Archive for June, 2019

2013, the year that brought us the films GRAVITY and DESPICABLE ME 2, as well as in which my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS was published. And what should I run across this afternoon, through sheer serendipity, but an interview of me dated May 7 that year on LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS (“Reviewing Fiction One Happy Ever After at a Time”)?  At that time THE TEARS OF ISIS was about to be published in roughly a week by Isis4_2Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing — pre-orders on Amazon were being taken and five free copies being raffled on Goodreads — although the cover was not the one shown in the center column. The cover change only came a year after, acknowledging TEARS having won a Stoker(R) nomination. While other concerns were about a book that was already planned, but had suffered some setbacks in terms of finding a publisher for it:  James has a series of short stories he’s been writing set on a far future, dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis called The Tombs.  Something more than a dozen of these have been published in various places, including three (two reprints and one for the first time) in THE TEARS OF ISIS, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red” (another new one, “Raising the Dead,” is also scheduled for later this year in the White Cat Publications steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS AND AUTOMATONS). . . .

So it’s not that long a time really, is it?  Other “standard” topics are covered too:  How did you first become a writer?  Advice for new writers?  If interested in how the writing life looked at least for a moment back then, the interview as a whole can be read here.

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We may recall that things were an itty bitty (sorry) bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see May 30, 14, et al.). This is (to quote myself from the 30th) the compendium of “100 Stories by 100 Authors,” each story no more than 1000 words long, edited by Dani J. Caili and Jason Brick and with my story in it a 750-word epic, “The Junkie,” about current day medico-sociological problems . . . and zombies.  Originally planned to ship in June, there had been delays necessitating a speed-up in authors’ receiving and correcting proofs in a hope to catch up.  In other words, “the writing life” as we know it and love it.

But then, today, from Co-Editor/ Publisher Jason Brick, I’m putting the final files to the publisher today and should begin shipping this weekend.  YAY!  I’ll also be paying contributors beginning early next week.  YAY!  So technically, Sunday being the last day of June, by golly it is (sort of) shipping in June . . . albeit the first day a shipper might come to pick packages up would be July 1.  But still that’s not bad and I know I’ll be anxious to see a copy — as well as get paid!  So to others who’re waiting on copies too, it shouldn’t be long now.

More to appear here as it becomes known. . .

‘Tis the season.  We’ve one kickstarter to start in just a few days for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, with my story, “The Sending” (cf. June 21, April 30).  More on this one as soon as it’s live.  But then in a few more weeks, in mid July, according to Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg there’ll be another for BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS (a.k.a. THE SOUL?), with my story in that one a 75-word micro, “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair” (see June 14).  Both anthologies should be fun so please be generous; we the authors who fill up those pages hope some of the largess will end up in our pay.  For updates on both, keep watching these pages.

This time I’ve swiped the headline from the label over the video itself, encased in an article by Sara Chodosh on POPSCI.COM, “We Finally Have Footage of a Giant Squid in U.S. Waters.”  The waters themselves are the Gulf of Mexico and the squid in question far from fully grown.  This squid comes at the camera head-on, so it’s difficult to tell exactly SQUIDDOhow large it is.  The NOAA researchers think it’s around 10 to 12 feet long, which would make it but a wee juvenile in the giant squid world — adults can grow to staggering lengths of 43 feet.  That’s like stacking more than seven average adult American men on top of one another.  And there are hopes that further attempts might snag pictures of some of the really big ones, but as monsters go (see post just below) it’s still worth a glance, for which press here.
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(Incidentally for giant squid fans see also, below, January 6 2016 and December 17 2015, the latter of these with some interesting links too.)

The marvelously named Snallygaster is first:  Dating back before the Declaration of Independence, snallygasters were rumored to have terrorized the surrounding hills of Washington, D.C. and Frederick County, Maryland.  German settlers in the 1730s first described the Schneller Geist (“quick spirit”) as a metal-beaked, half-bird, half-reptile that soared through the air and swooped down without a sound to capture its prey.  When it did utter a noise, the snallygaster let out a blood-curdling screech.  Seven-pointed stars were painted on barns to ward off the creature, though sightings continued into the 1900s.  The Smithsonian Institution once offered a reward for the Snallygaster and President Roosevelt is rumored to have delayed an African safari to hunt the beast on American soil.

The heck of it is, it’s native born so walls or better border enforcement won’t keep it away (current Presidents take note).  But there are six more listed in today’s email offering from THE-LINE-UP.COM, “7 Creepy Folklore Creatures from Around the World” by Stephanie Almazan.  For instance the original “Night Mare,” from Northern Europe, doing its best to disturb one’s sleep or, if that doesn’t work, going out to the stable and riding the horses until they’re exhausted.  Or China’s famous (at least if you watch certain Hong Kong movies) Jiang Shi, or hopping vampires.

And south of the border there’s Argentina’s own will-o’-the-wisp, a.k.a. La Luz Mala, or if one should visit the Dominican Republic . . . well, beware of wild women who wear their feet backward, more on whom along with the ones described above, plus one or two others, can be discovered by pressing here.

A thought provoking dark fantasy anthology where Love follows Death, and where that’s not always a bad thing.

Twenty Two fabulous inspired short stories, from a fresh line-up of authors, ensure that there will be something for everyone, and with many being on the macabre side of things, this anthology makes the perfect counter-programming read for those who want something a little different come Valentines Day.

The wheels grind slowly, but they keep grinding, this a small notice from an anthology called DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, from Beyond Death Publishing, and a call to look over text for a Kickstarter campaign to begin soon which, hopefully, will add a bit more to author payments.  And so there is skin in the game for us all.  The blurb above pretty well describes the theme, with my story in it originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, about a lighthouse and a ghost lightkeeper titled “The Sending”* (see April 30, which also includes a table of contents).

So Thursday evening I sent back two small corrections for my bio copy, another small part of the life of the writer.  If all goes well, according to Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate, they’re aiming for a Valentine’s Day 2020 release.  But look for the Kickstarter much, much sooner with prizes spanning both books and keepsakes, like T-shirts and coffee mugs, to be announced on these pages when live.

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*”The Sending” has also been reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, for which one can click on its picture in the center column.

Strange are the tales told of the Internet.  Of stories presumed rejected that weren’t; of acceptances disguised as things they might not be.  A magical, mystical place it is, of shadows and mysteries.  And here is one such strange telling now.

Let us go first to June 13 2018, and a call for submissions from Old Sins, “a (very) small publishing cooperative.”  Let’s write about conspiracies that have been debunked thoroughly but do so through the lens of Alternate History, where they have actually happened.  Let’s write about the second shooter, chemtrails, the Illuminati, Lizard People, Greys, the Loch Ness Monster, Pope Joan, Templars worshipping Satan, and so many other rumored conspiracies throughout history as if they were real.  So okay, let’s do.  As it happened I had such a tale already, of UFOs on the road to Roswell or, at least, an odd wounded humanoid creature who may have come from a UFO, originally published in BOOK OF DARK WISDOM in Summer 2005, called “The Country Doctor.”*

So off it went, until on October 25 an email came from Editor Joseph Cadotte asking about some possible small editorial changes, and allowing that he had liked the story and was sending it along to his partner.  Okay, so not an acceptance quite, but I sent a reply addressing the suggested changes (most of them having to do with italicization) and so time went on.  But then a new email came on January 27 this year with the subject title “Pending acceptance to FAKE NEWS,” stating in part:  We have a preliminary layout, and, if you are included in this message, you are on it.   So that’s positive mostly, sort of, yes?  Maybe a clearer confirmation (that is, not just “pending”) would be coming soon.

Which brings us to Wednesday afternoon, yesterday, not quite six months later, repeating the January 27 message, and with the same heading, but with an explanation above of how things are being delayed.  The wheels grind slowly, but grind they still do, and concluding:  I will try to send you a contract soonish.

So I’m going to call this an acceptance now of “The Country Doctor” for FAKE NEWS (or a similar title), and if perhaps still not 100 percent sure, we’ll find out together.

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*”The Country Doctor” has also been reprinted in the anthology AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (Bards and Sages, 2011), for which one can see below, October 29, 19 2011, et al.

A very, very quick bit of news. “Flute and Harp,” accepted as a reprint by HELIOS QUARTERLY on June 3 (see below), has now been scheduled for Volume 6, Issue 2, for June 2021.  Yes, that’s two years from now, Volume 5 having already been filled due to a greater than expected response to this year’s call for submissions.  The story itself, originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001) concerns a pair of musicians on a dying world who like each other very much, but also share a fear of ghouls.  The story itself is a favorite of mine and, if I may say so, should be worth the wait, but for those who might be more impatient it also appears in my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), for more on which one may press its picture in the center column.

A girl walks home alone at night.  But this time Aimée was stopped by Death on the bad side of Rampart Street in the shadow of St. Louis Cemetery Number 1.

So starts the story, the first sentence a blatant steal from Ana Lily Amanpour’s debut full length film of the same name (cf. January 11, also January 15 2015).  The story’s title, “Death and the Vampire,” another in the series of tales of les filles à les caissettes or, as they say in New Orleans, the “Casket Girls” (see June 12 2019, et al.).  Then hark us back to October 31 2018 and the call from WEIRDBOOK:  No HARDCORE sex!  No Sexual violence!  No UNDERAGED SEX!!  I’m looking for original (no reprints) well-written (duuh, I guess that that’s fairly obvious) weird stories.  My tastes are broad and I’m looking for any of the following:  fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, ghost, horror, heroic fantasy, science fantasy or just plain odd.

Well, Aimée might raise an eyebrow at the “No violence” part, it being a part of the trade of a vampire, but maybe a little bit might be okay, so she took a chance and off she went last Halloween night, just meeting an October 31 deadline.  And that was that.  Her undeath continued.  But then today an answer arrived from WEIRDBOOK Editor Douglas Draa:  Dear James, my apologies for the awful delay.  I like this quite bit.  May I have it for WB# 44.  This will be a mid 2020 issue.

And that is that.  An email went back this afternoon to say Aimée is honored by the acceptance, for which look for more here as it becomes known.

Catching up, what a wonderful feeling when it’s story acceptances!  This came in after I’d written yesterday’s post (and that for a late Thursday night sale itself!), from Editor-in-Chief Patrick C. Harrison III:  Congratulations! We at Death’s Head Press have chosen to publish your short story, “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City,” in our anthology, BREAKING BIZARRO.  Please look over the attached contract (don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions) and email a signed copy back to us within the next few weeks.

The story, a reprint originally published in the March 2001 edition of NUKETOWN, to quote myself in my cover letter when I sent it in is written stylistically as a tall tale, yet is still an absurd story of the Olde West, and of how a failed alien invasion, an ace muleskinner who also could herd cats, a failed tree planting, and green-glowing mice turned a dying town into a city as up to date as St. Louis.  That and the invention of a better mouse trap and a warehouse full of dried navy beans, which all also combine to serve young love — although at worst with a mildly implied PG rating.  This one, also, is a bit longer than yesterday’s “Frogs’ Hair,” which actually is about five words shorter than my self-quoted description above.

And so today, Saturday, back went the contract, with more to be reported here as it becomes known.




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