Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Announcing The Black Marks Literary Award!

M. Christian and Marilyn Jaye Lewis are both thrilled to announce that for the inaugural year of the Black Marks Literary Award for best unpublished science fiction novel, the cash award will be $500. 

The winning prize also includes the option of electronic publication with a long-standing eBook publisher with outstanding international distribution. If you do not wish to be published upon winning the prize, it is entirely up to you. Winners are free to shop their winning manuscript to any publisher they want to; you do not forfeit the cash prize if you do not choose publication with us.

The prize will also include possible Print-on-Demand trade paper publication with the same publisher. (The POD option is largely based on initial electronic sales figures, among other financial considerations.)

Submissions for the contest opens February 1st!


Our Mission
 To publicly honor outstanding genre fiction writing, thus assisting writers and readers to find each other in these changing technological times.
 About Us
 The Black Marks Literary Award was founded by two award-winning genre fiction authors, Marilyn Jaye Lewis and M. Christian, each with three decades of professional experience in the fields of writing, editing, publishing, media, and multimedia. Both are longtime advocates of giving back to the writing community as well as being fervent supporters of new voices entering the field.
They are joined by Ernest Hogan as the first guest judge for the The Black Marks Literary Award: 
Ernest Hogan is known for is his usual science fiction. His novels, Cortez on Jupiter, High Aztech, and Smoking Mirror Blues have a cult following. His short fiction has appeared in Amazing Stories, Analog, Science Fiction Age, Flurb, and may other periodicals and anthologies. He enjoys daring feats of the imagination.
Submission Guidelines

 Please read carefully. Any guidelines that aren’t expressly followed are grounds for automatic disqualification.
  • We are currently accepting only Science Fiction.
  • Submissions must be previously unpublished. “Previously published” includes electronic publishing, serialization of any kind online or in print, and self-publishing, including more than 10,000 words on an author’s own web site.
  • Submissions must be completed novel-length works. Word count of the completed novel must be between 55,000 and 150,000 words.
  • Submissions must include a cover sheet with your name, your complete contact information, the title of your story and the word count of the completed novel.
  • On NO OTHER PAGES can your name and contact information appear. After the cover page, only your title should be posted in the top left-hand corner of each page.
  • Electronically submit, as an RTF doc attached to an email, 10 complete, consecutive pages from your novel, beginning on page one and ending on page ten. (Do not submit ten consecutive pages taken from anywhere else in the manuscript except from the beginning of the manuscript.)
  • Submit a complete synopsis of no more than 5 pages for the novel. (Do not put your name or contact information on the synopsis, only list the title of your novel. If your synopsis runs more than 1 page, be sure to include the title of your novel on the top left-hand corner of each page.)
  • 5 finalists will be selected based on the first 10 pages and the synopsis of the submission.
  • The 5 finalists selected will be asked to submit the complete novel immediately via electronic submission as an RTF doc attached to an email.
  • 1 winner will be selected from the 5 finalists. The winning manuscript will be determined through a point system that will be followed by each of the judges.
  • The winner will win
    • a cash award (amount determined at the start of each new contest)
    • receive a frame-able certificate
    • and an offer of publication as an eBook (and possibly as a print-on demand title) through Renaissance EBooks. Publication upon winning the award is not mandatory.
Email all contest submissions as an RTF doc attached to an email:
We will email you to let you know your submission was received. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 5 days, please contact us at info@blackmarksliteraryaward.comas it likely means we did not receive your submission.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zee Likes Fingers Breadth

This is simply beyond wonderful: check out this very touching review of Fingers Breadth by Zee of Firepages.  Swoon!

Someone is abducting young gay men in San Francisco, drugging them and cutting off the tip of their pinky. The entire city if on edge, especially after dark. The gay community fear for themselves, as they know that anyone could be next. Even though the police are looking for the Cutter, no one really knows who this person is nor the motivation of cutting a finger. Suspicion divides the community. There are people who have only nine-and-a-half fingers, and those who have ten fingers. The niners suspect the Cutter may have ten fingers and those who walk around with ten fingers hope they are not next.  
M. Christian has to be the most amazing writer I've ever read. He is a master manipulator with his words. You read his stories and begin to feel exactly what he wants you to feel - arousal, desire, anger, fear, hope. Readers find themselves surprised to feel this way, yet it is M. Christian's way of pulling dormant and primal emotions out of you. And the crazy part is that you don't mind embracing these perverse feelings as you are that pulled into the story. Not only does M. Christian push his characters in his stories to their limits, but he also pushes his readers minds to meet him in these faraway places. 
I loved how M. Christian addressed multiple facets of storytelling, like horror, thriller, and societal issues. The way the community split between those with 9.5 and 10 fingers was genius, and the horrible experience that the victims go through is downright chilling. Finger's Breadth has a way of getting under your skin and sending chills to your bones in both a terrifying and arousing kind of way. Finger's Breadth is not a story; it is an experience I highly recommend. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Lisabet Sarai Likes Fingers Breadth

The wonderfulness (is that a word?) just keeps coming: check out this very nice review of my new gay erotic/thriller/horror/sf novel, Fingers Breadth by the respected (and very talented) Lisabet Sarai!

Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad. - Diogenes 
A lunatic is loose in San Francisco, seducing gay men, drugging them, then slicing off the tip of one of their fingers at the first joint. At first, terror grips the city. Bars and clubs catering to the gay community close; no one dares venture out at night, for fear of encountering the Cutter. A chance hook-up with an attractive stranger could make you the next victim 
As time goes on, though, and more men join the ranks of those with nine-and-half-fingers, the mood shifts. Fear morphs into a sort of desperate heat. New venues open, more vibrant and raw than ever. Men with all their fingers intact become objects of suspicion – perhaps they are the one responsible for the plague of mutilation. The gay community develops new rituals to deal with the horror. But who is the Cutter, and why does he pursue his macabre crusade? 
In Finger's Breadth, M. Christian has created a creepy and compelling narrative that, like so much of his work, defies categorization. The book offers elements of horror, erotica, science fiction and social commentary. Christian's San Francisco is recognizable but weirdly skewed from the real city. Its dark streets are haunted by free-lance cops and merciless predators, newly-outed kids fresh from the boonies and jaded veterans of a thousand blow jobs. 
There's no single hero. The novel proceeds as a series of vignettes, views of the world through the eyes of various men affected by the explosion of violence. Snippets from newspapers and radio programs move the plot forward. Each character holds a piece of the truth without necessarily being aware of that fact. By the end, the reader has a pretty clear idea of what's going on, but Christian never actually comes right out and explains.
M. Christian understands the dynamics of fear as well as the fascination of extremes. He transcribes chilling Internet chat sessions, between a man who might or might not be the Cutter, and a man who longs to be. 
TRANCHERMAN191: I'll only ask one more time. Why do you hope it's me?
CONRADICAL02: i don't know!
TRANCHERMAN191: You do know. You just won't say it.
CONRADICAL02: i want more. i want something different. Is that why you do it?
TRANCHERMAN191: Answer my question or stop bothering me.
CONRADICAL02: i want something different. i want 2 do what you do.
TRANCHERMAN191: Because?
CONRADICAL02: i want it to mean something. Sex, i mean. Or something like that. It doesnt do anything. Its fun. But it doesnt last. It's what everyone else does. Its not special. i like it, but i mean, its like what everyone else does. Is that what you mean?
CONRADICAL02: i dont know. Fuck. Its not enough. ive done it all kinds of ways but its not...it doesn't stay. Thats not right. Fuck, i dont know. i want to feel more. i want to be more. i dont want just tricks. i want risky. i want to do more than fuck and suck. i want to feel real big real powerful. Nasty. i want to be different like you.
TRANCHERMAN191: You don't know anything about me. 
Finger's Breadth is simultaneously terrifying and arousing. M. Christian has tapped into the subterranean founts of desire, where the primal urges - lust, anger, fear, hunger - flow together. At the same time, the book dwells on more existential issue - the need for meaning and recognition, the urge to belong to a tribe. Like his previous work, the controversial novel Me 2, this book considers how far one might go today in order to fit in.
If you're looking for an easy, sunny, sexy book with a happy ending, don't pick upFinger's Breadth. If, on the other hand, you want a scary but enlightening ride through the twisted labyrinth of the human psyche, I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Billierosie Likes Fingers Breadth

I may have (ahem) said it a bit too much but ... well, it can't be said enough: I really do have some fantastic friends - and one of the very best I have is Billierosie.  Just look at this sweet review she just posted on amazon for Fingers Breadth.  Thanks so much, sweetie!

From the Prelude onwards, we’re carried along on a roller coaster, with this fasted paced novel, fresh from the keyboard of M.Christian. “Finger’s Breadth”starts with the cops, as they interview the latest character to be mutilated after a sleazy night, out on the San Francisco streets. Typically, the interviewee can tell them nothing; he doesn’t remember, or doesn’t want to. 
“He cut part of your fucking finger off,” says the exasperated cop. 
“Yeah, but it could have been worse.” is the philosophical response. 
One thing you can rely on M.Christian for, is a damn good story And “Finger’s Breadth is no exception; I think it’s his best one yet. As always, I get the feeling that he’s dancing ahead of me; laughing, teasing. Never taunting; M.Christian is a writer who respects his reader. He just has fun along with us, weaving his superbly crafted tale. 
I mean, who’d have thought that you could write a story about Gay men waking up in the morning, minus part of a finger? It’s surreal; a crazy notion. “right hand little finger amputated at the first joint…” Yes it’s a ridiculous idea -- and yet -- it works. 
This is a visual novel, in the tradition of the best Film Noir. Dark, still and silent.  Characters moving into shot, then out of shot. Yet, as I said earlier, fast paced too, as one character, then another, tells their part of the story. A jigsaw put painstakingly together and it’s only on the final pages that the reader sees the complete whole. 
It’s erotic; a comment on desire. A comment on our crazed need to have the ultimate fashion statement. 
This book is totally weird and unsettling. And the reader just accepts what is going on, with all its weirdness. The reader is complicit. But more than anything, it’s a great story, a great read. Takes me back to long ago, when I first discovered what a joy reading could be. It’s as simple as that; being intrigued, being told a good story.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Elisa Likes Fingers Breadth

This is too cool!  The wonderful Elisa Rolle just posted this nice review of my gay thriller/erotica novel Fingers Breadth on her site.  Thanks so much, Elisa!

M. Christian started with a mystery and ended with a psychological thriller. There is a mad man out there picking gay men, drugging them and cutting their pinkie finger. Nothing else. It doesn’t seem a great crime, but it’s still a crime, and the police had to investigate. Problem is that the only main trait of all victims is to be gay, aside from that they are black and white, young and old, poor and rich. People is scared, private clubs close down every day and in the meantime, day after day, a new victim joins the club… since now, being a victim of the Cutter is trendy, if you are not one, then probably you have something wrong. Now it’s not only the police that is searching for the Cutter, they are the same victims who WANT to be found. In a kind of ironic twist, the villain becomes the hero, and the reader starts to understand that everyone can be the villain, as everyone could have been the victim. 
There are various life intertwining their destinies, Fanning, the freelance cop who wants to find the Cutter, but maybe he is not searching for justice; Varney, the first victim, a newspaper reporter who is now following the case and who apparently is the only one who can see that being a victim is not a great thing; Taylor, the only victim who escaped with all his intact fingers, but who is not more scared than before; Trancherman0191, who trolls the gay chats in search of “victims”… but in the end, all of them can be a victim and all of them can be the Cutter, and truth be told, you will realize it’s no more important to know who is the Cutter, because he realized what seemed impossible to achieve, he levelled all men to the same point, he allowed the shy to be bold, the bold to be scared, the victim to be aggressor and the aggressor to be victim. Removing that "finger's breadth" that separate men from madness, he also removed the reason why they were different. 
Not all the men in this story will find their balance, but I think some of them did. I have high hope for Varney and Taylor, that they will be able to understand what is really important in life and that maybe they will give a chance to love, a chance that till now they were too scared to see.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Me And Von Gutenberg Magazine

Groovy!  Check this out: I have an article in the current issue of Von Gutenberg Magazine.  Big thanks to my pal, Ralph Greco Jr., for making it happen ... hugs, Ralphie!

So kids, let’s talk about issue #6. 
We’re going to be running lots of Facebook alerts, tweeting and twatting, shooting out emails to our friends, designers, the models, writers, and just about everybody else about the fact that our issue #6 is out and about. In time I will try to amass a list of where you might be able to pick-up the magazine in your area. Really, we are so very proud of this issue, from front cover to last, and we want you to see it! 
One of our features this time is a great big piece by M. Christian (and we all know Christian has a great big piece, this is why he is so popular with the ladies!) you just have to read his historical overview on comics and pulps and how and steamy they all got way back in the day. His Breast Plates To Bondage: An Informal Look At Sex In Comic Books and Pulp Magazines is a wonderful 4-page spread you have to read to believe. Yes, Von Gutenberg is about all those delicious models dressed in dripping hot latex, and God knows we got them this time around, but if I do say so myself, the text we have in the magazine this time around, M. Christian’s piece one of the shining examples, is exemplary. 
So check out our brand spanking new (and I know how much so many of you out there love to be spanked) issue #6 athttp://vongutenbergcouture.com/and check our all things M. Christian at his site http://frequentlyfelt.blogspot.com.