So another list, but it might be fun, compiled by James Gaines on UPWORTHY.COM, “14 Elephant Facts You Can Use to Impress People at Parties (If They’re Into Elephants).”  Curious?  Press here.

Thus today’s e-tease:  Brendan Morrow, “10 Most Visually Stunning Horror Movies Ever” on WHATCULTURE.COM, courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  By contrast to most of these listey things, I think I’ve seen fully ninMV5BMTU3ODg2NjQ5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDEwODgzMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR0,0,182,268_AL_e of them this time (and the one I haven’t only came out in 2015), though some now will bear re-watching.  Also, as noted on other lists of this sort, these are one reviewer’s opinion, but to his credit Morrow offers compelling reasons for his selections.  (Also, as he admits as well, just because they’re visually stunning it doesn’t necessarily mean these are all good films.  But other than Winona Ryder’s sneering her way through Coppola’s DRACULA, none are really bad movies either.)

Be all that as it may, one may check them out for oneself here.

Featured readers for this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild First Sunday Prose (see January 3, et al.) were local mostly-poet Shana Ritter and optometry professor/novelist (under the name Terry Pinaud) Khashayar Tonekaboni.  Leading off, Ritter read what she said was her first short story, published in FIFTH WEDNESDAY, “The Invitation,” about the cruelty of teen girls, following it with a note from her blog on writing poetry vs. prose, and ended with two excerpts from a novel in progress set at the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.  Dr. Tonekaboni followed with excerpts from two novels, the first THE FIXER set in the summer and fall of 1963 prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the second in progress, tentatively titled MINE, at the time of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

None of these would be characterized exactly as happy stories, which I didn’t help when open mike time came.  Fourth of four (six people had signed up, but two apparently left early), and noting it was exactly one week before Valentine’s Day, I read a story I wrote just last month, “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale,” based on the New Orleanian urban legend of the Casket Girls (cf. April 28 2015, April 17 2014, et al.).*  This one introduced a new fille à la caissette, BritishSFAPoemsPubbedClaudette, giving a bit more of their history before recounting what happened the night her husband pledged to her his heart.

Speaking of busted love affairs, the day before, Saturday, I received an email announcing the availability of the British Science Fiction Association’s FOCUS magazine.  Or in Poetry Editor Charles Christian’s words:  “At long last the December issue of the BSFA FOCUS magazine is published (actually being only 2 months late is good) and it contains the poetry section I edit.  The contributors included are James Dorr + Andrew Darlington + Pat Tompkins + Herb Kauderer (who sadly has been deprived of his final “R”) + Kelda Crich + Geoffrey A. Landis + Noel Sloboda + John Reinhart + Guy Belleranti + Manos Kounougakis + Karen A. Romanko + Susan Burch + Christina Sng + Julie Kelsey.”  And the cool thing is, in the page shot on Facebook that gives the announcement, my poem is displayed, the print version of “On the Other Hand” that premiered electronically on GRIEVOUS ANGEL on August 30 (see September 5, March 30 2015) on why the torrid romance between Fay Wray and King Kong could never have lasted for the long haul.
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*As MC Joan Hawkins pointed out after, the location was particularly apt, it also being two days before Mardi Gras.

In most cases not really genre, of course, but how many have you read?  I count only six and a half for myself (I’ve read a fair bit of Sherlock Holmes but probably not all).  On the other hand, there are one or two I’m proud of having not read — does that make me illiterate?  The compilation, by Joe Ellison, is on SHORTLIST.COM and can be found by pressing here.

The full title is THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS and my story in it, originally published in TERMINAL FRIGHT as well as appearing in THE TEARS OF ISIS, is “The Candle Room” (cf. January 7, et al.).  And today another facet has been GTVol1.3385958_stdrevealed, the volume’s cover.  This will be one of four volumes in fact, currently scheduled for a March release.  As for the others, well, stories, contents, such details are still in the air so one must be patient, yes?

“The Candle Room” is a tale of magic and fortunes told through the use of candles, one of which is unusual indeed, leading the narrator and his girlfriend to an other-dimensional Neptune and a Lovecraftian plot against Earth.  But for more one must read the story itself.  In the meantime, details and contents for THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS can be found here while more on the series as a whole is available here.

It also brought some serious poetry too, but, yes, it was that time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” presented in conjunction with the Bloomington and Monroe County Convention Center.  The featured poets were Hilda Davis, a graduate student in Indiana University’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies — and also a seasoned poetry slammer — and Jonathan Holland, a graduate of Ivy Tech as well as a student at Indiana University.  Both presented rhythmic, sonorous works, both personal to them as well as connected to the world about them, ending up almost surprisingly complimenting each other.  This was followed by the open mike session where I had the number four spot in a field of ten, about as many as I’ve seen read from the audience at these events.  I read two poems, one about werewolves and loss of habitat originally published in STAR*LINE, “No One Wants to Run Through the Woods Naked Under a Full Moon Anymore” (see January 27 2012, July 11 2011), and the other as yet unpublished, “Don’t Always Believe Everything You Read,” in which a zombie explains why the New Hampshire motto Live Free or Die fails to reflect reality (“. . . being dead’s cheap enough — / but living free, sorry, / that’s bucks on the barrelhead . . . ”).

Here’s one of those lists where I’m not sure I’ve run across many (or any) of the items on it.  How about you?  But it does seem interesting, “10 Films You Need to See Before You Die . . . Literally! bStarLine39.1smy Howard Gorman on SHOCK TILL YOU DROP, brought to me courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  To check it out for yourself press here.

Meanwhile in today’s physical mail STAR*LINE 39.1 arrived, for Winter 2016, with my mermaid poem in it (cf. January 8, November 28).  This is an untitled three-line, haiku-styled piece about . . . well . . . a mermaid, but one perhaps with a special talent.  STAR*LINE is the official publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The poem can be found tucked demurely in the lower right corner of page 13, while more on the SFPA can be found by pressing here.

Arrived the missive Monday morning:  “Coming February 20, 2016! IT’S COME TO OUR ATTENTION from Third Flatiron Anthologies contains fourteen imaginative speculative fiction short stories about things that could be happening quietly, without a lot of fanfare, but which could still be extremely significant or make a big difference.”  And while the contents page as such wasn’t reproduced, there was an authors’ list, some names on which may be faattnpreview250-Chocolatmiliar.  “Contributors include Pauline J. Alama, James H. Zorn, Wendy Nikel, Philip Brian Hall, Hunter Liguore, Nyki Blatchley, James Dorr, Greg Beatty, Terri Bruce, Joel Richards, Marie DesJardin, Arthur M. Doweyko, E. M. Eastick, and Lisa Timpf.”  That’s one more part of the life of the writer, a fun part, I think, especially the cover preview giving a notion of what an artist in a different medium thinks of it all.

It’s nice to have an exact date too, and while we may not have titles yet for all the stories, we do know one.  Mine, that is, “Chocolat” (see January 2, December 11; also November 3 2014 for an earlier mention), the tale of a Frenchman and his love for candy.  But only that made of the finest chocolate or, at the least, that concocted from pure cocoa butter.

Why?  In less than a month we can all find out!

The beat goes on, or, you get acceptances, then comes the scut work.  The little tasks that must be done to get a story into actual print.  Thus it was this weekend, when PDFs came for not one, but two stories from different publishers — and both of these also second-round proof copies, ones where preliminary proofreading had been done before.

But it’s one more step closer to seeing a book in print.  Or two, in this case.  Saturday brought line edited copy from Upper Rubber Boot Books for “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” (cf. December 1 2015, et al.), a tale of Christmas and sorta-like zombies and a trip to Mars for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM, with corrections on the corrections at this end returned Sunday evening at just about the time the Arizona-Carolina NFC championship football game ended.  So in about two weeks the Superbowl comes, yes?  Then a few hours before, on Sunday afternoon, the other had come, a “cleaned up” galley from Bards and Sages Publishing for “The Candle Room” (see January 7 this year, et al.), a less comedic, more Lovecraftian excursion to Saturn — but an other-dimensional version of sorts — for THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS.

That one, however, will wait till tomorrow.

It could be worse, the blizzard in parts of the US today (see also post below).  How?  Check out my short story chapbook I’M DREAMING OF A. . .  by clicking on its picture in the center column, or just press here.  For less than a buck it will tell you one way!  And best of all, 2940013874367_p0_v1_s118x184you can get it right now with an extra discount of twenty-five percent from Untreed Reads Publishing.

Or to hear it from the horse’s mouth, metaphorically speaking:  With so many people snowed in for the next few days, many of them are looking for something new to read.

We’ve put out coupon code SNOWEDIN across our social media networks.  It’ll give folks 25% off their order when they purchase through store.untreedreads.com.  No limit on titles and good on both ebook and paperback.  They just enter the code during the checkout process exactly the way it appears here.   

All titles apparently will get the discount, which one can reach from the I’M DREAMING OF A. . . page or, if one insists, by pressing here.  But best act swiftly in any event since the notice I have gives no closing date.

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