Archive for October, 2011

Halloween.  Meatballs are thawed, spaghetti ready for meat chunks in red sauce for supper tonight while the cave cat Wednesday has just had a dead chicken flavored cat treat along with her normal dinner crunchies.  And then a special treat for me:  SNM HORROR MAGAZINE, posting its “November Nosferatu” issue a day early so it would be out for Halloween, not only is featuring my story “Teeth” (originally published as “Store Teeth” in GRAVE POSSESSIONS — see Oct. 27 below), but has announced that it won second place for Story of the Month!  So, it gets me a modest money prize, enough for a pizza or two at least or maybe a nice book, and first and second place stories also get published in their annual print (I think — I’m a bit new to this, this being the first time I’ve published with SNM HORROR) anthology.

Onward and upward.  And a happy All Hallows Eve to all!  Me, I’m wearing a Miskatonic U team T-shirt (“The Fighting Cephalopods” — GO PODS!!) while Wednesday was last seen wearing her fur coat.  She looks good in it too!


IN POE’S SHADOW, the “other” Poe anthology (cf. Oct. 22, et al..), arrived in today’s mail, just in time to be put on the stack for Halloween reading.  And I already had plans to finish off JACK-O’-SPEC that day (plus listen to an audio presentation of FRANKENSTEIN, but that’s another story)!  Still, the more the merrier – or make that spookier.  This is the anthology of stories inspired by works of Poe, with mine, “Merryl,” in the number two spot in the contents, based on “Ligeia.”

Also today I came upon another publisher’s micro-interview, this time for my story “The Country Doctor” in AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (Oct. 19, et al.).  Find out why aliens look the way they do and why it’s not really all that outrageous in horror movies when those “meddling teenagers” decide to explore the basement of the haunted house (you know the one, where the psycho killer was last seen headed toward?) at night.  For this and more press here.


And so, no sooner (it seems) than Deb Martin’s TWO ENDS OF THE PEN interview was set for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving week, what should I receive but an email from Laurel-Rain Snow telling me the group blog DAMES OF DIALOGUE has me scheduled for . . . November 16, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving week.  Well, these things are done by email in advance of the date (in fact the first one is already in, as it were, the can), so there’s no reason why two can’t be on the same day, though I did ask if a substitute date couldn’t be arranged.  Well . . . no.  In fact, a check of the schedule on the DAMES OF DIALOGUE site shows them booked through the end of the year, so I’m really lucky to get what I have, with questionnaire to arrive next week.

I don’t know yet what Laurel-Rain will ask, but I have a good idea it’s going to be different from what Deb has for the first interview, that one mostly about the two specific books VANITAS and VAMPS.  And, judging from what I’ve seen of other’s talks on both sites, I think I give, if  I may say so myself, above average interesting answers to the interviewers’ queries.  For those who might want to comment on either, I’ll plan to go back and forth between them at least two or three times that afternoon and evening to answer questions or just thank people for their interest, so bring ‘em on, say I, Wednesday, November 16.

Then, yesterday being “Good Things Come in Pairs” Day, I also received an email from David Kopaska-Merkel, current head of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (see below, Jul. 5, Feb. 11, Jan. 5), that he was accepting two haiku for an upcoming “minimalist science poetry” pamphlet, EXPLORING THE COSMOS, to be released as a free promotional download from the SFPA website.  The poems, originally published in STAR*LINE, are called “Escape Velocity” and “Snapshot:  The Voyagers” and celebrate the (by now) early days of space exploration.

Then, finally, as zombies will, one thought yesterday to be safely cold in its grave may yet shamble again.  I received an email from “Zombie Zak” himself to his contributors saying he wanted to try to find a new publisher for ZOMBIE ZAK’S HOUSE OF PAIN.  Realistically these things have a way of ending badly, especially in economic hard times, but, hey, these are zombies we’re talking about and it’s in their nature to be resurrected.  So maybe, just maybe. . . .

Zombie lovers, alas, our weak economy has struck again!  Earlier this week the Twisted Library Press announced on its forum that due to a lack of finances, all anthologies would be put on hold for at least six months if not cancelled outright.  While an actual list has not yet  been provided, the ones that are cancelled would seem to be any that aren’t actually in production yet, including titles from subsidiary presses such as Library of the Living Dead and The Library of Horror.  What that means for us is that two anthologies listed below, ZOMBIE ZAK’S HOUSE OF PAIN with my story “The Chimney” (Jul. 21, June 12) and THE SOUTH WILL RISE UNDEAD with “The Hole” (May 3), appear be no more.  That is, unless some new publisher comes in to resuscitate them — thus making them in a sense true zombie anthologies (even though, technically, ZOMBIE ZAK’S had a “No Zombies Allowed” rule).  “The Hole” was a reprint, originally published in FRONTIERS OF TERROR (Marietta Publishing, 2002) while “The Chimney” was a new story.

Vampires have fared a bit better though, with word today that SNM HORROR MAGAZINE has accepted my story “Store Teeth,” originally published in GRAVE POSSESSIONS (Cyber-Pulp, 2003), as a reprint for their “November Nosferatu” issue.  These guys work fast.  Also for Horror Writers Association members, I’ve just finished drafting a 2000-word guest column about my vampire poetry collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) — yes, the one at the top of the book covers to the right, just press its picture for information to order a copy — for Marge Simon’s “Blood & Spades” in the HWA NEWSLETTER.  Look for this one to be out by mid-December.

Then finally I’ve received word from Debra Martin that her interview of me has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 on her shared blog TWO ENDS OF THE PEN.  The major subject will be my other “latest book,” VANITAS (the one three below VAMPS in the stack-o’-covers), from Untreed Reads, but with more info on VAMPS and other matters as well.

Corrective surgery gone wrong, punk rockers abducted by aliens, and dwarfs obsessed with pomegranates are just a few of the things you will find in this anthology.  From the quirky to the serious to the surreal, whatever happens in these stories is bound to leave the reader wondering WTF?!”

So states the ad copy from Pink Narcissus Press for what will be, officially, called WTF?! (Oct. 22, Aug. 10).  To this one might add for my story in it, “Mr. Claus,” “what the job of being Santa is really like.”  We also now have a picture of the cover, a small one, yes, and one still lacking some of the printing, produced in the U.K. by Newtasty Illustration & Design, but it’s enough to give an idea.  And it looks as if WTF?! will be a book worth having on the shelf!

What makes [a] story Gothic?  If you were the star of a Gothic TV show, what would your character be like?  Today, whilst blundering about the internet, I ran into Innsmouth Free Press’s “Micro-Interview” of me on my story “Victorians” in CANDLE IN THE ATTIC WINDOW (see Sept. 30, Sept. 21, et al.), that covered these topics and a few more (example, re. the Gothic TV show:  Would you be good or evil?).  And now that I know where the interview is, I can share it with you!

Then, much like ravens in an unkindness, just when you’ve sent in one editor’s galley proof, another pops up, this one from Rod Heather of LORE for their upcoming reprinting of “The Galvanic” (Sept. 30, Jun. 2).  For reasons known only to my computer (it doesn’t seem to have been a bad file) it was a bear to get the attachment opened, but once it was there was just one typo and even that was so minor it could almost have been ignored.  Hopefully the other authors will have had few or no problems in sending corrections back quickly so that, as the editor hopes, LORE:  A QUAINT AND CURIOUS VOLUME OF SELECTED STORIES may also be out by Halloween.

What a neat term — an “unkindness” of ravens.  The name comes presumably from the skill of groups of ravens in driving off competing predators when they have a mind to.  So, when you think one raven has left, at least for a moment, just look around — another has popped up!

So it is with the “other” Poe:  one anthology delayed, another pops up.  Today’s email brought the news from Dark Opus Press that IN POE’S SHADOW, with my story “Merryl” (see Aug. 7), “a collection of short stories inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe,” has officially been released.

“Merryl” was inspired by Poe’s “Ligeia,” a metaphysical vampire story for want of a better description, with mine perhaps borrowing a little more strongly from Sigmund Freud.  As for the others, well, you’ll just have to read them.  For a preview of sorts, here’s the table of contents:

  • The Resurrectionist – AP Diggs
  • Merryl – James S. Dorr
  • De’Atherton House – Sorrel Wood
  • Visions – Neil Kloster
  • The Final Sculpture – Ian Shoebridge
  • Sufletul Mortii – Tom Sawyer
  • Vanity – Kristi Petersen Schoonover
  • The Mumbai Malaise – SS Hampton, Sr.
  • The Apprentices Tale – Jennifer L. Gifford
  • Until the Heart Betrays – A. W. Gifford
  • Loving the Dead – Dorian Dawes
  • Once Upon a Midnight – Scott Overton
  • The Amazing Vlademar – Linda Donahue
  • Read First – Davin Creed

IN POE’S SHADOW can be ordered via Bete Noire Magazine and, in this case, could arrive in time for Halloween or, at worst, shortly after.  Then, with THE SPIRIT OF POE available only a week or two later, there should be plenty to keep readers busy until it’s nearly time for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, another horror story of mine, this time a deconstruction of a certain popular “jolly old elf,” aka “Mr. Claus” (cf. Aug. 10),  arrived back today as an edited galley from Pink Narcissus Press for my approval and/or changes.  This will be for their anthology of “genre-breaking short  stories,” stories that “couldn’t be published elsewhere,” tentatively titled WTF?!  So this should be out itself in time to curl up with, with a glass of rum-laced nog (or favorite substitute) and a roaring fire in the fireplace, to see if the Fat Man really will come sliding down that chimney.

The Fall 2011 issue of  SPACE AND TIME, a magazine that’s been printing quality fantasy, horror, and science fiction for a very long time, arrived today with a poem of mine in it, “Monkey See.”  This is a publication some of my earliest work appeared in, oh, so long ago, so in a way it’s like meeting an old friend after an absence and seeing, yes, that the years have brought changes too — including an 8 1/2 x 11 format and a full-color cover.  Very nice.  Originally published in New York City, SPACE AND TIME has since moved across the river to Somerset, NJ, but that’s still close enough for “Monkey See,” having to do with an animal escape in central Manhattan and ending with a homage to the greatest of them all, King Kong.

In less happy news, THE SPIRIT OF POE (see Oct. 13. Sept. 25), originally hoped to be out in time for Halloween, now looks like it’s going to be delayed for a week or two due to a family tragedy involving one of the contributors.  Hopefully though it should be available by mid-November, still in plenty of time for Christmas.

“An empty stretch of highway.
“A freak electrical storm.
“A bus full of strangers.
“And a mysterious bus driver with a rather peculiar agenda.”

So, isolated from the world outside — cellphones are dead and computers have shut down — the bus pulls in to an abandoned rest stop outside of Tarrytown, New York.   Sleepy Hollow.  The rain is too hard for the bus to go on, visibility outside is zero, and to pass the time the driver suggests each passenger tell a story about his or her hometown.  Thus the anthology AMERICA THE HORRIFIC:  TALES OF HORROR FROM AMERICAN MYTH AND LEGEND (cf. Aug. 16, May 24) begins, eleven narratives strung together by one common theme, that America is a scary place — and it’s not just the current economic mess we’re in either.

My buck in this fear bank takes place in New Mexico, land of sun and sand and . . . “The Country Doctor.”  This and ten more tales have just been released by Bards and Sages Publishing in print and electronic formats,  entertainment to get you ready for Halloween.  And they even spell my name right on the cover this time (a little joke between them and me) — though uncannily, frighteningly, cursed no doubt by eldritch powers bigger than them and me combined, they drop the ball in their information/ordering book description!

So it goes.  Try a copy yourself regardless of how its author’s names may be spelled, available in print through Createspace, Amazon (print and Kindle) et al., and Smashwords for  various electronic editions.  I’ve just glanced into the .pdf version myself (my author’s print copy should come some time next week, but who wants to wait?) and, so far, it looks like fun!

Friday brought the September 2011 edition of DREAMS & NIGHTMARES, a well respected poetry magazine published for the last 25 years by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, and with a 44-line science fiction/humor/horror (horrible?) poem by me, “And Suddenly the Poem I Was Working on Turned Into a Killer Robot.”  Need one say more?

Well, maybe one might add that for information on DREAMS & NIGHTMARES (including subscriptions, plus a link to the DREAMS & NIGHTMARES blog) its website can be reached here.

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