It wasn’t well attended on this cold Sunday afternoon, the kind of gray day where the sky spits tiny drops of freezing moisture, not sleet, not big enough to be rain, but just enough to accumulate and to add to discomfort.  I wouldn’t blame people for staying home, especially with children who could catch cold — as, if I don’t watch out, could I.  But inside the theater once things got going the screen was a splash of browns and yellows, reds and bright yellow-greens, tinges of purple.  Blues for night scenes too — this was about a journey of children, Tito, his brave girl friend Sara, in search for his missing father and, ultimately, courage for himself.

As the IU Cinema blurb explains:  Tito is a shy 10-year-old boy who lives with his mother.  Suddenly, an unusual epidemic starts to spread, making people sick whenever they get scared.  Tito quickly discovers that the cure is somehow related to his missing father’s research on bird song.  He embarks on a journey to save the world from the epidemic with his friends.  Tito’s search for the antidote becomes a quest for his missing father and for his own identity.  In Portuguese with English subtitles.

One reviewer, I forget which — Rotten Tomatoes?  IMDb? — made the comment that in terms of plot the film could have been anime, but he’s glad that it was instead done in a more earthy cartooning style, sketchy in places but rich in colors and texture as if an oil painting, as well as that Sara got to wear skirts below her knees.  Well, some of that’s mine, too.  As for the birds, we’re given to know that birds have long warned of coming disasters, fires, storms, things to be scared of.  In Tito’s case the birds are pigeons which, as one homeless person on a bus tells us, get no respect.  But they have hung around people for a long time, and if one could talk to them. . . .

Not giving overly much away, fear comes in part from isolation, but people are at their best working together, in flocks like birds.  So brotherhood isn’t a bad thing to practice, perhaps a message for our present times.  And there’s even a swipe at over-zealous capitalism which may exploit fear as a way to make money.  These aren’t profound things, TITO AND THE BIRDS being, after all, a film for children, but it made for a well spent afternoon.  Afterward I went downtown to the library, as I often do, the weather still cold but a few degrees above freezing now, enough to have melted whatever ice might have been on the sidewalks.  Then after that, walking back across the campus on my way home, I heard other birds calling, a blackness above of crows flying to their roosts for the night, and it looked very much like some scenes in the movie.

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And now for something completely different.  Or, well, different at least, a recasting of an interview of . . . *moi* . . . by Rushelle Dillon (cf. October 22 2017) in a video format, or part of it anyway.  The title is “Video Refresh:  James Dorr Interview” by Stuart Conover and it’s on HORRORTREE.COM.  Or, to let the poster speak for himself:  A Sample of our interview with James Dorr by Ruschelle Dillon.  In the interview, he has a lot of fun details on his take on the writing process.  If you delve into the full interview there are a lot of playful details on his life on top of that!  . . .  This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear.  Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

For more, press here (yes, it is kind of fun)!  And there’s also a link if you wish to read the whole interview as it had been originally posted.

Then a quick word on the two Kickstarters we followed earlier this month.  The ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE one (see February 3, January 29) will be over this Thursday, February 21, so there’s not much time left if you’re tempted to participate.  The other for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 1), with as of now a few extra prizes added, will end just past the close of the month, on Saturday March 2.  Links to both can be found in their posts on the dates just noted.

Well, it’s on THE-LINE-UP.COM and it’s actually titled “10 Romantic Horror Movies To Watch on Valentine’s Day,” by MacKenzie Stuart, but I didn’t run across it until today.  And anyway, really, ten movies on one day?  To quote the author:  Does the word rom-com send chills down your spine?  If you’re a true horror flick aficionado, you’re likely to dread md_e4939c90cafa-auditionventuring outside of your comfort zone of zombies and psychopaths.  However, horror and romance don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  You can enjoy the best of both worlds with a romantic horror movie that seamlessly weaves touching love stories into your favorite gory films.

And indeed, what films are being suggested, something for everyone starting with SWEENY TODD:  THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET all the way down to ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (these two movies, by the way, with a strong musical interest too).  With, in between, WARM BODIES, HELLRAISER, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES . . . and five in addition, all to be checked out by pressing here.  So break out the amaretto along with the popcorn, snuggle up with your significant other (and/or the family cat — yes, Triana, you’re invited too) and enjoy, enjoy!

The Goth cat Triana, herself a lover of seafood, was given the choice of a short poem of mine to share for the occasion.  Her selection, as it happens, might be dedicated especially to southern hemisphere readers who, in places like Australia where 100 degree plus temperatures appear to be common for this February, might plan to spend Valentine’s Day at the beach.

.

WET WORK

mermaid vampiress
scarlet billows greet her kiss
a sea of love

 

“Wet Work” was originally published in the Fall 2017 STAR*LINE.

This one seemed somewhat a long shot for me, but you take a chance and you never know.  It’s in how you translate the guidelines, yes?  The call in this case:  We at Zombie Works Publications are ready for 2019, and are currently seeking thirteen short stories to go into our ALL NEW Monsterthology 2.  Yes, it’s back for a second volume!  Like the original anthology, we are looking for short stories that involve classic movie monsters (Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, you know classics).  But then what exactly do we mean by classics?

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.  There wasn’t much time and, while I didn’t really have anything that was exactly a spin off of the movies cited, I did have one dark-humored detective parody set in a post-Katrina New Orleans where certain supernatural creatures (yes, vampires, werewolves, zombies. . .) had come out of the horizontal closet, as it were, to integrate themselves into society.  The title was “Beefcake and the Vamp” and starring in the role of the Vamp was one Guillemette Écouteur which, as I explained in my cover letter, is a French translation of Mina Harker.  Yes, she really had been “turned” (though the 1931 movie with Bela Lugosi would seem to deny this), had gone underground (ahem) in France and then New Orleans, and moreover a long-dead-himeslf Doctor van Helsing had a great great granddaughter who strived to maintain the family tradition.

A bit on the far afield side, one might think.  (And only thirteen stories to be accepted?)

That was January 25.  Then yesterday afternoon, Monday, the email came from Editor/Publisher Alan Russo:  I am pleased to inform you that your story, “Beefcake and the Vamp,” has been approved for publication. We expect it to appear in MONSTERTHOLOGY 2 due out later this year.

And there you have it.

Let us recall January 16, not so long ago.  This had been the call:  Dramatic, large-scale stories of the distant future, focused on optimism and inclusion and blowing things up.  Weird mashups.  Actual arias.  Fat ladies singing on funeral pyres. . . .  The market in question, SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI, a mostly new-story clearly somewhat light-hearted anthology but accepting perhaps a few reprints, including my own, “The Needle-Heat Gun,” originally published in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geminid Press, 2016).  And now a complete 8cd923202896b58b34cd050eb84ab30d_originallist of authors has been released, or, according to co-editor Brian McNett:  Brian here.  Jennifer has asked me to do this announcement.  She’s swamped with life, and adulting, and the cat’s dental care.  We’ve been waiting on the final dotting of “I”s and crossing of “T”s and the signings on the lines which are dotted.

Now that all that important documentation is out of the way, I get to announce the list of contributors to “Space Opera Libretti.”

<insert the roaring of a stadium full of fanatical supporters here>

Our contributors are, in no specific order:

Ingrid Garcia
K.G. Anderson
Jean Graham
Julia Huni
Tom Barlow
Harry Turtledove
EDE Bell
James Dorr
Larry Hodges
Cait Gordon
Dave D’Alessio
Minerva Cerridwen
Bruce Taylor
Alex Kropf
Dawn Vogel
Lizz Donnelly
Dean Brink
Spruce Wells
Jennifer Lee Rossman
Brian McNett

And with a bit of a compliment after:  Jennifer and I are editing furiously, but to be honest, our contributors have shown themselves to be real professionals, even the beginners.  Our edits will only be to the end of making their perfect darlings even better.

More news when it comes.

And now how about a bit of print?  Let us look back to September 5 last year, announcing the sale of a poem, “Escalations,” to ILLUMEN MAGAZINE.  This one was advertised to come out in their Winter issue and . . . here it is, arriving in yesterday evening’s mail!  The poem itself is near the front, on page 15, bracketed by poems by Frank Coffman and Bruce Boston, and tells the tale of what transpired after the historic meeting of Bambi and Godzilla (as captured on film by Marv Newland, for which one may press here), setting off a train of events with worldwide implications concerning the sport of basketball.

How so, you ask?  Well, it’s all in ILLUMEN, published by Alban Lake, which a spot check tells me isn’t up on Amazon yet, but which also can be bought by pressing here.

Better late than never, eh?  Let us hark back to October last year and an announcement that SINS AND OTHER WORLDS (cf. October 14, August 11, et al.) was due for release in “a couple of weeks” — possibly even by Halloween!  Well, as we know sometimes these things get delayed.  But at last today the email came from Editor Eric Fomely that [t]he eBook edition of SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is now available on Amazon.  . . .  The PoD edition is under review and I expect Amazon to publish within a day or two.  And why should we care?  To quote the blurb from a few months back:  SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is a dark Science Fiction short story anthology comprised of reprint stories from 28 talented authors.  The stories range from deep space, alien planets, alternate realities and beyond.  Most stories within are flash fiction interspersed with several longer works from both emerging authors and titans in the field.  The anthology collects some of the best dark sci-fi in recent memory.

My part in this is a tale called “The Cyclops,” originally published in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR in June 2013, concerning a very young man with a problem, but possibly advanced intelligence as a sort of compensation.  But can he be accepted by others — including his own family?  More can now be found by pressing here.

Though dated Wednesday February 6, today, writer/blogger Carl Alves’s interview of me, “10 Questions With James Dorr” (see February 1), actually went live Tuesday evening on THIS IS CARL’S BRAIN (a.k.a. CARLALVES.COM), shortly followed by a link via Facebook on DIGITAL FICTION PUBLISHING LEAGUE.  What questions, one asks?  Well, ones concerning such matters as differences in writing poetry vs. writing prose, overall themes, the desire to write horror, and which is best:  short stories, novelettes, or novels?  Also, in lieu of my normal mug shot are portraits of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe.

And why those, you ask? — for answers press here.

Following sub-zero weather just four days before, Sunday was sunny and in the sixties possibly contributing to a fairly low turnout for February’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic,” again at the downtown Soma Coffeehouse (see January 6, et al.).  Featured reader Tom Bitters, with short fiction credits in BERKSHIRE REVIEW and HAMPSHIRE LIFE, among others, lead off with a story as yet untitled about married life and competitive bowling, followed by novelist Julia Karr with the opening chapter, titled “Homecoming,” of the third book in a young adult dystopic trilogy, and with Rwandan documentary filmmaker and author of RWANDA:  COMING TO THE MEMORY Gilbert Ndahayo batting third with descriptions of his life there and in the US, as illuminated by excerpts from a second book in progress.  This was followed by four “open mic” readers in which I was second with my most recent sale, “The Junkie” (cf. January 31, et al.).

Then, speaking of “The Junkie,” even if the special library option has expired, the Kickstarter for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, including that 750-word saga of life on the mean streets and . . . zombies, continues to seek pledges up until February 21st.  It’s doing well so far, but more may be needed to push it to where the writers (that is, including me) can receive a professional pay rate, for more on which press here.

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