Archive for June, 2016

No, no, not the school with the zombie students (well, with some, maybe) but real horror highs.  As it happens, last night I watched BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW but a combination of lack of patience and sleepiness meant I’ll really have to try it again.  But then, by coincidence, what should I run across today but another list . . . with, at number 6, BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW.  There are a few I already have, NAKED LUNCH for one, but also some I’ll be ordering today if I can find them.  The list:  “Top 10 Drug Horror Movies” by Josh Millican on THEBLOOD-SHED.COM, brought to us somewhat indirectly by Mark Matthews via the HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION on Facebook.  And which, to see for yourself, press here.

IT’S ABOUT TIME.  The guidelines had asked, “[w]hen you hear that phrase, what comes to your mind?  A parent or a spouse, arms crossed, foot tapping, watching as someone sneaks in at night?  Or do you see a calendar, its days or weeks flapping.  Maybe you see time extending into an imagined future, something yet to be understood or experienced.”  And so, we may recall from last year (cf. November 12, Cvr_AboutTime_bookstore-200x300September 14), I submitted and subsequently had accepted a curious tale called “Curious Eyes,” a reprint story originally published in THE FICTION PRIMER in December 1988.  A love story, really, of a lonely night in a local bar made suddenly brighter in ways unexpected, but having to do with time machines, field trips, and future students.

But time has now passed and (dare one say it) IT’S ABOUT TIME:  “The collection has been made available,” according to publisher Main Street Rag, “for Advance Sale on the MSR Online Bookstore.  . . .  The cover price that will appear on the book will be $15.95.  For the Advance Sale period, it can be ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore for $8.50 + sales tax (if the buyer is in NC) + shipping.”  The announcement adds that the approximate release date is listed as October 2016, but “will be refined as it draws closer.”  Also, “the discount price may be discontinued at any time.  We usually cancel the discount price about 2 weeks ahead of release date”.

The publisher stresses that this discount applies only to advance orders made directly through their online bookstore and paid via PayPal (check or credit cards can be accepted as well, but at a special flat rate of $12.50 per copy).  Again the base cost is only $8.50 with sales tax (if any) and shipping calculated by the processor to give a total before you actually pay, including such things as discounts on shipping for multiple orders.  Or, quoting Main Street Rag directly again:  “The online advance sale price is $8.50 + shipping (about $3.60), but check or credit card rate will be $12.50/each.”

Which is to say, it’s not really that complicated at all.  Or, for more information and/or to advance order, one need but press here.

The word came yesterday from British blogger Sonnet O’Dell that she’ll be seeking interviewees for her DUSTY PAGES “Meet a Writer Monday” feature from September through the end of the year.  As long-time readers of this blog may know, Sonnet and I are not strangers either, so I replied quickly:  “We’ve met before, most recently last August, I believe, with my latest book then my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  I would love to do a new interview (and, I might add, your questions are neat — I still remember the mouse-sized elephants vs. the elephant-sized mouse!).  As it happens, I’ve recently signed the contract for a new book, a novel-in-stories called TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY Dusty Pages Banner 2TIMES OF EARTH, scheduled for next spring from Elder Signs Press which would make this fall an excellent time for an interview/preview too!  Perhaps in October, a week or two before Halloween?”

And so today the reply has come, with a set of 50 questions from which I’m to select 10 or 15 to answer (I already know what I can say for “Who was your first crush?”), the exact date to be determined however by the order in which answers, etc., are sent back.  Fair enough, although with the recent flurry of things noted in the past week, mine may push me farther back in the queue.  But that’s fair enough too.  The real point is that this is an opportunity to present some early info — a teaser of sorts — about TOMBS to whet potential reader appetites (or so one may hope!).

As mentioned, Sonnet has interviewed me the previous few years, notably on August 17 2015, June 2 2014 (which included the “mouse/elephant” question alluded to above, the gist of which was whether it’s better to be trampled by hundreds of tiny pachyderms or one very plus-sized rodent), and July 29 2013, as posted on those dates below as well, but, alas, the links there to the actual interviews are long since dead.  However, one may still read the 2015 interview for oneself in the DUSTY PAGES archives by pressing here.  It may be possible in fact to dig even more deeply into the archives, perhaps as far back as to 2013, but let’s let that be an exercise for those who wish to explore as they will.

Wow!  A whole week of daily postings, with so much activity that half these cover more than just one announcement.  Busy, busy — as one imagines that during the hot, lazy days of July there’ll be weeks on end when I’ll be hard put to find one thing to post.  So, always, it goes.

But just a little announcement this time, THE BEAUTY OF DEATH including the premiere of my story “Gold” (see June 6, May 28, et al.) is now up for pre-order on BeautyOfDeath2Kindle . . . including a brief misspelling of my name on Amazon’s blurb, but since corrected (the curse of having a name that can be confused with a common object).  Ah, proofreading, proofreading.  According to Amazon, copies should be “auto-delivered” on Bastille Day, July 14.  Unfortunately there seem to be no plans at this time for a print edition (author’s contracts, in fact, were for electronic rights only), but some of the authors themselves, me included, have expressed a hope that this might change.

Be that as it may, for more information or ordering press here.

“THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM is an anthology of science fiction featuring blunt force trauma, explosions, adventure, derring-do, tigers, Martians, zombies, fanged monsters, dinosaurs (alien and domestic), ray guns, rocket ships, and anthropomorphized marshmallows.”  So it says on Kindle where Upper Rubber Boot Boom61YDDmiN1lL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Books’s eclectic (to say the least) anthology has now been posted.  Curious or wish to order? press here.  Or for pre-ordering both print and/or electronic versions, plus a plethera of other info, one can visit the Museum’s own gift shop by pressing here.  So says Editor/Publisher Joanne Merriam.

As for me, remember the TERROR TREE PUN BOOK and “Olé Bubba and the Forty Steves” (cf. June 22 et al.)?  Well here we have another Bubba (a Bubba brother?) in a tongue-in-cheek tale of Christmas gone wrong, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” (cf. June 13, March 17, et al.), originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2007).  With  . . .  zombies.

TABLE OF CONTENTS (so okay, you saw it March 17 too, but so much stuff in it. . . .)

Khadija Anderson, “Observational Couplets upon returning to Los Angeles from Outer Space”
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, “Photograph of a Secret”
Kristin Bock, “I Wish I Could Write a Poem about Pole-Vaulting Robots”
Alicia Cole, “Asteroid Orphan”
Jim Comer, “Soldier’s Coat”
James Dorr, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians”
Aidan Doyle, “Mr. Nine and the Gentleman Ghost”
matagb-dorr-001-150x150Tom Doyle, “Crossing Borders”
Estíbaliz Espinosa, “Dissidence” (translated by Neil Anderson)
Kendra Fortmeyer, “Squaline”
Miriam Bird Greenberg, “Brazilian Telephone”
Benjamin Grossberg, “The Space Traveler and Runaway Stars”
Julie Bloss Kelsey, two scifaiku
Nick Kocz, “The Last American Tiger”
David C. Kopaska-Merkel, “Captain Marshmallow”
Ken Liu, “Nova Verba, Mundus Novus”
Kelly Luce, “Ideal Head of a Woman”
Tim Major, “Read/Write Head”
Katie Manning, “Baba Yaga’s Answer”
Laurent McAllister, “Kapuzine and the Wolf: A Hortatory Tale”
Martha McCollough, “valley of the talking dolls” and “adventures of cartoon bee”
Marc McKee, “A Moment in Fill-In-The-Blank City”
Sequoia Nagamatsu, “Headwater LLC”
Jerry Oltion, “A Star Is Born”
Richard King Perkins II, “The Sleeper’s Requiem”
Ursula Pflug, “Airport Shoes”
Leonard Richardson, “Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs”
Erica L. Satifka, “Thirty-Six Questions Propounded by the Human-Powered Plasma Bomb in the Moments Before Her Imminent Detonation”
G. A. Semones, “Never Forget Some Things”
Matthew Sanborn Smith, “The Empire State Building Strikes Back!”
Christina Sng, “Medusa in LA”
J. J. Steinfeld, “The Loudest Sound Imaginable”
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, “The Wanderers”
Lucy Sussex, “A Sentimental, Sordid Education”
Sonya Taaffe, “And Black Unfathomable Lakes”
Mary A. Turzillo, “Pride”
Deborah Walker, “Sea Monkey Mermaid”
Nick Wood, “The Girl Who Called the World”
K. Ceres Wright, “The Haunting of M117”
Ali Znaidi, “A Dolphin Scene” and “Australian Horoscope”

Contracts came Tuesday, were signed Wednesday, and went into the mail today.  And oddly they shared the same envelope, although they’re for very different projects.  For the first, in fact, there’s a funny story that goes back to when I had been in Boy Scouts, and of an over-zealous (though mercifully fictional) Scoutmaster who proposed a survival hike in which participants would spend a week in the woods with “nothing but a jock strap and a knife.”  And so, once upon a more recent time, I wrote a sort of absurdist story in which the horror trope of the defenseless woman lost in the woods being stalked by a monster would be ratcheted up, the victim becoming a college student in a “survival geology” course with nothing but a rock hammer, a thong, and a silver dollar.

The geology part, incidentally, was a spinoff from another story, “Ice Vermin,” which will be reprinted in Bards and Sages Publishing’s third volume in their GREAT TOMES anthology series (cf. June 9, et al.), THE GREAT TOME OF FANTASTIC AND WONDROUS PLACES (see specifically May 11), thus joining stories I already have in their first two entries.  And so by coincidence this new story, called “The Stalker,” seemed like it might fit in the fourth and last book, but there was a snag.  The editors thought the undies might make it too over the top, and so on request I rewrote a new, more modestly attired version.  And now the word has come (well, actually Tuesday), the new better dressed “Stalker” (well, actually the stalker’s victim, the stalker itself being more like fur-covered) has been accepted for Volume 4, THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES, set for a December 2016 publication — and so I have stories either out, or due out by the end of the year, in all four of the GREAT TOMES volumes.

But another coincidence now comes forth.  A new Bards and Sages project has been announced, THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES “to provide a loving home for those misfit tales that are too long for most periodicals but too short for print.”  This will be in electronic format only, with reprints allowed although unpublished stories are preferred, for tales between 5,000 and 20,000 words in length “in all speculative genres (horror, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc.).  We will also consider mysteries, thrillers, and action-adventure stories for this series.”  These will be bought for a modest sum, but only for a six-month period, subject to subsequent renewals by mutual consent.  And I have several stories that otherwise are doing nothing that fit the description.

So, long story short, Tuesday also brought a contract for my 9,800 or thereabouts word “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” a fantasy-mystery originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1999, and now tentatively scheduled for this September.

And for poetry. . . .  Well, I really don’t market poetry as much as I should, but this time I did.  So, having dispatched a group of five poems mostly on subjects involving teeth to the Alban Lake family of magazines, the reply came Tuesday from Editor Tyree Campbell:  “Of these, I’ll take two.  ‘Her First Time’ in the Nov 2016 BLOODBOND and ‘Zombie’ in the Dec 2016 DISTURBED.  In each case you’ll receive payment with your contributor’s copy.”  “Zombie,” fully titled “Zombie Trouble?” is sort of a mock sales pitch from a hypothetical pest control company, pointing out first the disturbances zombies are likely to cause the average household and, then, what the company will do about them.  “Her First Time,” on the other hand, is more straightforward, detailing the joyous experience a newly made vampiress receives when imbibing her first blood dinner (and never mind the cleaning bill for that ruined gown).

Summer solstice, June 20, Monday, and still catching up!  Yes the poetry was Tuesday, but what a flurry of activity the beginning of this summer has brought.  The revelation of — count ‘em! — two reprint mystery acceptances.  Also technically Monday though not read till Tuesday, the “Flightless Rats” proof sheets.  And also, posted today because there wasn’t room to do it before, but also punbookofhorror1received late Monday afternoon — and eleven months after its official British publishing date (see July 7 2015, et al.), the appearance in the Computer Cave’s non-electronic mailbox of KnightWatch Press’s TERROR TREE PUN BOOK OF HORROR STORIES.  The writing life, yes, these things do happen — and kudos to early EditorTheresa Derwin for rounding the copies up and getting them out.

But all’s well that ends well, my story in this being in a semi-prominent second-from last position (these being the stories the readers remember after the book has been put away), “Olé Bubba and the Forty Steves.”  Originally published in INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2005), “Olé Bubba” is a light-hearted tale of yuppified zombies, non-zombie good ol’ boys, bodily processes, and the running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain.

This came to me Monday afternoon via Robert Dunbar on Facebook’s LITERARY DARKNESS, an interesting, grotesque, and in its way beautiful piece by Josh Jones from OPENCULTURE.COM.  Titled  “Discover the First Horror & Fantasy Magazine, DER ORCHIDEENGARTEN, and Its Bizarre Artwork (1919-1921),” the article describes and offers examples from a German precursor to even America’s venerable WEIRD TALES (first issue March 1923), its title translated as THE GARDEN OF ORCHIDS.  To quote the article’s third paragraph, “[t]he magazine featured04-Der-Orchideengarten-1919-German-magazine-cover_900 work from its editors Karl Hans Strobl and Alfons von Czibulka, from better-known contemporaries like H.G. Wells and Karel Capek, and from forefathers like Dickens, Pushkin, Guy de Maupassant, Poe, Voltaire, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others.  ‘Although two issues of Der Orchideengarten were devoted to detective stories,’ writes 50 Watts, ‘and one to erotic stories about cuckolds, it was a genuine fantasy magazine.’  And it was also a gallery of bizarre and unusual artwork.”

To see it all for oneself, why not press here (and also be sure to check out the links in the piece itself, including the “Related Content” down at the bottom)?

Yesterday also brought a missive from Alexandra Christian, to wit:  “Here is the very limited edit on your flash story.  I just wanted to make sure it was all good before it went out to the formatter.”  And so the writing life continues, the very few changes checked out this morning with my reply just sent back.  This is for the Mocha Memoirs Press chapbook that will include my New Orleanian “casket girls” tale of “Flightless Rats” (cf. June 8, et al.), as one of ten stories that placed in their last February’s Women in Horror Month flash fiction contest.  More on this to be announced when it happens.

Quotation marks — do I sense a pun?  But first let us repair to the wayback machine for a journey to June 21 2015, “Now It Can Be Told. . . .” (cf., as well, November 4, August 7, et al.), where it was revealed that my reprint story from GOTHIC GHOSTS, “Victorians,” had been accepted for an omnibus volume of unworldly imaginings, both old and new, called CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES, to come out in Britain in a deluxe edition by Flame Tree Publishing.  In this case, neatly sandwiched between tales by luminaries Charles Dickens (“The Signal-Man”) and 09_flame_tree_chilling_ghosts-1Arthur Conan Doyle (“The New Catacomb”).   And then to fast forward where we now discover that Editor Gillian Whitaker is at it again.

Two titles were announced this time out, CRIME AND MYSTERY (to “feature whodunits, detective stories and mysteries bordering on the supernatural.  Probably the more gentle of the two volumes so think Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and Poirot”) and MURDER MAYHEM (“more hard boiled and hard gore.  If your story features real monsters, human, serial killer or otherwise, this is the home for them, especially if the story’s POV is the killer’s”).  Ah, now, I thought. . . .  And so I submitted a total of three stories, actually (we were allowed to do that), two for the MURDER MAYHEM selection lest my favorite of them prove too extreme (good news:  it didn’t).  Then Monday and Tuesday last week the word came back, first for MURDER MAYHEM, then the next day for CRIME AND MYSTERY, but with the request that successful submitters hold off announcing the fact until all authors had had a chance to be informed.

So . . . to cop a cliché, now it can be told!  For MURDER MAYHEM my dog in the dogpile will be “Mr. Happy Head,” originally published in WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (and also reprinted and noted in the pages here in BIZARRO BIZARRO, cf. December 27, October 12, October 7 2013), about a dead man who’s still very persuasive and . . . birds.  For CRIME AND MYSTERY “Paperboxing Art,” originally seen in the Summer 1997 issue of NEW MYSTERY and subsequently an Anthony Award short story finalist at Bouchercon the following year, about an artist whose skill is in sculpting (wait for it!) paper boxes (and also reprinted in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, for more on which one can click on its picture in the center column).

The expected publication date for both of these is August 2016, of which more will appear here as it becomes known.

Another week, another weekend, the writing life goes on.  This weekend brought my writing group’s monthly meeting (my story critiqued, a short-short “steampunk romance” that got a better reception there than from editors so far) and, actually received Friday, a full galley proof of EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOLUME 2 (cf. May 10, et al.), with my one-time ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE story everywhere1“The Wellmaster’s Daughter” number three in the contents lineup.

Her tale originally published in November 1991, and also reprinted in STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for details on which, one can press its picture in the center column) and Smart Rhino Publications’s 2012 UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, etc., the daughter in question displays poor judgment in making friends, something that can have dangerous overtones if one’s home is in the Sahara Desert.  But part of the subtext of EVERYWHERE STORIES is itself danger, according to Editor Clifford Garstang, along with more than just a touch of the mysterious, with story locations spread over twenty different nations, covering at least five continents.

And so, Sunday night, in the wee, wee late hours, my “okay” of my parts of the text went back, well ahead of a July 10 deadline.  The book is still on schedule for an October or possibly earlier release, and therefore should be out from Press 53, LLC, well in time (for those who might, *ahem*, contemplate giving gifts) for a worldwide Halloween celebration.

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