Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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.

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Another step, this on the road for poetry, to resolve some questions involving commas in “Roadkill Doll,” one of two poems being set up for STAR*LINE (cf. May 1) from Editor Vince Gotera.  The trick with poetry is oftentimes not the just the words themselves, but how they’re presented and why they’re presented so.  And so, too, the importance of punctuation — and whether a poem is something that’s to be seen on a page, or if it’s to be sometimes read aloud:  that is, grammar versus flow.

So it’s complicated, but questions answered, reasons given, and just sent back, with “Roadkill Doll” (and companion poem “Enemy Action”) now that much closer to publication in a future STAR*LINE.

This afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s last “First Sunday Prose and Open Mic” readings at Bears Place (cf. April 8, et al.) for spring, the series going on summer hiatus for June and July.  There were two featured readers:  novelist and essayist Dennis McCarty, whose latest book, THOUGHTS FROM A GENTLE ATHEIST, is expected to be available on Amazon later this month, read parts of three chapters from his REFLECTIONS:  ON TIME, CULTURE, AND SPIRITS IN AMERICA about Idaho’s Minidoka War Relocation Center and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; and mystery novelist and DJ/host of local WFHB radio’s weekly show “All That Jazz” Ray Zdonek read two short chapters from DIANA OF THE DUNES, the latest in his multi-volume Lee Kosac detective series.  Then, following a short break, there were five walk-on readers of which I was first with a holdover from last month, “Che,” originally published in the Summer 2006 BLEEDING QUILL, a flash fiction satire about the George W. Bush administration and how it defeated a terrorist Cuban zombie invasion of the moon.

Another quickie!  Today brought an edited copy of “Appointment in Time” from CURIOSITIES Editor Kevin Frost (cf. May 1):  Got a couple of minor edits, then I can move thecuriosities-issue-5-cover-shot manuscript to the narration queue.  The edits, two, were minor indeed, an added comma and one word misspelled, so this afternoon my “okay” went back, with my 2012 New Year’s Eve tale of steam and clocks and year-end horror one step closer to its new appearance in CURIOSITIES, as well as possible future podcast in THE GALLERY OF CURIOSITIES.  And with this an “extra,” courtesy of fellow blogger Brian James Lewis who directed me to a review he wrote on DAMAGED SKULL WRITER of the previous, Winter 2019 issue of CURIOSITIES, emphasizing its general high quality — one I can hardly wait now to see my own story appear in!  To read for oneself, one need but press here.

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.

Two pieces of news to start a new month, the first from STAR*LINE editor Vince Gotera:  Sorry for the long delay.  I’m behind but catching up.  I’d like to accept “Enemy Action” and “Roadkill Doll.”  Could you please let me know if those are still available?  STAR*LINE is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and has been noted on these pages before, while “Enemy Action,” I might also note, adds to a series of three-line haiku-ish poems about a mermaid vampiress and her various acts of gluttony, several of which have also appeared in previous issues of STAR*LINE.  (“Roadkill Doll,” on the other hand, is a stand-alone celebration of two iconic American not-quite people and, more to the point, yes, both poems were still available.)

Also, it being the first day of May, the spring mammoth royalty season has begun, bringing. . . .  Well, surprise, surprise, right off the bat a fully two-figure payment to PayPal, not the first ever (see, e.g., January 25 2018, et al.) but easily enough to buy a nourishing if modest dinner,* and that’s something worthy of celebrating.  In this case the payment is for book sales over several months, but a book that’s been on the market for some years so it’s not exactly in the midst of an advertising blitz.  And it all adds up, yes?

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*That is to say, no cocktails beforehand, but maybe enough for a small dessert after.

I find that sometimes my best stories come from combining several different ideas.  Thus “The Sending” combines a detective/crime story with a ghost story, then with a romance, and brings in details both on lighthouses and on Depression-era Florida.  The details also required research (including touching on spiritualism as understood in the 1920s and ’30s, and references to Florida’s original colonization by Spain) which, as a one-time graduate student, I find adds to the fun, which I hope shows through in the finished product.

Details on this had been a little fuzzy, with an original call on December 6, re. LOVE BEYOND DEATH — An anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death.  For the anthology I am looking for around 20 short stories — (based on the overall word count of all accepted entries).  The genre will be a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction, cross genre stories are welcome.  Each story to be of approximately between 4,000 > 8,000 words in length.  So four days later I sent “The Sending” (aha, one that has absolutely nothing to do with my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH!) a reprint originally published in the December 1997 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and also appearing in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for info on which, one may click its picture in the center column).  A reply came back on April 13:  The selection process for the deliberately ambiguously entitled anthology LOVE BEYOND DEATH has now concluded, and it gives me great pleasure to say that your story has been successful. . . .  The next step is to agree a few terms before I can make the announcement official.

So it goes, an acceptance I could not announce quite yet, from Beyond Death Publishing in the UK.  Until, that is, two days ago on Sunday when I received details and a questionnaire from Editor Dickon Springate, and a check on Facebook to make sure the news was, as it were, now in the public domain.  And thus my answer, above, to “Question 2” which went back yesterday afternoon, or, the publication machine grinds on with corrections (or not) to edited copy to come, along with details on a Kickstarter campaign, the latter one hopes to bring us authors more money, set for the future.  So please be generous.  Question 1, in fact, had to do with Paypal details while Question 3, on a brief plot description, may appear on these pages in the near future.  Or maybe not — after all, the best way to find out what a story will be about is to buy the book after it’s published.

Publication of LOVE BEYOND DEATH is tentatively set for 2020, on Valentine’s Day, if all goes well — and so the writing life continues — while above, to the right, is a tentative table of contents (and with, it would seem, a few more than the originally planned twenty stories).

Sunday brought a new festival of sorts, a “Bloomington Street Fair” in which the Writers Guild, among other groups, had a booth.  I was not a participant myself directly, though I did lend several books to be displayed with other members’ to let the world at large (or at least locally) know of our various publications.  Among others, two favorite anthologies of mine were there, a very respectable-looking, hardbound GOTHIC GHOSTS (Tor Books, 1997) and an almost maniacally enthusiatically designed THE HUNGRY DEAD (Popcorn Press, 2010), the latter with both a story and a poem by me in it.

But speaking of poetry, Sunday afternoon also meant “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” time at the Monroe County Convention Center with, in honor of April as National Poetry Month, a special “Poetry Palooza” all open-mike session which I, having missed last month, did attend.  COME and read your own poems, or read poems written by someone else, talk all things poetry, laugh and listen and meet and greet.  I brought a couple of items there as well, should people wish to read from, say, a RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, but the turnout was actually on the small size, with eight attending, so chairs were arranged into a circle with all of us reading work in turn.  My selections were both from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), the first and last poems in the book, “Blood Portrait” about Max Shreck and the movie NOSFERATU in the first round, then “Chagrin du Vampire” about a vampirized Mina Harker for the second.

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.

This one’s been predicted often enough, actually, that it seems more like a joke than news — and as for the news part it’s really not actually being planned . . . yet.  But the power of advertising is great and, as a background detail when, say, those romantic sexbots of the previous post gaze out of their window to see the moon, well light pollution could also be a factor and who’s to say smog won’t obscure it all?  As for the joke part, this did come to my attention courtesy of Michael Parisi on Facebook’s FANTASY/SCIENCE/FICTION NEWS AND HUMOR site.  The article itself, by Anthony Cuthbertson on WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK, is titled “Pepsi Considers Space Billboards to Project Logo Across Night Sky Using Satellites” and can be seen by pressing here.

But then as the article itself states:  It is not the first time extra terrestrial advertising has been proposed, with one Japanese startup aiming to place billboards on the surface of the moon by 2020.  Tokyo-based Ispace raised $90 million in 2017 to kickstart what it calls the “lunar economy”, which involves – at least in part – setting up small advertising hoards on the moon that can be viewed from Earth.




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