Archive for the ‘Lagniappes’ Category

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.
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*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.”

Told you so (cf. May 7; also April 28, 21 2015, et al.), and now it’s up.  A tale of les filles à les caissettes of New Orleans, in particular of the one named “Lo,” being interviewed by a reporter from the Times-Picayune.  But let’s let Short Mystery Fiction moderator Kevin R. Tipple make the formal announcement.

Today, James Dorr shares his “paranormal detective story” archived at DAILY SCIENCE FICTION titled “Dead Lines.”  James adds that the tale is also “. . . intended as a tip of the hat to Edgar Allan Poe as a father of the detective genre.”  While at the site, James has another story, “Casket Girls” in the archives for your reading pleasure.

So what’s the occasion?  May happens to be International Short Story Month and in celebration, the SMFS has been posting a story a day from society members throughout the month.  To see for yourself, one need but press here.  This takes you to the Society’s blog from which there’s not only the story du jour, but scrolling down (e.g, .mine will be one story below if you happen on this tomorrow, Friday May 12) you can read the stories of previous days all the way to May 1.  So how’s that for a deal?

And one thing more, as Kevin points out, an additional link to “Casket Girls” invites you to go to the background tale of les filles’ arrival at the Big Easy in 1728, and the one named Aimée.  And as a further bonus, when on the DAILY SF site if you type my last name in the search box on the right, you can find three additional  stories by me, though not in the New Orleanian series.

Something new indeed!  So said the email from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA):  We would like to try something new this year to get our members excited about and more involved in the Rhysling Award:  to post about the poets behind the poetry on our blog “SpecPo”.  We would like to post a brief bio, a picture and links to your poems online.  If your poem(s) is/are only available in print, please consider posting them to your own blog or website or an author’s website to which we could link.  Otherwise, we have access to the information and there’s no need to send a picture, bio or the links.  The idea is that six poets per day will be showcased starting on April 1 (which one hopes will not be a foolish omen) and continuing every other day for about six weeks with, if I’ve read the schedule right, my fifteen minutes of fame, or fraction thereof, on April 19.  At that time — or now as well, I suppose — the SpecPo blog will be able to be reached by pressing here.

Who knows, then, what picture of me they’ll have to post!  What biographical secrets they’ll reveal!  (Of the latter, just in case they’re out of date, don’t forget [*ahem*] I have a novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, coming out in June.)  Or, more to the point, my poem in this pea patch, “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” was published in the print-only journal DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES so where will they find the link to publish?  And so, for that last, why not . . . here (and note a small correction to lines 10-11 should you have the D&N copy with you).

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GODZILLA VS. KING KONG

It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King,
armed with his radioactive bad breath
and his lizard cunning,
while what could a monkey do?
“Do what you do best,”
Kong’s trainer, Fay Wray, told him,
“climb if you can, or else throw feces at him.”
Well, climbing was pretty much out of the question
unless he climbed up Godzilla himself,
the skyscrapers of Tokyo already demolished,
but, vis-a-vis Kong, ‘Zilla wasn’t that tall
and the other plan didn’t seem sanitary.
So Kong made sure he’d had a good night’s sleep,
a hearty breakfast of bananas by the bunch,
then stood his ground in the city’s ruins
delighted when Godzilla, stomping nearer,
slipped suddenly on his breakfast’s discarded peels,
taking a dive, backward, into the harbor.
Godzilla could also breathe under water
so, soon enough, he was climbing back out
dripping mud and dead crabs,
except Kong, by then, had already accepted
the winner’s purse,
and was halfway back to his Skull Island home.

And why not, a little freebie for Valentine’s Day, in this case a portrait of Gloria Holden as DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, combined with a brief poem describing a scene that’s not in the movie.  Or in any vampire movie I’ve seen, come to think of it.

draculasdaughter

THE VAMPIRESS’S EMBARRASSMENT

she loved blood
but she hated the clots, when she laughed
and they came out her nose

Sunday, the second day of a cold snap that’s finally brought November temperatures to November, also brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Third Sunday “prompt” session (cf. September 19).  This is kind of fun mostly, a group of us around a table writing like mad to prompts the facilitator(s) offer, completing an essay or story or poem within a fixed time.  There are usually three of these, the first yesterday involving description/analysis of a recurring dream, the second a poetry prompt from an outside source, and the third. . . .

Well, a moment on that.  The third, for which we had only five minutes (the first two were fifteen minutes each), was to write a “thank you” letter.  But my mind wasn’t entirely on this.  It seems the cave cat Wednesday (more on whom, here depicted in kittenhood some twelve and a half years back, can be wendy31found under her name on “PAGES” at the far right) had her annual visit to the vet last week and the news wasn’t all good.  She had been losing weight and, tests coming back, the reason appears to be hyperthyroidism.  The good news is she can have the condition treated by eating a special *expensive* cat food, a bag of which is now on order in hopes she will like it.  The bad for her is that she must eat it exclusively, which means no more cat treats (her favorite:  Friskies’ “Beachside Crunch”).  So anyway what came up was a cat-related “thank you” to a hypothetical sister, for the gift of a hypothetical book, with the hypothetical cat “Fluffy” standing in for Wednesday — and which, as a tip of the hat for her, I offer as a lagniappe:

Dear Sister.  Thank you very much for the book you sent, 101 THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR CAT.  Fluffy thanks you too, though she thought numbers 18 and 36 were a little rough.  Her favorite, though, seems to be number 52, the one that involves catnip.  I would have one complaint, however — or perhaps a warning you might include if you give copies to people in the future — for numbers 48, 77, and 82, I woindexuld strongly recommend wearing thick gloves.  (Your Loving Brother)

Then back to business for Monday, today’s email included a proof copy of Popcorn Press’s LUPINE LUNES, including my Rhysling-nominated poem “Beware of the Dog” (see October 29, et al.), returned with no problems found this afternoon.  “Beware of the Dog” was originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL, September 11 2014.

How about we get in the mood with a horror poem by Rick Powell, then I’ll share a SUPER EASY pumpkin cookie recipe you can make last minute to enjoy this evening, and to top it off… How about sex in a haunted house? Haha. That is, how about we watch the short horror film ‘Sex in a Haunted House’?😛

It’s a contest put on by Grey Matter Press, publishers of SPLATTERLANDS and others (cf. September 11 2015, et al.), to select a small number of flash fiction pieces to play with the big boys (“five disturbing visions from five diverse authors that include Josh Malerman, John F.D. Taff, Erik T. Johnson, J. Daniel Stone, and Joe Schwartz”) in a new anthology I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.  The prizes include publication, a copy, and a modest gift card and entries must be published in advance for the judges and others — readers who can vote for their favorites too.  The stories vampiress_by_laravilya-d4r2gwfmust be inspired by the “bloody” title, be 500-700 words in length, and, the month almost over, thought I “why not?”

So think of it as a pre-Halloween lagniappe, free stories for all!  Mine is about, natch, sweet lesbian vampire love (so why not?) in a 698-word bare bones version of a longer tale originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, July 2011*), “A Cup Full of Tears.”  But here’s the thing, for “A Cup Full of Tears” to be published in the anthology too, it must be voted on by those who read it.  A jury of sorts will look at these too, but when the smoke clears, by noon I believe on Halloween Day (the voting itself ends at 12:01 a.m. October 26), it is those with the most votes that get to move on.  Voting consists of clicking a button to the right that follows each story, and leaving a comment — hopefully positive.  Also, up until October 21, you can enter your own mini-story as well if you desire.

So to vote — or just read — one must press here.  You will see the rules, the details of the contest, but then you must scroll down.  Down and down, passing stories and comments, until you reach the sixth (6th) story.  My name will be above it in blue, then the title in all caps, “A CUP FULL OF TEARS.”  And should the spirit so move, the vote button is at its bottom right, labeled “Reply.”

(Or if, by now, even the idea of elections has you down, just read and enjoy.)
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*See also July 28, 14, June 17 2011, below.

As fall creeps forward, despite a hot, humid, and sunny day, this afternoon marked the 2016-17 season opening “Last Sunday Poetry Reading,” sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with the Monroe County Convention Center (for its “First Sunday” prose analogue, see below, August 8).  But this year’s started a little differently, one of two scheduled poets down with the flu, plus the convention center also hosting the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo (so that’s why those people were out in the hall wearing Imperial Storm Trooper armor!  Also the R2D2 upstairs).  So, while the crowd wasn’t the largest it’s ever been either, that just meant more time for the Open Mike after.

The reader who was here was Andrew Hubbard, originally from New England but now a Monroe County resident, with two poetry books published by Interactive Press in Australia, the second, THE DIVINING ROD, having come out just last week.  Hubbard started by saying he’d been reading contemporary poetry that seemed overly angry to his taste, but he would begin with a happier poem.  Those that followed also were generally low key, personal poems, with a quiet optimism, involving such things as “The Last Butterfly,” a rescued turtle, deer in the garden, and the poet’s daughter.  Hubbard also, I understand, will be a reader at “First Sunday Prose” in October, sharing the podium with local mostly-poet Margaret Squires and . . . me (with, in my case, most likely another tale from the upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, cf. August 18, 14, 8, et al.).

Then came the unscheduled readers, including Patsy Rahn who had warned me that she would premiere a poem inspired (sort of) by me, “A Vision for James Dorr,”  a poem of bones, constructions, and science fiction.  As luck would have it, the next poet was me, so I started by saying it would be amusing if I now read poems about puppies and kittens, and then recited a cat haiku from memory which I’ll repeat here*:

slinking cat’s wet cough
presages hairball, but where?
foot put in shoe knows

But, anyway, I followed that with three poems on the more mundane topic of vampires, all unpublished (just written last May), “Running Its Course,” “The Vampire’s Reminder,” and “Time-Stop,” the last an impressionistic recall of a vamp’s first blood dinner.
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*The poem originally was titled “WHOOPS!” (as a lookup after the fact reveals to me) and published in HAZARD CAT on August 24 2010, and appears below as a lagniappe too on March 15 2011, but why not repeat it anyway, eh?  Also, following my reading, Tonia Matthews read, among other poems, an account of taking her cat to the vet.

“Join us for this generative writing workshop.  You will be provided with prompts and have the opportunity to share your work.”  This was a members only activity of the Bloomington Writers Guild, despite some other offerings on hiatus for the summer (but First Sunday Prose will resurface on August 7!), held at the Monroe County Library, so on a warm sunny afternoon I and seven others had a go at it.  MCs were Joan Hawkins and Lisa Kwong and, WritersGuild1following introductions plus six-word “memoirs” composed on the spot (hey, I’ll tell you mine as a mini-lagniappe:  “feet smell/ nose runs/ built backwards”), we wrote what came to us in ten-minute time slots for three successive prompts.  Thus for the first, on “Where I’m From,” I offered an unrepeatably bad poem glossing the four geographical areas I cite sometimes in biographical notes.  So it takes me a little time to warm up.  Then, second, we had to write an apology but avoiding apologetic words, in which I in effect demanded to know what’s wrong with writing horror.  And then third, on “Nature” (with the idea of speaking for something that can’t speak for itself), I wrote a mini horror story in which a disgruntled forest finds a way of getting its message through.

The bottom line:  (1) the story, I think, will be worth rewriting as a sort of moody flash piece.  And (2) it all was fun.

Also to round out the weekend, Editor Clifford Garstang’s EVERYWHERE STORIES Facebook page (see July 13) has a new item on it, a link to Sonnet O’Dell’s last-August interview on moi (see July 5, et al.), in which I describe my then-latest book THE TEARS OF ISIS.  As I pointed out in offering the URL, Sonnet’s the one who asks purposely goofy questions among the more serious ones, that add a sense of surprise and fun — which one can find by clicking here.  Also, as noted below, there will be a new interview October 24 which will take up my upcoming novel-in-stories due out next spring, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

February is Women in Horror Month, and we here at Mocha Memoirs Press love our ladies of horror!  In celebration of “Ghoul Power,” MMP is hosting a February Flash Fiction contest!  Flash fiction is quickly becoming popular on the eBook scene.  They’re super short pieces (usually less than 1000 words) that you can read on your phone, tablet, or eReader while you’re waiting your turn at the salon, stuck in traffic, or right before bed.  So here’s how it works:

The call went on to say stories had to be horror with a female point-of-view character, no more than 1000 words long, and in by a deadline of February 15.  Stories would then be posted on the Mocha Memoirs Press blog on the 17th, whereupon a panel of judges would choose the ten best, with voting for readers to choose from these to start next Tuesday, February 23.  There would be a prize for the MochaMemoirs_horrorthequebest, although not a big one, but nothing was said about sending in reprints (despite the fact that someone had asked in a “comments” section) so why not? I thought.  Authors “of all genders” could submit and the top ten tales would also be “featured in a promotional mini-anthology used to promote Mocha Memoirs Press.”

So I’ve been published by them before (cf. January 18 2016, October 28 2013, et al.; also November 18, 7, 4 2015) and, anyway, that which promotes them also helps promote me, so why not indeed?  Off I sent a more or less 950-word story, “Flightless Rats,” originally published January 12 2015 in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG (see August 24, January 12 2015, et al.), concerning the vampiress Aimée of the “casket girls” and a date gone bad on a 19th century, gas-lit New Orleans summer night.

But worry not, she could cope.

Anyway the word came Wednesday that the initial stories are up for preview viewing, for which one may press here.  “We had over twenty submissions and each one is more bone-chilling than the last!”  And mine is there, one of the later ones, possibly handicapped as it is labeled “Reprint” at the top (most of the others not being so noted, a quick glance tells me, meaning either they’re all originals or some of the authors may be more candid than others).

So call it a lagniappe, a pretty good freebie which Mocha Memoirs would like you to peruse, adding that you should take note of your favorites as “the top 10 stories (chosen by our own ladies of Horror) will be up for voting next week.”




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