Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

SF film fans delight, courtesy of INDIEWIRE.COM let us wallow together in “The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century, From ‘Children of Men’ to ‘Her’,” by Chris O’Falt, Graham Winfrey, Kate Erbland, and Zack Sharf, and brought to us via TOR.COM and Stubby the Rocket.  With themes that range from love to fear to humanity itself, the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century all share distinctly original visions. . . , begins the rundown, the rest of which can be seen by pressing here.  And the neat thing is, in scrolling down through it, I’ve probably seen at least half myself already (who knew I had such good taste?), and even own films numbers 1 through 4!

Then in other quick news, last night I turned in an interview to C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom Books, with questions designed almost exclusively with TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH in mind.  Yes, launch time for the novel is drawing nigh — but there’s still time to get a one-third off pre-publication discount by pressing here (or, for B&N fans, better yet here).*  But back to the chase, to quote Mr. Dunphey:  These answers are amazing!  For audiences, they will be superb, and for me as a8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13 reader myself, it answered a lot of questions I had as well.  I will post the interview tomorrow night and will send you the link before I post it to any social media.  Very excited for this to be published.  And yes, I know, would that others would be so enthusiastic!

So look Friday night or, one needing one’s sleep, possibly Saturday morning for a fairly long interview mostly confined to TOMBS.  And after June 1st, when the book is out, I understand there may be a review of it too.
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*I understand there should also be an electronic edition of TOMBS, but not quite yet.

Thursday, while warm, was gloomy and threatening-rainy all day long, though the rain itself held off.  Nor did it disturb this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored Second Thursdays Players Pub Spoken Word Series(cf. March 10, February 10), featuring four Indiana readers (though one will be leaving for Germany soon) along with singer-guitarist Brandon Pfeiffer.  The readers were poet Patsy Rahn (who we’ve met before) and story writer Brian Leung and, following a musical interlude, Josh Brewer (no relation, as Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer emphasized) and, in her last local Guild-sponsored reading, novelist Annette Oppenlander (who we’ve also met before, this time reading from her recently published SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND, based on her own parents’ experience growing up during World War II).  Then when open mike time came, no less than nine writers and poets took their turns on the stage — with mine being fifth with a tale for May of enduring love, and zombies, “His Dead Ex-Girlfriend” — which I think may be a record for audience participation.  Also, unlike other Writers Guild readings, Second Thursdays will persist during the summer, so the next few months may also pick up some Last Sunday Poetry and First Sunday Prose regulars too.

Then a week ago Thursday, May 4th, I noted that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble were offering pre-order discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price being actually twenty-some cents lower at $9.95.  This is for paperback copies, of course — I understand there will be an electronic edition but it won’t be out until a little late8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13r.  But now serendipity strikes again, with my having somewhat accidentally discovered that Amazon’s price has been lowered to $9.95 too, to match B&N’s!  To see for yourself, press here.  (And not only that, but Amazon promises all pre-publication orders will be billed at the lowest price on June 1, when the book is officially published, so if you’d pre-ordered at a higher price, you’ll still get the full discount.)

So, hey, what the heck, just for a lark I moseyed over to B&N too, just to see, you know, if they still were at $9.95 too, and . . . the Barnes and Noble price has been lowered as well, this time to a mere $9.75!  Exciting times these — and to see for oneself one need but to press here (although to my best knowledge B&N may not have a similar promise, that already pre-ordered books will have their prices lowered too).  But the moral in any event is, with less than twenty days remaining until TOMBS is released, check out the bookseller of your choice for some hefty discounts before it’s too late.*

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*How hefty?  Barnes & Noble says you’ll save 35 percent off a listed full price of $14.95, while Amazon’s discount is an only slightly smaller 33 percent, or one third off.

I’ve mentioned before, I think, that TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is available for pre-order from Amazon with a discount offered  prior to a June 1 publication date.  I recently found out that Barnes & Noble is offering a similar deal — and their price may even be 15 or 20 cents cheaper!  To check it out, just press here, while for comparison the Amazon offer can be found here.  In both cases the discount is on the paperback price; electronic editions are planned too but won’t be available until later.

Also, are any readers also reviewers, and would you be interested in reviewing TOMBS?  If so, please leave a message, with email for contact, as a comment below and I’ll get back in touch (no Facebook messages though, please — they sometimes fail to be forwarded to me).

Secrets, secrets.  What was my “first ever” book, and why?  (Hint, long out of print, you usually won’t see it in my current bio-notes.)  Do I claim a specific writing style?  Does my novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH have an ultimate message for readers (and what is the relation of TOMBS to what dramatists call “the five act structure”)?  In the process of coming up with a title, how did TOMBS differ from THE TEARS OF ISIS?  And now the answers, to questions I wouldn’t have dreamed up myself and many, many more have been revealed, courtesy of blogger extraordinaire Fiona Mcvie on AUTHORSINTERVIEWS.

And maybe a little more will be there on ISIS as well, or how Peter Lorre might have made a good “Ghoul-Poet.”  If curious, press here.  (And if interest is piqued by what you find, links are provided at the bottom for pre-ordering TOMBS as well as ordering THE TEARS OF ISIS — or if in a hurry, just click on their pictures on this page in the center column.)

Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24:  Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.”  This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna.  The film opens later in 2017.  Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present.  Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that.  As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.

Then another question:  What was the significance of the bunny?  Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015).  Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little

“Do you want to hang out or something?”

girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man.  But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.

What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.”  She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump.  Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . .   They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.**  Needless to say, they hate each other.

So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table?  Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.

Might there be a third way?

But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see.  Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach!  Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique).  Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.”  Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!

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*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).

**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016).  Or maybe I am nuts.

MEET CUTE (cf. November 23), the flash fiction anthology of unexpected, eccentric, or just unusual meetings of couples, has had a few changes in scope, according to Editor Kara Landhuis.  An immediate one is a change in pre-publication funding from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, deemed a better fit for a smaller publication’s actual needs.  For other news, publication is tentatively planned for January for distribution in February; the funding project itself will close December 31.  meetcute

As Ms. Landhuis explains, MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.  I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include around 20 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by writers from around the world.  There will also be 10-15 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories.  My own entry in this is “Butterfly,” a saga of forests and fairytales — or was that insects and axes?  To find out more, one will just have to buy the book, or for an inside track, check out the Indygogo crowdfunder by clicking here.

In other action, The Bloomington Writers Guild’s December business meeting and end-of-year party was Saturday afternoon.  As in previous years, it ended with an open reading for about a dozen participants, my contribution (in lieu of a story which I suggested I’d save for February’s First Sunday Prose, as being perhaps a bit long for this session) was three Santa Claus poems, posing the question — especially in the case of the first two, which also appear in my collection VAMPS — do we really need Krampus?

As Editor Kathie Giorgio puts it (from the “Introduction”),  Think of all the words we have for time, phrases that many of us use and hear every day:

Time to go.  Time’s running out.  All the time in the world.  Time and tide waits for no man.  It’s singularirreghigh time.  A question of time, a race against time.  All in good time.  Ahead of your time.  The right place at the right time.  Better luck next time.  

Time dominates us and directs us.  We are ourselves timepieces, our hearts are our pendulums, beating out the seconds we have on this earth.

What time is it for you today?

Well, you get the idea:  IT’S ABOUT TIME.  Yes, that’s the anthology’s name, and yesterday, Friday, it made its appearance in ye olde mailbox to kick off the Veterans Day Holiday Weekend (yes, technically a postal holiday, but packages get special treatment).  And as might be inferred, quite the eclectic collection it is, with scads and scads of mostly short stories and poems of all aspects of time, so that even my story, a science fiction/romance including time travel, seems mundane and routine.  A reprint titled “Curious Eyes” (cf. September 20, et al.), it has been around, though, with four prior appearances starting with THE FICTION PRIMER way back in December 1988.

But to see more for yourself, press here.

Then speaking of re-appearances, today’s email also brought a confirmation from Marge Simon, editor of the “Blood & Spades” poetry column in the Horror Writers Association’s monthly NEWSLETTER.  We had been talking about reprint rights for my “It Begins With the Sound” essay (currently in the Autumn ILLUMEN, see November 5), and it is now officially set for the January 2017 issue.

I had had to skip the open mike part of last week’s Last Sunday Poetry due to getting ready for early check-in for my “Raising the Dead” reading at that evening’s Ryder Film Festival (see October 31).  This week, however, all was on schedule for November’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. October 3, et al.) with local short fiction writer Tom Bitters and a tale of young love nearly torpedoed by an inflatable doll named Mistress Ping; poetry and prose performer Gabriel Peoples with the rambling and funny quasi-historical “The Story of Jack Daniels,” including audience participation; and First Sundays MC and co-sponsor (with host venue Boxcar Books) Bloomington Writers Guild member Joan Hawkins with more of young love, the “Ballad of Renee and Buzz,” and the start of a second piece, both examples of creative nonfiction.

The crowd was reasonably large at the start although, as sometimes happens, it thinned down to about half its size during the break, after which two people read at the open mike session, me and local poet and essayist and sometimes short fiction writer Tonia Matthews.  My piece this time was of young love also,”Smashing Pumpkins,” that of the vampires Aloysius and Vendetta in an adventure of Halloween, ice-blood (or is it “bloodcream”) cones, and rampaging clowns, all ending up with a trip to the polls on Election Day.

On a far-future, exhausted Earth a ghoul — an eater of corpses — explores the ruins of one of its greatest cities in hopes of discovering the one thing that made its inhabitants truly human.  This is the premise, the quest. . . .  And so starts the first answer to British blogger Sonnet O’Dell’s questions on DUSTY PAGES (see also just below, et al.) for October 24, exactly one week prior to Halloween.  Other topics include if the glass is half full or empty, motivations, appearing in public, and my first crush — at least that I’ll admit to.  And at the end, we’re back to my upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH with a quote from the book for the start of a final blurb:  “The city had once lived, blazing with light.  The books all described this.  The Ghoul-Poet sat in the midst of a heap of them, pages torn, rotting, spread out all about him.  This was a library, the pride of New City, or rather a square that had faced the library, that had received this avalanche of thought — words embossed on parchment tombs-final-copy— that cascaded down when the library burst, its walls weakened with age. . . .”  For more, one may press here.

Then Sunday evening, at downtown Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley theatre, I was to read the same quote and a little bit more as an introduction to the flavor of TOMBS, followed by one of the book’s story-chapters, “Raising the Dead.”  This was an entr’acte of sorts between screenings of THE EXORCIST and a new Korean film, THE WAILING, as part of a three-film Halloween festival sponsored by local magazine THE RYDER (cf. October 17 — the other film, screened first, was ARSENIC AND OLD LACE followed by a live mini-dramatization of Angela Carter’s short story “The Company of Wolves” by Cricket’s Bone Caravan), billed in THE RYDER’s calendar as “a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.”  But a funny thing happened on the way from the 1 p.m. sound check to the actual screenings having to do with, live stage sound okayed, a glitch in the sound for the films themselves.  This took about 40 minutes to work out, which was okay for the first two films and the “Wolves” presentation, but by the time THE EXORCIST ended, it was already a bit past 8 p.m.  As a result, including a significant audience drop-off (it being Sunday night, meaning many had to be up early for Monday), we decided to postpone my reading to get THE WAILING back on only-slightly-delayed schedule.

So, tentatively, but more if/when it actually comes to pass, “Raising the Dead” will be read by me at the Ryder Film Festival’s continuation next Sunday, October 30 (yes, All Hallows Eve Eve) at local Bloomington drinkery Bear’s Place at probably a bit after 7 p.m., sandwiched between HORROR OF DRACULA at 5:30 p.m. and an 8 p.m. reprise of THE WAILING.  And, oh yes, for this one you must be over 21.

We are screening 3 films at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, The Exorcist and The Wailing.  Frank Capra’s Halloween comedy Arsenic and Old Lace stars Cary Grant as a man learns that his eccentric but sweet aunts have been seeking out lonely, elderly men, poisoning them, and burying them in the basement.  Controversial from the day it opened in 1973, The Exorcist is now recognized as a defining classic of the genre.  Our third film, The Wailing, is a 2016 release.  A foreigner’s mysterious appwebart-bct-oct23earance in a quiet, rural village causes suspicion among the locals in The Wailing.  Released in June of this year, The Wailing  has garnered enthusiastic reviews  on the film festival circuit and is currently the highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.  You can read more detailed descriptions of these below.

The Halloween Fest will also include spine-tingling live performances in between films by James Dorr and by Cricket’s Bone Caravan, so come early and stay late.

So begins Bloomington’s local Ryder Film Series announcement of the coming weekend’s special showing, from 2:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., “Halloween Fest:  Sunday, Oct 23 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.”  That’s right here, downtown on Kirkwood Avenue for those unfamiliar with the venue, with my part scheduled for the intermission between THE EXORCIST and THE WAILING.  And for what I’ll read (hint:  it’s the same tale I read for the 4th Street Arts Festival in September, cf. September 4), let us let the Ryder explain:  [DorTombs Final copyr] will be reading a selection from his newest book, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, a novel-in-stories scheduled for release by Elder Signs Press in spring-summer 2017.  Set on a far-future dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis known as the “Tombs,” “Raising the Dead” is about a young woman who seeks to restore the soul of her newly deceased husband to his body; a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.  “Raising the Dead,” I should add, has also been published in White Cat Publications’s 2015 steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (cf. May 27, April 7 2015, et al.).

Schedules, ticket prices.and more can be found on the Ryder’s own site by pressing here.  And, if all the above weren’t enough, they also add:  Wait, there’s a fourth film.  On Sunday, October 30th we will screen the 1958 classic, Horror of Dracula, at Bear’s Place.  If you purchase a movie pass for the films at the BCT on Oct 23rd, you can use it for Horror of Dracula as well.




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