Archive for the ‘Lagniappes’ Category

His name was Crow, and she was called Rat.  Both of them were beggars in the New City, not the creative kind, jongleurs or tale-tellers, gossip-mongers or criers or news-spreaders, but rather the shabbier, desperate grubbers of others’ detritus — ghouls as it were of the wealthier precincts’ trashheaps and middens.  Petty thieves, sometimes, when courage and opportunity blessed them.  In other words, common enough to be unnoticed.

Thus starts the tale of “Crow and Rat,” but who however have not been unnoticed.  First in the UK, in the anthology HUMANAGERIE (cf. October 28, 3, et al.), then an Honorable Mention in MYTHIC BEAST’s “Icarus” story competition (November 30 and 11), they have made their mark, not to mention in their tale itself set in the universe of the “Tombs.”  And now a culmination of sorts, the MYTHIC BEAST retelling has just gone live, joining the Icarus contest winner and several companion placements, with several more of the latter to come on a weekly basis throughout December.

For more, read their story as they themselves lived it by pressing here.

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Alma shivered despite the warm night air.  She did not like spiders.  Where she had been brought up, on the high, dust-filled Castilian plateau, her father a soldier, they had a saying:  Kill a spider and it will bring rainstorms.  Her summers of girlhood, sweating — as she did now — in that land’s furnace heat, had been spent seeking and killing as many of the eight-legged creatures as she could find, yet never once did it bring the rain’s coolness.

So who is Alma?  She is the lead in my story “Dust,” originally published in my first collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (Dark Regions Press, 2001) and now reprinted in Pole to Pole Publishing’s RE-ENCHANT (see November 21, et al.), which just arrived in paperback form in the computer cave mailbox on Saturday past.  (So I’m a day or two late posting this.)  It’s a lovely book, but you’ve seen the cover.  So here’s a little extra as well.

“Dust” is the second tale in the contents so, should you go to RE-ENCHANT’s Amazon page and click on the cover picture there to open its contents, you’ll find not just front matter and the first story but the first six pages of “Dust” as well.  Try it:  Press here.  It’s a nice introduction to the story and if intrigued by what you read, well, you are on the Amazon page (or a click away to get out of the sample) where it can be ordered.  Or should you prefer to see “Dust” in its original home, while STRANGE MISTRESSES is technically out of print and with some copies going for premium prices, the last time I looked a few copies were still on its Amazon site at list price or less, which can be found here.

“…and to this hour the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations — sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church; and often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing room door.”
– From J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

So this, the final reading on THE POETS WEAVE, on radio station WFIU, was actually broadcast Sunday, October 28.  But that was simply because that’s the Sunday closest to Halloween, while here we can greet today officially with its recording.  Two previous segments were aired on October 14 and October 21 respectively (see October 17, 21), on the “Who” and the “Where” of vampirism.  And now, to end it, are four poems on the “Attraction of Vampirism,” as produced by LuAnn Johnson and introduced by Romayne Rubinas Dorsey:  “Moonlight Swimming,” “The Aeronaut,” “When She Won the One Million Credit Galactic Lottery,” and “The Esthete.”  All poems are still from my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and may be heard by pressing here.

It starts with a longish poem from Marge Simon, “Robert Browning and the Spider Poet,” and ends with a flurry of poetry by Christina Sng (a fun one, her second, “Catsitting on Halloween”).  No, Triana, don’t get any ideas.  But what it is is a “Gallery of Poetry” in a jam-packed October/Halloween edition of the HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER.  And, between the two poets already mentioned, are three mini-poems (two haikuish, the third a four-liner) by me.

But for extra fun, the three I chose were all published first on this very blog, on February 14 2013 (yes, that’s Valentine’s Day) and February 14 and September 24 2017.  And one at least, the first, is a love poem (well, sort of a love poem — a warning perhaps).  The others, perhaps, a bit more on the dark-humored side.  The poems themselves are titled “Best Appraise that Diamond Fast,” “The Vampiress’s Embarrassment,” and “Land of Milk and Honey,” and all may be seen (Marge Simon’s, Christina Sng’s, and mine) by pressing here.

“Listen to them—the children of the night. / What music they make!”
– From Bram Stoker’s Dracula

So begins the second of three readings, by me (cf. October 17), on the topic “Let Us Explore Where Vampires May Be Found,” on the Indiana University Public Broadcasting Station WTIU.  The program:  THE POETS WEAVE, produced by LuAnn Johnson and announced by Romayne Rubinas Dorsey, and which may be heard by pressing here.  Thus, to repeat the introduction:  Today, [James Dorr] will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing.  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” “California Vamp,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.” 

Listen Now:  Let Us Meet Some Of The Vampires

The word does not necessarily travel fast, but it comes.  Let us recall posts for August 17 and 8 (and also related, September 30, August 26) in which I spoke of recording poems for the WFIU radio feature THE POETS WEAVE.  Today, from producer LuAnn Johnson:  I’m not sure if I ever got back to you about air dates for your episodes.  . . .  The first aired this last Sunday.  The second is scheduled to air this Sunday, Oct 21 — but we’re in our fund drive week so there is a chance they will need to cut it for pitch time.  If so, I’ll reschedule for the following Sunday, and then the third will air the Sunday after that.

Thus the first of three sessions for which one may press here,* as announced by MC Romayne Rubinas Dorsey:  James Dorr writes short fiction and poetry leaning toward dark fantasy and horror, with his latest book a novel-in-stories, Tombs: A Chronicle of Latter-Day Times of Earth.

Today, he will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing).  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Le Meduse,” “Vampire Thoughts,” “Daylight Savings,” and “Night Child.”
.

*(Or for gluttons for punishment and/or lovers of King Kong, for WTIU’s TV counterpart one may also check here, cf. September 25, 18.)

Well, the lighting seems a bit dark to my eye and it sounds like I might have made a hideous mistake early in the first poem, seemingly reading “or I’ll” for “or else” (hence implying Fay Wray would willingly get her hands dirty, doubtful in light of the second poem), but here it is, my reading of three poems “all revolving around everyone’s favorite, skyscraper-obsessed giant ape,” or so says the accompanying blurb.  And there, for Tuesday September 25, my public TV reading at the local WTIU studio (cf. September 18) of three Kong poems, “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” “On the Other Hand,” and “Monkey See,” for which press here.   (sigh)

Exciting times!  A story of mine is running neck and neck in Carrie Ann Golden’s latest A WRITER AND HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE competition, this one for a tale of 100 words or less as prompted by the picture just below.  And as of last notice there were two entries in the running, each with exactly fifty percent of the total vote.  Or most likely, each has just one vote.

Should you wish to tilt the odds, you can find stories “A” and “B” in their entireties, the picture again, and a link for voting in the poll here.  And as a bonus, scroll toward the bottom and there’s a link to an interview Carrie Ann did of me on her blog back in 2016.  See early comments on my as yet to be published novel-in-stories TOMBS, as well as some dish on THE TEARS OF ISIS and on New Orleans’s filles à les caissettes.  What better to read on a warm, sunny Wednesday?

And, as for which of the stories is mine, well, you know me.  It’s likely to be the more “horrible” of them.

So call it two days late, THE SIRENS CALL #38, dated April 2018, is an enormous issue, some 186 pages in all with work crammed in it by forty-eight authors and poets.  With my part in this potpourri, “Casket Girls” (cf. April 3, et al.), not even listed until the top of the second contents page, there noted to start on page 137.  And not only that, you can read it for free!

“Casket Girls” is the origin story, as it were, of the coming of the vampiress Aimée — and “conversion” of les filles à les caissettes aboard the ship with her — to the New World from France, and is based on a New Orleanian urban legend.  Originally published in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014, this latest spotting just goes to show that you can’t keep a bad girl down, especially should she have a desire to wander.

So even if you’ve met Aimée before, if you’d like to say “bonjour” again (and remember to scroll way, way down to page 137), press here.

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.

 

WINTER’S STILL

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,
mounds.
Quiet, white.
Heart beats then,
pounding,
fear sets in.
Attempts to flee.
Heaped drifts
inhibit flight,
tangled steps,
falling —
knees sinking —
and cloud
brings the night.




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