Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

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.

It’s just a short post, but cruising the interwebs what should I find but, on SCREENJUNKIES.COM, “5 Best French Vampire Movies”?  In ways it’s a strangely limited list, all five films being made in the late 1960s/1970s and four of them being (including his first, in 1968) by Jean Rollin, for more on whom – in an amazing coincidence – see June 12, below.  But if you like your vamps to exude a dreamy erotica in mildly surrealistic settings, whether or not they’re the absolute best, in four out of five one could do a lot worse.  So with no guarantees*, and today is Bastille Day, for one apparently anonymous film critic’s selections press here.

.
*Note that the one non-Rollin entry, Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, was co-produced by the French film company Gaument (and does have some French actors, notably Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker), but that may be pushing things a little.

Received last night, from FANTASIA DIVINITY Editor Madeline L. Stout:  I really enjoyed this story.  I love the twist.  For inclusion in this particular anthology however, it doesn’t really fit.  . . .  Although it doesn’t fit what we are looking for in the anthology, I would like to publish this in our September issue.  Please let me know if that would be something you are interested in.  And so, yes, I emailed back that I would be interested — the money’s not much, but the story, “Flightless Rats,” originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG on January 12 2015 (see November 30, 26 2014) and starring New Orleanian vampiress Aimée (cf. April 17 2014, et al.), is a reprint and publication is publication, so why not?  Details to be revealed as they become known.

So this is being written on a hotel computer in San Juan Puerto Rico where I arrived MASFiC2017safely yesterday afternoon, checking into NASFiC and attending Opening Ceremonies that night.  More details on the convention will probably wait (except maybe for snippets, like this) to come most likely after I’m back home.  But one note — ah, those tropical weather patterns! — Opening Ceremonies plus a following “Ice Cream Social” over, who would get caught in a sudden, brief rainstorm?  Me, that’s who, who am writing this at the end of a similar rain event Friday morning and must rush back to the convention hotel now.

Again, more to come later.

There is a sense of sadness to Rollin’s vampires and even at their most violent, they exhibit weaknesses (to time, to the sun, to unrequited love) that make them far more sympathetic than a typical horror movie heavy.  Clocks are often closely associated with vampires, deepening the symbolic importance of time and fate in Rollin’s world.  It’s no coincidence that one of the most iconic images from his filmography occurs in LE FRISSON DES VAMPIRES (SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES, 1971) when a scantily clad female vampire emerges from within a grandfather clock to menace a young bride.  (Tenebrous Kate on DIRGEMAG.COM)

Think of this as a serendipitous journey.  Long-time readers of this blog may know that vampires are high among my interests.  Cf. the “Casket Girls,” several stories of whom have been published in various places jean-rollin-part-1-feature(see, e.g., August 4 2016, April 28 2015, et al.).  But also an interest in surrealism (February 20 2015, June 22 2014, others), and a chance link back to my own post on “Sweet Lesbian Vampire Love” (August 14 2016) reminded me of a place where these are combined, in the French-language films of Jean Rollin with 1968’s LE VIOL DU VAMPIRE (RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE) an early example.  Then enter DIRGEMAG.COM, linked to in the August 14 post, and another completely different article, “Sex, Death, and the Psychedelic Madness of Jean Rollin,” by Tenebrous Kate.

As it happens, I have a number of Rollin’s films in my own collection (I may re-watch RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE tonight!), but rather than describe things myself, I’ll simply suggest reading Tenebrous Kate’s piece by pressing here.  And to close, I’ll quote two more paragraphs from it, these ones on settings (and not without noting another connection in the second, echoing perhaps an interest parallel to my own TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF Rollin-ViolLATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, albeit in maybe a different direction.  But who can resist a good graveyard, eh?).

Rollin’s films are set far from the noise and action of the city, in isolated and frequently old-fashioned settings.  Beaches, with their endlessly cycling tides and cleansing ocean waters, are places of death and rebirth.  Scenes of vampires risking exposure to the sun at dawn on the rocky shores of Normandy figure prominently in Rollin’s films.  Centuries-old country châteaux hold terrible secrets and can be interpreted to symbolize the nobility of France’s past.  These buildings are populated by strange and often supernatural characters who reflect the opulent decay of their surroundings.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all are Rollin’s cemeteries: overgrown with weeds, gates rusted and creaking, these cities of the dead are transitional places between the everyday world and that of the supernatural.  Cemeteries are places where the living and the dead occupy the same space, a fact that Rollin uses for maximum symbolic impact.  Characters arrange secret graveyard rendezvous, only to uncover secrets that appear in the form of treasures, gateways, or menacing monsters.

Sunday’s weather belied the predictions of afternoon storms which perhaps helped May’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” in conjunction with the Monroe County Convention Center, garner fifteen participants who stayed the whole time.  The featured poets were native Hoosier and Americorps veteran Charles Culp, with poems on such things as diners (“the liquor store closes, the church closes, but the diner’s still open”) and the art available just by looking around one, among other topics, and Virginia native Breon Tyler, a visual artist with a degree in Painting and Printmaking, currently completing a masters here in African American and African Diaspora Studies, who started with a work by a poet from Sierra Leone as well as recent poems of her own  Then after a break, six non-scheduled poets read from the audience, of which I was sixth with three somewhat summer-themed poems (parties, vacations, poolside relaxation) from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) collection, “Through This Wicked, Winding Way,” “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” and “Moonlight Swimming.”  Last Sunday Poetry will resume August 27 following a a two-month summer hiatus.

Then a second item, simply for fun on a holiday weekend, or, I don’t usually cover politics here but. . . .  But satire does count as literature and this one is difficult to resist, a “claim” by satirical site THE ONION of having “Obtained Hundreds of Trump Documents” including, well, a number of topics from which one may choose after pressing here.  And for horror fans (thus bringing it under this blog’s purview, ahem) I especially recommend, under “Family,” Melania’s letters home to her mother, particularly the last concerning an apparition seen one night on the White House lawn of. . . . (but be sure to read her other letters first).

Told you so (cf. May 7; also April 28, 21 2015, et al.), and now it’s up.  A tale of les filles à les caissettes of New Orleans, in particular of the one named “Lo,” being interviewed by a reporter from the Times-Picayune.  But let’s let Short Mystery Fiction moderator Kevin R. Tipple make the formal announcement.

Today, James Dorr shares his “paranormal detective story” archived at DAILY SCIENCE FICTION titled “Dead Lines.”  James adds that the tale is also “. . . intended as a tip of the hat to Edgar Allan Poe as a father of the detective genre.”  While at the site, James has another story, “Casket Girls” in the archives for your reading pleasure.

So what’s the occasion?  May happens to be International Short Story Month and in celebration, the SMFS has been posting a story a day from society members throughout the month.  To see for yourself, one need but press here.  This takes you to the Society’s blog from which there’s not only the story du jour, but scrolling down (e.g, .mine will be one story below if you happen on this tomorrow, Friday May 12) you can read the stories of previous days all the way to May 1.  So how’s that for a deal?

And one thing more, as Kevin points out, an additional link to “Casket Girls” invites you to go to the background tale of les filles’ arrival at the Big Easy in 1728, and the one named Aimée.  And as a further bonus, when on the DAILY SF site if you type my last name in the search box on the right, you can find three additional  stories by me, though not in the New Orleanian series.

Dragons — bad-ass dragons.  Dragons that destroy things and eat people, and the people/robots/aliens/time lords that fight them or out-smart them — or get eaten by them.  No story book dragons that live in forests helping orphans or peddling psychedelics.  My dragons eat orphans for breakfast.  Timeline and setting is wide open.  Your dragons aren’t necessarily getting stabbed by swords — but swords are welcome too.  I want dragons — awe inspiring fear provoking monsters.  They can be mechanical, mystical, steam-powered, alien, aquatic, from another dimension, or from outer space — but they must be terrifying beasts of destruction.  Here be dragons.

Now who could resist that?  Moreover, while the money offered by publisher Digital Fiction may not have been much (though there may be a royalty involved as well), HIC SUNT DRACONES is to be a reprints only anthology and, as it happened. . . .  Well, as I told them with my submission, [h]ere is the bad-ass dragon tale of “The Bala Worm,” originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008), with reprint rights in my possession.  It also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013).  

It had the makings of a marriage arranged in . . . well, wherever it is that dragons arrange such things.  And so, this afternoon, the word came back from Editor Michael Wills:  Thank you for sending us “The Bala Worm”.  We think it is a great fit and would like to publish it.

And then one more detail for fellow authors who might have a dragon or two in the closet, the guidelines say the anthology may be open until the end of the month, May 31, for details on which one may press here.  But best hurry because they’ll only want thirty stories or so for about 150,000 words total and some of them (mine included) may be long.

May is International Short Story Month and, in celebration, the Short Mystery Fiction Society has put out the call for a story a day, if they can get ’em, from writer-members.  These would be already published stories, to be sure, with the idea that links will be provided on the SMFS blog daily, and word came this morning:  I’m up for Thursday.  That is, this Thursday, May 11, with the story in question one actually published on DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, but nevertheless a mystery of sorts, a tale of les filles à les caissettes of New Orleanian fame and the one called Lo, titled “Dead Lines” (see April 28, 21 2015, et al.).  Moreover, according to coordinator Kevin R. Tipple, “I took the liberty of adding your explanation of the tale to the blog posting so that folks who are clueless don’t send me emails asking what is up 🙂 ,” this regarding the story’s also referencing, in an oblique way, Edgar Allan Poe as a founder of the detective story — and also, if he includes it, a second link to the original story “Casket Girls.”

So you get two for one on Thursday (or even more — since the story will be in DAILY SF’s archives, type “Dorr” in the search box it will provide to find three additional short shorts by me).  Or, if in a hurry to see what’s what on the mystery side, the SMFS blog with today’s story can be reached by pressing here.

In other news, a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon marked this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local bookstore Boxcar Books, with  featured readers Amy L. Cornell (who we’ve met before, cf. May 1 2016) with a poem, a short story, and a sort of essay coming back to poetry; Abegunde (cf. March 27, 6 2016, et al.) with a selection of essays on “what lies beneath” her recent poetry MS about  a visit to Juba, South Sudan (a portion of which was also a finalist for the 2017 COG Poetry Award); and Khashayar Tonekaboni (pen name Terry Pinaud, cf. February 7 2016) with a short story based, in part, on a French Canadian play.  Then after the break, there were five open mike readers with me number three, with a story of sweet lesbian, non-casket girl, vampire love titled “A Cup Full of Tears,” originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, 2011).

This also marks the last “First Sunday” gathering for this spring, with the series to resume again in early autumn.

IndieWire describes THE LURE as “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.”  Not sure there is much more to say.  Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s fiendishly dark and sly modern fairytale is set in Communist-era Poland and highlights the havoc wreaked by two vampire mermaid sisters intertwined in love triangle.  In Polish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence and nudity.  (Indiana University Cinema blurb)

So what’s not to love?  Perhaps “Golden” and “Silver” aren’t precisely classical vampires, preferring to subsist on human hearts, but they do get at them by biting through people’s throats.  At least Golden does, the one truer to her roots and, as one critic notes, the seemingly smarter of the two sisters.  But LurImage220Silver’s mistake is in taking it figuratively as well, falling in love with a dance club bass guitarist, and even enduring an operation to transplant a human lower body in place of her fish tail.  In spite of the fact that Golden warns her, should the fickle musician marry another, she has to “eat him” before the next sunrise lest she turn into sea foam.
 .
It doesn’t end well.
 .
One reason:  the film is actually a version of Hans Christian’s Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” which means part of the deal is she loses her singing voice too, and she and Golden are actually sirens of the lure-sailors-to-their-destruction kind.  And as Golden explains, she doesn’t sing solo.  In fact they’ve become a striptease act of sorts at a 1980s Warsaw night club (“Want to hang out here for awhile before swimming to America?” as Golden asks Silver early on), at one point billed as Corki Dancingu, the Polish title of the film, which I understand translates to “Daughters of the Dance Club.”  Another, perhaps, that it’s really a coming of age film about two young women, but without her sister, can Golden ever get to America by herself?
 .
On the down side, parts of THE LURE are a little confusing and, from a bit of a conversation I overheard outside the theater, the subtitled translations may miss some beats — but then, songs are a big part of the film too (remember:  Silver and Golden are sirens).  According to the docent before the screening, the 1980s are also important, including a sort of dance hall kitsch, as reminiscent of the director’s own childhood.  Also the music, channeling such films as ALL THAT JAZZ and CABARET, or at least a little, as well as Bjork — and the music is good!  And, the docent added, the mer-sisters do NOT wear seashell bras, but that’s not the only reason for not bringing children to this one as some of the violence does turn toward the graphic (something about “strong stomachs,” I think he said).
 .
So . . . maybe not the best movie ever made, but a weirdly good one.  I recommend it.

Here’s one I blundered on via Facebook’s ELDER SIGNS PRESS site, dated March 9 and touting a two-week only sale on Amazon.  Today being the 16th, I think that would mean there’s a week to go, ending March 23.  So for a happy Saint Patrick’s Day Eve, check out these deals for DARK HORIZONS (Amazon’s price is 12.95, but individual new copy offers start at $9.67 as of this writing) and STREET MAGICK (Amazon price $9.21) and, as a bonus, give the figure on STREET MAGICK’s cover a green suit and hat, and it could look a little bit like a leprechaun.

To check it all out, press here for the ELDER SIGNS PRESS Facebook site, then scroll down just a tad for the sale

“. . . give the figure a green suit and hat, and it could look a bit like a leprechaun.”

announcement with links to Amazon for both books — just under the listing for early orders for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in fact, with its own link to Amazon should you wish to indulge while you’re at it!  My dogs in these donnybrooks are “Bottles” for STREET MAGICK, of vampiric doings in the late 1950s Boston area, complete with Cold War paranoia, and “Dark of the Moon” in DARK HORIZONS, of an international expedition to the Moon’s back side, combined with a dollop of H.P. Lovecraft and Russian myth to become dark indeed.  Also (ahem!) while the books haven’t gotten too many reviews on Amazon yet — and let this be a *hint* to readers, if you like a book you do your favorite authors a favor by sending reviews in — one review under each title (cf. “Mr. Vlesco” for the one for STREET MAGICK) singles my stories out for special mention.




  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,032 other followers