Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

Two very quick items:  The first, a new story has been accepted, with email and contract received last night.  The problem, however, and not an unusual one, is that the market is still open and the editor has asked that I hold off on giving details until all acceptances have been announced.  At a guess, I’d suspect this might be in late January/early February at which time the news will be reported here; until then we’ll just have to wait together.

Then the other, on the 13th I announced that authors’ copies of MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE! had been sent out.  So yesterday evening my copy arrived, exceedingly quickly, and coincidentally at a time when I’d just finished reading another anthology.  So now I know how I’ll be spending my evenings the rest of this week. . . .

This one goes back to late summer, cf. August 2, and an oddly unexpected acceptance of my story “Atoms,” originally published in the February 1992 FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES.  The anthology’s title, by Dragon’s Roost Press:  MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE!  So last night the email came, not to announce it was finally published, but rather a notice that authors’ copies should be received shortly.
Well and good, with more to come here when mine arrives.  But, playing detective, that also implies . . . YES!  MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE! has indeed been published and, in fact, has been available for a bit of time in both print and Kindle.  Quoting the blurb:  One of the most common fears is the fear of the dark: what might be lurking in the shadows, what we can’t see.  All of the monsters from your childhood could be hiding in that darkness.  Given this, what could be more terrifying than the infinite void of space?  Who knows what creatures await you once you leave the comfortable confines of your home planet.  MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE! contains seventeen such explorations, classic monsters in off world settings.  This collection contains werewolves, vampires, ghosts, haunted items, and more all in the blackness of space or the terrifying settings of foreign worlds and abandoned starships.  Prepare to be scared out of your spacesuit.
So which describes my story, “Atoms”?  To find out (or at least for more information) press here.

‘Twas the month of December and time for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (see November 3, et al.) at Bear’s Place.  The featured readers were Carolyn Geduld with two selections from her about to be published novel-in-stories TAKE ME OUT THE BACK, about a mass shooting and its effects on the surrounding community; followed by Abegunde (who we’ve met a number of times before) with readings from a draft work in progress “for Ruth George and all the women killed by angry men.”  This was followed by seven walk-ons with generally lighter fare of which I was fourth with a “rerun” of my seasonal horror/black comedy “The Worst Christmas Ever” (cf. December 4 2017). Then afterward a number of us reconvened at Writer’s Guild President Joan Hawkins’s house for a farewell gathering for member Shayne Laughter (also the afternoon’s second “Open Mic” reader) who will be leaving Bloomington later this month for an extended stay in India.

And . . . it’s out, on schedule, the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology for stories “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, [and] Daring” (see November 15, 8)!  To see or to buy press here.  A list of contents also appears in my November 15 post below, while we also learned the winners today of the small money prizes (the “Awards” part of the title) for the four presumably BOULDest tales of all.  To wit:

1st Place ($50): The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott
2nd Place ($30): The Society – KM Rockwood
3rd Place ($20): Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson
4th Place ($10): Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury

Okay, so my entries are not on the list, not that they’re still not bizarre, etc., in their own right (one, in fact, having also appeared in a 2013 anthology titled BIZARRO BIZARRO*), “Mr. Happy Head” and “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  But hopefully all should be quite worth reading, to be found, again, by pressing here.


*While the other, “In the Octopus’s Garden,” is also lead story in my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.


The word is out.  Late yesterday the email came from Editor Jake Devlin that the BOULD AWARD ANTHOLOGY (for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” — cf. below, November 8) is expected to be out on Wednesday next week, November 20.  With this came a list of stories, with word counts — as I recall, the limit was set at 3000 words, but with a premium for short and sweet — as reproduced below.  And, as the quote continues:  I’m even more happy to announce that there are double the number of stories that were in the 2018 edition, and we’ve already received several entries for the 2020 edition.  I’d encourage any of you who might want to submit more stories to think “short” stories; I’d love to see more “flash fiction,” maybe 1,000 words or less.  You’ll find an email address at the bottom of the BouldAwards web site* to get the submission requirements via auto-reply.

Then one thing more — two really — my stories in these are “In the Octopus’s Garden,” collected as well in my book THE TEARS OF ISIS (for info on which, click its picture in the center column), and the as yet uncollected “Mr. Happy Head.”  For both of which, here’s the table of contents:

Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson – 1060 words
A Walk In The Park – Francis Hicks – 490
A Man Without His Word – Lise de Nil – 1848
Honor Amongst the Rigid – Wil A. Emerson – 2980
Clarity – Francis Hicks – 720
In the Octopus’s Garden – James Dorr – 2400
Take Nothing For Granite – John Clark – 1170
When I Think About – Gary R. Hoffman – 450
Teacher’s Pets – Kat Fast – 1990
Teagan’s Special Sand Castle – Jake Devlin – 1300
Note Found Near Scattered Human Skeletal Remains – Jack Ewing – 1840
Oh Henry – Wil A. Emerson – 2990
Bait – Eve Fisher – 2700
Zero-Sum – Cheri Vause – 1500
Chemo Queen – Tom Barlow – 2970
The Sadist – Jimmy Summers – 750
In A Town Mostly Forgotten – John Clark – 2060
The Purloined Pickled Peppers – Herschel Cozine – 2400
Eggboy and the Drunk – Lise de Nil – 2990
The Price You Pay – William A. Rush IV – 1850
Henry The Butler – Francis Hicks – 500
The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott – 2800
A Shifting Plan – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2500
Input From A Serial Killer – John Furutani – 2570
Confession of a Serial Killer – Jake Devlin – 500
The Cat – Robert Petyo – 2100
Deer Juj – David Hagerty – 850
The Society – KM Rockwood – 2200
Something Wacky This Way Comes – Karen Phillips – 2000
Pinning Ceremony – John Clark – 2670
Drip-Dry and Wrinkle-Free – Lesley A. Diehl – 2440
Mr. Happy Head – James Dorr – 2700
Preincarnation – Eve Fisher – 1000
To Die a Free Man: The Story of Joseph Bowers – KM Rockwood – 2790
The Suicide Bureau – Robert Petyo – 1700
The Silkie – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2900
Meeting on the Funicular – Kaye George – 735
Cold Snap – Maddi Davidson – 640
Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury – 260
An Apocalyptic Micro Short Story – Jake Devlin – 20


* Link to appear here with info for ordering on November 20.

And here’s a tip:  try thinking like a comedian; some of their takes on ideas/events/people/things can often inspire/trigger your own weird, wild, BOULD creativity.  Some of my personal favorites are Steven Wright, the deadpan American comedian; Milton Jones, a Brit; and the “Scenes We’d Like to See” segments of a BBC show called “Mock the Week,” all available on YouTube.  (Just a suggestion.  If nothing else, you might have a good laugh or two . . . or ten.)

Say what?

So it was part of a call for the annual BOULD Awards competition, which actually does award smallish prizes as well as publication in an annual anthology.  The anthology, not surprisingly, would be titled BOULD AWARDS 2019 SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY.  And the reading period was about a year long.

BOULD, by the way, stands for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” and, despite the above, does not necessarily have to be comic.  Up to three stories could be submitted, of 3000 words or less apiece, with the judging based on character, plot, writing style (“voice”), creativity and DARING/boldness/audacity (“pushing the envelope” or going beyond it).  So why not, thought I, and I sent in two on January 9, and then more or less forgot about it.

AND NOW IT CAN BE TOLD, word having been sent by Editor Jake Devlin Monday, November 4, with a request to wait on announcing it until the 8th (though due to an over-zealous spam filter, not actually received till yesterday, November 7):  both stories have been accepted for publication in the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology, which will be published in early December 2019 or perhaps before.  Though no word yet about the money prizes, which range from $10 to $50 for the four top places, perhaps to be revealed to me later (or maybe the judges, while liking my work, didn’t like it that much).  But acceptances — in this case both for reprints — are still acceptances, yes?  More here as it becomes known.

And the stories themselves?  The first is “In the Octopus’s Garden,” originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA for March-April 1999 and also lead story in my 2013 collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS; the second “Mr. Happy Head” from WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (as yet uncollected).

They’re here!  This edition contains thirteen horrifying tales of vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies, and even Frankenstein!  Along with other monsters that go bump in the night:  Salla by Stephanie Bardy . Dumb Luck by Dawn De Braal . Just Like Us by Belinda Brady . The Caged Wolf by Steve Carr . Mummy’s Daddy by Brandon Cracraft . Beefcake and The Vamp by James S. Dorr . Potentia by T. Fox Dunham . The Prodigal Son by Walter G. Esselman . The Invisible Man by Tom Fowler . Black Lagoon by David K. Montoya . Demonically Nice Neighbor by Copper Rose . Suicide Mission by Alan Russo . Tinfoil Bullet by Phil Thomas .

So says the blurb, but they were actually here a tad before now, ten days before Halloween in fact.  The “they” is MONSTERTHOLOGY 2, the anthology from Zombie Works Publications (see October 7, et al.) with tales of monsters harking back to the movie classics, vampires, wolfmen, zombies, et al.  This, my second MONSTERTHOLOGY appearance (the first, a cryptobiological tale called “Stink Man,” was in the initial anthology in 2012), is titled “Beefcake and the Vamp” and, a pre-“Casket Girls” New Orleanian story, features both a vampire and zombie.

So a check with Amazon has MONSTERTHOLOGY available as of October 21, with mine and twelve other stories as cited above.  For more, one may press here.

Another week, another contract, this time from Canada’s House of Zolo via Publisher Nihls Andersen:  We are so excited to have your work as part of the first edition of the HOZ JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE LITERATURE.  Attached please find our contract.  Once you’ve had a chance to read it and you are satisfied with the terms, please fill in your address, sign and return the document at your nearest convenience.  If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  This was followed by an up to date biography request, for a picture if possible, plus payment information.

The story in question is “Golden Age,” originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 and also reprinted in Smart Rhino Publications’ ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 11, et al.).  Thus the writing life continues:  We are expecting to release the JOURNAL in November 2019 as an E-Book and as a Printed Book, and we will let you know the exact date as soon as it is finalized.  The JOURNAL will be available Internationally on Amazon and other platforms — we’ll keep you posted as we add other venues.  The signed contract went back this afternoon, with more details to be printed here as they become known.

Also late Sunday the following came from Zombie Works Publications Editor Alan Russo:  You will find attached the official digital copy to MONSTERTHOLOGY 2!  Print copies will be available soon, along with the eBook version.  Thank you to every[one] and their hard work and contribution to this great anthology!  The tale here is a dark-humored take on a New Orleans vampire, but one not in the “Casket Girls” series, “Beefcake and the Vamp” (see September 25, February 19, et al.), with, again, more information here as soon as it’s known.

Plus a bit of good news on this one, too, that while it still couldn’t quite reach pro market pay, it was upping the share for authors to four cents a word.  It’s MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE (cf. August 2), a new anthology edited by Michael Cieslak of Dragon’s Roost Press, of which it is written:

Jason, the Leprechaun, even the Cenobites and the Critters ended up going into space.  We decided it was time to give some other monsters that same chance.

Earlier this year we started accepting submissions for an anthology featuring classic monsters with the stories set in space.  We have collected 16 stories and one poem that we think you are really going to enjoy.

And by enjoy we mean scare the space suit off of you.

My story in this many-scarred starcross is one called “Atoms,” originally published in FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES for February 1992, of a planet’s natives that seemed unable to be killed, not a good prospect if you’re the one who’s trying to conquer them.  And so the contract came — along with the news of the pay raise which isn’t bad at all for a reprint — and thus signed, along with some minor changes to an included biography, went back to the publisher Monday afternoon.  A rather nice ending to close out September and start the fall season.

Yes, the email said the final week but the site itself says only “five days,” though it also says Sunday, October 6, 7:59 AM EDT, perhaps as an allowance for London time?  But one way or another in just a few days the DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH kickstarter (see September 12, et al.), and the opportunity to sign up for bargain copies and even swag, will be no more.   Love takes on many forms, as does death, 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.

My tale in this tangle is one of hauntings, and gangsters in Depression era Florida, and of a young woman whose life is in danger titled “The Sending,” a slightly longer description of which can be found on the kickstarter site itself, along with descriptions and mini-biographies of all the writers.  And, as said above, many prizes including publisher-related cups and T-shirts and other such merch, but one still must act fast.  (And may one remind, from the authors’ point of view, last minute pledges may mean higher pay?)  So for information and possible action — the book itself is slated to be out on Valentine’s Day 2020, so why not reserve your copy today? — one need but press here.

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