This comes a bit circuitously via the Science Fiction Poetry Society from a few days ago, but Ray Bradbury is one of four writers I routinely claim as important influences on my own writing (the others:  Edgar Allan Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Bertolt Brecht), not to mention that it’s practically local news, so I think it worth sharing for those who might wonder.

As of last year, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis became the new home for a large portion of Bradbury’s papers and office library.  To quote from the announcement:  “Mr. Bradbury, who passed away in June 2012, left his manuscripts and author’s copies of his books to his long-time friend and principal bibliographer, Professor Donn Albright of the Pratt Institute.  Albright, a native Hoosier, has graciously donated most of these books and papers to the Bradbury Center.  The Bradbury-Albright Collection will be the centerpiece of the Center’s Bradbury Memorial Archive, a simultaneous gift from the Bradbury family that includes the furnishings, correspondence, awards and mementoes from Mr. Bradbury’s home office.  Both gifts arrived at IUPUI on October 23 [2013], almost exactly sixty years after the publication of Bradbury’s classic novel, FAHRENHEIT 451.”  For those who wish, the entire announcement can be found by pressing here.

A more complete press release, dated October 30 2013, can also be found here, adding that “’[t]he Ray Bradbury items are a tremendous addition to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, one of five scholarly editions that are part of the Institute for American Thought at IUPUI,’ IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said.  ‘Recently named an IUPUI Signature Center, the Institute for American Thought is internationally recognized for the work of the faculty and staff to preserve, research and publish authoritative texts by important American writers.  Being able to display the Ray Bradbury artifacts from his office library will present Bradbury in a compelling way for countless readers and students of his work.’

“The IU School of Liberal Arts will catalog and store most of the items until the Bradbury center is able to expand its space to accommodate the new holdings.  A few items will be on display in the center offices until then.”

For those across the border in Illinois, Bradbury’s birthplace on August 22 1920 and where he grew up, the latter release also notes that “[s]hipment of the Bradbury items to the IUPUI campus this month coincided with a shipment of Bradbury’s home library and related materials to the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, a donation representing the author’s wish to leave his hometown with a significant portion of his literary legacy.  Waukegan Library staff and the IUPUI center worked closely throughout the summer to coordinate the shipments from Bradbury’s Los Angeles home.”

For those interested, there is also an unrelated official Ray Bradbury website that can be found here.

Speaking of Eldritch Press, which we met in the post just below as sponsor of the HWA’s new Dark Poetry scholarship, they also, of course, publish books themselves.  One of which has been mentioned just yesterday on their Facebook site via press owner Michael Randolph:  “Update to OUR WORLD OF HORROR Anthology.  All submissions have been answered.  If you have an outstanding response from us, check your bulk folders, 10500300_1450045741918910_1992919603849645277_nyour Email accounts that no longer exist, behind your ears and let us know if we have not gotten back to you.

”Final tally was 1374 submissions with 31 (roughly, we’re all tired) submissions being chosen, plus poetry.  Final word count should be roughly 100,000. . . .

”We had enough to fill a few anthos and passed over seasoned pro’s simply because we liked a different story better or the theme fit perfectly.

”We will be releasing a final TOC next week, minus the solicited stories we are waiting on.”

Well, the whole statement can be found by pressing here.  But to the point, yesterday evening my email was graced by Chief Editor Kevin Knowles:  “James, we are inquiring if your story ‘Spider Heat’ is available, if so we’d love to include it in OUR WORLD OF HORROR anthology.”  So it’s been five months, but they’d said their response times might be slow (and this is one where I’d sent the submission well before deadline).  And, as I sent back in the wee hours of a mildly snowy morning (first real snow of the coming winter, though we’d had some flurries around Halloween!), you bet “Spider Heat” — a summer story itself, set in Memphis Tennessee — is available and, at a good pay rate to boot, happy and anxious to be in its new home.

A short bit to note that the Horror Writers Association has announced its establishment of a Dark Poetry Scholarship program for member-poets.  Sponsored by Eldritch Press, this is intended as a supplement to its already existing Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Horror Writers Association Scholarships.

To quote their announcement:  “The first Dark Poetry Scholarship will be awarded in 2015.  Thereafter, the scholarship is given annually.  The scholarship is designed to assist in the professional development of our members writing Horror and/or Dark Fiction Poetry

“HWA President Rocky Wood explained that the intent of the Dark Poetry Scholarship is to bring into prominence the very real importance and influence Dark Poetry has had on the Horror genre, ‘It is very clear to the HWA that there are real barriers limiting the amount of Dark Poetry being published.  At the same time the HWA exists to extend the horror genre in all its aspects, so we are establishing the Dark Poetry Scholarship, which is open to all our members.’”

More information on the new scholarship, including a link to the rules for those interested in applying, can be found by pressing here.

 

It was a year ago when they first set out, five vampire poems off into the world, brave and hopeful, and today they finally returned to my mailbox, resplendent in their new home.  Or, more toBloodbond3Cover600-200x300 the point, the November issue of BLOODBOND arrived from Alban Lake Publishing (cf. September 3, June 25), with all five poems in it.  The poems themselves are offered in two groups: “Section I” presenting ”Entertain the Concept, or, A Vampire’s Dilemma,” “The Vampire’s Suggestion (Don’t Forget Breath Mints),” and “The Vampire Muses,” and “Section II” with “Valentine Vamp (‘And So to Bed’)” and “Sinister,” the first three addressed to the vamp herself offering philosophy and advice, and the latter two more objective in describing her methodology and practice.  More information, including a listing of other stories and poems in the issue, can be found here.

Ah, the smell of autumn flowers — or spring or summer or even winter — some of which can be deadly!  Such is revealed by Natasha Geiling in an article in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE on England’s Aln42-57758996.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscalewick Garden, “Step Inside the World’s Most Dangerous Garden (If You Dare),”  brought to us via ScienceAlert.com courtesy of Bruce Boston via the Horror Writers Association on Facebook.  To discover all — including an unexpected connection to Harry Potter — you can eliminate all these middlemen by pressing here.

But then the ScienceAlert précis has its own charms, including links to sidebars for such things as buying tickets (a discount is available for internet purchases) should you be in northeastern England anytime soon, and even a short video, all of which can be reached by pressing here.

Editor Weldon Burge has announced a preliminary table of contents for the upcoming INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS anthology (cf. November 7, September 9) from Smart Rhino Publications.  But let’s let him put it into his own words:

“The Table of Contents of the INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS anthology is now complete!  I accepted ‘The Absinthe Assassin’ by JM Reinbold earlier this week, and just accepted ‘Tantse So Smert’Yu (Dancing With Death)’ by Ernestus Jiminy Chald . . .  The antho will include 24 stories (with a mix of suspense, thriller, horror, fantasy, science fiction) and will be more than 400 pages!

“Here’s the current TOC . . . we may shuffle things around before the book goes to press.”

Those Rockports Won’t Get You Into Heaven — Jack Ketchum
Dead Bill — Shaun Meeks
Worse Ways — Meghan Arcuri
No One of Consequence — Christine Morgan
And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ — Doug Rinaldi15790_822232577838686_5631501463275173563_n
The Night Gordon Was Set Free — Billie Sue Mosiman
Almost Everybody Wins — Lisa Mannetti
Friends From Way Back — Dennis Lawson
The Repo Girl — Patrick Derrickson
Letter for You — Carson Buckingham
The Rock — Joseph Badal
The Handmaiden’s Touch — Doug Blakeslee
The Bitter and the Sweet — D.B. Corey
Influence — Martin Zeigler
Agnus Dei — Jezzy Wolfe
Labyrinth — James Dorr
Blenders — J. Gregory Smith
One of Us — Austin S. Camacho
The Absinthe Assassin — JM Reinbold
Slay It Forward — Adrian Ludens
Tantse So Smert’Yu (Dancing With Death) — Ernestus Jiminy Chald
What the Blender Saw — L.L. Soares
Code Name Trine — Martin Rose
Bestsellers Guaranteed — Joe Lansdale

My outing here, “Labyrinth,” takes place on the island of Crete and melds modern-day politics with the myths of the Ancient Greeks.  And for you hard-core assassination fans, there’s also a previous Smart Rhino anthology, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, available, more on which can be found here.  My story in this one, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” is set a bit farther south in the Sahara Desert and has to do with family relations (see also August 16 2012, et al.).

For a little bit of a change of pace, today I attended a presentation on “Haibun:  The Best of Both Worlds,” courtesy of the Bloomington Writers Guild (cf. October 9, et al.) and the Monroe County Public Library.  For those unfamiliar, this is from the session handout:  “A haibun is a hybrid form that is composed of heightened prose and one or more haiku.  The prose elements and the haiku work synergistically and each heightens the effect of the other.  It can be written in in various styles:  stream of consciousness, description, memoir, slice of life, but has traditionally been based on real life experiences including travel.”  The class went on to explain that its popularity in English is fairly new and that it is continuing to evolve, while discussion also touched on haiku by itself, and the symbiotic relationship between the prose and the poetic parts of haibun.

As in similar sessions the library and Writers Guild have offered, there was time for hands on practice as well, the first to be inspired by the participant’s choice from a group of photographs, mostly of nature, that were passed around.  And so for an example, my effort will appear below as a sort of lagniappe, a little literary freebie as a reward for having read this far.

Also today, Editor J Alan Erwine sent, via Facebook, a preliminary cover design for the upcoming sf/humor anthology A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR, with my story “Toast” in it (see October 22, September 26, et al.).  To quote the publisher, “[t]his isn’t quite the final version, but we love this cover so much, we wanted to share it with all of you.  We will be starting a Kickstarter for the collection very soon, so keep your wallets ready!”  Thus, it not being exactly the official to-be-published version, I don’t think it proper to display it here, but since it is available to the public on Facebook it’s not exactly a secret either.

What to do?  What to do?  How about this — for those who wish for a wholly “unofficial” sneak peek, it can be found by scrolling down my Facebook page here.  And returning to haibun, information on the Writers Guild and programs to come can be found here, while here is the sample promised:

(untitled)

Trees, second growth, abound in this wood.  Thin, angular branches bared mostly by fall.  A smell of tartness, of leaves turning — mossy as well as they slowly decompose.  It is afternoon.  One feels the sun’s heat as if it wishes its presence known in the brief time left during its setting, while shadows, like arrows, lead the hiker on to an unexpected clearing, a platform of rough planks.  On that reposes a single bench, empty.  Even the wind has died down and is silent.

    lonely bench
    still warm from the sun’s descent
    or one just called home 

Talk about fast work! Yesterday I received the acceptance for “The Needle-Heat Gun” for Geminid Press’s not-yet-titled Space Opera anthology, as related just below; today the contract arrived from Editor Phillip Garver.  So part of this afternoon’s activity has been reading through it and, a few hours ago, sending it back with electronic signature affixed.  Also just a few days before I received and sent back the final proof sheets for my story, “The Labyrinth,” to be published in the Smart Rhino Publications anthology INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (for details on which see September 9).  Such is the writer’s life, in part.  “The Labyrinth,” a fantasy/mystery set in modern Crete but with intimations of ancient Greek myth, is hoped to be out in early 2015; “The Needle-Heat Gun” in the mid-to-latter part of next year.

Yes, I do write science fiction sometimes — in fact I had started off with science fiction before I finally settled for mostly working in horror.  And while I don’t do very much SF now, every once in awhile the opportunity will come around. . . .

Besides, this story features a few standard horror tropes as well.

Thus the call went out from Geminid Press for an as yet untitled “Space Opera” anthology.  “Rock us with cool short stories that have laser beams, spaceships, heroes — both male and female — and far out faraway places.”  I had just happened to have wriSpace_Opera_Low_Restten a space opera parody of sorts, called “The Needle-Heat Gun,” which could fit the bill.  Moreover they were offering five cents a word, until recently a professional rate by SFWA standards and, I believe, still so for HWA.  It would have been wrong for me to desist.

They wanted a “tagline” in the cover letter so I also sent them this.  “’The Needle-Heat Gun’ is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek 7000-word story about how interstellar space hero Sledge Baxter saves the day, fights off at least three kinds of alien monsters, rescues the girl who then falls in love with him, ending up rich and beloved by all except by his sidekick who did all the actual work — but who has come to hate him for a completely different reason.”  What reason, you ask?

The good news came today from Editor Phillip Garver:  “Thank you for sending us ‘The Needle-Heat Gun.’  We loved it and would like to publish it in our upcoming anthology.”  Currently they’re looking toward a mid-to-late 2015 release, so you can find out then.  And as for what the book’s final title will be, etc., more information will be posted here as it becomes revealed.

The one two punch of books received!  Today’s mail brought a much anticipated copy of LYCAN LORE (see July 29), new publisher Source LycanLoreCoverPoint Press’s selection of werewolf poetry and short fiction.  My dogs in this pack are in the poetry section, “Running” concerning the joys of “going native” and “Cruella” about old habits dying hard.

Then yesterday afternoon the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2014 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY had arrived, having taken some time in preparation, with my vampire poem, “The Specialist” (cf. April 12), originally published in the June 2013 DISTURBED DIGEST.  In this poem a vampire explains her true purpose in The Great Scheme of Things.

The RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY has its own special purpose as a presentation of nominees for the Rhysling Award that SFPA members can use in their voting.  However, the anthology is also offered to the general public, with more information available here.

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