Archive for April, 2015
Yes, with the last day of April finally upon us, songbirds flitting through new-leaved trees, a freshness of growth and the promise of summer, it’s six long months until next Halloween. But while we wait, courtesy of Terry M. West and HALLOWEENFOREVERMORE.COM, a little nostalgia from days not that far past. To let him explain: “When I was a kid and there were only a few television stations, it was always a thrill when a made for TV horror movie or mini-series was announced. I was a horror junkie before I hit the age of ten. But there were many movies I was not allowed to go see at the drive-in.” And so, herewith, Terry’s rundown of “five top Made for TV Horror films,” for which one need but press here.
How many have you seen?
I don’t think DAILY SCIENCE FICTION even has the one week wait any more to add stories into their archives, but whether they do or not, here is the New Orleans mystery-horror story “Dead Lines” (see April 21, et al.) permanent address. Does the lady Lo know anything more than she professes, or is it just that she’s a bit scatterbrained at times? And is the first thing she says in the story really purloined from Edgar Allan Poe?
Well, for the second, you might need to check out the “author story comments” by plunking the link at the end of the story, but it’s all there now — as well as another button at the end of the comments paragraph that can take you to “Casket Girls” (cf. April 17 2014, et al.), last spring’s tale of Aimée and her voyage from France that started it all.
And then, just for fun, our New Orleanians not being the world’s only bloodsucking women, for those of us who are partial to lists please to peruse, courtesy of HORRORNEWS.NET, the “Top 15 Hottest Sexiest Female Vampires” by pressing here.
I don’t know if this is quite carved in stone yet, but there is a schedule now for panels and other intellectual goodies at next month’s World Horror Convention in Atlanta GA. For me, I’m on two official panels and also expect to be part of Linda Addison’s Thursday night informal Poetry Open Mike reading. A warning, however, one of my panels is at 9 a.m. and I also have a prose reading at 9 a.m. on Sunday, so please plan not to party too late the nights before. My other panel is at a more comfortable 5 p.m. Friday (pack in a sandwich for dinner if needed, I won’t mind) and I’ll also be at the autograph session more or less just after on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (just enough time for me to sneak in a sandwich for myself). The entire schedule as it exists now can be found here, while for easy reference to where and on what and when I’m scheduled, see just below.
8-9:30 PM Reading: Horror Poetry Open Mike – INNSMOUTH
Moderator: Linda Addison. Various attending authors.
5-6 PM Panel: SCAREBIZ: Just the Facts, Monster: How to Dig Deeper than the Internet for Accurate Storytelling – R’LYEH
An incorrect fact or detail in a story can pull a reader right out of your narrative and destroy the impact of an otherwise excellent piece of fiction. Writers who also are research professionals (librarians, archivists or journalists) share their insider tips to help you avoid the factcheck trap. Topics covered will include Net and bricks-and-mortar resources you may not know about, how to approach experts, how to vet sources, maximizing a trip to an archives or library, and more? What was their greatest research challenge and how did they solve it?
Moderator: John T. Glover. Panelists: Courtney Alameda, James Dorr, Cynthia Lott, Loren Rhoads, Matthew Weber
6:30-8 PM Mass Author Signing – THE BARRENS
Convention guests and attending authors will be available to sign their books.
9-10 AM Panel: TERRIFYING TROPES: Urban Fantasy: It’s Selling Like Hellcakes, But Is It Horror? – DUNWICH
When is a vampire not a vampire? When is a werewolf more of a beast or less of one? Should witches be sexy or scary or both? A lot of the same creatures and processes are used in writing the tales but are the lines just blurred or are they really separate genres?
Moderator: James A. Moore. Panelists: James Dorr, Yvonne Navarro, Jana Oliver, Lucy A. Snyder, James R. Tuck
9-9:30 AM Reading: James Dorr – INNSMOUTH
To help save the trees, Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing has announced “[o]n Wednesday, April 22nd, we’ll be offering 50% off all of our ebook titles for the day in honor of Earth Day.” The discount will be good both at the Untreed Reads Store and DriveThruFiction, but again for only one day. They further announce that several of their other distribution partners may also participate, “so be on the lookout for those promos as well.”
My titles at Untreed Reads are the chapbooks VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , and the novelette PEDS, all of which can be ordered by clicking their pictures in the center column, plus the lead story, “Appointment in Time,” in the New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR which can be reached by pressing here.
What about those casket girls anyway? Les filles à les caissettes (see April 17, 10 2014, et al.) are at it again with Aimée’s amie “Lo” starring in her own story, the Poesque “Dead Lines.” Mystery along the Mississippi! For more, if a subscriber check DAILY SCIENCE FICTION by clicking here; if not, you can subscribe for free at the same site or just wait a week and find it by searching for “Dorr” in the archives.
In other news, “Black Chaos comes again in 25 MORE frightful — and frightfully funny — tales of the zombie, from the wilds of 19th century Canada to the farthest edge of the galaxy, and from college dorms to Wal-Mart. You may think you know zombies, but not these!” So begins the blurb for BLACK CHAOS II, with my story “Cold, Lifeless Fingers” (cf. March 10, et al.), now available for pre-order in ebook form from Smashwords and Amazon. And, as with the ebook, the print edition should be out soon from publisher Big Pulp or “through any bookstore.” More will follow as it becomes known.
The room is darkened and, behind you, a fluttering sound — the end of the reel being played on an old-style movie projector, or . . . ? Well, lest we forget, Friday the 17th of April is Bat Appreciation Day. For more on our featherless flying friends, including Fun Bat Facts, one can press here. And scroll down to the comments section for a bonus SMILEYBAT.COM link plus an “origins” explanation of why this date was chosen.
Or . . . maybe it was the projector or at least cinema related, as Black Wyrm Publishing’s REEL DARK anthology (“Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page” — see also March 24, 13) continues toward its projected (ahem) publication date for World Horror Convention, May 7-10. So this is another step in the creation of an anthology, gathering data about the authors, which came about yesterday with a request for a bio, a photo, and e-addresses for the blog, Facebook, etc., to be included, all of which were sent back last night.
Then finally last night I received a proof sheet for my story “Dead Lines” from DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, a final step in the publishing process. The story is scheduled for four days from now, Tuesday April 21 (cf. March 31, et al.), so the proof, with any corrections, will go back this evening. And, in the meantime, for those who don’t subscribe to DAILY SF (you’ll still be able to read “Dead Lines,” a tale of New Orleans and mystery along the Mississippi, plus other stories I have in the site’s archives except it won’t go in until a week later — just enter “Dorr” [the last name only for this one] in the search box to the right) you could do so now for free on their website, found here.
Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing has announced that OmniLit.com is offering a 30 percent discount on all its titles for one day only, “Tax Day,” all day tomorrow. To check it out, press here, then fill the name of the book desired in the search box at the upper right (warning: you’ll then get a list of titles that include the one you want as a keyword, so it may involve a bit of scrolling at that point). Or to see my titles only, you can click to “author” and search for “James S. Dorr” (the initial is needed) to find links to my Untreed Reads chapbooks PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . ., and VANITAS; the Untreed Reads anthology YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead story “Appointment in Time”; and one surprise title, an anthology from an entirely different publisher but with a story of mine in it too. (Well, I’ll give one hint, it’s really technically science fiction but the publisher’s name is “Northern Frights.”) Available formats are PDF, EPUB, and Kindle for Untreed Reads books (only PDF, I think, for the Northern Frights “surprise title” though), but remember the sale is for Wednesday only, April 15.
Well maybe not quite an orgy, but this afternoon the Indiana University Cinema ended a run of a lot of Canadian surrealist director Guy Maddin’s films (included: TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, ARCHANGEL, MY WINNIPEG, BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD . . . plus Buñeul’s [with Salvador Dali] L’AGE D’OR as an example of the kinds of movies that influenced him), including talks by Maddin himself on Thursday and Friday, with one of the more unusual interpretations of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY. To quote from the program book: “Canadian cult auteur Guy Maddin has concocted his most ravishingly stylized cinematic creation to date. Beautifully transposing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s interpretation . . . from stage to screen, Maddin has forged a sumptuous, erotically charged feast of dance, drama and silent film techniques. The black-and-white, blood-red-punctured DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY is a Gothic grand guignol of the notorious Count and his bodice-ripped victims, fringed with the expressionistic strains of Gustav Mahler. . . .”
As with many of his films, Maddin borrows techniques from the silents, including the use of title cards which, with a familiarity with the novel DRACULA, should allow the storyline to be followed with relatively little difficulty. Also it is filmed in black and white, often with a purposefully shadowy quality reminiscent of early movies, although with tinting and spot color also used in places to draw attention — and, yes, that color often is red — or simply as accents. Also, the film can be thought of as falling in two parts, the first in England with the seduction of Lucy, as performed by Tara Birtwhistle, and introduction of Dr. Van Helsing to explain to the others, and us, the true nature of the disease that affects her. And then the second, here straying in some parts from Stoker’s original toward the end, where Dracula himself, performed by Zhang Wei-Qiang, comes to the fore, beginning with Mina’s joining her fiancé Jonathan Harker where he’s recuperating in an East European convent-hospital following his escape from Dracula’s castle, then taking us to the pursuit of Dracula and the vampire’s ultimate destruction.
In introducing the film, the docent explained that Maddin had been discouraged by the poor reception of his 1997 TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS and, while his short, THE HEART OF THE WORLD, was much better reviewed a few years later, DRACULA in 2002 marked in a sense his feature film comeback. Also noted was Maddin’s feeling about the original novel as “all rooted in male jealousy,” leading perhaps to an emphasis from the beginning of DRACULA as an invasion novel (akin, in that sense, to H. G. Wells’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, published the year after Stoker’s book in 1898), voicing a Victorian English fear of contamination through immigration — and in particular from the east. Especially in this second part, too, the use of shadows and settings and darkness adds to a German expressionist feeling, with Mahler’s music and fantastic dancing (the music excerpted from his 1st and 2nd Symphonies) leading dramatically up to the climax. Or, to quote the IU Cinema’s program book again, itself adding its own quotation: “THE NEW YORKER declared that ‘Victorian sexuality and melodrama are brought together in a shadowy world of expressionistic images and an athletic, almost rabid, choreography.’”
So, is this a film I would recommend for any lover of Bram Stoker’s novel, DRACULA, or even just of vampires in general — regardless of whether one is a fan of dance or music? Resoundingly, yes.
Now that we’ve gotten Easter bunnies — and other bunnies — out of our systems (we have, haven’t we?), Caitlyn Paxson, on TOR.COM, redirects our attention to “Fantastical Cats Who Are More Than They Seem,” for which one may press here. Unless resting is considered a magical power, however, the local cave cat Wednesday is unlikely to be on the list. However she does have her own web page which can be reached by pressing here.
The picture, incidentally, depicts Wednesday at a much earlier time in her career.
As promised (cf. March 31, 19, et al.), the word has come from Chuck Zaglanis of White Cat Publications that the steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS is now out in paperback as well as electronically. This is the one with my “Tombs” story “Raising the Dead,” about chasing souls in a clockwork-driven aerial balloon. The anthology, in fact, follows aeronautics (as well as robotics) throughout the centuries, starting in ancient Greece and ending in . . . well . . . the aforementioned far-future, dying Earth of the Tombs.
More information on AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATIONS, including ordering via Amazon, can be found here.
Also in today’s email, this arrived from CHIZINE: Happy April Fool’s Day everyone!
But now, the real news!
It’s April and that means it’s National Poetry Month! Except at ChiZine. Here, it’s . . . yes . . . Shitty Poetry Month! Back by popular demand! You could be the winner of the Shitty Poetry Belt (TM)*! Can you take it away from the current title holder. . . ?
Yes, it’s, um, that time for poetry of all shapes and flavors and — after all, why not? — this year I have an entry myself in the first round. Called “The Vampire’s Soliloquy” and with a special tip of the chapeau to William Shakespeare, it and five others can be found here. And voted on too (note, polls close on Sunday for Round 1 poems). Dare I ask?
Or, to go back to the words of CHIZINE: Vote for your favourite poem in week one. Voting ends Sunday at midnight. Winner of this round goes on to compete with the final round poems!