“Who started it all.”

Seems like BLACK INFINITY was in the news just a few days ago (see January 13) and here it is again already. Along with the contract Wednesday, Editor Tom English also mentioned what the theme would be for the issue to follow “Renegade Robots,” tentatively to be “Starships and Spacesuits,” and if I should like to send in an early submission. . . .

Well, why not, if I could find something suitable? So after a few days of sifting through memories I hit upon one I thought might do. At 2900 words, maybe a smidge on the short side, but a “puzzle” story: a spacesuited man, a recalcitrant starship — and very bad news if they can’t get it together. . . .

Originally published in CONADIAN SOUVENIR BOOK for the 52nd World Science Convention in September 1994, this was a story recalled with some fondness. An early one titled “Hanging Vines” (the spaceship has landed on an uninhabited planet, but one that does have plants), this time there’s no horror crossover, not really. No creepy miilieu, no noir, unlike some other tales BLACK INFINITY has had by me in previous issues, but still, why not? So off it went earlier this afternoon.

You probably know now how this will end. In possibly record time the acceptance came for a tale, as Editor English put it, “[still] quite suspenseful. Readers will definitely hang around to learn how your protagonist makes out.”

And that’s not a bad thing.

Did I mention THE TEARS OF ISIS in the post just below. The long arm of coincidence striking, guess what has been announced Friday as being on sale?

Well, not just TEARS. Here’s the announcement from MAX BOOTH III of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing: The future is scary. I do not know what’s going to happen and neither do you. I hope we see some real change in the United States with this new president. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. . . . I do think it’s good to celebrate things whenever possible, and I do think getting Trump out of the White House is something absolutely worth celebrating.

So, with that said, for the rest of January, everything in our website will be 20% off when you enter code . . . well, I won’t repeat it exactly here, but I believe it’s in the ad pictured above.

So the thing is (*the plug from me*) THE TEARS OF ISIS is published by PMMP and thus is one of the titles on sale. So for “The Moons of Saturn” as mentioned in the post just below, plus sixteen more stories and an opening poem, one need but press here. And, TEARS being just one of the books offered, one can go from there to a cornucopia of other titles.

But don’t forget. The deal must be sealed by the end of the month, January 31.

So, okay, it’s late, but then we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Also it crossed a border from Canada so let’s just celebrate that it’s here. The “it” in question being the Autumn 2020 issue of PULP LITERATURE (see December 22, et al.), arrived at last! And the item of interest, “Moons of Saturn,” originally published in TOMORROW, July 1993, as well as reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.*

As for “Moons,” this is the description I used with the original submission: A man and a highly imaginative woman watch extensive TV coverage of the Voyager missions past Saturn while the woman grows progressively more ill. And as for its fellow contents in the issue at hand, as the magazine’s editors say themselves, [b]ecause our title says “Pulp” Literature, some authors assume we want guns and blood. The pulp in our title refers to cheap pulp paper of dimestore novels and digests of the past. We want our magazine to include a balance of all genres, including fantasy, romance, mystery, literary, etc. PULP LITERATURE is in fact a rather classy literary magazine and a fairly hefty one as well, with just short of a dozen stories, poetry, an interview, and a graphic memoir at a bit over two hundred pages in all. Or to see for oneself press here.

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*Also a 2013 Stoker® finalist for fiction collection (THE TEARS OF ISIS that is, not the story) for more on which one can click on its picture in the center column.

A quick note for Wednesday with another contract, this time from Tom English for BLACK INFINITY (cf. July 12). Hope you’re well and enjoyed the holidays. Attached is the contract for “Scavenger”. Sign and return at your earliest convenience. I hope to finish laying out issue 7 by late Jan., send out pdf’s for proofing by early Feb., and get the book out by mid Feb. We’ll see.

We’ve met BLACK INFINITY twice before (see August 8, July 19, 12, 9, et al.), a classy magazine featuring both new fiction and reprints, the one upcoming to be on the theme of “Renegade Robots.” While “Scavenger,” originally published in the November 1994 FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES, is about a robot not necessarily so much a renegade itself as deserted by the world it originally had been created to serve.

So in this crazy game, nothing’s permanent, really. In Sunday’s email, from The Great Void Books Editor Aditya Deshmukh: I need you to . . . sign the contract for SHATTERED VEIL. Yes, we already did this. However, unfortunately, there were many delays in publishing SHATTERED VEIL and the old contracts are no longer valid because of this delay. I’m really sorry for the trouble.

And so it goes. Delays happen — we know that. Along with the email were instructions for a new portal to use for the signing, plus a request for a mini-bio and picture (after all, in the ensuing time, who hasn’t added a wrinkle or two?) and a “bone-chilling” summery. Thus for my story in this (cf. June 18), “Pre-Owned Jeans” (originally published in 2010’s DREAMSPELL NIGHTMARES from L&L Dreamspell): “Haunted clothes from a mysterious store provoke strange responses in their new buyers. What is it that draws these items together?”

What indeed? Check here as more news becomes known.

Thanks for your patience. I’ve finally settled on a release date! It’s true. The main reason I held off is because I want to send an ARC to Publishers Weekly and they require copies at least three months prior to release. There’s no guarantee they’ll review it, but it’s very good exposure if they do. So, I’ve penciled in Saturday the 3rd of April

So emailed Editor Cameron Trost Sunday regarding the upcoming mystery/science fiction anthology MURDER AND MACHINERY (see December 23, 3, et al.). So there’s now an official publication date set for April 3. My story in this is “Vanitas,” an 1850s-set saga of churches, circuses, music, and steam, originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in January 1996, as well as my 2001 collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.

The full title for the anthology itself is MURDER AND MACHINERY: TALES OF TECHNOLOGICAL TERROR AND MECHANICAL MADNESS, from Black Beacon Books. And if that weren’t enough, yesterday afternoon’s announcement continues: The Kindle ebook should be available for pre-order within about 24-hours. $2.99 USD pre-order price ($3.99 after release) . . . feel free to spread the word once it’s up and try to get our readership to take advantage of the discount.

To this I can now add, to see more and/or order (remember, it’s on a one dollar discount prior to actual publication), one can press here.

So it goes, the year 2020 now a part of history, my reading of the current book (the hefty 25 GATES OF HELL, cf. December 9, et al.) only a few stories short of the end, what should arrive yesterday, New Year’s Day, but a ready replacement. The new book is WORTH 1,000 WORDS (see November 29, 18), a compilation of tales published via email in FLASH IN A FLASH, itself a running collection of (guess what?) flash fiction.

Edited by Jason Brick and Dani J. Caile, WORTH 1,000 WORDS contains 101 stories in all, each at or under 1000 words as the title implies. Subjects vary, from general fiction to various genres, including horror — in this case, e.g., my story, “The Third Prisoner,” originally published in LVWonline.org for November 2008 as well as several other places including Brazil (in Portuguese!) in I ANTOLOGIA LUSIADAS (as “O Terceiro Prisioneiro,” Ediciones Lusiadas, 2009). How’s that for a world traveler? A crime story too, “The Third Prisoner” concerns a man, originally from Haiti, about to be executed as a revolutionary, but with a surprise to spring with his demise.

Of the book as a whole (to quote the back cover), you’ll meet newly established authors, career tale spinners, and a few big names . . . all delivering great stories in small packages. These quick peeks into the minds of master fiction writers bring you everything from sweet romance to spine-tingling horror in just minutes of your time.

Curiosity piqued? To see more, or order, press here.

(It’s rainy and cold and Triana is going back to bed)

So it comes to an end, the year that is, with a new July-through-September royalty statement . . . though as readers may know, my practice is not to reveal either publishers or titles to avoid embarrassment on both sides. But this time there is one thing worth noting. As mentioned in my last royalty report (see December 10), publishers of anthologies — where what comes in is usually shared among multiple authors — will often hold onto minuscule payments until they surpass a specific total before sending them on. And the great thing this time, it actually came out above the bar.

So to close the the year out, a small amount has been added to my account at PayPal, enough perhaps to buy a nice lunch (if one isn’t too hungry). And that’s not a bad thing.

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