Archive for the ‘Lagniappes’ Category

The evening is quiet as dusk descends on this, the first night of spring, and . . . it’s snowing.  It’s lovely.  And this is the first night of spring, in Indiana, a land not known for its proximity to the North Pole.

Actually the snow had started as I was walking home this afternoon.  I had been suffering from a bad cold, getting better now, but at doctor’s orders I was bearing meds from the drugstore downtown.  My thought was then that it was nice as I crossed the University campus, still not too cold outside and only a few small flakes, much nicer than rain.  But now it’s coming down with some fervor, covering the wet still almost too warm ground, though probably to amount to no more than an inch or two by the time it’s done according to the Weather Channel.  And, once again, while snow even in early April is not unknown in Indiana, still it is the first night of Spring.

But it’s nice.  And so to celebrate, herewith a poem — a lagniappe — of a previous season.  “Winter’s Still” was originally published in PANIC (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2005) and reprinted in the British e-zine DARK METRE, edited by Katy Bennett, on September 4 2011 (cf. for the latter September 4, June 8 2011).  The text here is as it was sent to DARK METRE.



You know
how snow
blankets sound,
makes all white,
deadens sight,
blinding in sun —
silent —
new snow falls
covering steps
left behind.
Masking all.
Where is home?
Wind whistles now,
cold seeps
freezing bone,
shadows long,
lost — a patchwork
of woods, hollows,
Quiet, white.
Heart beats then,
fear sets in.
Attempts to flee.
Heaped drifts
inhibit flight,
tangled steps,
falling —
knees sinking —
and cloud
brings the night.


“Casket Girls” (see January 23, et al.) is now alive and readable in the February ARIEL CHART, as announced by Associate Editor Marchelle Young.  This is the tale of Aimée and her part in the founding of New Orleans, and with it is an appropriate casket-like, ladylike illustration.  To see and enjoy for yourself, press here.  The issue will remain on site until March 1, at which time it will go into ARIEL CHART’s archives.

Also, yesterday afternoon the contracts arrived for “The Game” and “The Blade of Gudrin” for RE-LAUNCH and RE-QUEST from Pole to Pole Publishing (cf. February 4 and 2, respectively) and were signed and sent back, with countersigned copies received by me today.  And so the “writing life” goes on.

“Matches,” short, sweet, and by SFWA/HWA guidelines paid at a professional rate to boot, has just appeared on GRIEVOUS ANGEL, a part of the UK’s URBAN FANTASIST site.  As for what it’s about, let’s let Editor Charles Christian describe it:  It’s the start of a new year, a time when many of us start new jobs or pursue new ambitions — but what if you are a wannabe superhero with no special powers.  In this absurdist fantasy story Matches, James S. Dorr considers what happens when your dream is snuffed out like a candle (in the wind).

So here’s my welcome to 2018 in a manner of speaking, one that I’ll hope will be followed by many more stories and poems as the months progress, some reprints, some — like this one — to be published for the first time.  To read it, press here.

We may recall from last Friday that voting had started for best story in Astounding Outpost’s NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE anthology, in which my story “No Place to Hide” appears (see December 1).  The “prize” for the three top vote-getters is a bit more pay for their stories, but last I looked my story was running in about eighth place.  Well, okay, so in a way it may really be more a popularity contest, at least in part, for Astounding Outpost “regulars” of which I’m not one, but still. . . .

Well, still, votes are nice, and in the words of the immortal Yogi Berra (I think) it ain’t over till it’s over, so herewith be reminded that voting was to be for one week only, making today the LAST DAY.  So, should one have the urge, one may read “No Place to Hide” by pressing here, or, more to the immediate point, the page for voting can be found here.

Also, just below (December 4) I noted that bargain prices for my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH were still available on Amazon, both in print and in Kindle (for which *ahem* one may press the book’s picture in the center column).  A quick check today shows that substantial discounts are also to be found from Barnes and Noble, at least in print (though NOOK copies are also available for $8.49, marked down from $8.99), notably one copy for as low as $8.98.  Perhaps your favorite book dealer has discounted copies too.  Or, in any event, to check out B & N’s prices (and check as well for special sales which may apply, one of which that ends December 10 may be good for an additional 25 percent off one item with the code GETGIFTING), though with fewer reviews on their site, one need but press here.

“No Place to Hide,” a tale of interstellar war and the horrifying fates of some who fight it.  Space opera, maybe, but also a tale that fit the bill as described above — or at least so was the decision of the ASTOUNDING OUTPOST editors!  But there was a catch concerning payment, that all dogs in this fight would not be equal.  Or as the acceptance email put it:  “The voting to determine prizes will occur during the first week of December.  Be sure to let your friends and family know so they can vote for your story.”

Such was the post here November 13.  My story, “No Place to Hide,” originally published in SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW dated Summer 1991, had been reprinted in ASTOUNDING OUTPOST’s “Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware” issue.  And now it is time for readers and fans to vote for their favorite story in the issue (e.g., *hint* “No Place to Hide”) because, to quote the publisher: Remember the top three fan favorites win cash and treasure.

What does that mean [to continue the quote]?  If you’re a fan pick your favorite story.  IF YOU’RE AN AUTHOR LET YOUR FANS KNOW ABOUT THE POLL.  Share it on social media, harass your neighbors, and beg your family to vote for your story.  We’re all family here, aren’t we?  But do not tarry, voting is only open for one week, ending next Thursday December 7.

So to vote for “No Place to Hide,” one need but press here, scroll down until you find the title, and vote, vote, vote (actually I don’t know what happens if someone tries to vote more than once, so why take a chance, ask your friends to vote too instead).  Remember . . . sufficient votes mean “cash and treasure,” pour moi!  (Not a lot of cash and treasure, maybe, but easily outstripping the average mammoth royalty individual stories of mine in other publications tend to receive.  And anyway every bit counts.)

Also, if you haven’t yet, to read “No Place to Hide” yourself press here.

We live in an amazing time, technology and humans are coexisting in a way we’ve never seen before. It also can be a terrifying time. What if humans and technology can’t coexist? What if the A.I. take over, or the computer viruses jump off of the net and into our biology? What if we’re just all living in a matrix? These are just some of the questions and ideas that have shaped science fiction and this call. Give us your visions of how it all plays out.

Send us your best 7500 word or less story that relates to Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware. . . .

Such was the call (cf. November 2) and my response was to send them a rather short story, “No Place to Hide,” a tale of interstellar war and the horrifying fates of some who fight it.  Space opera, maybe, but also a tale that fit the bill as described above — or at least so was the decision of the ASTOUNDING OUTPOST editors!  But there was a catch concerning payment, that all dogs in this fight would not be equal.  Or as the acceptance email put it:  The voting to determine prizes will occur during the first week of December.  Be sure to let your friends and family know so they can vote for your story.

That’s right:  Vox populi est vox pecuniae.  Or, the tale with the most votes will get the most cash.  And now “No Place to Hide” has been published, and may be read by pressing here!

(So the moral is:  Read and enjoy.  Then on December 1 and for six days after please read it again and vote, vote vote!  Heck, this is America, have your friends vote too for “No Place to Hide.”  Your parents, your children.  Significant others.  Family pets. . . !

(And in the meantime, if you enjoy it scroll down to the end and please also consider leaving a comment.)

So, okay, this is another teeny horror/dark humor poem I read at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry” last week (cf. September 24), but this being the afternoon of October’s “First Sunday Prose” (more on which later this p.m. or Monday morning), why not?  Actually it came up while perusing “Bloodizabeth’s Meat & Greet Dinner Party” on SLASHERMONSTER.COM and seeing one comment mentioning The Beatlles and “I Am the Walrus.”  So having this variant, as it were, in the quiver, why not shoot it into the “Comments” section as a comment upon the comment?  (And thus here, as an “extra,” for you.)


i have a walrus mustache,
& am hot for mermaids

An unseasonably warm sun-drenched day greeted September’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf. May 29, et al.).  Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, four local writers were featured this time, Jenny Kander, Thomas Tokarski, Doris Lynch, and Roger Pfingston, billed as “The Tuesday Poets” and offering a variety of styles and subject matter.  After the break, four walk-ons stepped up to read, offering a symmetry of sorts as well as a similar range of styles, of which I was the last with a series of very short, horror-related pieces, on tracking zombies, mermaids and vampires, Erzebet Bathory, and other such subjects, the best received of which — why not? — I’ll present here as well:


It wasn’t bad
till they released the bears;
the cats came
of their own accord.

And so the autumn season begins. . . .

One quick note and one just for fun.  The quickie, as of Sunday a new review is up on Amazon for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, by Andrew Suhrer, a fellow author.  And it’s for five stars too!  In fact, all reviews both here and on B&N (three reviews there) are 5-star reviews, if I may so brag.  (Though to keep myself honest, there are two on Goodreads that aren’t quite as glowing.)  Nevertheless, for the ones on Amazon one may press here.

And then the fun part, fellow poet and Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member (and one-time editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE) Marge Simon posted a challenge a little while back, to compose a poem of twenty lines or less using the words “Vermin,” “Theremin,” “Decision,” and “Vitamin,” for e-publication in SFPA’s newsletter.  The best, also, would get an ice cream prize.  A half dozen or so of us responded and while, no, the prize-winner wasn’t mine, it was one of two that got honorable mentions.

Alas, I don’t think there’s a link to see all the poems if you’re not a member, but for more on the SFPA (see also, March 29, 22, et al.) one may press here.  And to read at least my poem, it’s right below:


Vermin infested the theremin,
roaches by the look of them,
probably the same that invaded the drugstore’ s
vitamin counter
two weeks before.
So now these super bugs
bursting with good health and bad decisions,
operating the instrument from inside,
wailed their hatred of all that was human
out beyond the stars.


Enjoy, enjoy!

A warm June day and, for something completely different, how about a post that doesn’t have anything to do with TOMBS (which is still on discount on Amazon last time I looked, incidentally, just click on its picture in the center column)?  Or, serendipity strikes once again!  See, it seems I was just moseying like through the Internets and what should I teacup_chappen across but a still-live link to a humorous saga concerning the herding of cats (ah, now, Triana), originally published in NUKETOWN in March 2001, but here reproduced as an electronic reprint from SPACE WESTERNS (SPACEWESTERNS.COM, from which also the illustration to the left), May 2007.*  So now as a lagniappe, a little free thing you get once in awhile for no particular reason at all except that it’s there, a kind of a story I don’t write too often, a tall tale:  “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City.”

To read, press here.

*As a curious footnote, this is also the only story I’ve had reprinted in the Netherlands, in the magazine WONDERWAAN for June 2011.  Translated in Dutch, for those who wish to know, the story appeared as “Kattendrijver Sweet en de Draaiende Theeschotels van Deadwood City.”

  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,071 other followers