Friday, January 1, 2016

The Mariya Suzuki Collection by Allison Spector, Dean Moses and Shannon Barnsley (VBT, guest post and GIVEAWAY)

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!

It is my pleasure to have a guest post by one of the authors being featured today, Shannon Barnsley, author of Beneath Blair Mountain

What do you think is the strongest attraction about the genre(s) you like to write in?

SB:  I love all three hydra heads of speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I love all the many, many sub-genres of fantasy: epic fantasy, sword & sorcery, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, dark fantasy, paranormal/supernatural, whatever you want to call it or however you want to break it down. These genres and sub-genres are often denigrated for being somehow less substantive or less literary because of their speculative elements, as though we can somehow glean less about the values, taboos, and realities of Beowulf’s day because there are monsters in it. As though the Iliad is not a resonant war story because there are gods running amok.

I love speculative fiction for the very opposite reason, because I find it to be the most substantive and the most illuminating. The fantastic is a sandbox in which we can play and discover and push the boundaries of today’s anxieties, yesterday’s shames, or tomorrow’s possibilities. The fact that it “isn’t real” can often give writers *more* license to tell the truth than straight contemporary or historical fiction. It’s no coincidence that The Twilight Zone and Star Trek are both so full of social commentary, allegory, and even downright preachy messages. Similarly, it’s no accident that so many of our mythic monsters and horror figures are our real life fears, blood transfusions gave us Frankenstein, radiation gave us Godzilla, the fear of foreign men seducing “our” women gave us Dracula, and on and on. It’s no surprise that Tolkien fought in World War I or Suzanne Collins is the daughter of a Viet Nam vet or that Anne Rice took to writing about vampires after experiencing the death of a child.

Speculative fiction is the lie that allows us to tell the truth, whether its the reality of war, the dangers of totalitarianism, or the looming threat of climate change. Or even just the importance of friendship or a simple life or finding one’s place in the world. Sure, dragons and spaceships and haunted crypts are cool, but they’re the gateway drug to the real “substance” so many miss when they dismiss a book as “just fantasy” or “geek stuff” or “pulp” or “escapism”. When I write fantasy, I’m not escaping reality.

If anything, I feel like I’m facing it head on.


The Mariya Suzuki Collection
by Allison Spector, Dean Moses, Shannon Barnsley


GENRE: Novellas, literary fiction, American Gothic, Humor/Magical realism, historical fiction and folklore, sci-fi horror elements



Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter!
 by Allison Spector

Trouble’s brewing in the Evergreen Jungle. When controversial author Rex Jupiter plans a visit to a Bellingham bookstore, news of his arrival attracts the attention of the mysterious Paladin, who plans on leading a mob of rioting housewives against him. But the Paladin has competition. Sleuth-extraordinaire Marian Krause has her own bone to pick with Jupiter as she scrambles to solve the death of a woman who has stolen her identity. Rex may think he has the situation under control, but when the wrath of the local Druids is incurred, pitchforks and torches may be the least of his concerns.

Druid zealots, conservative Christians, busking jugglers, hipster baristas—every group, subgroup, and underground subgroup finds a home in a little town known as the City of Subdued Excitement. And while life in the Evergreen Jungle usually means butting heads with a variety of vegans, hippies and ladies’ pinochle club-goers, there is one person that can bring them together: the most insufferable man in the Pacific Northwest. Using her sharpened wit, Spector invites readers into a world rife with scrumptious satire, slightly ruffled feathers, and utter madness.”

-Elise Portale, Editor

Dean Moses

An isolated religious cult has reportedly been consuming meat while the rest of the planet has been forced to live a life without it. Presuming this sect has resorted to cannibalism, two agents from an organization known simply as The Agency are dispatched to investigate. Will they find evidence of humans eating one another? Or is something even stranger taking place?

In the tradition of Serling and Bradbury, A Stalled Ox is a gruesome, yet beautiful story that wraps a complex morality tale in an engaging and fast-paced horror story with a touch of espionage. Crafting a world where no one is truly innocent, Moses invites the reader to follow Agent Howard Harrington as he discovers what true evil is.”

-Shaunn Grulkowski, Editor

 by Shannon Barnsley

All her life, Lara Rae Brecken has dreamed of the fey folk exiled beneath the earth. But in Logan County, West Virginia everything belongs to the coal company and the only world below is the mine. So Lara and her childhood friend, Barrow, escape to New York. But between the World War, factory fires, and the unforgiving streets, Lara wonders if she’s traded one underworld for another. Spirited away to Boston by an Irish rebel, it seems her luck may have finally improved. That is, until she finds herself face to face with the fey folk one cold October night.

Lara Rae Brecken, a young woman raised on the Irish fey stories passed down by her ancestors, dreams of the magic that lives just outside her normal perceptions. In bringing together tales from the homeland and life in an industrial society, Barnsley creates a layered world where the line between the harshness of reality and mythological impossibility is blurred. Written in a tone that is subtly haunting, the novella urges us to imagine that things are not always as they appear.”

-Rebecca Johnson, Editor



It was Gate Night, the night before All Hallows’ Eve. Distant memories of the old stories nagged at me. During All Hallows’ Eve the veil between the world of the living and the world beyond was lifted. Our world and their world all blurred together like ink running on a page in my old primer when we schoolgirls would try to run home in the rain, shrieking and splashing up mud all the way.

Gate Night was when the veil began to thin. Things bleeding through in the corners or fading in and out. I wondered if Cavan believed that or if he'd left the old tales back across the ocean when he'd come to America.

I stood, match in hand, as the gas sputtered into life. Cavan was in the other room. Since the war for independence had broken out back in Ireland, he had had quite a bit more "business" going back and forth between Boston and New York.

He never told me exactly what it was he did. On good days I believed that it was to protect me. The less I knew, the safer I was. On bad days, I worried he just didn't trust me enough. Though Cavan never said, I knew he was helping move something and bringing it to men who could smuggle it into Ireland and into IRA hands. My guess was guns, but I couldn't be sure.
Apparently, the police could.   


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Allison Spector (Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter!)
Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan.  She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005.  She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people.  Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.

Dean Moses (A Stalled Ox)
Dean Moses was born in England in February of 1991; however, he never truly felt at home, so at the age of nineteen he moved to New York City, where he hoped to fulfill two of his longtime dreams, marry the love of his life and become an author. For the past five years, he has written for newspapers, including the New York Amsterdam News and the Spring Creek Sun, as well as transcribed for the New York Times’ Lens Blog. He has also written a serial story for the website JukePop Serials. He currently resides in Queens with his wife and two cats.

Shannon Barnsley  (Beneath Blair Mountain)
Shannon Barnsley is a writer, poet, and folklore devotee from New Hampshire, currently living in Brooklyn. She holds a degree in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion from Hampshire College. Since graduating she has been found giving tours at an 18th century Shaker village museum, translating English English into American English for a publishing company, and wandering in the woods.

Mariya Suzuki (the wonderful artist the collection is named after.  She is designing our covers!)

Info from her website

Mariya Suzuki currently works as an illustrator in Tokyo, Japan.
She was born in Nara and studied illustration in Long Beach, CA.
  Contact her at
Follow her on Instagram



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The tour dates can be found here


  1. Sounds like an amazing collection. I always like to hear research stories.

    1. I agree, Debby. I have the honor of hosting one of the authors in a couple of weeks, make sure you check back for more information. Thank you for taking the time to visit!

  2. Thanks so much for hosting us today!

    1. You are very welcome, hope you are having a lovely New Year thus far.

  3. Yes, thank you very much for taking the time to host our collection!

    1. Happy to help, hope the tour is going well. Happy New Year!

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