Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Zombie Bible

New from Dante's Heart: the Zombie Bible. The official launch of this series is December 3, 2011 -- but if you've been following and reading Dante's Heart for a while, you can get an early look by visiting the Zombie Bible website or by ordering the e-book edition of the first volume, Death Has Come Up into Our Windows (at Amazon or Smashwords).

Stant Litore's new series sets out to retell biblical tales as tales of wrestling with the unquiet dead; in so doing, the novels and novellas in the Zombie Bible seek to recover the sense of horror and wonder that these tales once evoked...

Take a look. Death Has Come Up into Our Windows is an evocative and chilling read, with scenes both violent and sweet. If you do not own an e-reader, you can download a PDF from Smashwords. The books will also be out in paperback a little later.

From one of Dante's Heart's fiction editors:

"The Zombie Bible isn't just another zombie-story knockoff intended to make sure we turn on all our lights at 2am and keep an axe handy just in case one of the dead happens to break through our deadbolt. The Zombie Bible also wrestles with profound issues: the meaning of life, the meaning of death, the profound inadequacies and desperate triumphs of the human condition, the experience of terrible loss and the possibility of wonders gained beyond all expectation. It is a meditation on history and human nature, on justice and one man's struggle with his God. Like all good literature, it is about you and me and the past as a window into the present. It is a mirror in which we can see something of ourselves, and if we see something of our own ravenous hunger there or the sound of our own occasional cry despair (or hope), it is only because The Zombie Bible is saying something true to us. Shall we listen? I would not have thought zombie stories could be this good, or this profound."

And an early comment on Amazon from a reader:

"It grabs you from the first line and doesn't let go. And the line 'God wept behind her veil in the Temple while the dead ate the city' is right up there with classic horror movie lines such as 'Death has come to your little town, sheriff' and 'They're coming to get you, Barbara.'"

This read is not for the faint-hearted, but also not to be missed. The second volume in the series, What Our Eyes Have Witnessed, will be available in December.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Like the Finest Wine"

Some of you have probably read Christine Emmert's novella Lilith (available on Amazon Kindle), the haunting tale of a woman to whom the primeval demon/goddess Lilith appears in the form of an owl, laying claim to the life of her infant as the price of knowledge and the completion of her work.

Lilith strikes sweet wounds to the heart of any mother who has ever wakened in the middle of the night fearing for her child's safety, or any artist who has labored to complete a long work and felt the weight of unexpected sacrifices.

We were so taken with this story that we turned to author and playwright Christine Emmert this week to learn more about the creator of Lilith.

Christine, what made you want to write Lilith?

It was an odd crossroads of buying a book on Medieval Mythology and a barn owl that was living in our open-air garage when we moved to the country. Lilith has many sides. She is the woman who would not bow down to a patriarchal universe. All women have that wish not to defer born into them as little girls. We suppress it as we grow up and evolve into members of a
society, but freedom still tastes like the finest wine to us.

Could you tell us -- what is your own favorite moment in Lilith? The moment that sits with you most deeply when you close your eyes?

When her husband tells her to paint Lilith. My husband is a visual artist, and he can often depict visually what I cannot say in words. The depth of the visual is stunning and scary at the same time.

I couldn't agree more. What writers do you admire?

I love Katherine Harrison. I think her novel POISON is one of the finest pieces of writing I ever read. I also admire Steven Saylor for his historical fiction -- especially THE VENUS THROW which seems to understand the weaving of good and evil in us on a level that is heart rending.

My friend, Stephanie Cowell, who also writes historical fiction is a big inspiration to me in the depth at which she looks at the lives of famous people. Of course I love Shakespeare who
could make us sympathize with the blackest heart or make us laugh at our own foolishness. Erica Jung's poetry as well leaves me speechless before her honesty.

What else inspires you as a writer -- what gives you energy?

I have always found myth as a great source of inspiration. Myth expresses what is behind the great curtain in simple ways we can understand, even if we can't verbalize it. My animals too help me since I must always try harder to see what they want than what people want. To be really syrupy I have to say love inspires me. I could not do what I do without the support of my husband. Before I met him I drowned in my dreams rather than swam through them to the far shore.

What is next for you after Lilith?

I write plays...and just finished one on Mary Magdalene that I would love to see produced. It is a very different take on what has become an overly familiar story. In addition I want to write more on the mythology of the East. Buddha and the heritage from his teachings has given me new ways of looking at the world. I began a novel, THE DAKINI IN THE CAVE, that braids many myths together.

Thank you, Christine. And thank you, our readers, for listening. We hope that you will each make it to the far shore in the pursuit of your own visions. Please check out Lilith, and watch for future titles from Dante's Heart.

Daniel Fusch, Ph.D
Senior Editor, Dante's Heart Publications
Author, Zombie Bible
Father, Dances with Grownups

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mythology of the West

American mythology is often focused on the wild west and the westward expansion. The west is still considered the frontier where known hits unknown. Tales of the wild west fill books and the movie screen. However, with many modern re-telling's of mythological stories, there is also a re-spinning to add a bit of flair. This is were wild west meets just plain weird. Weird-west tales have found their own niche. One of the best examples being Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Til Dawn."

The first half the film reads like any other western. There is your upstanding sheriff, innocent bystanders, and highway robbers. As to be expected the aforementioned robbers attempt to rob a bank, take hostages, and try to get away from the law. Rodriguez follows the mythological pattern to a T, until (Spoilers!) the vampires decide to show up. There is no longer a good-guy bad-guy dynamic. It is man verses monster. The vampire tropes are as you would expect: crosses, holy water, blood drinking, etc. As separate pieces the two genres are typical and common. The genius is in the blending.

Just like America is the melting pot, our modern mythologies are melting pots as well. It is not enough to be a vampire tale or a western. It is the combination that makes the weird-west worth looking into.

Celebrating the Forth,
J.R. West the Raccoon

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lilith (Christine Emmert): A Dante's Heart Publication

Lilith: The Night Owl

Christine Emmert

Dante's Heart, 2011

The enemy of every hearth, Lilith visits homes and devours children. When a graduate student writing a thesis on Lilith meets the demoness in the shape of a barn owl, she sees the perfect research opportunity ... until she learns Lilith is hungry for her child! Will Evelyn be able to protect her son from the owl's tearing beak and dark heart? Will she be able to keep her husband from falling to Lilith's wiles? Will she be able to learn who -- and what -- Lilith is in time to save her child, her marriage, and her mind?

Price: $1.99
Availability: Amazon Kindle; if you don't own a Kindle, download Amazon's free app for your PC (apps are also available for smartphones, android, iPad, etc.)
Print Length: 25 pages


The editors of Dante's Heart are pleased to announce the first in a line of Dante's Heart e-books. Check it out! It's a haunting tale that has been on my mind frequently since I read it. If you read it, too, let us know what you think!

Daniel Fusch, Ph.D
Senior Editor, Dante's Heart

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yuri's Night

So much of mythology is told using the night sky. The sun was pushed across the sky by a scarab beetle in one culture, and the moon was brought up with a Chariot in another Our stars tell stories, a picture book for a time before books . Our heroes danced over our heads and guided us. Our Messiahs were born under auspicious skies. We dreamed of gods and demons above us. Then we looked deeper still.

Early telescopes led to the belief of channels on Mars and the myth of the Martian. Venus with it cloud held a hidden womb of fertile jungle paradise. Then fifty years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to be launched into outer space. This cosmonaut was the first man to enter the realm of our mythological gods. He is honored with his own night, "Yuri's Night", which celebrates space exploration and the desire to reach higher and farther. Yuri Gargarin was the first in a new set of mythology, Space Walker. He and others like him are our new Shamans bringing new gods and lore for us to enjoy.

So take the opportunity tonight to look up into the never-ending sky and feel the magic of it.

Star Watching,
J.R. West the Raccoon

For more information go to