“It’s only time travel, what could go wrong?  . . .  No, seriously, you tell me.  When things don’t go as planned, what’s Plan B?  What’s the contingency?  Who cleans up the mess?”

So started the original guidelines for SINGULAR IRREGULARITY, twenty-plus answers to these questions as time has gone by, including mine, “The Master of Time” (cf. May 9, April 27).  The book is scheduled to be out for an Indianapolis, GenCon debut in early August.  But before that happens comes the kickstarter, in this case to help pay the authors more which means, among others, me.  At about halfway through it’s not doing too badly, and as of tomorrow will be entering its final two weeks.  And this means that, while there are some tasty incentives still left, if you had been thinking of taking a lootimetravel4CharlieChaplink at the offers yourself — or just plain pre-ordering now rather than later — this is a good time to check it out.  One need but press here.

Meanwhile, the weekend has brought some exciting news.  I’m downplaying it here a bit to wait for a few details, but for those who’ve seen one or more of my (mostly) prose collections, you might recall a few stories therein set in the far-future world of the “Tombs”; in THE TEARS OF ISIS, for example, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red.”  For the last few years I’ve been pitching, as a sort of back burner thing, a novelization linking sixteen stand-alone story-chapters (including two of those noted above, as a sort of preview) within a continuing narrative frame, similar to the Ray Bradbury novels THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, or Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB, etc., under a tentative title TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

And so Sunday’s email included a contract from one of the publishers I’d sent it to, not one of the international giants, but not the smallest of small press either.  And maybe not with every detail I might have liked, but still a good one at least at first glance.  I’ve already sent back a couple of questions, but in all probability, after I’ve gone through the seven densely packed pages of clauses, there’ll be no problems.  And so, as more becomes known, look for more here.

Kudos today go to Susan Oleksiw who, via Facebook, reminded me that my flash noir tale “The Winning” went live, or at least the link thereto, on the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s blog as part of its celebration of International Short Story Month (cf. May 5).  “The Winning” was originally published in OVER MY DEAD BODY in Spring 1994, and in the version presented here, A TWIST OF NOIR, December 9 2008.  To read “The Winning” and other great stories — at least one a day, and mostly two, for each day this month — one may press here.

Then also this afternoon, continuing to peruse my email at the county library following my monthly writers’ group meeting, I came across this note from Lynn Stranathan of Yard Dog Press:  “Sorry for the rush, but the end of the school year is crushing and we’re trying to get ready for ConDome, too, so I need to get this put to bed or we won’t have it for SoonerCon.  So, if you have any corrections, it’s now or never.”  The subject, their upcoming short short anthology FLUSH FICTION II (see March 27) and my story in it, “Killer Kudzu.”  This one will be presented in, to give it its full title, FLUSH FICTION, VOLUME II:  TWENTY YEARS OF LETTING IT GO!, for the very first time.  While as for the proofreading, for which Lynn added, “I really do need any corrections by tomorrow evening, though, so please look at it ASAP,” the two typos I found will be sent back tonight.

ERASERHEAD, anyone?  No, not here, but remember that ear?  For BLUE VELVET fans there came a notice from Mike Olson, via ON THE EDGE CINEMA on Facebook, of an interesting article thirty years after the making of that film, by Rebecca Bengal, including photography by Peter Braatz.  The thirty year anniversary, actually, is 220px-Bvmoviepostercoincidence — as is part of the subject of the piece, “Blue Velvet Revisited:  Unseen Images From a New Documentary on the Making of David Lynch’s Classic,” on VOGUE.COM.  Also by Peter Braatz, the documentary is hoped to be out sometime this year, at least for film festivals and the like.

Indiana University Cinema, anyone?

And of the ear, discovered in the grass:  Lynch has said he got the idea for BLUE VELVET from that ear — the film’s central metaphor and a seashell-like portal to this small-town underworld — but also from Bobby Vinton’s 1960s version of the song.  “There was something mysterious about it,” he said. “It made me think about things.  And the first things I thought about were lawns — lawns and the neighborhood.”

For more, press here.

Evil queens, you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them.  In any event, there’s a3016rarely a dull moment when they’re around.  So at the movies, sort of, with this from TOR.COM, “Ayesha, White as Snow:  H. Rider Haggard’s SHE and Walt Disney’s Evil Queen” by Gilbert Colon.  Was the image of Disney’s iconic naughty lady in SNOW WHITE in fact inspired by producer Merian C. Cooper’s 1935 film with Helen Gahagan Douglas in the role of Hash-A-Mo-Tep — “She Who Must Be Obeyed”?  An interesting comparison, no?  Or, to see more of the origin and fascination of not-so-nice royalty (“Princess Kriemhild from the 1924 Fritz Lang film DIE NIBELUNGEN was cited . . .”) press here.SHE-Hash-A-Mo-Tep

Moving now from queens to a countess, but also vampires — Elizabeth who?  Well maybe, maybe not.  And how about the US of A’s own Mercy Brown, reports of whom may have helped inspire Bram Stoker?  Thus on LISTVERSE.COM, by Aaron Short, “10 Creepy Historical Vampires You’ve Never Heard Of.”  But included is Bathory, the “Blood Countess,” who also lent her name for the movie DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.  And the Highgate Vampire?  Though of the obscure ones my favorite, I think, is #2, the one with the iron teeth, though apparently he was somewhat of a wimp as vampires go, having ultimately been chased away by a mob of children with sticks and knives.

To meet them oneself one need only press here.

And so, having received the first GREAT TOME volume (see just below), what should come in Tuesday’s email but an acceptance and contract for my story “Ice Vermin” for Volume 3, THE GREAT TOME OF FANTASTIC AND WONDROUS PLACES.  Theme:  Plots revolving around the exploration of fantasy or alien locales in which the acts of exploration and adventure are central to the plot.  It is a reprint (the GREAT TOME series does not pay much, but it is a kind of neat venue to be in nonetheless), initially published in CD ROM form in EXTREMES 5 (Lone Wolf Publications, 2003) as well as in GreatTomeV3.125102232_stdprint in my second collection, DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET (Dark Regions Press, 2007).

The acceptance was not entirely unexpected, however, as I had been asked about making a possible change to the MS which I then sent back, having eliminated interspersed “editor’s notes” ( the story is actually two separate narratives, the first excerpts from the journal of an early 20th century Russian explorer, the second comments the greater part of a century later explaining, with hindsight, portions of the original text) and replaced them with numbered end notes.  Thus, as emailed to me, “I like this much better.  Particularly because I can play with the actual formatting to give it the ‘look’ of an academic publication a little.”  This fits in with the idea of the GREAT TOMES in general, not an annotated excerpt in the “Notes” section of a relatively ephemeral geological journal, but a more full-blown scholarly treatise preserved many hundreds of years in the future, collected thus with other material into a  “Great Tome.”  And, also to the point, it’s a change in form only, not in content, thus telling the same story and in the same way, but just in a slightly different package.

The first GREAT TOME was published in March, as we might remember, even if actually just now received; the second, THE GREAT TOME OF DARKEST HORRORS AND UNSPEAKABLE EVIL with my story “Pavlov’s Dogs” (see April 27, March 4) due, if all goes on schedule, in June.  And so this third volume is tentatively set to be out in September.

The Great Tome of Forgotten Relics and Artifacts, volume one of The Great Tome Series, presents fifteen tales of cursed relics, ancient artifacts, magical items, and alien devices.  In this volume:  The Candle Room by James S. Dorr The Heart of Irelda by Jeff Sullins Her Long Hair Shining by Simon Kewin Digging for Paradise by Ian Creasey Light Bringer by Deborah Walker The Nimrod Lexicon by Taylor Harbin Life Sentence by Miranda Stewart The Shepherd by CB Droege The Rightful GTVol1.3385958_stdOwner by Linda Tyler The Head of John the Baptist by G. Miki Hayden The Binding Agent by Douglas J. Ogurek Seamus Tripp and the Golden Plates by Richard Walsh and Jon Garrett Oracle at Delphi Street by Jon Etter Special Collections by Jon Etter The Djinn at the Wheel by Kathy L. Brown.

So Amazon tells us, dating the book’s publication as March 15.  But for eldritch reasons, unfathomable to ordinary mortals (but having to do with mysterious returns through the postal system), some authors never received their copies, I among them.  To the publishers’ credit, however, they got on top of it and finally, with special shipping via Federal Express, THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS bounced onto my front porch yesterday afternoon.  My story in it (see March 28, 16 et al.), originally published in TERMINAL FRIGHT as well as in THE TEARS OF ISIS, is already noted in the quotation above.  Suffice to say I checked it out first, fourth in the lineup on page 107 — while the book itself can be ordered from Amazon by pressing here.  (Also as a preview, Amazon tells us the second GREAT TOME is expected, on Kindle at least, to be available June 24.)

Then also on Monday afternoon an email came from Editor Cliff Gerstang to the effect that EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOLUME 2 (cf. April 1, February 29), reprinting my tale of “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” is coming along ahead of schedule — at least so far!  Such is the biz, some things get delayed, others pop up unexpectedly early.  In any event other items were listed, cover design, galley proofs, possible launch events, leading to a hoped for release ahead of its current October target.

The target is GenCon in Indianapolis for its coming out party, August 4-7 2016.  The item, the upcoming “time travel gone terribly wrong” anthology SINGULAR IRREGULARITY, from GrayWhisper Graphics Productions (see April 27).  The story by me, “The Master of Time,” originally published in FANTASTIC STORIES for Summer 2002 as well as in my second collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, a magical steampunkish tale of how timetravel4CharlieChaplintime nearly came to a stop.  But this is an anthology chock full of time-based stories — if you like one, you should like ’em all! — and now there’s a chance to get in on the ground floor.

It’s kickstarter time, with more information about the book including mini author biographies as well as teasers for all the stories and, to the point, with opportunities for loot and prizes for those who pledge to purchase early.  And for a good cause, to wit, for paying the authors (such as *ahem* me) all the more the more support is gained.  To see for oneself one need but press here.

To give Editor Kimber Grey the last word, “The bottom line:  this book is more than just one person’s dream, it’s a collaborative effort of more than twenty talented writers, and it is something I feel the world needs.  It is hard science, soft fiction, humor, and horror all folded into one masterpiece.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these authors and reading their stories, and I’m sure you will, too.”

Well, more of a lovers’ spat really, but it was enough to doom what might have been the greatest romance of the Twentieth Century!  Fay Wray and King Kong!  But as the poem “On the Other Hand” 2016Rhyslingreveals (cf. March 20; September 5, March 30 2015), a long term relationship between them most likely would not have lasted anyway.  And yesterday afternoon, what should arrive but the 2016 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY (see also March 17) with “On the Other Hand,” as originally published in August last year on the British e-site GRIEVOUS ANGEL, as a nominee in the short poem section.

The Rhysling itself is an annual award for best speculative, science fiction, fantasy, horror, surreal, etc. poem of the year, in two divisions:  Long and Short, voted on by members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.  Mentioned here many a time before, for more information on the award from the space-horse’s mouth (in a manner of speaking) one can press here.

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.

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