Archive for March, 2013
A lovely day today, possibly a few degrees too cool for my taste but the warmest we’re likely to have this week, and with the sun shining since about noon, a good day for Easter for those who would celebrate. A good day all around, with two items of news:
The first, courtesy of poet, artist, and Horror Writers Association trustee Marge Simon, announces a new Facebook feature for horror fans and poets. To quote Marge directly, “Hi folks! April is National Poetry Month — and we’re working to raise poetry awareness in HWA all year around. To that end, Sandy DeLuca, with Max Booth’s assistance, is creating a page for our horror.org site which will feature essays on dark poetry previously published in the HWA NL among other interesting items about poets of the dark side. Ghost poets, zombie poets, vampire poets, and whatever falls in between.
“To start things off, Mr. Poe’s ghost has agreed to accommodate us with the following poem –one that brings with it the usual chill attributed to one of the greats. So laugh, my friends, but smile no more…”
The startup is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Haunted Palace,” which, if the link works (the cave computer is bad at these things and I can’t confirm on a library computer until tomorrow) can be read on the horror.org entry by pressing here.
And then for the second, here I’ll quote Publisher/Editor Max Booth III (yes, the same Max Booth noted with Sandy DeLuca above — guy gets around!): “Today is the release of our very first anthology — SO IT GOES: A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT. It has been our pleasure to work with such talented authors to create such a brilliant tribute to a man like Kurt. Within these pages you will find the best science fiction and satire we at PMMP have come across in a long time.
“Brought to you by the following:
“The Grand Tour” by Frank Roger
“Saving God” by Jay Wilburn
“How to Succeed in Academia” by K. A. Laity (Kate Laity
“Critical Thinking Skills” by James W. Hritz
“The Unhappy Accident or Feelin’ Fine” by T. T Fox Dunham
“The Truth” by Jonathan Balog
“You’re Toast” by E.E. King (Elizabeth Eve King)
“The Joke’s on You” by Philip Simondet
“It Takes Four to Tango” by Mike Sheedy
“The Policy” by Thomas Messina
“Riding” by Aric Zair (Aric Gaughan)
“Corrective Action (or Illegal Discharge Legally Charged)” by Tony Wayne Brown
“Dead Girls, Dying Girls” by James Dorr
“Modern Science Has Yet to Find a Cure” by Michael Lee Smith
“The Fountain of Relative Youth” by Christian A. Chris Larsen
“My Best Friend is a Robot” by Brady Gerber
“Fido” by James Wymore
“Responsibility is Key” by Rachael Durbin
“Megastar Hopper” by Sue Lange
“Dog. Girl. Armless Karaoke Maniac.” by Joseph McKinley
“Nedserd” by Eli Wilde
“A Tribute to Ernest Glipp” by C. M. Chapman
“Today we will be celebrating the release. Stay tuned for groovy pictures, videos, virtual drinks, and possible casualties.”
For the book itself (available as of now on Amazon in both print and Kindle) cf. March 20, et al., and note as well that I’m represented in slot number 13 in the list above Then to join the party in progress, press here.
February 4’s “Super Sunday” posting included, “I received a PDF copy of the poetry pages from the British Science Fiction Association’s magazine VECTOR (see July 5 2012) including my poem ‘California Vamp’ along with a promise that a print copy will be forthcoming. ‘California Vamp’ was originally published in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and is one of five pieces accepted by Poetry Editor Charles Christian last summer, the others of which may appear in future issues.” Yesterday the issue arrived and it seems I got at least one detail wrong: rather than VECTOR, the publication “California Vamp” has found her new home in is the Winter 2012/13 FOCUS, subtitled THE BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION’S MAGAZINE FOR WRITERS. Isn’t that just like a vamp, to go after the pros!
Be that as it may, the magazine itself looks like a winner (despite any dubious poetic company it might choose to keep :-)). To quote Guest Editor Keith Brooke: “In this issue we’ve tried to provide a snapshot of the genre publishing industry and where a writer’s career fits into that. Or rather, several snapshots . . . fragments . . . a composite, if you like, intended to reflect how publishing is changing and reforming itself and what it is to be a writer in the early part of the 21st century.” Heady stuff, this. And lest one think that’s all very nice, but that’s in Britain and this is the US, the article listed first on the cover is by American writer and 1990s F&SF editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Then, moving to publishing, Dark Regions Press has announced a special “Sale For Good” beginning today. What’s that? you may ask. Not only are titles being discounted, some quite deeply, but they add that “for every in-stock book you buy we will donate a book to a school, library, military base or other charitable causes (customers are invited to choose where they would like the book(s) donated). This is our effort to cut down on some back stock and support our local libraries, our men and women in uniform and other charitable causes. . . . Our goal is to donate 1,000 books or more to the libraries, military bases and schools that we have contacted in regards to donations. We hope you join us in the effort, and please spread the word on.” Or, to amplify, “[f]or every in-stock book that a customer orders from the website we will match that with one book donated to a charitable cause; school, library, military base or other (if specified by customer). Customers are welcome to notify us via the Order Comments section or via e-mail where they would like the books donated. There is no limit on the amount of books a customer can order until we are out of stock. Books will not be donated when customers order an item still in preorder phase.”
And so it goes (where have I heard that phrase before?). As it happens, I have two horses in the Dark Regions stable myself, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE and DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, which are now being offered at fifty percent off until, as I understand it, they have received enough orders across the board to result in 1000 or more books being donated, at which point the sale will end. “Orders are accepted with Visa, Mastercard, Discover card, American Express and PayPal. Payment via check or money order can be arranged upon query. We are not processing orders over the phone at this time” and “[f]irst-time customers will receive a 20% off coupon insert with their order for use on the DarkRegions.com website and a free DRP Bookmark.”
A tad over a week back I noted this blog’s emerging presence on Editor/Publisher/Compiler/Writer Michael A. Arnzen’s “Instigation Showcase” webpage (cf. March 16). Not to be caught napping, the wily Mike Arnzen has escalated, now featuring a mini-interview with me on my story — born of not one but two Instigation prompts — “Girls Gone Dead,” subsequently published last year in Post Mortem Press’s off-the-beaten-track zombie stories anthology NEW DAWN FADES (cf. November 8 and 22 2012, et al.).
Click here to read the interview for yourself, including a genuine, new Instigation-type prompt supplied by . . . moi! Also included are several buttons for ordering, etc. info for NEW DAWN FADES (does one suspect, perhaps, there’s a hint embedded here?).
Best hurry, though. Mike says featured writers will be changed “[e]very 66 days or so.”
Joining SO IT GOES on Goodreads (see post just below) is, as of today, my own upcoming book THE TEARS OF ISIS. Also, not one to move slowly, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing Editor Max Booth III has announced that five prospective readers who sign in on the Goodreads site between now and the official expected publication date of May 15 can win a free copy. The same rules apply as for SO IT GOES, with reviews encouraged but not required, etc. Also, for both contests, registration is not limited to the US but is also open to readers in Canada, Great Britain, and Austrailia.
THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. February 27, January 2, et al.) is my fourth collection, joining STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE and DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET from Dark Regions Press and the all-poetry VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) from Sam’s Dot/White Cat. Consisting of 17 stories and an opening poem, THE TEARS OF ISIS (to quote from its extended blurb) “is a journey . . . encompassing, yes, ‘forms such as never were in nature,’ as not just ‘La Méduse,’ but also a man’s soul absorbed by an octopus, vampires both physical and metaphorical, music and retellings of Cinderella, an Ancient World caper involving the Golden Fleece of legend, a far-future recasting of Sleeping Beauty — one of three stories in THE TEARS OF ISIS set in the author’s world of the ‘Tombs,’ another ‘Tombs’ tale of the origin of ghouls, cockroaches spawned by war, insects by UFOs, Lovecraftian monsters called forth by candles, a woman who takes in a rat as a pet, the ‘death planet’ Saturn and women who buy birds, the life-cycle of dragons, another ‘Tombs’ story of love and a zombie-like form of revenge, and at last to Isis — her search to create but destroying as well, as is part of her nature, and back full circle to sculptress Medusa who ‘spoke to her hair at times’ and ‘in her dreams . . . her hair hissed its/ answers.’”
Another day, another contest? Well, not quite, but Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has announced as part of its launch party for the Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology SO IT GOES (see March 10, 2, et al.) that five copies will be given away on Goodreads. Goodreads adds that, while there’s no obligation other than signing in for the contest, it would certainly be nice if the winners were to write reviews of the book once they received it (at which point they should also disclose that they got the book free through the Goodreads First Reads program). So to be the first in your neighborhood (maybe) to read your own copy of SO IT GOES — and for fame and gratitude if you should decide to review it — press here to be whisked to the Goodreads site. Also, only one entry to a household and the contest closes on April 1.
Reviewer Alesha L. Escobar said of my story “Appointment in Time,” in Untreed Reads Publishing’s YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR (cf. December 10, November 29, et al.), “I had to go back and read it again because I needed to know why it ended the way it did, and whether or not I could’ve seen the disconcerting ending coming. Even now, the final image remains with me,” comparing it specifically with Shirley Jackson’s classic “The Lottery.” And you get 13 more stories from Richard Godwin, Nicky Peacock, John Stewart Wynne, Steve Shrott, Leah Givens, George Seaton, Kathryn Ohnaka, Jeremy K. Tyler, Betsy Miller, Byron Barton, Steve Bartholomew, Ali Maloney and Foxglove Lee, as well as an introduction by J. Alan Hartman, all for a list price of $4.99. How can one beat a deal like that?
Easily, it turns out — at least until the end of the month. As part of its third-year anniversary bargain bonanza, Untreed Reads is offering YEAR’S END for only $0.99 — a four dollar discount — but only for March. To quote Editor Hartman, “New Year’s Eve isn’t all champagne and confetti. For some, it’s filled with regrets, the changing of the day dragging them kicking and screaming into a year for which they aren’t prepared. This year, some people will be screaming, but they may not make it to the New Year at all.” And who could resist that, especially for one cent less than a buck! To find YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR in a variety of e-formats, including links for Amazon, B&N, Koba, and iBookstore, just press here.
A long time ago Mike Arnzen started publishing “Instigations,” horrific variants on the prompts writers sometimes come across to spark story ideas. I for one, a man of little imagination paired with a recalcitrant muse, have used these often and now, coincident with the publication of a whole book of them, INSTIGATION: CREATIVE PROMPTS ON THE DARK SIDE, Mike has added me onto his “Instigation Showcase,” a list of those who’ve used (and admitted to it) them in the past and have had the resulting stories published. In my case, I can’t even remember which, and how many, except for one favorite, “Girls Gone Dead” which was published in Post Mortem Press’s NEW DAWN FADES (cf. November 8 and 23, September 8 2011), an anthology of zombie stories with . . . a difference. More on NEW DAWN FADES can be found by pressing here, while to see the Instigation Showcase for yourself press here (then scroll down a bit, my name/link is at the bottom of the list, at least for now) and while you’re at it, if you’re like me and can use any idea-generating help you can find, you can click on the “Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side” title in the paragraph at the top for info on the book itself.
Then, speaking of Post Mortem Press in a perhaps more Lovecraftian vein, today’s email included an announcement from Editor Paul Anderson that TORN REALITIES (see September 8, July 19 2012, et al.), this one with my story “The Calm” in the lineup, is again being offered at a 15 percent discount on Amazon. Other bargains might be found there too — to check for yourself press here.
Click on the picture at the top of the column just to the right and you will see . . . something different! VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) is now available in an electronic edition, bargain priced at just $2.99, via White Cat Publications’s (as of last year the parent company of Sam’s Dot Publishing) new order page. But for those who prefer the sensuous feel of their VAMPS on paper, not to worry: a click of a button on the site brings you to that version, still priced at a mere $7.00 (less than the price of a blood-sausage pizza!) plus shipping. One slight warning, though, even using a library computer — much faster than the cave computer I’m writing this on now — the White Cat site seemed a tad poky to load, even just to change between print and electronic editions. But then maybe that’s just VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) for you — even vampiresses want to linger a bit over foreplay.
Well, it’s actually been on the SO IT GOES website for more than a week now, as announced in my posting for March 2, along with “a biography of Kurt Vonnegut, essays by several of the authors appearing in the anthology, author portraits . . . and an opportunity to pre-order it.” But now my entry on the essay page, “Vonnegut and the Absurd.” has been featured on Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s Facebook page as well. And so, as a sort of phony lagniappe (that is, in that you could have gotten to it anyway via earlier posts), for those who would like to read the essay it can be reached by pressing here.
Also, for those who have read it already, a fifth essay has been added to the site, by K. A. Laity, along with two contests for those who want to try to win free copies of SO IT GOES, plus the continuing pre-order information for the less lucky. The anthology itself is scheduled to be published at the end of March.
On March 17, 1892 — Saint Patrick’s Day — the corpse of Mercy Brown was exhumed in Exeter, Rhode Island, along with the bodies of her mother Mary and older sister Mary Olive, who had died several years before her. While Mary’s and Mary Olive’s bodies showed significant decomposition, Mercy’s still retained “liquid blood” in the heart and liver which was taken as proof that she was a vampire. This actually happened, giving Mercy the distinction of being the last of North America’s vampires (at least in traditional terms) as well as, insofar as the event was reported as far afield as New York City newspapers, possibly adding to Bram Stoker’s inspiration for DRACULA. And so, too, once upon a time, it and the explanation that the series of deaths in Mercy Brown’s family (her heart was then excised, burned, and the ashes fed to her brother Edwin who had also been struck with the “sickness” in the hope that this might cure him) was most likely due to consumption, or tuberculosis, the symptoms of which can resemble those in folkloric accounts of vampirism, also inspired me to write a tale of 19th century New England and possible vampires titled “The Preacher.”
Yesterday, nine days before this year’s Saint Patrick’s, the word came back from Diabolic Publications: “The Preacher” has been accepted for their upcoming vampire anthology DYING TO LIVE. To quote from the guidelines, this will be a book of “dark vampires, of the old-fashioned kind! Erotica is acceptable as long as the vampires drink human blood, bite, kill and so forth. We are not looking for love story type vampires.” And “please do not send any stories about vampires that sparkle!”
DYING TO LIVE is expected to be published in October 2013 and is still open for submissions until June 1. This is a move forward from an original August 1 deadline, which probably indicates that the anthology is being filled fast, so any who might be interested might want to check here for details without too much delay. Also included is information about an upcoming science fiction anthology, ETHER WORLD, for next January — just scroll down past it for DYING TO LIVE. As for ETHER WORLD, the deadline right now is September 15 (I’m thinking of sending something myself, but haven’t made up my mind yet on what) and the pay for both anthologies is 3 cents a word on publication for unpublished work.
And as for the burning of Mercy Brown’s heart for medicinal use, the problem apparently was tuberculosis and not vampirism. Her brother Edwin died two months later.