And it’s the first for a story in story form (as opposed to a story in verse form, cf. January 16 below) for 2017! The story is “Swarms,” also a reprint originally seen in Lone Wolf’s CD ROM anthology, BLOODTYPE, in 2001 as well as my 2007 print collection DARKER LOVES. The acceptance is for MOTHER’S REVENGE, . . . a passionate anthology about Mother Earth taking her world back from the humans and teaching us a lesson. . . . Any aspect of an ecological disaster or climate change problem can be created or considered. And so, on the day that Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the next US President, publisher Scary Dairy Press e-replied: It’s with great pleasure that we notify you that your story “Swarms” has been accepted for the MOTHER’S REVENGE anthology. Our readers enjoyed your tale and thought it fit perfectly with the anthology theme!
As it happens, “Swarms” in a way has its own political component, in this case beginning with the first action against Iraq under President George H.W. Bush (that is, the father, not the son), where at least one side, and probably both, had chemical weapons whether or not used. But spent, leaking chemicals from a bombed-out convoy could be worse than those that were used and at least dispersed, having who knows what effect on local fauna, especially of the smaller varieties like certain insects.
And so it goes, with more on MOTHER’S REVENGE to be reported here as facts become known.
Yes, a raise of the glass to Edgar Allan Poe, “who started it all,” January 19 1809 – October 7 1849 — and see, as well, my interview by Weldon Burge linked in the post just below, start-ing quite by coincidence with a quotation from Poe. Go ahead, take a quick look — I’ll wait! Okay, and now to the business of . . . well, actually late yesterday, but posted today.
Wednesday afternoon’s email brought, from Bards and Sages Publishing’s Julie Ann Dawson: When we launched THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES last August, we knew it was a bit of an experiment. We really didn’t know how readers would respond to the project. I’m pleased to say that the response has been wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that three of the stories placed very well in this year’s Preditors & Editors Reader Poll.
Chamber Music By Peter A. Balaskas earned 2nd place in the non-genre short story category
Raising Mary: Frankenstein by Ace Antonio Hall earned 5th place in the horror short story category
By Force and Against the King’s Peace by James Dorr earned 11th place in the fantasy and sci-fi short story category
But the email goes on to say [t]he one question I keep getting asked, however, is “When will the print be available?” A great many of our readers still prefer print (I know, shocking!). Of course, individually, each story is too short to justify publishing as a single book. But as an anthology, it would be perfect.
Which is why I would like to invite each of you to participate in THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES, Volume I. This will anthologize all of the stories published in the first year of the project. We would love to bring your stories to print and, potentially, audio formats. . . .
Then follow some details, plus an attached agreement which went in the mail today with my okay. And, let’s not forget the neat Preditors and Editors news, not just for me but a huge shout out for THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES itself! This, we may remember (see, e.g., November 18, 2, October 3 2016, et al.), is a continuing series of electronic chapbooks for stories from 5,000 to 20,000 words long, both new and reprints (“By Force and Against the King’s Peace” is the latter, originally published in the December 1999 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE), awkwardly long for some electronic markets but too short for novels. A little more money would change hands too for the print anthology, which is always a sweetener for the writers, and since, judging from the Preditors and Editors standings, the stories themselves seem to be top drawer, some at least of them, it should be a good deal for readers as well.
Also, for another quick “The Writing Life” extra, here’s a note from A Murder of Storytellers on my story-poem “Tit for Tat.” James, Wanted to let you know that I looked over this piece and saw no need for editing. So, unless you’ve got a burning desire to fix something, it’s good to go. What it’s going to is their upcoming THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS (see January 16). And an editor’s pass with no changes at all is always good news for a writer to receive.
So the first answer starts with a citation to “Allan Poe.” That’s Edgar Allan Poe, of course, but what’s in a word — I still stand by the answer. And thus the promised interview by Weldon Burge for Smart Rhino Publications (cf. January 11, 8), in conjunction with a Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 anthology, is now live. A mention is made at the very beginning about my Smart Rhino story appearances, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and “Golden Age” in the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH volume, but that’s not what the interview is about. Rather, with reference to Poe as well as my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, we talk about short story writing in general and why, as a writer, I find short forms more interesting than novels. But then novels come up too with reference to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (expected in June this year, not really “spring,” but that’s because of a change in schedule after my original biographical notes were in) and what is, exactly, a novel-in-stories, also known as a “mosaic novel”? And, more importantly, why TOMBS is put together in that style.
The Poe citation, incidentally, is to his essay “The Poetic Principle,” which I believe he meant to apply to prose fiction as well. But to read the whole interview, including some things on the challenges and joys of writing, and what to expect once one has written, why not press here?
The promised Kickstarter campaign for Smart Rhino Publications’s ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (cf. January 11, et al.) is now up and running. The idea is to raise enough money to, among other things, pay its authors (that is to say, one of which is . . . me!) a professional rate. I can stand behind that! So, if not to donate, at least to see what the fuss is about, please to press here.
My canine in the charnel house, this time, is actually a rather sedate science fiction story, “Golden Age,” originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 and about an elderly person’s reflection, a pioneer in the trade as it were, on replacement of body parts damaged by accidents or disease. But, gore hounds delight, it’s my understanding that other tales, in keeping with the volume’s subtitle, could be a bit more, um, visceral.
So give till it hurts, right? — and afterwards don’t forget to buy a copy when it comes out, details on which will also be found here as they become known.
There are some things one cannot resist. One example, an anthology titled THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS, a weird fiction, horror, and speculative fiction anthology about humanity’s relationship with its gods. When we answer the call for salvation from the bondage of the material — when we believe in gods — we reach a hand into the unknown and risk losing it to something peckish. When we forget the power of the hearth, we risk a conflagration that can return civilization to the dirt from whence it came. Brave words those, and so I answered, the guidelines calling for stories, not poems, with a 32-line “story in verse” called “Tit for Tat.”
Originally published in James Ward Kirk’s GHOSTS: REVENGE anthology (see March 29, March 17, February 16 2015), “Tit for Tat” is a poem “of a type sometimes known as ‘Little Willies,’ about a naughty boy who either causes or comes to grief, resulting in the poet reacting with either glee, gross indifference, or sometimes drawing from it a tragically inappropriate moral” (Feb 16). And today the response came from Adrean Messmer for publisher A Murder of Storytellers: Thank you for sending us “Tit for Tat”. We all sat around a table and gushed about this story for a while. We would love to include it in BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS.
Details followed, including a contract (to go back to them this afternoon), with a bio, etc., the usual things, between now and Friday, with a tentative publication date to be on or before January 31.
A bad omen? Maybe. But through the a combination of possible server slowdowns and a misread password, I haven’t been able to see it myself. Nevertheless the word came through from DARKFUSE MAGAZINE Managing Publisher Shane Staley: Story is now live. Just sent payment via Paypal and created your subscription to the magazine, both with details in separate e-mails.
Well, word from PayPal hasn’t come yet either (which actually isn’t unusual though, they do take their time, which, with money at stake, is probably not a bad idea), and at this point I may have to change the password*, but anyhow the word is “official.” My steampunky, wintery, Hans Christian Anderseny (but with class conflict, and robots) story “The Candle and the Flame” (see December 8, November 28), of a low-level businesswoman with spunk, has now been published by DARKFUSE MAGAZINE. More on DARKFUSE can be found here, but to see the story for yourself you’ll have to be a subscriber with, no doubt, a password of your own.
Today word has come that Bards and Sages Publications’s THE GREAT TOME OF FANTASTIC AND WONDROUS PLACES (cf. October 1, et al.), Volume 3 in the GREAT TOMES series, can now be obtained in audio form, according to publisher Julie Ann Dawson. This joins the first two volumes, THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS and THE GREAT TOME OF DARKEST HORROR AND UNSPEAKABLE EVILS, and can be checked out by pressing here (from which, as well, one can use the search box for “Great Tome” to find the audio versions of other two). Print and e-book versions, also, are still available from Amazon, et al.
My pups in this dog pack are “The Candle Room,” originally published in TERMINAL FRIGHT, Summer 1995 (also reprinted in my STRANGE MISTRESSES collection); “Pavlov’s Dogs” (ah, now), originally in GATEWAYS, Spring 1994; and “Ice Vermin,” EXTREMES 5 (Lone Wolf Publications CD ROM, 2003, and reprinted in DARKER LOVES) in Volumes 1 through 3, respectively.
Just a quick note, that Weldon Burge has announced a Kickstarter campaign for for the upcoming Smart Rhino Publications anthology ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD, scheduled for launch next Tuesday, January 17. In conjunction with this will be his interview with me (cf. January 8, below) with remarks on short stories, novels-in-stories, structure of novels, and TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH: “I’ll be sending out the e-letter once the campaign has started, so you should see your interview posted next week as well!” Also mentioned in the interview are THE TEARS OF ISIS and “The Poetic Principle” by Edgar Allan Poe.
As for ZIPPERED FLESH 3, my part in this is a strangely muted (given the promise of some of its stories) science fiction tale called “Golden Age,” reflecting a future history of worn out, or otherwise damaged body replacements (see September 9), a reprint originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994.
No, this is a different one, not the Smart Rhino interview-to-come noted just below, but one completed in a flurry of activities the week before Christmas with Heidi Angell. This one includes such questions as what director I’d choose were TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH optioned for a movie (my answer suggests three, the third of whom may come as a surprise but whose work has been reviewed on this blog) and what is one great lesson I may have learned through being an author? I might mention, too, that I may have some other posts on Ms. Angell’s blog in the months to come in anticipation of TOMBS’s planned June release, as well as possibly some reviews of books of mine by her. And then later this month as well, perhaps we will see the “other,” Smart Rhino Publications’s interview of me by Weldon Burge.
For this one, however, on Heidi Angell’s late Monday MEET THE AUTHOR feature, please to press here.
Another interview lurks in our future. Completed just now, this one was rather a quickie as well, the contact coming from Smart Rhino Publications Editor Weldon Burge just last week: James, would you be open to a short interview for the January Smart Rhino newsletter? It would only be three or four questions, short and sweet. But I’d need a pretty fast turnaround, if possible. Please let me know. Thanks! My connection here is having stories in two Smart Rhino anthologies thus far, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and in a third to be coming out soon, ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 9, et al.). So, “sure,” I sent back, and we set things up to be done this weekend.
More, such as a tentative date, will be noted here when it is known, but I will say now that, while short, it’s one of the heavier ones I’ve done in terms of writing and writing theory, even including a quote from Poe from his essay “The Poetic Principle.” Why that essay? Because I think Poe intended it to apply to fiction in prose as well, perhaps then explaining his own predilection for the short story form, and hence, by extension, mine. This is for a question having to do with my own short story collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS. But then, from there, a question on TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH brings up a discussion of form, in addition to content, and novels-in-stories or “mosiac” novels (see also, October 20), and why that form might be chosen over traditional narrative for telling certain kinds of stories. And also, why the mosiac form might answer Poe’s dictum that effective “poetic” writing be kept short.