Archive for November, 2016

The end of November is getting exciting!  Books received, TOMBS early-listed on Amazon, freebies for EVERYDAY STORIES II, a new story accepted, and now another.  And this by a higher paying market!  The word came Sunday morning, sneaking vampire-like in with the mist at 12:17 a.m., “Thanks for sending ‘The Candle and the Flame’ to DARKFUSE.  I have finished my review and have decided to stlucia4accept it and offer you a contract.”  In fact the contract had arrived a few minutes before Editor Shane Staley’s email, but that’s the way the internet goes sometimes.  Suffice to say I opened the contract later that day, signed it, and now it is back in DARKFUSE MAGAZINE’s clutches.

“The Candle and the Flame” is a steampunky, fairytaleish story of a little girl at Christmas time selling not matches, but candles.  But nevertheless coming to grief in a friendless, ultra-capitalistic Victorian England.  As for DARKFUSE, to go to the guidelines:  Here’s what we’re looking for . . .  Horror, thriller, suspense, crime, sci-fi, bizarre — anything with a dark slant.  500-2K words paid.  They go on to say they will take longer stories, but the emphasis in on the short, with “The Candle and the Flame,” for instance, coming in at about 1700 words.  And one more note, publication is scheduled for January 13 2017 to help start off a happy new year!

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf. September 25 et al.), co-sponsored by the Monroe County Convention Center.  Featured poets were Indiana University Education PhD candidate Julia Heimer Dadds with, to paraphrase, perilous poems for perilous times among others, followed by first generation Sierra Leonean-American poet and MFA candidate Yalie Kamara.  No, neither read poems about vampires, and in fact the only such ones were read by me, one of eight walk-ons at open mike time in a well-attended session.  But both that I read were about vampires:  “Her First Time” from BLOODBOND, which we just met (see November 27, 7, et al.), and a just-written poem for the coming season, “The Vampire Before Christmas.”

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Two more tomes have been added to the computer cave bookshelf, found in the mailbox Saturday evening.  The first of these is STREET MAGICK:  TALES OF URBAN FANTASY (see September 28, January 2, et al.)  with, I’m happy to say, James C. Simpson’s and my biographies in the “About the Authors” section properly placed with our respective namesstreet-magick2-194x300 (cf. November 14).  My story in this, number two in the lineup, is “Bottles,” a mystery/horror first published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004) and which also appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS, more on which can be found by clicking its picture in the center column, a tale of a Puerto Rican domestic caught in the midst of Cold War conniving and . . . vampires.  Then the second, BLOODBOND from Alban Lake Publishing, has a new poem, “Her First Time,” concerning the thrill of a young vampiress just learning her trade.  More on STREET MAGICK can be found by pressing here; BLOODBOND by pressing here.

Then, received today, EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOLUME II is being given away on Goodreads, or two copies anyway.  From the horse’s mouth:  Enter Everywhere_Stories_Vol_IIfor a chance to win a copy of Everywhere Stories:  Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volume II.  Twenty stories by twenty authors set in twenty countries.  Discover why we say “It’s a Mysterious World!”  My story in this one is “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” (cf. September 29, 18, et al.), originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S and having to do with Saharan desert life in Mali.  The giveaway has started today and will last until Christmas Eve, December 24, for more on which one may press here.

The Amazon Publication date listed was March of this year but, due to the kinds of mixups that happen sometimes, my copy of DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (cf. March 11, et al.) only finally arrived in yesterday’s mail.  But what wonderful timing, the day after dystopianexpressThanksgiving, and special thanks to Hydra Publications Editor Tony Acree for sending it Priority Mail!  So all’s well that ends well — or, in that it’s a book about dystopias, maybe not that well.  My mutt in the melange, in any event, is a tale called “Invisible People” of a near-future society where everyone knows his or her place, or else . . . nobody cares.  Post election blues anyone?  Or more to the point, while as of yet I’ve only glanced at the contents, there’s probably a story that will fit the bill however you voted!  (But to make extra sure you might want to press here.)

Then in other news, due to the holiday I had to wait to use the cave computer’s library annex machine today, but this afternoon I e-sent back the signed contract for MEET CUTE (see November 23).  This is the one about unexpected or otherwise amusing meetings between pairs of people in flash fiction settings, in which my offering is one of forests and fairy lore titled “Butterfly.”

So it would still be a while before delivery since the Amazon “publication date” is June 1 2017, but there it is.  To see for yourself, press here.  TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now listed on Amazon in a print edition with a “pre-order price guarantee” of $14.95.  And the listing hastombswithsubtitle its little quirks too, namely that the author’s biography, as in the anthology DARK HORIZONS, is for James C. Simpson, not me (see also November 14).  But I wrote it.  Honest!

Still, isn’t that neat, for a quick little late-Thanksgiving surprise? A special thing to be thankful for, that the novel-in-stories is that much nearer, including with a slightly updated cover.  Hopefully, eventually, with the right biography too, but there’s still time for that — and, maybe especially in that I ran across it quite serendipitously, with Thanksgiving and all, I thought this worth sharing.

MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.

I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include 25-50 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by different writers.  There will also be 10-20 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories. . . .

Note:  While a “meet cute” may traditionally be romantic, this is not a romance anthology.  Many of the stories involve encounters that are odd, intriguing, awkward, and entertaining — but not all of them are romantic.

So has said Editor Kara Landhuis and, not too long ago, I sent a 900-word story about an encounter in a forest through which a highway is to be cut, an ecological fantasy of sorts — or is it a fairy tale?  And, in this evening’s email, the reply:  “I would like to include your story, ‘Butterfly,’ in the anthology.  I enjoyed your interpretation of the theme, and I am excited about what your story will add to this collaborative work.”

Then two other things, first that Editor Landhuis has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with the project, which can be found here.  It can also serve as a pre-order opportunity ($15 for the paperback version, with free shipping in the US included), though other pledge options are offered as well.  And the second, MEET CUTE is still open for submissions until December 16 (including payment which, while modest, is guaranteed regardless of the kickstarter’s success), for more on which one may press here.

Sunday, the second day of a cold snap that’s finally brought November temperatures to November, also brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Third Sunday “prompt” session (cf. September 19).  This is kind of fun mostly, a group of us around a table writing like mad to prompts the facilitator(s) offer, completing an essay or story or poem within a fixed time.  There are usually three of these, the first yesterday involving description/analysis of a recurring dream, the second a poetry prompt from an outside source, and the third. . . .

Well, a moment on that.  The third, for which we had only five minutes (the first two were fifteen minutes each), was to write a “thank you” letter.  But my mind wasn’t entirely on this.  It seems the cave cat Wednesday (more on whom, here depicted in kittenhood some twelve and a half years back, can be wendy31found under her name on “PAGES” at the far right) had her annual visit to the vet last week and the news wasn’t all good.  She had been losing weight and, tests coming back, the reason appears to be hyperthyroidism.  The good news is she can have the condition treated by eating a special *expensive* cat food, a bag of which is now on order in hopes she will like it.  The bad for her is that she must eat it exclusively, which means no more cat treats (her favorite:  Friskies’ “Beachside Crunch”).  So anyway what came up was a cat-related “thank you” to a hypothetical sister, for the gift of a hypothetical book, with the hypothetical cat “Fluffy” standing in for Wednesday — and which, as a tip of the hat for her, I offer as a lagniappe:

Dear Sister.  Thank you very much for the book you sent, 101 THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR CAT.  Fluffy thanks you too, though she thought numbers 18 and 36 were a little rough.  Her favorite, though, seems to be number 52, the one that involves catnip.  I would have one complaint, however — or perhaps a warning you might include if you give copies to people in the future — for numbers 48, 77, and 82, I woindexuld strongly recommend wearing thick gloves.  (Your Loving Brother)

Then back to business for Monday, today’s email included a proof copy of Popcorn Press’s LUPINE LUNES, including my Rhysling-nominated poem “Beware of the Dog” (see October 29, et al.), returned with no problems found this afternoon.  “Beware of the Dog” was originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL, September 11 2014.

This year, we launched a new initiative called THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES.  To celebrate we’re adding the “Misfits” to our Reader’s Choice poll.  Such was the beginning of November 2’s post announcing that my story “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” late of ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for December 1999, appeared to have been voted favorite “misfit story” this year by a fair landslide, though no real announcement had been made.  Well, as of this week it’s official, for more of which one may press here (and, reflecting the relative importance vis a vis their other category winners — hey, they did say it’s for “misfit stories” — scroll down, and down. . . .  But as a bonus, you’ll find a link to Bards and Sages Publishing’s MISFIT STORIES page as well, where you can even buy a copy of “By Force” for yourself).  As for the prize, well, that’s still unsure (though these days simply being honored for anything is, in itself, something), but more will be posted here as it becomes known.

Then, moving on down to October 22, in a post announcing the up and coming Sonnet O’Dell pre-Halloween interview in DUSTY PAGES you may have noticed this buried toward the end:   In the meantime, alas, one of the local cave computers died last night, the one that takes care of bloggie business here, so I probably won’t be able to post until Monday afternoon, EDT, on a library computer.  Whatever works, yes?  And indeed for the next several weeks these posts were coming to you from the Computer Annex, a.k.a.The Monroe County Public Library.  But now, a consultation with a local computer repair guy having suggested the afflicted instrument would do best to receive a peaceful interment, an all new reconditioned machine discovered on eBay is now up, running, and equipped with the appropriate software, and is bringing you this very post.  The same basic model as the one it replaces but of a slightly more recent sub-vintage, it seems to be working well and, if anything, may be slightly more sprightly than its predecessor.

Let’s wish it a long life!

What drew me to writing?  What (if any) are recurring themes in my work?  How do I get in my characters’ minds?  All good questions — and, of course, a chance to say something about tombs-final-copymy new book, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  These are a part of my latest interview, by Carrie Ann Golden, which is now live on her A WRITER & HER ADOLESCENT MUSE blog (cf. November 10).  What was the inspiration behind TOMBS? 

To find out all, one need but press here.

Thus the holiday weekend has ended, and a mystery has been solved as well.  One may recall November 4, in a post about Elder Signs Press’s just published anthology DARK HORIZONS, the mystery about the not-about-me biography under my name in the “About the Authors” section at the end of the book.  Sunday the secret was exposed, the man behind the biography is actually James C. Simpson (thus one “James” stands in for another, get it?) who has a story, “Branded for Hell,” in Elder Signs’s other anthology scheduled for this month, STREET MAGICK (September 18, January 22, et al.).  “Branded in Hell” appears in the contents, in fact, just after my own story, “Bottles,” to be in there too.  So the question now is if our bios will be reversed, or remain where they should be, or if a third or a fourth James will be found to substitute for one or the other.

The January 22 post also gives the full contents for STREET MAGICK for those who wish an early sneak peek, while those who check out my November 4 post can scroll down to “Comments” to see James Simpson’s mystery solution just as he sent it.

As Editor Kathie Giorgio puts it (from the “Introduction”),  Think of all the words we have for time, phrases that many of us use and hear every day:

Time to go.  Time’s running out.  All the time in the world.  Time and tide waits for no man.  It’s singularirreghigh time.  A question of time, a race against time.  All in good time.  Ahead of your time.  The right place at the right time.  Better luck next time.  

Time dominates us and directs us.  We are ourselves timepieces, our hearts are our pendulums, beating out the seconds we have on this earth.

What time is it for you today?

Well, you get the idea:  IT’S ABOUT TIME.  Yes, that’s the anthology’s name, and yesterday, Friday, it made its appearance in ye olde mailbox to kick off the Veterans Day Holiday Weekend (yes, technically a postal holiday, but packages get special treatment).  And as might be inferred, quite the eclectic collection it is, with scads and scads of mostly short stories and poems of all aspects of time, so that even my story, a science fiction/romance including time travel, seems mundane and routine.  A reprint titled “Curious Eyes” (cf. September 20, et al.), it has been around, though, with four prior appearances starting with THE FICTION PRIMER way back in December 1988.

But to see more for yourself, press here.

Then speaking of re-appearances, today’s email also brought a confirmation from Marge Simon, editor of the “Blood & Spades” poetry column in the Horror Writers Association’s monthly NEWSLETTER.  We had been talking about reprint rights for my “It Begins With the Sound” essay (currently in the Autumn ILLUMEN, see November 5), and it is now officially set for the January 2017 issue.

Or, as some may wonder these latter Election Week days, could they do any worse?  Or even, could they do any better?  But what about robots in general, even the ones on, say, an auto assembly line.  Should they have the right to form their own unions (or have human trade unions lost so much power that the question is moot)?  And, if corporations have “personhood” (or would a Trump Supreme Court roll that “right” back?), should not robots have it too, whatever “it” really is?

As it happens none of these questions are actually asked, at least not in those words  exactly (well, one sort of is), in “10 Human Rights That Robots Deserve” by Stubby the Rocket on this week’s TOR.COM, but maybe they’re just being asked in the wrong way.  For instance, before asking about rights to vote, should we not first define a general right to self-determination?  But still, what might happen to our own rights if those of non-humans — especially ones we may have built ourselves — come into the mix?

It’s a sort of deep subject, with no easy answers, at least not given, but to read more about it press here.




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