Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

“Casket Girls” (see January 23, et al.) is now alive and readable in the February ARIEL CHART, as announced by Associate Editor Marchelle Young.  This is the tale of Aimée and her part in the founding of New Orleans, and with it is an appropriate casket-like, ladylike illustration.  To see and enjoy for yourself, press here.  The issue will remain on site until March 1, at which time it will go into ARIEL CHART’s archives.

Also, yesterday afternoon the contracts arrived for “The Game” and “The Blade of Gudrin” for RE-LAUNCH and RE-QUEST from Pole to Pole Publishing (cf. February 4 and 2, respectively) and were signed and sent back, with countersigned copies received by me today.  And so the “writing life” goes on.

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So in one respect the second part of this saves some worry, plus lets me get to StokerCon without likely to be unrealized expectations.  Still TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH having missed the final ballot (cf. January 25, et al.) is a disappointment.  So how about watching a movie instead, maybe one not seen before, as listed in “11 Severely Underrated Horror Movies You Should Watch Tonight” via THE-LINE-UP.COM?  The fourth on the list, in fact, has been reviewed here (cf. “With Snow on the Ground Casey Surely Was Freezing in that Miniskirt, Though,” December 27 2015).  For the others, press here.

And for me, one thing that might cheer me up:  If you’ve read TOMBS and feel, at least, it did deserve being on the preliminary ballot, perhaps you could post a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, et al.

Thanks.

And so the second report came in this morning from Pole to Pole Publishing (see just below):  Thank you for sending “The Game” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Launch,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Game” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  RE-LAUNCH, we’ll recall, is to be the science fiction half of Pole to Pole’s reprint dyad, with my story “The Game,” about an “on the beach” spaceman earning redemption, originally published in Britain’s HUB magazine on November 7 2007.  More will appear on both publications as it becomes known.

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. January 7, et al.), this time in a County Library conference room as it continues to seek a new home, with featured readers Molly Gleeson, a one-time teacher of English in China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan now working as a writing tutor at a Bloomington community college reading her short story “House of Atreus”; international doctoral student Maureen Chinwe Onyeziri with a story about a young girl identified as a malevolent spirit, “Taming the Spirit,” followed by a brief memoir of a recent visit to her home in Nigeria; and local poet and fiction writer Cara Hohit with three short stories linked by a theme of intimacy, both old and new and both wanted and shunned.  My own contribution, third of six when it was time for the open mike segment, was a recent tale especially chosen for Valentine’s Day, “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” about a first meeting between a vampiress and a just-in-the-process-of-changing werewolf.

2018 may be an unusual year.  One might recall the CAMPFIRE TALES windfall only a few days ago (see January 19, below), of more than ten dollars — this for a single anthology story.  A second royalty has just arrived in Wednesday’s mail from Elder Signs Press for more than six times that amount!  And while one may also recall last July 23 and a check that would cover a decent romantic dinner (although without drinks) for two, for two separate stories in two separate books aided perhaps by the fact they’d both received a brief showing on actual bookstore shelves, today’s check is for considerably more than that amount too.  And here’s the thing:  This one does not include the anthology stories (which happened to have no payout this period due to returns) but, also published by Elder Signs Press, covers only the first sales for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  I’ll also add that if you might be interested in buying TOMBS, you can click its picture in the center column; or if you’d just like to read some reviews for 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13now, press here.

Then, speaking of TOMBS, voting also started Wednesday to pick the official 2017 Horror Writers Association Stoker(R) nominees.  Five can be voted for in each division with, I believe, eleven titles in all in “Fiction Collections” with TOMBS.  And one more item going back to the notice above, with Amazon and Barnes & Noble both still offering substantial print copy discounts which may be a factor, print sales for TOMBS in the previous six months appear to have outstripped electronic copies by more than ten to one!

So still not huge, but enough to purchase a modest dinner with maybe a glass of sweet tea on the side.  Thus, this the announcement from Editor “Mr. Deadman”:  It’s pay day. The royalties for CAMPFIRE TALES BOOK ONE comes to $96.00.  Split between the authors would mean $11.  CAMPFIRE TALES BOOK ONE gets hits every so often, and I’m actively promoting it via social network and writing groups.  . . .  Thank you all for considering Deadman’s Tome for CAMPFIRE TALES.  It was a different sort of animal, and the way CAMPFIRE TALES came to be was unusual.  I wish to work with you all in the future.

My story in this is “In The Octopus’s Garden” (see July 15, et al.), originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA, March-April 1999, and later lead story in my collection TEARS OF ISIS (for more on which, press its picture in the center column).  Also, for more on CAMPFIRE TALES BOOK ONE (yes, there’s a second book too, but that’s not the one that has my story), press here.

Then in other news, I’ve received the contract for “Got The Wash Day Blues” (see December 28), the tale of a laundry cop and a giant pile of animate dirty clothes, which has been signed and sent back late Thursday afternoon to Third Flatiron Publishing.  It will appear in their Spring anthology MONSTROSITIES to be published in March, more on which as it becomes available.

I want your stories that embrace the traditional horror story-telling of the Victorian penny dreadfuls and gothic mysteries.  Steampunk is certainly welcome here, but I’m more interested in Poe and Mary Shelly than Verne and Wells.  I will happily accept tales that pair the gothic with the steamy mechanical contraptions inherent to steampunk.  Give me the fog-drenched dreadpunk Victoriana.  [and]  Your tale should include at least one dead creature, be it a ghost, a vampire, a zombie, or some creature of your own invention, and should fit into some alternate version of the Victorian era.

Sounds like fun, yes?  Such was the call last fall from Bryce Raffle for the upcoming DEADSTEAM, an anthology that aims to showcase the dark side of steampunk, the ghoulish and the gothic, tales of gaslamp and dreadpunk that embrace the macabre.  And who was I to resist it? So, the money not much but reprints allowed, off went a story published originally in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), “The Re-Possessed.”  And Thursday the word came back:  Thank you for allowing me to read your story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and think it will be a great fit for the DeadSteam anthology. Honestly, I got chills reading it!

Also attached was a contract with other information concerning proof copies, payment, and publicity, etc., the former to be sent back Friday. According to the guidelines last fall, the hope is to release the anthology Halloween this year, and, at least from the descriptions above, it sounds like a neat one!  More will be here as details become known.

“Matches,” short, sweet, and by SFWA/HWA guidelines paid at a professional rate to boot, has just appeared on GRIEVOUS ANGEL, a part of the UK’s URBAN FANTASIST site.  As for what it’s about, let’s let Editor Charles Christian describe it:  It’s the start of a new year, a time when many of us start new jobs or pursue new ambitions — but what if you are a wannabe superhero with no special powers.  In this absurdist fantasy story Matches, James S. Dorr considers what happens when your dream is snuffed out like a candle (in the wind).

So here’s my welcome to 2018 in a manner of speaking, one that I’ll hope will be followed by many more stories and poems as the months progress, some reprints, some — like this one — to be published for the first time.  To read it, press here.

Hark us back a moment to December 26, below, and the revelation that SOCIETY FOR MISFIT STORIES PRESENTS. . . , VOLUME 1, starring my story “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” was a nominee for best anthology in the Preditors and Editors 2017 Readers Poll.  Well, yesterday afternoon the news came that those wily pollsters are at it again, with another nominee being the Third Flatiron Publishing anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST:  KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE, also with a story by — you guessed it! — moi, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” a tale of school science fairs, dancing, and . . . bears (see July 11, et al.).*  Music and education together.  Either nominee may be voted on by pressing here, but I don’t know whether one can vote for both (not that I might not have tried it myself, not that I would suggest. . . .).  But either way, Third Flatiron Editor Juliana Rew points out that votes are due before January 14 and, as she adds, [f]eel free to enter other work if you wish, too.  It offers good exposure to us in the small press field.
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*Should the Third Flatiron name seem familiar, by the way, they are also publishers of the upcoming MONSTROSITIES, among others, which has just accepted my story “Got Them Wash Day Blues” (cf. December 28).

“Panic and a head full of snot are not a match made in heaven.”  That was the first line; that was the challenge.  Years ago, to write a story using that first line, which was just wacky enough that I did write that story, the tale of a laundry policeman with allergies vs. a giant soiled clothes monster titled “Got Them Wash Day Blues.”  Not surprisingly, it was taking some time to find a market.

But then came the call, from Juliana Rew of Third Flatiron Publishing, buyers not that long ago of my “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” for their Kurt Vonnegut CAT’S BREAKFAST tribute anthology (cf. newland-godzilla-bambiJuly 11, June 15, et al.) among others and known sometimes for an eccentric sense of humor, a new anthology set for spring to be called MONSTROSITIES.  Things that are just too big or that don’t scale.  Whether it’s the new shopping mall down the street, kaiju attacking Tokyo, flawed utopian ideas, the supposed ultimate weapon, or somebody who’s way too big for his britches, we all have had to deal with humongous blunders.  Get it off your chest–share with us your favorite monstrosities.  Hmmmm. . . .

And so yesterday afternoon came the email.  We definitely want “Got Them Washday Blues.”  Let us know if still available and we’ll get back with a contract in January.

More to be revealed here as it becomes known.

Lava is between 1,300 and 2,200 degrees. It’s so hot you wouldn’t even cook or burn — you would flash boil, which means all your water would turn to steam.  Since you’re mostly water, this is bad.  Once your water converted to gas you would turn into a bubbly mess, and all that bubbling would churn and broil the lava into big lava fountains.  These fountains can shoot up surprisingly high, five or six feet, and they would cover you in the stuff.

So haven’t you wondered what would happen if unfriendly zealots sacrificed you by tossing you into the local volcano?  Of course you have — but the above tells only part of the answer (for instance, if the heat weren’t a problem, the fall might very well kill you too).  And what about if you’re shot from a cannon?  Or swallowed by a whale?  Well, fret no more because answers can be had in AND THEN YOU’RE DEAD, by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty.  In fact, I’ve just ordered a copy from Amazon myself.

Why?  Well, I’m a horror writer and I just came across it on a list (ah, another of these . . . ), “21 Science Books that Make Excellent Gifts” by Mary Beth Griggs on POPSCI.COM, and finding a cheap copy how could I resist?  Another on the list for horror fans is one I already have, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, in which [m]ortician Caitlin Doughty looks at our approach to death across cultures and technologies, from “skeleton farms” to crematoriums to mummification rituals.  The author has a detached fascination with death, and after reading FROM HERE TO ETERNITY your friend might, too.  But if you like science fiction as well, you don’t have to have a science degree to read the other titles cited, such as PSYCHOLOGY:  THE COMIC BOOK INTRODUCTION or, pictured, THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.  Or SOONISH (on near-future technological likelihoods — lots of robots here), or ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY, or SPACEPORT EARTH.

So it’s not too late if you can find one of these in a bookstore (though for shopping on the web, the earliest for the one I just ordered is stated as December 29) but Christmas gifting’s not the real point, is it?  The point is these are books you might want to have for yourself.

For more, press here.




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