Archive for June, 2015

“Do you love to discover new books?  Do you review and recommend books online, in print, for your bookstore, library patrons, blog readers, or classroom?  Then you are what we call a ‘professional reader,’ and NetGalley is for you.  Registration is free, and allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advance reading copies, on your favorite device.”

Does this describe you?  If so, to continue their description, “NetGalley is a service to promote titles to professional readers 9780988748842_p0_v2_s260x420of influence.  If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles.  Your feedback and recommendations are essential to publishers and readers alike.”

Thus in today’s email, Max Booth III and Lori Michelle of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing have announced the availability of THE TEARS OF ISIS, my (ahem!) Bram Stoker Award® nominated fiction collection, on NetGallery for reviewers until the end of the month of July.  Which brings the point that, should you have sort of thought maybe you might want to read THE TEARS OF ISIS (that is, of the Egyptian goddess, no relation to recent Mid-Eastern geo-politics) yourself sometime, to see what the buzz is about and all that and maybe add to it, now would be a good time!  As noted above, registration is free.

If interested, curious, just hankering for something to do on a lazy summer afternoon, more on NetGallery (including registration, should one desire) can be found here.  Or for inspiration, to see what some other reviewers have said about THE TEARS OF ISIS before, one can also press here.

Add flash to your writing.  Be not like all others but dare to venture beyond the beaten path.  Well, some have done this — one might recall even I had a story in Bizarro Pulp Press’s BIZARRO bizarro-bizarroBIZARRO (see  January 30 2014, December 27 2013, et al.).  But that’s just the tip of the much-clichéd iceberg, as witnessed by Nathaniel Woo in “10 Bizarre Literary Movements and Genres,” published on LISTVERSE and for which see here.

(And should you be tempted, or, hey maybe I can sell a book too, for more information on BIZARRO BIZARRO one may press here.)

The first word of this came from the HWA’s Facebook page, via Editor-in-Chief Nathon Allen Balka:  “Submissions are still being taken for NOTHING’S SACRED Vol. 3 (due out October 2015).  However, with the number of short stories received, our primary focus is shifting to the other categories listed.”  I checked out the details and they looked inviting, poetry in particular (an “other category listed”) paying $10.00 each, so, going to the poem vault, I exhumed five thus far unpublished ones.  And so, off they went.

Lateish Tuesday, exactly one week after, the word came back.  “After reviewing the five samples, it was decided that there are three that we would enjoy using in the upcoming NOTHING’S SACRED Vol. 3.  Those are:  The Vampire’s Excuse, The Vampiress Reflects, and Necropolis.”

Contract, etc., will come in a few weeks and, if all goes well, the issue itself should be out just in time for Halloween!

As a tip of the hat to the recently deceased Sir Christopher Lee (cf. below, June 11), as brought to my attention courtesy of Dotti Enderle-Dax Varley via Facebook, FLAVORWIRE.COM has posted a list of the ten best cinematic Dracula performances of all time.  virgin1Their opinion, to be sure.  Some may please, some may surprise, some you may disagree with (I myself lean more and more to the original “Count Orlok,” Max Schreck, but was also pleased by the presence of Zhang Wei-Qiang at around number 8), and some may wish the list had been expanded to the top fifteen or twenty or more.  Be that as it may, one works with what one has.

So here for one’s pleasure and illumination (as well as, as said, its own reminiscence of Christopher Lee), to peruse press here.

“With a new foreword by Dr Dale Townsend, this is a chilling selection of brand new stories, and essential ghostly shorts from the infamous pens of Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Algernon Blackwood, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hope Hodgson (The Gateway of the Monster), M.R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost), and other phantasmagoric authors. . .  This powerful new book is a dazzling collection of the most gripping tales, vividly told.”  So says UK art and music and art calendar, as well as illustrated Gothic and fantasy book publisher, Flame Tree Publishing’s blog, but that’s not all.  From a shortened version received in middish-May, concerning perhaps those “other phantasmagoric authors,” came the call, but with a deadline of May 25:   1104.0“We need new, or recent short stories.  We do not require exclusivity.  You retain copyright.  We don’t mind if the story has been published online or in magazines before.  As long as you have the right to license your story for an anthology, then we’re happy to read it.”

Such is the exciting life of a writer.  “Stories between 2000 and 4000 words are the perfect pitch.  Anything outside this range will be considered, but will be disadvantaged,” the call went on, and with a SFWA-defined pro pay rate to boot.  But less than a week to decide and submit!

So submit I did, with a 4000-word tale originally published in Charlie Grant and Wendy Webb’s GOTHIC GHOSTS (Tor Books, 1997; also reprinted in 2001 in my first prose collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE), “Victorians,” a psychological examination of memories repressed and Queen Anne mansions.  And Thursday the word came back, but with this proviso, that “[w]e ask for your confidentiality on this matter for the next two days because we have to disappoint many other authors this time.  We wanted to inform you first though.”  But now the two days is up, and more, so at last it can be told:  “Victorians” has been accepted for the above-described deluxe anthology (“. . . covers will be embossed, gold foiled and printed on silver, a sumptuous offer in a crowded marketplace.  The current print run is set at a minimum of 3000 copies”), CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES.

Thus Friday the contract was signed, with an invoice, and both put into the mail to England, with publication set if all goes well for August 15.

Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing sent this along, that OmniLit is holding a “Welcome To Summer” sale for this Saturday only, offering all titles they sell at 25 percent off.  These include all four of my titles from Untreed Reads as well as one from Northern Frights Publishing.  Three are chapbooks, the stand-alone short stories VANITAS and I’M DREAMING OF A. . . . and the dystopian science fiction novelette PEDS, to which are added the Untreed Reads New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, with my lead-off story “Appointment in Time,” and Northern Frights’s WAR OF THE WORLDS:  FRONTLINES with my dimensional fantasy “The Candle Room.”  Books are available in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions unless otherwise noted.

More can be found on the OmniLit site (if you wish to look for me in the search box at the upper right, use “James S. Dorr” in the “Author” category — they refuse to recognize me without my middle initial).  But remember the sale is for Saturday only, June 20, ending at midnight Central Time.

How about a movie date on a romantic June evening — but which one to see?  If you like them scary, here’s a checklist of “The 14 Greatest Horror Movie Trailers Ever Made,” including at least two we’ve met (or at least had mentioned) on these very pages.  Brought to us by — which is to say, the opinion of — THE HORROR MOVIES BLOG, weighing in at number 13 is 220px-Cloverfield_theatrical_posterIT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, reviewed here on March 26 as part of this spring’s IU Cinema Ray Bradbury Festival.  And for number 1, also mentioned below on June 8 (as well, with some foreshadowing of the second list following just below, March 15 2011), CLOVERFIELD., the trailers of which, with twelve more films, can be viewed by clicking here.

But if that weren’t enough (and one might suppose as a public service of sorts as well) what if there’s entertainment enough in the strange sounds and manifestations in your own apartment?  Again to the rescue, THE HORROR MOVIES BLOG offers a list of “16 Signs a Ghost or Spirit Is Paying You a Visit,” which may be perused by pressing here.

Born May 27 1922, Christopher Lee came into the world the year of Dracula’s first screen appearance (albeit renamed Count Orlok) in F.W. Murnau’s NOSFERATU, EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS.  The tribute below is from Facebook courtesy of Ken Trayling, via Dacre Stoker.


As a spinoff from June 2nd’s post on “The 25 Creepiest Movies Posters Ever,” I’ve ordered a couple of the films so advertised, one of which — by odd coincidence — I watched last night.  This was THE BAY, a “found footage” (or, as explained, actually gathered and assembled by a Wikileaks-type organization) presentation of what “really” happened on the Fourth of July 2009 in Claridge, Maryland, as narrated three years later by an at-the-time intern reporter who had been assigned to cover the festival.  The “Bay” in question is Chesapeake Bay and, as might be expected in a horror movie, what happened is not good.  Some have favorably compared this film to CLOVERFIELD, about a bad (read extraterrestrial monster invasion) night in New York city, pointing out this one is more realistic in terms of believability that the things depicted might have actually been filmed as shown.  Also, from a biologist-reviewer, the science is apparently good as well.

Would one believe “sea lice?”  These actually exist, and can cause harm to fish, though they’re rather small.  But there are other things too in the brackish waters of the bay, most notably a boatload of pollution.  Thus the film starts with news footage of various fish kills as well as one involving birds, before moving to the matter at hand Cymothoa_exigua_(capovolta)with our reporter, Donna Thompson, beginning an audio tape which will become the narrative of the film.

There have, it turns out, been warnings here too, but the powers that be tended to dismiss them.  There is, after all, the economy to be considered as well.  So given the setup, it doesn’t come as too great a surprise to find that, maybe, next time. . . .  Except, it turns out, what “really happened” has thus far been suppressed.  So, it is this film that is intended to be our warning.

And that’s where the power of the film lies.  We know that Donna survives, for instance (there is a mention toward the end about some people seemingly being immune), which mutes some of the tension in films like CLOVERFIELD or [REC].  But the creepiest part comes afterward, I think, when one reflects that it’s not just a film of a fairly small town falling victim to a quickly contained plague, but rather about it being completely covered up afterward, even though seven hundred some deaths were involved.  And it seemed so easy — that’s the creep factor.  That maybe, possibly, something like that could have really happened.

Which brings us to the “odd coincidence” I noted in the first sentence at the start of this post.  Quite by accident I ran across the fact that today, June 8, is World Oceans Day, intended to warn us that, vast as the oceans are, pollution has advanced to become a dangerous thing indeed.

So, an innocent evening of movie horror or, maybe, next time. . . ?

10479908_290483774475964_6698181542710289542_oJust because it’s cool, on a pleasant Sunday evening.  The image is courtesy of New Romantic-Gothic Movement (which on May 27 featured a link to the trailer for A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, cf. January 19, 11, for which check here; or on May 13 a discussion of the reception of DRACULA by its 19th century critics here) via The Macabre and the Beautifully Grotesque, both on Facebook and, for leisure activity, worth a browse through from time to time.

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