Archive for December, 2011

As the old year inches to a close, today’s mail has brought BONDED BY BLOOD IV:  SCARLET SUNSET, SNM Horror’s “Best Of” anthology for 2011.  My bat in this belfry is a tale of vampire love and the perils of going to an all-night dentist called “Teeth” (cf. Dec 10, Oct 31), one of the top two stories in the “November Nosferatu” issue of SNM HORROR MAGAZINE.  In all, the anthology contains 25 stories — two for each month plus an “extra” by Editor/Publisher Steven N. Marshall and John Arthur Miller, along with a foreword by Jeani Rector, editor of THE HORROR ZINE.

BONDED BY BLOOD is a trade paperback and can be ordered directly  through this link as well as on Amazon.  If interested in SNM HORROR MAGAZINE, information can be obtained by pressing here.

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Today’s the day that “Naughty or Nice?” my vampiric Christmas tale that went to subscribers last Wednesday, is now available to all readers in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION’s archives.  Just go to their main site http://www.dailysciencefiction.com and press “Recent Stories” on the left to find it, or go to it directly here.  This one (may I brag?) got extremely good notices from readers on the DAILY SF  Facebook page — unlike my previous story with them, “Killer Pot,” last August — so here’s a chance to see for oneself what the hoopla’s about!

Also today my between-Christmas-and-New-Year’s interview by local author and fellow “SCIFI” writer’s group member Christine Rains (see Dec 21) is up on her blog, Christine Rains – Writer.  Christmas stories, blood-sucking poetry, the effect of poetry on writing stories, why vampires are neat, blood-sucking critics (in a manner of speaking), advice to new writers, and “where do you get those crazy ideas?” — all this and more is available at the mere touch of a mouse here.  So for something to do between the loss of luster of holiday presents and partying like mad on New Year’s Eve, here’s an interesting, legal, and safe place to go that should also be fun.

Once upon a time I wrote two stories inspired by works of Edgar Allan Poe.  The first, “Merryl,” which tips its hat to “Ligeia” has just been  published in the anthology IN POE’S SHADOW (see Oct. 29, et al.).  Today the second, “Bernice,” which mixes the teeth of Poe’s “Berenice” (note European spelling) with swarms of rodents and a cat named Cher (“a black, sleek, slinky cat — next year he thought he might get a tom so she could have kittens”), arrived in my mailbox in the Fall issue of INHUMAN.  INHUMAN, a.k.a. ALLEN K’S INHUMAN, is edited and illustrated by Allen Koszowski, an artist of surreal and horror subjects for about as many years as I’ve been writing.  In fact we first met when we were paired as author and illustrator in WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOL. VIII, way back in 1992 with a story of mine called “Subterranean Pests.”  The illustration he did for that was of zombie moles; the one for “Bernice” is of killer mice.

“And the beat goes on.”

Then another quick note, the “anonymous” poet of  the Christmas poem in ABYSS & APEX, noted just below, has been revealed in the addition of a biographical note to the page with the poem and its illo.  C’est moi!   

As skies grew dark the night before Christmas, had we looked up to the north would we have seen the telltale rocket flare?  Well, my poem “Expanded Mission” didn’t quite make it to ABYSS & APEX in time for Christmas Eve as had been expected (see Dec. 18, Nov. 4, Oct. 5), but it did appear finally late Christmas Day, complete with an illustration from a 1950s GALAXY magazine cover.  With a four-armed Santa yet!  Meanwhile BBC America treated its viewers with all day Doctor Who reruns on TV (current season) culminating with this year’s new Christmas offering, “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.”  An interesting day in many pleasant ways — as I hope it has been for all.

To enjoy “Expanded Mission” (and illo) please press here.

No it’s not Christine’s interview noted below (still scheduled for next week, December 28), but a pre-Christmas extra on author Thom Reese’s blog Through Thom Tinted Lenses which, insofar as we hadn’t set a prcise date for it, can be thought of as Thom’s and my holiday stocking surprise for you.  So nestle up to your monitor and enjoy the latest on characters (in a poetry book?  Why yes), advice for new writers (free, and worth every penny), what I write and read (some of which you may know, some not), and what I think of e-books (yes, it can be repeated).  Then next week check out Christine Rains’s interview for a followup, adding more depth to some of these topics (more shallowness maybe to one or two others) plus other new stuff, never before revealed.  And as for Thom’s blog, click on the picture of VAMPS that you’ll find there for another surprise! 

As the days grow hurried, let me pause here too to wish everyone a happy and peace-filled holiday season:  The Vigil of Christmas, Christmas Day, New Year’s, and Twelfth Night, along with all other year-end celebrations!  Here it appears we’ll have a green and mud-brown Christmas which is about standard — snow when we get it in any depth usually comes in January or February — but the upside is it’s reasonably pleasant for last-minute errands.

Wow!  Talk about a Christmas triple-header.  “Naughty or Nice?” (see Dec. 15, Sept. 15), the saga of the vampiress Mignonette and what happens when she writes a letter to Saint Nick, is now in the hands (or at least in the email) of DAILY SCIENCE FICTION subscribers.  Think of it as a lagniappe, a free extra from if not Santa himself, at least from editors Michele Barasso and Jonathan Laden and me.  For those not subscribing, a free subscription can be obtained here — their present to you  — or for non-subscribers who want to stay that way, “Naughty or Nice?” can be read in the DAILY SCIENCE FICTION archives beginning next Wednesday, December 28.  Just press the same place to find that and another story of mine, published there last August, “Killer Pot” (cf. Aug 16).

Then, moving to Christmas Story #3, “Mr. Claus” (see just below, Dec. 18 — Christmas Story #1, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . [Dec. 14], is already out via Untreed Reads), WTF?! has arrived in my hands!  What more can one say?  My story starts on p. 137, leading the section on “Childhood Myths” (other sections include “Aliens,” “Dystopia,” “Soft Boiled Detective,” “Oh the Horror, the Horror,” “Intestinal Issues,” . . . well, you get the picture).  Perhaps not in a Christmas album as such, but “Mr. Claus” is a Christmas story.  (Or maybe a Christmas deconstruction — cf. Mignonette’s take on the Claus myth, above).

Then finally there’ll be an interview of me on December 28, one week from today, by fellow writer Christine Rains with emphasis on my poetry book VAMPS (if you haven’t gotten a copy yet, just press its picture in the column of book covers to the right for info on ordering from Sam’s Dot Publishing ;-)) and the flurry of stories that’s come out this Christmas as well as my practice of trying to write a story for Christmas, or at least a poem, almost every year since 1991.  Not all of these get published, of course, especially not right away, so this year’s a definite, pleasant exception.  For Christine’s interview next Wednesday, check http://christinerains-writer.blogspot.com.

And so, you see, it’s all connected.

“. . . zombie sharks, dead matadors, exploding ice cream factories, and” . . . Santa?  Well, “Mr. Claus” anyway, my third Christmas story to be out this December, is available now in the Pink Narcissus Press anthology WTF?! (see Nov. 21, et al.), of stories quirky, serious, and surreal, in e-book form for the Nook and Kindle and now, at last, in paperback too from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  How’s that for a sentence?  And while the anthology may have only coincidentally been published in time for the holidays, “Mr. Claus” is a Christmas story.  (Maybe not exactly a nice story, but a Christmas story nonetheless.)

So that makes three.  A fourth Christmas story by me, “The Chimney,” was accepted this year for ZOMBIE ZAK’S HOUSE OF PAIN, but now Zombie Zak himself may be in peril (see Oct. 28, 27 ) and, rounding the year out, my poem “Expanded  Mission” is due to be in a special issue of ABYSS & APEX on Christmas Eve if all goes as planned (cf. Oct. 5).  An interesting year to say the least.

Information about Christmas stories #1 and #2 appears below while, for more on WTF?!, press here.

These ones aren’t Christmas-themed, but here they are anyway.  The long-awaited FUTURE LOVECRAFT (see Dec. 4, Nov. 23, et al.) arrived today from Innsmouth Free Press, “Decades, centuries and even thousands of years in the future:  The horrors inspired by Lovecraft do not know the limits of time . . . or space.”  So states the back cover.  My own contribution, “Dark of the Moon,” having to do with a lunar mission probably falls in the “decades” category and was itself first published nine years ago, in 2002, in THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU from Del Rey Books.  For more information  check out Innsmouth Free Press here.

Then yesterday editor/publisher Patty G. Henderson announced that DARK THINGS II:  CAT CRIMES (cf. Sep. 30) is now available in print form on Amazon, with an ebook edition hopefully soon to follow.  While not about Christmas — the book is, in fact, “254 pages of feline mayhem and murder and even a fantasy tale here and there” in which the cat is the perpetrator (“Was it self defense or did kitty really do it?” to quote from the authors’ guidelines) — profits from sales will go to selected cat sanctuaries across the U.S., so should copies be bought for cat-fancying friends on your holiday list, it would in a sense be a double gift. .  My puss in this poke is a silly tale, but with grim implications, called “Cat and Mouse.”  More information can be found on Amazon by checking here.

My second Christmas story for this year, actually written on Christmas Day 2010, is “Naughty or Nice” (cf. Sept. 15), the tale of a Parisian vampiress and what results from her letter to Saint Nick.  A bit more lighthearted than yesterday’s “I’m Dreaming of A. . .” (well, maybe a  lot  more), it has now been officially scheduled to be published on DAILY SCIENCE FICTION  the Wednesday before Christmas, December 21.  For those who wish, subscriptions to DAILY SCIENCE FICTION are free — just click on their site to sign up — and bring you an email of each day’s story five days a week.   For non-subscribers, you can read it too, but a little bit late, when it goes into the site’s archives one week later on the 28th. 

“Naughty or Nice,” incidentally, was based on a poem that I wrote a few years before called “The List.”  For those who might want a preview of sorts, “The List” appears on page 68 of my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  VAMPS, I might add, is still available from Sam’s Dot Publishing, http://sdpbookstore.com/poetrybooks.htm#vamps

The first of three Christmas stories expected this month, “I’m Dreaming of A. . .” (see below, Nov. 6), is now available from Untreed Reads Publishing along with Amazon (six countries), Scribd, Omnilit.com, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBoookstore, and Lightning Source, with other retailers and distributors to follow over the next few days and weeks.  Moreover, the Untreed Reads site is currently offering it at a 30 percent discount as a pre-holiday special with a number of different formats available, including MOBI (Kindle) for emailing to one’s Kindle account or transferring directly via USB.  This is the story that was once accepted for the anthology WINTER FRIGHTS which subsequently went under before it could publish (cf. Jan. 19), another victim of a sour economy.  What better treat, then, for our current hard times than a fictional dose of Christmas horror?

To quote the blurb, “Bing Crosby’s rendition of the song ‘White Christmas’ by Irving Berlin has long been a holiday classic. The snow that begins to fall this Christmas Eve, however, is NOT the sort most people would have wished for.”

Why?  Get a copy of  the story and find out!




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