Archive for August, 2014
The word came later than usual for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION (cf. April 17, et al.), these things happen, but there it was this morning, the proof sheet for my latest story plus the announcement that it would be posted this Monday, September 1. That’s right, Labor Day, so if you have a holiday that day, there’s plenty of time (that is, after marching in the parade if you’re scheduled to do so, otherwise watching it and enjoying the picnic after) to read and reread all approximately 500 words of the story, called “Rocky Road.” “Rocky Road” is the tale of a woman who develops unusual habits after a surfeit of Rocky Road ice cream and so has to give it up. As for the habits, well. . . .
The neat thing, though, is that this is my first story for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION that will include the warning, ***Editor’s Note: Adult Story, Mature Themes***.
Then speaking of DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, this afternoon saw me on the Spoken Word Stage at this year’s Bloomington Arts Fair (more properly, the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, cf. August 1, et al.) for a half hour prose horror reading, the final story of which was “Casket Girls,” originally published there earlier this year on April 10 (q.v.). Far from the sweaty sun-filled weather expected, this morning was marked by thunderstorms, serious enough that the start of the Indiana University football team’s opening game elsewhere in the city was delayed due to lightning. However, the show went on — the Bloomington Writers Guild had a shelter the readings were under which helped during rain spells, granted originally planned for protection from the sun — and by the time my “prime time” 2:30 p.m. slot came round (the afternoon weather having improved to warm but cloudy), things were only running about five minutes late.
In all I had a pretty good crowd as these things go, about a dozen people give or take or roughly half the seating capacity which, to put it in perspective, was comparable to the number Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras got at his reading two hours later, despite his being accompanied by a very cute dog. The other stories I read, in order, were “Tombs” story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (July 23, et al.) and, as a light interlude, my flash “Undying Love” from UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND (January 6 2013).
The word is out about ZOMBIES GALORE as of early this morning (cf. August 24, 20): “And the ebook is live folks! Start pimping.” The official launching in England is still scheduled for tomorrow, but you can beat the crowd now – at least if you like Kindle. The print edition, too, should be out almost any time though.
“There are countless mediums for an artist to choose to ply their trade. Some artists, like Vince, are drawn to the unusual. . . Vince creates his masterpieces from slabs of raw meat, carefully selecting just the right cuts from the deli where he works.” So begins the blurb on the Grey Matter Press website concerning my story in SPLATTERLANDS (cf. August 18, June 9, et al.).
But that’s not all. There are, of course, other stories in the anthology too, including their own blurbs, plus links enough to continue to Amazon to buy your own copy. But one other thing I’ve only lately discovered on the Grey Matter site, there are previews as well giving samples of several of the stories.
And, yes, one of them is of my tale, “The Artist.” To see it, press here.
“Monday Matinee Madness” by H.G. Bleackley
“Cinnamon Road” by A.A. Garrison
“The Dripping Nose That Wouldn’t Wipe” by James S. Dorr
“Hungry” by Nichole Murphy
“Road Whore” by Timothy Frasier
“So They Aren’t Yankees” by Melanie Brown
“The Last Line of Defence” by Jeff Lawhead
“The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Zombie Slayers” by Patrick D’Orazio
“Zombie Death Day” by Johnny Andrews
“The Palace of Dead Rock Stars” by Theresa Derwin
He cautions, however, “[t]he above table of contents is not complete, or even in order. It’s all so hush-hush, I’m surprised I can even get away with telling you, but I guess the government chooses its battles. Now, if I were to tell you about the zombie measles, I’m sure the CDC would be all over me.” To see if they are, or just to get it from Chris himself — plus comments as well as more becomes unearthed — press here.
* Or regular cake as the case may be, I assume brain-flavor. Chris also adds, “[w]ith free cake, tea, and coffee to go with the interviews, readings, chats, it’s being billed as a mini-con, so if you’re in the Walsall area, you’d better go to this thing.” Also, for coffee, see if you can hold out for French roast.
In what’s turned out to be a busy week, another big book is now available, FANTASTIC STORIES PRESENTS: SCIENCE FICTION SUPER PACK #1 from Wilder Publications (cf. April 9 and 21, March 31). At more than 750 pages, with 38 stories — “Fantasy & Science Fiction from the Present, Past, & Future,” to quote Editor Warren Lapine. “Featuring stories by classic SF greats and up-and-coming new voices” — it also has a companion volume, FANTASTIC STORIES PRESENTS: FANTASY SUPER PACK #1. Both of these are primarily reprint anthologies designed in part in support of Wilder Publications’ new ezine, FANTASTIC STORIES, but judging from the contents of just the science fiction entry, with authors ranging from Isaac Asimov to Marion Zimmer Bradley, they look like good buys on their own merits especially for newer readers who may not have had time to be familiar with some of the masters.
I (ahem!) am a part of this too, although only in the science fiction one, with a story going back to when I was writing more sf, and one of my first professional sales to boot, “No Place to Hide,” originally published in Summer 1991 in the long since defunct SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW. For this and more — much, much more — with a print edition expected to join the electronic ones in two weeks or less, information can be found here.
Then, speaking of “ancient” times, word came yesterday from James Ward Kirk Publishing that a mini-poem sequence excerpted from my long out-of-print chapbook TOWERS OF DARKNESS (Nocturnal Publications, NIGHT VISIONS poetry series #3, 1990 — my first published single-author book of any sort, by the way) has been accepted for their BONES III anthology. Under the title “Three Dance Poems: A Mini-Sequence from Towers of Darkness” — lots of threes here! – it’s somewhat experimental in form with a prose “introduction” setting the poems in the context of an evil, doomed city, followed by the poems themselves, “The Instrument Maker,” “Vibrations,” and “Bal D’Enfer,” on the subject of music and dancing and . . . bones.
Be the first on your block — or at least this blog – to check out the missive from Editor Aaron J. French: “Announcing the release of MONK PUNK and THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN in OMINBUS edition from Hazardous Press! 679 pages of Lovecraftian goodness! Featuring all of the original stories as well as 11 that are brand new to this edition. Available in the next few weeks in trade paperback and a Kindle edition.” The announcement, on Facebook, also includes a table of contents not surprisingly rather too long for me to append below, but you can get it from, as it were, the horse’s mouth by pressing here.
MONK PUNK & THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN, to give the exact wording from its cover, contains over 60 stories in all, of which about a dozen were written especially for this combined edition. Mine, however, was in the original THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN published in summer 2011 by Static Movement (see August 29 2011, et al.; for the omnibus edition April 9 2014), and first appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of BARE BONE. Titled “The Festering,” it’s more or less about what it sounds like, involving bad plumbing, ancient (and not so ancient) cities, and “What Lies Below.”
It was originally to be called ZOMBIES GONE WILD (cf. March 27 2012), expected to be published by . . . well I really don’t quite remember who by now, but as these things sometimes happen, events intervened and the project kind of dropped out of sight. But as a good zombie will, it kept tending to rise at least part way from the grave, maybe even shamble a few steps — the wreckage will be published by a new press, that sort of thing, then go back off the radar. Rumors abounded — now it would be published as two books with my story to be in Volume 2. The kiss of death? But again it would rise, a new contract to be signed (see April 9 2014, something is lurching toward the present), perhaps a new editor? And finally Tuesday afternoon came an email from Britain from Theresa Derwin: “. . . at last, the final bio is in, the files are pre-formatted with a foreword and are now with the interior designer and the cover is with the cover designer.
“The book should be ready by the weekend for me to order for a local book launch Sat 30th Aug at Southcart Books, Walsall [England] 20-21 Lower Hall Lane, 12:00 – 15:00.”
So . . . if you’re in the neighborhood. . . .
Actually it took a little investigation on my part to see exactly what book was meant, but it can now be revealed. What might have been ZOMBIES GONE WILD, Vol. 2 seems to have been rechristened ZOMBIES GALORE, edited by Theresa Derwin, and published now by Knightwatch Press (for more on which, the publisher that is, one can click here). Should original intentions still hold true, it will be an anthology of zombie stories where the accent will be on humor.
My story in this is called “The Dripping Nose that Wouldn’t Wipe,” originally published in TOOTH DECAY (Sonar4 Publications, 2009), an ecclesiastical tale of young love, a French horn, and why it isn’t a good idea to bury a corpse on the church’s north side. And hopefully out by the end of this month.
Today’s email brings an announcement from Anthony Rivera, via Facebook, of a new review on Amazon of the Grey Matter Press anthology SPLATTERLANDS: REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. June 19, et al.). Under the rubric “Not for the Faint of Heart,” the August 14 review by Josh Wiles can be found by pressing here. To quote briefly from it: “As with any anthology, you get great stories, good stories, so-so stories and stories that don’t appeal to you at all. This is true for this anthology as well. Although it has a significantly higher proportion of great stories than is typical for most anthologies.” Moreover, as Editor Rivera points out, “[t]he reviewer singles out the stories by J Michael Major, Jack Maddox, Michael Laimo, Ray Garton, Paul Collrin, Allen Griffin, James Dorr and Eric Del Carlo.” My story cited is called “The Artist” and is a sort of working-class noir tale of a fancy butcher who sculpts centerpieces for banquets and the like out of meat.
So there’s good and bad but, once again to quote the reviewer, “This was definitely one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read.”
Then oddly, just after that review there’s one from late June by Alan Wilson titled “A Lucky-Dip Experience: Like Most Anthologies” that only gives the anthology three stars (11 of 15 reviews are five-star). However Wilson sets his bar high, noting that “[t]o be excellent, in my opinion, a horror story has to be memorable. A yarn that clicks a gear in your head in such a way that you never forget it because your world-view has been shifted.” And given that standard, he still cites six stories by brief description as “real gems which did just that for me,” one of which is my “The Artist” (or again quoting Wilson, parenthetically, “sell your veal shares now!”).
For Amazon’s overview of SPLATTERLANDS including ordering (as well as the reviews again, though not necessarily with the most recent first), one also can press here.
Members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association who failed to get their DWARF STARS votes in by Friday (see August 11), take heart! The announcement came yesterday afternoon that they’ve extended the deadline for voting to the end of the month, August 31. My poem in this is “The Werewolf Explains,” tucked in at the top of page 21. Telling you in only four words all you need to know should you meet a lycanthrope, it’s also the shortest poem in the book (full disclosure: if one counts in the title, making a total of seven words, there is an untitled haiku-type poem that comes in a bit shorter, but that takes three lines while my poem has just two). But many of the poems are worth reading even if you’re not a member of the SFPA.
Nevertheless, if you are a member but failed to vote in time, you now have a second chance. More information can be found here.
Also Fox Spirit Books has announced that Book 2 of THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD is now out in print format. This is the one that takes up the happenings post apocalypse, while my story “The Borrowed Man” (cf. August 8, et al.), set in my far future dying-Earth world of the “Tombs,” is in the opening section of Book 1. However, if you read that volume and enjoyed it, and yearn for more, it can now be obtained by pressing here.
We may recall from August 3 that the Bloomington Writers Guild’s monthly First Sundays Prose Readings series is back after a two month summer hiatus. So it happened Wednesday that I received an email from coordinator Kamil Khan asking if I would like to be one of the three featured readers next month. This is an honor — I had done it once before, but that was over a year ago in February 2013 (cf. February 4 2013) — except just a week previously, on August 30 (see August 1), I would be doing a half-hour prose reading on the Spoken Word Stage at Bloomington’s Fourth Street Festival of Arts and Crafts.
So I emailed back suggesting that I be scheduled the following month, for October 5, pointing out as well that it would be “[a] good month for a horror tale for Halloween too.” Then the word came back, yes. “I have you scheduled for October!” And now preparations for two readings will be in progress, but separated enough that it shouldn’t cause any undue confusion. I’ve pretty well decided (pending a final test timed reading) that for the Arts Fair I’ll read “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS — more or less my standard 15-minute reading these days, also the one I read at NASFiC last month for instance — plus a light flash piece for a mood change, and end with the short vampire tale “Casket Girls” from DAILY SCIENCE FICTION (see April 17 and 10, et al.). Now, for October when I’ll have about 15 minutes total, I’m tentatively looking at “The First Hundred Years,” a story based on a Jamaican legend except with zombies, that was originally published in my second prose collection DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.
Information and schedules for upcoming Writers Guild events can be found here.
In other Wednesday news, the print edition of JWK FICTION BEST OF HORROR 2013 has arrived (see August 6, June 24). This is the omnibus collection of what Editor/Publisher James Ward Kirk considers his company’s highlights of last year, in which my story “The Sidewalk,” originally published in TERMINAL FRIGHT #13, Fall 1996, appears third on the contents page, one of two stories representing the anthology GRAVE ROBBERS. For more information and possibly ordering JWK BEST OF HORROR, click here.