The Mark of the Shadow Grove by Ross Smeltzer ~ New Book Release 01/15 + Author Interview!

Book Description: 

Daughters of the gathering dusk and students of blackest spellcraft, the women of the Schermerhorn clan are enigmas made flesh. Seers for time immemorial, they are keepers of primeval knowledge.

They are wise in the ways of the Old Religion.

And they are destroyers of men.

Do the women of the Schermerhorn clan drive the men they encounter to their destruction? Or are their actions governed by specters on the periphery of human consciousness?

The Schermerhorn women will soon learn what dwells in the oldest books and what lurks in the flickering shadows beyond the candlelight.

About the Author:

Raised in Chatham, New York, a small town in the Berkshires that looks like the setting for a Washington Irving story, Ross grew up surrounded by overgrown woodlands and tumbled-down, derelict farmhouses. He grew up with an awareness that the past was omnipresent, a slyly pervasive power and a subtle influence on the present.

Ross now lives in Dallas, Texas with his patient and endlessly supportive wife, a hopelessly brainless terrier, and an alarmingly unhinged cat. Ross works as a social studies teacher but writes fiction whenever he gets a chance. Sadly, he seems capable only of crafting stories of the weirdest kind. His imagination—apparently corrupted in adolescence by Hawthorne, Bierce, Machen, Lovecraft, and assorted other misanthropes, weirdos, and purveyors of high strangeness—can only manufacture demented little yarns.

Ross's fiction has appeared repeatedly in Bewildering Stories magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, and Enchanted Conversation, an online fairy tale magazine.

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I saw her close to the fire. I approached her. Instinct—animal’s blood—controlled my fatigued limbs and I felt no fear, though the flames blazed high and the hilltop was forlorn; the night was black as deep water . . . She turned and approached me. “There are no masters here. Only you and me,” she said.

Interview with Ross

What drew you to writing? 

I enjoy the challenges associated with writing. It’s a craft that demands much from those who practice it. It stimulates me intellectually, in a way nothing else does.

I think I enjoy writing speculative fiction because of my own dissatisfaction with consensus reality. The world that is seems very drab to me; I like to enliven in with a dash of magic and madness.

What are you currently learning to further develop your craft?

I’m experimenting with shorter forms of fiction and am currently crafting works of flash fiction and very short stories: yarns under 1,000 words. I like the limitations these forms impose on the writer: boundaries are a boon to creativity.

Do you prefer creating short stories, or novels?

I much prefer the short story to the novel. Too often, the “single effect” the writer can achieve in the short story is dissipated in the sprawl of the novel. I agree with Ambrose Bierce’s acerbic characterization of the novel as “a short story padded.”

What Genre do you write and why?

I would say my writing dwells in the shadowy borderland between dark fantasy and horror. I don’t really care for genre labels, but I’d say most of my works falls within the Gothic tradition. I just can’t help but fixate on twisted Tim Burton-esque trees, dilapidated ruins, and scimitar-shaped moons. I suspect my early enthusiasm for Hawthorne and Lovecraft congealed in my subconscious and is now quite ineradicable.

What kind of books to you enjoy reading? 

I’m an agonizingly slow reader, so I generally favor short story collections over novels. Also, I like reading books about the history of food. I’m an unapologetic glutton, and I like to know where--historically and culturally-speaking--my food and drinks are coming from.

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~


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