Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

The gravitational assist trajectories at Jupiter were successfully carried out by both Voyagers, and the two spacecraft went on to visit Saturn and its system of moons and rings.  Voyager 1 encountered Saturn in November 1980, with the closest approach on November 12, 1980, when the space probe came within 124,000 kilometers (77,000 mi) of Saturn’s cloud-tops.  The space probe’s cameras detected complex structures in the rings of Saturn, and its remote sensing instruments studied the atmospheres of Saturn and its giant moon Titan.  (Wikipedia, “Voyager 1”)

Two items occurred to me to close out the weekend, the first that there were space probes prior to Cassini (cf. September 17, 11, 7), including Voyagers 1 and 2 which also paid a visit to Saturn.  Launched 16 days apart in 1972, Voyager 1 was actually the second, but was on a trajectory that had it reaching Saturn first, performing flybys of not just Saturn and Titan, but also the moons Tethys, Mimas, Enceladus, Rhea, and Hyperion.  And while Voyager 2 also went on to Uranus and Neptune, on August 12 2012 Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space.  Also, unlike Cassini, both Voyagers continue to journey outward.

So, why my interest?  Thirteen years after Voyager 1 and Saturn, a story of mine, one marking a breakthrough in my writing in my opinion, appeared in the July 1993 edition of Algys Budrys’s short-lived magazine TOMORROW.  Titled “Moons of Saturn,” it told of a couple watching a detailed series of news items on TV of the Voyager mission as it might have been, bringing in also the mythical origins of the moons’ names.  Added to this are fancied adventures on, e.g., the “jewel mines of Rhea,” these conducted through dreams or, possibly, astral projection, all through which the woman, Phoebe, 518B8qShonL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_named for one of the moons herself, grows progressively weaker as the man (“Enceladus,” as named by Phoebe) attempts to find a cure.  This latter possibly with tones of vampirism. . . .

And the thing is (or, here comes the plug!), while TOMORROW and its electronic successor TOMORROW SF are now long gone, “Moons of Saturn” has been reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  For more information, or possible purchase, just press its picture in the center column.

Then one more item in the life of the writer:  Gehenna and Hinnom Editor/Publisher C.P. Dunphey emailed that the payment for my story in THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see September 13, August 10, May 8) has been sent to Paypal — a thing good to know since Paypal seems no longer to bother to tell people themselves when they’ve received money.  The story in question here is called “Flesh” — and like “Moons of Saturn” may be a little on the surreal side although with a more domestic setting — and also a reprint originally published in Spring 1999 in MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION.  THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR can be pre-ordered now, by pressing here, in anticipation of a September 30 publication date.

 

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Two items today, to look for in the near future:  The first is courtesy of Steph P. Bianchini’s blog THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, reminding us that the Cassini space probe will be sending its last signals to Earth just eight days from now.  Or from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, “on September 15, with its fuel tank now almost empty, the probe will make its final dive straight into Saturn, heading for the gas giant’s surface.”  And so, via THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, this sendoff:  “Cassini’s 13 Years of Stunning Saturn Science — In Pictures,” by Alexandra Witze on NATURE.COM.  To read (and see), press here.

For the second, we hark back a couple of months to an email from artist, poet, and sometime blog commentator Marge Simon:  Would you have a couple of vamp poems previously published that you could let Kathy Ptacek use for the HWA October newsletter?  If you’ve got an illo to go with it, great.  Maybe something we did for VAMPS?  The reference is to my poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), hopefully to be coming out in a second edition but for info on which, for now, click on its picture in the center column, and so I sent Kathy three favorite poems plus two of Marge’s illustrations.

So then a few days ago came the reply:  thanks, james! I appreciate you sending these to me!  and that’s great that marge sent the artwork for them!  this is going to be a fun issue, I think!  heh!  The issue in question will be the October Horror Writers Association NEWSLETTER with an extra flourish to celebrate the coming Halloween.  And the poems (with initial publication information):  “Night Child,” TOMORROW SF, Feb. 1998; “La Méduse,” ASYLUMS AND LABYRINTHS (Rain Mountain Press, 1997), with a note that it also serves as sort of a foreword to my THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013); and “Bon Appétit,” GOTHIC.NET, Aug. 2002).

This is just a quick note that my story “Flightless Rats,” of the vampiress Aimée’s difficulties with dating in Nineteenth Century New Orleans, is now available in FANTASIA DIVINITY MAGAZINE (see July 16, 7).  This is a somewhat bare-bones version which can be read on their website here, with a more completely formatted version in both print and e-formats to be available in the near future.  More to be reported here when it is known.

“Flightless Rats” was originally published electronically in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG on Jan 12 2015 and in print in MOCHA’S DARK BREW (Mocha Memoirs Press, Jul 2016).

“Now in its 7th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations,” the announcement tells us (see also, below, August 9 and 7).  As in years past, I will have a slot too, billed as “horror fiction” from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, September 3rd.  The event itself, arts fair, music, local displays, and the Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored “Poetry on Demand” booth and Spoken Word Stage, spans the Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday September 2 and 3, arrayed along 4th Street in Bloomington, Indiana.  Or more to the point for the Spoken Word Stage, just off 4th on Dunn Street.

Here is the schedule, as of today, noting again that I’ll be on Sunday with excerpts from my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, from 3:30 to 4.  And if you like it, I’ll be up again with an excerpt from a different section the following month, in a featured spot at the Writers Guild’s First Sunday Prose Reading, on which more later.

SATURDAY Sep 2
10:30 Shana Ritter (poetry)
11:00 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:30 Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:00 Merry MAC cont’d
12:30 Butch D’Ambrisio (sonnets)
1:00 Alex Hollett (poetry)
1:30 Abegunde (poetry)
2:00 Matt Hart (poetry)
2:30 Wil Gibson
3:00 PrideSlam Showcase (poetry)
3:30 Bloomington High School South Poetry Out Loud (poetry)
4:00 Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
4:30 Fig Tree cont’d
5:00 Steve Henn (poetry)
5:30 Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)

SUNDAY Sep 3
10:00 Tony Brewer (poetry)
10:30 Eric Rensberger (poetry)
11:00 Joan Hawkins (fiction)
11:30 New Leaf New Life volunteers (poetry and fiction)
12:00 Adam Henze (poetry)
12:30 Shayne Laughter (fiction)
1:00 Jack Ramey (poetry)
1:30 Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
2:00 Wil Gibson
2:30 Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
3:00 Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 Lisa Kwong (poetry/personal essay)
4:30 Bloomington Storytellers Guild (storytelling)

In other news, today brought proof sheets for “Flightless Rats” from FANTASIA DIVINITY (cf. July 7, et al.) which, with one correction noted, went back this afternoon.  To be published in the September issue, “Flightless Rats” is the tale of New Orleanian “Casket Girl” Aimée a-prowl for a new husband, but how some prospects may not make the grade.  It is a reprint, originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG, January 12 2015, and has also appeared in the flash fiction anthology MOCHA’S DARK BREW: 10 TALES OF HORROR (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2016).

So I’d been invited to be in this reading group discussion that brought up the possible influence of “classical” vampire movies on what a character would know about vampires, given the time the book takes place.  This brought up (on my part) some details about the Universal Pictures sequels to the Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA and how, wandering a bit off topic, I had been introduced to these myself via Saturday night horror movie shows on TV.  But checking some details brought me farther off topic to the shows themselves and their often iconic-in-their-own-right hosts.  Me, I liked “Zacherley” (a.k.a. John Zacherle) after he’d moved from Philadelphia to New York.  And from there I was brought, via LISTVERSE.COM, to “Top 10 TV Horror Hosts” by Dan Lepore, for which press here (and note as well, most come with with clips from the shows themselves, for which be especially sure to scroll down to number 4 to witness Maila Nurmi’s 1954 opening of THE VAMPIRA SHOW).  And not only that, but here’s an extra (more serendipity), Zacherleys 1958 performance of  the song “Dinner With Drac,” for which press here!

Then one more note, having recently pointed out discounts on B & N and Amazon for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for UK readers in particular (albeit I’m giving US prices here) it’s being offered at 29 percent off its $14.95 list price, at $10.52, on the Book Depository, for which press here.  At least for the time being.

Though as it happens, I’ve seen most myself.  Nevertheless . . . SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, DRACULA:  PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY, PONTYPOOL, what do these titles all have in common?  They’re all on the list, courtesy of THE LINEUP (the-line-up.com), of 13 DISTURBINGLY UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE 2000S THAT YOU NEED TO SEE by Catherine Phelan.  As Ms Phelan explains:  It’s hard to know when you’re living in the middle of a cultural hotspot.  Looking back at the first decade of this century, there waslg_f38df2c09b90-underratedmovies2000s_pagesfromavirginsdiary something brewing in the horror world.  From THE DESCENT and THE RING to LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, filmmakers of the 2000s took advantage of new special effects, quieter stories, and newly global anxieties to create some of the most terrifying horror movies ever.

But for all the films like DRAG ME TO HELL that received rave reviews and are still remembered fondly by horror fans, there are a number of movies that slipped through the cracks.  Let’s bring back some love to the underrated or underseen horror movies of the 2000s — we promise they’ll scare the pants off of you.

To be honest, I didn’t think all of them were that obscure, but then maybe that’s me — and certainly some, like the Dracula film noted above, a ballet version of the Stoker classic(!), have been a little bit out of the mainstream.  And also, technically, it’s not really a list of thirteen, but rather ten with three “Honorable Mentions” added after, but however you count them to see the list press here.

And then there’s also a bonus link between films 6 and 7, DARK WATER and THE WOODS, to Rob Fee’s 11 CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES YOU SHOULD WATCH IMMEDIATELY — and with only one duplication, I think!  This one can be reached by pressing here.

What is this about nine-day acceptances (see “Needle-Heat Gun,” July 29)?  We may recall England’s GRIEVOUS ANGEL, publisher among other things of my Rhysling-nominated poem “On the Other Hand,” on King Kong’s doomed romance with Fay Wray (cf. September 5, March 30 2015).  So on that same day, July 29, just nine days before today as it happens, I sent GRIEVOUS ANGEL a flash submission for which has just come from GA-White-Red copyeditor Charles Christian:  Another fantastic story — love it & will use it.  Has that wonderful mix of quirky with a human touch.  And so for the first acceptance for August, a new story, “Matches,” the 650-word “slightly absurdist” tale of a frustrated young man who hopes to set the world on fire.

Then yesterday brought the coming fall’s opening “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. May 7, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local bookstore Boxcar Books, with featured readers Dennis McCarty reading reflections on the Little Bighorn/”Custer’s Last Stand” battle site from his upcoming book, tentatively scheduled for early 2018, MONUMENTS:  ONE ATHEIST’S TOUR THROUGH TIME, CULTURE, AND MEANING; Wendy Teller with opening excerpts from her novel-in-progress BECOMING MIA BROWER; and novelist Annette Oppenlander, who noted that her first ever public reading had been at a Writers Guild First Sunday and, scheduled to leave Bloomington later this month, this will be her last reading here, an excerpt set in Germany in the final days of World War II from her fact-based SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND.  All were interesting and well received, though the presentations for the open mike session after the break were a bit skimpy.  Mine, third of only three on a rather gloomy afternoon outside, added perhaps to the ambience with a tale of New Orleanian vampiress Aimée, “Flightless Rats,” on a date gone bad, one that’s been around the block a few times already and is soon to be reprinted next month in FANTASIA DIVINITY (see below, July 16 and 7, et al.).

And two announcements regarding First Sundays:  Next month will be skipped insofar as September’s first weekend will also bring the Bloomington Arts Fair with the Writers Guild-sponsored Spoken Word Stage.  Then for the month after, on October 1, I have been asked to be one of the featured readers.

July seems to be the month for sending a thing to one place, seeing it come back accepted by another.  One example, “Flightless Rats” (see July 7), the tale of an innocent vampire maid and a bounder’s attempt on her virtue in 19th century New Orleans.  For today, the call had been in April.  It took some time, but the time has come:  we’re putting together an anthology of  poetry and flash fiction about spirits, ghosts, seances, Ouija boards, famous hauntings, not-so-famous hauntings, possessions, and anything else relating to supernatural bumps in the night (or day, we aren’t fussy).  And there it was.  Reprints being okay, I responded with the 300-word saga of a young lady with an interest in witches, but, if these weren’t available, other bump-in-the-nightly creatures would do, and lessons she learned in a house she was told was haunted.  Originally published in GOTHIC BLUE BOOK IV:  THE FOLKLORE EDITION (Burial Day Books, 2014), the title was “School Nights.”
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Today the word came back from Managing Editor Kate Garrett, not for the anthology, WHITE NOISE & OUIJA BOARDS, but for the publisher’s seasonal magazine THREE DROPS FROM A CAULDRON.  I really enjoyed this story, and though it isn’t quite right for the ghosts anthology, I wondered if it would be okay for me to publish it in the Samhain 2017 edition?  I like spookier, horror-tinged work for that one, and would love to include your story.  The Samhain special will be published online and in print on 13th October.  (And it isn’t technically open for submissions until 21st August, but I really like this.)
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So I emailed back, “Yes.”

In Saturday’s mail, but no, it wasn’t concerned with TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH which, after all, was only published at the beginning of last month.  No, this was a 6-month-plus check for stories in two Elder Signs anthologies, DARK HORIZONS and STREET MAGICK (see March 16; November 27, 4 2016, et al.), that came out in October and November last year, respectively.  The stories in these were both reprints, “Dark of the Moon” in DARK HORIZONS, of lunar exploration and . . . monsters originally published in THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU (Del Rey, 2002), and STREET MAGICK’s “Bottles,” from CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004)*, of Cold War paranoia and vampires.  And best of all, even though anthologies rarely bring in BIG bucks (the royalty having to be divided among, say, twenty or so different authors, plus editors, et al.), the check for these books is for a respectable two-figure sum.

So no need in this case to keep things anonymous — both books, in fact, were on the shelves briefly in Barnes & Noble’s brick and mortar stores (though not, alas, TOMBS, though I understand it was considered) — as has been the case for most royalties periodically received, in order to avoid embarrassment all around.  Indeed the amount here, put into edible terms, would easily have been enough for a decent dinner for two back in the days when I was courting the woman who was to become my ex-wife.  (Though perhaps it wouldn’t go quite that far now.)  That is, to cover both nourishment and love, which is not a bad deal at all.

 

*And also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS.

A lovely, not-too-hot Sunday afternoon brings two quick notes of the “The Writer’s Life” variety.  The first was a contract from Madeline L. Stout of FANTASIA DIVINITY MAGAZINE for reprinting “Flightless Rats” (cf. July 7), starring New Orleanian Casket Girl Aimée on the prowl for a husband, signed and sent back.  Then earlier this p.m. it was time for the annual Bloomington Writers Guild picnic and open reading (see July 24 2016, et al.), starring fried chicken and many sides, in which I read a cautionary poem not of Aimée but those of her kind, titled “Evening.”  Also announced, beginning with the first Sunday next month and “First Sunday Prose Readings,” a new fall cycle of Writers Guild activities will have begun.




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