Archive for August, 2013

Last night a really nice review of THE TEARS OF ISIS appeared on Amazon stating that, among other things, “It flows so well that you may not immediately see the overall picture that [has been] knit so well together.”  And although the “stories range in length and genre,” the darkness overall is also noted.  So be forewarned (or, I never said I wasn’t a horror writer), but if “dark” is your thing, although some stories may be darker than others, you might consider giving the collection a try.  Just click on its picture in the center column for more information including ordering.

It has not always been that everyone has loved THE TEARS OF ISIS (see, e.g.,  June 1).  Chacun à son goût, eh?  But if you should read it or have already and found it worth while, you might also think about writing your own review.  The info behind the book’s picture in the center column also includes, for those who scroll down almost to the bottom, an email address reviewers can use to ask for a free electronic edition.  And any honest review (though preferably good, to be sure 😉 ) would be much appreciated.

And lest one wonder what “Medusa in the rear view mirror” has to do with a nice review of THE TEARS OF ISIS, press here to see the review for yourself.  Image

Also Untreed Reads Publishing has announced that “all Untreed Reads titles will be on sale from Friday-Monday in The Untreed Reads Store at a discount of 40% off. No special coupon codes will be needed. The discount will be taken during the checkout process.”  They also note that by buying directly from them, “people get PDF, EPUB and Kindle formats for the same price as buying just one format from any other vendor.”  And while THE TEARS OF ISIS is published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and, hence, is not a part of this sale, you can take advantage of Untreed Reads’s offer by checking out any or all of PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF. . ., and VANITAS, all of which are displayed to the right in the center column.  And, while you’re there, you also might look at Untreed Reads’s 2012 New Year’s anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with its lead story, “Appointment in Time,” written by . . . me.

These are exciting times for  THE TEARS OF ISIS fans, with a not-quite-interview but “Author Spotlight” on me scheduled to start the fall season off the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 3.  Hosting this will be Morgen Bailey who long-time followers of this blog may recall interviewed me more than two years  back in 2011 (see specifically July 2 2011, with a follow up June 1 2012).  This was on the eve of publication for my poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and time has, of course, since passed.  So the “spotlight” this time will be largely focused on my latest book, THE TEARS OF ISIS, that came out this May.

See you all Tuesday?

And it’s not really a novel either, but it is about a specific horror, that of cancer.  “I need stories; good stories” the original call read.  “Not just good stories, but great stories to help this anthology sell and make the profits to help thosImagee kids in need.  I am looking for allegorical horror stories where the monster represents cancer.  And while this is a book to help children, the stories do not need to be young adult.”  The book in question, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s charity anthology BLEED (cf. July 13, 8) with profits to go to The Children’s Cancer Society, and with my story “King Rat” in it (originally published in GOTHIC.NET, March 2002), about a politico-economic system itself gone cancerous.

This pre-publication review of BLEED on HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS doesn’t exactly mention my story, but it does single out a few others and adds that everything in the book is worth while.  To see for yourself you need just press here.  And then in September BLEED should be out itself, with an opportunity then to read “King Rat,” not to mention the rest of its contents, and see for yourself.

Then, already published, the Dark Moon Books anthology AFTER DEATH (cf. April 17, 3, et al.) was reviewed on Friday by SHOCK TOTEM with my piece in this one, “Mall Rats,” one of the ones specifically commented on.  To read about it and its companion stories, press here.

I’ve made a small change to the ol’ bloggie today, mainly that clicking on the picture in the center column of THE TEARS OF ISIS brings you to a different publisher’s-website for the collection, one perhaps a bit more informative in terms of the individual stories.  Part of this is self serving (only part??!? 😀 ) in that the awards season for 2013 publications is getting underway and More Information is Good Information, whether one’s interested in such things or just wants to know a bit more about the book.  So click away or, hey, I’ve quoted it all just below as well:

“What is art?  To a sculptor it may be the formation of beauty from stone, or some other material; to a writer the forming of words into poetry or prose.  The creation or retelling of myths and wonders, bringing to them a new understanding – but beauty as well.  To the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney, in his DEFENCE OF POESY, ‘lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, [the poet — or, indeed, the artist in general] doth grow, in effect, into another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the heroes, demi-gods, cyclops, chimeras, furies, and such like.’  And so it may be proper that the book we have here, THE TEARS OF ISIS, begins with a poem about a sculptor, a modern Medusa, and concludes with the title story of another sculptor who travels a continent for inspiration, in search of the goddess, ‘the Weeping Isis,’ and ends with discovery of her own self.

“But THE TEARS OF ISIS, the book, is a journey too, 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.’

“Are these tales, then, her doing, the fever dreams of one who both creates and dismantles, who transmutes life itself into stone?  And are Medusa and Isis the same, the goddess who, with her consort Osiris, rules over death and life at the same time, taking the form of both nurturing mother and flesh-eating vulture?

“It is for the reader to decide.”

Well, that’s most of what you’ll find.  There’s ordering information and links as well, of course, but one thing more.  If, on Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s site, you should scroll down past all the above information (the matter to the right on the site) you’ll come to a publisher’s e-address which, if you’re a reviewer or otherwise contemplate giving THE TEARS OF ISIS a review or recommendation — reviews are good, especially on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! — you can ask publisher/editor Max Booth III for a courtesy electronic copy in a choice of epub, mobi, or pdf versions.  Details, such as they are, are on the site.  

You recall PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION (cf. July  11, et al.), the magazine with such intriguing quarterly themes I can never resist sending them something?  Well, this quarter has been no exception, the sujet du trimestre being “Surrender the Sasquatch and No One Gets Hurt.”  And sure enough, word came today that I’ll have something in it — another issue, another poem (although to be accurate, last time I had a piece of flash fiction) — a narrative of the interaction of cryptozoology and a family picnic titled “A Slice of Cheese.”  There are more things in those woods than we might think.

The issue should be out in September and, for more information, press here.

It’s just a small announcement for a fairly small anthology aimed at a young adult fantasy readership.  Or, as the blurb says, “What do vicious dragons, mischievous imps, spying gnomes, and a devious demon have in common?  They are all part of this humorous and exciting collection of fantasy short stories.  GAIA’S MISFITS brings together eight of today’s best fantasy authors into a single, collected work full of wonder, intrigue, and laughs.”  My mutt in this mélange, “All Swords Melt” (cf. December 14 2012), is a fairly light tale of a pair of headstrong wizard’s apprentices which originally appeared in FANTASTIC WORLDS in September 1996.  Classic me, eh?

Just released by Happy Gnome Publishing, GAIA’S MISFITS is available only in Kindle as far as I know, and a sample, as well as ordering info, can be found on its webpage on Amazon, for which press here.

Sometimes you just have to be an opportunist in this business.  Wednesday, more or less minding my business, I was reading email when one message took me to some place on Facebook, which in turn led me to Alban Lake’s page — I don’t remember exactly why — but while there my eye fell on a “reminder” that there was an editor “still looking for vampire poetry for his MOONSHADOWS [sic., the actual name is MOONSHADOW, I think] anthology.”  No guidelines, no hints that might serve to narrow the subject or at least say whether to send attachments, just the name and an email address, plus a mention of a contributor’s copy and $2.00 a poem.  I scrolled down to find the original announcement (after all, it said “still”) but the only difference there was that MOONSHADOW had lost its trailing S.  Still (to pardon the expression) I have a backlog of vampire poetry and, even though $2.00 isn’t much, publication is still publication.  So, the bat flying blind as it were, I gathered six poems I thought offered a variety in style and, pasting them into a cover letter, off it went.

Flash forward two days.  Yesterday, Friday, an answer came from Editor Henry Lewis Sanders.  All have been accepted for MOONSHADOW:  A COLLECTION OF VAMPIRE POETRY with a hoped-for publication date of November 2013.  The poems in question are “Social Climber,” “The Neophyte,” “Seven Reflections on a Phrase, ‘After the Rain,’” “Blood and Sand,” “Ancient Music,” and  (my personal favorite) “My Pet Bat.”  And all because I happened upon the right place at the right time and decided, what the heck, why not take a chance?

And then another opportune thing, later last night I received an announcement that blogger Kate Hill, whose interview of me appeared just this Tuesday (see August 13), was gearing up for “the 9th annual Halloween page at my website.  This year the theme is a haunted library.  There will be a main Halloween page as usual and everyone’s info will be posted on it through the entire month of October.  In addition, there are twenty feature spots on my blog that will be filled on a first come first serve basis.”

So Kate’s site “focuses on romance and erotic romance,” as she says herself, but other genres are welcome too, so, even if it was nearly 10 p.m. when I got the word, I stayed up to answer the basic questions, and then the extras for one of the featured promotion spots for (need I say?) THE TEARS OF ISIS.  I honed my answers, I polished my presentation, I sent it in finally amidst (as I found out) a flurry of replies from other competing authors.

But the thing is, I was still in time, while not to appear Halloween week itself as I’d hoped at first, for a spot for Monday the week before on October 21.

It’s the way of the universe, I suppose, that some weeks nothing much notable seems to happen, then others every day is a circus.  So Wednesday I printed and mailed copies back of Eggplant Productions’s contract for “As Fine As Frogs’ Hair,” then, scarcely having finished that and posted it below on the blog, a new email came.  This was from the UK and Nathan J. D. L. Rowark and contained a contract as well, along with this message:   “Firstly, thanks for submitting your story for Horrified Press’s anthology UNTIL THE END.  I’d like to include ‘Tunnels’ in this collection.”

UNTIL THE END is a post-apocalypse anthology having to do with the power of love to endure . . . perhaps. “During the last days of the end of the world, a love-struck couple sit atop an old brick wall to watch its dawn silhouettes burn.  All that once was has been demolished . . . except the paring’s unwavering devotion to one another.  Will it be enough as the bodies stack-up and the rampaging hordes of an atomic Hell stalk the ruins of this once proud city?”   As I explained to Editor Rowark, “Tunnels” is more a tale of familial love than romantic as such and, as the guidelines contained some ambiguity on this point, it was a reprint (cf. September 6 and August 5 2011).  Would that be okay?

Apparently yes, as I emailed this contract back later yesterday evening.

Then, today being Thursday, Untreed Reads Publishing has officially released the announcement of a 40-percent off sale for all titles bought through the Untreed Reads site starting Friday and continuing through the weekend to Sunday, 11 p.m. PST (which I think would be midnight in daylight savings time, but then I’m not on Pacific Time myself anyway).  This would include the three Untreed Reads titles I have myself, PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , and VANITAS, as well as last December’s YEAR’S END New Year’s anthology with my short short, “Appointment in Time.”  Discounts, according to the announcement, will be applied during the checkout process, whether for just one book or a bushel — but, as they underscore, “ONLY in the Untreed Reads  Store.”

To consider my books with Untreed Reads, just press here, or if you prefer you can go directly to Untreed Reads for a special sale celebration home page and proceed from there.

“Inspired by such fantasy libraries as those found in Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Eggplant Literary Productions presents  MISCELLANEA:  A TRANSDIMENSIONAL LIBRARY.  The shelves will be filled with books of the other:  books that have never existed and that haven’t been written yet.  What I am looking for are excerpts from such books.”  So begin the guidelines from Raechel Henderson of Eggplant Literary Productions for an unusual market for literary flash, “excerpts from fiction works, otherworldly recipes, snatches of poetry, faux reviews of imagined books, articles from cryptozoological texts, parapsychology manuals, works written in fairy languages, pictograms or mathematical equations, footnotes, even dedications are fair game.  Let’s get creative here.”

As it happens, I’m not a stranger to MISCELLANEA, having published a story fragment of something like 300 words (the maximum amount that will be accepted), “The Cage,” with them last year (cf. April 5 and February 25 2012).  It’s kind of neat too, accessed as if via an old-style library catalog file card.  So this spring when I found they’d opened for submissions again, I sent them a 75-word all-dialogue snatch from what might be a fairy tale, “As Fine As Frogs’ Hair.”  Or maybe a dialogue with a reporter from something like a Fairyland Newspaper trying to find out the facts behind what could become such a tale.

Be that as it may, word came back, with a contract, late Tuesday night:  “Thank you for your submission of ‘As Fine As Frogs’ Hair.’  I really like this piece and would like to publish it in MISCELLANEA:  A TRANSDIMENSIONAL LIBRARY.”

And for now, that’s all that’s been written.

Had enough of interviews of me?  I certainly haven’t.  Each one seems to be a little different — and often enough more than just a little — as indeed each interviewer is different as well.  Today’s, then, is via erotic, historical, and paranormal romance author Kate Hill, with an emphasis still on THE TEARS OF ISIS (yes, you knew I’d get that bit in!) but perhaps as approached from a slightly different angle.

So something we might emphasize is character, does this come even before the plot and, as an author, how does one learn about one’s characters?  Where does one get one’s inspiration?  How does one put together a collection like THE TEARS OF ISIS and what other projects are being worked on now?  Any excerpts or teases, both of this work and on something to come?

So perhaps a bit of a personal approach will come through here, of me and what I like to read and write — what’s fun for me, too, is how something may seem to have been done before, but now there’s another layer added or more depth of thought.  I don’t believe I’ve mentioned “Blackwoods” fiction before (cf. Edgar Allan Poe’s “How to Write a Blackwood Article,” though I should have added that the reference is to BLACKWOOD’S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE, not the author Algernon Blackwood) or “Theatre of the Absurd.” in terms of pleasure or possible influence on my own writing.

So all this and more, my favorite season(s) and the origin of the cave cat Wednesday’s name, can be discovered by just pressing here.

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