Archive for November, 2015

Each year, on October 1, we host an open call for horror-themed poems and stories.  By October 31, we have a finished document published in ebook form, with a print version close on its heels.

This book is the result of that creative marathon.  Inside are works from writers new and old, pros and newcomers alike.  Some fewZenOfTheDead are previously published pieces deserving new readership; the majority have never before seen the light of day.

Our goal each year is simple: to encourage a wider audience for poetry and short fiction.  Halloween provides a perfect opportunity.

So came the announcement in the wee hours of this morning from Editor Lester Smith, that ZEN OF THE DEAD (see October 28) is now available from Popcorn Press.  My connivance in this year’s costume parade is “La Valise,” the tale of a New Orleans lady with a biting habit who, newly returned from a visit to her ancestral France, is victim of a mix-up of suitcases at Louis Armstrong Airport.

For more, one may press here.

The message actually came Friday from Editor L. Andrew Cooper, that the anthology of stories and poems about and/or inspired by film, REEL DARK:  TWISTED PROJECTIONS ON THE FLICKERING PAGE (see MAY 19, 4, et al.), will be coming out in a new edition.  Originally published by BlackWyrm Press, it is slated to Reel Dark COVER 050415pngcome out anew from Seventh Star Press in a likely expanded edition, including (hopefully) a couple of new stories and an all-new cover.  The rest of the contents aside from one or two corrections will remain unchanged.

My story in this is “Marcie and Her Sisters,” concerning a woman (and her sisters) who seem to have made some bad decisions about love and marriage and . . . zombies.  Or have they?  Publication is likely to be in early- to mid-2016, of which more here when it becomes known.

Busy times during the Thanksgiving run-up!  The little odds and ends having to do with the non-writing parts of the writing process — an interview questionnaire to complete; a proof sheet awaited from another publisher; then, yesterday afternoon, a contract and ancillary materials from a third.  This complicated by packing for a few days out of town where I’ll not have access to a computer.  Such is the life of the writer.

So the contract will be in the mail today, winging its way back to T. Scott Douglass of Main Street Rag Publishing for the anthology IT’S ABOUT TIME (cf. September 14).  The story is a reprint from a time back (even longer than for “Lobster Boy,” of which see just below, November 10), “Curious Eyes,” a short romantic science fiction tale about . . . well . . . time.

So the wheels of publishing turn, for me in the days of a waning November; for the publishers a polishing up of details in hopes to be out in time for the (one may hope) lucrative Christmas season.

The devil lures with sweet words and promises, do you fall for his trap or trick him instead?  Can you really have it all?  HOW TO TRICK THE DEVIL tells stories of trickery and deception; of monsters lurking in unexpected places; of the lengths we might go to get what we want.  Much more than your average deal-with-the-devil tale, the talented authors in this collection explore the motivations behind the choices we make, be it out of fear, greed, or desperation.  The trickster works in HTTTD Cover7-2confidence, never expecting the twists that just might tear his plans apart.  Evil is not always rewarded, but the hero does not always win.

So says the Amazon blurb, but what of the authors?  Well, along the way Editor Stephanie Buosi had put out a call, “I would love to post a small mini-series of interviews on my webpage in order to highlight the anthology, and the wonderful authors (you guys) who contributed.  I’m hoping to feature four or five interviews, so please let me know if this is something you would like to be a part of.”   I had agreed, and it happens today I received my questionnaire.

My part in this is a tale of a carnival’s sideshow denizens who decide to go out trick or treating one Halloween, titled “Lobster Boy and the Hand of Satan” (cf. October 14; September 29, 25, et al.), originally published some while back in CYBER PULP’S HALLOWEEN ANTHOLOGY 2.0 (Cyber Pulp, 2003).  But will I be able to remember the answers to such questions as “Where did the inspiration for such a story come?”  Possibly yes as I keep notes on stories in their file folders.  In any event, we can find out together — information will come on these pages when the interview is completed and set to be published.

And while we wait, in addition to Lulu and Erebus Press’s own site (see October 14), HOW TO TRICK THE DEVIL can now be found on Amazon too, for which one may press here.

So . . . as promised, the email came at exactly 11:02 Friday night.  The FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY!   And what might such an anthology contain?  To quote from the blurb:  “Inside these pages, you’ll find everything a geeky kinky reader could want — from alien anal probing to comic book super heroes and super GeekyKink300-200x300villains, and even such slightly obscure nerdishness as a new take on Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear and all sorts of Elvin sex.

“And of course, there are ample references to Doctor Who, Star Trek, Harry Potter and Devo. . . .”  Not to mention my own story, “A Christmas Carnage,” jolly and gross, for more on which see just below, November 4.

Or to enter into, as it were, the horse’s mouth, one can press here for the publisher’s site with the rest of the blurb plus ordering info, while Amazon fans need but press here for the Kindle edition (though Editor Lori Perkins warns that the print edition there may take a few days longer).

In connection with Riverdale Avenue Books, we’re looking for new and/or previously published stories featuring geeky kinkiness.  Or kinky geekiness.  How does your inner geek get their rocks off?  Have you turned that amazing scene where you were Twilight Sparkle giving it to another bound pony right in the Pinkie Pie? Got a hot hunt short story about Boba and Han?  Maybe a story set AT the GKE?  Send it in!

Such was the call for the FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY and, believe it or not, I happened to have something that just might fill the bill.  Originally published in IN THE BLOODSTREAM from Mocha Memoirs Press in 2013 (see October 28, September 23 of that year), “A Christmas Carnage” is a Dickensian (based, that is a little, on A CHRISTMAS CAROL), Lovecraftian (sort of), splatterpunky eroticish tale of a young Miskatonic U. grad who has a chainsaw in his closet (a nervous sort, he keeps it for personal protection), and a more than family interest in his long-defunct umpity-umpth-great aunt Carol 3frenchwho had once been an artist’s model in Paris.  So when she makes an appearance as, he would like to think, his Christmas Present . . . well, there is a price, of course, as well as a hint that those in the World of Spirits don’t appreciate puns.

Today the word came:  “Congratulations!  You are in the First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology WHICH WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS FRIDAY, so we need you to sign and return this contract asap.  Please let us know if you will be attending GKE this coming weekend, so you can read your work?”  Proof sheets are to be expected in 12 to 24 hours.  The GKE, or Geeky Kink Event, which alas I had to apologize I would not be getting to, is (to quote their site), “a three-day kink event in New Jersey featuring a full dungeon, classes and workshops, vendors, and plenty of social activities.”  There’s no word, however, as to whether NJ Governor Chris Christie is expected to be a guest.

But I did sign and send back the contract this p.m.

Then for a brief news flash, the previous evening CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES (cf. August 21, et al.) my groaning overstuffed mailbox.  From Flame Tree Publishing, this is a chunky, nicely made nearly 500-page book containing ghost tales both old and new.  Mine, a reprint from GOTHIC GHOSTS (Tor Books, 1997), is titled “Victorians” and can be found between Charles Dickens’s (ahem!) “The Signal-Man” and “The New Catacomb” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Among other activities on Halloween, I sent back an interview plus pictures, etc., to Alan Baxter for publicizing Cohesion Press’s upcoming anthology, BLURRING THE LINE, including my Victorian-set tale “The Good Work” (see July 13, March 23, February 7).  Now word has come back:  “Thanks to you all for getting the author interviews back to me so promptly  — we’re all in and well ahead of schedule. I have plenty of time now to create each post.  BLURRING THE LINE is due for release on 26th November, and I’ll be posting your interviews in the same order as the Table of Contents of the book, with Marty blurringYoung’s interview as editor going up first.”  These, Alan goes on to say, will appear one by one each weekday following the 26th, hopefully with subjects and friends helping to pass the word around, or, in Alan‘s own words, “[l]et’s hope this series of posts gives the book some extra exposure.”

This is the one that asks, “Do you really know what’s real and what isn’t?

“What we’re looking for:  BLURRING THE LINE . . . is seeking to blur the line between what is fiction and what is non-fiction.  We want horror stories, tales that are serious and frightening, hard-hitting and imaginative.  We want monsters; vampires and zombies and werewolves and the mummy and creatures from the Black Lagoon and giant killer plants and mutated ants and demons and devils and Mothmen and everything else you can think of or that hasn’t been thought of yet.  But we also want your serial killers and demented and depraved humanity. We want it all. Push your imagination and take us into the far reaches of your darkness, without letting go of reality.  Make us believe.”

And so “The Good Work” informs us of urchins in a Dickensian London with Christmas coming, which means that one must work extra hard to combat the witches — or what are believed to be witches — lest the season’s holiness be corrupted.  But did they really?

Watch this space and, with luck, by the end of the month there should be some links to help one find out.

This is from 10BADHABITS.COM courtesy of Robert Dunbar via Literary Darkness on Facebook.  In the words of its author, Justin Howe:  “Here are twelve weird books to get you through the year until next Halloween.  They’re not all horror, but screen-shot-2015-10-08-at-11-39-50-pmthey’re all certainly weird.  And if they’re not enough for you, you can always dip into the weird world of old whaling ship logs to hold you over.”  For the whaling ship logs he provides a link, and they may be interesting in themselves (cf. sample page provided here); for the twelve weird books I can’t really say because I don’t believe I’ve read any myself, although there are several I think I’ll look into.  The title is “A Year of the Weird:  12 Weird Books,” and to see for yourself one need only press here.

As the Halloween Holiday Weekend winds down, Sunday brought, also, November’s First Sunday Prose Readings (see October 4, et al.) sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bookstore Boxcar Booisis-ecover-194x300ks.  This time, in part because of its proximity to Halloween, I was the second of three featured readers, the others being memoir writer and burgeoning novelist Claire Arbogast and novelist, attorney, and nonfiction writer Karen A. Wyle, the first of these reading a chapter from her Indiana University Press published LEAVE THE DOGS AT HOME and the last a borderline “afterlife fantasy” as well as brief sections from her recent writers’ guide to law and lawyers on the topics of criminal defense and divorce.  Sandwiched between, I read “In the Octopus’s Garden,” lead story from THE TEARS OF ISIS, prefacing it by noting it was inspired by a section of DEATH TO DUST, a book on the things that can happen to a corpse after one has died, as well as with my poem “La Méduse” — which also comes just before “In the Octopus’s Garden” in THE TEARS OF ISIS – to help ease listeners into the right mood.*

*One might also note that, as written by me, MC Joan Hawkins’s introduction to my part of the reading included a disclaimer that listeners should “expect a PG Rating, including such items as Violence, Graphic Decomposition, Overly Fond Memories, Corpse-Eating, Eating of Corpse-Eaters, Semi-Nudity, and Excessively Grotesque Revenge.”  Interested?  Click on THE TEARS OF ISIS’s  picture in the center column.

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