Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

We are excited to announce the first round of acceptances for inclusion in BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS.  This is our charity anthology to raise funds for the Australian bushfire victims.  All sale proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross and matched dollar-for-dollar by Microsoft (up to $50k) as part of their Giving campaign.  This was the announcement on Facebook today, and so it can now be made known:  This is the “Mystery” acceptance of January 15’s post, with preliminary details just released — despite being still open for submissions “of 1,000 words (ideally, but we’ll consider any length as it’s for charity!)” until January 31.

The guidelines:  The theme is Valentine’s Day, so we’re after dark, suspenseful, menacing, memorable tales of human love gone wrong, or monster love gone right!  We want to have your stories by end of January please!  It’s a tight deadline, but we think it’s a fun theme and a worthy cause, so please get your writer’s heads on and start scribbling.  So what better story for me to send but one concerning those New Orleanian vampire ladies, les filles à les caissettes (see e.g. May 2 2019, et al.), one as yet unpublished of the literal-minded but always ready for fun Claudette?  And best of all, titled simply “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale.”  And thus, five days ago, Editors Louise Zedda Sampson and Chris Mason agreed.

So there’s no money in it, but les filles are not averse to a worthy cause.  Should you be good with that as well, more information can be found here, or if you would simply be interested in a whole bunch of flash stories on love gone bad, to be out in time for Valentine’s Day, for details/Kindle pre-orders press here.

It’s another stop on the run-up to Christmas, and if not definitive still a pleasant one.  The subject a story, “La Fatale,” at about 1300 words about Mina Harker of DRACULA fame becoming a vampire after all and, having had a French mother, moving to France to try to sort things out.  And almost after I wrote it it was accepted by then-professional WHITE CAT MAGAZINE . . . which, then, semi-immediately went out of production.

So, these things happen, but there it languished, perhaps due in part to a sort of metafictional tie-in to Rudyard Kipling and Philip Burne-Jones, as well as Bram Stoker, perhaps more heady fare than the average short short.  Or, anyway, those places it went to seemed not to want it, and I had other pieces to market.  Until, fast forward to Friday last week, and an invitation from a Writers Guild friend to submit to a planned anthology, tentatively titled RAPE ESCAPES:  We define the word “rape” loosely and are looking for pieces — any genre — that describe escape from an unwanted sexual situation in which force (psychological or physical) would be used. . . .  And moreover a suggestion for me that a piece about a vampire escaping human violence (perhaps with a quick bite to the neck) would certainly warm the heart of at least one of the editors.

So, long story short, I thought at first of les filles à les caissettes, whose adventures I’ve been presenting at First Wednesday readings, suggesting a couple that might fit the guidelines.  But something seemed to be missing to my mind.  And then I remembered “La Fatale,” concerning a non-Casket Girl Anglo-French vampire and sent it Sunday in a second email noting that it might be more powerful . . . if the literary references don’t get in the way.

Then this morning, the answer:  James, I love this.  And yes, I think it is more powerful.  So, with your permission, I shall add it to the dossier.  It isn’t an acceptance, exactly — for one thing there’s a co-editor who will have to pass on it too — but it enters the fray with good credentials.  As for the next step, we shall see, but it seems to me RAPE ESCAPES should be an important book, good company to be in — and, again, a nice opportunity just before Christmas.

Maybe not that new, it actually was posted last May, but that just shows I don’t check Goodreads as often as I probably should.  The reviewer is James Agombar and what’s especially nice is he offers a detailed story by story description, though admittedly with possibly one or two spoilers.  Also some stories don’t go over as well with him as others — two going as low as two stars out of five! — though he admits that those might be a matter of taste.  And, best of all, his overall score for the book is a full five!

As he concludes:  . . . I love the way James Dorr crafts his stories and the strangeness fuses well with his style and clarity.  This mixture represents just what he is capable of in terms of diversity and I’d recommend this anthology to anybody if they are wanting something different to the run of the mill blueprint that publishers seem to want with short stories nowadays.  An excellent and strange journey awaits you in top literal form.  But see for yourself by pressing here (from which you can also click the book’s title at the top for its main Goodreads page, including links for purchasing should one so desire).

The wages of sin are not large for Black Hare Press’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS anthology series, but reprints are accepted and it’s an interesting sounding venue.  So when the second in the series, LUST (the first, I believe, was PRIDE, but the deadline had already passed), opened for submissions I thought I had something that might fit the bill.  The theme was broad enough (although, of course, “lust” would be part of it too):  Speculative fiction.  Dark bias.  Can include comedy and romance elements.  Word count was up to 3000 words, with no minimum.  And so I had a slightly less than 1000-word tale (957 in fact, according to the “official” count in the contract) of a lesbian vampiric seduction of, shall one say, a youthful new prospect, which seemed a reasonable one to try.

The story itself:  “A Cup Full of Tears,” originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, 2011), and Saturday the word came back.  Thank you for your submission to LUST.  We really enjoyed your story — A Cup Full of Tears — and would like to inform you that it has been accepted for inclusion in the publication.  Congratulations!  With it came more information, a link to Facebook, and guidelines for a couple of future projects, plus a contract which I filled and sent back yesterday afternoon.

And so it goes.  Word is they’re trying for a release date of February 18 2020 — in time for a late Valentine’s Day present?  Also that the next deadly sin to be tackled is SLOTH, perhaps not so exciting, but I might lazily take a look to see if there’s anything I have that might fit that theme too.

We had been thinking about “point of view” (cf. December 3, et al.).  Now imagine this.  Imagine a being from another planet disguised as a human, wearing a woman-suit, or a “skin,” but functionally a sort of vampire.  Her job* is to lure lonely men, men who will not be missed, into her lair where they’ll be “transmitted” to her home world (never mind the details, they just sink as it were into a dark pool) where they’re presumably considered food(?).  Ick!  But here’s the twist.  The film is shown almost entirely from the “woman’s” point of view, that of an alien who only gradually gets used to Earth and the ways of its people — who slowly becomes an Earth person herself, at least in her own head, including becoming a victim in turn (yes, there’s some sexual satire here, but wait for the end).  As such the film moves slowly:  she’s slowly absorbed, one might say, into “Earthiness” just as in their own fashion her victims are absorbed through the dark pool into peopleburgers.

The movie:  UNDER THE SKIN, i.e., what’s beneath the Earthwoman surface, Saturday night’s science fiction fare (sorry) at the Indiana University Cinema.  To quote the catalog blurb:  Programmed by IU Cinema Lead House Manager Elizabeth Roell.  UNDER THE SKIN examines the human experience from the perspective of a mysterious young woman (Scarlett Johansson) who seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland, luring them back to her strange, dark lair.  However, a string of events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.  Contains explicit content, including sexual violence, strong language, and violence.  The trick, though, as a couple of Amazon reviewers have suggested too, is to see the movie as a kind of documentary, but one made for the aliens — to take for oneself an alien point of view and learn, with the woman, what’s going on with this strange new world.

But pay attention:  the film may move slowly, but even the smallest details are important.
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*With sometime assistance by a man with a motorcycle.

Well, technically winter doesn’t arrive for about two more weeks, but late or not the Fall STAR*LINE (cf. October 22, et al.) is here.  This is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) with three short poems by me this time out, “Parents” and “Gourmet Warning” on (each in its own way) what might be termed family values, and “Waste Not, Want Not” on the virtue of frugal habits, to be found on pages 13, 15, and 28, respectively.  If interested, more on STAR*LINE can be found by pressing here, including links to the SFPA home page and related sf poetry matters.

So maybe a trifle late for Thanksgiving, the Bloomington Writers Guild First Wednesday Spoken Word Series (see November 7, et al.) featured two poets, a longish short story, and musical interludes by Mike Notaro and a Moog synthesizer.  First up was 2015-16 Kentucky Poet Laureate and once local resident George Ella Lyon with several selections including one from her VOICES FOR JUSTICE, a book of poems for young readers; followed by J.T. Whitehead, one-time editor of SO IT GOES, the literary journal of Indianapolis’s Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, among other things, and whose poetry included pieces from his 2015 National Book Award nominated THE TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS; and finally a farewell reading by Guild member Shayne Laughter (cf. December 1) of a “longish” short story “We Lie, We Die.”  Then “Open Mic” time came with me fourth out of seven with a just-written-last-Friday Casket Girls tale, “A Time for Gratitude,” in which a put-upon Aimée brings a new acquaintance home to her fellow filles for their Thanksgiving dinner.

These occasionally turn up on the internet and, as one might suppose, the answer is hoax.  Regardless of the actual age of some of the items included, they have a way of relying perhaps a bit too heavily on vampire lore gathered from post 1950s-ish movies.  Nevertheless. . . .

Well, I’ve used the notion once in a story, “La Valise,” starring Aimée, of les filles à les casettes, published in ZEN OF THE DEAD (Popcorn Press, 2015; cf. November 17, October 28 2015, et al.), suggesting that should a real vampire come across one in your luggage, it might not lead to a happy conclusion.  But for a bit more on the “hoax” part of the formula via Dan Evon, “Is This a Vampire Hunting Kit from the Early 19th Century?” on SNOPES.COM, one can check here.

Last night brought a little bit different mix at the First Wednesday Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. October 3, et al.).  The session began with poet Roger Pfingston with locally-based poems, primarily from his latest chapbook, WHAT’S GIVEN,

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Ernie Pyle, as remembered on the IU campus (IDS Photo)

followed by poet/performer and sometime teacher of theatrical magic Tom Hastings with dramatic readings of works by several poets and even a rope trick, emphasizing that a stage magician’s patter is at least as important as the trick itself.  Then third was WFHB radio writer and performer Richard Fish reading selections from Indiana University journalism graduate and war correspondent Ernie Pyle’s columns from World War II as an interesting — and in places touching — change of pace, while musical interludes were provided by guitarist and singer Gabriel Harley.

This was followed by six “Open Mic” readers (a seventh, Joan Hawkins, relinquished her spot to Gabriel Harley for two final songs), of which I was third with another in the “Casket Girls” series, “Flightless Rats,” of New Orleans vampiress Aimée’s encounter with a religious man with a slightly odd take on the Noah’s Ark story.

They’re here!  This edition contains thirteen horrifying tales of vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies, and even Frankenstein!  Along with other monsters that go bump in the night:  Salla by Stephanie Bardy . Dumb Luck by Dawn De Braal . Just Like Us by Belinda Brady . The Caged Wolf by Steve Carr . Mummy’s Daddy by Brandon Cracraft . Beefcake and The Vamp by James S. Dorr . Potentia by T. Fox Dunham . The Prodigal Son by Walter G. Esselman . The Invisible Man by Tom Fowler . Black Lagoon by David K. Montoya . Demonically Nice Neighbor by Copper Rose . Suicide Mission by Alan Russo . Tinfoil Bullet by Phil Thomas .

So says the blurb, but they were actually here a tad before now, ten days before Halloween in fact.  The “they” is MONSTERTHOLOGY 2, the anthology from Zombie Works Publications (see October 7, et al.) with tales of monsters harking back to the movie classics, vampires, wolfmen, zombies, et al.  This, my second MONSTERTHOLOGY appearance (the first, a cryptobiological tale called “Stink Man,” was in the initial anthology in 2012), is titled “Beefcake and the Vamp” and, a pre-“Casket Girls” New Orleanian story, features both a vampire and zombie.

So a check with Amazon has MONSTERTHOLOGY available as of October 21, with mine and twelve other stories as cited above.  For more, one may press here.




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