Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

This had been my original cover letter:  Attached is an 1800-word largish flash(?) submission for MONSTER PARTY, “The Stalker.”  While this is the original version, a “clothed” variation of “The Stalker” has been published in THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES (Bards and Sages Publishing, 2016) [cf. June 23 2016].  I hope you will be able to use it and, either way, will look forward to your report and any comments.  The tale was submitted to MONSTER PARTY, an anthology to be published by DEADMAN’S TOME, on September 6, not so long ago.  But today the email arrived from “Mr. Deadman”:

J Deadman <>
To:  james dorr <>

(sending the contract again in case you missed it).

Hot military chick fighting a yeti, how could I pass on that?

This contract is made between Deadman’s Tome, hereinafter referred to as the PUBLISHER, and James Dorr hereinafter referred to as the AUTHOR.  The parties agree . . . .

That is, the contract was being re-sent — but I’d never received the original document, much less an acceptance!  Strange are the mysteries of the internet, and its dread hench-being, email!  But never mind (and never mind either that technically the monster is a wendigo, a North American possible equivalent of a yeti — that’s but a quibble), the connection has now been re-connected, or for the first time, or whatever.  Rescued from the Great Black Hole of Electronic Doomed Correspondence.  And this afternoon my own acceptance went back, to wit:  I would be happy for “The Stalker” to appear in MONSTER PARTY and I agree to the terms of the contract below.

I hope it arrived.


Set in the “universe” of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but an ancillary story not in that volume, “Ghost Ship” was first published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU in 2013.  But again on the haunt, with Halloween coming, it has more recently been in the news with its acceptance, and then contract signing for a special “Derelicts” issue of science fiction journal BLACK ETERNITY (cf. September 15, August 11).  And so, again, it has materialized; from Editor Tom English:  Here’s “Ghost Ship” for review.  Please let me know if anything (text or formatting) needs adjusting.  If possible, please get back to me by Tuesday or sooner.  Thanks again!

So the writing life ticks on.  The issue will be BLACK INFINITY #5, set to be out later in October, in time for you-know-when.  And, the copy checked over and my reply sent, I’ll be looking forward to it in time for reading as ghosts and pirates and who knows what else flock to my door questing for Halloween candy.

This was the deal.  This month’s theme is Travel Horror, so any stories taking place on planes, trains, boats and goats.  Or any other medium of travel you can think of.  The prize includes a $20 token payment, publication in an upcoming SHALLOW WATERS anthology, and an Author Spotlight on the Crystal Lake Patreon page and newsletter.  Patreon supporters would vote on these stories, thirteen in all as it turns out (see September 25, below), with mine being last to be posted.  Lucky number thirteen!  And now its time has come.

The story in question is “Midnight Sun,” the tale of a Los Angelino night nurse with a secret, and a need to journey far, far to the north.  Those interested can find it by pressing here, along with, I assume, the twelve that preceded it.  Even better, they can vote for it and, even if it doesn’t come first, if it gets enough support it, too, may be chosen to be in SHALLOW WATERS, Crystal Lake Publishing’s periodic flash fiction anthology.  But there is a catch:  If folks ask, they need to be a $5 Fans of Fiction tier patron, or any of the higher tiers.  Authors who want to read and vote but also want to see our author related posts will have to join the $7 or higher tiers.  If they only join the $5 Author on the Go tier, they won’t be able to read these stories.  Again, information, including how to join should the spirit so move (and, remember, vote “Midnight Sun”), may be found by pressing here.

Also Facebook brought word that ABYSS & APEX Editor Wendy S. Delmater’s “how to” book WRITING THE ENTERTAINING STORY is currently out on Kindle.  So why mention if here?  Well, I get mentioned/supply an example in a discussion about how a writer can use a few broad details to induce readers to flesh out a scene by bringing their own memories and experiences to it.  The story in question — a science fiction flash piece of almost exactly 1000 words (I’d had to cut it down from 1200!) — is called “Nanoflakes,” about a young boy in a future that includes interactive breakfasts, and was published itself in ABYSS & APEX in its Second Quarter 2006 issue.*  Information on the Kindle edition can be found here.

*”Nanoflakes” was reprinted in UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND ANTHOLOGY (cf. September 10, May 6 2011), but also — and here’s the lagniappe! — can still be found in its original outing in the ABYSS & APEX archives by pressing here.

Another week, another contract, this time from Canada’s House of Zolo via Publisher Nihls Andersen:  We are so excited to have your work as part of the first edition of the HOZ JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE LITERATURE.  Attached please find our contract.  Once you’ve had a chance to read it and you are satisfied with the terms, please fill in your address, sign and return the document at your nearest convenience.  If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  This was followed by an up to date biography request, for a picture if possible, plus payment information.

The story in question is “Golden Age,” originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 and also reprinted in Smart Rhino Publications’ ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 11, et al.).  Thus the writing life continues:  We are expecting to release the JOURNAL in November 2019 as an E-Book and as a Printed Book, and we will let you know the exact date as soon as it is finalized.  The JOURNAL will be available Internationally on Amazon and other platforms — we’ll keep you posted as we add other venues.  The signed contract went back this afternoon, with more details to be printed here as they become known.

Also late Sunday the following came from Zombie Works Publications Editor Alan Russo:  You will find attached the official digital copy to MONSTERTHOLOGY 2!  Print copies will be available soon, along with the eBook version.  Thank you to every[one] and their hard work and contribution to this great anthology!  The tale here is a dark-humored take on a New Orleans vampire, but one not in the “Casket Girls” series, “Beefcake and the Vamp” (see September 25, February 19, et al.), with, again, more information here as soon as it’s known.

Sunday afternoon opened the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. May 5, et al.) at Bear’s Place for fall.  The featured readers were Wendy Teller who read an excerpt from her novel BECOMING MIA followed by another from the forthcoming THE SORROWS OF SEX; followed by Anya Peterson Royce who read two reviews from when she had been dance critic for the local Herald-Times newspaper, another piece from her long-term work with the Isthmus Zapotec in Mexico, and an excerpt from a novel about the commedia dell’arte in Renaissance Italy.  This was then followed by the “Open Mic” session in which I batted second of five with an (as I put it) “astronomical” story to start the season, a science fiction/horror tale titled “The Comet.”

And then a quick note on the BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS kickstarter noted Wednesday (see below, October 2).  Amongst the various levels of participation are two with 8dc97997df5e48ade02949a1f4ed7318_originalmy name mentioned in the details.  In both the $55 Shrimp Platter and the $150 Mantis Shrimp Ninja one of the items donors receive is “A James Dorr Sampler (7 short stories, pdf file).”  Say what?

Yes indeed, it is just that.  Six full-size short stories from my published books (for more on which one may click their pictures in the center column), one each from STRANGE MISTRESSES and DARKER LOVES and two each from THE TEARS OF ISIS and the novel-in-stories TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, plus one extra uncollected story, all in a glorious no-frills PDF chapbook.  The idea for me is that, if you like some, you may be moved to buy the book(s) they come from, but in any event it’s for stories for now, and for BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP it’s an extra inducement to make a pledge that will translate into copies of that book and extra prizes in the near future.

For more information, including more offers and yet more prizes, one need but press here.

Past Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf was the lead featured reader at Wednesday’s Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. September 4, et al.), reading a dozen selections from his latest book, INDIANA HILL COUNTRY.  He was followed in a slightly truncated session by writer and sometime dancer and actor Zilia Balkansky-Selles with four highly descriptive essay-poems, “two long, and two short,” and Newburgh Indiana poet and musician Jon Koker with work from his book SON.  Musical interludes were by guitarist/songwriter Richard Layton, while I came in second of seven “Open Mic” readers with the shortest and newest (and perhaps somewhat influenced by Joan Hawkins’ and Tonia Matthews’ “color” presentation last month) of the “Casket Girls” series, “Shades of Difference.”

The word is just out:  the kickstarter is up.  This is for the micro-fiction anthology BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS (the official full title — cf. September 26, August 21, 4, et al.) and can be found here.

To quote Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg:  Beer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations came about because of a chance comment on a Facebook post.  I had a friend post a short, weird little thing that made me laugh.  I mentioned that it would be fun to have a book of quotes and sayings like it — strange, quirky things that just don’t fit in the normal publishing pigeonholes.  The idea started snowballing from there and before I knew it, I had a pile of submissions. And wouldn’t it be fun if it were a short book with fun illustrations?  However now it must be funded, for which you can help by, again, pressing here.   It costs money to pay authors and artists.  It costs money to print and ship books.

To quote some more:  Beer-Battered Shrimp is a collection of extremely short things that will hopefully bring a smile to your face or make you stop and think for a moment, or just entertain and amuse.  My vision is a colorful, quirky little book, a very short story on each page.  The authors range from best-selling authors to some just breaking in to some never-before-published authors.  The youngest is four.  The oldest isn’t telling.

My part in this is the 75-word fairy-tale world epic “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair,” originally published in MISCELLANEA:  A TRANSDIMENSIONAL LIBRARY (Eggplant Literary Productions, November 14 2013), and is (as the guidelines had suggested) “silly and weird.”  And possibly at most a little disturbing.  But then, with the others, it’s only a “little” story as well.

Plus a bit of good news on this one, too, that while it still couldn’t quite reach pro market pay, it was upping the share for authors to four cents a word.  It’s MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE (cf. August 2), a new anthology edited by Michael Cieslak of Dragon’s Roost Press, of which it is written:

Jason, the Leprechaun, even the Cenobites and the Critters ended up going into space.  We decided it was time to give some other monsters that same chance.

Earlier this year we started accepting submissions for an anthology featuring classic monsters with the stories set in space.  We have collected 16 stories and one poem that we think you are really going to enjoy.

And by enjoy we mean scare the space suit off of you.

My story in this many-scarred starcross is one called “Atoms,” originally published in FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES for February 1992, of a planet’s natives that seemed unable to be killed, not a good prospect if you’re the one who’s trying to conquer them.  And so the contract came — along with the news of the pay raise which isn’t bad at all for a reprint — and thus signed, along with some minor changes to an included biography, went back to the publisher Monday afternoon.  A rather nice ending to close out September and start the fall season.

Also known as SCIFIANDFANTASYREVIEWER.WORDPRESS.COM, the word came Saturday evening from SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (see August 14, 6 et al.) Editor Nicole Petit:  I wanted to let you know we’ve had one of our first reviews come up!  It’s really detailed and positive!  Thank you so much for all of your hard work, and I’m so glad that someone is noticing!

Nine stories, in fact, are singled out for individual comment by the eponymous reviewer of which my own “Bottles,” about a young Puerto Rican woman in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts, is one:  Set against a background of white privilege, anti-communism and outright racism  . . .  an engaging and unique story that has a genuinely surprising ending that caught me off-guard.  Other tales cited are set in such locales as Las Vegas, the back roads of Texas, and even outside the US in the British Isles, with equally eclectic aspects of the 1950s — and the occult, or at least just strange — providing their own unique background color.

The review can be read for yourself by pressing here (note that the link at the review text’s top is for, though it is on Amazon, et al., in the US too).  I should note too that “Bottles” itself is also reprinted in my own collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

The story was titled “Silent Scream,” and the anthology SCARY SNIPPETS (cf. September 21).  This was to be a “Micro-Horror” collection, seeking horrific short stories that feature the theme of anything creepy for the Halloween season.  Ghosts, goblins, any and all horror is accepted.  The major constraint, the word count must be 500 words or less.

And so things progress, the contract arriving today from Suicide House Publishing, now signed and sent back.  The story in question was just under 500 words itself and is about silence.  The virtue of silence.  Its desirability.  An absolute need for silence . . . or else.  Hopefully, if all continues on schedule, to be out by or before Halloween.

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