Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

The marvelously named Snallygaster is first:  Dating back before the Declaration of Independence, snallygasters were rumored to have terrorized the surrounding hills of Washington, D.C. and Frederick County, Maryland.  German settlers in the 1730s first described the Schneller Geist (“quick spirit”) as a metal-beaked, half-bird, half-reptile that soared through the air and swooped down without a sound to capture its prey.  When it did utter a noise, the snallygaster let out a blood-curdling screech.  Seven-pointed stars were painted on barns to ward off the creature, though sightings continued into the 1900s.  The Smithsonian Institution once offered a reward for the Snallygaster and President Roosevelt is rumored to have delayed an African safari to hunt the beast on American soil.

The heck of it is, it’s native born so walls or better border enforcement won’t keep it away (current Presidents take note).  But there are six more listed in today’s email offering from THE-LINE-UP.COM, “7 Creepy Folklore Creatures from Around the World” by Stephanie Almazan.  For instance the original “Night Mare,” from Northern Europe, doing its best to disturb one’s sleep or, if that doesn’t work, going out to the stable and riding the horses until they’re exhausted.  Or China’s famous (at least if you watch certain Hong Kong movies) Jiang Shi, or hopping vampires.

And south of the border there’s Argentina’s own will-o’-the-wisp, a.k.a. La Luz Mala, or if one should visit the Dominican Republic . . . well, beware of wild women who wear their feet backward, more on whom along with the ones described above, plus one or two others, can be discovered by pressing here.

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A girl walks home alone at night.  But this time Aimée was stopped by Death on the bad side of Rampart Street in the shadow of St. Louis Cemetery Number 1.

So starts the story, the first sentence a blatant steal from Ana Lily Amanpour’s debut full length film of the same name (cf. January 11, also January 15 2015).  The story’s title, “Death and the Vampire,” another in the series of tales of les filles à les caissettes or, as they say in New Orleans, the “Casket Girls” (see June 12 2019, et al.).  Then hark us back to October 31 2018 and the call from WEIRDBOOK:  No HARDCORE sex!  No Sexual violence!  No UNDERAGED SEX!!  I’m looking for original (no reprints) well-written (duuh, I guess that that’s fairly obvious) weird stories.  My tastes are broad and I’m looking for any of the following:  fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, ghost, horror, heroic fantasy, science fantasy or just plain odd.

Well, Aimée might raise an eyebrow at the “No violence” part, it being a part of the trade of a vampire, but maybe a little bit might be okay, so she took a chance and off she went last Halloween night, just meeting an October 31 deadline.  And that was that.  Her undeath continued.  But then today an answer arrived from WEIRDBOOK Editor Douglas Draa:  Dear James, my apologies for the awful delay.  I like this quite bit.  May I have it for WB# 44.  This will be a mid 2020 issue.

And that is that.  An email went back this afternoon to say Aimée is honored by the acceptance, for which look for more here as it becomes known.

A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.

Five novelettes. Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?  Our deft and expert authors have won awards and had work in award-winning anthologies, and these stories showcase their gift for terrifying us but also in finding the humanity through our fear.  They are . . .

Gordon B. White
James Dorr
Mark Pantoja
Jon Gauthier
Peter Emmett Naughton

Thus the blurb fromTell-Tale Press’s Amazon listing for THE BLOOD TOMES VOLUME TWO, CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION of which my tale of a dragon quest in modern-day Wales, “The Bala Worm,” is a part (cf. May 23, 14, et al.).  And that is one mouthful of a title.  But the thing is, my author’s copy came yesterday evening from Editor/Publisher Andrea Dawn, was downloaded today and converted to PDF (which the local cave computer is more comfortable with), and from just glancing through it looks to be about 80 pages of really fun reading.  The individual stories, in fact, can be read for free*, for which press here, but there’s something nice about having them in ebook form together as well, which Kindle readers can get for only 99 cents by pressing here.  So, separately or in Kindle format, to quote one more line from the Amazon blurb:

We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

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*”The Bala Worm,” incidentally, is a reprint, originally published in Ricasso Press’s BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON in 2008 and reprinted in my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Ah, June!  And with Wednesday evening it was time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at Bears Place (cf. May 2, et al.).  The musical guests were the VLF (drummer John Valdez, bass Park Law, and guitarist and sometime voice Jason Fickel) Trio, sharing the stage with poetry by Tim Heerdink, author of RED FLAG AND OTHER POEMS plus another collection, THE HUMAN REMAINS, and first novel LAST LIGHTS OF A DYING SUN due in the near future; creative nonfiction (and sometimes mixed with a little fiction too) from Juliana Crespo with work in or forthcoming in a number of literary journals; and more poetry from local Bears Place server Brian Boucher, with a novella, “Wahoo,” serialized in THE RYDER Magazine plus poetry book ARROGANT ENLIGHTENMENT AND A CRY FOR PURPOSE on Instagram.  Then we, the walk-ons came with, in fifth place out of seven, new fille à la caissette Yvonne making her debut in a brief, 1830s-set New Orleanian tale of blood and absinthe, “The Darkness, Forgotten.”

The email from John Mannone started off modestly enough.  Congratulations!  The following has been nominated for the 2019 Dwarf Stars Anthology:  Never Trust a Vampiress.  The poem, “Never Trust a Vampiress,” had been published in Spring 2018 in STAR*LINE (cf. May 16 2018, et al.), the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and John Mannone is the Editor/Curator of the Dwarf stars Award and associated anthology recognizing the best ultra short (1 to 10 lines) speculative poem published the previous year.  Unlike similar awards, however, the poets themselves send suggested work to the contest/anthology in the same way that one might offer work to a normal publication, and those the editor himself selects become thus the official nominees.

Confused?  Well, maybe, but here it runs parallel to the better known Rhysling Competition in that the resulting DWARF STARS ANTHOLOGY is then sent to all SFPA members, whereupon they vote and one of the poems is selected the winner.  Though probably not mine, the untrustworthy vampiress of the title preferring to keep a low profile unlife, beneath the attention of vampire hunters.  Indeed her poem is just six lines long.  Nevertheless, her fur coat around her in case it’s cold, she’ll skulk with the others and we’ll see who wins.

More on DWARF STARS and the competition (and SFPA) can be found here, while the sneaky vampiress can still be discovered in STAR*LINE for last spring, modestly situated on the right and toward the bottom of page 10.

Or, as one might say, the last “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” of the current season, the series going on summer hiatus for June through August.  Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington in collusion with The Monroe County Convention Center, there were two featured poets this wonderfully warm end-of-May afternoon:  the first, Nancy Chen Long, author of LIGHT INTO BODIES along with a chapbook CLOUDS AS INKBLOTS FOR THE WAR PRONE, both of which were available at the reading, read six poems from her latest project, WIDER THAN THE SKY, about memory and the actions of the brain; this then followed by Writers Guild regular Eric Rensberger reading from the most recent “sequence” — a chronological grouping of fifty to sixty poems — from his ongoing internet collection ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS.  Then after the snack break a larger than usual group of seven poets offered their work, of which I was sixth with three summer (or at least with summer mentioned in them) poems, “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, “Summer Cancellations” concerning seasonal ways to die, and the vampirically-tinged “The Esthete,” the last of which also appears in my own VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

Late May, we will notice, seems to be a bit of a dead time for news of authorial doings, at least for me.  I checked last year’s entries and that was the case for 2018 too — movies and similar things could be covered, but subjects concerning the actual writing life, not so much.  Today, however, I’m happy to announce that “The Bala Worm” is up and free from Tell-Tale Press as part of their, to give it its full title, THE BLOOD TOMES, VOLUME 2:  CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION (cf. May 15, 14; April 26, et al.).  To see for yourself, press here and just start reading (or, if you’ve a yen to see what other titles lie under the TELL-TALE PRESS — HORROR LIBRARY rubric, then click the little left-pointing arrow at the top left of the page).  “The Bala Worm” is the recounting of a hunt for a dragon in modern-day Wales, originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and also reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (for which press its picture in the center column), and is the second of five long tales in the NOVELETTES EDITION.

Also all five novelettes are available on Kindle now for $0.99, for which one may press here, while more selections from Tell-Tale Press in the “CREATURES” universe may be found here.

A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.

Five novelettes.  Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?

Thus the blurb, the book is entitled THE BLOOD TOMES, VOLUME 2:  CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION, and to get to the point it’s the one with my story “The Bala Worm” (see just below, May 14, et al.).  And the news that just came, the Kindle edition is up for pre-order rather faster than had been expected, on Amazon now, for which press here!  As noted above, you get five novelettes for $0.99, 171 pages according to Amazon divided between authors Gordon B. White, me, Mark Pantoja, Jon Gauthier, and Peter Emmett Naughton, my part being the one with the dragon in the above description, though at novelette length of course there’s more.  Much more.  While for more information from the publisher, Tell-Tale Press, including other CREATURES volumes (horror short stories, fantasy, mystery, . . . ) one can press here.

Or, going back to the Amazon copy, so says the blurb:  We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

Two quick bits of news arrived late yesterday and today, the first from Editor Andrea Dawn that payment (ahem!) for my story “The Bala Worm” (cf. April 26, 6) will be coming in less than a week, with the Tell-Tale Press anthology CREATURES on schedule to appear on Kindle on May 23 with stories also available then on the publisher’s website.   “The Bala Worm,” a novelette of dragon hunting in modern Wales, is itself a reprint, originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Then today’s note comes from Editor/Publisher Jason Brick that things had gotten a wee bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see March 27, et al.), so to catch up we’re going to . . . skip the step where everybody gets a pdf proof of the copy of their story individually, and roll right on to sending out a pdf proof of the book itself.  Which I’m hoping we’ll send out late next week.  This is an anthology of 100 stories of 1000 or fewer words apiece, “any genre, any style,” including my original flash piece,”The Junkie,” with publication still expected for June.

So after a busy, busy May 1, last night also featured the third “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at its new time and venue, at local tavern Bears Place (cf. April 4, March 6).  And it was a stormy night as well, but dinner and poetry helped keep as many as 17 participants dry, including musical interludes by the Kyle Quass Quartet (their final performance accompanied by one of the poets as well).

The featured readers — all poets this time — were multi-published Hiromi Yoshida, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize and a winner of Indiana University Writers Conference Awards as well as an active member of the Beat Generation and Daily Haiku Facebook Groups; Indianapolis poet Jason Ammerman with three collections, ALL GROWN UP, MICROPHONE OR BUST, and BATTLE SCARRED, a spoken word album REVIVAL, and more of each in the works; and David L. O’Nan with two poetry and short story books, THE FAMOUS POETRY OUTLAWS ARE PAINTING WALLS AND WHISPERS and ALL OUR FEARS AND TUNNELS, as well as a new poetry and art book project, THE FAVORS OF THE MIND POETRY & ART DIGEST, in the works for later this spring.  These were followed by four walk-on “Open Mic” readers of which I led off with the third in my New Orleans “Casket Girl” series* in which we meet Marie, who has qualms about becoming a vampire, until she is calmed by hearing the tale of an adventure original vampiress Aimée had once had when visiting Rome.

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*For those interested, the original “Casket Girls” first appeared in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014. A reprinted version (with better renditioning of accented vowels) from ARIEL CHART, February 2 2018, may be read by pressing here.




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