It had originally been planned for late summer but there were delays.  Such often happens.  But SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI (cf. November 2, February 11, et al.) Editors Jennifer Lee Rossman and Brian McNett plugged on and, now in the homestretch, another milestone has been passed.  The cover and back cover have been designed and can now be revealed.

For those who’ve forgotten, this is the anthology for (quoting the guidelines) [d]ramatic, 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.  Watery tarts distributing swords optional.  Play fast and loose.  No holds barred as long as it’s a tasteful treatment written with respect.  Stories were to be from 2500 to 7000 words, mostly original but with a few “outstanding” reprints.  Thus my own entry, “The Needle Heat Gun,” is one of the latter, originally published in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geremid Press, 2016), with the tale it tells one of two brave spacemen, though only one can be the hero, and equally heroic music badly performed.

But all this should be available soon as publication time draws nigh, with more to be reported here as it becomes known.

The question came up, can SCARY SNIPPETS, the book of short horror for Halloween of stories of no more than 500 words apiece (see October 30, et al), now be obtained in hard copy as well?  Or, to quote Amazon’s blurb:  Trick or treat.  Bloody feet  A hundred souls for ghosts to eat.  Nothing screams Halloween more than horror.  And nothing can be more horrific than scary stories.  Here in this collection, we’ve gathered together over a hundred micro sized pieces of terror.  From all around the world we’ve put together an anthology that will make you hungry for more.

So I gave it a check and the answer is yes, at least according to Amazon’s site, as well as Kindle which we knew before.  My tale in this is one is called “Silent Scream,” of why one must make as little noise as possible RIGHT NOW.  And as a bonus, we now have a picture of the cover as well as, with an extra click at the site, a table of contents and a few sample stories, all of which may be found by pressing here.

And here’s a tip:  try thinking like a comedian; some of their takes on ideas/events/people/things can often inspire/trigger your own weird, wild, BOULD creativity.  Some of my personal favorites are Steven Wright, the deadpan American comedian; Milton Jones, a Brit; and the “Scenes We’d Like to See” segments of a BBC show called “Mock the Week,” all available on YouTube.  (Just a suggestion.  If nothing else, you might have a good laugh or two . . . or ten.)

Say what?

So it was part of a call for the annual BOULD Awards competition, which actually does award smallish prizes as well as publication in an annual anthology.  The anthology, not surprisingly, would be titled BOULD AWARDS 2019 SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY.  And the reading period was about a year long.

BOULD, by the way, stands for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” and, despite the above, does not necessarily have to be comic.  Up to three stories could be submitted, of 3000 words or less apiece, with the judging based on character, plot, writing style (“voice”), creativity and DARING/boldness/audacity (“pushing the envelope” or going beyond it).  So why not, thought I, and I sent in two on January 9, and then more or less forgot about it.

AND NOW IT CAN BE TOLD, word having been sent by Editor Jake Devlin Monday, November 4, with a request to wait on announcing it until the 8th (though due to an over-zealous spam filter, not actually received till yesterday, November 7):  both stories have been accepted for publication in the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology, which will be published in early December 2019 or perhaps before.  Though no word yet about the money prizes, which range from $10 to $50 for the four top places, perhaps to be revealed to me later (or maybe the judges, while liking my work, didn’t like it that much).  But acceptances — in this case both for reprints — are still acceptances, yes?  More here as it becomes known.

And the stories themselves?  The first is “In the Octopus’s Garden,” originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA for March-April 1999 and also lead story in my 2013 collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS; the second “Mr. Happy Head” from WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (as yet uncollected).

Last night brought a little bit different mix at the First Wednesday Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. October 3, et al.).  The session began with poet Roger Pfingston with locally-based poems, primarily from his latest chapbook, WHAT’S GIVEN,


Ernie Pyle, as remembered on the IU campus (IDS Photo)

followed by poet/performer and sometime teacher of theatrical magic Tom Hastings with dramatic readings of works by several poets and even a rope trick, emphasizing that a stage magician’s patter is at least as important as the trick itself.  Then third was WFHB radio writer and performer Richard Fish reading selections from Indiana University journalism graduate and war correspondent Ernie Pyle’s columns from World War II as an interesting — and in places touching — change of pace, while musical interludes were provided by guitarist and singer Gabriel Harley.

This was followed by six “Open Mic” readers (a seventh, Joan Hawkins, relinquished her spot to Gabriel Harley for two final songs), of which I was third with another in the “Casket Girls” series, “Flightless Rats,” of New Orleans vampiress Aimée’s encounter with a religious man with a slightly odd take on the Noah’s Ark story.

Yes, it has come, the “Derelicts” edition of BLACK INFINITY (cf. October 28, et. al) arrived in my mailbox this afternoon, and a big book it is at just over two hundred 9 x 7 1/2 inch magazine-sized pages.  And it’s a handsome book as well, from its opening Carl Sagan quotation (There is a wide yawning black infinity.  In every direction the extension is endless, the sensation of depth is overwhelming.  And the darkness is immortal.) through fifteen stories, a poem, an editorial, and several additional departments and features.  My part in this, a potpourri of contemporary tales and revisitings of older masterworks, is the second to last of the stories, “Ghost Ship” (that is, which we met again in the post just below), directly following a reprint of “Mystery of the Derelict,” first published in 1907 by William Hope Hodgson!

So what can be said.  I recommend it.  It wasn’t quite in time as it happens for Halloween, which only made the anticipation keener, but now with it in my hands I look forward to a lot of good reading — beginning tonight!

Sunday afternoon was Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” day (cf. October 6, May 5, et al.) at local tavern Bear’s Place.  As of last month, there have been two featured readers rather than three to give sufficient time for open mike readers and still be cleared before 5:00 p.m. (at which time the Ryder Film Series has scheduled screenings), this month’s being Andy Hubbard with several books of both prose and poetry who, in the spirit of “Days of the Dead,” read four poetry-like shorts on ghosts and hauntings both in the rural midwest and coastal Maine; followed by me with “Ghost Ship,” a tale set in the universe of my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH of a “Flying Dutchman” type figure’s appearance on a far future ocean, originally published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU as well as reprinted just last month in BLACK INFINITY (see October 28, 21, et al.; also April 28 2013 et al.).

After a break (which included shared candy courtesy of Antonia Matthew, who we’ve met before), the “Open Mic” portion drew only three readers this time, the last being Andy whose scheduled presentation had run a bit short with two more extra-brief ghostly poem-stories.

A quick Saturday note from SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI (cf. February 11, January 16):  We need updated bios for each of you.  However you wish to write them, but ideally two paragraphs or less, written in the third person, and including social media links if you’d like them.  The anthology theme is probably self-evident, my part in it being “The Needle Heat Gun,” a tale of two intrepid spacemen and a song badly sung, originally published in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geminid Press, 2016).  And so — as quick as that! — the bio was sent as requested, with more to come here as it becomes known.

They’re here!  This edition contains thirteen horrifying tales of vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies, and even Frankenstein!  Along with other monsters that go bump in the night:  Salla by Stephanie Bardy . Dumb Luck by Dawn De Braal . Just Like Us by Belinda Brady . The Caged Wolf by Steve Carr . Mummy’s Daddy by Brandon Cracraft . Beefcake and The Vamp by James S. Dorr . Potentia by T. Fox Dunham . The Prodigal Son by Walter G. Esselman . The Invisible Man by Tom Fowler . Black Lagoon by David K. Montoya . Demonically Nice Neighbor by Copper Rose . Suicide Mission by Alan Russo . Tinfoil Bullet by Phil Thomas .

So says the blurb, but they were actually here a tad before now, ten days before Halloween in fact.  The “they” is MONSTERTHOLOGY 2, the anthology from Zombie Works Publications (see October 7, et al.) with tales of monsters harking back to the movie classics, vampires, wolfmen, zombies, et al.  This, my second MONSTERTHOLOGY appearance (the first, a cryptobiological tale called “Stink Man,” was in the initial anthology in 2012), is titled “Beefcake and the Vamp” and, a pre-“Casket Girls” New Orleanian story, features both a vampire and zombie.

So a check with Amazon has MONSTERTHOLOGY available as of October 21, with mine and twelve other stories as cited above.  For more, one may press here.

The title was SCARY SNIPPETS:  HALLOWEEN EDITION and the contents to be stories — lots of stories — horror of 500 words or less (cf. September 27, 21), to be out for Halloween.  “Ghosts, goblins, any and all horror is accepted.”  So Tuesday night the word came from Editors Kyle Harrison and Natalie Brown, and with it authors’ electronic copies:  Thank you so much for submitting!  We are so honored to have you be a part of this!

So there it is, a very short post for some very short tales, mine titled “Silent Scream” on the golden aura of quietness.  To see, or order for oneself press here.

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