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Sparks and Shadows Paperback – April 30, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

More Praise for Sparks and Shadows
"Snyder has a unique voice and her work is almost instantly recognisable. ... It's rare to encounter a writer who so loves words and the changes that can be rung and the tricks that can be played. Rare and precious. But because of Snyder's versatility, it's difficult to give an overview of this collection. Every piece is different, and every piece demands attention. ... Dark, funny, and romantic by turns, Sparks and Shadows is a must read. Go! Buy! Read!" -- Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine
"(N)ot only does Lucy A. Snyder write truly intelligent horror that is both witty and political but her stories and poems tap the feminist potential of horror to illuminate the shadowy extremes of both love and hate. ... Whether you are looking for dark fantasy or horror or just something to tickle your funny bone, I recommend you pick up a copy." 
-- The Green Man Review


"The short stories and poems in Lucy Snyder's debut collection range from dark to very dark to sexy to hopeful, often with a wry twist of humor ... Highly recommended ...." 
-- Sequential Tart


"At times poignant, witty, erotic, thoughtful, chilling and maniacally gleeful, Sparks and Shadows is a delightful collection and book length introduction to an author to watch."
 -- Horror Reader


"Lucy Snyder's Sparks and Shadows is everything you could want in a short story collection. Elegant, beautiful prose, deep emotional writing and powerful stories. Do yourself a favor and grab this one!" 
-- James A. Moore, author of Serenity Falls


--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

From the Back Cover

"(T)his has to be, hands down, the best collection I've read since Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts. ... Lucy Snyder means business, people. She is here to kick ass and take names."
-- Hellnotes

"(N)o matter what kind of story you like - romantic, creepy, violently scary, Hitchcockian, devilishly clever, or packed with fantastic adventure, you'll find something in this book that will seem written just for you."
-- FearZone

"Snyder's work is vibrant and resonant and superbly measured ... Short, sharp, and sometimes slightly shocking, (her) fiction is always memorable. ... (T)he stories in Sparks and Shadows weave a spell that'll prove hard to shake ... this volume belongs in any serious dark fantasy collection."
-- ChiZine

"The short stories and poems in Lucy Snyder's debut collection range from dark to very dark to sexy to hopeful, often with a wry twist of humor ... Highly recommended for lovers of the creepy and twisted."
-- Sequential Tart

"At times poignant, witty, erotic, thoughtful, chilling and maniacally gleeful, Sparks and Shadows is a delightful collection and book length introduction to an author to watch."
-- Horror Reader

"It's a bacchanalia in there. And I must tell you: you may never find your way out again."
-- Nalo Hopkinson, from her introduction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Guy Publishing; 2nd edition (April 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894953657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894953658
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,403,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of several books:

* Spellbent
* Shotgun Sorceress
* Switchblade Goddess
* Soft Apocalypses
* Orchid Carousals
* Sparks and Shadows
* Chimeric Machines
* Installing Linux on a Dead Badger
* Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide

Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Steampunk World, In the Court of the Yellow King, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5.

She lives in Ohio and is a mentor in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.

You can learn more at her website: www.lucysnyder.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Slemmons on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
The word "edgy" gets tossed around way too much.

Every book with a vanilla sex scene, every story with a bit of gore, every writer willing to shoehorn a little politics into a story -- they all get branded as "edgy." It's like tossing a pinch of salt into a souffle and calling it "spicy."

Lucy Snyder is genuinely edgy.

Her story "Feel the Love" was rejected for an anthology because the content scared the anthologist too badly. And she once had to rewrite a story she'd co-written for a "Hellraiser" anthology because it squicked out the publishers. "Hellraiser," for the sake of all that's unholy!

Of course, she isn't merely an edgy writer -- lots of writers cultivate a reputation for edginess by shoveling controversy into their stories without regard for, well, the story. Snyder's reputation as a writer relies less on the shocks her fiction can give to her readers, and more on her picture-perfect characterizations, her smart dialogue, her razor-sharp plots, and her superior wordsmithing. She is, frankly, an absolutely fantastic writer -- her edginess is just a bonus for lovers of prose and poetry.

"Sparks and Shadows" is a collection of Snyder's deceptively dangerous fiction, poetry, and essays. Besides the aforementioned "Feel the Love" -- focusing on a very bad day for the protestors at an abortion clinic -- this collection includes stories like:

* "Through Thy Bounty" -- What's the worst torture the alien invaders can devise for a lowly human chef? Maybe just being a human chef...

* "Soul Searching" -- An elderly WWII vet learns that guilt for the sins of the past sometimes takes a more corporeal form.

* "Roses of Gomorrah" -- Can creatures built for pleasure feel the need for something greater?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kaolin Fire on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Sparks and Shadows" is a collection of poems, short stories, and essays by GUD contributor Lucy Snyder ('Sublety', Issue 2). Snyder has a unique voice and her work is almost instantly recognisable. Dive into this collection and you begin to feel like you're swimming around inside her head. It's not necessarily comfortable in there, but it's certainly interesting.

It's rare to encounter a writer who so loves words and the changes that can be rung and the tricks that can be played. Rare and precious. But because of Snyder's versatility, it's difficult to give an overview of this collection. Every piece is different, and every piece demands attention. So I'm just going to pick out a few to comment on, and you'll have to buy a copy if you want to know the strangeness and wonder of the rest.

In the short story 'A Preference for Silence', we meet Veronica, who has "never lost her tea in zero gee", but for whom the predilection of the title becomes more and more pressing while she and companion Melvin keep watch on a sleepship travelling through space. It's always the little things that wear you down, and even out in the deep black, peace isn't so easily found. Snyder presents the story with confidence, explaining only that which you need to know, and leaving the rest to silence.

The hilarious short story 'Boxlunch' starts with a slightly risky hunt for a condom and ends with a race-against-time through mortar attacks in order to save a recorded ('boxlunched') personality from data decay. This story started off by reminding me of "Appropriate Love" by Greg Egan in which a woman must incubate her dead husband's brain, but it soon went off in an entirely different direction. Egan's story was more disturbing; this is funnier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Lucas on December 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mixed works like this often leave me cold, but the unpredictability of the contents works here. When I turn the page, I don't know if I'll be facing a story or a poem. I don't know if it'll be odd, exciting, or downright horrifying. You don't know until the last word what sort of story you're reading, giving the tales a tension often lacking in more homogenous collections.

Read this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of the author's novels featuring Jessie Shimmer, so even though I'm not much of a short story reader, I decided to give Sparks and Shadows a shot because I like her writing style so much. I don't regret that decision at all. I pretty much liked, if not outright loved, all the stories and essays in this collection. As far as the poems, I liked some ("The Monster Between The Sparks," "Photograph of a Lady, Circa 1890," and "Glowfish") but didn't really care for the others.

As far as the stories featuring characters from the author's novels, "Sara and the Telecats" was probably my favorite because it was completely new to me. "Soul Searching" featuring Miko was good, but the ending was featured in Shotgun Sorceress. Charlie's story, "...And Her Shadow" was disappointing not because it wasn't good, but because I'd already read the whole story in Shotgun Sorceress, so there was nothing new in it.

Other stories in this collection that I really enjoyed: "A Preference For Silence," "Boxlunch," "Through Thy Bounty," "The Sheets Were Clean and Dry," "Burning Bright," "Roses of Gomorrah," and well let's just say most of them! I also enjoyed all the essays included.

Now the main reason I gave this collection four instead of five stars is because of the Kindle edition. Main problems: no cover, no Table of Contents (!), and pretty much every story had small sections that were indented differently than the rest of the story for no apparent reason, which was pretty annoying.

Overall, the stories and essays in this collection are definitely worth your time, but beware that the Kindle edition has some issues.
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