Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

A Saturday snark, too, a weird computer glitch preventing the previous post from going up late Friday.  That fixed though, there is one more thing to report re. an email coming late last night too.  A short post, let’s say, for a very short story.

It is an odd story at only about 500 words, very atmospheric.  Very much in the head of its narrator, claustrophobic, almost, in his mind.  A story of warning, of a need for quietness, but not perhaps for a “normal” reason — the story’s title:  “Silent Scream.”  So, that time of year coming, off it went to SCARY SNIPPETS:  HALLOWEEN, a Micro Horror collection  . . .  seeking horrific short stories that feature the theme of anything creepy for the Halloween season. Ghosts, goblins, any and all horror is accepted.  And also, exclusive stories only.

The word came just about 24 hours ago as I write this, from SCARY SNIPPETS Editor Kyle Harrison:  CONGRATULATIONS!  Your story, “Silent Scream” has been accepted into the Halloween edition of SCARY SNIPPETS!  Be on the lookout for contracts within the next two weeks.  In the meantime, promotional graphics are being made up to share your success!

And there we have it.


Well, at the top of the list of names at the lower right, but you get the idea.  And . . . appearing just above Philip K. Dick?  Not shabby at all (and look farther down on the list as well)!  The magazine is DARK INFINITY #5 (see September 15, August 11), the “Derelict” issue, and my story is a reprint too, “Ghost Ship,” harking back to TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (Red Skies Press, 2013) and set in the universe of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

But as for the magazine itself, let’s let Editor Tom English do the honors:  Cover of BLACK INFINITY #5, (the DERELICTS issue) out in early October.  Stories by Gregory Norris, David VonAllmen, Douglas Smith, James Dorr, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Stewart C Baker, Jason J. McCuiston, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, Jack Williamson, Alan E. Nourse and others, with art by Allen Koszowski and others.  Plus:  retro movie reviews by Matt Cowan; weird science by Todd Treichel; a classic SF comics story from the 50s; a special tribute section to the original Lost in Space series; a brief survey of derelict spaceships in SF; and a free music download (details inside the mag) created especially for BLACK INFINITY by Mac of BIOnighT.  — with Jason Krueger.

And out well in time for Halloween — I’m looking forward!

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill fairy tales.  The stories in this anthology are all about conniving creatures.  We didn’t limit the genre, so expect humor, horror, romance, and tragedy.
Really, we hope, by reading these stories, you will avoid making the mistake of trusting any type of Fair Folk.  Still, if you do make that mistake, we’d sure love to include your future unfortunate story in volume two of this anthology.
So the full title of the anthology was GRIFTY SHADES OF FEY, and the story I’d sent was called “The Kerry Pipers,” an original tale but with perhaps fey folk a little bit nastier than the guidelines suggested.  That is, these weren’t exactly into just fun tricks and jokes.  Then came the email today from Fiction Vortex Editor/Publisher Mike Cluff:  Thank you for your submission!  I really love the story.  However, I have decided to not include it in this first GSOF anthology where it would not get enough deserved attention. So that’s not so good, though perhaps not entirely unexpected.
But the email continued:  I do want to include it in the next anthology as one of the primary stories.  GRIFTY SHADES DARKER is set to hit Kickstarter in Spring 2020.  The theme will be horror and the much darker side of the Fey.  If you are interested, and willing to keep the story out of the market until then, I would list you as one of the authors on the Kickstarter campaign page and the re-designed Fiction Vortex homepage.
So, long story short, this afternoon I sent back my “yes.”

The story is called “Ghost Ship” and it’s for a special “Derelicts” issue of BLACK INFINITY.  The magazine’s subtitle:  “Strange Science, Weird Worlds, Hostile Aliens, Renegade Robots  . . .  and the Cold Vacuum of Space.”  And so, “Ghost Ship” having been accepted (see August 11), this morning the contract arrived and, signed later today, has gone back to Editor/Publisher Tom English.  Another small part of the writing life.

The call had been for tales of [a]bandoned space ships, alien ships, lost ships on the high seas, as long as they had some science fiction element, and added that reprints would be welcome too.  “Ghost Ship” itself was originally published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU in 2013 (cf. May 2 2013, et al.), and is set in the universe of my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  It is a sea story about the origins of a “Flying Dutchman”-like apparition, as told to the crew of fishing boat hurrying back to land just before a new sunrise.

So then the next step, receipt of a PDF file of the story for proofing should come, according to the email, in a week or so and, when all else is ready, is set to appear in BLACK INFINITY #5.

There’s plenty of time left, however, to make a pledge in the DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH:  DARK AFFECTION ANTHOLOGY kickstarter (to give it its full name; see also below, September 6, et al.), scheduled to end on October 6 at 7:59 a.m. EDT.  And the premiums include not only book deals, but there’s also a link to an assortment of related swag (scroll way, way down toward the end of the site), and even for those who don’t want to pledge yet there’s a series of mini-bios of the authors to check out, as well as their own brief comments about the stories.  In other words, a sort of sampler before jumping in.

The title kind of says what it’s about; the initial call was for [a]n anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death.  For the anthology I am looking for around 20 short stories — (based on the overall word count of all accepted entries).  The genre will be a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction, cross genre stories are welcome.  Each story to be of approximately between 4,000 > 8,000 words in length.  Mine in this was a non-TOMBS, more real world (though at the beginning of the 1930s Great Depression, in northern Florida) crime story, “The Sending,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and also reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.  Which might kind of say it for the anthology:  wonder and romance, leavened with death, perhaps a murder or crime or two (though mine, a ghost story, begins with one partner already deceased).
For more, though, the kickstarter’s author comments provide many clues, all of which may be seen by pressing here.  (And also [*ahem*] a timely pledge may mean more money in authors’ pockets.  Well, a little bit anyway.)

A quick Sunday note that yesterday’s email brought a notice from HUMANAGERIE Co-Editor Allen Ashley (cf. July 24, April 3, March 21, et al) announcing yet another review, from the international poetry news and event website WRITE OUT LOUD (a.k.a. WRITEOUTLOUD.NET).  Word of the anthology does get around!  My part in this is the TOMBS related tale of “Crow and Rat,” a pair of good-for-nothings on a dying, depleted far-future Earth and, while reviewer Neil Leadbeater doesn’t cite it specifically (there is, however, a paragraph on prose in general, as well as the poetry), it does give a nice overview of the book as a whole.  It also ends with a link to the publishers website, for those who might be interested in buying it or just for further information, while the review itself can be seen by pressing here.

This was the classic, 1989 version, by Mary Lambert and screenplay (as well as a brief role) by Stephen King himself.  Though I think, if it were me, I might have ended the film a few minutes earlier, letting the viewers imagine the last scene.  And I thought there might have been too much suspension of disbelief asked for, not only the main premise which was okay, but also the “friendly” ghost PLUS the little girl’s 100 percent accurate prescient dreams.  But the ghost had some good lines, and the theme of “a man does something stupid, then seeing what he has done — and with plenty of warning against it — does a stupid thing again” is at least well served.

But that’s just my carping. I hadn’t seen PET SEMATARY before, but for suspense, marvelous cinematography, and some neat “down east” accents in the parts of Jud and Missy, I will say the movie is well worth seeing.  To quote the IU Cinema blurb:  The Creed family — Louis, Rachel, and their children, Ellie and Gage — is just settling into a new country home in Maine when the family cat, Church, meets an untimely death.  Convinced by a neighbor to bury the animal in a nearby pet cemetery, Louis soon learns how the ground — an ancient burial site — can change a thing.  Yet, when their toddler Gage wanders onto a busy road and is tragically killed by a semi-trailer truck, Louis is inconsolable and determined to resurrect him by any means necessary.  Based on the Stephen King horror novel of the same name, the film adaptation rights for PET SEMATARY were originally sold in 1984 to George A. Romero, but Romero chose to leave the production to finish another film, MONKEY SHINES.  Mary Lambert was Paramount’s first choice to replace Romero. She began her career in music video — creating iconic videos for The Go-Gos, The Eurythmics, Sting, and Janet Jackson.  Just one month prior to the release of PET SEMATARY, Lambert directed Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” video, which premiered to protests from the Catholic Church and a call for boycott from the pope himself.  Contains mature content.

The Goth Cat Triana, as I write this, is asleep on the chair I usually sit in — I’m inclined just now not to disturb her.  And that about says it.

Hark back to a sultry July 23, and the news that the kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH had gone on hiatus, to return in fall a little bit closer to its projected release date of Valentine’s Day 2020 (cf. July 23,10, et al.).  That time is now upon us or, well, more exactly at midnight tonight.  But never mind that, and what time zone are we talking about anyway or, well, what’s a few hours among friends.  So maybe it is a little bit early, but Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate has opened it now!

Love takes on many forms, as does death, the description begins, and this anthology features twenty-two stories that dance the line between Dark Affection and Paranormal Romance, where death is not the end but merely the start of some truly original tragedies, tales that will often stop you dead in your tracks, challenging your preconceptions of what is right and wrong, before allowing you to return and continue reading.

DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH offers up twenty-two fabulous inspired short stories, by a fresh line-up of authors from around the world, ensuring that there is something for everyone; and with many being on the macabre side, we believe that this anthology makes the perfect alternative gift for those who want something a little different come Valentine’s Day.

And so you have it, live again and awaiting your perusal of many offers from now until October 6.  My own part in this, perhaps a bit less “macabre” than some, is a classical ghost tale, “The Sending,” set in an early 1930s Florida lighthouse, originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE as well as in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.  But even it contains gangsters and dire plots, including a romance that can’t be thwarted by such a minor detail as death.

Or, for more details on the kickstarter press here.

No, no, not the time, but I’d mentioned in my August 16 post that “I have my eye on one piece from THE TEARS OF ISIS that I don’t believe I’ve read before, but I need to go through it to make sure it isn’t overly ‘family unfriendly’ in terms of language.  And that said, I’ll probably need to choose a shorter piece too, or perhaps some poems, to round out my half hour.”  So a slight change of mind when I later did my timed reading rehearsals and, yesterday at 2 p.m., I read instead a tale originally published in THE STRAND MAGAZINE and reprinted in my second collection, DARKER LOVES, called “The Great Man.”  It neatly fit the time frame by itself and, set in post-Revolution France, contained lots of fun facts about guillotines for an audience of perhaps about a dozen people.

Other than that, Saturday’s weather for the opening day of Bloomington’s annual Labor Day weekend “Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts” (see also September 1, August 27 2018, et al.) was not as hot as in recent past years, but comfortable and somewhat cloudy, almost at times a little gloomy.  It also shared time with several other celebrations, notably the Saturday-only Bloomington PRIDEFest just one block north on Kirkwood Avenue.  Plenty of space for all, however, and sun and a bit more warmth this afternoon, Sunday, as the fair and its Bloomington Writers Guild sponsored “Spoken Word Stage” wind down to another year’s completion.

THE BUBBLE is the work of writer/director Arch Oboler, famous for his LIGHTS OUT! radio plays in the 1930s and ’40s.  He’s the same Arch Oboler responsible for the 1952 3-D film BWANA DEVIL, who for the rest of his life was a vocal cheerleader for the artistic and commercial potential of 3-D movies.

Oboler liked communicating his ideas about humanity and our imperfect society using the narrative vehicle of the strange, the bizarre, the unexpected.  THE BUBBLE is this kind of story.  Some have compared the film to an extended episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE or THE OUTER LIMITS, and there’s a ring of truth to that.  The events of THE BUBBLE unfold like a groggy dream, nightmarish not in its intensity but in its unsettling mood and mysterious implications.

Thus begins an Amazon review by David M. Ballew of THE BUBBLE, Friday’s “Not-Quite Midnights” series first fall semester screening at the Indiana University Cinema.  Maybe not madness, exactly, but lovely 1966 schlock with at least a sort of zombie apocalypse.  That is, it’s more a psychological thing, but the people in the mysterious town our heroes find themselves in, a man and his wife and their newborn child along with the pilot who unwittingly landed them there, certainly act like zombies.  The cabdriver asks “do you need a ride” but never drives (the hero ultimately commandeering his taxi), the bartender keeps polishing the same glass pausing only to repeat “how may I serve you?” when addressed directly, the bar’s entertainer does her dance without needing music. . . .  A kind of a bad place to raise a new child.  And, as the Cinema’s program puts it, [t]hen there is an even more terrifying discovery — the zombie inhabitants live under an impenetrable dome, trapped like insects in a jar.  Can Catherine, Mark, and their newborn baby escape THE BUBBLE, or will they become mindless drones trapped in a human zoo?

AND, going back to David M. Ballew on Amazon, the real star of THE BUBBLE is Space-Vision 3-D.  The first truly practical American single-strip 3-D system, Space-Vision delivers strong, deep, beautifully rounded stereoscopic imagery that is nevertheless pleasantly comfortable to view, owing in part to the felicities of the original system design and in part to the remarkable restoration work put forth in this Blu-Ray incarnation by Bob Furmanek and Greg Kintz.  If 3-D were a classic Hollywood film actress, you would say she was never lovelier than she is right here.

In other words (but noting this was a theater version “[r]estored from the 35mm negatives by the 3-D Film Archive,” though it may have led to the Blu-Ray one Ballew cites), an ideal film for the IU Cinema:  entertaining, historically /technically important, even avant-garde in its way, and just a whole lot of fun.

Then a second quick note, in view of the lateness in sending some print copies, the DWARF STARS voting deadline for ultra short poems (see just below, August 30) has been extended until September 15.  SFPA has emailed a new voting link to members and it also appears in the July 7 email that included the link for the PDF edition.

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