ON THE EDGES OF VISION Wins Big in Scotland!

We are delighted to announce that Helen McClory’s On the Edges of Vision has been named The Saltire Society First Book of the Year. These awards are recognized as the nation’s most prestigious annual book awards.

DSC00928

About the collection, the esteemed judging panel said: “These are dark stories about the limits of the conscious and the darkness within. About a world where reality flickers in and out of focus disturbingly. The familiar is even more disturbing than the unfamiliar. These are stories that draw you back to re-read, but they continue to squirm out of final reach.”

The book triumphed over stiff competition; McClory says of the win: “I am utterly delighted that On the Edges of Vision has won this year’s Saltire First Book of the Year Award…. For the collection to…win this prize is a huge boost not just to myself but the press as well, highlighting QFP’s innovative mission. Sparklers in both hands, quite honestly.”

Helen McClory is a writer on the rise and Queen’s Ferry is proud to have published On the Edges of Vision. Congratulations, Helen!

DSC00944 2

$2 Sale Inventory Check

2015yearend

I’ll Give You Something to Cry About – 5

The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob – 3

We Bury the Landscape – 1

Lesser Apocalypses – 17

Completeness of the Soul – 4

Strategies Against Extinction – 18 (1 signed)

Shadows of Men – 8

Is That You, John Wayne? – SOLD OUT

The Sin Eater and Other Stories – 12

Danceland – 19 (hardcover 17; paperback 2)

Where the Body Ends – 3

Goodnight Nobody – 39

The Decline of Pigeons – 19 (2 signed)

Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History – 18

Elegantly Naked In My Sexy Mental Illness – 2

Backswing – SOLD OUT

Torture Tree – 15

CAMOUFLAGE COUNTRY GIVEAWAY!

Ahead of its pre-release next Tuesday, November 24th, we thought we’d stay true to the freewheelin’ spirit of Camouflage Country and have a little fun–and also give you the chance to win signed copies!

Here’s how it works:

Below you will find four groups of sentences drawn directly from the book. Because the collection was a true collaboration between Ryan Ridge & Mel Bosworth, it’s tricky to determine where one author ends and the other begins. Which is exactly what Queen’s Ferry is asking you to do: tell us who wrote the sentences that follow–two groups belong to Ryan, two to Mel–by emailing publisher@queensferrypress.com; the first 4 correct responders (1 per group) will each receive a signed copy.


 

GROUP 1

1) At the time I believed in love and I reckon I still do.

2) And farther off still, I can nearly hear the low rumble of something bigger than you on your loudest day.

3) We had fantastic mohawks and the world by the balls.

4) Through the dust that kicked up all around, my eyes kept returning to the horses tethered nearby, their long faces blank and beautiful as catwalk amnesiacs.

5) There we were in our minds, skin naked and pink, teeth-tearing our favorite concert tees and slam-dancing with mechanics, each of us happier and each of us the wiser for it.

6) And when the day finally comes, the reunion signal will be easy because I practice it all the time inside the saddest boxcar: knees to chest, hug forever.

7) The groove wrapped the room like a second skin and my Memphis blood took us all home.

8) Later, pensive and buzzed beside the crackle of our campfire, I took a cool swallow of Michelob Ultra, fired a snot rocket into the darkness, and told my father he’d make a damn fine mother.

9) We rolled up our lives like sleeping bags and headed toward brighter colors and louder music.

10) Outside, the world was thick with a fog that took me in like a birthday party, all cheers and backslaps and frosting stabbed with fire.


 

GROUP 2

1) Everyone was a star and nothing is real.

2) I went to bed early because it was never too late.

3) Outside the rain fell like empires.

4) We are actors, dammit, children who never ceased believing.

5) Through the giant bagel marquee I watched the sunset burst from the center and thought how everything good comes from the center.

6) The cork played the room like a pinball machine.

7) Another man dousing himself in kerosene as his wife bursts into laughter from the flames.

8) My manifesto was getting lots of likes on Facebook and my Twitter followers had shot to triple digits in the few hours since I’d issued my ultimate ultimatum.

9) Martyrs happen all the time, but a modern saint is about as rare as a one-armed gymnast.

10) I didn’t believe in monsters until my sister brought one home.


 

GROUP 3

1) Now the blue moon lit our skin like butane.

2) With the exception of stating that there was no digital Satan, the producers were super tightlipped about how the Virgin birth scene was accomplished.

3) Such was my beginning, long before my funding for Antarctica, long before those strippers grazed my sagging skin with their chests, breasts, and hearts.

4) We were high as Balsa-wood flyers.

5) What I got instead was a spectacular view of galaxies’ slow-motion salsa dancing and I guess I can think of worse ways to spend a few lifetimes.

6) I hoped you’d answer but all I got was the pounding sound of everything that was ever wrong.

7) The way I saw it we were like our American Adventure cabin coupon: innocent until proven unredeemable and I’d never felt more born.

8) The moon pushed beneath the horizon and rang like the close of the second round of a fight scheduled for fifteen.

9) The answer was obvious but no one would admit it: it was time to put our guns down and go home, collect our sashes from pot-bellied oaks, and press our own pot bellies into American dinner tables.

10) I turned my attention back to the darkening field, to the uninspired music, and to whatever patriotic dishonesty came next.


 

GROUP 4

1) And I jumped out the window as the room became flames.

2) He’d constructed a sensory deprivation tank out of old washing machine parts and a children’s pool.

3) We married beneath a waterfall, honeymooned at the end of a rainbow.

4) I went to the store and picked up a forty of Olde English, a box of menthols, and a Shake Weight.

5) It was raining animals and we sweated nude in the glass-walled parlor of my attorney’s home in the hills.

6) Whoa, whoa, whoa.

7) The moon looked like a dark disc with light leaking from it.

8) We wanted to sleep in our own beds, and for once, we wanted to wake up in a world that didn’t seem shot.

9) He had eyes like shiny new shovels and when no one was looking I suspected he dug deep into the pharmacy stash.

10) I was a man without a plan––hungover and already half-drunk––and just stupid enough to think everything was going to be all right.


 

Come one, come all!

The Story Behind the Cover: THE SUMMER SHE WAS UNDER WATER by Jen Michalski

When I teach writing workshops, I always emphasize that the first sentence is the most important part of one’s story. It’s a first impression, the man or woman who steps up to your restaurant table during a blind date. Say the wrong thing, or don’t dress the part, and you lose a lot of points right from the get-go. Sure, some may give you the benefit of the doubt, but many will have made up their minds about the second date (nada) before you’ve even placed your napkin on your lap. When you do have a captivating first line, and your novel is published, however, suddenly the cover becomes the most important part. It’s the first thing potential readers see in the bookstore or library; it should be able to sum up, along with your title, the mood and type of story. Easier with romance novels, or even science fiction, where scantily clad lovers on the beach or a rocket firing through the cosmos get the message across pretty quickly. But what about literary fiction?

I knew, as soon as Queens Ferry Press acquired my second novel, The Summer She Was Under Water, that I wanted a say in the cover art. I know to what kinds of covers I am drawn and (I hoped) my potential readers. There are covers that blew me away when I first saw them, like Laura van den Berg’s debut collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, from Dzanc, where a wooden footpath leads into a washed-out landscape of mist, or Julia Orringer’s How to Breathe Underwater (Vintage), wherein a trio of teenage girls swim in a lush but murky lake of water, completely hemmed in by a tree canopy. It helps, of course, that both books had “water” in the title, like mine, and they both perfectly portrayed the mood of the collections in them. What the World Will Look Like’s hazy, dreamy fog and disappearing footpath invite the reader into a world of grayscale, where dichotomy is muddled and what seems up is down and down is up. How to Breathe Underwater’s deep waters (the waterline is high, halving the cover into top and bottom) plays on similar themes on what is seen, or what appears to be, and what isn’t. Orringer’s cover even more so hints of the foreboding that clings to the three teenaged girls on what appears to be any other day, except this is the day that’s different.

The Summer She Was Under Water takes place during a fourth of July weekend at a cabin on the Conowingo River in Northern Maryland where things also aren’t as they seem. I studied many images of swimmers in bodies of water, being careful not to replicate Orringer’s perfect cover. Because I employ some magical realism in the book, I considered that my lake or river scene should hint at dreaminess, but also depth. I also wanted colors that would draw viewers from across a crowded store.

I was on Etsy one day (my guilty pleasure) when I decided to look for swimming-related paintings and artwork when I came upon the work of Scout Cuomo. Her work concentrates very heavily on the refracted qualities of light on water mixing realism and surrealism. I was enchanted. And then I happened on, “Going Swimming,” the image that would become the cover for The Summer She Was Under Water. In it, we, the viewers, look up from the bottom of the pool (or are we even in a pool? Cuomo doesn’t exactly ground us with any reference points) as a woman in an orange bikini swims by us at the top. The dizzying blue water is lit from the surface and shows its depth. At first glance, the image is unthreatening, and yet, with our deep submersion and unclear point of reference, we cannot really position the woman; what is she swimming to, or away from? Is she merely keeping afloat? Will she eventually join us below, at the bottom, out of exhaustion, or desire? And what are we doing here?

Summer cover with text 2

“Going Swimming” perfectly sums up the protagonist, Samantha Pinski, in The Summer She Was Under Water: on a trajectory to success (she has just published her first novel), in motion towards a goal (getting through a holiday weekend with her estranged parents and brother), but in danger of being pulled down by something (or someone) any minute. And even if a potential reader doesn’t draw the same psychological cues from Cuomo’s work as I have, the piece itself is just visually stunning. (I can vouch for Queens Ferry Press, at least, who thought it “gorgeous” when I “floated” the idea to them.) The cool aqua, prism-like water and the warm bright orange bathing suit combine to produce a visual pop and easily stand out in a row of other books or on a table. “Going Swimming” is really the best of two worlds in one. It’s like a gorgeous dinner companion who had you at hello but then, when you get to know them, really bares his or her soul.