Tag Archives: j. m. mcdermott

Cover Reveal/Preorder Tales from a Talking Board

Today we reveal the cover to our newest anthology (out October 24), Tales from a Talking Board, in conjunction with this profile on Word Horde and publisher/editor Ross E. Lockhart in the Petaluma Argus-Courier. Check ’em out and order your copy today!

Tales from a Talking Board edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Can we speak with the spirits of the dead? Is it possible to know the future? Are our dreams harbingers of things to come? Do auspicious omens and cautionary portents effect our lives?

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart, Tales from a Talking Board examines these questions–and more–with tales of auguries, divination, and fortune telling, through devices like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and stranger things.

So dim the lights, place your hands upon the planchette, and ask the spirits to guide you as we present fourteen stories of the strange and supernatural by Matthew M. Bartlett, Nadia Bulkin, Nathan Carson, Kristi DeMeester, Orrin Grey, Scott R. Jones, David James Keaton, Anya Martin, J. M. McDermott, S. P. Miskowski, Amber-Rose Reed, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Wendy N. Wagner.

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Cover Design by Yves Tourigny

Order your copy today!

An interview with J. M. McDermott, author of We Leave Together

Recently, Sean M. Thompson had a chance to talk with J. M. McDermott about his Dogsland novel, We Leave Together.

For the readers who might not be aware, tell us about your fantasy series, the third book of which in the series is We Leave Together?

I lost an uncle many, many years ago to HIV. He was gay. As an adult, years later, right around 2005, 2006, I was living in Euless, TX. The Hurst-Euless-Bedford Metroplex was not exactly always a place that was very friendly to people who were not part of the mainstream religious right of our culture, in the places where I often found myself among the bookstores and bars and coffee shops. Creationism was openly contested and scoffed upon. Megachurches that spouted hate from the pulpit and contested science grew and grew, with evangelists all over trying to pull more people in.

When dating someone, I’d casually bring up Creationism in conversation as a form of self-protection against destructive anti-Science ideologies.

At the time, I imagined what it must be like to be gay in a world openly hostile to that way of being, and having to stay sort of hidden about it. Going to work, going to the store, going home, and always with the specter of the revelation containing an edge of potential violence: verbal abuse or even genuine, physical danger — and God save the transgendered person discovered in parts of that town!

I imagined back into history, and across history, where for so long so many people didn’t even have the word to express what they felt about other people, knowing only the fear of being discovered. I imagined the police officers going around and raiding gay bars, beating up homeless gay and lesbian people who had been kicked out of their homes — rendered homeless — for just being themselves. People around me at the time — not my friends, mind, just people — talked openly with such pride in their voice about the poison of homosexuality and all sorts of awful, spitefulness. And, they talked this way while the very people they openly reviled were probably just a few tables down in the coffee shops, going to a different, more tolerant church around the corner, and/or sitting at the edge of the bar. Hatred is such an awful thing. I hate hatred.

So, I can go on at length about this, because this subject can piss me off something fierce, and I carried that anger quietly for a long time. My uncle was a good person, and he didn’t deserve to be called all kinds of poison, and he didn’t deserve to die of such a poison as that awful disease, and to be separated from his family and community because of their hatred of him. He passed in ‘93, when I was just 13, and I was only just learning the meaning of the word that people called him in my cloistered childhood. Again, as an adult and an author, that was in the neighborhood of 2005, 2006, gay marriage was not even something the average person would know about, much less consider viable to become a law of this land. Tolerance was just not the way things were done, then, for a large portion of our country. It wasn’t even imagined. The only thing that was imagined was the evil and sin of the orientation.

I figured with fantasy I could make this imaginary poison real. I could invent a world where there were people who actually had this poison in them as infectious as others seem to think the gay is, in its way. And, as I would reveal in the books, it wouldn’t matter if the demon stain was real, because they’d still be humans. As well, treating people like monsters has a great way of creating monsters out of people. I thought about the larger message of tolerance, and injustice, and how cities and communities eat themselves, and how it is all connected in cycles of misery and suffering.

I thought that if I wrote about two gay men in love, the people who most need to read about the humanity of the other would assume the book wasn’t for them. So, I wrote a heterosexual love story, instead, with Jona, the disgraced lord of a noble house fallen into poverty and ruin, and a Rachel Nolander, a mystic woman who never believes that she will find peace, much less love. Both carry a stain that makes the very blood and sweat and tears of them a toxin to everyone around them. I wrote about the city that eats their poor, as the large cities of Texas do. I wrote about a lot of things that angered me that I saw in the world around me. I wrote about nature and the city and the relationship between what is natural and what is cultural.


What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

I don’t know in the slightest, and the older I get, the less I know.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?

Whenever I take D&D personality tests, and I’ve taken a few, I actually test as a True Neutral Druid nine out of ten, and a True Neutral Monk, for that lingering one.

Beyond that, I will say only ‘Yes’.

How long did it take you to write We Leave Together? Have you ever had a faster turn around on a book you’ve written?

I don’t remember.

I prefer to forget as much as possible about the books that I have written, because it makes it more likely that I will write another one. It is like going to the dentist. If I think about the procedures too much, I’ll never go back.

I also try to write a new kind of book every time, to make sure I don’t write the same things over and over. Every new book is starting over brand new, and I learn how to write again every time.

Who are some of the writers that you admire?

Lately, I have been enthralled with Julian Graq, Haldor Laxness, and Zachary Jernigan. I am writing a lot of science fiction, of late, and I have a very difficult time, I feel, escaping the shadow that Maureen McHugh spreads across my imagined futures.

If demons existed, what do you think their end game would be on Earth?

Demons exist on earth, but we don’t call them that. Daemons of pure energy, pure sin, that exist only to consume and corrupt are here. They have no corporeal form, but they pollute the corporeal with their energy and corruption of human will. We call them corporations, and I think the end game is consumption of all things, a sort of uber-monopolistic entity that touches every industry, extracting everything from them, where the system of extraction is more important than the people who live and work inside the system.

I have written about this twice, in fact. In the short story ‘Hestia’ in my collection Women and Monsters, the only way to preserve endangered species and homeless men is to devour them and turn them into shit. In my novel, Straggletaggle, the end game of industry is splayed out, a perfect rule of corporate law and efficiency, devouring everything until nothing is left of man and soul and green grass and birdsong, and it is the most terrible and frightening thing in the world.

Corporations are daemonic. They don’t have to be evil, but self-interest and self-interested actors make them so far too often for my taste and comfort.

What are you working on currently?

I am nearly finished with a deep space colony of quantum clones, and their unillustrious Astral Navigator. It is a novella heavily influenced by The Opposing Shore by Julian Graq, and The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati. In my opinion, much of military science fiction details very exciting things, and much of the actual experience of most military personnel is terribly dull and sort of theatrical in nature, pretending to be at war, or pretending to be warriors, so to speak. The vast majority of soldiers never even fire an epithet, much less a gun, in the direction of an enemy. I thought I should write a military science fiction piece about that, for a change.

We Leave Together featured at Kirkus

Today at Kirkus, Ana from The Book Smugglers takes a comprehensive look at J. M. McDermott’s Dogsland Trilogy and the newly-published concluding volume, We Leave Together. Here’s what Ana had to say:

“Throughout Books 1 and 2, it was really hard to predict how all the pieces of this puzzle would fit together. But by the time I finished We Leave Together, everything did come together beautifully. Finding out the exact circumstances of Jona’s death and what happened to Rachel (YES! Rachel! You go, girl!) just about broke my heart in the best possible way.”

We Leave Together by J. M. McDermott

Read the full review at Kirkus.

Recent Reviews: We Leave Together and The Children of Old Leech

Brand-new pre-release reviews are in for our two summer books, J. M. McDermott’s concluding Dogsland novel, We Leave Together (June 15, 2014), and tribute anthology The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron (July 15, 2014).

Here’s what the critics have to say about J. M. McDermott’s We Leave Together:

“McDermott’s third novel set in Dogsland brings closure to the saga of the deceased Jona Lord Joni, whose memory-filled skull yields the narrative. […] Readers will still find Dogsland a grittily imagined fantasy world, with a personality as vivid as any of its residents.” —Publishers Weekly

Read the full review at this link.

And here’s the Publishers Weekly review of The Children of Old Leech:

“Lockhart and Steele collect 17 original stories from some of the shining stars of modern horror, constructing a worm-riddled literary playground from elements of the fiction of horror maestro Laird Barron. The results come across with a coherent feeling of dread, without feeling derivative of the source. […] Hopefully Barron will enjoy this tribute; his fans certainly will.” —Publishers Weekly

Read the full review (including mentions of stories by Molly Tanzer, J. T. Glover & Jesse Bullington, T.E. Grau, and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.) at this link.

The Children of Old Leech was also recently reviewed by C. M. Muller, Scrivener of Weird Fiction, at his blog Chthonic Matter. Of the anthology, Muller says:

“This multifaceted grimoire, and the talent associated with it, is staggering to behold. Its co-editor, Justin Steele, sets the tone in a highly entertaining introduction, one which pits his fictional self against the very ‘carnivorous cosmos’ he so innocently sought to collect. In many like anthologies that focus on the oeuvre of a specific writer, the works themselves rarely rise above pastiche—but this seems to be exactly what the editors wished to avoid when fashioning their tribute to Laird Barron. Steele brings this to the fore when singling out Ellen Datlow’s excellent Lovecraft Unbound as a source of inspiration. Potential readers who are not familiar with Barron’s work need not worry. The tales, while sometimes recalling certain tropes or characters from his fiction, can be enjoyed in their own right; and, I must say, the range of styles on display is consistently impressive.” –C. M. Muller, Chthonic Matter

Read the full review (including detailed mentions of stories by T.E. Grau, Richard Gavin, Paul Tremblay, Michael Griffin, Daniel Mills, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, Cody Goodfellow, and Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douhit-Nicolay) at this link.

Press Release: J. M. McDermott Returns to Dogsland in Much-Anticipated Finale

We Leave Together by J. M. McDermottWord Horde announces the June 15, 2014 release of J. M. McDermott’s We Leave Together, the third and final book in the Dogsland trilogy.

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA—In the decadent city called Dogsland, a desperate search is about to draw to a close. Mystical, wolfskin-clad agents circle their prey, Rachel Nolander, drawn to her by visions captured from her fallen lover’s skull. Rachel’s blood is demon-tainted, burning and sickening those around her as she hides in plain sight, passing as a servant in a strange and savage land.

Completing the saga began in the critically-acclaimed novels Never Knew Another (2010) and When We Were Executioners (2011), We Leave Together provides lush, character-driven, fantasy fiction for readers who revel in the small moments, movements, and truths of life. J. M. McDermott has created a world where mere survival—passing as human in a city filled with potential betrayers—is an ongoing struggle requiring heroic actions.

“I like fiction deeply rooted in characters,” explains McDermott. “If my characters act heroically, it is because people must act heroically sometimes. When you are an outsider to society, heroics are required just to lead something resembling a normal life.”

The long-awaited publication of We Leave Together is sure to satisfy those seeking the resolution of Jona and Rachel’s ill-fated romance and new readers alike. Publisher Ross E. Lockhart says, “Having worked with McDermott extensively on the two prior Dogsland novels, I’m proud to have We Leave Together as Word Horde’s first novel release. This is a book of endings and beginnings, lavishly told and peopled by a master storyteller.”

We Leave Together is distributed by Ingram, and will be available in Trade Paperback and eBook formats through most online retailers and better independent bookstores everywhere in June 2014. For more information about Word Horde or to request a review copy, please email publicity[at]wordhorde[dot]com.

Now Available for Pre-Order: We Leave Together, by J. M. McDermott

In a city where the rich stage decadent parties as the poor suffer in squalor, where assassins prowl and king’s men keep order with truncheons and force, where gangs of children run like dogs and addicts die in the streets, a demonic strain has taken hold. The shape shifting priestess and priest of Erin have come to Dogsland stalking a fugitive, half-breed Senta Rachel Nolander, and plot to burn her to cleanse the world of her demon-tainted blood. Led ever onward by Rachel’s corrupted lover’s crying skull, Erin’s agents seek their hapless quarry, a frightened girl guided by one promise, one hope, one prayer… We Leave Together.

We Leave Together

Cover Art by Julien Alday
Cover Design by Scott R. Jones

Pub Date: June 15, 2014

Pre-order today!