Archive for June, 2011

Well, not exactly on either count.  However it has been my tradition for many, many years to write a Christmas story each winter.  Some are light spirited (vampire children frolicking in the snow), some more intense, some gory, some sexy — we’re talking about a lot of Christmases — which has thus far made it difficult to pitch the lot as, say, a coherent holiday chapbook.  Some are published separately — for one example, see Dec. 23 below, “The Christmas Vulture” — but, Christmas stories being a seasonal commodity aimed at a market easily saturated, many are unpublished.  Thus when a new Christmas story is sold, it is indeed time for celebration.

Enter Zombie Zak and Bill Tucker, editors for the Library of Horror’s upcoming ZOMBIE ZAK’S HOUSE OF PAIN.  The anthology guidelines, seeking “contemporary creative tales of dark horror/dark fiction,” had but one prohibition:  No zombie stories.  Then this morning the acceptance came, for a story I had submitted called “The Chimney,” a claustrophobic saga of memories and family and domestic making-do.  And without a single zombie in it.

But it is about Christmas!

FROM SHADOWS AND NIGHTMARES, Nightfall Publications’ upcoming horror anthology (Jan. 25, Dec. 28), is rolling along on schedule for June 30, and has recently opened for prepublication orders.  Also the cover illustration has been released and appears to the left.  To quote from their blurb, “[o]ur third anthology explores the dark imaginations of our authors.  From the traditional stories of zombies and werewolves, to haunted items that will surprise you, our new and established authors challenge you to read this book with only one light on.”  With that and the cover picture in mind, it looks to be quite the collection indeed!

With more than 20 stories in all, my contribution is “Penny Dreadful,” a short, sweet tale of zombies and young love.  But that’s not all — Nightfall Publications is also reading for a new anthology, this one for science fiction.  The deadline for stories is August 31 and, if interested, the guidelines are here.

Then last night another acceptance, this one for a poem, “Winter’s Still” (cf. Feb. 2), to appear in DARK METRE.  This is a monthly electronic horror newsletter edited by British writer and poet Katy Bennett, which includes among other things two reprinted poems in each issue (all styles welcome up to 35 lines, but no vampires please according to the guidelines — also nothing involving “bad things happening to college kids, school kids or young children and definitely no woe be me poetry”).  “Winter’s Still” is scheduled to be in Issue 8 coming out on September 4th this year.

Has it been dug up again?  Every ten years, in Fall-Winter 1991 in HAUNTS, in 2001 in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (cf. image to right), and now scheduled for August 2011 in SORCEROUS SIGNALS a story of mine, “When Cats Are Away,” has a way of appearing.  This will be its first electronic version, but this latest acceptance by WolfSinger Publications will also have it see light in SORCEROUS SIGNALS’ print companion (also including  THE LORELEI SIGNAL for that quarter) MYSTIC SIGNALS.  This is the third of four stories I wrote in my earlier days featuring Tana the thief and the troubles that beset a working girl, especially in terms of a certain magician.

My work has tended to get a bit darker since and maybe my humor a little quirkier, but in her way I think Tana wears well.  And it’s in her nature that when least expected she’d pop up anew.

Speaking of cats, it’s a warm summer evening and what better time for a small lagniappe (noting that lagniappes are defined as small, but for the right person perhaps large in value?) so herewith another cat, one right now sleeping off her after-supper.  The poem appeared under the  shortened title “The Poet’s Cat” with an illustration by Marge Simon in January’s BEYOND CENTAURI (Sam’s Dot Publications), a rather neat, well-produced magazine aimed at younger readers — i.e. good stories but without “bad” words — and should still be available as a back issue.


Beastie girl,
purring charm,
gray-coated fanged wonder
worming her way into visitors’ hearts,
monopolizing beds, sofas,
object of her owner’s thanks,
receiving toys, brushings,
food ready when she is,
sharp-clawed, parasitic,
vampiress in fur.

Should you wish to meet the poem’s subject, click “Wednesday” under PAGES on the right.

“Following the destructive earthquakes in Japan, a group of writers decided to create an anthology of short stories and poems with all profits going to the American Red Cross to help rebuild Japan.  These are their stories.”  So says the publisher’s copy for AMATERASU (cf. Apr. 30, May 20), dedicated to “the people of Japan and their nation’s recovery after the destructive tsunami and earthquakes in early 2011.”  With some material more directly related to Japan, other simply there for entertainment, to ease minds away from thoughts of tragedy — my contribution, e.g., is  poetry about zombies, Jekyll and Hyde, and witches’ cats — the book is available now.  At just over 100 pages it’s not a bad deal for only $10, as well as a way to do a good deed.  If interested, AMATERASU: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FANTASTIC STORIES can be ordered here.

But wait, there’s more on the international literary scene.  This morning’s email included an acceptance of my story “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City” for the “Tall Tales” issue of WONDERWAAN, a magazine published in Holland.  Originally published electronically in NUKETOWN, March 2001, “Catskinner Sweet” takes place in the Old West in a played-out silver town now beset by little green … creatures.   This will be its (and my) first translation into Dutch.

Then back here in the States, for a triple-header, late last night I got a message via FaceBook from Rod Heather, managing editor years ago of the magazine LORE, asking about a story I’d had in its Autumn 1997 issue.  The story, “The Galvanic,” about Olde Scotland and body snatching and surgeons and science — at least as understood in the 19th century — has only been published once since, electronically in ARKHAM TALES in 2009, and now if all goes well may find life again in a revived “Selections from  LORE, Vol. 1” project.

All in all, that’s not a bad start  for the first two days of June.

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