Another one published, this one LUPINE LUNES: HORROR POEMS & SHORT STORIES from Popcorn Press, as announced by Editor Lester Smith. To give Amazon’s take on it, Welcome to Popcorn Press’s eighth annual celebration of horror writing, this year featuring the werewolf in a collection of stories and poems, particularly that crescent-shaped smaller sibling of the haiku — the lune. Each year, on October 1, we host an open call for horror-themed poems and stories. By October 31, we have a finished document published in ebook form, with a print version close on its heels. What you hold in your hands is the result of that creative marathon. Inside you will find werewolves galore, along with a handful of other shapechangers and harbingers of transformation. Read it by the light of a full moon, if you dare, or perhaps by candlelight. Read it aloud to family and friends — there is safety in numbers when the werewolf prowls!
My own pup in this pack is a single poem, albeit longer than lune or haiku, “Beware of the Dog” (see November 21, October 29), a working-class take on exactly how disruptive a werewolf might be on a Saturday night in a factory town. Delve within at your own risk! “Beware of the Dog” was originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL for September 11 2014.
Aha! It has come to pass! Click on the center column’s picture of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. December 1, et al.), scroll down to the author’s mini-biography and find these words: Indiana writer James Dorr‘s The Tears of Isis was a 2014 Bram Stoker Award® nominee for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Other books include Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance, Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, and his all-poetry Vamps (A Restrospective). An Active Member of HWA and SFWA with nearly 400 individual appearances from Airships & Automatons and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia and Yellow Bat Review, Dorr invites readers to visit his blog. Who’s he, you may wonder? “He,” here, is . . . me!
Yes, no more of the wilds of Pennsylvania, the arcane titles of works actually written by one James C. Simpson. Just weeping goddesses and wonder and mystery, but, hey, it’s all mine! And note while we’re there my sneaky product placement of AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS, also published (with TOMBS) by Elder Signs Press. (And, seriously, also my thanks to the publisher for getting the error corrected quickly.)
Then finally, remember that TOMBS is available for pre-order — just press its picture in the center column (or if you’d rather, click here) and take it from there. The official publication date, so says Amazon, will be June 1 2017, but why not slip in now ahead of the crowd, eh?
This, a bit of news from late Monday via Facebook, the December issue of Alban Lake Publishing’s DISTURBED DIGEST is ready for purchase. Also included, the table of contents with, natch, one from me, this time a poem about zombies and how the undead can only be eradicated by hiring a competent pest control service, thus asking the question “Zombie Trouble?” DISTURBED DIGEST is a companion magazine to Alban Lake’s BLOODBOND (cf. November 7) which came out last month with my vampire poem, “Her First Time,” bought in the same bundle as “Zombie Trouble?” (see June 22).
More on DISTURBED DIGEST, plus purchasing info can be found here; a sneak peek at the contents directly below:
Alone in the Cataloochee Valley by Lee Clark Zumpe
The Closet by James A. Miller
Two Drops of Blood by Sandy DeLuca
I’ll Always Hear You by Kelly McCrady
Three Coins by Lorraine Pinelli Brown
Remote by Kendall Evans
The Holy Computer by Glen R. Stripling
Ghosts in the Gaslight by Andrew Knighton
Backwater Saints by Elise Forier Edie
The Chopping Block by Matthew Wilson
Zombie Trouble? By James S. Dorr
Fly Movie Rationalization by Herb Kauderer
Sounds on a Lover’s Night by Guy Belleranti
Extremist by Herb Kauderer
Cosmic Blues by Russ Paladin
Illustrations by Sandy DeLuca
It Happens When You’re Dead
Two Drops of Blood
So a member of my writers group, presumably planning to write a “Krampus” story herself but declining to actually go to the local parade right here in town on Saturday night, made me this request: You might describe to me the sights, smells, sounds, etc. of the local parade. I imagine kids shrieking, music, smells of food for sale, etc. Who is it that hands out candy; was it “angels?” And the Krampuses have switches? (I read that the traditional Krampus does. I know he’s Austrian. He has relatives like Klaubeuf.) Sensing an attempt to get me to write part of her story for her, or at least do her research, and possibly in a cynical mood, I replied (after a brief snark that, re. “smells,” there would be crowds and undoubtedly body odor but it would be too cold to smell it) thusly:
I’m jaded myself, I remember the first one when you could march along the route with the Angels and Krampi yourself. But a quick rundown (oh wait, I copied the stuff from Facebook for you in my other email, it’ll tell you what to expect!), based on last year’s which would seem to be pretty much what will happen this year too, were you to go at 5, you’d probably mill around with people in the area behind the Showers Bldg (City Hall), you’d probably find a stand or a person giving out the “Naughty” and “Nice” stickers and choose the one you want to paste on your jacket (Hint: it’s considered bush league to paste on both). There may also be some food stands (or trucks, since those are “in” these days, the trucks probably parked on the street) Also some game-type things to help keep the kiddies quiet, though, half-frozen, most won’t be too noisy. As 6 p.m. works around, it’ll have gotten rather dark and someone will announce the parade will be starting and suggest you head south along Madison St. to watch it. You do, then you stand with others in the cold for awhile, then see some kind of lighted stuff (majorettes with light-up batons? Who knows) way in the distance to the south. In what seems like ages, it will finally get to where you are and move on past, Angels (giving out candy to the “nice”), Bishop Nick, maybe in the parade proper they’ll have the cart with the cage with a couple of “naughty” kids in it, maybe some other stuff, plus guys in Krampus suits. These last may or may not be holding switches or sticks but I doubt they’ll actually hit anyone — lawsuits, you know, not to mention possible criminal charges. But they will run toward children near the parade route with “Naughty” stickers yelling “Rowrrr!” And quite quickly, considering how long it seemed to take for it to get to you, it will be passed. Madison Street will seem deserted, the wind whistling, perhaps a piece or two of trash blowing along the now-empty expanse, and you’ll look around at other people looking as puzzled as you. Is that all there is? you’ll think. Then you remember what you’d read on Facebook, that there may be a sort of after thing, maybe an hour or more later, when some of the Krampuses will go around to the local bars, possibly go inside and yell “Rowrrr!” but you won’t stay around that long to find out. Nor will anyone you know remember having done so in previous years, but if you really want my experience, I usually continue south to Krogers to see if anything’s on sale (one gala year, I stopped in at the Wendy’s to use the rest room), then go home. Another year, another Krampus parade.
Now that it’s over, I can add that it’s really more fun than that, though (as sort of a one-trick pony) it’s still rather short. I only got downtown in time for the parade itself so I can’t report on pre-parade activities, but I can better define “the lighted stuff . . . way in the distance” as lighted hula hoops followed by some guys holding torches (“fire stuff” as a security guard called it, using that a means to get the audience back to the sides of the road where they belonged — clever, I call it) and, while the rustic cart of caged children of years past wasn’t there (though the parade ended with a motorized mini-vehicle with one child), the first krampuses were “forcing” chained kids to trudge behind them. Also, if anyone asks, I wore a “Nice” sticker because, as I’ve explained in the past (see December 9 2012; also December 6 2015) Nice gets you free candy (only one package this time though — maybe the angels were tightening their celestial belts) while “Naughty” gets you harassment. And anyway if you’re truly naughty who’d tell the truth?
Which brings us to Sunday and 2016’s final Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. November 7, et al.), co-sponsored and venued by Boxcar Books. Featured readers this time were Annette Oppenlander, who we’ve met before, with a talk on how her young adult ESCAPE FROM THE PAST novel trilogy was first conceived followed by an excerpt from the third volume, published just last week; award-winning documentary filmmaker, eco-journalist, etc., Kalynn Huffman Brower with an excerpt from an “ages ten and up” science fiction novel in progress plus a part of an autobiographical essay; and Andrew Hubbard who continued a non-fiction piece begun two months back on Nebraska’s Chimney Rock and its surrounding area. Then when open mike time came, with an audience still thirteen people strong (including the man asleep on the couch in back), I read fourth in a field of five (that is, followed by MC Joan Hawkins and thus, technically, not quite ending the session) with a near-future Thanksgiving set 500-word story, written for a call by THE STONESLIDE CORRECTIVE shortly after a recent election, for stories on the subject of “aftermath.”
Time will tell if it gets accepted (or comes true) and, in the meantime, since next month starts on a Sunday with Boxcar Books closed for New Year’s Day, that’s the last of the First Sunday Prose Reading series until February 5, 2017.
And there is something new under the sun to ring in December 2016. TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH has been added to the portrait gallery in the center column, just to our right. It is still scheduled for publication next year in June, but the link will take you to Amazon’s listing for pre-order, if desired, and which also contains the notorious James C. Simpson substitute biography instead of mine (cf. below, November 14, 4). Well, we’re working on that one. Also, as time goes on and some people may have a chance to have seen pre-publication copies, perhaps a few will be moved to offer early reviews there as well.
Also I’ve made another change in the center column, just below TOMBS. If you click on the picture of THE TEARS OF ISIS it will now take you to Amazon’s listing for it, partly to bring it into conformance with most of the other books’ links, but also (*speaking of reviews*) to allow those who might wish to see them some thirteen other readers’ opinions. (WARNING: one or two didn’t care for the book!) Just click on the picture, then scroll down and, if you like what you see (with the exception of the just aforementioned “one or two”), well this is one you can order for delivery right now!
The end of November is getting exciting! Books received, TOMBS early-listed on Amazon, freebies for EVERYDAY STORIES II, a new story accepted, and now another. And this by a higher paying market! The word came Sunday morning, sneaking vampire-like in with the mist at 12:17 a.m., “Thanks for sending ‘The Candle and the Flame’ to DARKFUSE. I have finished my review and have decided to accept it and offer you a contract.” In fact the contract had arrived a few minutes before Editor Shayne Staley’s email, but that’s the way the internet goes sometimes. Suffice to say I opened the contract later that day, signed it, and now it is back in DARKFUSE MAGAZINE’s clutches.
“The Candle and the Flame” is a steampunky, fairytaleish story of a little girl at Christmas time selling not matches, but candles. But nevertheless coming to grief in a friendless, ultra-capitalistic Victorian England. As for DARKFUSE, to go to the guidelines: Here’s what we’re looking for . . . Horror, thriller, suspense, crime, sci-fi, bizarre — anything with a dark slant. 500-2K words paid. They go on to say they will take longer stories, but the emphasis in on the short, with “The Candle and the Flame,” for instance, coming in at about 1700 words. And one more note, publication is scheduled for January 13 2017 to help start off a happy new year!
Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf. September 25 et al.), co-sponsored by the Monroe County Convention Center. Featured poets were Indiana University Education PhD candidate Julia Heimer Dadds with, to paraphrase, perilous poems for perilous times among others, followed by first generation Sierra Leonean-American poet and MFA candidate Yalie Kamara. No, neither read poems about vampires, and in fact the only such ones were read by me, one of eight walk-ons at open mike time in a well-attended session. But both that I read were about vampires: “Her First Time” from BLOODBOND, which we just met (see November 27, 7, et al.), and a just-written poem for the coming season, “The Vampire Before Christmas.”
Two more tomes have been added to the computer cave bookshelf, found in the mailbox Saturday evening. The first of these is STREET MAGICK: TALES OF URBAN FANTASY (see September 28, January 2, et al.) with, I’m happy to say, James C. Simpson’s and my biographies in the “About the Authors” section properly placed with our respective names (cf. November 14). My story in this, number two in the lineup, is “Bottles,” a mystery/horror first published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004) and which also appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS, more on which can be found by clicking its picture in the center column, a tale of a Puerto Rican domestic caught in the midst of Cold War conniving and . . . vampires. Then the second, BLOODBOND from Alban Lake Publishing, has a new poem, “Her First Time,” concerning the thrill of a young vampiress just learning her trade. More on STREET MAGICK can be found by pressing here; BLOODBOND by pressing here.
Then, received today, EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOLUME II is being given away on Goodreads, or two copies anyway. From the horse’s mouth: Enter for a chance to win a copy of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volume II. Twenty stories by twenty authors set in twenty countries. Discover why we say “It’s a Mysterious World!” My story in this one is “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” (cf. September 29, 18, et al.), originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S and having to do with Saharan desert life in Mali. The giveaway has started today and will last until Christmas Eve, December 24, for more on which one may press here.
The Amazon Publication date listed was March of this year but, due to the kinds of mixups that happen sometimes, my copy of DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (cf. March 11, et al.) only finally arrived in yesterday’s mail. But what wonderful timing, the day after Thanksgiving, and special thanks to Hydra Publications Editor Tony Acree for sending it Priority Mail! So all’s well that ends well — or, in that it’s a book about dystopias, maybe not that well. My mutt in the melange, in any event, is a tale called “Invisible People” of a near-future society where everyone knows his or her place, or else . . . nobody cares. Post election blues anyone? Or more to the point, while as of yet I’ve only glanced at the contents, there’s probably a story that will fit the bill however you voted! (But to make extra sure you might want to press here.)
Then in other news, due to the holiday I had to wait to use the cave computer’s library annex machine today, but this afternoon I e-sent back the signed contract for MEET CUTE (see November 23). This is the one about unexpected or otherwise amusing meetings between pairs of people in flash fiction settings, in which my offering is one of forests and fairy lore titled “Butterfly.”
So it would still be a while before delivery since the Amazon “publication date” is June 1 2017, but there it is. To see for yourself, press here. TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now listed on Amazon in a print edition with a “pre-order price guarantee” of $14.95. And the listing has its little quirks too, namely that the author’s biography, as in the anthology DARK HORIZONS, is for James C. Simpson, not me (see also November 14). But I wrote it. Honest!
Still, isn’t that neat, for a quick little late-Thanksgiving surprise? A special thing to be thankful for, that the novel-in-stories is that much nearer, including with a slightly updated cover. Hopefully, eventually, with the right biography too, but there’s still time for that — and, maybe especially in that I ran across it quite serendipitously, with Thanksgiving and all, I thought this worth sharing.
MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably: Storytelling and connection.
I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate. MEET CUTE will include 25-50 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by different writers. There will also be 10-20 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories. . . .
Note: While a “meet cute” may traditionally be romantic, this is not a romance anthology. Many of the stories involve encounters that are odd, intriguing, awkward, and entertaining — but not all of them are romantic.
So has said Editor Kara Landhuis and, not too long ago, I sent a 900-word story about an encounter in a forest through which a highway is to be cut, an ecological fantasy of sorts — or is it a fairy tale? And, in this evening’s email, the reply: “I would like to include your story, ‘Butterfly,’ in the anthology. I enjoyed your interpretation of the theme, and I am excited about what your story will add to this collaborative work.”
Then two other things, first that Editor Landhuis has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with the project, which can be found here. It can also serve as a pre-order opportunity ($15 for the paperback version, with free shipping in the US included), though other pledge options are offered as well. And the second, MEET CUTE is still open for submissions until December 16 (including payment which, while modest, is guaranteed regardless of the kickstarter’s success), for more on which one may press here.