Archive for September, 2012

News has arrived about Dark Moon Books’s upcoming alternate history horror anthology ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES (cf. June 14), including the table of contents in which my Y2K tale “Avoid Seeing a Mouse,” about very bad New Year’s Eve luck in Memphis Tennessee, happens to be thirteenth out of fifteen stories.  How’s that for a coincidence?  Also, according to editor Max Booth III, “[a]s for the status of the book itself, everything is formatted and done.  All that we are waiting for is the cover art to be done, and April Guidiana is hard at work on that as we speak.  The book will be released some time in November, we don’t have a solid day of publication yet, though.  . . .  Although once I do have a copy of the cover, I will be setting up the book for preorder, and anyone who preorders will receive a free poster of the front cover.”

More information at that point should be available on the Dark Moon Books site as well as being announced here as soon as I find out myself.

In the meantime, here is the contents list for ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES:

1.   “Damned” by Cody Langille
2.   “The Hunger Beneath the Sea” by T. Fox Dunham
3.   “Saving Cloud-Girl” by Eric J. Hildeman
4.   “Culture Sculptor” by Charlie Fish
5.   “Partners” by Ian Welke
6.   “The Hopeful Doctor” by E.F. Schraeder
7.   “Sic Semper Versipellis” by Christian A. Larsen
8.   “Auction” by James Hoch
9.   “The Darwin Line” by James Ciscell
10.  “Victoria, Victoria” by K.M. Indovina
11.  “Those That Knock” by Morgen Knight
12.  “The Journal of USS Indianapolis Survivor: Stefanos “Stevie” Georgiou” by Kevin James Breaux
13.  “Avoid Seeing a Mouse” by James S. Dorr
14.  “The Golgotha Fight Song” by Barrie Darke
15.  “Legends” by Kristopher Triana

Also, ZOMBIE JESUS now has its own blog for author interviews and other promotional posts, including contests and other surprises (e.g., see the “About” page on the blog).  Along those lines, Editor Booth continues, “I am officially announcing an ongoing contest beginning right now.

“On the at-the-moment to be announced November release date of ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES, we will be picking five people who have commented on our ZOMBIE JESUS blog to win a prize.  It doesn’t matter which post [including the one on the site right now], we will be going through every single comment on the site, and putting all the names into a drawing (authors of ZOMBIE JESUS are disqualified, obviously).  And yes, your name will be entered more than once if you comment on multiple posts.  However, if you comment a bunch of times on one post, it’ll only be entered once for that post.  Meaning, you get one vote for each post you comment on. Simple enough.

“Four of the winners will be receiving a free e-copy of the anthology, and the fifth person will be receiving a free physical copy of the book.  Also, all five winners will be receiving a free poster of the front cover of ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES — which will be revealed here shortly.

“And if you think that’s all the contests we’ll be having, you’re wrong.”

To enter the contest(s) or otherwise check out the ZOMBIE JESUS blog, just press here.

Just back from “Upstart Poets,” a monthly local reading series I’ve been getting to most months this year and, indeed, was even a featured poet on last April (cf. April 27).  Not so this month, but I did read two poems at the end, when those in the audience are invited to participate either with their own work or reading a favorite work by some other poet.  In my case, I had planned to read a zombie poem for starters, “100% Brains,” but one person preceding me read a list poem about money, then the person to his left read one about werewolves.  So I, taking the hint, read a vampire list poem about blood, “Something Borrowed” (“Blood bags and bottles,/ hospitals are filled with blood — / do they deliver?”), then on the second round read one of a trilogy of recent poems on proper vampiric deportment, “The Vampire’s Advice” (“. . . then smile, my dear, smile/ let them think of those ruby lips . . .”).

Then of other news, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS arrived in the mail, a replacement copy for one that had apparently gone astray.  Released last month by Smart Rhino Publications (see August 16, April 17), this thus far fascinating anthology of murder and mayhem contains, among other stories, a reprint by me called “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

It’s official.  Contest coordinator Patricia Ferguson has released a complete list of winners and honorable mentions for this year’s MARS, THE NEXT FRONTIER competition, as noted below, September 22.  In all, twenty poems were selected as winners or honorable mentions out of a total of 57 entries.  Moreover these poems plus selected poems from the other entries will be published in a special anthology.  Contracts will go out in October and November and, assuming last year’s schedule is followed, the volume itself will most likely be available early next year.

Also, the National Space Society of North Texas has announced a new contest, this one in conjunction with The Fort Worth Haiku Society on the theme of “Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement,” with a deadline of July 31 2013.  Details, as well as an official winners list, can be found by pressing here, while more general information about the NSSofNT itself can be found here.

And so, for those who prefer not to click on the above, the winners of this year’s Mars Poetry Competition are:

1st place: Ron Bracale:  ”Main Base Maria”
2nd place: Michael Barretta: ”The Astronaut’s Prayer”
3rd. place: Rilie Hudson: ”Away”

Honorable mention:
Robert Wynne: “Life on Mars”
Gerald Warfield: “At The Steps of Mars”
Marge Simon: “Striking out on Mars”
Stephen Sanders:  ”A Year on Mars” and “Space Pirates”
Rie Sheridan Rose: ”I Am Mars” and  ”Reflections on a Red Planet”
Jim Reader; ‘Martian Meditation’ and “With Thanks to Herbert George”
Juan Manuel Perez: “Martian Miscellaneous [Tri-Ku No. 2]”
Cassidy Paschal: “The Majesty of Mars”
Ethan Nahte: “Refuge Upon Mars”
Mikaelah Morrow:  ”Mars”
Jack Horne: “Missions”
Tiana Ferrante: untitled
James Dorr: “Outward Bound”
Barbara Berry: “Ancient Voices”
Greg Beatty: “The Martian in the Mirror”
Daniel Ausema: “The Earth is No More With Us”


DWARF STARS is an annual anthology put out by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, similar to the RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, but confined to poems of ten lines or less.  As with the Rhyslings, SFPA members will vote on the poems in its pages to determine the best eligible poem for a given year, but unlike the Rhysling, the editor or editors of that year’s anthology will have made a preliminary choice of the poems sent in to determine which will actually appear in that year’s DWARF STARS — that is, just as if they were submissions to an ordinary anthology.

So it was that I sent in some of mine published in 2011 for consideration for the 2012 anthology last July or so.  Today the word came back:  one of these, “California Vamp,” has been selected to be in DWARF STARS.  “California Vamp” is a rondelet, a 7-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and a repeated refrain in lines 1, 3, and 7, that first appeared in my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE (see August 1 2011 and/or click on its picture in the center column).  Whether it will go on to be voted the best of the year is, of course, a different matter (hint from the poet, who ought to know:  wait for a really favorable point spread before you bet on it).

For more information on the SFPA and/or DWARF STARS, press here or here, respectively.

One bit of news today, a haiku-styled poem of mine, “Outward Bound,” has been awarded an Honorable Mention in this year’s National Space Society of North Texas Poetry Contest, MARS, THE NEXT FRONTIER.  While I haven’t had any more official word than that, last year’s winners and honorable mentions and selected other poems were subsequently published in paperback form in MOON, THE EIGHTH CONTINENT (cf. February 11 this year; September 15 2011), including my “Landing,” another three-liner about Neil Armstrong’s famous “first step.”  The next few days perhaps will tell us if “Outward Bound” is selected for a similar volume.

The National Space Society of North Texas is an organization to promote interest in people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in space exploration and science including education in the space sciences, encouragement of commercial space enterprise, further probing of the “next frontier,” understanding the benefits from space exploration, and the creation of a spacefaring civilization.  More information on the NSSofNT can be found here.


It was another of those things one couldn’t resist, a special “Cthulhu a Love Story” theme for the upcoming issue of PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION.  But then the magazine itself seemed intriguing too:  “Are you feeling burdened by the stress of untangling convoluted prose?  Tired of reading literary journals focused on deadbeat dads, women having problems with their vaginas, and the dystopian state of the global economy?/ Then it’s time for you to get a little PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION./ Don’t lie, deep down you know you want to kick back with a nice, peaty scotch and dream about Werewolves and Other Bitches.  . . .  The monsters are waiting.”  Werewolves, etc., turns out to have been the theme of their premiere issue, with the second one something about vampires.  Darn, missed that second one!  But, as said above, how could I resist the third, on “Cthulhu a Love Story?”  So I packaged up three poems that I thought might do at around the beginning of August (and as it happens the last day that issue was open — I seem to be getting into a pattern of finding out about these sorts of things at the very last moment) and sent them on out.

This evening the email came from Editor Lauren Stone, “I am pleased to inform you that we have accepted ‘It Must Have Been That New Fish Food’ and ‘Slow-Motion’ for publication.”  So that’s two out of three, which is not a bad average.  Issue 3 will be the fall issue, with hopes of it going to print by October 1.  On that day also PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION will open for submissions for its winter number, titled “What’s that scuttling down my chimney?  A Christmas issue,” with the announcement adding that themes can be taken loosely — “I like the titles to be a source of inspiration for authors and artists rather than a strict guideline.”  And lest I forget, PROSPECTIVE publishes flash fiction too, up to 1000 words.

For more information on PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION, including guidelines, one need but press here.

This morning I deposited the check from Chamberton Publishing, received Monday afternoon, for my story “Poludnitsa” (see below, September 13).  Then this afternoon I received more information on the series of fantasy stories it will appear in — now with an official name, “The Chimera Series.”  According to Editor/Publisher T. K. Richardson, “This new series features stand-alone short stories and we’re putting out these ‘single shorts’ to reach readers who just want a quick story to read.  Over and over we hear from family, friends, and young adults with such busy lives that there’s simply no time to read a long book.  . . . so we’re introducing The Chimera Series — short stories for busy people.  Each short story will be priced at .99 and can be read in about the time of a lunch break at work, between college classes, or on a daily commute.”

But that isn’t all.  Attached to the email was a copy of the cover for “Poludnitsa” which, if it’s typical of the art that will be used for other titles in the series, could well make them instant collectors’ items.  Or maybe I’m prejudiced — but I am impressed!  As for when “Poludnitsa” will be available, that hasn’t quite been set in stone yet, but the email concludes, “Look for these short stories to be released over the next couple of months.”

Naughty as she may be at times, this is not a portrait of the cave cat Wednesday (who happens to be sleeping it off on the bed at the moment anyway.  Sleeping what off?  Well, that’s for her to know, but suffice to say that this is her normal afternoon nap time).  The picture, however, is just too much fun to resist posting it here as well as separately on Facebook.  It comes to us courtesy of The Bram Stoker Estate, also via Facebook.

White cats, black cats, otherwise not a huge amount has been going on at the computer cave.  I did finish a new story last Wednesday (the day of the week, that is, not the cave cat) and have been doing minor corrections the last few days in preparation to sending it, later this evening, off to the mercies of my writers’ group — and assuming it survives that next Saturday, from there to market.  Other marketing in the past half week has included five poems and five pieces of fiction, three of the latter reprints.  This isn’t as active as it might seem as I’m trying to make up for a comparatively fallow week following my return from WorldCon.  Other than that, there’s been the one acceptance from Chamberton, (plus the AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS sale at the start of the month) and proofing a short zombie story for another anthology which has been delayed for a bit, but which the editor is tying to get back on track.  And the receipt of the DAILY SCIENCE FICTION print anthology.

So it’s September, the days grow short, the nights demand blankets be put on the bed, a lazy kind of month in some ways.  But “The Naughty Cat” would demand attention in any season.


(For more on the cave cat Wednesday, incidentally, including several portraits, just click on the entry for “Wednesday” under “PAGES” in the far right column.)

It was another one of those last minute things.  I realized in late August , less than a week before I was due to leave for Chicago, that Chamberton Publishing had one anthology that was still open, for young adult fiction, but it would close on September 1.  I had dealt with Chamberton before, selling them a reprint story, “Scavenger,” for their upcoming LIMELIGHT science fiction anthology (see August 15, June 19) — and moreover they’d paid me on acceptance — so why not give a shot to this one as well?  I had one or two fantasies that I thought might be appropriate, a young protagonist and a lesson learned that could apply to the real world as well, so I chose one that had originally been published in THE SHORT STORY DIGEST for Winter 1991-92 called “Poludnitsa,” based on a figure in Slavic mythology.  And that was that.

It was taking a chance, sort of.  I hadn’t written “Poludnitsa” as a YA story, though I think it’s one that young adults would like.  And possibly it was a little far out, but still in my opinion a good story.

Today the gamble has paid off — although in a sort of weird way.  The email brought an acceptance, but for a new series  of fantasy books that Chamberton is planning that to my knowledge doesn’t even have guidelines announced yet.  As Editor T. K. Richardson put it, “I know you submitted Poludnitsa for the YA anthology, however we really feel this story would fit perfectly in the new series.  Would you still be interested?”

You bet I was.  The pay is the same, and not bad for a fairly short previously published tale, and moreover a followup email suggests I’ll be on the list for consideration for farther future projects as well, so — nothing ventured, nothing gained! — it looks like my choice to take a chance at the end of August has paid off nicely.

As shadows lengthen and nights grow cool, Zombie Works Publications has announced a sale aimed at all monster lovers.   To quote their email, “[w]ith the Autumn Solstice approaching it can only mean that Halloween isn’t too far behind.  As a part of the forthcoming festivities, starting 9/13/12, Zombie Works Publications will be offering their book MONSTERTHOLOGY for only $7.77 exclusively through their website or enjoy an ebook copy through Amazon for $4.99 (and remember, all Amazon Prime Members get an eCopy for completely FREE).”  Previous prices were $12.95 and $9.95 so they’re offering a substantial discount.  To take advantage, press here for the printed version or, for the e-version, press here.

My puppy in this pile is a cryptozoological romp called “Stink Man” (see July 2 and 18 below) — part human, part bovine, and try to stay upwind! — a homage, of sorts, to a half century or more of “creature features.”  I haven’t finished my own copy yet (still catching up on things) but I can say so far that MONSTERTHOLOGY has been a fun read.

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