Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

“Who started it all.”

A quick note for Wednesday with another contract, this time from Tom English for BLACK INFINITY (cf. July 12). Hope you’re well and enjoyed the holidays. Attached is the contract for “Scavenger”. Sign and return at your earliest convenience. I hope to finish laying out issue 7 by late Jan., send out pdf’s for proofing by early Feb., and get the book out by mid Feb. We’ll see.

We’ve met BLACK INFINITY twice before (see August 8, July 19, 12, 9, et al.), a classy magazine featuring both new fiction and reprints, the one upcoming to be on the theme of “Renegade Robots.” While “Scavenger,” originally published in the November 1994 FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES, is about a robot not necessarily so much a renegade itself as deserted by the world it originally had been created to serve.

So in this crazy game, nothing’s permanent, really. In Sunday’s email, from The Great Void Books Editor Aditya Deshmukh: I need you to . . . sign the contract for SHATTERED VEIL. Yes, we already did this. However, unfortunately, there were many delays in publishing SHATTERED VEIL and the old contracts are no longer valid because of this delay. I’m really sorry for the trouble.

And so it goes. Delays happen — we know that. Along with the email were instructions for a new portal to use for the signing, plus a request for a mini-bio and picture (after all, in the ensuing time, who hasn’t added a wrinkle or two?) and a “bone-chilling” summery. Thus for my story in this (cf. June 18), “Pre-Owned Jeans” (originally published in 2010’s DREAMSPELL NIGHTMARES from L&L Dreamspell): “Haunted clothes from a mysterious store provoke strange responses in their new buyers. What is it that draws these items together?”

What indeed? Check here as more news becomes known.

So it goes, the year 2020 now a part of history, my reading of the current book (the hefty 25 GATES OF HELL, cf. December 9, et al.) only a few stories short of the end, what should arrive yesterday, New Year’s Day, but a ready replacement. The new book is WORTH 1,000 WORDS (see November 29, 18), a compilation of tales published via email in FLASH IN A FLASH, itself a running collection of (guess what?) flash fiction.

Edited by Jason Brick and Dani J. Caile, WORTH 1,000 WORDS contains 101 stories in all, each at or under 1000 words as the title implies. Subjects vary, from general fiction to various genres, including horror — in this case, e.g., my story, “The Third Prisoner,” originally published in for November 2008 as well as several other places including Brazil (in Portuguese!) in I ANTOLOGIA LUSIADAS (as “O Terceiro Prisioneiro,” Ediciones Lusiadas, 2009). How’s that for a world traveler? A crime story too, “The Third Prisoner” concerns a man, originally from Haiti, about to be executed as a revolutionary, but with a surprise to spring with his demise.

Of the book as a whole (to quote the back cover), you’ll meet newly established authors, career tale spinners, and a few big names . . . all delivering great stories in small packages. These quick peeks into the minds of master fiction writers bring you everything from sweet romance to spine-tingling horror in just minutes of your time.

Curiosity piqued? To see more, or order, press here.

So it comes to an end, the year that is, with a new July-through-September royalty statement . . . though as readers may know, my practice is not to reveal either publishers or titles to avoid embarrassment on both sides. But this time there is one thing worth noting. As mentioned in my last royalty report (see December 10), publishers of anthologies — where what comes in is usually shared among multiple authors — will often hold onto minuscule payments until they surpass a specific total before sending them on. And the great thing this time, it actually came out above the bar.

So to close the the year out, a small amount has been added to my account at PayPal, enough perhaps to buy a nice lunch (if one isn’t too hungry). And that’s not a bad thing.

Today brought an email from MURDER AND MACHINERY Editor Cameron Trost (cf. December 3, et al.): Just a quick update and photo to let you know the proof copy of the anthology has arrived. It’s looking pretty good. Just a little adjustment to make to the TOC layout and I’ll do a final line edit.

My part in this, we might recall, is a steampunky tale of music machines and suspected ghosts, at least by the more superstitious in town — but a spectral woman has been seen pacing the roof of the church. And a terrible accident involving a circus. The title is “Vanitas” and it first appeared in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for January 1996, and is also in my own 2001 collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.

Publication is currently slated for April, with more to be here as more details are known.

In ‘Moons of Saturn’, James Dorr takes us on a remarkable journey from the technological to the mythical to the sublime. Weaving together space exploration, Greek mythology, and love, Dorr offers a genre-blending tale of television and spacecraft, illness and hope, blood and absinthe.

Enjoy a taste here, from Pulp Literature Issue 28, Autumn 2020. And from now until the end of 2020 save 20% on anything in our store with the code XMAS2020 !

Therewith the tease for PULP LITERATURE’S Fall edition, featuring my story “Moons of Saturn” (see below, December 19, et al.), up now on the publisher’s blog, with a special twenty percent off discount should one wish to buy the issue itself to finish the story. Plus other stories worth reading as well — and/or other issues and books, as far as that goes. “Moons” itself, originally published in TOMORROW in July 1993 as well appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, is the tale of two lovers watching NASA footage of the 1980s Voyager Saturn missions on TV, and the woman’s “seeing” details that also connect with myths, both old and new, while her own health is rapidly declining.

Or, to see and sample it for yourself, press here.

And so, Monday’s email from Editor Dickon Springate: Find attached an advanced Word Doc version of the finished anthology, which I am now sending out to all contributing authors for their final last minute edits and approval.

Please review the attached version and reply with any comments or last minute corrections or your story.

The plan is to get this to the printers as soon as possible in the new year, so while I hate to put you on the clock after such a horrendously long wait, but in order to have a chance to hit the revised deadline any adjustments arriving to me after Saturday 2nd January cannot be guaranteed to go into the finished article.

The book is DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH and my story “The Sending” (see November 15, et al.), originally in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for December 1997, as well as reprinted in my 2001 collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE. The story tells of the love of a woman for a lighthouse keeper, but with an obstacle. The lighthouse keeper has been deceased for about a century.

But not to worry, enter some 1930s, early-Depression era gangsters and the woman could join him sooner than she might have planned. But she does have the gift, an ability to communicate beyond the grave (as she’s been doing now), and maybe a few other things going for her. In any event, “The Sending” is one of a number of stories of loves with bit of a dark edge to them and, my okay having gone back later this afternoon, the somewhat-delayed DISCORDANT LOVE should be on track to be out on Valentine’s Day 2021.

More here as it becomes revealed.

Just a quick note from Genevieve Wynand of PULP LITERATURE (see just below, December 13, et al.) on a wintry Saturday: I just put together the blog post for ‘Moons of Saturn’. I believe it will be scheduled for Tuesday of this week.­­ This, I think, should consist of the start of the story — a sort of a “tease” to get you to want to see the rest too — plus some other information about the magazine.

“Moons of Saturn,” as we may remember, is a reverie about the Voyager space probe flybys of that planet forty years ago, seen through the eyes of a fanciful young woman, Phoebe, and the man who loves her. More on which, with link, should appear here Tuesday if all goes as scheduled.

Two surprise royalty statements received/discovered yesterday were greater than the usual pittance the short story writer expects from anthology sales. That is, as one contributor out of a dozen or more (twenty-five, e.g., in the case of 25 GATES OF HELL featured just below), whatever the publisher got for the whole book will have been divided among many authors. Think of a single sardine, for example, dropped in the midst of a school of sharks. But there can be exceptions.

The first one wasn’t so much surprising as unexpected — publishers often will hold actually paying until one’s royalty reaches some semi-worthwhile amount, in some cases ten dollars. The royalty this time actually came to a few dollars more, but was for a large enough number of years I’d completely forgotten there might be one coming. However, it does mean that this was a book with staying power, still finding buyers in this case more than ten years after its initial publication.

As is my practice, for royalty matters I name neither the book/publisher nor the amount to avoid embarrassment on both sides, but the other one (which I discovered quite accidentally, due to PayPal’s long-standing policy of refusing to tell recipients when money is added to their accounts) was for a book published less than half a year ago(!), and is enough to actually pay for a decent dinner, including a cocktail or a glass of wine (though probably not both) if one were so inclined. And for an anthology this is rare, although realistically an early sales spurt will usually not be repeated. But still . . . well, maybe I should keep an eye out if that particular publisher puts out a call for a new anthology — at least if they’re still accepting reprints.

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