Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

The writing life, a day of routine that goes with the game.  Two brief items this time (well, the second is rather long, actually), the first from 18th Wall Productions reaching back six months into the past, to a story, “Bottles,” and its acceptance for a 1950s-themed anthology, SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (cf. May 1).  The story itself is a reprint originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and also available in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, having to do with a young Puerto Rican woman and the Cold War as experienced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and today the contract arrived — with edits promised to follow soon — and has as of this writing been, with a slight annotation, signed and readied for mailing back to Editor Nicole Petit tomorrow.

Then second an email from Bryce Raffle of Grimmer & Grimmer Books, publishers of DEADSTEAM with my story “The Re-Possessed” (see September 15, 4, 3, et al.), originally published in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), which now has garnered a clutch of reviews.  None of these actually mention my name, but what the heck it’s a good anthology, and so just this once (“I would encourage you all to share the reviews, so fans know they’re buying something worth reading”) they are quoted herewith:

The first review here is from BookLife (A Publishers Weekly site); particular congrats goes to Ross Smeltzer, for his particularly high praise in this review.

Raffle brings together a fine selection of 17 “dreadpunk” (gaslamp horror and dark steampunk) stories in this gritty, enjoyable anthology.  The London Underground becomes a playground for the undead in Raffle’s suspenseful “Burke Street Station.”  A greedy lover gets her comeuppance in Jay Seate’s “The Velvet Ribbon.”  Rob Francis’s “B.A.R.B.” plays with the concept of devil worship, and the lengths a grieving man might go to revive his dying wife.  The pinnacle of the collection is Ross Smeltzer’s “The Hunger,” in which a man’s encounter with the undead in a forgotten cemetery lurches him toward Lovecraftian insanity.  Although Raffle includes several stories that hover around a similar idea or theme (there is a glut of vampire fiction in this anthology), the standout tales are those that break from conventional horror.  The nature of human frailty and propensity towards violence is underscored in all of the collected tales, making it more than just full of good scares.  Seasoned horror readers will appreciate this dark anthology.  (BookLife)

What a reading delight!!  This dreadpunk (steampunk horror) anthology is a perfect way to get in the Halloween mood.  These stories are reminiscent of classic penny dreadfuls and gothic horror.

I especially loved the tales where vampires were the focus.  Like Agony in Red by Jen Ponce and The Case of the Murderous Migraine by Karen J. Carlisle.  I haven’t read gothic vampire tales in a while and forgot how much I enjoy those tales.

Additionally, I absolutely was spooked by Harvesters by E. Seneca.  It reminded me strongly of The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey.  (Which I absolutely devoured those books).

Many of these stories I would love to have more fleshed out with a full novel or another short story.  This unique blend of horror and steampunk is exactly what I needed to upstart my spooky Halloween season.  Even if you don’t know about steampunk, I recommend this if you are a lover of classic horror stories and gothic literature.  (Clockwork Bookdragon)

DeadSteam:  A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural is a great book for a newbie to dreadpunk like me.  Filled with stories that excite and tantalize the mind, I was on the edge of my seat for many of these short stories.  A great book to light some candles to, turn on the fire place and read in the chilly coldness this winter season. (Kay, Goodreads)

This is a delightful collection of seventeen dreadpunk horror stories, think Penny Dreadfuls.  I have never heard of dreadpunk but I have to say I have fallen in love with these stories.  They include several stories full of vampires, zombies, witches and so much more.  There is a story or two that will delight anyone that enjoys the horrors of the world.

I know I missed Halloween and this book would have been perfect.  But I still got the chance to dance in its pages amount the death, blood, and gore that make all things horror.  I loved the short stories, they gave a perfect taste of the author’s work.  There are more than a couple author’s that I will be looking into their other books.  But then again the down side to short stories is that I would just love to immerse myself in these worlds and find myself over with the trip quickly.

This is a wonderful collection of dreadpunk stories that I recommend checking out.  I will be keeping my eyes out for more in this genre.  (J Bronder Book Reviews) 

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“…and to this hour the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations — sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church; and often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing room door.”
– From J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

So this, the final reading on THE POETS WEAVE, on radio station WFIU, was actually broadcast Sunday, October 28.  But that was simply because that’s the Sunday closest to Halloween, while here we can greet today officially with its recording.  Two previous segments were aired on October 14 and October 21 respectively (see October 17, 21), on the “Who” and the “Where” of vampirism.  And now, to end it, are four poems on the “Attraction of Vampirism,” as produced by LuAnn Johnson and introduced by Romayne Rubinas Dorsey:  “Moonlight Swimming,” “The Aeronaut,” “When She Won the One Million Credit Galactic Lottery,” and “The Esthete.”  All poems are still from my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and may be heard by pressing here.

Only four days left!  (Say what?)  That’s four days from now, to October 31, for a chance to purchase THE TEARS OF ISIS, my 2013 Stoker(R) nominated collection, at fifteen percent off its regular price.  And that’s for both editions, both print and electronic.  Or, to quote publisher Max Booth III:  Hey!  Speaking of Halloween, starting right now until the end of the month, everything in our webstore is 15% off.  All you gotta do is enter discount code ThisIsHalloween upon checkout.  Go get some spooky lit for your spooky self.

So for celebrating Halloween right, here’s a chance to read THE TEARS OF ISIS if you haven’t but might want to try it.  For information/ ordering, with links to other Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titles as well, one need but check it out in the PMMP store by pressing here.  Or for more information on TEARS itself, including reviews, just click its picture in the center column — then come on back to the publisher’s store for this special discount.

And remember, if you read it and like it (this goes for any author’s books), please consider writing and posting your own review on Amazon and elsewhere as well.

“Listen to them—the children of the night. / What music they make!”
– From Bram Stoker’s Dracula

So begins the second of three readings, by me (cf. October 17), on the topic “Let Us Explore Where Vampires May Be Found,” on the Indiana University Public Broadcasting Station WTIU.  The program:  THE POETS WEAVE, produced by LuAnn Johnson and announced by Romayne Rubinas Dorsey, and which may be heard by pressing here.  Thus, to repeat the introduction:  Today, [James Dorr] will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing.  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” “California Vamp,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.” 

Listen Now:  Let Us Meet Some Of The Vampires

The word does not necessarily travel fast, but it comes.  Let us recall posts for August 17 and 8 (and also related, September 30, August 26) in which I spoke of recording poems for the WFIU radio feature THE POETS WEAVE.  Today, from producer LuAnn Johnson:  I’m not sure if I ever got back to you about air dates for your episodes.  . . .  The first aired this last Sunday.  The second is scheduled to air this Sunday, Oct 21 — but we’re in our fund drive week so there is a chance they will need to cut it for pitch time.  If so, I’ll reschedule for the following Sunday, and then the third will air the Sunday after that.

Thus the first of three sessions for which one may press here,* as announced by MC Romayne Rubinas Dorsey:  James Dorr writes short fiction and poetry leaning toward dark fantasy and horror, with his latest book a novel-in-stories, Tombs: A Chronicle of Latter-Day Times of Earth.

Today, he will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing).  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Le Meduse,” “Vampire Thoughts,” “Daylight Savings,” and “Night Child.”
.

*(Or for gluttons for punishment and/or lovers of King Kong, for WTIU’s TV counterpart one may also check here, cf. September 25, 18.)

Yes it was, the Bloomington Writers Guild “Second Thursday Player’s Pub Spoken Word Series” (see October 9; October 13 2017, et al.) with a special early Halloween lineup to honor October.  How special?  Even the five open mike readers at the end chose at least some poems, etc. specifically for spookyness while featured musical guest Travis Puntarelli also went out of his way to play and sing numbers with, let us say, Gothic overtones.  Then of the headlined readers, the first one was . . . moi.  Or to read from the blurb, JAMES DORR is a short story writer and poet, working primarily in dark fantasy and horror with some forays into science fiction and mystery.  . . .  The story he’ll be reading tonight is called “River Red,” and appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  It is set on a far-future dying Earth, populated by various creatures including ghouls — eaters of the dead — and is in the same universe as his latest novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, out from Elder Signs Press.  This was followed by another musical interlude, then by the main event, a dramatic reading by Writers Guild members of . . . well, to quote again from the blurb, DRACULA is a screenplay for a never-made film by the late, notorious Ken Russell, Britain’s cinematic sultan of excess and outrage whose films include TOMMY, ALTERED STATES, LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, and GOTHIC.*  The script was written in the late 1970s and published in 2009.  The film came close to being made only to be abandoned when Universal put its Frank Langella headlined version of DRACULA into production.  Russell’s script, however, allegedly formed the impetus for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version, whose screenwriter James V. Hart was directly involved in the inception of Russell’s interpretation.

In a departure from usual practice, the evening ended shortly after 8 as opposed to a more normal 9 p.m., to allow for an additional band Players Pub had scheduled for the night.  This specifically cut down the amount of time set aside for the play, allowing for only two or three scenes, but enough to give an idea of its flavor, set in the 1920s, that of a vampire motivated by a love of music and on a quest to confer immortality on dying artists.  However, the Writers Guild also announced plans to present the play in its entirety at some time in 2019.
.

*Re. GOTHIC, cf. October 5, September 30.  But readers may recall having met Mr. Russell before as creator of THE FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER (July 17 2015, “E. A. Poe Meets Alice in Wonderland”), described as a buggy interpretation “for the 21st century” of not just Poe’s “House” (which possibly more deflates than falls at the end of the picture) but almost everything else Poesque beginning with a wink of the eye to “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Which is to say more October fun is approaching, this from the Writers Guild again in just two days from now, Thursday evening, October 11 at Bloomington’s Players Pub.  Or, let’s let Chair Tony Brewer say it again.  THU OCT 11:  switching gears from Frankenstein to Dracula . . . the Writers Guild at Bloomington presents a staged reading of excerpts from Ken Russell’s unproduced screenplay DRACULA, plus horror writings by James Dorr and music by Travis Puntarelli.  Booo!  And what will I read?  Well, maybe that should be a surprise (though I wouldn’t be all that shocked if I hadn’t mentioned it somewhere elsewhere — it’s sort of a “go to” for me for occasions of this sort).

For now anyway just know you have been warned.

With a busy week coming up, today’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. August 26, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center, offered featured readings by relative newcomer Breon Rochelle Tyler (see May 29 2017) who read a poem about being free, introducing her own work on freedom, mothers, art, and creation; followed by many-time participant Maria Hamilton Abegunde (August 27, April 1, et al.) with several works in progress, including two inspired by current events, and ending with three selections from her LEARNING TO EAT THE DEAD.  In the audience readings afterward, my part consisted of three more poems from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), the second of the three recordings done for fall broadcast on WFIU’s “The Poets Weave” (see August 26, et al.), “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” “California Vamp,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.”

Of busy weeks, though, next Sunday’s normally scheduled prose readings will not be held due to FRANKENFEST (cf. August 5), the 200th Anniversary celebration of the first publication of Mary Shelley’s novel FRANKENSTEIN, co-sponsored by the Monroe County Library and the Writers Guild at Bloomington, and made possible by a grant from Indiana Humanities with additional funding from the IU Arts and Humanities Council.  Running October 3 through 7, events will include a Wednesday evening FrankenPanel, of which I will be a participant; FrankenFilms (FRANKENSTEIN, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and GOTHIC) on Thursday, October 4; a FRANKENSTEIN Read-a-Thon among other activities on Saturday the 6th; and FrankenTheatre on Sunday, a live radio theater adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN by Russell McGee, who also directs, presenting the creature as an intelligent being who suffered the injustice of mankind.  All events will be held in the Monroe County Public Library.

Let’s give the piece its exact title, “The 100 best horror films,” subtitled “The best horror films and movies of all time, voted for by over 100 experts including Simon Pegg, Stephen King and Alice Cooper, and Time Out writers.”  The byline (that is to say, the TIME OUT writers themselves) is to Tom Huddleston, Cath Clarke, Dave Calhoun, Nigel Floyd, Alim Kheraj, and Phil de Semlyen and it was posted Friday April 13 2018 on the British site TIMEOUT.COM.  So how can you go wrong?  And, credit due, it comes to us courtesy of C.M. Saunders as mentioned in an interesting review on his blog of the Spanish film [REC] — one of the relatively few “found footage” films that really works — for which one can press here.

But to the main event, quoting the “Time Out writers” (as well, credit due, appropriating their title illustration):  For years, horror, unlike romance, action and science fiction, has been mistreated and subjected to vicious critical attacks.  For some, horror films are focused purely on provoking a reaction with little thought for ‘higher’ aspirations.  For others, they’re just a bit of fun.

Thankfully, it looks like the horror genre is finally getting the recognition it deserves, with recent releases getting Oscar buzz and proving to be box office hits.  To celebrate this often overlooked and thrilling genre, we approached horror experts, writers, directors and actors to help us chose the 100 best horror films.

Yes, I disagree with some, although if it is an endorsement of sorts I’ve seen or own well over half of these.  And everyone reading this will no doubt have their doubts about others, and possibly even criteria used to decide which is best.  And of course some favorites will fail to be there — we all have our tastes, yes?  But for me, also, part of the value of lists like these is finding the films I haven’t seen, but from the descriptions I might well want to.

So, giving a press here, shall we explore together?

So, okay, cutting to the chase I’m scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m for a half hour (well, 25 minutes anyway — cf. just below, August 26) reading, probably of stories from THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But here is the entire two-day schedule from the horse’s mouth, as it were, of readers and performers, poets and prose writers, some known to us from before, some unknown.  So if in the area this coming weekend do plan to stop by — isisnewit’s the FOURTH STREET ARTS FESTIVAL, with artists’ booths galore, but also the Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage on Dunn Street, just south of 4th.  While I, in the meantime, practice timed reads while making my final story selections.  (Hint: it’ll probably be a short curtain raiser followed by “River Red,” which I’d read once before a few years back and had gone over well then, set in the TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH universe although actually printed in TEARS.  Two birds with one stone, eh?)

So read, plan, enjoy:

When:
September 1, 2018 @ 10:00 am – September 2, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Spoken Word Stage at 4th Street Arts Festival

Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington
Supported in part by the Bloomington Arts Commission

Labor Day Weekend
Saturday, September 1: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, September 2: 10am – 5pm
Intersection of Dunn and Fourth Streets
Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts
http://www.4thstreet.org

Save the Date!

Now in its 8th 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.

And of course, the ever-popular Poetry on Demand table will be staffed with a fleet of poets armed with typewriters ready to deliver!

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE!
CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES!

SATURDAY SEP 1
10:30 . 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:00 . Patsy Rahn (poetry)
11:30 . Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:30 . Shana Ritter (poetry)
1:00 . Maria Hamilton Abegunde (poetry)
1:30 . Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
2:30 . Mary Pat Lynch (fiction)
3:00 . Juliana Ramos Crespo (fiction)
3:30 . James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 . Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)
4:30 . Erin Livingston (poetry)
5:00 . Butch D’Ambrosio (sonnets)
5:30 . Stephen Vincent Giles (storytelling)

SUNDAY SEP 2
10:00 . Eric Rensberger (poetry)
10:30 . New Leaf-New Life (poetry and fiction)
11:00 . Adam Henze (poetry)
11:30 . Monroe County Civic Theater
12:00 . Joan Hawkins (fiction)
12:30 . Lisa Kwong (poetry)
1:00 . Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
1:30 . Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
2:00 . Richard Hague (poetry)
2:30 . Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 . Michael Brockley (poetry)
4:00 . Jeffrey Pearson (poetry)
4:30 . Bloomington Storytellers Guild 




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