It was I and Marge Simon fooling around last spring following the publication in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION of “Casket Girls” (cf. April 17, April 3 2014, et al.), my alternate history flash of the coming of vampires to the New World.  She wrote some lines, just goofing around, a few silly rhymes loosely inspired by the story; I wrote a few back; until at some point we called it done.

But that’s not all.  To quote myself on April 17, “[w]e tossed around a few places we might send it, I suggesting one that had published another sort of silly poem of mine with an illustration by Marge a NighttoDawn27frontcoverJan10while back (see ‘Well-Dressed Vampiress Finds a Home,’ July 27 2012).  So it is that yesterday Barbara Custer of NIGHT TO DAWN e-mailed Marge back, ‘I’ve published James Dorr’s work before . . . [l]ove the one you did together and got a good laugh.  I’d like to publish it in NTD 27.’  And not only that, Marge may be supplying an illustration to go with this one too!”

Fast forward to present and “Aimée, the Casket Girl” has been published as well as illustrated by Marge on the following page in the April 2015 issue of NIGHT TO DAWN, received earlier this week.

I’m sitting at a borrowed computer as I type this — who knows if this posting will even work? — with, in the background, various items of medical machinery doing their various things.  Lights blinking, beepers beeping.  When, idly web-drifting through horror sites, what should I come across but “Top Ten Terrifying Human Transformations,” by Josh Millican?

Care for a look?  Via THEBLOOD-SHED.COM, find out which favorites may lurk in wait here.

Well, it interested me.  I’ve had little work done this week because I’ve been down with a cold, and outside we seem to be into another of those “polar vortex” things — single digit temperatures at best.  Two reportable items:  the contract went in for “Tit for Tat,” the Little Willie poem for GHOSTS REVENGE with payment received very soon after and my author’s copy of A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALKED INTO A SPACE BAR arrived.  Something to read during my convalescence.

And one thing to share too, come upon serendipitously while spending some idle time on the internet, an article by Alan Gullette on pre-surrealist and surrealistic writing.  It’s largely an overview, but it names names and can offer a gateway to further exploring.

On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:17 PM, James Ward Kirk wrote:  “Thank you for the poem, James.  I loved it.  I even chuckled aloud, something I can’t recall doing over a poem in a long time.  I’ll be sending out the first batch of acceptances on Saturday.”  I thought it best to follow the publisher’s schedule on announcing the acceptance, which actually came latish Sunday evening along with a contract to print out and return today.

The poem in question is called “Tit for Tat,” one 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, grindifference, or sometimes drawing from it a tragically inappropriate moral.  For more on Little Willies one can see below, February 6 2012.  And what it was for is an anthology on vengeful spirits called GHOSTS REVENGE which, should Little Willie become a ghost, might be just the thing he’d try to get.

To be published by JWK Publications, GHOSTS REVENGE is still accepting submissions, both poetry and fiction to 4000 words (it will also have a section for flash up to 1000 words), but will be closing as soon as it’s filled, so speed may be called for.  Guidelines can be found here.

And as for Little Willie, Publisher Kirk sent a follow-up email:  “Even though I chuckled, I admire the work.  It’s perfect.”

Then even later Sunday night I got an acceptance from Joanne Merriam of UPPER RUBBER BOOT BOOKS for another fiction and poetry anthology to be published in 2016, again for a comedy piece although this time a story.  As I introduced it in my cover letter last October, “I hope you don’t mind a humorous, possibly crude in a few places, would-be swashbuckling SF submission for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM — and with a chainsaw roar instead of a boom because the shotgun had the wrong shells — the attached ‘Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians.’  It was originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2007) and also, one might note, offers a sideways tip of the hat to the holiday classic and perennial ‘10 all-time worst movies’ listee SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS.  Also zombies.”

So here’s the reply:  “Hi, James.  Thanks so much for your submission.  I’m accepting Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM, which will be published in 2016.  I won’t announce the table of contents until I’ve received back all of the contracts, but you may feel free to announce your inclusion in the meantime.

“I’ll send along a contract in the next several days.”

This one, however, closed early last month.

What could be better for Valentine’s Day than the romance of Dracula for Mina Murray as presented, with music, in French?  Well, maybe not quite — there’s still Jonathan Harker to be considered.  But see for yourself as of noonDracula  Entre L’Amour et La Mort this Valentine’s Day on blogger Susan H. Roddey’s all-day special  “Bloody Valentine” outing via S.H. RODDEY’S HAUNTED HEAD, a DVD review of  the opera DRACULA:  ENTRE L’AMOUR ET LA MORT (slightly updated for the occasion from its original appearance here on May 31, 2012), complete with a link to find words for the songs in English translation.

If you haven’t seen it, the opera that is, IMHO it’s worth looking out for.  As may be the review which can be found here.

It had to happen, and so here it is for Valentine’s Day courtesy of TOR.COM, “SFF Sexilostgirlser Than Fifty Shades of Grey” by Leah Schnelbach and Natalie Zutter.  Some books and authors may be familiar, some perhaps less so, but for brief descriptions (accompanied by links for exploring further and, perchance to buy for oneself) please to peruse . . . but recommended only for those who are 18 or over.

One may recall A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR (cf. December 1, October 22 2014, et al.), the long-anticipated anthology of science fiction humor from Nomadic Delirium Press, as having suffered several delays (cf., especially, September 26, but then there was one this January too involving spoiled copies from the printer. . . .).  Hard luck, one might say.  But then — guess what — today, Friday the 13th of February, comes this news:  “Print copies of A Robot, a Cyborg, and a Martian Walk into a Space Bar have shipped.  All of the contributors have been sent their copies, and everyone who ordered copies have also had theirs shipped as well.  Most of the contributors to the Kickstarter will have their books in the next week.  . . .  We hope you all enjoy the book, and we ask that if you do enjoy it, please post reviews wherever you can.  Thanks!”

Go figure, huh?  But be that as it may, I’ll be looking forward to my contributor’s copy!

This is from PENNY4NASA.ORG via SPACE ADVOCATES NEWS, posted by Curtiss Thompson, for science fiction as well as science fact fans:  the top five advances in space science currently scheduled for this year.  The fourth one, in fact, may have already happened InternationalSpaceStation(while I don’t recall seeing it, it may have appeared within a story about resupplying the International Space Station), a soft landing on a platform at sea for a SpaceX first stage which, according to this, was scheduled for January 6.  But see all for yourself by checking here (and then, if inspired, consider using whatever strikes you to build a story or poem around).

Do you know what’s real and what isn’t?

There are many tales and urban myths of monsters that shouldn’t exist, of demons and devil possession, of serial killers wearing human skin, of ghosts terrorizing families . . .

But these tales also sound like fiction, don’t they?

We hope so.

But . . .

But what if . . .

So begins the description from Editor Marty Young for Australian publisher Cohesion Press’s upcoming anthology BLURRING blurringTHE LINE, currently due out the third quarter of this year.  And yesterday, late night by US clocks, the word came to me:  a story of mine of witch hunters in Victorian England, “The Good Work,” will be among its contents.

But is it fiction or is it a true tale.  Ah, that is the question — it could happen, couldn’t it? Stranger things have.  The guidelines last fall noted that, for instance:

A man called Arnold Paole was accused of being a vampire in 1732 in Yugoslavia, after his body was dug up five years after his death and found with long pointed teeth and nails, with blood in his mouth.

The Mothman of West Virginia was a winged man-sized creature with glowing red eyes and huge moth-like wings sprouting from its back, seen repeatedly during 1967 and 1968.

In 1977, a dead creature that looked a lot like a plesiosaur was caught in the nets of a Japanese fishing vessel, the Zuiyo-maru, offshore east of Christchurch, New Zealand.

The sage Apollonius of Tyana, born in Turkey at the start of the first century AD, hunted demons, and once saved one of his students from a vampire who was going to drink his blood and eat his soul.

These are all supposedly true stories . . .

So to see for yourself this fall, check back here for more information on BLURRING THE LINE as it becomes revealed.

 

Another thing coming (cf. January 3, below; also September 4 2012), its engines a-roar!  First via the U.S. mail today in form of a counter-signed contract and check.  Then through a “tagged” message on Facebook. Described in its blurb as “Spanning the ages between ancient Greece and a far flung and dying future,”dumont6 itself, by some, feared to be perhaps dead.  After a voyage of nearly two and a half years from its first acceptance of my own story, “Raising the Dead”  . . .  now appears in the distance the steampunk-through-the-ages anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS!

But shall we let Editor Charles P. Zaglanis say it in his own words?

After much too long a time, here is the final ToC for my first anthology.  I ‘ve personally sent out the checks to the authors and the book should be out in March.  Thank you one and all for your incredible patience:

A COURTLY DIVERSION by Gary Cuba
THE DOG-FACED CANNIBAL by Christine Purcell
ALL THE KING’S MONSTERS by Megan Arkenberg
THE THING WITH FEATHERS by Cora Pop
MEMPHIS BBQ by Cat Rambo
A HORRIFIED MIND by Ferrel D. Ferrel Rick Moore
IN CHAINS LIGHTER THAN AIR by Nghi Vo
THE UNICYCLIST’S FATE by Michael J DeLuca
IRON & BRASS, BLOOD & BONE by Alma Alexander
THE TROUBLE WITH BOMBS by Jay Caselberg
TAKING FLIGHT by E.G. Gaddess
AN URCHIN, AN ADVENTREMAN by Eric Del Carlo
FLIGHT OF THE PEGASUS by Darin Kennedy
GRINDSTONE by Jay Lake
RAISING THE DEAD by James Dorr

My story in this, as may be gleaned from the “through the ages” passage above, represents the far-flung dying-Earth future as one in a series of tales set in the “Tombs,” a vast necropolis and its surrounds where people still strive to live and love, as they do today.  For those familiar with my 2013 collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS,* think of “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red,” also in the Tombs universe.

While as for AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS, adding what I’ve heard thus far of the other 14 stories in its contents, the wait should be worth it.

 

*And, if not familiar, one may press its picture in the center column.

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