That’s International Short Story Month, this month, the month of May, and Gerald So of the Short Mystery Fiction Society has put out the call for a reprint story to be presented each day as a way to celebrate.  Cool, yes?  And so the days filled as we, the Society members responded, the first days naturally filled in first until today (well, actually yesterday), not even a week in, the month has been filled.  This doesn’t preclude yet more tales being added — already some dates have been doubled up — but it does mean it’s high time the list be published.  Thus (courtesy of Gerald So, as of 10:45 A.M. EDT Wednesday):

1. John M. Floyd, “Saving Grace”
2. Jeff Esterholm, “Closing Time at Mom’s”
3. Jacqueline Seewald, “The Heir Hunt”
4. Michael Bracken, “Let Dead Dogs Lie”
4. Sarah M. Chen, “The High Road”
5. Mary Reed, “Of Equivalent Experience”
5. Susan Oleksiw, “A Short Walk to Stardom”SMFS-LeagueSpartan-150x147
6. Paul Lees-Haley, “Flash Bang”
6. Jan Christensen, “Who’ s Who”
7. Gail Farrelly, “Revenge of the Cellphone”
7. Jennifer Soosar, “The Psychic’ s Parlor”
8. Erik Arneson, “Not My Gun”
8. Benjamin L. Clark, “A Drover’s Birthday”
9. Anita Page, “Revelations of the Night”
10. B.J. Bourg, “Severed Relationship”
11. J.R. Lindermuth, “A Man in a Hurry”
12. Kevin R. Tipple, “The Tell”
13. Cynthia St-Pierre, “Hide and Seek for Grown-ups”
14. Karen L. Abrahamson, “Neutrality&qu ot;
15. B.V. Lawson, “Gun Love”
16. Josh Pachter, “Jemaa el Fna”
17. Edith Maxwell, “A Questionable Death”
18. Alan Orloff, “Seeing the Light”
19. Barb Goffman, “A Year Without Santa Claus”
20. Su Kopil, “The Surprise”
21. James S. Dorr, “The Winning”
22. Terrie Farley Moran, “A Killing at the Beausoleil”
23. Stephen Buehler, “John&# 39;s Spot”
24. Nikki Dolson, “George Ann”
25. Michael Bracken, “To Live and Die in Texas”
26. Kevin R. Tipple, “Burning Questions”
27. Paul Lees-Haley, “The Good Wife”
28. Debra H. Goldstein, “Violet Eyes”
29. B.V. Lawson, “Wrong Side of the Bed”
30. Craig Faustus Buck, “Heavy Debt”
31. Warren Bull, “Company Policy”

My part in this comes up May 21 with a tale called “The Winning,” originally published in the print-only OVER MY DEAD BODY for Spring 1994, but presented here as reprinted in ezine A TWIST OF NOIR, December 9 2008 (see also below, June 11, May 6 2014; February 18 2012), a psychological horror flash piece of sorts of how a winner may yet become a loser.  For this and others, the earliest in descending order by date, the later ones in the course of time, one can find the SMFS blog by pressing here (whereupon click on “Int’l Short Story Month” on the left, then scroll down the middle to the date/story of choice).

Also Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing has announced a 50 cent sale for stand-alone short story chapbooks for May, including my titles PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., and VANITAS, as well as a discounted price on the New Years Eve Horror anthology YEARS END, all four of which can be reached by pressing any of the first three books’ pictures in the center column.  Some of these discounts are also available from DriveThruFiction for which (along with a few other publishers’ titles/stories by me — and even two or three that are not!), one may press here.

Let’s take a short trip on the wayback machine, pausing at September 2 and August 27 2015.  The subjects, the acceptance and then sending back the contract for a new story, “The Re-Possessed” about a deal gone bad for an undertaker in Victorian London, for an also new anthology titled CEMETERY RIOTS.  Flash forward to now (or actually yesterday, Wednesday, by now) and comes an update from editor T.C. Bennett, that the anthology is on target for publication in June, and could I send a current biography?   And also 11401216_108575572813296_1964991277105814082_na suggestion I check co-editor Tracy L.Carbone’s website for a list of authors selected thus far.

So, with editor Bennett’s permission, here’s the update, actually going back itself to about mid-March, but pretty impressive even with a few names yet to come.  Or, in Tracy’s words:

This stellar anthology is coming out in June of 2016 by Awol from Elysium Press a.k.a. T.C. Bennett.  I’ve been excited to edit this with him as I’m seeing some fantastic talent come across our virtual desks.

The stories are strong, character driven, good old fashioned horror.  Cautionary tales that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

We’ve got some great stories from seasoned bestsellers and brand-new fiction writers. . . .

    James Dorr
    William F. Nolan
    Kelly Kurtzhals
    Tracy L. Carbone
    John Palisano
    Hal Bodner
    Eric J. Guignard
    Ray Garton
    Chet Williamson
    Michael Sebastian
    Michael D. Nye
    Taylor Grant
    Kathryn McGee
    R.C. Matheson
    Jack Ketchum
    Lisa Morton

and works in progress from several others that will be added here very soon.

Notice of this one came courtesy of movie-lover GODDESS OF HELLFIRE (see April 23), “9 Terrifying Old Movies that Put Modern Horror to Shame” by Michael Daye via CRACKED.COM.  These are very old, ranging from Thomas Edison’s 1895 eighteen-second depiction of THE EXECUTION OF MARY STUART to the Italian short IL CASO VALDEMAR,302330_v1 based on the Edgar Allan Poe story “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” in 1936.  And by golly I even have one of them in my own collection, number seven in the lineup THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928) which — and I didn’t know this — was reportedly the inspiration for favorite Batman villain The Joker.  That is, speaking of Batman (cf. “Matches,” May 1). . . .

To see and enjoy, one need but press here!

Mentioned last post, proofreading poetry, and this evening the task has been finished.  We may recall the absence of the orange-colored picture of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) in the center column (cf. March 16) and hints of a new edition looming.  We’re one step closer as proof sheets arrived just before the weekend, the reading and corrections on which (largely concerning spacing issues for two very long poems, “Dreaming Saturn” and “Chinese Music” — what are these about?  buy the book when it’s out and see for yourself) took a fair bit of the weekend to go through.  But final corrections went in this evening (with possibly now a new problem concerning pagination) so that’s another step completed, at least for the OCTOPODIDAEmoment.  Ah, the writing life — it never  ends, does it?

For octopus fans (see April 25, January 14, et al.), UPWORTHY.COM has brought a followup concerning, in part, an eight-armed diva named Rambo (Rambette?) who takes pictures of people.  The article is “Scientists Gave a Camera to an Octopus and She Only Needed Three Tries to Learn to Use It” by Thom Dunn, also including some things you may not have known about tentacles, and can be found here; and which also links to another fascinating look at cephalopod intelligence with an essay on some moral implications thereof, “Why Not Eat Octopus?” by Silvia Killingsworth on NEWYORKER.COM, for which press here.

Once again it was time for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic,” presented in conjunction with Boxcar Books (cf. April 4, et al.), and as it happens the last such meeting prior to the Writers Guild’s summer hiatus.  It won’t seem like that — the Last Sunday Poetry will still occur on May 29th, four weeks from now, but that’s how it works.  And like last Last Sunday (see April 24), the house was packed on a beautiful  Sunday afternoon with a larger than usual crowd.

This month’s featured writers portion began with Alisa Alering who read from a YA novel in progress, including monsters; followed by Amy L. Cornell who offered a poem in the voice of Dopey of the “Seven Dwarves” and two flash prose pieces, the latter depicting a poet who’s called on to write a poem about Finland to read at the White House (“What’s a rhyme for Helsinki?”); and Dr. DL Mabbott who read an excerpt from his novel WINGMAN JESUS (in which, however, Jesus is not the point-of-view player).  This was followed by a relatively small contingent of walk-ons where I came second (of four) with a 650-word unpublished tale called “Matches” about a young man who has big dreams, and a vampire sister who’d once slept with Batman.

All in all today has been a lovely, lazy Sunday — but not too lazy!  The writing life continues on also, with some poetry proofreading at the library before and after the First Sunday program, more on which later when it’s finished (with any luck, perhaps Monday or Tuesday).

Remember REEL DARK (cf. November 15, May 4 2015, et al.)?  The book of “twisted tales projected not on a movie screen but on the page,” that premiered at World Horror Convention 2015 (cf. May 10, 11, 12), edited by L. Andrew Cooper and Pamela Turner.  Take a moment.  The one with my story “Marcie and Her Sisters,” about the love between sisters . . . and zombies?

Well, as they say, it’s ba-a-a-ack, and not only that but with a new dress and a few extra stories!  Let’s let Editor Cooper tell us in his words:  “Get ready to be shocked out of your seat.  After a limited release in 2015, Reel Dark is back in 2016 with this stunning new cover by Aaron Drown Design and two new tales, Michael West’s sojourn into apocalyptic soundscapes ‘Ave Satani’ and Alexander S. Brown’s love-song to ReelDarkFront800X1200late-night horror-hosts ‘Grotessa.’  In all, it’s a collection of twenty authors who in prose and poetry combine elements from across genres — horror, sci-fi, and noir, of course, but also the western, comedy, and others — in order to show us the mayhem the movies might work on the world.”

More information as it becomes known.  But for now, here’s the new, expanded, rearranged ToC:

Russ Bickerstaff, “24 per second: Persistence of Fission”
Hal Bodner, “Whatever Happened to Peggy… Who?”
Alexander S. Brown, “Grotessa”
James Chambers, “The Monster with My Fist for Its Head”
L. Andrew Cooper, “Leer Reel”
James Dorr, “Marcie and Her Sisters”
Sean Eads, “The Dreamist”
JG Faherty, “Things Forgotten”
Amy Grech, “Dead Eye”
Jude-Marie Green, “The Queen of the Death Scenes”
Karen Head, “Amnesia”
Jay Seate, “It’s a Wrap”
Caroline Shriner-Wunn, “Confessions of a Lady of a Certain Age” and more poetry throughout the book!
Rose Streif, “Caligarisme”
Sean Taylor, “And So She Asked Again,”
Pamela Turner, “Rival”
Jason S. Walters, “Low Midnight”
Mike Watt, “Copper Slips Between the Frames”
Michael West, “Ave Satani”
Jay Wilburn, “Cigarette Burns”

(This is being written late Tuesday night, and will likely be time/date stamped for Wednesday.  So it goes.)  Flood or famine, it’s always that way.  Nearly a week of nothing to post, then a flurry of items, the first for today (really late yesterday, that is to say Monday evening) being an email from GrayWhisper Graphics Productions:  “Thank you for your submission to SINGULAR IRREGULARITY, AN ANTHOLOGY ABOUT TIME TRAVEL GONE TERRIBLY WRONG, and giving us the opportunity to read ‘The Master of Time.’  We feel your story would be a great addition to the book and would like to include it in this collection.”  And so this evening was spent in part going over, signing, and emailing back  the contract plus going over and filling out a “checklist” with a number of items including a biographical statement (“This bio will appear on the KickStarter page along with a list of your credits, so quirky and anecdotal are welcomed”), the already mentioned credit list in its books-mostly form, a few other things. . . .  “The Master of Time,” also, is a reprint (“We all travel through time in a generally steady progression.  But suppose there was a clock which, in the reverse of the usual order of things, did not measure the progress of time but rather caused it.  Now suppose something happened that threatened to make that clock stop.”  Yes, part of the checklist was a “Story Teaser” too), first published in Summer 2002 in FANTASTIC STORIES, and also included in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.  But what a neat new home!  As the original guidelines challenged, “When things don’t go as planned, what’s Plan B?  What’s the contingency?  Who cleans up the mess? . . .  Anything from hiccups in the time-space to full-blown Armageddon. . . .”

But what if the clock stopped?

Then just the day after DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES #102 was received, I sent back corrections for another poem, “Godzilla vs. King Kong”  (cf. August 30 2015), for DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES #103 — actually received Monday too but, due to issues with the cave computer, not opened until today at the public library.  But also, and this one did come today, a second proof has been received, read, and returned to Bards and Sages Publishing for my story “Pavlov’s Dogs” for Volume 2 in their GREAT TOMES series (see this year, March 4).  So at least for now, the life is busy.

The octopus is coming for us.

No matter where you look, no matter how far you try and run, no matter how much you wish it weren’t true, the signs of the coming octopocalypse are everywhere.  And who can blame them?  We’ve been poking at these wily mini-sea monsters with sticks, shutting them inside aquarium tanks, and grilling them with slices of lemon for thousands of years.

So begins “13 of the Most Frightenly Smart Things Octopuses Can Do,” by Eric March on UPWORTHY.COM — nor is this the first time we’ve met our eight-armed friends on this blog.  I did say “friends”?  Consider, for instance, January 14’s post or, in 2015, October 8.  And then, of course, there’s my own story, “In the Octopus’s Garden,” in leadoff prose position in THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. November 1 2015, et al.).  But that’s an entirely different matter.

13028557-sketch-of-tatto-art-octopus-illustration
Anyhow, for the latest in octopuses today, press here.

In more writerly news, this afternoon’s street mail delivered DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES 102 dated January 2016, but then that’s the way things go sometimes.  While not related (at least not directly) to Isis’s Tears, my contribution is the poem called “Plus-Size” (see March 27, February 28, et al.), on page 18, the tale of an ultra-capacious Egyptian soldier and how, in a steampunk world, he arrived in England.

Time again on a lovely near-summerlike Sunday afternoon for The Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by and at the Monroe County Convention Center.  Featured readers were Kentucky poet and teacher Kathleen Driskell, whose latest book is NEXT DOOR TO THE DEAD from the University Press of Kentucky; and local actress, prose writer, and poet Patsy Rahn, a founding member and one-time chairperson of the Writers Guild.  Kathleen led off with several poems having to do with the fact she currently lives next to a graveyard, along with some others about Kentucky, and ending with a long and interesting speculative piece about an apparently middle-class housewife, ancient Egyptian mummy currently at the Kentucky Science Center.  Patsy followed before a larger than average audience with poems about the Fourth of July and children, among other subjects, ending with a long poem about the beauty of landscapes in China.  Then when it was open mike time with, as well, a larger than usual number of participants,  I read five short, “light” pre-summer type pieces that shared the attribute of all having recently been rejected (but not to worry, several are already out again, testing the waters martyrs_2of new magazines), ending with one of a demon wife taking the expression “Shoemaker, Stick to your Last” a little more literally than usually expected.

For a second Sunday punch, this one comes courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  Sometimes these lists end up here because I think they’re interesting in general, but sometimes because they’re something I want to save for myself too.  This is one of the latter, films that probably won’t be to everyone’s taste — including some I’m not sure of myself; of those that I’ve seen some are hard to watch, but all are brilliant at least on some level.  So herewith “New French Extremity/French Extreme Films List” on HORRORNEWS.NET, for which press here.

No, no, not the one with Boris Karloff.  This is the original Frankenstein movie as written and directed by J. Searle Dawley for Thomas A. Edison, Inc., which had its premiere on March 18 1910.  And with it a tip of the hat goes to Jenny Ashford, a.k.a. the GODDESS OF HELLFIRE, a blog buddy as it were who offers it on her site, complete with a (ahem) tongue-in-cheek review.  Or, in her own introductory words:

Look, my Scary Silents series is alive!  ALIVE!!!  And today we’re dissecting a classic, the Edison Studios adaptation of Frankenstein from 1910.  As most horror buffs know, this was the first filmed version of Mary Shelley’s novel, even though I gotta say the adaptation is a tad on the “creative” side.  Time to get this experiment started, so fire up the kinetogram and watch along!

The film itself, with a running time of approximately 13 and a half minutes, can be seen in its entirety on GODDESSOFHELLFIRE.COM with, as noted above, a possibly slightly less than entirely sympathetic appreciation, and which for both press here.  But be warned, it being, as it informs us itself, “a liberal adaptation of Mrs. Shelley’s story for Edison production.”

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