Archive for June, 2013
Another day, another acceptance? Wouldn’t that be something! But make it two days and this time it happened with an email this afternoon from DARK BITS accepting my 450-word story “The Third Prisoner.” And — what is it about summer reruns and June? — this one is a reprint as well, originally published in LVWonline.org in November 2008 as an “Honorable Mention” in the Ligonier Valley Writers 2008 Flash Fiction Contest. More information also appears here for June 15 2012. And that’s not all either — it also has zombies.
What a combination! Prisoners and zombies, and all in a South American setting (it’s also been published in Portuguese, as “O Terceiro Prisoneiro,” in the Brazilian anthology I ANTOLOGIA LUSIADAS in 2010) with antecedents in the Caribbean. As for its new home, DARK BITS will be a collection of 52 flash fiction horror stories with “no restrictions on subject or taste, only on the length,” expected to be out sometime in July from Apokrupha in both printed and electronic versions.
June has been a month for story reprints. First there was “The Shackles” being accepted for Forgotten Tomb Press’s 100 DOORS TO MADNESS (cf. June 5), then “The Cherry Tree” for MISERIA’S CHORALE (cf. June 11) by the same publisher. Then, today, word came from Editors Suzie and Bruce Lockhart that “Flesh” has been accepted for their anthology NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS for publication some time next year by Horrified Press. “Flesh,” first published in the Spring 1999 issue of MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION, is a somewhat quirky surrealistic tale of a man who decides it’s time to get fat, based on a warning received in a dream. Say what?!! Well, with any luck I’ll let you know when NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS comes out, so then you’ll be able to see for yourself.
NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS is currently reading until February 20 2014 and, if interested, guidelines can be found by pressing here and scrolling down to their “Open for Submissions” announcement. They warn you, though, that while there may be a chance of royalties, it’s mainly a “4 the luv” market. In my case, I don’t mind paying forward a little, especially in the case of reprints — today’s startup presses may be tomorrow’s better-paying giants — but there’s another angle for me too. I do have my new book out, THE TEARS OF ISIS, and getting my name in front of more people, even if just a few, who might read my story here and like it, might also get them looking for places — and telling their friends too! — where they can find more.
In other news, the pizza fund has been replenished with a check received today along with my copy of DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR (see June 10, April 26, 21). So hopefully younger readers might decide they like my stuff as well :-), though the larger picture is to get them into reading, period. However I am proud that Editors Lori Michelle and Stan Swanson chose my story, “Cyclops,” as one that would represent the horror genre in this premiere issue. DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR with many more authors as well was available in time for World Horror Con this year in New Orleans, but for those who may have missed it there, it can also be found via Amazon by pressing here.
Not one but two publishers have announced early summer sales, both of which include titles by me. To celebrate Independence Day, Untreed Reads Publishing is offering readers any four short stories, normally priced at up to 99 cents, for only $1.00 for all four between now and July 4.. Just put four stories in your shopping cart and enter the coupon code FIREWORKS — but note that the sale is good only at the Untreed Reads store. Two stories of mine are eligible for the special price, VANITAS which, as a steampunk/mystery crossover, is listed under their Science Fiction imprint, and I’M DREAMING OF. . . ., under Horror. Mixing and matching titles and genres is okay, as is ordering books as gifts. So to find my titles, just click their pictures in the center column on this page, or else go to the Untreed Reads Stores site by pressing here and enter “Dorr” in the search box you’ll find there (but note that my two other Untreed Reads titles are not eligible, PEDS which is listed as a novelette/novella and APPOINTMENT IN TIME which is in the YEAR’S END New Years anthology, so you’ll get to select two other stories by different authors as well).
Then in the world of physical printed books, Dark Regions Press has announced a fifty percent off clearance on all stock as a part of their moving their business operations to Portland, Oregon — but only while supplies last. Two collections of mine are in the mix, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE and DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, both of which can be reached by clicking their pictures in the center column or pressing here and then entering “Dorr” in the Dark Regions search box. Here the coupon code to enter at checkout is MOVINGSALE.
In both cases the coupons can be used as many times as you like, so that’s two electronic, and two in paper — and all at great prices if you hurry. Happy summer reading!
As of today, people who click on the cover image of THE TEARS OF ISIS in the center column just to the right will find it connects them to an enhanced version of the book’s Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing webpage, including a quotation from Editor/Publisher Max Booth III’s introduction along with information from the back-of-the-book blurb. The previous version, which also can still be reached via PMMP’s main website by clicking “Library,” then scrolling down to THE TEARS OF ISIS and clicking its picture there, features a longer descriptive blurb — this is the one on Goodreads as well — plus an offer and address regarding reviewers’ copies (cf. June 10 below).
What the change to the center column image does is bring you to the page you’d reach by clicking on the “Now Available: THE TEARS OF ISIS by James Dorr” rolling link on the PMMP home page (another link, “Long and Short Reviews Interviews PMMP Author James Dorr,” is also offered on the home page as well as in a sidebar on the “Now Available” page) with, along with the material in the paragraph above, an easier, more direct way to get to Amazon’s pages for ordering either the paper or Kindle versions of the book. Just scroll down to the link of your choice or, if in a real hurry, try clicking on the words “new story collection” right up at the top. And I might add that right now Amazon is offering a discount on both editions.
Then finally the image of THE TEARS OF ISIS’s cover on Amazon is “live” as well, for a preview of the opening pages (including the “Introduction,” the opening poem “La Méduse,” the entire first story “In the Octopus’s Garden,” and the beginning portion of “Bottles”) in the Kindle edition. This is readable on the computer, for those who might not have Kindles themselves, and is the same text (though perhaps with different typefaces, etc.) as in the print version. So read the descriptions, the reviews, the rest, even the interview with me via the PMMP “Now Available.. . .” webpage (for another interview of me on THE WRITERS’ LENS, see May 29), but then look inside the book for yourself.
If you like what you see there, please tell your friends too!
DISTURBED DIGEST arrived today from Alban Lake Publishing, solving the Vampire Poetry Mystery posited in the June 17 post. The poem “It Would Be Wrong” appears indeed along with cover poem “The Specialist” with, as an extra, an ad for VAMPS A RETROSPECTIVE) on the double page following the poems. And in the ad, the text of another poem, “The Aeronaut,” appears as quoted on VAMPS’ back cover — so that’s three poems in all by me in the first ever issue of a nice sized (118 pages) horror magazine edited by ex-Sam’s Dot veteran Terrie Relf.
In other action, over the last two days since my return from World Horror Con I’ve been attending to some of the little bits of the trade, in
this particular case signing contracts. Three contracts in all. So here are some other publications that, the contracts being returned, other pre-publication necessities being seen to, should be coming out in the hopefully near future.
Also edited by Terrie Relf for Alban Lake Publishing, my poem “In the Company or Wolves” will be in the premiere issue of BLOODBOND (cf. May 16). As the title of the poem may imply, this is one about werewolves rather than vampires. Then, from Fringeworks, ANDROMEDA’S OFFSPRING Volume 1 (cf. April 5) should be coming from England. The call for this was to “combine classic SF tropes (alien species, space opera, time travel, etc.) with strong female protagonists,” with my story in it a reprint, originally published in the Spring 1994 issue of MINDSPARKS, “Golden Age.” And finally, not a reprint per. se, but a new edition, BORDERLANDS 2 (Borderlands Press limited edition, Avon Books, 1991; White Wolf, 1994) will be coming out finally in electronic form, with my story in this one — one of my first in a fully professional market — called “Romance Unlimited.”
So I never did find the time to ride the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the one that takes one through the Garden District, even though it went past my hotel just before its turn from Carondelet Street to Canal (Canal Street being the upriver edge of the French Quarter), nor did I go on the Canal Street ferry which, I understand, affords a beautiful view of New Orleans on the trip back from Algiers. Perhaps the next time. But I did go to World Horror Convention where, in spite of the most inhospitable hospitality suite of any convention I’ve attended (even the worst in the past has at least offered a plate of potato chips and a cooler of Coke during most of the day, plus morning coffee, and space for people to meet and relax — the one here was mostly just closed except for one or two sponsored parties each day), I had a great time. And New Orleans does have little neighborhood grocery stores on almost every corner for snacks and sandwiches plus a plethora of restaurants, some quite inexpensive (e.g., red beans and rice and sausage for lunch at Mena’s Palace at Iberville and Chartres Streets, a block toward the river from the con hotel). In all, in fact, New Orleans — the multi-ethnic, history-laden French Quarter in particular — is such an appropriate place for a horror convention I wouldn’t mind seeing it being made a permanent location. And that’s even with the 90-plus degrees mid-June temperatures and humidity.
But first things first. My initial view of the French Quarter was from the airport bus (this costs one extra, hotels in New Orleans don’t supply their own), starting on the approach with a view from an elevated expressway of several of NOLA’s above-ground cemeteries. Once in the French Quarter, my impression was one of compactness as the bus twisted and turned along narrow streets from one hotel to the next while I, spotting street signs from the window, made a fair shot at calculating where we were in terms of the maps I had studied before. Then at last to my own hotel, a no-frills businessman’s kind of place just across the line in the Central Business District, from which I had no trouble navigating the four blocks back to the convention hotel.
Of the convention itself, I had a full plate (cf. April 9, “World Horror Convention — At Last It Can Be Revealed”): two panels, a reading, a kaffeeklatsch (at which I’d “requested” French roast and beignets, but we ended up having to settle for water), a mass signing, and . . . well, this was the surprise I couldn’t reveal before, for the second year in a row being a presenter of the Bram Stoker Poetry Award® , or, as I said from the podium, “Always a godfather, never a god.” (I also added, noting that THE TEARS OF ISIS will be eligible for a Stoker in the Fiction Collection category next year, for those getting tired of seeing me on the presenters’ side of the podium, “You know what you’ve gotta do.”) The panels were Friday’s Dark Poets Face to Face, moderated by Poet Guest of Honor Bruce Boston (who was also the Kaffeeklatschee two hours before) — “Leading poets in the field of dark literature read and discuss their favorite poems by other members of the panel” — with Linda D. Addison, me, Norman Prentiss, Chad Hensley (who was also the Poetry Stoker co-presenter on Saturday night — which, by the way, was won by Marge Simon!), and Marge Simon; and Saturday’s Reclaiming the Vampire with moderator Nancy Kilpatrick — “shifts in the vampire over time, where the creature began, where it is now, and what to expect of future blood-drinkers” — with Carl Alves, me, fellow vampire panelist and Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century Award® juror from last year Lesley S. Klinger (cf. April 3, 2 2012), and Jim Gavin. Both went well, I thought (seconded by audience members afterward too), especially Bruce’s Dark Poets that we, the poets, may have found more interesting ourselves than even the audience. But more than just the program items, the meeting of friends old and new was a major attraction, in this case including meeting Bruce Boston for the first time — as well as supper with him and Marge Simon Sunday evening in the hotel restaurant (seafood gumbo, sliced roast duck with sour cherries, vanilla ice cream for dessert, from which I went on to an after-dark tour to learn about ghosts and vampires in New Orleans, cf. post just below).
And of course there’s business, chats with THE TEARS OF ISIS publishers Max Booth III and Lori Michelle among others, TELLING TALES OF TERROR: ESSAYS ON WRITING HORROR AND DARK FICTION’s Kim Richards, signing stock in the dealers’ room, reminding editors of one’s existence. . . .
And then New Orleans, where I did have time for some exploration. Of course I checked out Bourbon Street Saturday night (for the best jazz, though, I’ve been told by several sources that Frenchmen Street, just outside the French Quarter downriver, is the place to go), but more interesting in its way was the more residential — and beautiful — Burgundy Street two blocks lakeside (that is, farther from the river, toward Lake Pontchartrain) on Sunday afternoon. Also Friday, and again Sunday, I made a point of walking the length of the French Quarter along the Mississippi, the river itself not actually visible from the city until you go past Decatur Street and climb the levee. Sights included Woldenberg Riverfront Park and the Moon Walk (no, no, no, it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson; it’s named after one-time New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu) heading downriver Friday morning from Canal, passing the steamboat Natchez at dock, and on to the French Market just setting up at a bit before 9 a.m. I also visited Jackson Square (not named after Michael Jackson either, but this time Andrew) and St. Louis Cathedral, though I didn’t have a chance to go inside. Then later Friday I went back to the French Market and bought two masks as souvenirs (having seen them among other things being unpacked before — this was from the downriver “Flea Market” end; the upriver end is still called the “Farmers Market” as in the old days, although it’s mostly made up of prepared-food stands now as opposed to fresh produce) one a red lady’s mask with glitter and the other — the prize! — an all-black face of a raven.
It seemed appropriate.
And so I have returned from New Orleans and World Horror Convention, more on which over the next day or so. But for now, it’s been a while since we’ve had a real poetry lagniappe — the occasional little story or poem or other item, free for the enjoyment, that just gets thrown in for no other particular reason — and this one seemed like it might be appropriate. (Among other things, on Sunday evening I went on a “Ghosts and Vampires in the French Quarter” tour, heavier perhaps on hauntings than blood-lettings but still fun.)
The mirrors held spooks!
The images, wisps of loves,
stared out from silvered mists
whenever he approached,
washing or combing his beard or his hair,
they mouthed words as if to speak
yet never made a sound,
red lips instead settling into accusing pouts,
deep eyes condemning.
He knew them, of course — in his youth,
in France, he had been a seducer,
a rover, a thief of hearts;
he recognized them, his Yvette,
his Marie, his Hélène,
but now in his age having flown to New Orleans
seeking to drown his Parisian aplomb
in a Cajun patois,
the memories had followed,
souls captured in glass
come back finally to haunt him.
From the Spring 2008 ILLUMEN, reprinted in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). “Émile’s Ghosts” was originally based on an illustration (and suggested title) by illustrator and poet Marge Simon.
Then, within the pile of email I’ll be spending much of the rest of the night sorting out (I did not bring a computer to New Orleans reasoning, it turns out correctly, that there would be much better things to do with my time there), one item stands out. The premiere issue of Alban Lake’s DISTURBED DIGEST (see May 9) has been published with my poem “The Specialist” one of three featured items on the cover. DISTURBED Editor Terrie Relf seeks the paranormal, the vampiric, the spooky, the creepy, among other things — poetry and fiction that’s, well, disturbing, and last month two of my poems apparently made the grade, both about vampires with a perhaps skewed sense of right and wrong. Or maybe, in their minds, it’s just an excuse. The second poem is, in fact, titled “It Would Be Wrong” and I think it will be in this issue as well, but until my own copy comes (or I see a separate contents listing) I won’t be able to say I know for sure.
As it happens, I may be away from a computer a few days more (cf. May 22), so this time I thought I might leave people with something naughty. . . . Very naughty.
“[A]n advertisement for a summer movie from Cinéa magazine (July 1922),” courtesy of Apocalyptic Midnight Death Cult via Facebook. (For those without French, the line at the top reads “An Hour of Terror.”)
Another week, another acceptance? Would that it would always work out that way. But things come in clumps, sometimes. “MISERIA’S CHORALE is a planned anthology of horror short stories comprising the best in the genre from both established and new voices,” the guidelines read. “This will be the first volume in what is set to be an annual release. The topics of your stories can be far-ranging, however originality is key. We also encourage writers to push the envelope. Nothing is off-limits. We are particularly interested in dark, atmospheric literary fiction that shows a proficiency in language and tone. Terrify us. Challenge the boundaries of horror.” Heady stuff, this, that turns out to be for apparently the flagship anthology of Forgotten Tomb Press, who we’ve met before (cf. June 5) as publisher of the flash anthology 100 DOORS TO MADNESS which recently took my reprint vampire tale “The Shackles.”
And not only that, the editor asked with that acceptance if I was interested in submitting something to MISERIA’S CHORALE. Then followed a little bit of negotiation (if you check the guidelines a portion can be seen in the Comments at the bottom) and, well, sometimes new publishers grow to be big ones — think of it as an investment in the future — and, anyway, why not? So I sent a piece called “The Cherry Tree,” a present-day ghost story with antecedents going back to the Siege of Vicksburg during the War Between the States. And so, today, the word came back: “We are pleased to confirm we will be including ‘The Cherry Tree’ in the anthology. A tense poetic piece topped off with exceptional writing. Excellent work.”
If interested, the guidelines for MISERIA’S CHORALE can be found by pressing here. The word count for stories is 2000 to 10,000 words (“The Cherry Tree” is 5100) with a listed deadline at the end of September, but Editor David Nell hopes to fill it sooner (he has 20 stories already accepted!), so tarrying too long might not be a good idea. He’s aiming for the book to be out “by October at the latest,” but again hopes to make that earlier. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, my story is a reprint initially published in SONGS FOR DEAD SINGERS (Catalyst Books, 2002), but the guidelines favor original stories so best query about reprints first.