Archive for February, 2021

It’s Here! A late Valentine’s Day gift, or just the time taken for overseas mail? Whichever you choose, today’s street mail brought DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, with my tale “The Sending” (see February 14, et al.), all a-quiver into my mailbox.

To remind, from Amazon: Love takes on many forms, as does death, and this anthology features twenty-two stories that dance the line between Dark Affection and Paranormal Romance, where death is not the end but merely the start of some truly original tragedies, tales that will often stop you dead in your tracks, challenging you preconceptions of what is right and wrong, before allowing you to return and continue reading.­

And as said before, my story in this is a saga of ghostly love and real-life horror, the latter with 1930s gangsters, a lighthouse, and a hurricane fast approaching the Florida coast. It’s called “The Sending,” originally published in the December 1997 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, and for more on which and/or ordering one may press here.


Here in Indiana the cold snap has ended — for now. And no doubt things are better in Texas now too, though their independent, regulation-free electricity may still be out on vacation. Hereabouts, too, snow (white, not smog-colored) remains on the ground, but is beginning to melt away. About eight to twelve inches, though, when it was new.

And it was nice, but then we did have heat for holing up indoors.

So the Bloomington Writers Guild continues too, including its Facebook-powered-for-the-duration version of Third Sunday Write (cf. September 30, et al.), with one of the prompts this time about, yes, snow. So, while I’m not reporting these things in anything like a regular manner, this one seems timely. Along with a touch of some of the week’s other news.

The prompt: #2 “Tell us about snow but don’t use the words: snow, white, powder, ice, flake, blanket “

And thus the reply: What’s this? Suddenly falling out of the sky, sort of like that airplane belching engine parts all over Colorado, but this is smaller. Like really, really little pieces — and not a silvery color either, like airplane parts ought to be, but lighter. Much lighter! Like a really light gray, and this is Texas, too, not Colorado. ‘Course we’re closer to the ground here, not like in the mountains, so maybe airplane parts would have time to break up into smaller pieces. But kind of like floating too — falling real slowly — and about the color, even a lighter gray than the air with its oil and gas soot.

I did say this is Texas.

But this stuff’s a new one on me, I’ll tell you. It’s all over the ground, on roofs and lawns. Even on cars. And it’s cold when you touch it — or it touches you, it’s falling like that all over the place, so you can’t dodge out of the way. Even in Texas, as big as the state is — you can’t escape it! There’s never been anything like it before. And cold, too, like I say, as cold as houses now that we don’t have electricity any more. Because of the wind things, the Governor told us. Like maybe they’re what’s blowing it all around.

But it’s still a mystery. Cold. Paler than Texas smog. As thick as dust — but with one good thing about it too. I’d put a pot out and some fell in it as well, so I took it back with me into the heated car, where me and the family’ve been living, and know what?

The darned stuff then turned into water!

It was 7 degrees (not including wind chill) outside this morning and Triana is sleeping through Valentine’s Day. However, for those who love creepy romance, DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH (see February 11, et al.) is, as promised, officially published in paperback form.

To quote Amazon’s blurb: DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH offers up twenty-two fabulous inspired short stories, by a fresh line-up of authors from around the world, ensuring that there is something for everyone; and with many being on the macabre side, we believe that this anthology makes the perfect alternative gift for those who want something a little different come Valentine’s Day. My pup in the pack is a tale of a love that will yet transcend death, with guns and gangsters and sea-going ghosts and a lighthouse during the Great Depression, titled “The Sending,”originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1997*.

To see and/or buy for yourself, press here.


*”The Sending” is also reprinted in my 2001 collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.

The start of the call was intriguing enough. Hiraeth Publishing is looking for stories and illustrations for POTTER’S FIELD 7, a print anthology of tales from the graveyard. This volume will be the seventh in the POTTER’S FIELD series. This anthology is scheduled to be published on 1 August 2021 in trade paperback format with a color cover, and black and white interior illustrations. POTTER’S FIELD 7 is edited by Tyree Campbell. Please note that horror fiction written in the third person stands the best chance for acceptance.

And then it continued: A potter’s field is the burial place for the indigent and the unidentified. Just about every city has one. . . . Obviously, we’re looking for works that are themed to graveyards in some way. However, it does not have to be a conventional graveyard. Let me give you one example: back during the days of the Black Death, bodies were crammed — yes, literally crammed — into mass graves underneath churches. Even today, in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, you can take a walking tour deep under the church and see walls of skeletons and dirt. Such a place would also qualify as a graveyard for the indigent.

How could I resist? I sent a story in early December, a reprint first published in LORE in Autumn 1997 called “The Galvanic” (see December 8 2011, et al.), a tale of medical students and corpses that make the journey from churchyard to lecture hall. Maybe not a “final” resting place, not precisely, but for this one body. . . .

So — long story short — yesterday evening brought an email from Editor Campbell: I’m accepting Galvanic for POTTER’S FIELD 7, and you’ll receive payment with your contributor’s copy. Pasted below is the contract for your story. More on which will be here as it becomes known.

Love takes on many forms, as does death, and this anthology features twenty-two stories that dance the line between Dark Affection and Paranormal Romance, where death is not the end but merely the start of some truly original tragedies, tales that will often stop you dead in your tracks, challenging you preconceptions of what is right and wrong, before allowing you to return and continue reading.

The book is DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH (cf. December 21, et al.) and my story in it is “The Sending,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, December 1997, on ghosts, lighthouses, and Florida during the Great Depression. It and twenty-one other stories are set for release in three days, Sunday, February 14 — on Valentine’s Day — for more on which, including pre-ordering, one can press here.

Say what? Well the story’s full title is “Pre-Owned Jeans” and the publisher The Great Void Books (see January 10; June 18 2020).


And the thing is, with COVID-19 and other distractions, the wheels of publication have been grinding out some delays these days, but The Great Void’s ghosts and hauntings anthology SHATTERED VEIL is now back on track. Thus the pdf proof copy came yesterday, and gone through with two corrections returned to Editor/Publisher Aditya Deshmukh this afternoon. These are longer stories with nineteen in all in a book of 471 pages, or at least in its current form, with mine, “Pre-Owned Jeans” about a strange store that sells used clothing — not all of whose prior owners are necessarily still alive — listed last in the contents.

Thus the writing life continues, lockdowns and vaccinations and all. More to come here as it becomes known.

It’s been a fairly quiet week, but some things have happened. Wednesday, for instance, I got my first COVID-19 vaccination. But also I got an email asking about possibly reprinting two poems published twenty and twenty-six years back, respectively, to use in a proposed academic anthology of speculative alliterative poetry in the late 20th century.

These for me are older works, but with a borrowed technique that has much, much more ancient roots. In my case, the newer is one titled “The Worm in the Wood,” first published in STAR*LINE in May-June 2001, a poem opening with quotes from Geoffrey of Monmouth and Sir Thomas Malory, both from the Middle Ages, on the fate of King Arthur. This written in a style “inspired” by the 14th century English poem GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT. And the older, “The Westfarer,” first published in DARK DESTINY II: PROPRIETORS OF FATE (White Wolf, 1995) on Norse explorations of the new world — and werewolves — taking after the Old English epic BEOWULF (no, this one’s not about a werewolf itself) in style, probably from before the 10th century.

Interesting stuff, this, for those into English literary roots, a lot of which filter up to us in the form of horror and fantasy tropes. Dragons anyone, for instance (I think I’ve run across two new anthologies reading right now)? But in any event, I emailed my “yes” yesterday afternoon, Thursday, and today received a reply: Many thanks, James. . . . I’ll send along some paperwork once we’ve got everything finalized on our end.

Keep your eyes on these pages. . . .

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