to build bridges instead of walls: to connect with one another. Starhawk’s essay argues that health care is a moral issue, and that it must be given universally. Carol P. Christ asks us to re-connect to the feminist peace movement, a movement which supports life instead of condemning soldiers and civilians to death. Riane Eisler proposes that recognizing the critical importance of “women’s issues” is essential for everyone, women and men, young and old, and that “caring societies” are not only more compassionate but also more economically successful. This is just a taste of the jewels in the pages of this book: there are many more very important writings within. Our world desperately needs the wisdom of these deeply spiritual people. Miriam Robbins Dexter, author of Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book; Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia; and co-editor/author of Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries

 

Nothing But a Pack of Cards – New Release

We’re pleased to announce the release of S. Rune Emerson’s new book, ‘Nothing But a Pack of Cards’.

In this handbook on the practice of sorcery using tarot cards, S. Rune Emerson utilizes the Rider Waite-Smith tradition of tarot art to teach the myriad practices of the Art Magical.

Included in this book are:

A modern look at sorcery through the eyes of the Rider Waite-Smith tarot cards and their derivatives, including laws and fundamentals of magic, and how magic actually works. An explanation of the twelve categories of commonly cast spells, the six kinds of magical initiation and quickening, and the four great tenets of a sorcerer’s philosophy, all encoded within the Major Arcana. Methods and ritual practices which help you employ the basic principles of sorcery, and learn how to become a sorcerer. A series of spells and techniques crafted from the study of the Pip and Court cards, as well as appendices on group work and ritual tokens. And more!

Any magician, whether long-experienced or just beginning, will find unique and useful information in these pages. If you want to learn how to use that tarot deck for more than just card games and fortune telling, this book is for you.

If anyone would like to review this book, please mail us for a PDF at editorial(at)immanion-press(dot)com. The author is also available for interview.

Nothing but a pack of cards

Nothing But a Pack of Cards by S. Rune Emerson