Archive for the ‘Ghosts’ Category

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.”
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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.)
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So I emailed back, “Yes.”
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There are some things one cannot resist.  One example, an anthology titled THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS, a weird fiction, horror, and speculative fiction anthology about humanity’s relationship with its gods.  When we answer the call for salvation from the bondage of the material — when we believe in gods — we reach a hand into the unknown and risk losing it to something peckish.  When we forget the power of the hearth, we risk a conflagration that can return civilization to the dirt from whence it came.  Brave words those, and so I answered, the guidelines calling for stories, not 13245380_1039385802818613_30970547213403742_npoems, with a 32-line “story in verse” called “Tit for Tat.”

Originally published in James Ward Kirk’s GHOSTS:  REVENGE anthology (see March 29, March 17, February 16 2015), “Tit for Tat” is a poem “of a type sometimes known as ‘Little Willies,’ about a naughty boy who either causes or comes to grief, resulting in the poet reacting with either glee, gross indifference, or sometimes drawing from it a tragically inappropriate moral” (Feb 16).  And today the response came from Adrean Messmer for publisher A Murder of Storytellers:  Thank you for sending us “Tit for Tat”.  We all sat around a table and gushed about this story for a while.  We would love to include it in BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS.

Details followed, including a contract (to go back to them this afternoon), with a bio, etc., the usual things, between now and Friday, with a tentative publication date to be on or before January 31.

How about we get in the mood with a horror poem by Rick Powell, then I’ll share a SUPER EASY pumpkin cookie recipe you can make last minute to enjoy this evening, and to top it off… How about sex in a haunted house? Haha. That is, how about we watch the short horror film ‘Sex in a Haunted House’?😛

For news of the day for Tuesday, Gillian Whitaker of Flame Tree Publishing tells us, “You may be seeing hints already on our website and elsewhere, but I am pleased to report that the now-published MURDER MAYHEM and CRIME & MYSTERY anthologies are finally available to order!”  I have stories in both, as it happens, “Mr. Happyhead” about a not-so-nice man who won’t let death deter him in the first and 1998 Anthony Short Story finalist “Paperboxing Art” in the second (cf. July 11, et al.).  They also can be found on Amazomurdermayhemn, etc., but for more about them from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, one simply need press here for MURDER MAYHEM SHORT STORIES (to give it its full name) or, for CRIME & MYSTERY SHORT STORIES, here.  And if that weren’t all, one may still check out last year’s CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES with my “Victorians” (see November 4 2015, et al.) by pressing here.

Also on Tuesday, Editor Clifford Garstang sends news for those who might be in the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area that EVERYWHERE STORIES:  SHORT FICTION FROM A SMALL PLANET, VOLUME II (cf. July 5, et al.) will be one of the books featured at the 2016 Fall for The Book festival, at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus from September 25-30.  The EVERYWHERE STORIES panel will be on Tuesday September 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza, according to festival information, with Editor Garstang “joined by some of the contributors whose stories follow the new edition’s theme of ‘it’s a mysterious world’:  Frances Park and her story ‘The Monk in the Window,’ set in Korea; Joel Hodson and ‘Memiş the Conqueror,’ set in Turkey; Brandon Patterson and ‘Jonkshon,’ set in Sierra Leone; and Chris Cleary and ‘An Idea of the Journey,’ set in Norway.”  My story in this one is “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” originally from ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and set in Mali; I myself, however, will not be able to attend.

Is the cusp of autumn on us already?  Tuesday, ending music practice, we noticed that it was already twilight — how many more weeks until twilight comes at the beginning of practice?  Then today at the market, after the first Writers Guild meeting following its annual summer hiatus, I saw — and bought — a half gallon of “Pumpkin Pie” ice cream, a specialty flavor not usually available until close to Thanksgiving.  And this, on Facebook this afternoon via Robert Dunbar and LITERARY DARKNESS, in turn via HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS, a link to THEWEEK.COM and “9 Classic Horror Stories You Can Read Right Now” by Scott Meslow, “[f]rom Washington Irving to H.P. Lovecraft, a collection of terrifying tales to get you into the Halloween spirit.”  This, yes, another list, but with each description and opening sample a separate link to read the whole story there on the spot.  Long ones such as “Carmilla” and “The Turn of the Screw,” and shorter ones by Lovecaft as well, and Blackwood and Poe, and maybe even a surprise or two.

To see — and read — for yourself, press here.

Sunday, for the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, brought something new to the Bloomington Writers Guild’s normal “Last Sunday Poetry Reading.”  This one, also the last for the season as the Guild goes on its summer haitus, combined with a local Creative Aging Festival in conjunction with National Older Americans Month (so many things, so many goings on!), brought numerous guests for what amounted to an all-open mike session.  Most poets were also, therefore, on the elderly side themselves, though many of us in the Writers Guild seem to be so anyway.  But as for another difference from expected practice, even though I was invited to, I begged off from reading a poem myself on the grounds that I — who do not age creatively — didn’t have anything that seemed appropriate.

But what of “after-aging,” one might ask?  Poems on death, as on creatures undead, might not have been proper, but what should greet me afterward when I stopped by the library on the way home to look at email (their equipment being faster than the cave computer) but, via DIRGEMAG.COM, “The Victorian Séance:  The Ultimate Feminist Death Party” by Patricia Lundy.  The gist is that seancespiritualism offered an opportunity for women in a strictly defined male-dominated society to find a niche where they, themselves, were a center of power, however limited.  But spiritualism had become quite popular among men as well as women so, even if specialized, an ambitious practitioner could escape at least for a time her expected role.  As a medium conducting a séance, a woman had more status and opportunity than she did anywhere else in society.  Victorian society demanded that a woman satisfied her husband sexually whenever he wished, had no property or voting rights, and did not have the power to divorce her husband or even gain custody of her children if he divorced her.  Spiritualism offered her a way to fight the patriarchy — by communicating with the dead.  Although male mediums existed, female mediums were preferred because they were thought to have more spiritual faculties than their male counterparts:  “A female medium was often considered a better communicator than a male medium because she had allegedly a better predisposition to spiritual perfectibility.”(2)   Thus death with social history as well!

The article as a whole, though, is just a taste, the quote above covering much of Ms. Lundy’s ground in itself, but footnote “2” to which the quotation within the quote is attributed offers more depth for those who wish to delve.  This takes you to THE VICTORIAN WEB and Dr. Andrzej Diniejko, D. Litt. on “Victorian Spiritualism” (and which also has its own short set of bibliographical notes).  Dr. Diniejko’s piece can be found by pressing here, while Ms. Lundy’s piece is available here.

It took two months from Kindle to its print edition, on December 21 by Amazon’s dating, but winging from there to my home mailbox, CORPUS DELUXE:  UNDEAD TALES OF TERROR (see December 22, October 28, et al.) arrived on New Year’s Eve.  Thus the last action of 2015, posted today, the first of 2016.  As for the book, my story in it, “River Red,” shares space with sixteen other short stories on ghosts and vampires and who knows what other no longer entirely alive things,  as well as a closing excerpt from a novel presumably to appear later from publisher Indy Authors Press.  I’ve only started to dip into it, but from the titles the tales seem quite corpus2interesting.  Also if I may say so myself, my own “River Red,” published originally in the Canadian professional anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art Ink, 2009) and reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS, is itself worth the reading.

In honesty, though, I do have to admit to a few annoyances, perhaps indicative of a relatively inexperienced publisher.  For one,  the contents page lists the stories by title only, without the authors* — so if you’re like me and like to know which authors you might be familiar with already, you’ll just have to leaf through the book page by page.  And one thing that galls me specifically is an inconsistency in indicating prior publication of some (many?) of the stories.  The three preceding mine, for instance, have such attributions, but then mine doesn’t, even though the publisher did have the information.

That said, though, I am looking forward to some neat late-night reading, especially during the gloom of a new January’s winter.
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*Weirdly, the author list wasn’t some kind of last-minute thing either, perhaps too late to send to the printer, as a contents listing with authors (albeit not in final order, and with one or two other glitches) was available at least seven weeks before.  See, e.g., the aforementioned post on this blog for October 28.

A quick note that CORPUS DELUXE UNDEAD TALES OF TERROR (see just below) is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and trade paperback editions.  For the latter, one may press here while, for those who prefer Kindle, the new direct-to-electronic page is here.

Quoth the blurb, “Explore the true meaning of horror through these eighteen undead tales of terror, each written by new and veteran storytellers brought to you by Indie Authors Press.  PLUS an excerpt from BLOOD OF NYX, by Druscilla Morgan and Roy C. Booth!”  Yes, it’s CORPUS DELUXE (cf. October 28, September 24, corpus2et al.), subtitled UNDEAD TALES OF TERROR, and it’s now available in print, at least on Createspace for which press here, with Amazon soon to come.  And it’s even garnered its first review, this latter for the Kindle edition for which one may press here.

Edited by Roy C. Booth and Jorge Salgado-Reyes, my contribution to this charnel house is “River Red,” originally published in ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art Inc, 2009) and also in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013 — and for which, this being the season of selling, one may press its picture in the center column as well as check out Amazon, et al.).  “River Red” is a tale set in the Tombs, my far-future, dying Earth universe of about fifteen stories published thus for (two more, “The Ice Maiden” and “Mara’s Room,” are also in THE TEARS OF ISIS, the first of these original to the volume), in which one can sometimes not be quite sure of what is dead and what maybe not so much so.

“Ever have kinky thoughts about Spock and Kirk?  Princess Leia?  Ever wonder just what you could do with the light saber?”  Yes, THE FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY (cf. November 7 and chainsaw4) is now available in a (ahem) hard copy edition, complete with my own Yuletide-themed “A Christmas Carnage” detailing the adventures of a typical (which is to say, nerdish and virginal) Lovcraftien hero and his long-deceased umpty-umpth great aunt Carol.  And chainsaws.

Buy it, read it, consider reviewing it if you dare — the fun begins right here.




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