Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Hark us back to a Thursday seven weeks ago, February 9, and recall that I had a guest blog published by Heidi Angell, “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” (see February 13*), nakedly pimping — guess what? — my own mosiac novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  You thought it was over?  But now it comes out:  “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” was only the first of a series of three essays planned for Ms. Angell’s blog, and word came today that the second of these, “It Began with a Map,” is scheduled for Thursday next week, March 30.  So what will the third be?  Well, most likely to come out in early to mid-May, anticipating the novel’s debut from Elder Signs Press on the first of June . . . well, I haven’t officially made up my mind yet, but we shall see then.  Perhaps you have some ideas?

Meanwhile, for Thursday, “It Began With a Map” will touch a bit on the geography and peoples of the world of the “Tombs,” hopefully whetting appetites further.  While I, having received an advance PDF just a few days ago, have begun the slog of proofreading the thing — another part of the thrill-a-minute life of the writer!

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*In fact, if you haven’t read “What Is a Novel-in-Stories,” why not do it now by pressing here?  Or better yet, if you would like to pre-order TOMBS, you can click on its picture or press here.

We would like to announce our third annual VESTAL REVIEW Award (The VERA).

Please feel free to nominate one story under 500 words published by your magazine in print or online in 2016.  The winning selection receives a prize of $100 and a publication in VESTAL REVIEW, and the runner-up entry gets publication in VESTAL REVIEW at our usual terms.  There is no nomination fee.  Only a magazine editor is eligible to submit a nomination.  One story per magazine, please.

Thus the VERA award, from VESTAL REVIEW, “the oldest magazine dedicated exclusively to flash fiction” as their subtitle has it, and yesterday came the news:  Third Flatiron Anthologies editor Juliana Rew wanted to check if it was okay by me for a story, “Chocolat” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), that appeared in their spring 2016 IT’S COME TO OUR ATTENTION (cf. February 21 2016, et al., including for special story background December 11 2015) to be nominated.  “Chocolat” is the tale of a beleaguered Frenchman protesting a recent (really, though by now a few years past) European Union Financial Council change in the legal definition of chocolate — which is to say, chocolat in French — and what became of him.

When the winners will be announced is not known by me (I think stories can be nominated through September 30, which would mean not soon) and the chances, of course, of actually winning are probably not great, but Third Flatiron puts out a pretty good series of quarterly themed anthologies (for more information on which one may click here), including offering professional rates.  Or in other words, just being singled out by them is itself an honor, and so I’ve said “oui!”

No, it isn’t an early April Fool’s trick and it is a new name (slightly), but the name was especially voted on to keep the initials the same.  And so, as announced today, by fairly hefty vote margins the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) has become the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA, though there was a minority vote to add an extra F for SFFPA).  The change is simply a long-time-coming recognition that a lot of SFPA members actually write fantasy poetry, if one wants to be picky, and the name change parallels a similar change made some years ago by the SFWA (which is to say, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, once the Science Fiction Writers of America, which for a brief time then initialed itself the SFFWA with occasional members pronouncing the name as if they stuttered).  So what’s in a name?  For nostalgia hounds, here presented is the old logo, which may take a little time to update and, new name or old name, the group still can be found by pressing here.  (And between you and me, I write horror poetry, and I’m still a member.)

Beginning now (March 3rd) through March 11th, we’re offering 30% off every single ebook title published by Untreed Reads throughout The Untreed Reads Store.  VERY IMPORTANT!!:  There is no discount code for this promotion.  The 30% off will automatically show up during the last step of the checkout process.  . . .  Remember that when people purchase through our store they get EPUB, PDF and Kindle versions for just one price!  Plus, they Pedscan gift a title to someone or send an ebook directly to their Kindle.  So begins the announcement from Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing, home of two stand-alone short story e-chapbooks by me, the steampunkish-mystery VANITAS and Christmas horror I’M DREAMING OF A. . ., plus my dystopic science fiction novelette PEDS.  To take advantage, press the picture of any of these in the center column and, as an extra, you’ll also find the New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with its opening story, “Appointment in Time,” also by me.

So what’s the occasion?  According to Editor Hartman:  Every year, the ebook world celebrates Read An Ebook Week, and this year is certainly no different!  This year, the dates of the event are Sunday, March 5th through Saturday, March 11th.  Also, he points out, although the discount is only 25%, PEDS and I’M DREAMING OF. . . . are also on sale at DriveThruFiction from March 5 through 11, which can be reached by pressing here.  No coupon code is needed for either sale, though the one directly from Untreed Reads seems the better deal.

This just in from Editor Cliff Gerstang, that EVERYWHERE STORIES:  SHORT FICTION FROM A SMALL PLANET, VOLUME II (cf. November 27, September 29, et al.) can now be obtained in a Kindle edition.  One need but press here.  But for those new to this blog (or perhaps short of memory), let us now take a trip on the Wayback Machine to July 25 2016everywhere-stories-vol-ii, quoting from publisher Press 53:  With a theme of “It’s a Mysterious World,” this exciting addition to the EVERYWHERE STORIES series, edited by award-winning author Clifford Garstang, takes readers on a journey around the globe:  to a wrestling match in Turkey, to a mysterious eye doctor in Guatelmala, to a homeless man wandering the streets of Chicago, to a religious school in Samoa, to a drowning in Mexico, to a fortune-telling monk in Korea, to a miraculous hotel in Egypt, and to more stories in countries on every continent.

Yes, that EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOLUME II, originally published in good ol’ print in the days of yore on September 26.  So these things take time, sometimes.  My tale in this one is “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” of crime and family life gone sour in the Sahara Desert, originally told in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, November 1991, and also reprinted in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for more information, click its pic in the center column).  Or for the print version of EVERYWHERE STORIES, VOL II, us dead tree buffs can still press here.

Or possibly May depending on how one reads the lines, but word has come that PHOBOS MAGAZINE number 4 should be published in print “in the next 1-2 months.  Shortly after, it will be available on Kindle.”  This is the deepblacksea_phobosartissue on the theme of “Deep Black Sea” with, keeping the subject in mind, my Lovecraftian story “The Dark Call of the Sea” (see December 14, October 25).  This is the one about a bad summer holiday spent at Innsmouth, with overtones of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann,” and to be available if schedules hold up in time for your and my summer vacations.

Then one more announcement regarding PHOBOS, we have a sneak peek at the cover art, by Abagail Larson.  Gaze and enjoy.

It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King. . . .

So begins the poem as published in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES for May 2016 (cf. August 6, et al.), “Godzilla vs. King Kong.”  Then, today, came another missive:  Congratulations on having been nominated as a candidate for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2017 Rhysling Award, given by king_kong_vs_godzilla_1962member vote for the best speculative-genre poem first published in 2016.  While the award does not include a monetary prize, those included in the anthology receive a contributor’s copy, a 50% discount on further copies, and may join SFPA at half the normal rate.  The email went on to explain the details, the poem would be published in this year’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, I would get a copy of it but no extra money for reprint rights, the anthology, in turn, would be distributed to SFPA members for use in voting.  And, one should add, even just being a nominee carries a certain amount of prestige so, the bottom line, I sent back my permission for the republication.

The Rhysling Award is actually two annual awards, one for shorter poems, one for those fifty lines long or more (at 26 lines, my poem will be in the short division).  These are voted on by SFPA members, by analogy to other genre awards like the Nebulas and Stokers(R), but with this one difference, that every nominee is distributed in the anthology, so every voter will have a chance to have read all the candidate poems.  More on the Rhyslings can be found on the SFPA site by pressing here.

As for who won the fight, however, Godzilla or King Kong, the answer will be in the poem itself and, even if not yourself a SFPA member, there will be a chance to buy the anthology when it comes out.

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Who can resist it?  This is a picture of new Goth Cat Triana (cf. February 10, 6, et al.) taken by a friend, Eve Schultes-Ridge, last Monday.  Triana is on her inherited high throne (in an earlier life, a carton for a refrigerator door gasket), relaxing with her favorite cat toy, a molded plastic human heart.

These things have a way of sneaking up on you!  The essay was actually published on Thursday, February 9, as advertised last week (cf. February 4), but in the circuitous way of the internet at times, word finally only caught up with me last night.  So it goes.

The essay, anyway, pertains to my upcoming novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but is actually about novel structure.  That is, TOMBS isn’t structured like a majority of novels, as pretty much a continuous narrative, but rather is what is sometimes called a mosaic novel or a novel-in-stories.  Say what?   That is, like Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB or Ray Bradbury’s THE 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13MARTIAN CHRONICLES.  Or what about Bradbury’s THE ILLUSTRATED MAN?  Or John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy.  Novels pieced together from parts, the parts sometimes short stories in their own right — but not necessarily always.  And anyhow why do it that way at all?

Well, now we have an answer, courtesy of blogger Heidi Angell who, as of Thursday, has published my “What Is a Novel in Stories” as a guest blog.  And did it really start with Edgar Allan Poe?

To find out, press here.

This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington.  This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts.  This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey.  The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.

That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me.  The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood.  And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles.  This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and triana3c2001playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks:  a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.”  The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.

Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave.  But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!




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