Self-portrait taken at Necronomicon, October 2006

Welcome to the Deviations Series webpage!

Deviations: Covenant in print
An advance copy of Deviations: Covenant sits on my laptop keyboard in the Hyatt in downtown Tampa.
Cover artist: Bo Savino, Aisling Press
Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders,,, DEAstore,,,, Powell's Books, and Target.

TripStone hates to kill her gods but she must feed her people. An accomplished hunter in the Masari village of Crossroads, she is charged with the ritual slaying of the sacred Yata.

Her comrade Ghost tries to end Masari dependence on Yata meat by performing experiments punishable by death. His jeopardy increases when he shelters a teenage runaway sickened by fasting.

Their worldview shatters when they harbor a Yata woman raised to be livestock instead of a god. But Crossroads itself is imperiled. Hidden in the far woods, a secret Yata militia is preparing to alter the balance of power.

Updates and details are in my blog
The Deviations Journey.

Forthcoming September 19, 2008, from Aisling Press: Deviations: Appetite.

Click on the link below to hear Chapter 1 (recorded from within the audience and located at the 3:30- to 16:20-minute mark),
which I read at an open mic after performing extemporaneous a cappella singing.

Covenant, read at the Woodview Coffeehouse, 2 March 2007
Hosted by eSnips

Promotional appearances (you can also find me on
Click here to pop down to forthcoming events.

Saturday, September 8, beginning at 10 a.m. International Literacy Festival at Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon, FL. I've blogged about the event here.

Left to right: literature from the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the Art Center of Citrus County, the magazines Harp-Strings Poetry Journal and Poets' Forum Magazine, and the Florida State Poets Association, along with flyers for Deviations: Covenant.
Rainbow Springs State Park International Literacy Day Table
Friday, October 5 to Sunday, October 7, 2007 Necronomicon, Tampa's Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Convention, at the Hyatt in downtown Tampa, FL. On Saturday, October 6, I participated in a panel on dark poetry. I've blogged about the event here. Photo credit: Mary C. Russell.Covenant table at Necronomicon
Saturday, October 20, 2007, beginning at 10 a.m. Book Signing at Poe House Books, 823 E. Highway 44, Crystal River, FL (3 blocks East of Hwy. 19), 352-795-3887, I've blogged about the event here.Four Authors at Poe House Books
Friday, October 26, 2007,
10 a.m.-noon
Kickoff meeting of November Novelists, a group spearheaded by the Citrus County Library System. I was one of three authors discussing craft at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills, FL. November Novelists networks and supports NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants. I've blogged about the event here.NaNoWriMo Kickoff Event Flyer
Saturday, October. 27, 2007St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. I've blogged about the event here, with this entry as a follow-up.

Credit for on-screen photo: Brad Stager, Program Director, WUSF Radio Reading Service. The photo was part of an audio slide show on WUSF, "Authors and Readers Gather at 15th Annual Festival of Reading."
Still Shot, Audio Slideshow on
Saturday and Sunday, November 3-4, 2007Citrus County Festival of the Arts in Inverness, FL, Art Center of Citrus County booth. I've blogged about the event here.Festival of the Arts
Friday, November 16, 2007, 5-8 p.m."Write-In" at the Homosassa (FL) Public Library. Some details are covered in my blog entry for library's grand opening, below.Homosassa Public Library 51
Friday, December 7, 2007, 3-5 p.m.Homosassa Public Library grand opening. I've blogged about the event here.
Photo credit: Susan Mutschler, Homosassa Public Library branch manager and reference services manager.
Author table, Homosassa Public Library 2
Sunday, January 6, 2008, 1-4 p.m.Art Center of Citrus County Open House, Hernando, FL. I was one of the instructors on hand, providing information about my creative writing course and the free-writing group I facilitate. The event showcased the Art Center's newly-renovated Arts & Education Building, the Art Center Theatre, and on-site galleries, and was free and open to the public.

View photos from the event here. Shown: Part of my display table, showing a collage of sample publications on the floor easel and a poster for Covenant on a table easel.
Art Center Open House 14
Saturday, February 2, 2008, 12:30 a.m.Guest, The Jordan Rich Show, WBZ-Newsradio 1030, Boston. The show, which ran from midnight to 5 a.m., focused on fiction authors. It was broadcast nationwide and could be heard on the Web.

Covenant is listed on The Jordan Rich Show Winter 2008 Book List at the WBZ and Jordan Rich websites.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
2-4 p.m.
Book-signing at Barnes & Noble, 3500 SW College Rd., Ocala, FL.

Other authors at the event included Tricia Bennett (Polly Brown, Creation Books, 2007); Ernest Jernigan (coauthor (with Kevin McCarthy, Ocala, Florida, Arcadia Publishing, 2001); and Joyce Romanski (Redfield Alma Mater: No More Teachers' Dirty Looks, Claddagh Ltd., 2007.) Thanks to Donya Singletary, B&N Sales Lead, for organizing the event! The full photoset is here.
Book-Signing at Barnes and Noble in Ocala, Florida #5
March 7-9, 2008MegaCon,, Orlando, FL. I joined Tracy A. Akers (standing), Nicky Beuch (Aisling's submissions editor, at left), K.L. Nappier, and Bo Savino at the Aisling Press table. I've blogged about the event here.MegaCon, Aisling Press Table
Saturday, March 15, 2008
1-4:30 p.m.
Critique Retreat, Homosassa Public Library, Homosassa, FL. I joined Loretta Rogers, Belea Keeney, and Joyce Elson Moore to speak about craft and to critique works in progress. This was the latest in a series of writing events sponsored by the Citrus County Library System.Critique Retreat Sessions
Forthcoming events:
May 23-26, 2008WisCon: the world's leading feminist science fiction convention, Madison, WI. I am currently scheduled for four panels (preliminary programming) and one reading -- more info as details firm up. Look for Covenant at the Broad Universe table.
May 30-June 1, 2008The Wrath of Con, Panama City Beach, FL. I'll be at the Aisling Press author tables. Stay tuned for more details.
June 21, 2008, 2-6 p.m.Book signing at Barnes & Noble, Carrollwood, 11802 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL.
July 17-20, 2008Readercon 19: The conference on imaginative literature, Burlington, MA. Stay tuned for more details.
August 6-10, 2008Denvention 3: 66th World Science Fiction Convention, Denver, CO. Stay tuned for more details.
Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2008DragonCon, Atlanta, GA. I'll be at the Aisling Press author tables. Stay tuned for more details.
October 10-12, 2008Necrononmicon, St. Petersburg, FL. I'll be at the Aisling Press author tables and on a dark poetry panel.
October 17-19, 2008Florida State Poets Association annual convention, Holiday Inn, Ocala, FL. I'll give a presentation on Saturday, October 18, details TBA.
November 14-16, 2008Florida Writers Association conference, Lake Mary, FL. I'll give workshops in metaphor and in character and plot development.

Collections receiving copies of Covenant:

The Eaton Collection at the University of California, Riverside. From the website: "The Eaton Collection is the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian fiction in the world.... It is visited by scholars from around the world both for its American and international holdings."
The University of South Florida Library's Special Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler profiled this collection in her June 25, 2006, St. Petersburg Times article, "USF's brave new world."
The University of Sydney Science Fiction and Fantasy Collections, Sydney, NSW, Australia. The library's Ron Graham Science Fiction Collection and Colin Steele Collection together form one of the largest institutional collections of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the world.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America's Circulating Book Plan. Through the SFWA CBP, Covenant will circulate among readers in nine regions before residing in book repositories (mainly public and university libraries). I will also receive new book releases to read and pass along to other SFWA members participating in the plan.
Horrmann Library, Wagner College, Staten Island, NY.
Samuel C. Williams Library, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ.
Citrus County Library System, Central Ridge branch.

About the Deviations Series

Long ago the Masari and the Yata hunted together in peace, until the species they drove to extinction included those possessing nutrients necessary to Masari survival. The Yata then became the only source of those nutrients. Deviations tells how these peoples cope with the reality of being sentient creatures forced to play the roles of predator and prey, and how several of them try to thwart long-established conventions in the hope of overcoming their biological imperative. In Deviations love triumphs in the midst of death. The series focuses on the social, ethical, and spiritual dilemmas surrounding both the literal cannibalism of the societies involved and the many ways in which their different communities feed off each other.

My novelette "Lazuli" (Asimov's, Nov. 1984) placed me on the final ballot for the 1985 John W. Campbell Award. My short story "Moments of Clarity" (Full Spectrum, Bantam Books, 1988) reached preliminary ballot for the 1989 Nebula Awards. Commenting on "Moments of Clarity" in his review of Full Spectrum in the November, 1988, Out of This World Tribune, Bruce D. Arthurs wrote, "This one story is worth the price of the entire book."

The writing portion of my resume and my bibliography contain additional information.

A bit of history:
A 15-line poem inspired a short story that became a series.

More than 20 years ago I read Joseph Payne Brennan's poem, "When Tigers Pass" (from his Sixty Selected Poems, The New Establishment Press, 1985. Copyright law prohibits me from reproducing that text here). In my journal on November 19, 1985, I described Brennan's work as, "...a statement about how the last tiger, because it is the last of its kind, will be deified," and added, "I'd read the poem on the Express Bus. By the time I reached my stop I was mentally outlining 'Vox Humana,' whose outline sits on my desk at home."

I finished drafting the short story before the year was out, though three days after I began that writing I suspected I was really looking at a longer piece. Various critiques agreed, citing my story as "excellently crafted," "fascinating," and "powerful," but raising questions that clearly indictated I needed to do more world-building.

Various other activities and life challenges kept me from fiction for more than a decade, but the story remained in the back of my mind during my years of multiple-shift work. I returned to "Vox" almost two decades after I had drafted it. I kept some of its material but sent the rest in a new direction that addressed the questions posed by readers and editors. The original title no longer applied, and "Vox Humana" became Deviations.

Keeping one's old story drafts and critiques pays off! I am very thankful for the workshop groups I attended in both Massachusetts and Florida, and for my partner Mary C. Russell's impeccable editing. Good and candid readers are invaluable.

And I am very thankful to Aisling Press for having faith in this story.

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© 2006-2007, Elissa Malcohn Version 31, 2008-04-19

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