Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

One quick note and one just for fun.  The quickie, as of Sunday a new review is up on Amazon for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, by Andrew Suhrer, a fellow author.  And it’s for five stars too!  In fact, all reviews both here and on B&N (three reviews there) are 5-star reviews, if I may so brag.  (Though to keep myself honest, there are two on Goodreads that aren’t quite as glowing.)  Nevertheless, for the ones on Amazon one may press here.

And then the fun part, fellow poet and Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member (and one-time editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE) Marge Simon posted a challenge a little while back, to compose a poem of twenty lines or less using the words “Vermin,” “Theremin,” “Decision,” and “Vitamin,” for e-publication in SFPA’s newsletter.  The best, also, would get an ice cream prize.  A half dozen or so of us responded and while, no, the prize-winner wasn’t mine, it was one of two that got honorable mentions.

Alas, I don’t think there’s a link to see all the poems if you’re not a member, but for more on the SFPA (see also, March 29, 22, et al.) one may press here.  And to read at least my poem, it’s right below:

MUSICAL SUMMER

Vermin infested the theremin,
roaches by the look of them,
probably the same that invaded the drugstore’ s
vitamin counter
two weeks before.
So now these super bugs
bursting with good health and bad decisions,
operating the instrument from inside,
wailed their hatred of all that was human
out beyond the stars.

 

Enjoy, enjoy!

It’s either going to be a big, big book or a lot of the stories will be rather short, but Gehenna & Hinnom’s upcoming YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR (cf. May 8) looks like it’s going to be exciting reading.  Set for a publication date of September 30, here is the table of contents along with the cover, as released Wednesday evening by Editor C.P. Dunphey.

Table of Contents:

(Note:  We have decided to go by alphabetical order by author for the stories, since there are just so many high quality pieces.)

Foreword by C.P. Dunphey
Introduction by ?????

STORIES:
“SLOBBER” by Shaun Avery
“ERUPTION” by Charlotte Baker
“DEVIL’S TEARS” by Shadrick Beechem
“AN ANGEL AMONG US” by David Beers
“HUMAN-KINGS” by Austin Biela
“WRIGGLERS” by Chantal Boudreau*
“LITTLE MONSTERS” by Ed Burkley
“TOM’S THUMB” by K.M. Campbell
“FAMILY DINNER” by A. Collingwood
“THE ITCH” by Stuart Conover
“THE BLIND ASSASSIN” by Damien Donnelly
“FLESH” by James Dorr*
“A NORMAL SON” by Spinster Eskie
“GAS MASK BABY” by Santiago Eximeno
“HUMAN BODY” by Balázs Farkas*
“FRESH FACE” by Tarquin Ford
“MEET THE WIFE” by Kenneth C. Goldman*
“MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER” by James Harper
“MANTIS” by Kourtnea Hogan
“CICADA” by Carl R. Jennings
“TETANUS” by Christopher Vander Kaay
“GRUB” by Alexander Lloyd King
“MY LOVE BURNS WITH A GREEN FLAME” by Thomas C. Mavroudis
“THE FACE IN THE MIRROR” by Sean McCoy
“PORPHYRIA” by John S. McFarland
“THINGS” by Rick McQuiston
“THE FLESH GARDENER” by Jeremy Megargee
“EAR WAX” by G.A. Miller
“THE FACE” by Kurt Newton*
“BATTLEGROUND” by Drew Nicks
“WHIZZ-BANG ATTACK” by Sergio Palumbo
“THE ALWAYS WATCHING EYE” by Gary Power
“HOT FLASHES” by Jenya Joy Preece
“THE IMPLOSION OF A GASTROCRAT” by Frank Roger*
“NO STRINGS” by Josh Shiben*
“BABEL” by Ian Steadman
“A POUND OF FLESH” by Edmund Stone
“CONDITIONED APOCALYPSE” by Aric Sundquist
“LENGTH” by David Turton
“NATURAL GROWTH” by Mijat Vujačić*
“UTTER NO EVIL” by Joseph Watson
“DOWN WHERE HER NIGHTMARES DWELL” by Sheldon Woodbury

* means reprint

And in an ongoing news note, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are back to offering pretty deep print copy discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price at $11.28 (compared to a full price of $14.95) and Amazon at $10.65, 25 and 29 percent off, respectively.  (For electronic prices, B&N’s Nook is at $8.49, Amazon’s Kindle $8.99.)  I don’t know if this is an August thing, or if it will even last through the month — or extend beyond.  However, if interested, Barnes & Noble can be checked out here and Amazon here.

On both sites there may be individual sellers as well with copies at even lower prices.  But if you find the bargain you want, and like the book too, please consider posting a review of TOMBS at both locations.

July seems to be the month for sending a thing to one place, seeing it come back accepted by another.  One example, “Flightless Rats” (see July 7), the tale of an innocent vampire maid and a bounder’s attempt on her virtue in 19th century New Orleans.  For today, the call had been in April.  It took some time, but the time has come:  we’re putting together an anthology of  poetry and flash fiction about spirits, ghosts, seances, Ouija boards, famous hauntings, not-so-famous hauntings, possessions, and anything else relating to supernatural bumps in the night (or day, we aren’t fussy).  And there it was.  Reprints being okay, I responded with the 300-word saga of a young lady with an interest in witches, but, if these weren’t available, other bump-in-the-nightly creatures would do, and lessons she learned in a house she was told was haunted.  Originally published in GOTHIC BLUE BOOK IV:  THE FOLKLORE EDITION (Burial Day Books, 2014), the title was “School Nights.”
 .
Today the word came back from Managing Editor Kate Garrett, not for the anthology, WHITE NOISE & OUIJA BOARDS, but for the publisher’s seasonal magazine THREE DROPS FROM A CAULDRON.  I really enjoyed this story, and though it isn’t quite right for the ghosts anthology, I wondered if it would be okay for me to publish it in the Samhain 2017 edition?  I like spookier, horror-tinged work for that one, and would love to include your story.  The Samhain special will be published online and in print on 13th October.  (And it isn’t technically open for submissions until 21st August, but I really like this.)
 .
So I emailed back, “Yes.”

Today?  Yesterday?  The start of the month?  These types of changes sneak up on one, but this afternoon’s traipse of the internet has revealed that TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH can now be obtained in both Kindle and Nook for electronic readers.  The cost on Amazon is $8.99 as can be discovered (and should one wish, ordered) here while its Nook equivalent can be found for only $8.49 on B&N’s site here (though you then have to press the “See All Formats & Editions” button).  Of other statistics, TOMBS is listed by Amazon in both formats as having been published on June 1, though as we know that was actually the print version only.  Also, one may have noticed the new Nook version comes in at fifty cents less than Amazon’s Kindle, convenient for electronic bargain seekers, but while B&N charges the full list price of $14.95 for its print edition, Amazon cuts that by a whacking two cents to come to a mere $14.93.  (Needless to say, the days of pre-order and later-in-June deep discounts are past, but several reviewers on both the sites seem to indicate the book’s worth its full price.)

Yes, I am of course one of them, but one must scroll down and down past the other five, to just before the ending blurb for the ZIPPERED FLESH series plus PLAGUE OF SHADOWS.  Not surprisingly, the books featured for all six of us writers include ones by Smart Rhino Publications, including the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. June 19, et al.), in my case also covering the two “assassins” anthologies, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  But there are others too.  Also for all six of us there are interviews featured on Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES (see, for me, also January 18).

All told, these are storytellers worth looking into, I think, with information on all of them — including . . . moiavailable here.

A lovely, not-too-hot Sunday afternoon brings two quick notes of the “The Writer’s Life” variety.  The first was a contract from Madeline L. Stout of FANTASIA DIVINITY MAGAZINE for reprinting “Flightless Rats” (cf. July 7), starring New Orleanian Casket Girl Aimée on the prowl for a husband, signed and sent back.  Then earlier this p.m. it was time for the annual Bloomington Writers Guild picnic and open reading (see July 24 2016, et al.), starring fried chicken and many sides, in which I read a cautionary poem not of Aimée but those of her kind, titled “Evening.”  Also announced, beginning with the first Sunday next month and “First Sunday Prose Readings,” a new fall cycle of Writers Guild activities will have begun.

It’s just a short post, but cruising the interwebs what should I find but, on SCREENJUNKIES.COM, “5 Best French Vampire Movies”?  In ways it’s a strangely limited list, all five films being made in the late 1960s/1970s and four of them being (including his first, in 1968) by Jean Rollin, for more on whom – in an amazing coincidence – see June 12, below.  But if you like your vamps to exude a dreamy erotica in mildly surrealistic settings, whether or not they’re the absolute best, in four out of five one could do a lot worse.  So with no guarantees*, and today is Bastille Day, for one apparently anonymous film critic’s selections press here.

.
*Note that the one non-Rollin entry, Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, was co-produced by the French film company Gaument (and does have some French actors, notably Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker), but that may be pushing things a little.

It wasn’t to be a big convention, even by NASFiC standards – I was told there were 400-some paid attendees, but actual crowds seemed considerably less.  But I hadn’t gone for a big convention necessarily, though part of it was the new novel-in-stories, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and a chance to show copies of it to fans in the hope word might spread.  In fact the convention could sort of be considered cozy, though part of the reason I really went was for the adventure.  The North American Science Fiction Convention, held for us home folks in years when the World SF Convention is going to be overseas, was itself overseas for 2017 — if only a little.  Farther than Cuba, though, or Haiti, in San Juan Puerto Rico.

So, yes, that’s still the United States, no problems with passports, but a lot of people speak Spanish too (which I myself don’t), and some don’t speak much English.  The money’s the same, which is helpful too, though some foods tended to be more salty, and others sweeter than I would prefer.

But in the hotel things were more familiar, including an unfortunately sparse con suite (most missed: morning coffee, heated things being forbidden, the staff explained, for “liability reasons”).  So, okay, make that a pioneer adventure.  Nor was there an autograph session, but there were a small number of readings scheduled, of which one was mine!  And there were panels, for the most part well attended.

My Part of the Show

I had two panels Friday, the first on “Genre Blending” which, in my introduction, allowed me to point out TOMBS as an example, keyworded by Amazon as Horror and Dystopic Science Fiction and on this blog as Science Fantasy and Dark Romance.  Discussion included the reason for genres — originally to know which shelf to go to in the library or bookstore — and whether “literary” fictioneers look down on us (but with one advantage of ghettoization, we have our own festivals such as NASFiC, and another as I pointed out of coming to know a small number of writers well enough to allow

San Cristobal

a sort of apprentice system).  But for the future with more and more book sales via the internet the old shelf labels are being replaced by keywords, allowing cross genres for readers to narrow their searches farther.  Then following that, “The Critical Eye” (with me moderating) included discussions of writers’ groups and mutual critiques prior to publication, editors’ comments and suggestions and why and how to sometimes decline these, and finally post publication reviews, even if not all necessarily “five star” — and why fans do authors a real favor by writing reviews, even if only one or two lines, and sending them to Amazon, et al.

Saturday gave me another panel, “World Building as More than Background,” again offering an opportunity to present TOMBS as an example (“It starts by finding the rivers,” I answered to the moderator’s opening question – rivers move commerce, and commerce brings cities, and cities begin to define civilization).  Other questions:  If you like a world, do you expand the book into a series? Can you get mired in research, and how to get out of it (my answer there referenced my story “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” which I built from leftover research about deserts, and which became my first ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE sale*)?  What do you do if your world is so popular readers want to write fan fiction in it?  And, as an example of a “built” world, this was immediately preceded by my reading (in fact, I came into the panel a minute or two late) in which I followed the back cover blurb and section II part of the Ghoul Poet’s story in TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for orientation of a sort, with the story-chapter of “The Last Dance” to a rather large audience as readings go at conventions I’ve been to.  In fact, it was almost as though there were a cadre of readings groupies, other readings that I dipped into drawing relatively large audiences too, for which kudos to NASFiC and/or I hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

Then Sunday morning brought “Zombies Over Time and Space,” a more relaxed free-wheeling affair with an audience that didn’t mind our straying into vampires for part of the session (I had pointed out that functionally post-Romero zombies are really vampires, just after solid food rather than liquid, and that he himself had said NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was meant in part as a homage to Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND).  Also touched on were Vodoun and Haitian zombies (the “zombies of folklore”), attempts at scientific explanation including various poisons (e.g. Wade Davis’s THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, the “zombies of science”), the Nineteenth Century New England vampire epidemic, and semi-salacious gossip involving Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly, and other companions.

What I Wasn’t On

There were other panels, including one I had been assigned to at first but then removed from in later schedules, “Writing Diverse Characters of Impact” on Saturday morning, that I still attended.  Others included “Alternate Histories Outside the West,” “Imagining the Impossible” (this primarily about visual art, but of interest to me as having to do with creativity), and “How to Make Religions in Fantasy/SF Stories Real” (also in its own way relating to TOMBS).  In addition, the Opening Ceremonies Thursday night were followed by an “Ice Cream Social” (and as we know, cf. July 7, my being caught in a sudden rain on my way back to the hotel I was staying at), Friday night offered an Artists’ Reception, and Saturday brought an “Alien Abduction Masquerade Party” including food and a live slide show and reading performance of 1976’s “The Capture,” by Robert Aspirin with art by Phil Foglio, depicting an SF convention hijacked by aliens.

The Castillos

Weather for the most part was good, despite brief bouts of rain the first three days. Sunday it was supposed to be rainy in the afternoon, which was to be my free time for exploring the old

El Morro

part of the city and the “San Juan National Historic Site,” but Weather Channel forecasts aside it turned out to be sunny.  Lovely.  So this was the main “adventure” part, including a glance into the huge Cementerio Maria Magdelena de Pazzis outside the city wall to the north, the Cathedral of San Juan, the Plaza Colon (a very nice park, of which there are several, in this case with a statue of Columbus at the top of a pillar but up too high for my camera to reach to), and to the south a walk down the Paseo de la Princesa along San Juan Bay and entering the city through its original main gate.

But the main attractions were the two castillos, that of San Cristobal to the east, dating back to the Seventeenth Century, and a century before that El Morro guarding the bay on the western tip of the city, begun in 1539.  Both fortifications continued to be added onto over the centuries, El Morro ultimately having six separate levels (of which I explored five but skipped the “water battery” at the very bottom, my knees beginning to give out by then), including a lighthouse at the top built (I think) in the early Twentieth Century — and still in use.

And then, Monday morning, I chickened out on taking the city bus (I had come in on the bus, however, through – someone has to say it, yes? – picturesque narrow streets) and hailed a taxi to the airport.  Time to go home.  But, having changed my seat to the left of the airplane the evening before, I did have a brief final look through the window at a tiny Morro Castle to start the trip back to the mainland.
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*”The Wellmaster’s Daughter” can also be found in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for which, click its picture in the center column).

You saw the announcement in part in the comments in yesterday’s post, now hear it in full:  my prize-fight poem, “Godzilla vs King Kong” (see March 29; August 12, 6 2016, et al.), has battled its way to . . . well . . . a three-way tie for third place in this year’s Rhysling contest for best short poem.  That’s not the height of the fighters, mind you, but rather means poems of fewer than fifty lines, and Kong would tell you a third is a third and, even with others included, that’s still a share in the purse.  Or . . . but let’s let the sponsors put it in their own words.

The Rhysling Anthology Editor and Award Chair, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, and the officers of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Rhysling Awards.  The organization was founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science-fiction poetry.  This year, there is a 3-way tie for Third Place in the Short Poem category.

Each year, the SFPA publishes the Rhysling Anthology, comprised of works nominated by its international membership for the Best Poems of the Year.  The Rhyslings were first established in 1978, named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.”  Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s.  In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name.

Winning works are regularly reprinted in the Nebula Awards Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  Rhysling Awards are considered in the speculative literature field to be the poetry equivalent of the awards given for prose — achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature.

The Rhysling Awards will be formally presented at DiversiCon, in St. Paul (Bandana Square Best Western) by SFPA President, Bryan Thao Worra and other members of the SFPA executive committee. All members are welcome to attend the ceremony.

Short Poem
1st:  “George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts”
Marge Simon • Silver Blade 32

2nd:  “Build a Rocketship Contest: Alternative
Class A Instructions and Suggestions”
Wendy Rathbone • Asimov’s SF January

3rd (tie):
“Godzilla vs. King Kong”
James S. Dorr • Dreams and Nightmares 103

“Richard Feynman’s Commute”
Jon Wesick • The Were-Traveler Dec. 21

“The Box of Dust and Monsters”
Beth Davis Cato • Devilfish Review 17

Long Poem
1st :  “Rose Child”
Theodora Goss • Uncanny 13

2nd:  “The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner”
Adam Bolivar • Spectral Realms 5

3rd:  “Not Like This”
Mary Soon Lee • Apex Magazine Aug. 4

For more on the Rhyslings and SFPA one may press here.

Speaking of cats, the Goth Cat Triana is napping happily next to the keyboard, joyful that I have returned home to her.  More of what I did at NASFiC to come, but for now there are items to be caught up on.  And so this first popped up in today’s email from PHOBOS magazine (cf. February 24, et al.):  Good news!  The print edition of “Deep Black Sea” is now up for sale on Amazon!

Apologies for the delay, but I feel confident in saying this is our strongest issue yet, which of course is a result of the high quality stories by everyone present.  Thank you all for being a part of it.  Our next step will be putting out a Kindle version and making it available at select local bookstores. 

In the meantime, feel free to direct anyone interested to the Amazon site — and have them drop a review about how great your story is!  Reviews go a long way, even if it’s not five stars.

So . . . my story in this is a Lovecraftian romp, “The Dark Call of the Sea,” of a summer vacation at Innsmouth gone wrong.  For more, press here — and as quoted above, if you enjoy the issue, or just my story, please give the Amazon folk a review!

Then for a second item, my copy of CAT’S BREAKFAST: KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE (cf. June 15, et al.) arrived from Third Flatiron Publishing while I was gone, in a print edition at a (for Third Flatiron) whopping 270-some pages long.  My story in this is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013, see April 24 2013, et al.), about girls both alive and dead . . . and bears.  More on it can be found here and, should you enjoy, it can be reviewed too.




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