Archive for December, 2022

Horror and Humor.

Mythos and Mirth.

Lovecraft and Laughter.

Each creates tension, then releases it with explosive results.

Still, Cthulhu and Comedy? Is that even possible?

We’ve collected 36 stories that answer that question with a resounding yes. Each blends an aspect of the Cthulhu Mythos and humor. Prepare to stare into the face of madness inducing situations and come out screaming with laughter.

Or just screaming.

Thus the Amazon blurb, brought to my e-attention a day late, sure, but hey it’s still just after Christmas. The book: LOLCRAFT: A COMPENDIUM OF ELDRITCH HUMOR (cf. November 17, et al.), of which the title may say it all. Giggles with Elder Gods, via Editor Michael Cieslak and Dragons Roost Press. And with it, to be sure, a story by me, “The Reading,” of poetry and public performance — what would on these pages be termed a part of “the writing life” — a story first published in 2013 by Third Flatiron in UNIVERSE HORRIBILIS. Which may say it all too.

So as of yesterday one can see it for oneself, by pressing here.


(she has her own way of getting through the extra-cold weather)

Another one of those very quick “The Writing Life” updates, this from Christine Morgan of Madness Heart Press. Actually going back two days to December 19: ­. . .I’ve been tasked with doing the edits on this anthology. Thank you all for contributing, congrats on being accepted! It’s for a good cause and I hope we can make it a success. 

Over the next few days, I’ll be contacting each of you individually, sending a draft of your story with my suggested edits as well as any comments or questions. Look them over, accept or reject as you see fit, make any other changes or revisions as needed, and return another draft to me when you can.

The book in question is MONSTORM: A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY (cf. November 18, 13) and so this morning, December 21, my turn came. But going through it, line by line, the few suggested changes I found were very slight, and with no quarrels with them on my part at all. So that was easy: this evening I’ve sent back a reply saying, in effect, just to use the “corrected” copy exactly as I received it.
The story is “I’m Dreaming Of A. . . ,” its title reflecting the Bing Crosby still-sung yuletide hit, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” But as for MONSTORM (to quote myself from November 18), [a]s noted, it is a charity anthology for relief for victims of Hurricane Ian, with stories revolving around monstrous storms. Thus mine, originally published as a stand-alone chapbook in 2011 by Untreed Reads, is a snowy description of a Christmas season, decidedly NOT filled with peace and/or joy.

Another month, another Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write” (cf.November 25, October 24, et al.), this time posted right on time Sunday on Facebook and answered (by me) today, Monday. The prompt of choice this time:

2. The first resolution I will break. . . .

The obvious resolution to break is: “I will not make resolutions.” Easy enough, one might think, to break. But wait! If I kept the resolution instead, how would I even have a resolution to break? Or to keep, for that matter — or anything. That is, doesn’t the resolution itself require its already having been broken to even exist? But if that’s the case, does even existence itself have a meaning — at least in the case of resolutions?

*This* resolution.

But then if existence, even in one single, limited instance, no longer has meaning, does that not call all existence into question? There can’t be two classes of existence, can there: (1) existence that exists, and (2) existence that does not? How does one divide them, existent existence and the non-existent kind? Does not that which exists de facto fade into the simpler, non-existing kind? (That is, non-existence can’t very well, itself, exist, can it.)

“Cogito ergo sum” — I think, therefore I am. But if I am, therefore I must exist, which means in turn that I must be contained in the ever-expanding class of the non-existent kind.

Have I disproved Descartes?

(If interested, you can check out 3rd Sunday Write for yourself by clicking here.)

Those flighty, New Orleanian vampiresses, les filles à les caissettes (cf. July 4 2020, April 3 2018, et al.), are at it again. These are the ladies sent there from France in 1728, by orders of King Louis XV, to marry the colony’s most influential — and richest — men, to induce them to settle down and raise families. But who had brought with them the one named Aimée who had special dietary preferences, which the rest of them now shared too. And so they continue to this day, their original story, “Casket Girls,” first published on April 10 2014 in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION.

Others of their company, and Aimée too, have starred in other stories in subsequent years, most recently the five-part flash fiction sequence “Casket Suite” in DEFENESTRATIONISM.NET(see February 2, et al.), for which one can press here. But that first story, “Casket Girls,” has been republished itself only once, in THE SIREN’S CALL for April 2018. At least until now.

Thus Monday’s email from Mind’s Eye Publications’ Editor/Publisher Frank Coffman: Congratulations! This message confirms the acceptance of your submission to THE VAMPIRICON: IMAGININGS & IMAGES OF THE VAMPIRE [which will be published both in digital form and in print].

A DIGITAL COPY OF A CONTRACT FOR PUBLICATION [a PDF form] IS ATTACHED. Mind’s Eye Publications™ will consider digital signatures as sufficient. . . . .

The contract, with other information, went back at 7:30 this evening.

Came December’s Bloomington Writers Guild First Sunday Prose (see November 6, October 2, et al.) at Morgenstern Books, with me back in the pack with the “Open Mic” readers. Featured this time were long-time Guild member and poet Eric Rensberger and IU Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies Assistant Professor Maria Hamilton Abegunde, both of whom we’ve met several times before, with Eric leading off with a group of “prose poems” (“but really just paragraphs with a title”) written during the pandemic lockdown a few years ago. Then Abegunde followed with an excerpt from a longer essay, part eulogy for a departed teacher and partly an exposition of her own development as poet and healer.

Then, after the break, eight of us offered bits of our own work to an audience of fifteen to twenty, with me in sixth spot with a dark humored Christmas tale, originally published in DARK JESTERS in 2006, “The Worst Christmas Ever,” concerning one of Santa’s elves who wasn’t, really, suited for the job.

NIGHTMARE ABBEY 2 features a dozen terror tales by today’s greatest horror writers:

Steve Duffy, Helen Grant, David Surface, Theodore Sturgeon, Gregory L. Norris, James Dorr, John Llewellyn Probert, Gary Fry, Matt Cowan and others.

Tons of photos and illustrations by World Fantasy Award-winner Allen Koszowski; and a look at Boris Karloff’s Thriller by screenwriter and film historian Gary Gerani, and much more. . . .

So starts the Amazon blurb for NIGHTMARE ABBEY 2 (cf. November 23, et al.), available in paperback form for $14.75. And for which you get just shy of 150 pages of stories and features, including my own entry, “The Calm,” originally published in NEW MYTHOS LEGENDS (Marietta Press, 1999). But only in hard copy form with magazine-size pages, like in olden days such as the end of last century where my story comes from (with the action of “The Calm” set during the French and Indian War, some two and a half centuries older than that!). Yes. That is NIGHTMARE ABBEY, like companion magazine BLACK INFINITY, deliberately sports an old-fashioned style, as when magazines — high quality ones — were considered the next thing to books, to be savored and kept for re-reading later. Not skimmed through and discarded, like so much else these days.

And it now in my hands, judging from just a first, preliminary leaf-through this issue looks like it, too, will be a keeper, its contents filled with even earlier classics alongside new fiction, not to mention features and articles — all illustrated! For more information, one can press here.

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