Archive for the ‘Short Fiction’ Category

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. 

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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.

Hark us back to March 12, a mere sixteen days ago, and the post titled “Goodreads 384 Best Horror Anthos (First 100) Plus Post Death Review” concerning Goodreads’ LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES listing.  As I said at the time, 384 is a pretty big number, but I did skim through the first one hundred and, the news of the day, I have work in at least three titles, numbers 24, 50, and 97.  More specifically these are THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE VOLUME 1 & 2 OMNIBUS (CD Publications, 1998) with “A Christmas Story,” SLICES OF FLESH (Dark Moon Books, 2012) with “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” and AFTER DEATH (Dark Moon Books, 2013) with “Mall Rats,” the first two of these reprints and the third an original publication.  And that was that.

But that also means there are 284 titles I did not skim through and so, in a moment of relatively idle time earlier this afternoon, I glanced through the next 100 where two more books popped up with stories by me:  in a five-way tie for number 130, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” and by itself at number 155, THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU with “Dark of the Moon.”  To see for oneself one may press here.  And, as with the first one hundred titles, the entries are “live” in that one can click on them to go to their Goodreads pages, and from there to Amazon and other vendors should one have a desire to.  (In fact, in going through the list myself I came upon several other anthologies, including a tribute to Robert W. Chambers’ “The King in Yellow,” A SEASON IN CARCOSA, that seemed worth ordering for myself.)

Then one mini-oddity, as it happens both of my stories in the second 100 have strong science fiction aspects to them as well as horror, “Dark of the Moon” being, in fact, about a lunar expedition and “The Wellmasters Daughter” a very environmentally based introduction to the Sahara desert.

It was the first new story acceptance for 2019, “The Junkie” (see January 21, 19), a 750 word epic of mean streets, addiction, and urban zombies.  Skid Row with a bite!  And, contracts all worked out, an edited proof copy came back yesterday from Editor Jason Brick for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE with a request to get it back “by the first week of April.”  The book:  an anthology of 100 stories, each 1000 words or fewer, in any genre and/or any style.

So today I opened the attachment up and found few changes, mostly technical (e.g., changes in the form of dashes), checked them off, and back it went with a note that I had no quarrels.  Thus one more step taken toward publication, with more to be here as it becomes known.

It hasn’t been an exactly zippy last few days, but here’s something that has come a bit serendipitously, although with help from THE SMART RHINO PUBLICATIONS MISCHIEF-MAKING SYNDICATE (which has some books on the list as well) on Facebook, or, every little bit of notice counts no matter how second-hand.  The item:  Goodreads’ LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES with, by their count, 384 multi-author collections of dark short fiction.  So 384 is a pretty big number, but I did skim through the first one hundred and, the news of the day, I have work in at least three titles, numbers 24, 50, and 97.  More specifically these are THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE VOLUME 1 & 2 OMNIBUS (CD Publications, 1998) with “A Christmas Story,” SLICES OF FLESH (Dark Moon Books, 2012) with “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” and AFTER DEATH (Dark Moon Books, 2013) with “Mall Rats,” the first two of these reprints and the third an original publication.  One may note also that the farther down on the list, the more recent the publication is, which may make some sense if the positions are based on Goodreads member recommendations, the oldest thus having been on the “ballot” longer.

But now, one extra:  the titles are “live” in that one can click them to go to their Goodreads pages (and thence to Amazon et al. should one wish to) and, checking to confirm their contents, I ran across a review of AFTER DEATH  with a flattering mention of my story, “Mall Rats,” that I hadn’t seen before.  Thus, from Goodreads reviewer Kenneth Cain (well, it is flattering):  After reading the anthology Guignard edited last year, I simply could not pass on this one.  And the theme for this one appealed to me, so much so that I wish I would have sent something in.  The stories are fantastic, a wide range of interpretations of death or what lies beyond or otherwise.  Fantastic stories that leave you wondering, which is why the theme alone is so wonderful.  The opening two stories pack a punch. “Someone to Remember” offers a beautiful detailing of love everlasting and “Boy 7” comes back at us with a brutal story of hope.  I’m also quite fond of “I Will Remain,” and especially “Mall Rats” which had a spooky feel throughout.  But all of the stories were good, and those fascinated with the after life will thoroughly enjoy this effort.

To check out the Goodreads list in its entirety, one can press here.  (“Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” incidentally, is also reprinted in my own collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.)

Say what?  Yes, the Itty Kickstarter (see February 3, January 31, et al.) for funding ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE — as well as its authors! — will end at midnight EST tonight.  That’s the book of one hundred flash fiction stories, by one hundred authors, all genres, all styles, including my epic “The Junkie” of (un)life as a zombie on the mean streets of the city.  And Editor/Publisher Jason Brick has added a new reward, an “Ebook Extravaganza” (also included in the “Book Me + Ebook Bundle” option, plus two at the $60 level and one at $85), to wit:  You get everything in “I Love Living In The Future” PLUS a collection of 12 full-length ebooks by our authors!  How cool is that?  It’s like getting a book for a buck twelve times!  How cool indeed!

The authors included are Ahmed A. Khan, Craig English, Randy Attwood, Cathy Smith, Halli Lilburn, Jean Harkin, Ian Jedlica, Karen Eisenbrey, Russell Nohelty, James Dorr, Ali Lauderdale, Melissa Dull, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lisa Love, plus Jason Brick according to a recent email, actually a few more than

“At midnight it all turns back into a pumpkin.”

12 if I have it right, but there is one disclaimer.  My entry, anyway, is in the just over 30,000-word range which is a bit short of novel-length by most standards, so if it counts as a “full-length ebook” may be in the eye of the beholder.  The title is A JAMES DORR SAMPLER:  SEVEN STORIES OF FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, AND HORROR, and it consists of one story each from my early collections STRANGE MISTRESSES and DARKER LOVES (for more on all of these click the book’s picture in the center column), two from my Stoker(R) nominated THE TEARS OF ISIS, two from my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and one uncollected extra, all in a somewhat “rough and ready” PDF format.

Seems like a pretty good deal to me, bit then I do have a rat in the race.  But check out the kickstarter for yourself by pressing here — and remember to hurry, it all ends at midnight!

Following sub-zero weather just four days before, Sunday was sunny and in the sixties possibly contributing to a fairly low turnout for February’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic,” again at the downtown Soma Coffeehouse (see January 6, et al.).  Featured reader Tom Bitters, with short fiction credits in BERKSHIRE REVIEW and HAMPSHIRE LIFE, among others, lead off with a story as yet untitled about married life and competitive bowling, followed by novelist Julia Karr with the opening chapter, titled “Homecoming,” of the third book in a young adult dystopic trilogy, and with Rwandan documentary filmmaker and author of RWANDA:  COMING TO THE MEMORY Gilbert Ndahayo batting third with descriptions of his life there and in the US, as illuminated by excerpts from a second book in progress.  This was followed by four “open mic” readers in which I was second with my most recent sale, “The Junkie” (cf. January 31, et al.).

Then, speaking of “The Junkie,” even if the special library option has expired, the Kickstarter for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, including that 750-word saga of life on the mean streets and . . . zombies, continues to seek pledges up until February 21st.  It’s doing well so far, but more may be needed to push it to where the writers (that is, including me) can receive a professional pay rate, for more on which press here.




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