Archive for the ‘Short Fiction’ Category

No, not this update, but the BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP anthology itself (see August 4, et al.) will be illustrated according to an email today from Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg.  Also, yes, things have been somewhat delayed for various reasons, but a promised kickstarter is expected to be ready on or about September 1.  More will be here as it becomes known.

We may remember that the full title (I think) is BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS, or words of that sort, and the guideline description:  You were expecting it to be a NORMAL book filled with NORMAL stories?  Nope.  Silliness and weirdness will abound.  Also my part in the potpourri is an all of 75-word saga (possibly long, BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP is to be a book of *very* short stories) of magic and beauty called “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair.”

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The full title (I think) is BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS (cf. June 26, 14), but we’ll just call it BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP, and the guidelines had been:  You were expecting it to be a NORMAL book filled with NORMAL stories?  Nope.  Silliness and weirdness will abound.  All I ask is that submissions be happy and silly and hopeful. 19c833ca0d9c9bffc7e51c87a05445d5--wild-and-free-shrimp Not dark or scary or disturbing. Well, maybe a little disturbing.  Also that stories had to be *short*, as in 125 words or less.  So (the Writing Life, natch?) an email came today from Editor Jaleta Clegg, to request a VERY short bio, like 2-3 sentences and maybe 50 words total and with a note that the resulting book would be illustrated and what would be my “favorite” color.

The story I have in it is set in a fairy-tale world of witches and glamor — as well as takes only 75 words — called “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair” so my favorite color for it would be green.  Also there was some kickstarter information (see also June 26), now expected in perhaps as soon as a week or so.  More on that will be here as it becomes known.  But to the point, a bio went back with my frog-color choice as the wheels of publication grind on for what’s looking to be a very interesting book indeed!

Walt who?  You know, the American poet and possible father of modern poetry, that Walt Whitman, who, born on May 31 1819, is celebrating in absentia a slightly late 200th birthday this summer and autumn.  As for the picnic, that’s a Bloomington Writers Guild summer tradition (see July 22 2018, et al.), a relaxed potluck lunch with perhaps some readings — as well as a reminder that, with a resumed “First Sunday Prose” at the start of August (August 4, I believe, but I don’t have a calendar with me, followed only three days later by another “Spoken Word Wednesday at Bears Place” reading), plus the Spoken Word On Stage extravaganza at the Labor Day Weekendish, early September Bloomington Arts Fair, a busy fall season is not far ahead.

But as for Walt Whitman?  Well, after the eating part of the picnic came a mike-less “open mic” session, featuring a crowd somewhat smaller than usual possibly due to *very* hot weather (heat index, I think, in the low 100s though threatening thunderstorms which did not come) plus area road construction making the site somewhat hard to get to.  Part of the idea was to read bits of Whitman’s work should the spirit so move, which was taken up on by four or five people (I not among them as, by sheer coincidence, a short piece from SONG OF MYSELF that I’d brought with me proved also to have been chosen by another), along with some discussion of the poet’s life which I did join in briefly.  Then two or three people followed with bits of their own or others’ work, for which I had also brought a short poem but, seeing the drift of most present, kept in my pocket in favor of just leaning back and listening to what others offered.

In short a pleasant but lazy, if sweaty, Sunday afternoon shared among writer friends.

Ah, the things publishers may fail to tell us.  So Many details, so many little things to be completed, can one be surprised if some fall through the cracks?  Hark us now back to June 27 (which cf., below), where ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, the anthology of one hundred flash stories by one hundred writers (more or less) was about to be published.  Or let the pu41yTGgYfGgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_blisher’s own blurb tell us:  So many stories!  ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE is the third volume in the Flash in a Flash series of crowdfunded celebrations of short-short fiction.  104 Authors.  101 Stories.  No Holds Barred. Inside you’ll find brief but stirring explorations of every kind of story you care to imagine.  From debut authors to celebrated veterans, this book’s writers bring you short glimpses into their imaginations.  It’s like speed-dating to find your new favorite authors.  Dip in and enjoy!  Then, though not reported here, another email on July 5 with mention of payment and/or author’s copies, but that we should stand by for more details.

But wait, what of the book?  Have we missed a notice that publication has actually happened?  And where did that blurb I just found to quote above come from?  Well . . . what one might think of as a missing detail, but yes, ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE has indeed been published, dated by Amazon as on June 24, that is three days before it was on the verge of. . . .

So a slip on the date of a few days happens, a date is given but physical copies are not quite there yet, things of that sort are common.  But as one of the authors, my story in it as we might remember being “The Junkie,” a saga of cruel streets and drugs and one city’s solving of its zombie problem, I would have been curious to know.  Availability is only in paperback, at least for now, but for those interested and/or possible purchase (or just to see that, yes, it is there!) one may press here.

We may recall that things were an itty bitty (sorry) bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see May 30, 14, et al.). This is (to quote myself from the 30th) the compendium of “100 Stories by 100 Authors,” each story no more than 1000 words long, edited by Dani J. Caili and Jason Brick and with my story in it a 750-word epic, “The Junkie,” about current day medico-sociological problems . . . and zombies.  Originally planned to ship in June, there had been delays necessitating a speed-up in authors’ receiving and correcting proofs in a hope to catch up.  In other words, “the writing life” as we know it and love it.

But then, today, from Co-Editor/ Publisher Jason Brick, I’m putting the final files to the publisher today and should begin shipping this weekend.  YAY!  I’ll also be paying contributors beginning early next week.  YAY!  So technically, Sunday being the last day of June, by golly it is (sort of) shipping in June . . . albeit the first day a shipper might come to pick packages up would be July 1.  But still that’s not bad and I know I’ll be anxious to see a copy — as well as get paid!  So to others who’re waiting on copies too, it shouldn’t be long now.

More to appear here as it becomes known. . .

Well, not just a “sheet” but a whole 256 page book, ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see May 14, March 27, et al.), or at least a Word DOCX copy thereof.  The challenge:  The stragglers are in.  What’s attached is the manuscript proof for our book.  Here’s your assignment.

Step One:  Read your entry carefully (including your listing in the table of contents).
Step Two:  Email me here with either an indication that all is well or exact specifications of changes you want.  This is emergencies only.  Misspellings.  Typos.  Using your real name instead of your pen name.  The time for stylistic “improvements” is long past.
Step Three:  Read the entries immediately before or after yours, checking for typos and similar errors.  If you have the last entry, read the one before and the first.  If you have the first entry, read the one after and the last.
Step Four:  Include suggested changes in the email.

This is the compendium of “100 Stories by 100 Authors,” each story no more than 1000 words long, edited by Dani J. Caili and Jason Brick and with my story in it a 750-word epic, “The Junkie,” about current day medico-socialogical problems . . . and zombies.  And, the challenge further to be getting corrections in by the middle of next week, I made a point of returning mine (just one minor change needed) this evening.  Or as co-editor Brick expressed it, [i]f you can get this done by mid next week, that would be amazing. We’re still on track to ship in June, but we’ll have to hustle a wee bit. 

Well, first off it’s now the final 86, two more slots apparently having been added since last we checked.  This is the LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES LIST on Goodreads that we’ve been exploring to see if any with stories by me are in the lineup.  And, yes, there have been:  three in the first one hundred slots (as posted below on March 12), two in the second 100 (March 28, one of which was in a 5-way tie), and one in the final full one hundred (April 12, this one in a . . . wait for it . . . 58-way tie!).  But what of the rest, the 84 — oops, 86 — titles that remain?

The good news is yes, there is one more book, DANTE’S DISCIPLES, locked in a tie also with ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY READER, that includes not quite a story of mine but a poem.  A very long poem.

And herein is a tale, and perhaps a special spot in my auctorial heart (isn’t that a neat word — auctorial?).  It’s one I was invited to write, a “canto” in the style of the poetry in Dante’s INFERNO, which actually came out a little longer than Dante’s cantos at a bit less than 200 lines.  Also, titled “Canto (Evocare!),” it was written in the voice of Satan, giving a sort of overview of Hell is all about.

The thing is, I subsequently presented “Canto (Evocare!)” at a poetry reading at World Fantasy Convention where Dark Regions Press Editor Joe Morey heard it, inviting me to republish it in his upcoming THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASTIC FICTION, which I agreed to.  Then in subsequent conversation we discussed my submitting a collection — something I was at just about the right time to do — resulting in my first full-size book, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (and which was, some years later, followed by DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, for both of which click on their pictures in the center column).

But back to the present, for more on DANTE’S DISCIPLES itself (which despite my poem, is mostly stories) and the 85 other books in this last batch, please to press here.

Let us recall March 28 and March 12 when we learned of the List, on Goodreads, of the 384 best dark fiction anthologies or, under its more formal title, LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES.  As these are multi-author productions, did I, I wondered, have stories published in any of these?  The answer(s), yes:  three in the first 100 at slots 24, 50, and 97; then in the second 100 two more, one in a five-way tie for number 130 and a second at 155.  Details with links are in the posts for the dates above (that is, March 28 and 12) plus links through Goodreads to Amazon, et al. for any who might want to find out more.

But that leaves a full 184 yet to be accounted for, so herewith the third set, the 200s, of which I am represented in just one at. . . .  First, however, a quick digression, that with this many titles there will certainly be some ties, as indeed we found in the second 100 at number 130, the title UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with my “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in it sharing the honors with four other books.  And so, in the third tier we find one entry, MISERIA’S CHORALE including “The Cherry Tree” by me, in a crowd at number 209 with fifty-seven fellow anthologies!  That is to say, 58 books in all.

Wow.

For more detail, “The Cherry Tree” is a Southern Gothic horror of sorts, with ghosts from the past and memories of the Civil War, and, if one is counting, MISERIA’S CHORAL is thirty books down in the pack at 209.  To see for oneself, one need only press here.

A funny thing happened at yesterday’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local tavern Bear’s Place (cf. March 3, et al.).  We ran out of time.  We had two featured readers, both of whom we’ve met before, Shayne Laughter with a story, “The Long Game,” from a collection in progress of tales about the Greek fertility goddess/Mistress of Hades Persephone plus an earlier story, “Her First Poem,” followed by PDVNCH with a dramatic poem in ten scenes, concerning a woman who rebels against being her true self, opting instead for the images society thrusts on her.  But afterwards, when it was open mike time, with a film showing scheduled after our readings at 5 p.m. sharp, and with seven walk-ons signed up, it was doubtful everyone could be fit in.  Result:  MC Joan Hawkins and I drank the Kool-Ade, as the saying goes, opting to postpone our presentations until May, with (result number two) the reduced list of five ending the program right on time.

Well, first of all they aren’t all stories, “The Balloon Hoax” for instance first published as a genuine news account while POLITIAN is a never-completed play.  Nevertheless, I am a Poe fan — THE TEARS OF ISIS in fact is dedicated to Poe — and anyway who wants to quibble?  Thus when I ran across “13 True Stories Behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Terror Tales” by Christopher P. Semtner, Curator of Richmond Virginia’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum, on BIOGRAPHY.COM via Scott M. Goriscak on Facebook’s THE HORROR SOCIETY, I knew this was one I had to share.

But first a bit of an introduction by Curator Semtner:  Regrettably, the focus on Poe as counter-culture hero, cautionary example of the dangers of substance abuse, and grandfather of Goth may have obscured the reality of this immensely talented and versatile author.  This was true even during his lifetime when the controversial editor and critic appeared as a character in other authors’ novels, poems, and short stories, blurring the line between Poe’s legend and his real life.  Poe actively promoted his own legend by spreading rumors that he had fought in the Greek War of Independence and was held prisoner in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Poe’s reputation has kept him in the public eye, but it has also obscured the true significance.  This then is followed by a quick, but interesting biography plus some notes on the Richmond museum.

And then to the main event, thirteen tales including the above perhaps non-tales, plus others both familiar and possibly some somewhat less so.  “The Pit and the Pendulum.”  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (an illustration for which appears here).  “The Masque of the Red Death.”  “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  But also “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”  “Some Words With a Mummy.”  “Berenice.”  Others, the origins of some a bit speculative maybe, and some more convincing, my favorite being that of “A Cask of Amontillado” born from a feud between the author and one Thomas Dunn English.

To see all, press here.




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