Modest Stalker Completes Run of Great Tomes Table; And Speaking of Bards and Sages. . . .
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 This will be in electronic format only, with reprints allowed although unpublished stories are preferred, for tales between 5,000 and 20,000 words in length “in all speculative genres (horror, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical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.