Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

This is a short take, really a footnote, as the publication was primarily electronic and, I believe, even at that pretty much out of print now.  But paperback copies of some volumes had been made, for the authors if for nobody else, and mine with my story “The Bala Worm” (see May 23 2019, et al.), THE BLOOD TOMES, VOLUME TWO, CREATURES, NOVELETTE EDITION, arrived in my mailbox Monday afternoon.  The story itself was originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008; also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS), and appears with four other “monster” novelettes to add to my reading while semi-sequestered by pandemic lockdowns.

Strange is the writing world in these coronavirus stay-at-home days.  Often on this blog the action comes mainly toward the ends and beginnings of months.  It makes some sense, deadlines are often at ends of months for us, the writers, too, so why not let editors’/publishers’ schedules have similar times for sending acceptances, contracts, et al.?  Except that for this month things had to be different.

And so, after gaps of a week or more, we’ve had writing news the first three days of this week, just about exactly mid-month, on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of June.  And now, with only a single day skipped, on Thursday the 18th a “double-header” from The Great Void Books.  The Great Void, we might recall, is the publisher of my novelette “The Garden” in their speculative fiction anthology UNREAL (see March 28, 22, et al.).  But other genre-centric anthologies have been in the works as well and today brought not one, but two stories accepted for their ghost tales and crime books, respectively.

First, then, what was for me a sort of experimental story, using multiple points of view, “Pre-Owned Jeans” (originally published in 2010 in L&L Dreamspell’s DREAMSPELL NIGHTMARES), has been taken for SHATTERED VEIL, for ghost stories, of which Editor Aditya Deshmukh emailed this morning:  This is such a beautiful story.  The intriguing shop, the haunted clothes, and the just ending.  The two deciding to see each other at the end makes it even more beautiful. I ‘m glad to inform you that the story has been accepted.  Then second a novelette, “Madness” (originally from THE WITCHING HOUR by Silver Lake Publishing, 2001), a cross-genre tale of mean streets (and offices) in the city with intimations of witchcraft — or is it? — will be coming out in The Great Void’s crime fiction anthology, WATER TURNS RED, for which Aditya said later this afternoon:  The story kept me hooked until the end. Glad to inform you that I’m accepting the story for the anthology.

And there we are, to which Aditya has added for both:  More details soon.

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Then one more tidbit, discovered today, the aforementioned UNREAL with my biochemical novelette “The Garden” is available on Amazon now, as of June 15, in both paperback and Kindle editions. For more details on that one, press here.

No that’s not Harvest Moons but, rather, my story “Moons of Saturn,” originally published in Algis Budrys’s TOMORROW for July 1993 as well as in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, tentatively accepted by PULP LITERATURE pending decision on which issue to put it in (cf. November 19).  PULP LITERATURE is a Canadian quarterly founded in 2013, so named (to paraphrase Wikipedia) to reflect a taste for “great storytelling in genre fiction,” with reference to such magazines as FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, ANALOG, and ELLERY QUEEN.

So today the word came from Acquisitions Editor Genevieve Wynand:  I hope this finds you well.  I am so pleased to let you know that we have placed “Moons of Saturn” in Issue 28, Autumn 2020.  Could you send along a three- to five-line bio to include with the story?  I will be preparing the contract shortly, so if you could also email your current address that would be great, as well.  Thus closure of a sort, the “tentative” now erased from the “acceptance.”  As for the story, “Moons of Saturn” is a fanciful tale of the Voyager space probe missions past Saturn in the 1980s as watched on TV by a highly imaginative woman and her devoted lover.

More as it becomes known.

Monday night brought a new proof copy of not just my story “Snow,” but the full text of STORIES FOR THE THOUGHTFUL YOUNG (née “Bedtime Stories,” see June 5, et al.) in two formats, DOCX and PDF.  While equipment here now can handle short DOCX files, the length of this one may have proved too formidable, but the PDF version opened as smooth as silk (well, leisurely silk, this still being the Second Slowest Computer In The World) and yesterday evening I gave it a go-through.  Name spelled correctly, check.  Bio, acknowledgements okay, check.  But the story itself had a weird problem with it, the individual already-edited story file having apparently gained a glitch that, in effect, erased line skips indicating scene breaks from about a third of the way through to the end.  This was for the PDF copy anyway, so it’s possible the other version was still okay with the problem coming in the change of format, so I explained that this was the copy I was correcting and, citation by citation (of which there were four or five, the story shifting between the protagonist’s and “meanwhile back at the Evil Queen’s palace” segments) sent the changes back, along with one for another unrelated minor error, a bit after midnight.

So another task, another bit of The Writing Life gone past, and STORIES FOR THE THOUGHTFUL YOUNG, from B Cubed Press, is now (as noted as well on the 5th, below) that much closer to publication.

The peripatetic “Bedtime Stories” (cf. May 4, November 30) may have settled now with a permanent title, a simple STORIES FOR THE THOUGHTFUL YOUNG, or at least is so shown on a draft cover currently up on publisher B Cubed Press’s Facebook page.  Small changes, of course, may still be made — on blurb copy, for instance, on the back — but so far it seems to look pretty nice!  Working titles included such variants as BEDTIME STORIES FOR PROGRESSIVE PARENTS (aha!  the change in focus may indicate why, in the editing stage, I was moved to change a naughty word to one more family friendly), while my part in it remains the also simply-titled “Snow,” of a teenage girl whose evil stepmother, Evelyn, is also queen, and seven little people in the jewel-mining trade — a combination you just know can’t end well.  Or can it?

To find out one must buy the book, one supposes, which with its cover art revealed — at least in draft form — is one giant step closer to publication.

“Ballet of the Dolls,” we may recall (see May 4, 2, et al.), is now up on Tell-Tale Press’s NABU CARNEVALE promotional site.  Or to put it in the publisher’s own words:  THERE ARE EVEN MORE FREE ONLINE STORIES FOR NABU CARNEVALE!  This story is a beautiful dark fantasy piece by James Dorr.  James has provided us with his wonderful work before; his story “The Bala Worm” appeared in THE BLOOD TOMES VOLUME 2:  CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION .  This time, his engaging and haunting piece from the FANTASY LIBRARY, “Ballet of the Dolls,” fits perfectly within the NABU CARNEVALE theme.  We’re always happy to have James’s work in our books and libraries!

Artwork is by Ruslana Golub from the Ukraine.

Artwork too?  The story, “Ballet of the Dolls,” was first published in 2004 in the Lone Wolf CD ROM, CARNIVAL, as well as in print in my 2007 collection DARKER LOVES (see center column), and is about an ambitious young woman, needlework, and birds in a sideshow setting — plus a bit of not-so-nice seduction.  The artwork, along with a link to the story, can be seen on FaceBook by pressing here, or just for the story — it’s free! — press here.

Another stroll down Memory Lane (see November 30, 2019):  The guidelines said it.  “We’re looking for nursery rhymes, poetry, and stories that can be read and enjoyed by children of all ages.  There is no lower word limit on poems or nursery rhymes.”  Mine, however, would be a story, “Snow,” a 2000-word riff (more or less) on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”  An evil queen, a stepdaughter in training, height-challenged jewel miners.  The book in question, to be published by B Cubed Press:  ALTERNATIVE BEDTIME READING FOR PROGRESSIVE PARENTS.  Thus the story accepted; a contract signed (a drawn-out process involving coronavirus-related computer limitations, but so it goes, eh?); yesterday, Sunday, evening brought the edited copy of “Snow” from the publisher for my approval.  Then, following a lateish night read, I added in a few small corrections and back it went.

So despite the troubles of the world around us, the writing life continues as always.  Contracts. . . .  Approvals. . . .  The slow grind of publishing, but this book, I think, will be well worth the wait.  More to appear here as it becomes known.

Also for a shorter look-back, the promised preview of stories for Tell-Tale Press’s NABU CARNEVALE promotion (see May 2, below) has now gone live in the Press’s “Library,” for which one may press here.  Scroll down to the Fantasy section, the first section listed, and press to find mine, a dark fantasy titled “Ballet of the Dolls,” where it will be the second of four stories.

Let us look back for a moment at April 22’s post about how my story “Ballet of the Dolls,” originally published in CD-ROM form in CARNIVAL (Lone Wolf, 2004) and in print in my collection DARKER LOVES (Dark Regions, 2007), was going to reprinted by Tell-Tale Press in electronic form, available via Facebook and Instagram, as part of a promotion for their upcoming NABU CARNEVALE anthology.  (Nothing by me in the latter, however, which will contain new fiction only — long story there, the gist of which is that “Ballet” was originally accepted but enough original work also arrived that Editor Andrea Dawn subsequently decided to have, in effect, two publications, the second taking in all the reprints to serve as a sort of “preview” for the first).  Complicated?  The bottom line, anyhow, is that the reprints, “Dolls” among them, will appear — a new one each weekday — through May with “Ballet of the Dolls” slated for Wednesday, May 20.  Reminder, and links, to appear here that day.

So for those who desire to see the bigger picture, here’s the schedule for the whole month, nineteen items in all, starting Monday through Thursday the twenty-eighth:

May 4 – Harvest Moon by Kenneth C. Goldman (horror)
May 5 – The Dionesian Wave by Ray Daley (sci-fi)
May 6 – The World’s Strongest Man by Ken MacGregor (horror)
May 7 – Carnival in the Woods by Diane Arrelle (fantasy)
May 8 – 2:51, Behind the Caterpillar by Gregory L. Norris (horror)

May 11 – Season’s Greetings by Edward Ahern (horror)
May 12 – Season Finale by Bradley H. Sinor (fantasy)
May 13 – The Fair by Kurt Newton (horror)
May 14 – Chicken in a Can by L.L. Hill (mystery/crime)
May 15 – Scut Work by Gregg Chamberlain (horror)

May 18 – Dancing Bautas for Ashes’ Day by Russell Hemmell (fantasy)
May 19 – Clown Food by Jason Watson (horror)
May 20 – Ballet of Dolls by James Dorr (fantasy)
May 21 – Pushing Project Notebook as it is released on June 21
May 22 – Works of Artifice by Edward Ahern (horror)

May 25 – The Fireflies of Todaji by Russell Hemmell (sci-fi)
May 26 – The Festival of Conformity by Charles Wilkinson (horror)
May 27 – Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by Kurt Newton (mystery/crime)
May 28 – Fairy Story by Susan P. Sinor (fantasy)

And then one more detail:  For those who can’t wait that long, or perhaps have a favorite they’d like to read now (noting again that *ahem* mine is nearly three whole weeks away on the 20th), on Monday they’re scheduled to all be added to the Tell-Tale Press Library, in the case of mine in the “Fantasy” division, with a quick reminder and link to appear here two days from now.

We’re speaking of visual beauty here, as the author explains:  As humans, we are predisposed to crave beauty in our lives — you know, even in the most dire of circumstances, we seek out spring flowers, blue skies, a dazzling smile.  When it comes to film, visual excellence can enhance the story in ways we, as an audience, might not even notice upon first watch.  The lighting may shift towards a darker color palette as the plot thickens.  The fabrics and dress style of our heroine may indicate something about her character.  And then sometimes the camera is fully focused on Harley Quinn’s breakfast sandwich cooking on a bodega griddle and it’s just gorgeous.  We can’t explain why, but it is.  But all of these elements combine to take us out of the real world.  And in this real world of coronavirus and global pandemic — from which any of us may crave a brief respite — the author adds that any and all of these may be streamed on the device of your choice right now.

The article is “In Pursuit of Visual Escapism:  8 Beautifully Designed Films to Watch Now” by Christina Orlando via TOR.COM, and I haven’t seen the “Harley Quinn” movie, but she does mention a few that I have.  First off, for instance, Guillermo del Toro’s CRIMSON PEAK (which I, with DVDs I can watch too, just took off the stack for a possible re-screening tonight) as well as PAN’S LABYRINTH at number seven, combined with Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (cf. June 26 2014) in number four spot.  So one of these, already, is about vampires, to which is added (and which I may re-watch tonight instead) BYZANTIUM at number 3.  And then there are four more, including BLADE RUNNER 2049, which from their descriptions I think I may want to add to my collection.

To see more, press here.

The question is raised:  At a time when speculative fiction and fact seemed to have collided, three small magazine publishers have gotten together to discuss their viewpoints on the genre and the future of publishing.  Join Scot Noel of DREAMFORGE MAGAZINE, John Linden Grant of OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY and me, Angela Yuriko Smith of SPACE AND TIME as we discuss how the pandemic is affecting publishing.  The “questioner” is PUBLISHER’S ROUNDTABLE via ANGELAYSMITH.COM, and whether or not things end up seeming as dire as one might expect, it seems appropriate for the season.  My thanks for this go to Ms. Smith via HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION on Facebook, while for the actual piece one may press here.




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