Archive for August, 2011

INDIANA HORROR 2011 (see May 25), the all-Indiana authored anthology of dark doings in darker surroundings, is now available via Amazon. My part in this is “Ballet of the Dolls,” a saga of sorcery and carnival sideshows and why it’s best not to trust a woman who’s able to change her accent at will, a sort of Bradburyesque piece I might like to think. Well, maybe not quite? To see for yourself check out Amazon’s link here.

Also companion anthology INDIANA SCIENCE FICTION 2011 (Jul. 24, 21) is still open for submissions from resident authors or writers with ties to Indiana. The accent for this one is on political, social, religious, sexual, and cultural themes as opposed to harder, “rivets visible” sf, with no objections to adding some horror into the mix (my story here is a piece about froggies — well, sort of). For details, deadlines, and other information press here.

TALES OF THE TALISMAN came today, a good-looking, hefty “Special Science Fiction Issue” with a science fictiony, mysteryish, horrorish story of mine in it, “Atoms.” The cover picture I have is small, but up at the top, in the right hand corner, there’s a list of authors with my name first — and best of all it’s spelled correctly! 😀

In other news, for Lovecraft and other horror fans THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN (cf. Aug. 21, et al.) is now available from Amazon in paperback form with, as I understand, a Kindle edition planned for the future. It’s also available from Pill Hill Press, but if you want to order just one copy you should be warned that, even though Pill Hill offers a $1.00 discount off the cover price, their shipping cost is $7.99.

The old misspelled name on the cover gambit (cf. Aug. 16) seems to be getting popular. Not to worry, though, I know it’s me. Be that as it may, while it hasn’t hit my mailbox yet, the latest issue of NIGHT TO DAWN is — if not out already — apparently imminent and with a poem or poems by me.

NIGHT TO DAWN specializes in vampires, but, to quote from its website, “holy objects and garlic may not protect you, for the NTD vampire is no ordinary species. You might meet the blood drinker of yore, or a walking skeleton, or even a human vampire. Then there are the psychic vampires. Recently, NTD has been featuring werewolves and other monsters but always with the bloodlust theme. Our goal is to showcase the work of writers who share a passion for the vampire genre.” For me, I’ve had three horrorku accepted (see Jan. 25, below) but, until I actually see the issue, I don’t know which (or if, as the case may be, all) will be there.

So stick around, and as soon as I have it we can be surprised together.

Having watched/rewatched a couple of ultra well known films the last few weeks (notably CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) for various reasons, the new-to-me movie I ended up seeing Wednesday night was an exotic one, ORLANDO, which I’d recommend, though perhaps strangely.  Amazon reviews say it’s “based on, but scarcely resembling” Virginia Woolf’s book, and several reviews complain of wooden acting, but (of the acting at least) I had much less quarrel.  It’s supposed to be odd.  Orlando, a (male) courtier in England’s Elizabethan Age is played by actress Tilda Swinton, who at one point very, very early on addresses the audience directly — so you know this isn’t going to be played as ordinary drama.  Orlando is ordered by the Queen (played by male cross-dresser Quentin Crisp) never to age so, like any good subject, he doesn’t, leading thus to a series of vignettes illuminating various periods of British history, and through which Orlando seems to look slightly but increasingly feminine (check the hair when he takes his wig off, subtle but it was the impression I got anyway) until at one point he/she changes sex completely (“no difference really, just a different sex,” she says while gazing in the mirror, having awakened from a long nap) but carries on, now wearing dresses, meeting and sharing barbs with Jonathan Swift and Samuel Pepys, etc., later having a daughter, up to the more or less present (wearing slacks riding a motorcyle now — go figure).  Interesting, head-swimming, and (in my opinion) deliberately distanced from viewers to give it all a legendary quality.  AND, throughout which, even in the pan-and-scan VHS copy I found for a buck at the local Goodwill, there is absolutely beautiful photography, my favorite probably being the skating party on the frozen Thames during the “Great London Frost” of 1603 (in which I recognized the music for the dance, on skates, as a sprightly version of “Belle Qui Tient Ma Vie,” one that I’ve played many a time myself) — this is back when Orlando is still male, of course, and is using the occasion to romance the daughter of the ambassador from Russia (whose party has been iced in for the season!).

Weird and interesting.

Yesterday, Saturday, August 20 marked the 121st birthday of H. P. Lovecraft, and what should I happen to blunder upon but the Facebook page of editor Aaron J. French. Le mot du jour (well, actually it was the day before) was that the neo-Lovecraftian anthology THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN (see May 11, Apr. 6) has just gone to the printer, with the added comment “[it] looks like we’re going to make it in time for KillerCon.” KillerCon being Sept. 22-25 this year — in Las Vegas for any who’d like to go — it means another September premiere, to join that of CANDLE IN THE ATTIC WINDOW (Aug. 5, Apr. 4). Yesterday, also, much of my time was being spent working over a final galley of “Victorians,” my story in CANDLE.

Coincidence . . . or Cthulhu?

Also on Facebook while I was there, I found the official contents announcement posted ten days before, including “The Festering,” my story for this one. As for the others, a tasty-looking bunch just from the titles alone, enjoy this as a prevue:

1. IT TEARS AWAY by Michael Bailey
2. GRAFFITI SONATA by Gene O’Neill
3. BLUMENKRANK by Erik T. Johnson
4. TO UNSEE A THING by Richard Marsden
6. WHAT’S IN A SHELL? by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin
10. WATCH FOR STEVE by Ricky Massengale
11. UNCLE RICK by M. Shaw
12. CAVERNS OF BLOOD by P.S. Gifford
13. JP AND THE NIGHTGAUNT by Robert Tangiers
14. SISTER GUINEVERE by T. Patrick Rooney
16. QUIETUS by A. A. Garrison
17. AMENDS FOR AN EARLIER SUMMER by Geoffrey H. Goodwin
18. SANCTUARY OF THE DAMNED by Cynthia D. Witherspoon
19. THE FESTERING by James S. Dorr
20. THE ROSE GARDEN by James Ward Kirk
23. THE CITY OF DEATH by Jason D. Brawn
24. BLACK FEATHERS by Mari Mitchell
27. AMUNDSEN’S LAST RUN by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin
28. ANTARKTOS UNBOUND by Glynn Barrass
29. AZATHOTH AWAKENING by Ran Cartwright

Originally scheduled for the end of June, Nightfall Publications’ FROM SHADOWS AND NIGHTMARES (cf. Jun. 10, Jan. 25, Dec. 28) ran into unexpected production delays.  However it’s here now with my copy arriving this afternoon, and first in the lineup of twenty-two stories of “darkest shadows and twisted thoughts,”. . . “from the scary to the stomach clenching, from the physically frightening to the mentally disturbing” is “Penny Dreadful,” my own brief, springtime tale of teenage love — and zombies.

So all’s well that ends well — well, sort of.  Monsters, curses, haunts, haunted objects; werewolves and, yes, zombies; to the extent that such things can end well.  For more information on SHADOWS AND NIGHTMARES, readers are invited to check out Nightfall Publications’ website here.

A group I belong to, the Bloomington (Indiana) Writers Guild, posts a weekly reading on its website, a story or poem by one of its members to be shared by all.  And this week my flash story, “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” originally published in the chapbook anthology BONE BALLET (Iguana Publications, 2005), is the featured selection.  To read it yourself, simply press here, but don’t hesitate too long.  Mayfly-like, its presence will be fleeting and by the end of next Thursday, August 25, it will disappear.

I just went through the galley proof for my story “The Country Doctor” from the editors of AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (see May 24, below) and was able to email back that I could find no errors at all. Good show! Not so fortunate was a mock-up of the book’s cover on which the gimlet-eyed may have already noticed a certain oddness to my name. And so another email to the editors. Then — busy, busy, busy! — it’s back to work to send them a current biography as well as doing a mini-interview which will be used for pre-publication PR. So hopefully by its announced release date of October 15 AMERICA THE HORRIFIC should be set to go off with a bang. (And in time for Halloween gifting too!)

Elsewhere on the PR front, Untreed Reads Publishing has announced the launch of “Take-A-Chance Tuesdays,” involving sale prices on a selected title every Tuesday. Mine, VANITAS (cf. Aug. 2), isn’t this week’s selection, but it can still be purchased at its regular price, which is pretty much a bargain already, so in the hours that are left of today — and presumably on successive Tuesdays too — why not give their website a look for that and for other specials?

August 9th’s entry on DAILY SCIENCE FICTION now carries a live link to my story “Killer Pot.”  Or, if you prefer, you can find it right here.

It isn’t a Friday, but September 13th has been set as the official publication date for JACK-O’-SPEC, which isn’t a bad number for an anthology about Halloween. In fact it’s actually already listed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and, judging from the contents (see Jan. 8, below), it looks like a book worth getting not just for oneself but for gifts for friends on October 31. A treat instead of a trick, as it were. My wraith in this flight is a story called “The Leaves,” about poets and poetic imagination and, well, bad ladies.

“Reading JACK-O’-SPEC is like stepping into a Halloween party that’s been going on for 2000 years,” according to Lisa Morton, author of THE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA (quoted here by permission of JACK-O’-SPEC editor Karen Romanko). “There’s something delightfully pagan about these stories and poems, something that captures Halloween’s dark, autumn atmosphere. Whether it’s a mad scientist invoking Halloween ghosts on Mars, boys trapped in not one but two haunted houses, or a rich evocation of poetic seasonal spirits, JACK-O’-SPEC has something for all Halloween lovers.”

I, for one, am looking forward to it!

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