Archive for August, 2017

What is it with lists?  I’ve had too many lately, probably, but this is a major one to round out the month with.  From the GEHENNA POST, “43 Underrated Films from the Darker Side of Cinema You’ve Probably Never Seen,” with plot descriptions from IMDb plus links to Amazon (though, of the latter, mostly Blu-ray ones, but peons like me can click from there to mere DVD).  To quote from the site:  In this list, you will find 43 films that we felt are lacking in recognition and that deserve more appreciation and acknowledgement.  These films are in no particular order.  There are a few foreign language films, but we are planning an entirely different list for them (so don’t be disappointed at the lack of representation just yet!), seeing as there are so many great pieces out there from across the world.

Appetite whetted?  I will say there are some I haven’t seen myself, including the one pictured here, LAST SHIFT.  Also, while mostly horror, a fair number of them are science fiction — or mostly science fiction.  But to see for yourself, press here.

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“Now in its 7th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations,” the announcement tells us (see also, below, August 9 and 7).  As in years past, I will have a slot too, billed as “horror fiction” from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, September 3rd.  The event itself, arts fair, music, local displays, and the Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored “Poetry on Demand” booth and Spoken Word Stage, spans the Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday September 2 and 3, arrayed along 4th Street in Bloomington, Indiana.  Or more to the point for the Spoken Word Stage, just off 4th on Dunn Street.

Here is the schedule, as of today, noting again that I’ll be on Sunday with excerpts from my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, from 3:30 to 4.  And if you like it, I’ll be up again with an excerpt from a different section the following month, in a featured spot at the Writers Guild’s First Sunday Prose Reading, on which more later.

SATURDAY Sep 2
10:30 Shana Ritter (poetry)
11:00 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:30 Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:00 Merry MAC cont’d
12:30 Butch D’Ambrisio (sonnets)
1:00 Alex Hollett (poetry)
1:30 Abegunde (poetry)
2:00 Matt Hart (poetry)
2:30 Wil Gibson
3:00 PrideSlam Showcase (poetry)
3:30 Bloomington High School South Poetry Out Loud (poetry)
4:00 Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
4:30 Fig Tree cont’d
5:00 Steve Henn (poetry)
5:30 Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)

SUNDAY Sep 3
10:00 Tony Brewer (poetry)
10:30 Eric Rensberger (poetry)
11:00 Joan Hawkins (fiction)
11:30 New Leaf New Life volunteers (poetry and fiction)
12:00 Adam Henze (poetry)
12:30 Shayne Laughter (fiction)
1:00 Jack Ramey (poetry)
1:30 Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
2:00 Wil Gibson
2:30 Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
3:00 Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 Lisa Kwong (poetry/personal essay)
4:30 Bloomington Storytellers Guild (storytelling)

In other news, today brought proof sheets for “Flightless Rats” from FANTASIA DIVINITY (cf. July 7, et al.) which, with one correction noted, went back this afternoon.  To be published in the September issue, “Flightless Rats” is the tale of New Orleanian “Casket Girl” Aimée a-prowl for a new husband, but how some prospects may not make the grade.  It is a reprint, originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG, January 12 2015, and has also appeared in the flash fiction anthology MOCHA’S DARK BREW: 10 TALES OF HORROR (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2016).

Yes, I know, this is actually being posted in the wee hours of Tardy Tuesday.  That’s how it goes sometimes — and it was initially posted by Lindsey Goddard on DIRTY LITTLE HORROR several days before, under the deceptively modest title of “Horror Humor.”  But I think it’s worth looking at any time one is in need of a dark laugh, photos, mostly, but artfully captioned, a sample of which appears to right.  For the rest press here.

There are 22 in all, with my favorites numbers 5, 7 through 10, 12, 13, 16, 22, and of course the one pictured, number 1.  Which ones are yours?

Tidbits of Terror?  Who can resist them?  This is a quickie (quirky?) I just ran across on today’s cruise of the interwebs, “13 Horror Stories for Super-Short Attention Spans,” courtesy of THE-LINE-UP.COM.  Numbers 4 and 11 struck me as notably creepy.  And especially “just for fun,” number 12.

Read and enjoy here.

I say crummiest because the subtle observer may note the disk in the picture is white whereas the point of a solar eclipse is that the disk should be black.  Shadowed by the moon, remember?  But here’s a weird thing, a photo in today’s local paper, via the South Bend Tribune, via Eddyville Illinois also shows a white-disked sun at totality (section 1, page 5), though the picture was set to show an observer in the foreground, the sun itself just a background detail.  So for the picture here, let’s cut it some slack, it was taken by the infamous $4.95 on Ebay camera (including shipping, see February 5), one which’s settings are completely automatic, not controllable by human hands or minds — and hence likely to take its hints from the foreground — although acquitting itself reasonably well on pictures of Morro Castle, etc., in Puerto Rico last month as well as of the Goth Cat Triana for which it was bought.  Also a friend with presumably more sophisticated equipment (in the world of fine optical instruments you can’t go much below $4.95 on Ebay), taking pictures of the partial eclipse locally, complained they all came out with the crescent sun looking “fatter” than it actually was.

My theory is that the sun, even with the moon blocking it, is so bright that the unsophisticated camera, lacking screening or special adjustments, exaggerates the extent of the white (becomes “overloaded” in a sense), encroaching into the adjacent sky in the case of my friend, or filling in the handy black disk in the center when it came to mine.  And anyhow it still shows the corona, which in some ways is the interesting part, so maybe it’s not the crummiest picture this year after all.

Since the path of totality was not that far from where I live (what my friend saw at its peak was 95 percent, even if her pictures made it look less), I was able to go on a charter bus trip to an area just outside of Hopkinsville Kentucky.  For a few observations:  the eeriest part was a little before totality, when the sky began dimming but in an odd over-all way, not in the east first as one might see before sunset.  I didn’t see moving shadows on the ground (from mountains on the moon as the sun became entirely blocked), but another person who’d spread out a white sheet saw them there — present, he said, but extremely subtle.  One man had six huskies on the site who were well-behaved and extremely quiet even through totality, but just after the sun “came back” started barking, as if to say “never do that again.”  Also while we didn’t hear birds or insects go quiet, possibly because with so many people on the site, the wildlife was frightened to silence anyway, but just after the dogs we heard loud cicada-like insect sounds all around us for several seconds.  Also, while NASA observers were, I believe, in Hopkinsville proper, we did have some TV people on our site, plus others with picture-taking equipment of much more sophistication than mine (for which see the second picture here, taken a little bit before totality but with the overall dimming beginning to be seen — this was at 1:10 or so p.m. local time on what otherwise had been a bright sunny summer afternoon [totality began at 1:24 p.m. CDT and lasted two minutes and forty seconds]; the buses parked just beyond them, incidentally, are two of the charters from Indiana that I had come with).

I also had some delicious barbecue from a food truck parked in our area, the grounds of the Casey Jones Distillery, that on non-eclipse days produces several boutique corn whiskeys — including, for the occasion, a special Eclipse “Moonshine.”

And for the first picture, the possibly still-crummiest eclipse picture for the year, it does have one special thing going for it.  It’s the picture that’s (Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) mine.

Exciting times!  Exactly a month ago, July 20, I submitted a reprint, “The Borrowed Man,” originally published in THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD, BOOK 1 (Fox Spirit Books, 2014 — cf. August 8 2014, et al.), to Digital Fiction Publishing for its upcoming DIGITAL HORROR FICTION anthology.  And so the reply received today from Editor/Publisher Michael Wills:  Thank you for sending us “The Borrowed Man”.  We think it is a great fit and would like to publish it.  We will be in touch shortly with a formal contract and details for your review.  And then also today, there came not just one, but two contracts to sign, the second for DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION to republish “The Needle-Heat Gun,” originally in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geminid Press, 2016 — see July 29 this year, et al.), both of which went back this afternoon.  “The Borrowed Man,” I might also add, is set in the far-future universe which includes TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, although the story is not in the book itself.  But should you read it and like it, and have a yen to explore its world further, you can find more by clicking TOMBS’s picture at the top of the center column.

Then for yet more about TOMBS, THE TEARS OF ISIS, and writing in general, word came today that a new interview of me has been scheduled for Monday, September 4, by British blogger/reviewer Drew Weldon for his THE TATTOOED BOOK GEEK.  That’s the Labor Day holiday here in the States — plenty of time to read and enjoy it.  More on which when the time comes will be here.

So I’d been invited to be in this reading group discussion that brought up the possible influence of “classical” vampire movies on what a character would know about vampires, given the time the book takes place.  This brought up (on my part) some details about the Universal Pictures sequels to the Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA and how, wandering a bit off topic, I had been introduced to these myself via Saturday night horror movie shows on TV.  But checking some details brought me farther off topic to the shows themselves and their often iconic-in-their-own-right hosts.  Me, I liked “Zacherley” (a.k.a. John Zacherle) after he’d moved from Philadelphia to New York.  And from there I was brought, via LISTVERSE.COM, to “Top 10 TV Horror Hosts” by Dan Lepore, for which press here (and note as well, most come with with clips from the shows themselves, for which be especially sure to scroll down to number 4 to witness Maila Nurmi’s 1954 opening of THE VAMPIRA SHOW).  And not only that, but here’s an extra (more serendipity), Zacherleys 1958 performance of  the song “Dinner With Drac,” for which press here!

Then one more note, having recently pointed out discounts on B & N and Amazon for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for UK readers in particular (albeit I’m giving US prices here) it’s being offered at 29 percent off its $14.95 list price, at $10.52, on the Book Depository, for which press here.  At least for the time being.

One quick note and one just for fun.  The quickie, as of Sunday a new review is up on Amazon for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, by Andrew Suhrer, a fellow author.  And it’s for five stars too!  In fact, all reviews both here and on B&N (three reviews there) are 5-star reviews, if I may so brag.  (Though to keep myself honest, there are two on Goodreads that aren’t quite as glowing.)  Nevertheless, for the ones on Amazon one may press here.

And then the fun part, fellow poet and Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member (and one-time editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE) Marge Simon posted a challenge a little while back, to compose a poem of twenty lines or less using the words “Vermin,” “Theremin,” “Decision,” and “Vitamin,” for e-publication in SFPA’s newsletter.  The best, also, would get an ice cream prize.  A half dozen or so of us responded and while, no, the prize-winner wasn’t mine, it was one of two that got honorable mentions.

Alas, I don’t think there’s a link to see all the poems if you’re not a member, but for more on the SFPA (see also, March 29, 22, et al.) one may press here.  And to read at least my poem, it’s right below:

MUSICAL SUMMER

Vermin infested the theremin,
roaches by the look of them,
probably the same that invaded the drugstore’ s
vitamin counter
two weeks before.
So now these super bugs
bursting with good health and bad decisions,
operating the instrument from inside,
wailed their hatred of all that was human
out beyond the stars.

 

Enjoy, enjoy!

Though as it happens, I’ve seen most myself.  Nevertheless . . . SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, DRACULA:  PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY, PONTYPOOL, what do these titles all have in common?  They’re all on the list, courtesy of THE LINEUP (the-line-up.com), of 13 DISTURBINGLY UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE 2000S THAT YOU NEED TO SEE by Catherine Phelan.  As Ms Phelan explains:  It’s hard to know when you’re living in the middle of a cultural hotspot.  Looking back at the first decade of this century, there waslg_f38df2c09b90-underratedmovies2000s_pagesfromavirginsdiary something brewing in the horror world.  From THE DESCENT and THE RING to LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, filmmakers of the 2000s took advantage of new special effects, quieter stories, and newly global anxieties to create some of the most terrifying horror movies ever.

But for all the films like DRAG ME TO HELL that received rave reviews and are still remembered fondly by horror fans, there are a number of movies that slipped through the cracks.  Let’s bring back some love to the underrated or underseen horror movies of the 2000s — we promise they’ll scare the pants off of you.

To be honest, I didn’t think all of them were that obscure, but then maybe that’s me — and certainly some, like the Dracula film noted above, a ballet version of the Stoker classic(!), have been a little bit out of the mainstream.  And also, technically, it’s not really a list of thirteen, but rather ten with three “Honorable Mentions” added after, but however you count them to see the list press here.

And then there’s also a bonus link between films 6 and 7, DARK WATER and THE WOODS, to Rob Fee’s 11 CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES YOU SHOULD WATCH IMMEDIATELY — and with only one duplication, I think!  This one can be reached by pressing here.

It’s either going to be a big, big book or a lot of the stories will be rather short, but Gehenna & Hinnom’s upcoming YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR (cf. May 8) looks like it’s going to be exciting reading.  Set for a publication date of September 30, here is the table of contents along with the cover, as released Wednesday evening by Editor C.P. Dunphey.

Table of Contents:

(Note:  We have decided to go by alphabetical order by author for the stories, since there are just so many high quality pieces.)

Foreword by C.P. Dunphey
Introduction by ?????

STORIES:
“SLOBBER” by Shaun Avery
“ERUPTION” by Charlotte Baker
“DEVIL’S TEARS” by Shadrick Beechem
“AN ANGEL AMONG US” by David Beers
“HUMAN-KINGS” by Austin Biela
“WRIGGLERS” by Chantal Boudreau*
“LITTLE MONSTERS” by Ed Burkley
“TOM’S THUMB” by K.M. Campbell
“FAMILY DINNER” by A. Collingwood
“THE ITCH” by Stuart Conover
“THE BLIND ASSASSIN” by Damien Donnelly
“FLESH” by James Dorr*
“A NORMAL SON” by Spinster Eskie
“GAS MASK BABY” by Santiago Eximeno
“HUMAN BODY” by Balázs Farkas*
“FRESH FACE” by Tarquin Ford
“MEET THE WIFE” by Kenneth C. Goldman*
“MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER” by James Harper
“MANTIS” by Kourtnea Hogan
“CICADA” by Carl R. Jennings
“TETANUS” by Christopher Vander Kaay
“GRUB” by Alexander Lloyd King
“MY LOVE BURNS WITH A GREEN FLAME” by Thomas C. Mavroudis
“THE FACE IN THE MIRROR” by Sean McCoy
“PORPHYRIA” by John S. McFarland
“THINGS” by Rick McQuiston
“THE FLESH GARDENER” by Jeremy Megargee
“EAR WAX” by G.A. Miller
“THE FACE” by Kurt Newton*
“BATTLEGROUND” by Drew Nicks
“WHIZZ-BANG ATTACK” by Sergio Palumbo
“THE ALWAYS WATCHING EYE” by Gary Power
“HOT FLASHES” by Jenya Joy Preece
“THE IMPLOSION OF A GASTROCRAT” by Frank Roger*
“NO STRINGS” by Josh Shiben*
“BABEL” by Ian Steadman
“A POUND OF FLESH” by Edmund Stone
“CONDITIONED APOCALYPSE” by Aric Sundquist
“LENGTH” by David Turton
“NATURAL GROWTH” by Mijat Vujačić*
“UTTER NO EVIL” by Joseph Watson
“DOWN WHERE HER NIGHTMARES DWELL” by Sheldon Woodbury

* means reprint

And in an ongoing news note, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are back to offering pretty deep print copy discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price at $11.28 (compared to a full price of $14.95) and Amazon at $10.65, 25 and 29 percent off, respectively.  (For electronic prices, B&N’s Nook is at $8.49, Amazon’s Kindle $8.99.)  I don’t know if this is an August thing, or if it will even last through the month — or extend beyond.  However, if interested, Barnes & Noble can be checked out here and Amazon here.

On both sites there may be individual sellers as well with copies at even lower prices.  But if you find the bargain you want, and like the book too, please consider posting a review of TOMBS at both locations.




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