Archive for November, 2011
Popcorn Press, the people who brought us HALLOWEEN HAIKU (cf. Nov. 22), are doing it again. The call is now out for poetry — especially short forms like haiku, senryu, tanka, lunes, Korean sijo, but also formal poems like sonnets, etc. — as well as flash fiction of up to 1000 words for CTHULHU HAIKU & OTHER MYTHOS MADNESS. The rest, at least in terms of subject, is probably self-explanatory. Guidelines can be found here, with no deadline or publication date set as yet but, in editor Lester Smith’s words, “early submissions will have a slight edge over later ones.” So I’m getting mine ready. . . .
Also it seems I’ve had more work accepted by SNM HORROR MAGAZINE (see Oct. 31, Oct. 27), this time for their “December Doomsday” issue for tales of an apocalyptic bent. The end of the world. Of civilization as we know it. That sort of thing, you know. Mine, “Fog” (originally published as “The Fog” in the October 2005 debut issue of the Canadian ezine DARK RECESSES), takes the environmental route in a dank, science-fictiony sort of way. No word yet, however, as to whether it’s won a prize.
NEW DAWN FADES has arrived, perhaps a bit earlier in fact than expected from Post Mortem Press (cf. Nov. 8, et al.). This is the one with zombie stories unlike the ones loved by our moms and dads, the ones with a difference. The introduction is by Joe Schreiber, with more information at their website. For a sample, here’s an excerpt from my corpse in this charnel house, “Girls Gone Dead”:
He smiled at Amelia, than panned to Clarisse’s chest, closing in tightly, then, widening, up to her face. “Yes, go on,” he said in an interested sounding voice.
“It was Yvonne who ‘rescued’ me,” Clarisse said. Yvonne looked up, her mouth dripping with red sauce, leaning to be sure she got in the shot too. He lingered, then swung wide to return to Clarisse’s breast.
“You see, it’s still not entirely back in shape. . . .”
Then also for Thanksgiving, or close enough to it (Wednesday and I are tentatively planning on turkey pizza tomorrow,), Innsmouth Free Press has announced that FUTURE LOVECRAFT (cf. Nov. 12, Sept. 7, et al.) is now available for pre-sale with a 20 percent discount for those who act quickly. How quickly? — check out their website here. My story in this one is “Dark of the Moon,” originally published in THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU (Del Rey, 2002), about a bad day in America’s space program. The official release date is December 3 with orders shipping out on the 6th, but for those who can’t wait, I understand that FUTURE LOVECRAFT is already available for sale on Kindle.
Here in our fair Midwestern city as weather gets cold, comes the time that the crows arrive. Presumably the corn, or whatever it is that crows eat in the country, has all been harvested; leftover insects have all been devoured or gone underground or whatever it is that insects do. So crows, omnivorous in their nature, commute to the wooded portions of the University campus as well as other parts of Bloomington, taking over entire trees for their winter quarters.
These are common American crows, Corvus brachyrhynchus, of course, as opposed to the more loved by fantasy writers Western European carrion crow, Corvus corone, but, hey, crows are crows. And Monday a couple of blocks from my house I saw my first tree full of the dark birds — technically a “murder” of crows (as opposed to an unkindness of ravens, and I will not speculate as to how the name came about) — another sign of approaching winter. Crow weather. A poem about crows, “Bon Appétit,” is in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). Here, however, as a lagniappe is another poem I wrote long, long ago, that first appeared in CEMETERY DANCE in December 1988.
Crow weather -- bleak, yet battlefield-steaming -- night after killing. The armies rest in tents by the river while crows pick bodies, make, from death-glazed eyes, windows for moonlight.
Then speaking of poems, Monday’s mail when I returned home included several copies of HALLOWEEN HAIKU from Popcorn Press, my “pay,” as it were, for eight brief poems to help celebrate the end of October in an appropriate literary manner. Five of these also appear in VAMPS, “Blackness,” “Double Feature,” “State of the Blood Market in Transylvania,” “So We Decided to Keep Rowing,” and “Blood Portrait” (the first and last of these themselves reprints); one, “Vampire Economics,” was published on Facebook; while two are original, “Up. Up. And Away” and “Great Costumes!” For more information check the publisher’s website here. Vampires and zombies of course abound.
It grows cold., it grows damp as November progresses, December and frigidness to follow soon enough. For one bit of light, though, Pink Narcissus Press announced Sunday that their “stories that leave readers wondering what hit them” anthology — genre-bending, unusual stories — WTF?! (cf. Oct. 26, et al.) is coming along on schedule, to be out during the first half of December in print, and hopefully also in electronic format by about the same time. Also they’ve announced its availability for pre-ordering at their website, to be first in line for out-of-the-ordinary Christmas presents (and with at least one genuine Christmas tale in it too, my *ahem* exposé of “Mr. Claus”). For more information on this and other Pink Narcissus titles, including RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS with another story of mine, “The Glass Shoe” (see July 3, et al.), please press here.
LORE: A QUAINT & CURIOUS VOLUME OF SELECTED STORIES (see Nov. 7, et al.) is now available from the publisher. As a sort of sample of what’s in store, the table of contents has also been released and is copied here. This is a compendium of editor’s favorites from the one-time moribund “Quarterly Digest of Maddening Fiction,” now resurgent after a ten year’s hiatus. This is “weird” in the old school style, the Lovecraftian, the Poesque, the chill wind through the finials of a Queen Anne mansion that’s seen better days, the whirlwinding of leaves in an ancient graveyard. And how fitting then that it’s out at this time, amid the gathering dark of November’s plummet to year’s end.
So light a fire in the hearth, call the dog and cat in from the perils of outside, and, having ordered a copy by clicking here, relax and enjoy with a hot, strong drink in hand. What could be better?
Actually they’re both kind of free, except for your time in reading them of course. But with various holidays coming up, focusing, concentrating toward certain dates — “Black Friday,” Christmas, excellent times for thinking of, oh, I don’t know, buying books for gifts? — it was probably a certainty that eventually two would fall on the same date. But worry not, these are different interviews with different questions and different thrusts. The first announced, by interviewer Debra Martin for Two Ends of the Pen (cf. Oct. 27), gives a lot of attention to my electronic chapbook VANITAS, published by Untreed Reads, and the various paths that led me to it (including the fact that the story itself first appeared in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE), but with mentions too of my other books as well as excursions into such esoterica as social media and the future of digital vs. print publishing. Contrasted with this is Laurel-Rain Snow’s interview on Dames of Dialogue (Oct. 28) starting with why one might write on the “dark side” with attention given to THE GARDEN, my original print/electronic chapbook by Damnation Books, plus additional lore on inspiration, past jobs, the naming of cats, and Edgar Allan Poe. It also compares THE GARDEN with VANITAS in terms of differing editorial policies (at least as I experienced them), Damnation aiming toward what seemed more a conformity with “house style” vs. Untreed Reads more hands-off approach, at least again as regarded my work, and how the latter tended to better retain “Gothiness” in the finished result. Which approach would you like best (Damnation’s perhaps aiding “easier” reading)? Which interview will be the more pleasing? Only you, the reader, can tell.
And then on a related subject, re. contrasting editorial approaches, one might recall my mention of three flash fiction acceptances at once by Dark Moon Books (Nov. 4), and that one tale, “The Shackles,” was edited possibly somewhat more rambunctiously than the others for the upcoming flash anthology FRIGHTMARES! As part of Monday’s marathon proofing adventure, it now looks as though, rather than tweak editorial tweaking, we’ll go back to that story’s original pre-edited version.
. . . jiggity, jig. Back from Chicago still in one piece despite GPS quirks, 1-lane gravel paths through rural countryside, and the bridge out west of Spenser. We did go through a different part of the aforementioned wind farm this time, which was still awesome, a forest of tall towers, turbines, and three-blade propellors — green power in action, and you can still grow crops around the pylons! The main highlight for me at the con itself was saying hello to guest of honor Catherine Asaro at the release party for her latest book (we go back a long way, she having bought one of my first pro submissions, a story called “Golden Age,” MINDSPARKS I think was the magazine’s name, and actually remembering it some years later when we met at some SF convention or other, then seem to cross paths every few years after). We ate pieces of chocolate cake together (between her signing autographs).
Ah, the writing life! I’m in Chicago, at WindyCon for the weekend, semi-incommunicado save for a roommate’s tiny, tiny, traveling laptop. Cute little machine! Otherwise meeting a few old friends mostly, sort of relaxing, just enjoying being out of town (driving through a quietly awesome wind farm in Indiana, north of Lafayette on the way here which was an unexpected highlight — speaking of science fiction). But with the miniature laptop comes news that lurking within my inbox wait proof copies of not one, not two, but three stories that must be gone through with MSS in hand and corrections if any sent back in quickly: (in order of receiving them) FUTURE LOVECRAFT (for “Dark of the Moon,” see Sept. 7, et al.); WTF?! (“Mr. Claus,” Oct. 26, et al.); and FRIGHTMARES (“The Shackles,” Nov. 4).
So that’s what I’ll be doing Monday when I get home, plus half of Tuesday (but doesn’t it feel good to know that the books will be coming out soon after)!
If this has a theme, I have at best a foggy idea of what it is (except it will probably have zombies in it) but now Post Mortem Press has noted on Facebook that its newest anthology, NEW DAWN FADES, is headed for a “Black Friday” release, the day after Thanksgiving. My story in this, “Girls Gone Dead” (see Sept. 18), was officially sent to the zombie anthology DEAD SOULS having to do with what happens if a loved one becomes a . . . well, you know. However editor/publisher Eric Beebe says he received so many good stories, too many to fit in just one book, that he decided to publish a whole new anthology, NEW DAWN FADES, to handle the overflow.
Confused yet? Well, maybe not really except that my story, having to do more with friendship than family members except in a metaphorical way, was one I had feared might go too far astray from the original DEAD SOULS concept — so could it be that all the stories in NEW DAWN FADES are the ones that are maybe a little . . . different?
Time, or specifically the Friday after Thanksgiving, will tell. In the meantime though, in lieu of ordering information (which I don’t think has been posted yet on Post Mortem’s website) I do have a listing of the contents, in which “Girls Gone Dead” has the number 3 spot!
I normally can’t find much good to say about Daylight Savings Time, a practice regarding energy savings that made more sense in Benjamin Franklin’s time than today, but is still as much of a nuisance now as then. However Sunday, having changed the clocks the night before as a dutiful citizen, I had an errand I had to run around 3 in the afternoon. Outside the weather was mostly sunny and pleasantly, unseasonably warm as I wended west toward the university campus and downtown. A nice afternoon. But then it occurred to me: the sun was down to the point it seemed almost to touch the horizon. For the first time, despite many trees still having not yet entirely lost their leaves, I had a real feeling that winter was almost here.
I like this sort of thing, feeling the seasons, being as it were one with the Earth as quaint and curious as that may be. Which segues into a message received via Facebook Sunday, that LORE: A QUAINT AND CURIOUS VOLUME OF SELECTED STORIES, albeit not quite making it out for Halloween (cf. Oct. 24, et al.), is now at the printer. Moreover there’s now a picture of the cover, with my name among the rather more famous ones down on the bottom (hence the announcement on Facebook that I had been “tagged” – a strange concept for the Caveman of Computing, but one that one learns). My entry in this is a tale of old-time medical science and the educational use of cadavers called “The Galvanic.”