Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

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.

Let us revisit Tell-Tale Press, who we may remember for publishing my reprint novelette “The Bala Worm” in THE BLOOD TOMES VOLUME TWO, CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION (cf. March 2; June 11, May 23 2019, et al.).  Subsequently last September they put out a call for a “Festivals 2020 Anthology” to be titled NABU CARNEVALE and, reprints still being fair game at the time, I sent a 4400-word story, “Ballet of the Dolls,” originally published in the CD ROM anthology CARNIVAL (Lone Wolf Publications, 2004), and later in print in my second collection, DARKER LOVES.  Then things started to get a bit complicated with enough stories having come in to make the main publication a wholly original one, but with the possibility that some of the best of the reprints might still be published online as a sort of NABU CARNEVALE promotion.  So okay, why not?

Today the email arrived from Editor/Publisher Andrea Dawn:  . . . I read “Ballet of the Dolls”, which you had sent to me as a reprint.  I absolutely loved it, and I would love to publish it in the online Fantasy library to help promote NABU CARNEVALE.  Details followed, the gist of which is this and the other selected reprints will be online on May 4, but I will post them on Facebook and Instagram on specific days throughout the month, try to spread them out by genre.  I’ll have both schedules to everyone by May 3.  Mine presumably will be in the “Fantasy” section, something I had okayed before to help avoid the horror part becoming overburdened (and anyway “Ballet of the Dolls” has a sort of witch in it, and witches are fantasy creatures, yes?).

Anyway I sent back my agreement this afternoon, with more information to be reported here in early May.

It was a nice idea, to produce a group of electronic anthologies for people locked down in response to the coronavirus to read for free.  The publisher would be Black Hare Press, who we’ve met before with their LUST anthology (see February 28, 25, et al.), though these would be a bit broader in content.  To quote from the call:  WE ARE LOOKING FOR:  General horror, sci-fy and fantasy.  Any sub-genres, darkness, etc.  These anthologies will be FREE publications across all retailers, to be launched during #lockdown only.

So okay, it’s a nice idea, and even if no money for writers either, reprints were okay.  And I had a sword and sorceryish dark fantasy, “The Blade of Gudrin,” originally published in SPACE AND TIME for Spring 1993 that could be good to go.  Then today the word came back:  Thank you for your submission to FANTASY (#LOCKDOWN FREE FICTION).  We really enjoyed your story – The Blade of Gudrin – and would like to inform you that it has been accepted for inclusion in the publication.  Congratulations!  A contract came with it which, filled out and signed, went back this afternoon, with more to be here — such as when it will be published and where one can read it — as it becomes known.

As promised, SHALLOW WATERS VOL. 5:  A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY is officially out on Kindle, at least for the present at only 99 cents for approximately 84 pages with 23 stories. For more one may press here.  My tale in the tote bag is called “Midnight Dark” (see April 8, March 24, et al.), officially blurbed as “A woman journeys north for survival.”  But the question is why she must travel, no?  And it’s listed fourth from last in the contents although, due to some late term editing, the title there is now slightly outdated.  So these things sometimes happen (in this case the “old” title is the one it had for the original competition).

To quote from publisher Crystal Lake:  SHALLOW WATERS is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing.  Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email.  The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page (an exclusive behind the scenes community of readers and authors), where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner.  What you’ll find in these SHALLOW WATERS anthologies include the winners as well as the most popular of our finalists.  Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges (or gain access to our STILL WATER BAY series).

Volume five includes suspenseful stories of horror on the road, war, graveyards, Karma, and Halloween.

Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Driving On” by Guy Medley (winner)
“Dichotomy” by Jason Parent
“Babysitting for Writers” by Kevin David Anderson (winner)
“The Good Samaritan” by L.F. Falconer
“Of Debris and Duty” by John Boden
“The Visitors” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave” by Richard Thomas
“The Knights of Cold Days” by Dave Jeffery
“Travel Bag” by Bryan Miller
“In the Desert, In the Night” by Pedro Iniguez
“Grievance” by Christine Lajewski
“Fuel for My Fire” by Linsey Knerl
“The Dead Lands” by Anthony D Redden
“Welcome to Gothmart” by David Bernard
“The Mascot” by Jennifer K Carstens (winner)
“Wasteland” by Sheldon Woodbury
“All’s Fair” by Michelle Mellon
“Stay Away” by Michael Patrick Hicks
“The Road Home” by Rand Eastwood
“Midnight Sun” by James Dorr
“The Wind Stakes Its Claim” by Kris Kinsella
“The Forest of Skin” by Esteban Vargas
“Second Chance” by Alex Ebenstein (winner)

So what have you been doing to while the time away during coronavirus self-quarantine?  Well . . . if one thinks about it, it was inevitable, wasn’t it?  Lockdown Porn, or perhaps better described Erotica, is already making itself manifest on Amazon.

Or as THE GUARDIAN puts it:  Who knew extreme cleanliness could be a turn on?  Ebook authors are kindling lust by rushing out tales for bored, horny, quarantined readers.  The article, brought to my attention courtesy of ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE Editor/Publisher Jason Brick (see August 28, July 9, et al.), is titled “Filth In A Time Of Handwashing:  Why Lockdown Erotica Is The Hottest Trend In Publishing,” and can be found via THE GUARDIAN.COM by pressing here.  So can Lockdown Horror be far behind?  Or does that sub-genre exist already, if one thinks about it (claustrophobia, anyone)?

Or maybe that aspect comes too close to home.

Life continues, the good with the bad.  As I write this, Triana has just had her supper.  Outside there’s still coronavirus, but as one unexpected local spinoff, at least for now one can ride city buses for free (albeit on a somewhat reduced schedule, and there may be fewer places or events to ride them to).  And then — the Writing Life — today brought the contract from BLACK INFINITY for “Waxworms” (cf. April 4, et al.), my story of insects and flying saucers and strange goings on in the West Virginia hills:  Please find attached the contract for “Waxworms”.  I’m sending these contracts as word documents, which should make signing easier for contributors, I hope.  Please sign and return at your earliest convenience during the next two weeks.

The document format was easy to handle, even for The Second Slowest Computer In The World (the slowest is being used exclusively these days for off-line work), and it went back about an hour ago to BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English.  The theme this time out is “Insidious Insects,” with the issue expected to be published around early June.

Its full title is SHALLOW WATERS VOL. 5:  A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY and its Amazon description begins:  With 23 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath.  Elsewhere it’s noted of shallow waters that that’s where “nothing stays buried.”  So what exposed treasure might I have therein (cf. March 24, October 15, et al.)?  A story of zombies, vampirism, and Christmas called “Midnight Dark.”

The theme to write on, I recall, was “travel,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the tales will relate to that subject — the twenty-three chosen will have come from several of these calls.  But in any event the Kindle edition of SHALLOW WATERS 5, with new story “Midnight Dark,” will be available a week from now, Wednesday, April. 15, with more information including pre-ordering to be found by pressing here.

So talk about quick!  Today’s email brought a finished PDF copy of the Spring STAR*LINE it seems like I just proofread . . . how long ago now?  Just under a week, on April first (see April 1, March 25), including my poem “A Ray of Sun” continuing the adventures of our well-fed friend, the Mermaid Vampiress.  But that wasn’t all.  Just the day before, Monday, the print edition of the Winter STAR*LINE arrived in my mailbox, though there weren’t any poems by me in that issue.

Such is the way things happen sometimes.  Was the winter issue just *really* late, or has some insidious spinoff from COVID-19 made its manifestation?  I tend to lean toward the first, actually — I don’t know if others got late copies too, or just mine perhaps was misdirected (occasionally mail for Bloomington, Indiana takes unscheduled side trips to Bloomington, Illinois — in fact, my luggage on a plane almost did that once, except I spotted its tag in the outgoing queue [BIL instead of BMG for those into airport code letters, though nowadays one has to land at IND and take a bus the final fifty or so miles]).

Anyhow, the reason for nothing by me being in that issue is that I don’t get around to submitting poetry as much as I should, so let that be the moral.

A little bit roundabout in its coming, via Facebook, from BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English (cf. November 13, October 28, 21, et al.):  A sneak peek at the cover (barring any last-minute tweaking) of upcoming issue 6 for spring.  And nestled among (or [blush] actually at the top of) such names as Murray Leinster, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Sheckley is . . . mine.  Well, actually my name is the shortest which makes a top placement convenient for design purposes, but why not bask in it?  More to the point, the issue theme this time is “Insidious Insects,” along with a factual portion on the earlyish TV series THE OUTER LIMITS.

An exciting combination, I think.  My part of the brew is a story first published in CHIZINE for July-September 2003 and also appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, “Waxworms,” a tale of the days of UFO reports, and probable landings, spiced in this case by a series of insect infestations that seemingly almost follow the story’s narrator.  This also will mark my second appearance in BLACK INFINITY, an extremely well put together semi-annual with a classic 1950s/’60s science fiction flavor, my first being with “Ghost Ship,” set in the universe of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and first published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (Red Skies Press, 2013), in issue 5 on the theme of “Derelicts.”

At 5.2 MB it took half an eternity to download on the antique Cave Computer, or at least so it seemed, but metaphorically chugging away the beast did its job.  Thus unveiled, a proof copy of STAR*LINE 43.2 for Spring 2020.  And nestled inside on lucky page 13, “A Ray of Sun” (see March 25), a three-liner on our sybaritic friend, the mermaid vampiress, who demonstrates the way she likes to greet the summer.  But then to business:  Please proof your piece(s) in the attached PDF of Star*Line 43.2 as well as your listing(s) in the table of contents.  Your name may also appear in the SFPA announcements.  And so I did, finding no errors, and sent my approval back to Vince Gotera.

This will, incidentally, be Editor Gotera’s final issue, stepping down after three years of sharing, among other virtues, a sense of humor that was able to put up with the mermaid vampiress.  For that alone, he will be missed (although perhaps not by the mermaid’s victims).

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