Archive for December, 2020

So it comes to an end, the year that is, with a new July-through-September royalty statement . . . though as readers may know, my practice is not to reveal either publishers or titles to avoid embarrassment on both sides. But this time there is one thing worth noting. As mentioned in my last royalty report (see December 10), publishers of anthologies — where what comes in is usually shared among multiple authors — will often hold onto minuscule payments until they surpass a specific total before sending them on. And the great thing this time, it actually came out above the bar.

So to close the the year out, a small amount has been added to my account at PayPal, enough perhaps to buy a nice lunch (if one isn’t too hungry). And that’s not a bad thing.


She’s been around, “Eudora” has. First published in Nightscape Press’s 2013 BLOOD TYPE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF VAMPIRE SF ON THE CUTTING EDGE, Saturday — a day after Christmas — brought the word from Editor Nina D’Arcangela (cf. November 1, et al.): We’ve just published the Winter 2020 edition of THE SIRENS CALL eZine (#52), and we’d like to thank you for making it such a great issue! The eZine is available for free on our website. Please feel free to share it with your friends, family, or on any of the social media outlets you frequent.

The issue theme in the original call was the “Death of the Year” for the (finally, almost!) end of 2020, for pieces that pay tribute to the end of life in the most heinous ways possible. You may choose to honor death in dark fashion by horrifying with it, respecting it, or fighting it to the bitter end; and we do mean the bitter end as your piece should contain an unnatural death, mortal or otherwise. In this, Eudora, the title figure, is a vampiress. Or sort of, anyway. That is, she does tend to hang around Goth clubs, like vampire movies, have a somewhat odd past, and her boyfriends do have a way of dying before their natural times.

Would you like a date with her?

To find out, perhaps, you can check her out free in a really huge issue of THE SIRENS CALL (“Eudora” herself doesn’t make her appearance until Page 182, and even more stories follow her too!) by pressing here. And see her explain it in her own words: “Some say that I’m worth it.”

(Triana identifies with the one asleep on the right)

Today brought an email from MURDER AND MACHINERY Editor Cameron Trost (cf. December 3, et al.): Just a quick update and photo to let you know the proof copy of the anthology has arrived. It’s looking pretty good. Just a little adjustment to make to the TOC layout and I’ll do a final line edit.

My part in this, we might recall, is a steampunky tale of music machines and suspected ghosts, at least by the more superstitious in town — but a spectral woman has been seen pacing the roof of the church. And a terrible accident involving a circus. The title is “Vanitas” and it first appeared in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for January 1996, and is also in my own 2001 collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.

Publication is currently slated for April, with more to be here as more details are known.

In ‘Moons of Saturn’, James Dorr takes us on a remarkable journey from the technological to the mythical to the sublime. Weaving together space exploration, Greek mythology, and love, Dorr offers a genre-blending tale of television and spacecraft, illness and hope, blood and absinthe.

Enjoy a taste here, from Pulp Literature Issue 28, Autumn 2020. And from now until the end of 2020 save 20% on anything in our store with the code XMAS2020 !

Therewith the tease for PULP LITERATURE’S Fall edition, featuring my story “Moons of Saturn” (see below, December 19, et al.), up now on the publisher’s blog, with a special twenty percent off discount should one wish to buy the issue itself to finish the story. Plus other stories worth reading as well — and/or other issues and books, as far as that goes. “Moons” itself, originally published in TOMORROW in July 1993 as well appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, is the tale of two lovers watching NASA footage of the 1980s Voyager Saturn missions on TV, and the woman’s “seeing” details that also connect with myths, both old and new, while her own health is rapidly declining.

Or, to see and sample it for yourself, press here.

And so, Monday’s email from Editor Dickon Springate: Find attached an advanced Word Doc version of the finished anthology, which I am now sending out to all contributing authors for their final last minute edits and approval.

Please review the attached version and reply with any comments or last minute corrections or your story.

The plan is to get this to the printers as soon as possible in the new year, so while I hate to put you on the clock after such a horrendously long wait, but in order to have a chance to hit the revised deadline any adjustments arriving to me after Saturday 2nd January cannot be guaranteed to go into the finished article.

The book is DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH and my story “The Sending” (see November 15, et al.), originally in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for December 1997, as well as reprinted in my 2001 collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE. The story tells of the love of a woman for a lighthouse keeper, but with an obstacle. The lighthouse keeper has been deceased for about a century.

But not to worry, enter some 1930s, early-Depression era gangsters and the woman could join him sooner than she might have planned. But she does have the gift, an ability to communicate beyond the grave (as she’s been doing now), and maybe a few other things going for her. In any event, “The Sending” is one of a number of stories of loves with bit of a dark edge to them and, my okay having gone back later this afternoon, the somewhat-delayed DISCORDANT LOVE should be on track to be out on Valentine’s Day 2021.

More here as it becomes revealed.

Just a quick note from Genevieve Wynand of PULP LITERATURE (see just below, December 13, et al.) on a wintry Saturday: I just put together the blog post for ‘Moons of Saturn’. I believe it will be scheduled for Tuesday of this week.­­ This, I think, should consist of the start of the story — a sort of a “tease” to get you to want to see the rest too — plus some other information about the magazine.

“Moons of Saturn,” as we may remember, is a reverie about the Voyager space probe flybys of that planet forty years ago, seen through the eyes of a fanciful young woman, Phoebe, and the man who loves her. More on which, with link, should appear here Tuesday if all goes as scheduled.

So perhaps it may be a bit late, but PULP LITERATURE 28 (cf. October 8, September 11, et al.) has at last been published — or at least its electronic manifestation received today, though its order page shows the print issue as well. This is the one with a story of mine reprinted from the July 1993 TOMORROW, “Moons of Saturn.”

So what’s “Moons” about? Let us quote from the contents preview: Then, like trailside inukshuks, memories pile up and tumble away in ‘Moons of Saturn’ by James Dorr, ‘Practising the Art of Forgetting’ by Soramimi Hanarejima, and ‘Starry Nights’ by David Milne.

So there, three for one! Or more to the point, it is of course about Saturn’s moons for one thing. More precisely, about TV coverage — much more detailed than it had, in fact, been at the time — of NASA’s 1980/81 Voyager 1 and 2 flybys of the planet Saturn, as watched by the narrator and his highly imaginative girlfriend. But girlfriend, Phoebe, it turns out is also dying from an unknown disease, which adds the problem of how to cure her.

Added to this are references to the Greek mythology concerning Saturn and his siblings, as identified with characters in the story, some in Phoebe’s mind but others, presumably, in the story’s reality. A bit complicated to explain, but in addition to the admittedly late-publishing (hey, we’re in the midst of a pandemic too, let’s give them a break) Autumn PULP LITERATURE, “Moons of Saturn” is also reprinted in my collection TEARS OF ISIS, for more on which one can click on its picture in the center column.

PULP LITERATURE is a Canadian magazine with a decidedly literary bent (never mind their publishing riffraff like me!) and from what I’ve seen so far a potentially very interesting read. For more, or for ordering, one can press here.

Two surprise royalty statements received/discovered yesterday were greater than the usual pittance the short story writer expects from anthology sales. That is, as one contributor out of a dozen or more (twenty-five, e.g., in the case of 25 GATES OF HELL featured just below), whatever the publisher got for the whole book will have been divided among many authors. Think of a single sardine, for example, dropped in the midst of a school of sharks. But there can be exceptions.

The first one wasn’t so much surprising as unexpected — publishers often will hold actually paying until one’s royalty reaches some semi-worthwhile amount, in some cases ten dollars. The royalty this time actually came to a few dollars more, but was for a large enough number of years I’d completely forgotten there might be one coming. However, it does mean that this was a book with staying power, still finding buyers in this case more than ten years after its initial publication.

As is my practice, for royalty matters I name neither the book/publisher nor the amount to avoid embarrassment on both sides, but the other one (which I discovered quite accidentally, due to PayPal’s long-standing policy of refusing to tell recipients when money is added to their accounts) was for a book published less than half a year ago(!), and is enough to actually pay for a decent dinner, including a cocktail or a glass of wine (though probably not both) if one were so inclined. And for an anthology this is rare, although realistically an early sales spurt will usually not be repeated. But still . . . well, maybe I should keep an eye out if that particular publisher puts out a call for a new anthology — at least if they’re still accepting reprints.

Now, dear reader, you seem to have stumbled upon it.

And you have opened it.

You must reap what you have sown.

So proclaims the book’s Amazon blurb and, as I come into the home stretch with my current read, AFTER THE KOOL-AID IS GONE (see just below, December 4), what should appear on my front porch this afternoon but 25 GATES OF HELL (cf. October 30, et al.), with more horror stories to keep me awake for for more than a few long winter nights to come. Though I have, of course, read one tale already, “The Re-Possessed” — or “The Repossessed” (no hyphen) as this new manifestation would have it — originally published in 2016 in CEMETERY RIOTS, of Victorian funerals and shady practices, and not all of them performed by Haitian sailors.

Dare I open it, then, especially in view of the warning above? You bet I do, and in fact I have already to see that it is a hefty book at somewhat over 300 pages with, as the title (sort of) implies, 24 stories plus a closing poem, this last by Editor R.L. Burwick. To again quote the blurb: Come, step into the pages. See firsthand what hell is capable of. And what, indeed?

To find out oneself, or for more information as well as to order (possibly even in time for Christmas? But hurry! Hurry!), one need but press here.

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