Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.

Five novelettes.  Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?

Thus the blurb, the book is entitled THE BLOOD TOMES, VOLUME 2:  CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION, and to get to the point it’s the one with my story “The Bala Worm” (see just below, May 14, et al.).  And the news that just came, the Kindle edition is up for pre-order rather faster than had been expected, on Amazon now, for which press here!  As noted above, you get five novelettes for $0.99, 171 pages according to Amazon divided between authors Gordon B. White, me, Mark Pantoja, Jon Gauthier, and Peter Emmett Naughton, my part being the one with the dragon in the above description, though at novelette length of course there’s more.  Much more.  While for more information from the publisher, Tell-Tale Press, including other CREATURES volumes (horror short stories, fantasy, mystery, . . . ) one can press here.

Or, going back to the Amazon copy, so says the blurb:  We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

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Two quick bits of news arrived late yesterday and today, the first from Editor Andrea Dawn that payment (ahem!) for my story “The Bala Worm” (cf. April 26, 6) will be coming in less than a week, with the Tell-Tale Press anthology CREATURES on schedule to appear on Kindle on May 23 with stories also available then on the publisher’s website.   “The Bala Worm,” a novelette of dragon hunting in modern Wales, is itself a reprint, originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Then today’s note comes from Editor/Publisher Jason Brick that things had gotten a wee bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see March 27, et al.), so to catch up we’re going to . . . skip the step where everybody gets a pdf proof of the copy of their story individually, and roll right on to sending out a pdf proof of the book itself.  Which I’m hoping we’ll send out late next week.  This is an anthology of 100 stories of 1000 or fewer words apiece, “any genre, any style,” including my original flash piece,”The Junkie,” with publication still expected for June.

This was a quickie, sent just eight days before submissions closed — and accepted one day after!  The call was intriguing, under the rubric “Curious Gallery”:  Hello!  This project is a comfortable two-headed beast at play in the curious and often dark corners of retropunk fiction.  That means steampunk, dieselpunk, dreadpunk, bronzepunk, others too numerous to name punk  . . .  but not atompunk.  Sorry, space fans, we draw our line at Sputnik.  About 2/3 of rejections are for “bad fit.”  We buy nonexclusive rights for fiction, cover & interior art, music & sound effects usage, and narration services. The story, a sort of clockpunky reprint, “Appointment in Time,” originally published in YEARS END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR (Untreed Reads, 2012).  And so this afternoon Editor Kevin Frost replied:  Thanks again for your time and submission. We wish we’d get more like this so yes, we’d like to obtain it.

And there we have it, contract sent and signed this p.m., for short story magazine CURIOSITIES plus its podcast partner, THE GALLERY OF CURIOSITIES, a twice monthly podcast which features stories from the publication.  Not every story we buy will make it to an audio podcast release, but we do make good effort to get it there before our rights expire.  So maybe a “maybe” on that podcast publication, but time will tell, with more to come here as it becomes known.

April 6 saw the announcement that Tell-Tale Press had accepted “The Bala Worm,” the story of a dragon hunt in present-day Wales initially published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) as well as in THE TEARS OF ISIS, for the Horror Novelette division of its upcoming CREATURES anthology.  Today Editor Andrea Dawn has announced that it’s expected out on Kindle on May 23, with pre-orders starting May 17, as well as on the Tell-Tale Press website.  Also included were tables of contents, divided into separate “Libraries” for Fantasy, Horror, Mystery & Crime, and Science Fiction, with the horror one also subdivided into Short Stories and Novelettes.  Thus “The Bala Worm” is in Horror/Novelettes as we see below, also noting that all CREATURES stories are listed as in Volume 2, Volume 1 being a previous collection with the over-title WINTER HOLIDAYS:

The Blood Tomes, Volume 2 – CREATURES, Novelettes Edition (Horror Library)

The Buchanan Boys Ride Again – Gordon B. White
The Bala Worm – James Dorr
Buck – Mark Pantoja
Teddy Bear Picnic – Jon Gauthier
Borderland – Peter Emmett Naughton

One quickly notes that while there are only five titles here, “Novelettes” is the smallest category, horror short stories for instance having about twenty stories in it (the largest of all), with the other Libraries coming in at 11 titles each.  Confused?  I know I am, but more will be clear when the volumes are actually published, for which see here as the time grows nigh.  While the cover above, also, is for horror novelettes only, with separate covers for each of the other Library divisions.

There is a peculiar allure of insidious characters — and especially assassins, hit men, and their ilk.  Perhaps we find their uncomplicated moral codes and brutal efficiency appealing.  These characters care little about ethics — and perhaps that alone, that freedom from guilt, is exactly why we love them.  Perhaps, deep down, we wish we could be like them.  And perhaps, by reading stories with such characters, we can vicariously experience that thrill.  With this fascination with evil characters in mind, Smart Rhino Publications decided to publish this anthology, INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, a sequel to UNCOMMON ASSASSINS.  The book contains 24 stories by some of the best horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy authors writing today — including Jack Ketchum, Joe Lansdale, Billie Sue Mosiman, Lisa Mannetti, L.L. Soares, James Dorr, Shaun Meeks, and 17 others!  In these stories, you will meet some truly insidious characters — characters you may find yourself applauding when you know you shouldn’t.  Enjoy!

Thus Amazon’s blurb for INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS which, via Weldon Burge and THE SMART RHINO PUBLICATIONS MISCHIEF-MAKING SYNDICATE on Facebook and a quick scroll down to April 16, I discovered is on sale in paperback format on Amazon.  And by sale I mean really, really on sale, for $5.37 as of today with a list price cited at $18.95.  (And that’s going down — the Facebook note said it was $5.65.)  How long this will last I do not know, but to snap up a good deal I’d press here right now.  My cog in the kill-a-thon is a tale set in pre-Euro Crete, which is to say originally published in TOMORROW SF in March 1997*, “The Labyrinth” (cf. November 28 2018; January 23, 2 2015, et al.) for more on which — well, for scarcely over five dollars (granting that shipping and tax may add to that) perhaps one should just buy it and see for oneself.
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*Also reprinted in my collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES, in 2001, the year Greece itself adopted the Euro.

Well, the story is actually called “The Bala Worm” and it’s fairly long as these things go, first published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) as well as in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. its picture in the center column for reviews and more).  And then the call came:  We are looking for short stories about any kind of creatures you want:  animals, insects, arachnids (all giant or otherwise), dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, cryptids, legends, mythical, mythological, whatever strikes your fancy.  We really want you to go outside of the usual box that we see in fiction.  Sure, you can have classic vampires or aliens, werewolves or unicorns, but the story needs to be new and fresh, something that hasn’t been thought of before or hasn’t been worked with a lot.  The story should fit in any of the the genres of fantasy, horror, mystery, and science-fiction.  And not only that, but [w]e are also looking for novelettes.  We will be picking ONE novelette as the final story for each genre anthology.  Your novelette should be something that really catches us, perhaps that touches our hearts, horrifies us in a new way, has a profound vision of technology or the future, or baffles us with a twist or shocking revelation.  I did say “The Bala Worm” was long, yes?

So it seemed a good match.  The publication from Tell-Tale Press was to be titled CREATURES and, while semi-pro, payment for novelettes (here defined as 7000 to 10,000 words long) would be double that for “regular” stories so, even if only one would be picked, why not?  Then yesterday afternoon the word came from Publisher/Editor Andrea Dawn, I read your story “The Bala Worm” and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writing was strong and to the point.  It was interesting and I liked the mythological legend woven in there.  So I would like your permission to publish it in the CREATURES novelettes anthology.

So there it is.  Publication is tentatively set for May 23 on the Tell-Tale Press site — free, if I understand correctly, as individual story files — and as an anthology on Amazon Kindle with the possibility of a future print edition.  More to be reported here as details become known.

Well, first of all they aren’t all stories, “The Balloon Hoax” for instance first published as a genuine news account while POLITIAN is a never-completed play.  Nevertheless, I am a Poe fan — THE TEARS OF ISIS in fact is dedicated to Poe — and anyway who wants to quibble?  Thus when I ran across “13 True Stories Behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Terror Tales” by Christopher P. Semtner, Curator of Richmond Virginia’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum, on BIOGRAPHY.COM via Scott M. Goriscak on Facebook’s THE HORROR SOCIETY, I knew this was one I had to share.

But first a bit of an introduction by Curator Semtner:  Regrettably, the focus on Poe as counter-culture hero, cautionary example of the dangers of substance abuse, and grandfather of Goth may have obscured the reality of this immensely talented and versatile author.  This was true even during his lifetime when the controversial editor and critic appeared as a character in other authors’ novels, poems, and short stories, blurring the line between Poe’s legend and his real life.  Poe actively promoted his own legend by spreading rumors that he had fought in the Greek War of Independence and was held prisoner in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Poe’s reputation has kept him in the public eye, but it has also obscured the true significance.  This then is followed by a quick, but interesting biography plus some notes on the Richmond museum.

And then to the main event, thirteen tales including the above perhaps non-tales, plus others both familiar and possibly some somewhat less so.  “The Pit and the Pendulum.”  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (an illustration for which appears here).  “The Masque of the Red Death.”  “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  But also “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”  “Some Words With a Mummy.”  “Berenice.”  Others, the origins of some a bit speculative maybe, and some more convincing, my favorite being that of “A Cask of Amontillado” born from a feud between the author and one Thomas Dunn English.

To see all, press here.

I probably shouldn’t single out any of the stories, because all of them are excellent, but I have to mention that “Aquarium Dreams” by Gary Budgen, “Crow and Rat” by James Dorr, “Rut” by Ian Steadman, “Dewclaw” by Ian Kappos, “Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation” by Jason Gould are among the best stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  I also greatly enjoyed “Susheela” by Bindia Persaud, because it reads like a fairy tale for adults, and I loved “Ouroboros” by Douglas Thompson, because it’s something mesmerisingly different.  These stories alone make this anthology worth owning and reading.

So begins the conclusion of a review from March 29 in RISING SHADOW, e-pointed out to me by HUMANAGERIE Editor (with Sarah Doyle) Allen Ashley:  Just in case you haven’t seen this on Facebook, we have had another fabulous review, this time by the respected review website RISING SHADOW.  I am attaching a copy for you.  Everybody gets a positive mention.  And positive these mentions are indeed!  Earlier, reviewer Seregil of Rhiminee comments on each item in the contents, saying this of lowest-of-low ne’er-do-wells Crow and Rat (cf. January 13, et al.):

Crow and Rat – James Dorr:

– An excellent story about Crow and Rat who are beggars in the New City.
– The author’s vision of the world where the sun has become hotter is fascinating and satisfyingly dark.
– This is a bit different kind of a love story, because it has a dark and epic feel to it.  It’s almost like a dark and romantic fairy tale for adults.
– I consider James Dorr to be an author to watch, because this story is amazing.  (When I read this story, I said to myself that I must read more stories by the author, because what I’ve just read is something special.)

The New City, I should point out, is one of the settings in my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, although Crow and Rat’s story itself doesn’t appear in it.  But let it not go to these miscreants’ heads, but they seem to be doing quite well enough just from their appearance in HUMANAGERIE.  While as for RISING SHADOW’s review, to read it in full for yourself press here.

Or at least sometimes their stories do as blogger Carrie Ann Golden points out in “10 Films Based on Short Stories, on A WRITER & HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE, who asks [a]re all movies produced from screenplays only?  Her answer:  Nope. Many have been inspired by novels.  Think Harry Potter and Twilight.  But, did you know that there are a large number inspired by short stories?  She then proceeds to list ten as examples, starting with two that may be obvious, SLEEPY HOLLOW and THE BIRDS, followed by some that might less quickly come to mind like THE CANDYMAN (based on a series of stories by Clive Barker) or DARK WATER, SCREAMERS, and THE THING, with titles that differ from those of the original stories.  If interested one may press here, or simply take heart that there may be more to short story writing than occasional one dollar (or one cent) royalties.

But also an extra! Scroll down beyond the tenth movie title, beyond the article itself, and one of two links to other blog topics includes an interview, going back all the way to November 14 2016, of . . . me (see also post on the same date, below).  Herewith, for the curious, added to comments on characterization and theme are two questions on a then not-quite-yet-published work in progress, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

One of many exciting developments in the horror genre during the 2000s has been the emergence of so many films coming out of Ireland.  Rather than yet another ranking of the Leprechaun franchise (I’ll save you the trouble – ORIGINS is still the worst), this St. Patrick’s Day holiday seems like a good time to celebrate some of the really cool Irish horror films of the last 15 years.  So the feature began, “10 of the Best Irish Horror Films to Watch on St. Patrick’s Day (Or Any Other Day!)” by Patrick Bromley, on BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM with a note that it had been originally published “one week ago” on hallow-2March 14.  So two days after that it has come to my attention and, as an antidote maybe to the aforementioned “Leprechaun” films (which the SYFY channel actually had on TV on Saint Patrick’s Day itself, but then no-one’s accused them of having taste), here are some Irish films that are good, listed chronologically from 2005 and BOY EATS GIRL to 2019’s THE HOLE IN THE GROUND.

I have to admit I haven’t seen most of these myself (the one pictured is somewhat in the middle, from 2015’s THE HALLOW, picked I confess in part because it’s green) but from the descriptions Bromley offers all of them seem at least worth a look.  For more (better late than never) press here.




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