Well it is nearly December, the spirits having been let loose on Halloween, and now spiraling down to the longest night of the year. So I mentioned in introducing three short poems during the open mike section. But we had already had featured poet Michelle Gottschlich read, among others, a poem involving a date at local Rose Hill Cemetery (not to mention, from first open mike reader Joan Hawkins, a translation of a “found” invoice concerning shipping a corpse from Tahiti to the US). The latter also was somewhat in answer to second Featured Poet Eric Rensberger who offered a reading of found and partially “stolen” poems.
The occasion was November’s Last Sunday Poetry Reading, sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Bureau (cf. October 26, et al.), on an afternoon that, yes, was gloomy and gray, but did have the virtue that it wasn’t raining. And the poetry wasn’t all necessarily gloomy, though when my turn came I had pre-selected three older poems that played well off the aforementioned topics, including the introductory remarks I glossed at the top. Thus I presented “A Little Night Music,” a two-line verse pointing out that love and death happen in daytime too; “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, which also had once been part of an arts display project on Bloomington Transit city buses in 2001 (I noted that I didn’t know which the exact bus was, but had hoped it had been the one going past Rose Hill, as well as the fact the experiment was not repeated); and a “Little Willie” (a what? See February 16; also February 6 2012) which I noted had the distinction of being published not in a genre magazine but a “more respectable” mainstream journal, “Fire in the Hole,” about a naughty boy who dynamites a grave.
Untreed Reads Publishing has announced a special 40% off sale on CyberMonday, November 30th. The sale will include all titles in all formats, including my own chapbooks, the near-future dystopic novelette PEDS, Christmas horror I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., steampunk mystery VANITAS (originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE), and the Untreed Reads New Year’s anthology YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR featuring my lead story “Appointment in Time.” All current promotions for the month of November will be suspended that day only and replaced by the CyberMonday sale.
To take advantage, one can click any of the three titles pictured in the center column or, for any or all four, press here to check out my author page in the Untreed Reads Store — but only on Monday! All titles then should reflect their regular prices as well as sale prices.
I don’t usually call them haiku myself, though some euphemize them with genre portmanteaus like “scifiku” or Horrorku” — rather I think of them, in English, as 3-line epigrams that just happen to borrow an approximately 5-7-5 syllable count (which isn’t really exactly what defines the Japanese form either). As such I generally title them too,
which purists would not do with real haiku. But, hey, it’s having fun, no? And if a title gives it another half-twist (or even not), well, what’s the harm in it.
Thus it happens that I e-sent five of these 3-liners to STAR*LINE a little while back. And then, today, only four returned, the first retained by Editor Jeannie Bergmann, but with this proviso: “I like the first poem quite a lot, but would you consider replacing the first line with the title? I’m not crazy about titled haiku, and not attached to the 5-7-5 form either. . . . Let me know if that works.” Or, in a sense, make it a little more like an actual haiku (though not with a seasonal tag or a sharp descriptive image), a least in form.
Well, in this case, okay so I sent back my nod. The missing line gave an opening description of sorts but one implied by the rest of the poem, the titleless form fits with STAR*LINE style . . . so what’s the harm in it, eh? Other than that, all I will say is, as noted above, it has to do with a mermaid or mermaids.
Also, being a horror poem, its conclusion is not nice.
“I also wanted these stories offset against non-fiction material. Some people might not get why non-fiction is included, or find this jarring, but it was an attempt at trying something a little different to what is standard practice. For me, it’s one thing to suspend belief for a story’s sake because you know, deep down, that what you’re reading isn’t real, no matter how realistic it might be. That’s the whole fun of horror fiction, right? It’s a safe scare. But it’s something else altogether to read details of actual real events or technological breakthrough that defy belief or cause you to question the world.”
So says Editor Marty Young of Cohesion Press’s BLURRING THE LINE (see below, November 22 et al.) in the first of a daily series of interviews of the anthology’s authors. That is, look for mine in a few days too! But for now, the lead interview also marks the promised November 26 publication date of the book as well, at least on Kindle, with the print edition to follow soon. And so, to hear from the horse’s mouth (in a manner of speaking) just what the book’s all about, readers may press here. And if you like what Marty has to say, Amazon’s page can be found here.
In the email station even as I write, a pdf copy of the Hydra Publications anthology DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS, with my story “Invisible People” (see October 30, et al.), has been received. And with it has come a table of contents in story order, subject to only last-minute corrections, with mine the third to last car on the train. “Invisible People” is an early story, first published in the Winter 1992-93 issue of DARK INFINITY, yet one that may still be pertinent today, of what happens when people are so disaffected that society has forgotten about them. But in this case it’s society itself that has forced them out in the first place.
“Occupy,” anyone? Well not exactly, but certainly not the movements still within politics either, no matter how loudly they may claim to be excluded. Nor terrorists either, at least not exactly — for these are people who, if not wishing to be entirely unseen, had found that blending in with the crowd, to not be too noticed, could work as a kind of survival technique.
At least up to now.
And these are the problems of just one world as depicted aboard the DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS. There are eighteen other worlds that appear with it, as we can see here:
Table of Contents
Friending, Gregory L. Norris — 1
Republic of Masks, Josh Brown — 4
Greater Good, Jeff Provine — 8
An Unfettered Life, C. Bryan Brown — 17
Surrender, Bob Brown — 32
The Hating, Nigel Anthony Sellars — 39
The Unbinding, M. P. Neal — 59
Cohort 17, Val Muller — 67
Data Crabs, Deborah Walker — 86
The First Price, Benjamin Sperduto — 94
Jötnar, Colonel D. R. Acula — 110
Fudgesickles, Brick Marlin — 122
Scarecrow, Scarecrow on the Hill, Tracy Fahey — 130
The Unnaturals, Michael J. Epstein — 138
Fit to Rule, Stephanie Neilan — 142
When the Wind Blows, Pam Farley — 146
Invisible People, James Dorr — 149
Twenty-One Seconds, Ian Neack — 161
Finding Chidera, Dave Creek — 169
This morning’s email brought the announcement, from HOW TO TRICK THE DEVIL Editor Stephanie Buosi, that her interview of me (cf. November 10) is now up and available under the title “James Dorr, Author of Tears of Isis, talks Inspiration, and the Life of a Full Time Writer.” Well, maybe that “full time writer” requires a tad of nuance, but it’s in the interview which can be read by pressing here. Not to mention, to also find out about such lore as the attraction of “the dark,” juxtaposition of ideas, the origins of “Lobster Boy and the Hand of Satan,” and even a small lagniappe from my poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).
Just a very, very quick note that the Australian anthology BLURRING THE LINE (cf. November 3, July 13, et al.) is still on track for publication Thursday, November 26. That is, at least in digital form according to Editor Marty Young, who adds he’s “still seeking the publication date of the print copy, but that won’t be far away.” And, possibly more to the point from where I sit, payment for my story, “The Good Work,” due on publication, arrived late yesterday!
“The Good Work” has to do with jolly Dickensian Christmas urchins and warily watching out for witchcraft. But one can see for oneself in a few days (at least electronically) by pressing here.
This one is for another reprint, “The Candle Room,” a tale of magic and Lovecraftianish mystery from THE TEARS OF ISIS, originally published in TERMINAL FRIGHT for Summer 1995. Candle magic, to be exact, centering around an odd candle that he had bought for his girlfriend Niki’s birthday. Fortunately it had come with instructions, so when she was kidnapped by strange, bearded gray men. . . .
So here will be another chance to read it, the book to be called THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS (cf. October 21), the first in Bards and Sages Publishing’s “Great Tomes” series of themed anthologies, tentatively set for a March 2016 publication date. The theme for this one: “Plots revolving around magical items, cursed relics, ancient artifacts, or alien devices. The device must be central to the plot.” And so, on Wednesday*, the contract arrived to be signed and put in the mail today.
Also a fooling around on the Bards and Sages website revealed an “up-to-now” table of contents with the proviso that one or two more titles could conceivably be added to it. More information on it and the Great Tomes series in general, the second book in which is open to submissions now, can be found by pressing here. While here are the contents for Tome number one:
The Candle Room by James S. Dorr
The Heart of Irelda by Jeff Sullins
Her Long Hair Shining by Simon Kewin
Digging for Paradise by Ian Creasey
Light Bringer by Deborah Walker
The Nimrod Lexicon by Taylor Harbin
Life Sentence by Miranda Stewart
The Shepherd by CB Droege
The Rightful Owner by Linda Tyler
The Head of John the Baptist by G. Miki Hayden
The Binding Agent by Douglas J. Ogurek
Seamus Tripp and the Golden Plates by Richard Walsh and Jon Garett
*Not to be confused with the cave cat Wednesday (see October 30) who, having survived two trips to the vet and a course of antibiotics, seems now to be doing well. : )=
“Ever have kinky thoughts about Spock and Kirk? Princess Leia? Ever wonder just what you could do with the light saber?” Yes, THE FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY (cf. November 7 and 4) is now available in a (ahem) hard copy edition, complete with my own Yuletide-themed “A Christmas Carnage” detailing the adventures of a typical (which is to say, nerdish and virginal) Lovcraftien hero and his long-deceased umpty-umpth great aunt Carol. And chainsaws.
Buy it, read it, consider reviewing it if you dare — the fun begins right here.