The news now, of course, is that THE TEARS OF ISIS is on the finalists’ list for the Bram Stoker Award® for superior achievement in a Fiction Collection. But before a book can even get to the early recommendation stage, it first has to be published – which may be the hardest part of all. Despair not, however, the ways are many, including first having a book worth reading, but then keeping an eye out for opportunities and being prepared to jump when those opportunities arrive.
So that sounds like luck, which it is in a way. But there are ways to help one make one’s own luck which is the subject of a guest post by . . . me . . . that went up on Lori Hettler’s THE NEXT BEST BOOK BLOG today.
For more, press here.
Upper Rubber Boot Books has announced the start of a series of stand-alone ebooks for reprint speculative fiction from 5000 words to 20,000 words with the advantage that rights will be completely non-exclusive. That is, if they publish something of mine, I can turn right around and sell the rights again to another publisher, as long as they take non-exclusive rights too. So, ever willing to try something new, off I sent a 9600-word novelette originally published in the December 1999 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” about a young wizardess called to a medieval justice of the peace court as an expert witness in a case that may involve magic. Fantasy/courtroom drama, yes!
In pretty quick time the answer came — “yes” — along with a contract that will be mailed out tomorrow morning. Pay is in royalties which, for short fiction, has in the past never amounted to much in part because Amazon takes a relatively large skim off lower-priced ebooks sold through their site, in part because, well, they are lower priced. But that’s the thing with the non-exclusive bit, that should another opportunity come along for a reprint magazine or an anthology I’m not prevented from taking it too.
So we’ll see what happens, in terms of editing (especially with reprints, I prefer editors with a light hand, but then I’ve been around awhile and I also place a high premium on style), covers, sales and royalty reporting, etc., some of which you may learn about here too. And as for the basics, if you’d like to give Upper Rubber Boot Books a try too (the name presumably comes from a Canadian expression for a small, nondescript town, much like “Podunk” in the United States — although the press itself is located in Nashville, Tennessee), their website can be checked out by pressing here.
Then, moving to another set of ebooks, Untreed Reads Publishing has announced that this is “Read An Ebook Week” and, from now through Saturday, May 8, they’re celebrating by holding a 30% off sale. This covers all titles including my chapbooks VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., PEDS, and the YEAR’S END New Year’s horror anthology with my lead story “Appointment in Time.” For more press here (yes, this is my page, after all it’s my horn I’m tooting, but you can go from there to their general catalog pages as well).
Once again winter semi-gloom has descended upon the local land, in this case with little snow so far, but enough, with ice, to make traveling conditions slippery. This was the day for the Bloomington Writers Guild First Sundays prose reading (see February 2, January 5, et al.) but, at a little after noon today, it’s been officially postponed. Joining January’s cancellation that makes two for the three months so far this year that have fallen prey to winter weather — April, one hopes, will not have the same problem. Meanwhile as for me, my planned open mike reading of “Rocky Road,” an absurd little story of how taking up cannibalism can have an unexpected effect on one’s dating life, will just have to wait until April too (but readers here, if they haven’t already, are invited to read “Koko’s Rabbit” — another tale concerning absurdity and dating — using the link in February 28′s post below).
And all isn’t gloomy! Yesterday an announcement came that Martinus Books’s alternate history anthology ALTERED AMERICA (cf. January 3) is on the verge of publication. With it has come a listing of the contents with brief descriptions, for which see below — including my Y2K tale of Egyptian rodents and Memphis Tennessee, “Avoid Seeing a Mouse” — along with its opening for pre-publication orders at a discounted price of $11.50. As for my story, itself a reprint from ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES (Dark Moon, 2012), it was my first acceptance this year so, despite the weather perhaps slowing some activities, 2014 — with all the other things that have been happening! — seems to be off to a pretty good start.
For more on ALTERED AMERICA press here.
Table of Contents:
Rio Grande -by Jackson Kuhl
Lorenzo seeks vengeance against the crooked card shark who wronged him, and his quest leads him to the independent nation of Rio Grande.
We The People -by Dan Gainor
A billionaire rancher seeks to rekindle the spirit of America… by cloning the Founding Fathers!
A Single Decision -by Bruno Lombardi
The ultimate sacrifice is asked of a young fighter pilot on 9/11/2001, with lasting repercussions.
What If… The Louisiana Purchase Never Happened -by Edmund Wells
Tensions abound amongst the many North American countries, even as John F. Kennedy is elected president of United New England.
The Orthogonian -by Sam Kepfield
The fate of relations between the United States and USSR hangs in the balance, and FBI Assistant Director Richard Nixon must make a historic decision.
Revolution 1865 -by Brad Hafford
Allan Pinkerton investigates revolutionary groups in the American colonies for His Majesty, Prince Edward.
Ship of Souls -by Erik Bundy
The fate of a Norse colony near Croatan lands lies in the hands of a young witch.
End of the Rainbow -by Dusty Wallace
An ancient conflict between Leprechauns and Elves reaches its climax in modern day America.
The Loyalist Washington -by Owen Morgan
Given a commission with the Royal Army, Colonel George Washington must snuff the seeds of rebellion in America.
Guns of the Green Mountains -by Ryan McCall
As the Redcoats are recapturing America in 1802, soldiers in the Free Republic of Vermont continue the fight for independence.
The Shining Path -by Jason Sharp
A jaded reporter rediscovers his purpose in US-occupied Quebec during the 1970′s.
The Union Forever -by Sean Menken
Northern patriots plot rebellion after Maryland votes to join the Confederacy.
Goodbye, Norma Jean -by William R.D. Wood
As the bombs fall, JFK mistress Marilyn Monroe awaits the return of her knight in shining armor.
Wild Blue -by Jeff Provine
Balloon couriers brave the treacherous skies over North America during the 1850’s.
Avoid Seeing A Mouse -by James S. Dorr
A great evil of ancient Egypt comes forth to plague the country leading up to Y2K.
Thomas Edison Visits Selwood -by Martin T. Ingham
Nevada 1882: In a world where magic merges with history, famed innovator Thomas Edison comes to the town of Selwood to showcase his inventions, only not everyone is pleased by his technological progress.
Divided States of America -by Lauren A. Forry
In a balkanized, war-torn America, a young soldier tries to make her way to neutral territory, only to befriend a BBC reporter with a price on her head.
A Girl’s Best Friend -by Cyrus P. Underwood
A candid interview with Marilyn Monroe at age 86.
The Lights on Broadway -by Charles Wilcox
Thomas Spinnaker gets more than he bargained for when he applies for a job with the power company in 1903.
The Black Blizzard -by Philip Overby
During the Great Depression, a half-baked scheme to sell a Minotaur ends badly for two brothers, as an unnatural storm stirs.
The Road Was Lit With Moon and Star -by Bruno Lombardi
The Apollo 11 moon landing has failed, resulting in the deaths of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Now, David Daniel Thomas Patton must complete the mission, and take that one small step…
What with THE TEARS OF ISIS on (as it were) the banquet menu and not only that but World Horror Conventions are fun, I’ve finally taken the official plunge, filled out the form, put my registration money down, and am now an official member of the 2014 World Horror Convention. For those not yet signed up, it’s on May 8 through 11 this year in Portland Oregon, so part of what I was doing today was scoping out air fares and times to make sure I, who am not rich (hey, I’m a writer, need I say more?), could swing the transportation. The answer to that, a conditional “yes,” though it remains to be seen if I can work it to avoid camping out all night in Indianapolis or, on the way back, a three-hour-plus layover in Chicago. And then there’s the question of the hotel — the convention one isn’t all that expensive, but there could be others that might suit me better (also as in New Orleans last year, the hotels seem not to offer airport transportation, but apparently there’s a light rail line one can commute in on at not too much cost).
Then there are restaurants and that sort of stuff too — groceries, sandwich shops. . . . How much luggage can I carry and should I leave room free, well, just in case (I have handled the little haunted houses the last two years, so I do have a sense of the size and weight)?
And who will feed the cave cat Wednesday?
Well, that last one is actually fairly well settled (though Wednesday doesn’t know it yet), but, speaking of pets, let’s have a little celebration, a story, free, for those of a mind for one. A bizarro-ish (surrealist? absurdist? dumb?) tale of a different pet who told stories, and not always of the pleasantest kind — which, come to think of it, is somewhat like us, who write horror. The story is titled “Koko’s Rabbit,” originally published in January 2010 in issue #1 of UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND (cf. December 23 2010, et al.), and can be enjoyed by pressing here.
Here is the big news, as of about noon today: THE TEARS OF ISIS has been officially nominated for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection (cf. January 22). Nominees will be voted on during the month of March with the winner to be announced at this year’s World Horror Convention, in Portland Oregon, May 8 through 12. It’s a bit of a distance from here — and even more distance between being a nominee and actually winning the horror community’s top award — but, barring monetary disaster (e.g. tax time comes in April), I’d better plan to go. And anyway WHC is fun.
But in the meantime life must go on and, this being the month’s final Sunday, I’ve just come home from the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Last Sunday Poetry Reading (cf. January 26), with featured poets Lisa Kwong and Shana Ritter. Thus, in view of the above news, when “Open Mic” time came I celebrated by reading the two poems that appear in THE TEARS OF ISIS, “The Birdcatchers” (at the end of the story of the same name, though originally published as a stand-alone poem) and the book’s opening poem “La Méduse” (“a mood piece,” I said, “to prepare readers for the stories to come”). More on the Stoker Award®, incidentally, can be seen by pressing here.
And speaking of THE TEARS OF ISIS, may I quote Marta Salek: “[t]here’s something unique about James Dorr’s horror. Something unusual about the twists; something lovely about the writing and something very human about the monsters he brings forth in his pages.” Sometimes these things seem to come in pairs. Scarcely had the cave computer keyboard cooled from typing Saturday’s post, below, when Marta’s review went up on Amazon just too late to be included. This time it’s only four stars, not five (“I won’t say every story appealed to me, but I did like most and I’m still thinking about many of them even now that I’ve finished. To me, that’s the mark of a successful writer.”) but, nevertheless, a very positive — and honest — review.
So thank you Marta (to read the entire review press here) and thank you, also, the members of HWA who voted for ISIS for the final ballot!
Actually Isis is rather happy, the headline referring to a new review of THE TEARS OF ISIS by author, poet, and reviewer Vincenzo Bilof. This is the tenth to appear on Amazon and perhaps the nicest one to date! Isis basks.
To pull out a few quotes: “I was reminded of the old HEAVY METAL cartoon; Dorr’s storytelling never ventured into the same exploitative style, but instead, each story was written with a different style, almost as if each piece were written by a different writer. I think the greatest challenge with a story collection is keeping the reader interested enough to read all of the stories. Most authors have a familiar style that fans of their work can connect with; even the short story masters, like Lovecraft and Barker, arguably maintained similar writing styles throughout their narratives.
“TEARS OF ISIS is interesting because the storytelling methods are diverse. I wanted to see what Dorr was going to do next. Here are stories of the grotesque, and stories of personal horror . . . It seemed that Dorr decided to tackle a familiar horror trope — or even popular horror film — with each of his stories, but make them HIS.
“Each character seemed distinct, and most importantly, interesting. I’ve gone through many anthologies where I paused between stories for an extended period of time, but for TEARS OF ISIS, I couldn’t help but see what Dorr had up his sleeve in the next story. Even though each story was distinct, I felt like there was a sense of ‘mythology,’ as the title might suggest. As if each story presented a museum-like gallery of horror stories that were a homage to a fear-mythos. . . .”
To read the review in its entirety, along with Amazon’s other reviews (though one or two toward the bottom may not be quite as nice) press here. The review also appears on Goodreads where it can be found here.
Untreed Reads Publishing has announced that they’ve reduced prices of some of their longer stand-alone stories to $0.99 as a permanent price reduction. “In almost all cases this was because the title was originally $1.50 and we’re bringing all of the short story pricing to the same price point.” In my case this affects only one story, the novelette PEDS, which will now be at the same price as my Christmas horror tale I’M DREAMING OF A. . . . and the steampunk mystery VANITAS. The hope is, as they move away from individual stand-alone stories to book-size genre anthologies, to simplify things in part, but also, in lowering some prices, to increase sales. They add also that “[m]ost of this pricing is now in effect at all of the major retailers and most distributors.”
For more information on PEDS press here, or press the cover pictures in the center column for individual titles. Or to see all four of my titles on Untreed Reads (the fourth, the New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, features my “Appointment in Time” as lead story) press here.
First blood for February, as it were, was spilled today with the acceptance of my story “Girls Gone Dead,” originally published in Post Mortem Press’s 2011 anthology NEW DAWN FADES (cf. November 8 2011, et al.), by Martinus Publishing for LIFE OF THE DEAD. “Tales of undead terror have been woven into the fabric of modern society,” so said the guidelines, “and amidst the blood and gore lie hidden questions: What motivates these reanimated cadavers to do what they do? What is the scientific rationale behind their existence? Why do they always seem so hungry, and seek the flesh of the living? All very scientific queries begging for answers.”
Or could it be that their undead desires aren’t so far from what they strove for in life — this was the premise of what I submitted, a tale of sisterhood in a way, of how friends in life weren’t going to let a little thing like death break up their relationship. And, indeed, how popular taste might help them to go on. But would it be right for this new anthology?
Editor Martin T. Ingham has now spoken: “Thanks for sending ‘Girls Gone Dead’ to the LIFE OF THE DEAD anthology. I enjoyed this atypical zombie story, and I’m pleased to accept it into the collection.”
More will be shared here as it transpires.
In the meantime, for those who wish to know more about me, I’ve gone and been interviewed one more time, this time for Sally Franklin Christie’s WRITERLY WEDNESDAY with simultaneous posting on SALLYFRANKLINCHRISTIE.COM. The date for this will be the last Wednesday in March, March 26, with links to appear here on that date. Or, for a preview, WRITERLY WEDNESDAY can be found by pressing here, and Sally’s other site by pressing here.
Whichever you choose though, on March 26 you can be sure that, along with new questions answered about me, there will be material on THE TEARS OF ISIS including an all-new excerpt from one of the stories.
(Which story? I’m not saying until the interview is published. )
This is just a short note from Horrified Press, but one worth passing on: The anthology NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS has been been picked up for distribution by Ingram, one of the largest book wholesalers in the U.S. So for readers this means the book may actually visit your town, on a shelf in your local bookstore, for some brief period before it’s returned to make way for the next shipment of titles. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. For us, the writers, it could be we’ll get an actual money-type royalty if horror fans are alert and snap it up when it appears.
For the record, my dog in this fight is a tale called “Flesh” (see October 23, et al.; also November 1 for a mini-interview with the editors), a zombie saga with a dream dimension in which a man is warned he must become fat. If you had a dream like that wouldn’t you believe it? And for those who may no longer have a local town bookstore, NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS can be found on Amazon too by pressing here.