Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

What a busy second week in August!  Sunday brought an electronic authors copy of SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (see the first week, August 6, et al.) along with an interview questionnaire.  Part of “The Writing Life” and all that.  A check with Amazon also shows the Kindle edition is now available and can be found by pressing here, while, with the above mentioned busy week, I was only able to get to the interview part last night, with answers going back to the editor today.

SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES, we may remember, is an anthology of stories set in the 1950s.  Supernatural stories.  . . .  Not horror stories, necessarily, but stories that use the 1950s and its spook culture (and spook-busting culture) in an engaging way.  Bring us supernatural adventures, supernatural mysteries, supernatural fantasy, or supernatural pulp.  My part in this, originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and also reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, is titled “Bottles,” the tale of a Puerto Rican maid in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts, mixed up with anti-Communist crusaders and . . . vampires.  Or are they vampires because, as everyone knows, vampires don’t exist, do they?

To find out, one can press the link in the first paragraph, above, or in the August 6 post below find links to the publisher’s ordering site, or to Amazon for the print edition.


The email came from publisher 18thWall Productions (cf. April 20, et al.):  First, congratulations!  SOCKHOPS & SEANCES is now available for sale!  We can’t wait for everyone to enjoy your work!  You might’ve noticed the book going up and down on Amazon over the last few days — we were in a battle with that many-headed hydra to get the HTML in the sales description to appear properly.  All is well now, and ready for general release!  A few other details followed, but what’s SOCKHOPS & SEANCES about anyway?  Well, glad you asked, and the (now available) Amazon blurb may answer:

Award-Winning curator Nicole Petit presents the ginchiest look into the supernatural world of the 1950s.

Between poodle skirts and white picket fences, there should be only one place to meet a monster:  at the local drive-in.  Captured by technicolor, these creatures of the night are banished by hanging up the speaker.

But there are other forces at work in the night.  The ghost of a wooden roller coaster haunts the theme park that tore it down.  Hot-Rodders race a particularly hellish speed demon.  An American P.I. in London braves the fog to find a man chasing lights in the sky.  A small town boy detective takes on three impossible, eldritch cases.  There’s no telling what’s out there, beyond the drive-in’s screen.

In other words, that’s what, and much much more too.  May I quote from myself, on the occasion of my submission’s acceptance from May 1 2018, below?   . . . [T]he job was to recall the 1950s with an occult flavor, the anthology to be called SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES.  Reprints would be okay.  It just so happened I had a story, “Bottles,” originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004; also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS), set in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts.  Historical accuracy would be insisted on (I lived in Cambridge from late 1959 to mid-1964).  But also with vampires, perhaps a bit chancy, or at least someone who believed in vampires combined with a period fear of Communism.

Or to see, perchance to order yourself, check the publisher’s site by pressing here for electronic copies, from which one may also scroll down to find links for the print edition or, more directly, by pressing here.

Mysteries, mysteries — the story, “Atoms,” involving an invasion of an alien planet revealing an enemy that would not die.  How could such a thing be?  The anthology, to be titled MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE!:  Each story must take place somewhere other than the Earth.  It can happen on a spaceship, on a colony, on a new terraformed planet.  . . .  Each story must also feature (at least) one classic monster.  We are looking for new takes on the old classics.  Feel free to explore, but they should still be recognizable to the average reader.  “Atoms” was a reprint, originally published in FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES in February 1992,* but reprints might be reluctantly taken.  So — long story short — away it went.

That was May 22.  The reply was quick, on June 6:  Thank you for your recent submission to the Dragon’s Roost Press anthology MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE!.  We enjoyed portions of “Atoms,” especially the Admiral’s motivations for keeping responses under military control rather than sending in diplomats.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite fit with our current project.

And that was that.  Except that today, August 2, came Editor Michael Cieslak’s email:  Enclosed, please find “Atoms” with our suggested edits.  If there are edits you question, please note why in a comment.  Thank you again for your excellent story.  Say, what?  So I am a professional, of course I went through the edited copy, noted changes if any, and just a few minutes ago I sent it back as requested.

*Also reprinted in TALES OF THE TALISMAN for which see below, August 29 2011.

To end the month, how about a bit more of the life of the writer, this time in the form of another contract, received, elctro-signed, and sent back to the publisher just now.  The story is called “Beefcake and the Vamp” and the venue MONSTERTHOLOGY 2 (see February 12), an anthology of, to quote from the guidelines, short stories that involve classic movie monsters (Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, you know classics).  So the monsters in this one include the vamp Guillemette, once known as “Mina,” threatened by (as it turns out) a descendant of the Van Helsing family, who seeks the help of an all-night New Orleans detective agency.  And one of the agency’s finest (or only) employees is a hunky zombie named Beefcake — a match made in Heaven, yes?

Guillemette, I might add, is not one of the vampiresses in the “Casket Girls” canon, actually predating them in my writing, but she’s kind of fun too.  And way back when there had also been a MONSTERTHOLOGY 1 which had a story of mine called “Stink Man” (see February 19; July 2 2012, et al.), a cryptozoological tale of a man combined with the parts of cows.  As far as I know, though, a release date has not yet been set for Volume 2 — the publication schedule in general seems to be on the leisurely side — but the news will be here as soon as it’s known.

For those who might wonder whatever happened to the kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH (cf. July 10, et al.), there is now an answer.  Visitors may have noticed it’s been closed, but now the official word, that the closure is temporary — after a fashion.  That is, there will be a new kickstarter, most likely in September or October (authors [*ahem*] meanwhile will be paid), closer to an intended Valentine’s Day 2020 date for publication.  Also, according to Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate, it will be simpler that the aborted one, and noting the romantic aspect to the anthology’s contents, perhaps more inclusive to women readers.

To remind, DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH is an anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death . . . a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction [including] cross genre stories, with my part in it “The Sending,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, a ghost story/mystery set in an early-1930s Florida lighthouse.  (“The Sending” also has been reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, for more information on which one may click on its picture in the center column.)

More information will be reported here as it becomes known.

Don’t be shy!  The kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH continues apace (see July 5, et al.), albeit a bit slowly.  Such is life, is it not?  But swag awaits, as well as good reading.  Beer mats and ball caps, plus digital copies of the book as well as in paper, plus special editions with two bonus stories for those who act quickly.  But act one must, this special promotion ends July 31!

A thought provoking dark fantasy anthology where Love follows Death, in the words of the publisher, and where that’s not always a bad thing.  The blurb continues:  Twenty Two fabulous inspired short stories, from a fresh line-up of authors, ensure that there will be something for everyone, and with many being on the macabre side of things, this anthology makes the perfect counter-programming read for those who want something a little different come Valentines Day.  A full contents page can be found on the kickstarter site by pressing here.  Other information as well includes associated merchandise — bookmarks, T-shirts — along with more literary rewards for various levels of support, plus pictures and short bios of the authors.

And may one remind, a good part of what’s pledged goes into the payment of us, the authors, for tales including my ghost story/mystery “The Sending,” of hurricanes, crime, lighthouses, and abandoned Spanish forts on the Florida coast in the 1930s.

We were told to watch for it on June 21 and now it is here, the kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH (see also, with table of contents, April 30), the book itself to be published on Valentine’s Day 2020.  This is the one for, to go back to the original call, short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death.  . . .  The genre will be a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction, cross genre stories are welcome.  In my case the story is a reprint originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1997, about gangsters and a ghost-inhabited lighthouse in early 1930s Florida (also reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES, which one may click on in the center column).  But more to the point, the kickstarter itself offers as prizes not just the book itself but a rather extensive selection of swag.

For example (and note, the money is British although I’m sure there’s a way to covert it if needed), for £89 : Full Monty backers package, comes with everything in the Essential Merchandise Collection, plus a baseball cap, second glow-in-the-dark T-Shirt, engraved shot glass, engraved whisky tumbler, 8 bookmarks and heat reactive magic Mug. Also comes with a standard paperback edition of the finished anthology and digital versions of other two back catalogue books. Group discounted at 10% of regular price.  Other choices include such things as a numbered, signed by the authors edition; your name inserted in one of the stories; a full-page ad at the end of the book  . . .  or to see for oneself, check it out here.

And remember, if contemplating an offer, the money pledged will also help (ahem!) pay the authors!

‘Tis the season.  We’ve one kickstarter to start in just a few days for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, with my story, “The Sending” (cf. June 21, April 30).  More on this one as soon as it’s live.  But then in a few more weeks, in mid July, according to Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg there’ll be another for BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS (a.k.a. THE SOUL?), with my story in that one a 75-word micro, “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair” (see June 14).  Both anthologies should be fun so please be generous; we the authors who fill up those pages hope some of the largess will end up in our pay.  For updates on both, keep watching these pages.

A thought provoking dark fantasy anthology where Love follows Death, and where that’s not always a bad thing.

Twenty Two fabulous inspired short stories, from a fresh line-up of authors, ensure that there will be something for everyone, and with many being on the macabre side of things, this anthology makes the perfect counter-programming read for those who want something a little different come Valentines Day.

The wheels grind slowly, but they keep grinding, this a small notice from an anthology called DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, from Beyond Death Publishing, and a call to look over text for a Kickstarter campaign to begin soon which, hopefully, will add a bit more to author payments.  And so there is skin in the game for us all.  The blurb above pretty well describes the theme, with my story in it originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, about a lighthouse and a ghost lightkeeper titled “The Sending”* (see April 30, which also includes a table of contents).

So Thursday evening I sent back two small corrections for my bio copy, another small part of the life of the writer.  If all goes well, according to Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate, they’re aiming for a Valentine’s Day 2020 release.  But look for the Kickstarter much, much sooner with prizes spanning both books and keepsakes, like T-shirts and coffee mugs, to be announced on these pages when live.

*”The Sending” has also been reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, for which one can click on its picture in the center column.

I find that sometimes my best stories come from combining several different ideas.  Thus “The Sending” combines a detective/crime story with a ghost story, then with a romance, and brings in details both on lighthouses and on Depression-era Florida.  The details also required research (including touching on spiritualism as understood in the 1920s and ’30s, and references to Florida’s original colonization by Spain) which, as a one-time graduate student, I find adds to the fun, which I hope shows through in the finished product.

Details on this had been a little fuzzy, with an original call on December 6, re. LOVE BEYOND DEATH — An anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death.  For the anthology I am looking for around 20 short stories — (based on the overall word count of all accepted entries).  The genre will be a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction, cross genre stories are welcome.  Each story to be of approximately between 4,000 > 8,000 words in length.  So four days later I sent “The Sending” (aha, one that has absolutely nothing to do with my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH!) a reprint originally published in the December 1997 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and also appearing in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for info on which, one may click its picture in the center column).  A reply came back on April 13:  The selection process for the deliberately ambiguously entitled anthology LOVE BEYOND DEATH has now concluded, and it gives me great pleasure to say that your story has been successful. . . .  The next step is to agree a few terms before I can make the announcement official.

So it goes, an acceptance I could not announce quite yet, from Beyond Death Publishing in the UK.  Until, that is, two days ago on Sunday when I received details and a questionnaire from Editor Dickon Springate, and a check on Facebook to make sure the news was, as it were, now in the public domain.  And thus my answer, above, to “Question 2” which went back yesterday afternoon, or, the publication machine grinds on with corrections (or not) to edited copy to come, along with details on a Kickstarter campaign, the latter one hopes to bring us authors more money, set for the future.  So please be generous.  Question 1, in fact, had to do with Paypal details while Question 3, on a brief plot description, may appear on these pages in the near future.  Or maybe not — after all, the best way to find out what a story will be about is to buy the book after it’s published.

Publication of LOVE BEYOND DEATH is tentatively set for 2020, on Valentine’s Day, if all goes well — and so the writing life continues — while above, to the right, is a tentative table of contents (and with, it would seem, a few more than the originally planned twenty stories).

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