Archive for December, 2016

A few loose ends as the year winds down.  Proof sheets went back Friday to Editor Kara Landhuis for MEET CUTE (see December 11, November 26, 23), the illustrated anthology of eccentric meetings scheduled for early 20splatter217.  My part in this, “Butterfly,” is a rather gentle tale as stories by me go and will be, I understand, illustrated by Marge Simon.

Then later in the evening Grey Matter Press weighed in with an announcement that their nouveau splatterpunk anthology SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. October 22 2015, et al.) can now be obtained free by both new and old e-readers with Kindle Unlimited.  My tale in this one is the far less gentle “The Artist,” for more on which, and the book in general, one may press here.

On the evening of November 9th, 1989, the Cold War came to a dramatic end with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Four years ago another wall began to crumble, a wall that arguably has as much impact on the world as the wall that divided East and West Germany.  The wall in question is the network of paywalls that cuts off tens of thousands of students and researchers around the world, at institutions that can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions, from accessing scientific research.

On September 5th, 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher from Kazakhstan, created Sci-Hub, a website that bypasses journal paywalls, illegally providing access to nearly every scientific paper ever published immediately to anyone who wants it. . . .  

This one’s a bit weird, that is that I’m picking it up for this blog.  I’m a writer of fiction, so let’s tag this one “science fiction” although it’s actually about real-time research right sci-hub-websitehere and now.  It’s about a worry I have about copyright, that the length a work remains in copyright after an author’s death is far too long.  And the problem is that it’s automatic, it’s not a case of an author’s heir having the option of extending protection for his or her work, but that the protection is in force even if the heir, a grandchild or niece or nephew or even conceivably a great-grandchild, etc., may not even know a work exists.

So now you’d like to republish the thing, and you’re even willing to pay a royalty, but who do you ask to get permission?  And how do you find out?  Or, most likely, if you’re not willing to reprint it illegally, do you just give up, allowing the work to remain in obscurity until even the memory of it is dead?

For me, as an author, I’d rather be pirated than forgotten — that’s my opinion — but I just write fiction, plus some poetry, so who really cares?  But what about published knowledge in general, what about scientists on the brink of an important discovery who need to research other work in their field, perhaps skimming thousands and thousands of pages, some in journals no longer published?  No longer in libraries?  Or if available, at a cost that can’t be afforded, and that’s just to read it?  It turns out academic publishing has its own rules, too, and these may be even more restrictive to the point of preventing research — not encouraging new work and new publication like copyright law was originally intended to do.

Which leads us to today’s email trove, and “Meet the Robin Hood of Science” by Simon Oxenham on BIGTHINK.COM about what the scientists themselves are doing, which in these waning days of an at least politically weird year seems to add some hope — at least for me!  For more, press here.

. . .  because poems work on rhythms and sounds, the same as music, even without having tunes to accompany them. One hint, though, when reading poetry, try reading it out loud. Or at least (if, say, there are people around you and you don’t like being stared at) pronounce the words under your breath, the way you’re taught not to read in school. Because the point of poetry is not just what it says, but the way it says it.

So there’s rap music, too. And poetry slams. And, when I was much younger, poets sometimes read poems with jazz in the background. A muted piano, stand-up bass, a drummer for accents with cymbals and brush, an alto sax, maybe, while the poet recited the words over it, not as lyrics, but for their own sake, the musicians having the job to make sure their own sounds worked with them.

So there! (said I) to answer the rhetorical question, if you like music why should you like poetry too?  Of course I go on with it a little, and even throw in an example or two, and that was the essay, “It Begins With the Sound,” that we might recall was one of those featured in this Fall’s issue of ILLUMEN (see November 5, October 8), along with another by fellow poet and poetry essayist Marbloodspades_logoge Simon.  But Ms. Simon is also editor of the “Blood and Spades:  Poets of the Dark” column in the HWA NEWSLETTER and, as it happens, asked for reprint rights for the January 2017 issue (cf. November 12) to spread the good word to the horror writers.  And so, today, for pre-New Years Eve readers, the January NEWSLETTER has just come out.

Of course there’s a catch.  To read it there you have to be a member of the Horror Writers Association yourself.  It is, incidentally, at least the third poetry essay I’ve had published in “Blood and Spades” (I think actually the fourth, the first being one on Edgar Allan Poe many, many years back, but pretty well lost in the dust of history) and quotes in part from one by me in June 2010, “Edgar Allan, Allen Ginsberg, and All that Jazz,” which is noted in the current issue too.  (Then, for completists, there is one yet more recent, “Vamps:  The Beginning,” that appeared in January 2012.  Both this and  the 2010 one, incidentally, can also be read by clicking POETRY (ESSAYS) in the PAGES column on the far right.)

However, for those who aren’t members of HWA, “It Begins With the Sound” can also still be read in its ILLUMEN version, which can be purchased by pressing here.

So we’ve all met Krampus (cf December 4, et al.), but for real Christmas carnage, what about Krampie’s big brothers (and sisters)?  This comes to us via BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM by Trace Thurman, “5 Absolutely Terrifying Christmas Legends!,” for which press here.

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And to all a good night. . . .

Godzilla, move over!  It’s that time of year again when the e-mailbox groans under the metaphorical weight of the money reported by various publishers due for the year’s (or at least half’s or quarter’s) sales.  And the first has appeared in this morning’s wee hours, to be paid through Paypal by New Year’s Eve.  As has has been my practice in previous years, I do not report actual publishers’ names — or amounts — in order to avoid mutual embarrassment, but for this first report let us simply say it’s good that the cost of a stamp doesn’t have to be deducted in order to send me an actual check.

But every bit adds up, yes?

Just a quick followup, THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES oozed into the computer cave’s physical mailbox yesterday afternoon (see just below, December 17, et al.).  Yes, the cover is that shade of purple.  Within are tales with (quoting their blurb) “[p]lots revolving around the folklore and legends of ‘real world’ cryptids.”  Or, to be more specific, here’s a table of contents:

The Voice of Thunder by Taylor Harbin
The Burryman by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Hunting a Legend by Derek Muk
Field Study by T.C. Powell
Cats in the Cradle by Matthew Smallwood
The Stalker by James Dorr
Shapes in the Water by Calvin Demmer
The Bad, Bad Luck of Judson Worley by Rob Munns
The Ghost of Arriscado Basin by Jon Michael Kelley
Sutan by Derek Muk
Hoofquake by CB Droege
Eleven Essential Items to Bring When Planning Selfies with Bigfoot by Sarina Dorie
Dark Fin by Mark Charke

Amazon, also, claims it’s ready for ordering now including in print, for which one can press here.

Bards and Sages Publishing’s THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES (cf. October 27, August 3, et al.) is now live, according to Editor Julie Ann Dawson.  This is Number Four in the GREAT TOMES greattome4series, joining with those of FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS, DARKEST HORRORS AND UNSPEAKABLE EVILS, and FANTASTIC AND WONDROUS PLACES.  And I have stories in all four of these with “The Stalker,” in this one, the tale of a young college woman’s encounter with a Windigo and why one must always remember one’s BIBLE.  Also, the print edition has received a final approval and should be out within the next few days.

More information on THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES can be found from Bards and Sages, with table of contents, by pressing here.

. . . the idea of faith is more general in the sense that it covers any devotion to a higher being or spiritual power.  It could be anything, from a religion-based god to alien overlords to the Force.  The point is that you believe in something outside yourself that, in some way, shapes, influences, or even controls the nature of our world.  Yet somehow, regardless of the faith, the path to getting there is always the same:  you have to hear the call, and then yoarrival_movie_posteru have to take conscious steps to overcome that adversity within and without to reach its source, taking you from a non-believer to a believer.

Well, no, I haven’t seen ARRIVAL yet, I tend to wait sometimes for what I think may be important films to be out long enough on DVD to bring the price down to buy for myself, but that’s my problem.  The above, from “Communication and Faith in ARRIVAL”  by Michael Moreci, on TOR.COM a day or two back, piqued my interest however (cf. below, for instance, November 3, August 26 ; September 17 2015):  the question of faith, belief, in science fiction as well as, perhaps to be more expected, in fantasy and horror.  The need for an author — or reader — to know a people’s traditions in order to build their world.

Or that’s how I see it.  Moreci also brings up Joseph Campbell (the hero’s journey), and the movies STAR WARS:  A NEW HOPE and CONTACT; while in my own writings I might note the upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH as well as, at least in part, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And in any event I may look into ARRIVAL myself sooner than I had expected.  Moreci’s critique, on the other hand, may be read right now here.

The beat goes on.  Late yesterday evening the contract came for my story “The Dark Call of the Sea” from PHOBOS MAGAZINE (see October 25) to be initialed, the “Author Credit” section double checked, and the bio for publication okayed and/or updated.  “Once we get the contract back then we can send over your payment.  Thank you and talk to you soon!”  And so, today, all ha170px-20000_squid_holding_sailors been sent back with, yes, one small correction to the bio (my novel-in-stories TOMBS, to be published in June 2017 rather than just in “spring-summer”), Paypal information had been sent before, and now one awaits the cash and an author’s copy of the publication.

The writing life as it’s supposed to be lived!

“The Dark Call of the Sea,” incidentally, is more or less what it sounds like:  A Lovecraftian horror story about a summer at Innsmouth gone bad, with a bit of a tip of the hat in addition to that author’s “The Music of Erich Zann.”  The issue itself is to be PHOBOS’s fourth, on the theme “Deep Black Sea,” so you landlubbers realize it won’t be alone — and you have been warned (details to come as they become known)!

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The “town” being Earth, of course, and you probably knew it even though it doesn’t get mentioned all that often.  But, President-to-be Trump aside, here’s an honest tip of the hat to the Russians courtesy of THEGUARDIAN.COM via Steph P. Bonchini’s THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, “Why the Soviet Space Workhorse Soyuz Is Still Going Strong — 50 Years On” by Robin McKie, for which press here.  Ah, nostalgia (and what a weird opportunity to have all the tags begin with an “S”)!




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