Friday, May 9, 2014


Gemma Files is my Woman In Horror today! Gemma has and is continuing to do pretty much everything that is to be done in the horror genre. The below piece from Wikipedia pretty much explains her sterling attributes.


Gemma Files was born in 1968 in London, England, the daughter of actors Elva Mai Hoover and Gary Files. Her family relocated to Toronto in 1969, where she resides today. Files graduated Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1991 with a degree in journalism; various freelance assignments eventually led to a continuing position with entertainment periodical Eye Weekly, where she gained local repute as an insightful commentator on the horror genre, independent films and Canadian cinema. She was listed by Cameron Bailey of NOW as one of the Top 10 Coolest People in Canadian Cinema for 1996. She has also written reviews for and for the Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue.
In 2000 her award-winning story "The Emperor's Old Bones" was reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Thirteenth Annual Collection (ed. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow). In 2010 her Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novelette each thing i show you is a piece of my death was reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Two (ed. Ellen Datlow). Her short story "The Jacaranda Smile” was also a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist. Her first novel, A Book of Tongues, won the 2010 Black Quill award for "Best Small Press Chill" from Dark Scribe Magazine; it was followed by the sequels A Rope of Thorns (2011) and A Tree of Bones (2012), together comprising "The Hexslinger Series".
Files was married in 2002 to science fiction and fantasy author Stephen J. Barringer (with whom she co-wrote each thing i show you is a piece of my death). They have one son, Callum Jacob, born in September 2004.

Themes and Criticism

Files' protagonists tend to be self-willed outsiders and self-created monsters rather than "ordinary folks" or disposable victims—people who are set apart from the normal "human" world by monstrous acts or monstrous natures, but accept their status without apology and endure the consequences as honestly as possible, rather than brooding over past sins and making half-hearted attempts at redemption. The morality of Files' universe does not exclude the possibility of goodness, hope, or love—indeed, it is the awareness of loss of these things, and the desperate hunger to regain them, that drives much of her work—but there is a very clear emphasis on personal responsibility. The worst fates met in Files' universe are typically reserved for those characters who attempt to deceive themselves, evade the consequences of their choices, or somehow cheat their way out of agreed bargains—Regis Book of "Blood Makes Noise," who sacrifices everything to avoid the death he fears so much, and Rohise Gault of "Keepsake," who gives up her humanity in an attempt to keep the one thing she loves, are among the more memorable examples of this theme.
Many of Files' stories take classic horror tropes or images and put new spins of context or logical development upon them: the vampire protagonist of "Dead Bodies Possessed by Furious Motion" takes vampiric immortality and ennui to its logical extreme by stowing away on an interplanetary space probe, and the werewolf story of "At The Poor Girl Taken By Surprise" turns on a surprising but logical riff upon the cannibalism motifs underlying lycanthropy themes. Her cosmology is overtly supernatural—featuring multiple breeds of vampire and shapeshifter as well as ghosts, psychic abilities ranging from mediumship to pyrokinesis, witchcraft and hermetic magic, cannibalistic life-extension, rogue angels and practicing exorcists—but remains strongly focused on essentially human protagonists. One of her most powerful stories is "The Diarist" (which she self-adapted for The Hunger as above); in its original form, these last words of a jilted lover can be read either as an attempted witch's vendetta or as an entirely realistic tale of loss and heartbreak made even sadder by the impotence of its protagonist's "spells."

Amazon bio:

Born April 4, 1968, in London, England, Gemma Files is the child of two actors (Elva Mai Hoover and Gary Files), and has lived most of her life in Toronto, Canada. Previously best-known as a film critic, teacher and screenwriter, she first broke onto the horror scene when her short story "The Emperor's Old Bones" won the International Horror Guild's 1999 award for Best Short Fiction. Her current bibliography includes two collections of short work (Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart, both Prime Books) and two chapbooks of poetry (Bent Under Night, from Sinnersphere Productions, and Dust Radio, from Kelp Queen Press). Her first novel, A Book of Tongues: Volume One in the Hexslinger Series (CZP), was published in April 2010. The trilogy is now complete, including sequels A Rope of Thorns (2011) and A Tree of Bones (2012), and she is hard at work on her first stand-alone novel. Files is married to fellow author Stephen J. Barringer, with whom she co-wrote the story "each thing i show you is a piece of my death" for Clockwork Phoenix 2 (Norilana Books). They have one son.

A Book Of Tongues: Volume One Of The Hexlinger Series:1 is, in my estimation, a great series opening book. Her reviews are great, for the most part, but some folks have a little problem seeing beyond the complexities of the plot and sub-plots. The description below will make it clear that this is no ho-hum walk in the park tale. There is some meaningful horror bandied about. This is Wild Weird West, Steampunk, sex, and horror at its best. Pull up a chair and enjoy a super read!

Book Description

April 10, 2012
Black Quill Award Winner, Best Small Press Chill (2011)
Nominee for the 2011 Best Novel Spectrum Award
Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs-the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.
Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world-a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis.
Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear-the doom written for him, and the entire world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully weird and unique story of the Weird West, November 30, 2011
"Reverend" Ash Rook and Chess Pargeter run one of the most notorious gangs in the weird west, using Rev's hexes in order to rob and murder their way across the country. They are also lovers, as in love as two apparently soulless outlaws can be. However, hexes don't mix, and that is a serious disadvantage to the Rev's future plans - so he sets out to make it possible for hexes to work together. In doing so, he will raise a pantheon of lost gods back from their own hell and set them loose upon the world. Agent Ed Morrow of the Pinkerton Agency has infiltrated their gang in order to try to establish parameters that it is hoped will help the US find hexes before they come into their power and nurture them, in order to have them work for the government. However, Ed is found out by Rook and ends up a part of Rook's plans, all unwitting. Will Rook end up sacrificing everything he ever loved in his quest for power? Will Ed survive the whole experience? And will the world survive the cataclysms that may arise along with the ancient Meso-american gods?

This was a ... very strange book. I liked it - a lot! It was unique and I definitely enjoyed all the Aztec/Mayan legends and lore that were worked into the story. Rook and Chess' love affair was so beautifully dysfunctional, and the supporting cast of characters were all developed in such a way to give them depth and interest. I particularly liked Hosteen. If you enjoy steampunk, "weird West," and adventure, and are not bothered by m/m interactions, you should find something to enjoy in this delightfully strange and different story.
Gemma is one of a rare breed of author who is able to bend and cross genres,creating a wonderful mix. Her monsters are unique and fascinating, and she tells a tale of what the fuck! awesomeness. Gemma Files is a Woman In Horror!
Blaze McRob


Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane by Sarah Lotz, Audrey Niffenegger, Gail Z. Martin and Dan Abnett (Nov 6, 2012)


Kissing Carrion by Gemma Files (Jul 1, 2003)


Gutshot [hc] by Conrad Williams and Gemma Files (Oct 1, 2011)

Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness by Saladin Ahmed, Mary Robinette Kowal, Leah Bobet and Marie Brennan (Mar 11, 2012)


Mighty Unclean by Cody Goodfellow, Gemma Files, Mort Castle and Gary A. Braunbeck (Mar 27, 2012)


Shivers IV by Richard Chizmar, Brian Keene, Kealan Patrick Burke and Ray Garton (Jun 1, 2006)

Formats Price New Used
Paperback $94.82 $33.67

A Book of Tongues: Hexslinger, Book 1 by Gemma Files and Gordon Mackenzie (Jul 26, 2012)Unabridged

A Rope of Thorns: Hexslinger, Book 2 by Gemma Files and Gordon Mackenzie (Jul 26, 2012)Unabridged

Formats Price New Used
Audible Audio Edition Available at $9.95

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