Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

It won’t be until June 2021, but “Flute and Harp” is now one step closer to publication in HELIOS QUARTERLY (cf. June 17, 3) with the arrival of the contract which, after a little bit of discussion, I signed and returned Sunday.  The still lengthy time to release, I might add, is a result of an overly successful submission drive resulting in Volume 5, for 2020, to be almost immediately filled, pushing musician lovers Flute and Harp back to issue 2 of Volume 6.  However, with success can sometimes come reversals, in this case a fire personally affecting HELIOS QUARTERLY’s editor/publisher and that in turn has engendered an emergency subscription drive, for funds to help assure the magazine can continue to come out on time.  If you would be interested in helping — or just to get a neat magazine, including the reprint of “Flute and Harp” — more information can be found here.

“Flute and Harp” was originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), and is a sort of personal favorite of mine.  It tells the tale of two doomed musician-lovers on a far-future dying planet and also appears as a story chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), more on which can be found by clicking its picture in the center column.

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Remember those ne’er-do-wells “Crow and Rat,” and how they slinked into England to be in the book HUMANAGERIE (cf. April 3, March 21, et al. )?  So wouldn’t you know, they’ve gotten themselves in the news again, or at least the book that accepted them has.  According to Co-Editor Allen Ashley:  I just wanted to let you know that HUMANAGERIE has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award in the “Best Anthology” category.  Sarah and I are absolutely thrilled.  And of course, we could not have done this without the superb writing that we received from all of you.  . . .  The British Fantasy Award shortlist of five titles — including an anthology edited by our very own Dan Coxon (AKA Ian Steadman) — now goes to a select jury for final decision, to be announced at FantasyCon in Glasgow on 20 October.  The British Fantasy Award, I might add, is not a small thing; sponsored by the British Fantasy Society it’s the UK equivalent of, on this side of the ocean, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula or the Horror Writer Association’s Stoker Awards(R), rather rarefied company for such as Rat and Crow!

“Crow and Rat,” one might remember, were beggars and thieves in the far future world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, albeit not in that book itself, whose unwise (and probably one-sided) love simply led them into even more trouble.  To quote from their own story, [h]is 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.

However the book they are in has been noticed.  For a complete list of British Fantasy Award finalists in all categories one can press here — while for background information on the world Crow and Rat came from, the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (which disdains to give rascals such as them even a mention), one can click its picture in the center column.

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.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I wrote a story called “The Plant-Sitter.”  The sitter in question, hired to take care of an exotic plant while its owner attends a horror convention, in part was a homage to the 1960 Roger Corman film LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, specifically when at the end, the hiree apparently now deceased, the hirer tries to remember her name.  “Audrey something?”  The story was published in the Fall 2004 BOOK OF DARK WISDOM by William Jones, who later founded Elder Signs Press, and who I subsequently worked with on an idea I had for a novel-in-stories about a far-future world of the “Tombs.”  For various reasons that project got delayed, but eventually under new editor/publisher Chuck Zaglanis, thirteen years later, the book was published as TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

So these things are connected.  The Corman movie begat a 1960s retro rock musical in 1982, and that in turn was made into a movie four years after, in 1986, which I also have seen.  And now — one of the perks of living in a university town, where slightly off the beaten track films and theatre are nurtured — I had a chance to see the play on stage last night in an Indiana University Summer Theatre production.

For local readers the play can be seen on various dates through July 28.  For those who like horror in urban settings (a flower shop in New York’s “skid row”?) and dark, dark humor, all I can say is that it’s a delight.  It does have, yes, a carnivorous plant as well as, like most musicals, innocent lovers — or those at least who start off with some innocence.  Also it adds a sadistic dentist, and a Greek chorus-like trio of girl pop singers (early 1960s style, remember) who’re not averse to demanding tips to give strangers directions — to get to the flower shop, that is — although greed and materialism infect most of the other players as well.  Or in the plant’s case (named “Audrey II,” after the not quite entirely guileless ingenue) perhaps it’s more properly gluttony.

Anyhow I greatly recommend it.

Then a quick note on yesterday afternoon’s post on “11 Space Movies for Apollo 11,” it turns out that the wily SHORT LIST may have sent that particular feature as, apparently, a special treat for its newsletter subscribers — which means that the link may not have worked for all who tried it.  There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about that, but I can give a list of the movies alone.  Thus, from number one to eleven:  2001:  A SPACE ODYSSEY, APOLLO 13, INTERSTELLAR, FIRST MAN, HIDDEN FIGURES, CAPRICORN ONE, THE RIGHT STUFF, GRAVITY, THE MARTIAN, MOON, SPACE CAMP.

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.

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*”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.

A very, very quick bit of news. “Flute and Harp,” accepted as a reprint by HELIOS QUARTERLY on June 3 (see below), has now been scheduled for Volume 6, Issue 2, for June 2021.  Yes, that’s two years from now, Volume 5 having already been filled due to a greater than expected response to this year’s call for submissions.  The story itself, originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001) concerns a pair of musicians on a dying world who like each other very much, but also share a fear of ghouls.  The story itself is a favorite of mine and, if I may say so, should be worth the wait, but for those who might be more impatient it also appears in my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), for more on which one may press its picture in the center column.

Some editors know what they like and don’t mind saying so very quickly.  To quote the announcement, SPECIAL CALL:  HELIOS QUARTERLY turns 5 in 2020!  Over the years, we’ve published less horror than science fiction & fantasy.  . . .  We want to change that.  For our upcoming call for submissions, we’re especially interested in horror short stories and poetry by Black, Indigenous, and other poets and authors of color.  So late Sunday night (the email auto-acknowledgement is stamped as 10:34 p.m.) I plunked the key that sent my submission of a 5500-word story, “Flute and Harp.”

Then just under twelve hours later, listed as at 10:32 a.m. Monday, the e-reply came:  Congratulations writer!  We would like to publish your submission “Flute and Harp”.  At this time we do not yet know the actual date of publication, but we will continue to keep you notified of what is happening as we move forward.  So while I don’t know if that’s a record, it is pretty swift.

“Flute and Harp” is a reprint, originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), and is a sort of personal favorite of mine.  It tells the tale of two doomed musician-lovers on a far-future dying planet and also appears as a story chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017).  And I might also note that HELIOS QUARTERLY has a very narrow window for submissions (again to quote from their guidelines), from June 1-15 11:59 EST every year.  Or in other words, my two musicians (as might benefit musicians everywhere) had a very fine sense of timing!

But that also means there is at least a short time remaining for others who might have a yen to submit to HELIOS QUARTERLY (which though, in addition to quickness, seems also to be rather picky), for more on which one may press here.




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