Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Taking the wayback machine back a week, we may recall that my story, “The Great Man,” won second place in OKLAHOMA PAGAN QUARTERLY’s “Spooky Samhain 2018 Contest” (see September 16).  There were three actual (i.e., money) prizes for stories in any of three divisions, “True Tales of Terror,” “Spooky Semi-True Stories,” and “Fantastic Frights,” based on degree of actual truth and/or believability, which with seven runners-up added are slated to be published in the magazine’s Samhain 2018 edition.  And so, here revealed in order (note that there was a tie for third place), a tip of the hat to:

1. Just Up the Street and Back – Jef Rouner
2. The Great Man – James Dorr
3. Falling Up – John Haas
3. Keep Me Company – Phillip Ivory
4. Last Dance – Bryn Schurman
5. The Last Sacrifice – James Paris
6. Eyes of Corn – Alexandria Baker
7. My Little Katie – Summer Robbins
8. Serpent’s Head – Thomas Vaughn
9. Beyond The Locked Door – Morgan Chalfant

To this OKLAHOMA PAGAN QUARTERLY Editor Belwoeth Harbright has added, noting first that it was a close contest, [w]e had so much fun with this, however, that we definitely intend on doing it again next year!  So keep writing, editing, and tightening those horror tales and try again next time!  


The call was from a magazine I’m unfamiliar with, OKLAHOMA PAGAN QUARTERLY, but seemed straightforward enough.  Do you have a scary story to share?  Fiction, fact, or otherwise, share your prose with us and you, too, can win up to $100 and get your story printed.  Enter your submission today!  Contest will be judged by a panel of three impartial judges, all of whom have a vested interest in the unknown.  Scare us, terrify us, and thrill us!  I could do that!

On closer inspection, the competition had three divisions, of which I selected number 2:  ‘Spooky Semi-True Stories’ are maybe tall tales, maybe not.  They’re more fantastic stories that the reader may not want to know are real or not.  Consider a well-crafted story about a shopping mall that may or may not have undergone a quarantine that the local news covered up.  The point here is that the reader questions whether the story could have happened or not.   Word length for this choice (they varied) was three to six thousand and, as it happened, I had a 3600-word tale of guillotines and the French Revolution and happenings just after, originally published in THE STRAND MAGAZINE, Spring-Summer 1999, which if they took reprints might just fill the bill.

They did and it did.  So Saturday’s email, which betwixt writers group meetings and the Bloomington Writers Guild (a separate organization) I only got to lateish that night, brought the word from Editor Belwoeth Harbright that “The Great Man” had won second prize!  Your prize is 50 dollars US payable through Paypal or Venmo, contingent upon signing a first-print-run contract for your story with Oklahoma Pagan Quarterly.  You are also entitled to a Physical Contributor’s Copy of our magazine.  Please send us an email back ASAP to let us know how you’d prefer payment, preferably with an author’s photo, and we’ll send you a contract upon your approval via Adobe Sign today.

And so, this afternoon, I have done.

Summer readers, the following is from C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom:  Set an alarm for midnight, because ALL of our titles will be $0.99 from July 20th-July 27th on Amazon, in both the U.S. and U.K. markets!  That means Hinnom Magazine Issues 001-007 will all be $0.99, along with both the YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY and the YEAR’S BEST TRANSHUMAN SF 2017 ANTHOLOGY.  That’s seven issues of the magazine plus two anthologies, all combined for just under $10.00 in their electronic editions.  For more information for now press here.
And yes, I have a thumb in the pie too, in G&H’s first book, the YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see November 1, September 5 2017, et al.).  My entry there is a surrealistic tale called “Flesh,” about a man who decides to gain weight.  And why, one might ask?  Well, here’s a chance to find out for a bargain price, but only tomorrow through next Friday, July 20 through 27.

A Frank Lloyd Wright mile-high Chicago tower?  A water-spouting Parisian elephant?  How about a project by Gaudi for lower Manhattan?  These and more can be found in “The 7 Wildest Buildings That Were Never Built” by Tim Newcomb, on POPULARMECHANICS. COM.  A giant Tokyo pyramid?  Food for thought for science fiction scenarios, including some steampunk (the Paris elephant predates the Eiffel Tower — had it been built instead would it have changed history?).  For all these and more, food for thought for one’s own wildest fancies (or maybe just le Quatorze Juillet fun), one need but press here.

A very happy Fourth of July to all, on a sizzling, sunny, summer day!  On the menu tonight, “American Dream” ice cream, consisting of three broad stripes of strawberry, vanilla, and blueberry flavors.  Yum!

Triana looks forward to licking the bowl (maybe).

Wherever you are. . .  Wherever you go. . .  They’re coming to get you. . .  You cannot escape them. . . .  Well, yes, there are airline screw-ups too, the expected hazards of vacation travel, but what about something out of the ordinary?  Horrors to seek of your own free will?

Welcome, courtesy of Robert Dunbar via Facebook’s LITERARY DARKNESS, to Dennis Cooper’s “Halloween for Keeps:  25 Year-Round Worldwide slide_10Haunted and Horror Attractions” on DENNISCOOPERBLOG.COM.  You can’t even wait out the summer to dodge them!

They speak for themselves, in myriad countries, myriad cities, myriad fairs and amusement parks the whole world over, the U.S., Canada, China, Finland, Italy, Spain, England and Japan . . . but also accompanied by brief 7537233328_d6ec934ed2descriptions by author Cooper, plus clickable previews, some long, some short. . . .

Some tacky, some terror-filled. . . .

If you dare . . . press here!

You read about Smashwords annual March ebook sale just two posts down (see March 5), as regards Smart Rhino Publications.  Now Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads adds that Untreed Reads books are part of the sale as well, but only books with prices over 99 cents with discount added, and no short stories.  But on the Untreed Reads site itself, [t]hrough March 10th, we’ll also be running the Read an Ebook Sale in our own store. . . .  Readers get 40% off when they enter coupon code EBOOK during checkout.  This includes every title published by Untreed Reads, including short stories.
I would note this includes three short story chapbooks by me, New England set steampunk/mystery VANITAS, Christmas/horror tale I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , and near future science fiction novelette PEDS, plus a New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead story “Appointment in Time.”  To check these out, one may press here (from which, if one wishes, one may also navigate to the Untreed Reads store main pages).

And so the second report came in this morning from Pole to Pole Publishing (see just below):  Thank you for sending “The Game” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Launch,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Game” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  RE-LAUNCH, we’ll recall, is to be the science fiction half of Pole to Pole’s reprint dyad, with my story “The Game,” about an “on the beach” spaceman earning redemption, originally published in Britain’s HUB magazine on November 7 2007.  More will appear on both publications as it becomes known.

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. January 7, et al.), this time in a County Library conference room as it continues to seek a new home, with featured readers Molly Gleeson, a one-time teacher of English in China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan now working as a writing tutor at a Bloomington community college reading her short story “House of Atreus”; international doctoral student Maureen Chinwe Onyeziri with a story about a young girl identified as a malevolent spirit, “Taming the Spirit,” followed by a brief memoir of a recent visit to her home in Nigeria; and local poet and fiction writer Cara Hohit with three short stories linked by a theme of intimacy, both old and new and both wanted and shunned.  My own contribution, third of six when it was time for the open mike segment, was a recent tale especially chosen for Valentine’s Day, “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” about a first meeting between a vampiress and a just-in-the-process-of-changing werewolf.

I want your stories that embrace the traditional horror story-telling of the Victorian penny dreadfuls and gothic mysteries.  Steampunk is certainly welcome here, but I’m more interested in Poe and Mary Shelly than Verne and Wells.  I will happily accept tales that pair the gothic with the steamy mechanical contraptions inherent to steampunk.  Give me the fog-drenched dreadpunk Victoriana.  [and]  Your tale should include at least one dead creature, be it a ghost, a vampire, a zombie, or some creature of your own invention, and should fit into some alternate version of the Victorian era.

Sounds like fun, yes?  Such was the call last fall from Bryce Raffle for the upcoming DEADSTEAM, an anthology that aims to showcase the dark side of steampunk, the ghoulish and the gothic, tales of gaslamp and dreadpunk that embrace the macabre.  And who was I to resist it? So, the money not much but reprints allowed, off went a story published originally in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), “The Re-Possessed.”  And Thursday the word came back:  Thank you for allowing me to read your story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and think it will be a great fit for the DeadSteam anthology. Honestly, I got chills reading it!

Also attached was a contract with other information concerning proof copies, payment, and publicity, etc., the former to be sent back Friday. According to the guidelines last fall, the hope is to release the anthology Halloween this year, and, at least from the descriptions above, it sounds like a neat one!  More will be here as details become known.

With a Sunday respite from cold, cold weather last week, the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (see December 4, et al.) had its 2018 start in a new and most likely temporary venue, the Monroe County Library Auditorium, due to the imminent closing of Boxcar Books.  The featured readers were speculative fiction writer and sometimes poet Darja Malcolm-Clarke with an excerpt from a story to bloomingtonwritersguildappear in SEE THE ELEPHANT magazine, “Wren’s Flight”; YA novelist Julia Karr with three short pieces based on prompts from a writing course several years back; and School of Education doctoral candidate Adam Henze with a group of fictionalized essays on various aspects of the teaching experience, including one in haibun form.  Snacks (to be eaten in the library’s atrium only) followed, leading into the open mike session with five readings, of which mine was third, “Midnight Sun,” a Christmas tale of zombies and vampirism in its own cold, cold weather setting, thus giving it a special relevance to the well below freezing previous few days.

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