Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

Publication of a book is made up of a lot of little acts, along with the larger technicalities like getting it written or, in an anthology or collection, getting the individual stories gathered and put into final order.  As an example, this evening saw my sending an up-to-date biographical note, with media links if they should be needed, to Nicole Petit of 18th Wall Publications for the 1950s-themed anthology SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (cf. November 11, May 1 2018).  Thus a small detail of “the writing life,” but one that will see the anthology one step closer to publication in the hopefully not-distant future.  My part in this potpourri, incidentally, is titled “Bottles,” a tale 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 during the Cold War in 1958 Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Well, the story is actually called “The Bala Worm” and it’s fairly long as these things go, first published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) as well as in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. its picture in the center column for reviews and more).  And then the call came:  We are looking for short stories about any kind of creatures you want:  animals, insects, arachnids (all giant or otherwise), dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, cryptids, legends, mythical, mythological, whatever strikes your fancy.  We really want you to go outside of the usual box that we see in fiction.  Sure, you can have classic vampires or aliens, werewolves or unicorns, but the story needs to be new and fresh, something that hasn’t been thought of before or hasn’t been worked with a lot.  The story should fit in any of the the genres of fantasy, horror, mystery, and science-fiction.  And not only that, but [w]e are also looking for novelettes.  We will be picking ONE novelette as the final story for each genre anthology.  Your novelette should be something that really catches us, perhaps that touches our hearts, horrifies us in a new way, has a profound vision of technology or the future, or baffles us with a twist or shocking revelation.  I did say “The Bala Worm” was long, yes?

So it seemed a good match.  The publication from Tell-Tale Press was to be titled CREATURES and, while semi-pro, payment for novelettes (here defined as 7000 to 10,000 words long) would be double that for “regular” stories so, even if only one would be picked, why not?  Then yesterday afternoon the word came from Publisher/Editor Andrea Dawn, I read your story “The Bala Worm” and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writing was strong and to the point.  It was interesting and I liked the mythological legend woven in there.  So I would like your permission to publish it in the CREATURES novelettes anthology.

So there it is.  Publication is tentatively set for May 23 on the Tell-Tale Press site — free, if I understand correctly, as individual story files — and as an anthology on Amazon Kindle with the possibility of a future print edition.  More to be reported here as details become known.

And so the the second Bloomington Writers Guild “Spoken Word Series at Bears” occurred last night on its new first Wednesday schedule at local (located, in fact, on Third Street) tavern Bear’s Place.  The featured readings started with parts of a 1968 Chicago-set novel in progress by local author and WFHB radio star Mike Glab; followed by a radio theater dramatization of part of a Robert Heinlein novel, THE SAIL BEYOND SUNSET, by also WFHB community radio host Richard Fish; and Indiana poet Steve Henn (most recent collection:  INDIANA NOBLE SAD MAN OF THE YEAR from Wolfson Press) with a group of personal poems including his 2018 RATTLE Poetry Prize finalist entry “Soccer Dad”; interspersed with poetry-with-music sets by SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, who we’ve met before (see September 1 2018, March 10 2017, et al.).  For the “Open Mic” part, I led off a series of five readers noting first that last month’s “Casket Girls” (cf. March 6) was just one of about a dozen flash stories concerning these New Orleanian vampires, so why not continue with their adventures for at least the rest of the year, then segueing into this month’s story, “A St. Valentine’s Day Tale,” about a fatal practical joke played by one of les filles on a loving, but sometimes abusive husband.

Second Thursdays now traded for First Wednesdays and housed in its new Bears Place location (see March 3, February 22), the “Writers Guild Spoken Word Series” featured an (almost) all-poetry program, plus music by North Carolina singer Calib Lail.  The main speakers were Charles Culp with a modified improv poetry program (audience members suggest broad subject areas, he finds an already written poem appropriate to it), Writers guild founding member and past chair Patsy Rahn with poems mostly from her just published THE GRAINY WET SOUL, and Paul Smedberg with often wryly humorous poems from his EVENT HORIZON collection and elsewhere.  This was followed by five open mike readers, the first two also with poetry, with me fourth with my New Orleans urban legend-based flash story “Casket Girls” — with a nod to Mardi Gras the day before — of the coming of vampires to the New World (cf. May 2, April 3 2018; March 6 2016; April 28 2015, et al.).

On a light, scenic but wet, snowy afternoon the Bloomington Writers Guild sponsored “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. February 3, et al.) met at 1 p.m. instead of its usual 3 p.m. time, at a new location and host-to-be for the now First Wednesday “Spoken Word Series” (see February 22) as well, university area tavern Bear’s Place.  The featured readers were Kalynn Brower with a script from a radio series “The Secret Life of Fungi” on “Mushrooms In Space” and excerpts from her forthcoming ecological science fiction novel MISSION TO BLUE GRANNUS; Shana Ritter with excerpts from a forthcoming (as yet untitled) novel on the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 Spain; and “AppalAsian” writer and poet Lisa Kwong, who we’ve met several times before, with the first part of a draft Keynote speech she will be making at the upcoming 17th annual Vietnamese Interacting As One (VIA-1) Conference, at Indiana University on March 22-24.  For the following open session I was first of four with a rerun of “The Vault” (cf. September 7 2014), a possibly cautionary fable of a vampire and an invalid who share space together.

And now for something completely different.  Or, well, different at least, a recasting of an interview of . . . *moi* . . . by Rushelle Dillon (cf. October 22 2017) in a video format, or part of it anyway.  The title is “Video Refresh:  James Dorr Interview” by Stuart Conover and it’s on HORRORTREE.COM.  Or, to let the poster speak for himself:  A Sample of our interview with James Dorr by Ruschelle Dillon.  In the interview, he has a lot of fun details on his take on the writing process.  If you delve into the full interview there are a lot of playful details on his life on top of that!  . . .  This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear.  Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

For more, press here (yes, it is kind of fun)!  And there’s also a link if you wish to read the whole interview as it had been originally posted.

Then a quick word on the two Kickstarters we followed earlier this month.  The ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE one (see February 3, January 29) will be over this Thursday, February 21, so there’s not much time left if you’re tempted to participate.  The other for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 1), with as of now a few extra rewards added, will end just past the close of the month, on Saturday March 2.  Links to both can be found in their posts on the dates just noted.

Well, it’s on THE-LINE-UP.COM and it’s actually titled “10 Romantic Horror Movies To Watch on Valentine’s Day,” by MacKenzie Stuart, but I didn’t run across it until today.  And anyway, really, ten movies on one day?  To quote the author:  Does the word rom-com send chills down your spine?  If you’re a true horror flick aficionado, you’re likely to dread md_e4939c90cafa-auditionventuring outside of your comfort zone of zombies and psychopaths.  However, horror and romance don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  You can enjoy the best of both worlds with a romantic horror movie that seamlessly weaves touching love stories into your favorite gory films.

And indeed, what films are being suggested, something for everyone starting with SWEENY TODD:  THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET all the way down to ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (these two movies, by the way, with a strong musical interest too).  With, in between, WARM BODIES, HELLRAISER, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES . . . and five in addition, all to be checked out by pressing here.  So break out the amaretto along with the popcorn, snuggle up with your significant other (and/or the family cat — yes, Triana, you’re invited too) and enjoy, enjoy!

The Goth cat Triana, herself a lover of seafood, was given the choice of a short poem of mine to share for the occasion.  Her selection, as it happens, might be dedicated especially to southern hemisphere readers who, in places like Australia where 100 degree plus temperatures appear to be common for this February, might plan to spend Valentine’s Day at the beach.

.

WET WORK

mermaid vampiress
scarlet billows greet her kiss
a sea of love

 

“Wet Work” was originally published in the Fall 2017 STAR*LINE.

This one seemed somewhat a long shot for me, but you take a chance and you never know.  It’s in how you translate the guidelines, yes?  The call in this case:  We at Zombie Works Publications are ready for 2019, and are currently seeking thirteen short stories to go into our ALL NEW Monsterthology 2.  Yes, it’s back for a second volume!  Like the original anthology, we are looking for short stories that involve classic movie monsters (Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, you know classics).  But then what exactly do we mean by classics?

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.  There wasn’t much time and, while I didn’t really have anything that was exactly a spin off of the movies cited, I did have one dark-humored detective parody set in a post-Katrina New Orleans where certain supernatural creatures (yes, vampires, werewolves, zombies. . .) had come out of the horizontal closet, as it were, to integrate themselves into society.  The title was “Beefcake and the Vamp” and starring in the role of the Vamp was one Guillemette Écouteur which, as I explained in my cover letter, is a French translation of Mina Harker.  Yes, she really had been “turned” (though the 1931 movie with Bela Lugosi would seem to deny this), had gone underground (ahem) in France and then New Orleans, and moreover a long-dead-himeslf Doctor van Helsing had a great great granddaughter who strived to maintain the family tradition.

A bit on the far afield side, one might think.  (And only thirteen stories to be accepted?)

That was January 25.  Then yesterday afternoon, Monday, the email came from Editor/Publisher Alan Russo:  I am pleased to inform you that your story, “Beefcake and the Vamp,” has been approved for publication. We expect it to appear in MONSTERTHOLOGY 2 due out later this year.

And there you have it.

‘Tis the season and all that, so Saturday had me attending not one, but two parties, the first of which was the Bloomington Writers Guild year-end business meeting, pot luck fest, and open mike for everyone gala (see December 9 2017, et al.).  Chicken, salads, pizza, sweets.  Come reading time, my presentation was four very brief, humorous horror poems, all of which were in this Spring’s STAR*LINE: “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “She Did What?,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating,” and “From the Zombie Hunter’s Field Guide: Tracking the Zombie,” all of which I now discover I’d read before but nonetheless which went over well.

That was Saturday afternoon, while evening brought the local Society for Creative Anachronism annual Yule fest:  more food (ham and turkey, pulled pork, deviled eggs, more sweets) and music, the latter of which I helped provide, my recorder group playing carols for a sing along session, followed, as time in the hall ran low, by a Renaissance tune for people to dance to.  In all a pleasant end to the day, but exhausting also.




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