Archive for the ‘Zombies’ Category

DEADSTEAM is on the way and with my story “The Re-Possessed” in it (cf. January 16, 11).  Scheduled for October 2018 and with a publisher, Grimmer & Grimmer Books, now announced, there is also a website for more information, including profiles on authors thus far.  As well as a definition of “Dreadpunk” and tidbits on what to expect:  DEADSTEAM is an anthology of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk.  These are tales of the ghoulish and the gothic, chilling stories of haunted streets, of vampires and demons stalking the city from fog-drenched alleyways lit only by gas lamps.

17 chilling stories of the monsters lurking around every corner, the ghosts haunting the darkest streets of Victorian London, and the dead things crawling out of their graves to consume the flesh of the living.

Featuring stories by David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Jen Ponce (The Bazaar, Demon’s Cradle), Wendy Nikel (The Continuum), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Jonah Buck (Carrion Safari), DJ Tyrer, Jay Seate, Lawrence Salani, James Dorr, Lori Tiron-Pandit, Rob Francis, Ross Smeltzer, CC Adams, Alice E Keyes, Steve Carr, E Seneca, and Bryce Raffle (The Complications of Avery Vane).

And maybe more stories and authors to come?  To find out, check here.

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Just a very, very short entry.  Yesterday saw the arrival of a preliminary proof copy of DEADSTEAM, the steampunkish Victorian anthology of tales centered around the dead, which recently accepted my story “The Re-Possessed (see January 11).  Letting no grass grow under his feet, Editor Bryan Raffle requested corrections, if any, to edits, comments on questions (including in some cases minor rewriting), plus bios and photos, etc.  And so the beat goes on:  I, seeing only a few very minor changes plus really only one comment to address, was able to get the package together and off it went back this afternoon.  Publication to my best knowledge is still scheduled for fall (thus authors who might have been asked for rewrites should have time to complete them) with, among other things, a proposed series of author interviews to be conducted as part of a pre-release publicity campaign — and which I was delighted to agree to!  More to be here as it becomes known.

I want your stories that embrace the traditional horror story-telling of the Victorian penny dreadfuls and gothic mysteries.  Steampunk is certainly welcome here, but I’m more interested in Poe and Mary Shelly than Verne and Wells.  I will happily accept tales that pair the gothic with the steamy mechanical contraptions inherent to steampunk.  Give me the fog-drenched dreadpunk Victoriana.  [and]  Your tale should include at least one dead creature, be it a ghost, a vampire, a zombie, or some creature of your own invention, and should fit into some alternate version of the Victorian era.

Sounds like fun, yes?  Such was the call last fall from Bryce Raffle for the upcoming DEADSTEAM, an anthology that aims to showcase the dark side of steampunk, the ghoulish and the gothic, tales of gaslamp and dreadpunk that embrace the macabre.  And who was I to resist it? So, the money not much but reprints allowed, off went a story published originally in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), “The Re-Possessed.”  And Thursday the word came back:  Thank you for allowing me to read your story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and think it will be a great fit for the DeadSteam anthology. Honestly, I got chills reading it!

Also attached was a contract with other information concerning proof copies, payment, and publicity, etc., the former to be sent back Friday. According to the guidelines last fall, the hope is to release the anthology Halloween this year, and, at least from the descriptions above, it sounds like a neat one!  More will be here as details become known.

With a Sunday respite from cold, cold weather last week, the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (see December 4, et al.) had its 2018 start in a new and most likely temporary venue, the Monroe County Library Auditorium, due to the imminent closing of Boxcar Books.  The featured readers were speculative fiction writer and sometimes poet Darja Malcolm-Clarke with an excerpt from a story to bloomingtonwritersguildappear in SEE THE ELEPHANT magazine, “Wren’s Flight”; YA novelist Julia Karr with three short pieces based on prompts from a writing course several years back; and School of Education doctoral candidate Adam Henze with a group of fictionalized essays on various aspects of the teaching experience, including one in haibun form.  Snacks (to be eaten in the library’s atrium only) followed, leading into the open mike session with five readings, of which mine was third, “Midnight Sun,” a Christmas tale of zombies and vampirism in its own cold, cold weather setting, thus giving it a special relevance to the well below freezing previous few days.

Two quick Saturday items, the first of which is the receipt of a large paperback copy of THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES PRESENTS. . . , VOLUME ONE.  This is the hard copy version of Bards and Sages Publishing’s first year’s collection of longer stories, that is ones hard to place in most electronic magazines, etc., because of their length.  And mine, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” a magical courtroom drama originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, appears first in the book, a result of it winning a readers poll in its electronic version (cf. October 16, January 19, et al.).  For more, one may press here.

Then today also marked the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Year End Party and Annual General Business Meeting Plus Open Mic, for which I presented orange slices for the pitch-in refreshments, and eight very recent, very short, epigrammatic poems for the readings.  One of which, “Wet Work,” was my most recently published poem in the current STAR*LINE (see December 2, et al.), while the others, thus far unpublished, were “From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home,” “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “What She Learned,” “Oh No She Didn’t?,” “City of Angels,” and “Land of Milk and Honey.”

Thursday, while warm, was gloomy and threatening-rainy all day long, though the rain itself held off.  Nor did it disturb this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored Second Thursdays Players Pub Spoken Word Series(cf. March 10, February 10), featuring four Indiana readers (though one will be leaving for Germany soon) along with singer-guitarist Brandon Pfeiffer.  The readers were poet Patsy Rahn (who we’ve met before) and story writer Brian Leung and, following a musical interlude, Josh Brewer (no relation, as Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer emphasized) and, in her last local Guild-sponsored reading, novelist Annette Oppenlander (who we’ve also met before, this time reading from her recently published SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND, based on her own parents’ experience growing up during World War II).  Then when open mike time came, no less than nine writers and poets took their turns on the stage — with mine being fifth with a tale for May of enduring love, and zombies, “His Dead Ex-Girlfriend” — which I think may be a record for audience participation.  Also, unlike other Writers Guild readings, Second Thursdays will persist during the summer, so the next few months may also pick up some Last Sunday Poetry and First Sunday Prose regulars too.

Then a week ago Thursday, May 4th, I noted that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble were offering pre-order discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price being actually twenty-some cents lower at $9.95.  This is for paperback copies, of course — I understand there will be an electronic edition but it won’t be out until a little late8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13r.  But now serendipity strikes again, with my having somewhat accidentally discovered that Amazon’s price has been lowered to $9.95 too, to match B&N’s!  To see for yourself, press here.  (And not only that, but Amazon promises all pre-publication orders will be billed at the lowest price on June 1, when the book is officially published, so if you’d pre-ordered at a higher price, you’ll still get the full discount.)

So, hey, what the heck, just for a lark I moseyed over to B&N too, just to see, you know, if they still were at $9.95 too, and . . . the Barnes and Noble price has been lowered as well, this time to a mere $9.75!  Exciting times these — and to see for oneself one need but to press here (although to my best knowledge B&N may not have a similar promise, that already pre-ordered books will have their prices lowered too).  But the moral in any event is, with less than twenty days remaining until TOMBS is released, check out the bookseller of your choice for some hefty discounts before it’s too late.*

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*How hefty?  Barnes & Noble says you’ll save 35 percent off a listed full price of $14.95, while Amazon’s discount is an only slightly smaller 33 percent, or one third off.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.” – Shel Silverstein

(The above quotations courtesy of blogger Lindsey Goddard who adds, I offer you my Top Twelve Weirdest and Creepiest Horror Movie Dances.  They are all listed here for different reasons . . .  but all of them possess a certain WTF factor.   Like seriously . . . WTF?)

So “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” in fact, from INSIDIOUS (“even ghost boys like to dance) is #2 on “The Dirty Dozen:   Top 12 Weirdest and Creepiest Horror Movie Dances,” by Lindsey Goddard on DIRTYLITTLEHORROR.COM, which appeared on my computer screen today and which I absolutely cannot resist sharing.  The weirdest (or possibly just most insane) is the zombie line dance (with music and lyrics) from DEAD AND BREAKFAST, #4 on the dance card.  That’s counting from the top down, so what will be #12, the last on the list, the weirdest, creepiest horror dance ever?  Hint:  think Linnea Quigley, and it’s not HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS.  Not enough?  How about not California but Louisville, Kentucky, or . . . well, all right, it’s the cemetery striptease performed by punk girl Trash (“Let’s get some light over here.  Trash is taking off her clothes again!”) from 1985’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, the movie which also brought us the idea of zombies craving brains.  To see, wallow, enjoy all twelve for oneself press here.

This comes to us today via Nathan Rowark on Facebook, a sale through June 30 from Horrified Press to include all e-titles.  Other than that I know no details, nor does the publisher’s Facebook page provide any more, except that all anthology titles are thus priced at $3.00 or less.  And, as it happens, I have several stories published by them although one, “Lobster Boy and the Hand of Satan” in HOW TO TRICK THE DEVIL (cf. October 14 2015, et al.) appears to be available in print only, at least on Amazon, and hence doesn’t count. Two others, though, do:  “Tunnels,” concerning familial love in an underground post-apocalyptic world, in UNTIL THE END (see June 15 2014, et al.) on sale for $2.99; and “Flesh,” of a man who strives to get fat (but, when all is said and done, perhaps not enough), in NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS (see October 14 2015, December 21 2014, et al.) for an even $3.00.  For more, for UNTIL THE END press here; and for NIGHTMARE STALKERS here.

Some fungi, viruses and bacteria have evolved a spine-chilling way of being transmitted from one host to another. They turn their hosts into witless zombies.  Say what?  But this is the subtitle of a decidedly non-fictional article,”Real-Life Zombies that Are Stranger than Fiction” by Chris Baraniuk, published earlier this week on BBC.COM.  To quote Baraniuk further:  The zombies we know from fiction are ferocious, flesh-eating post-humans.  And while such stories have never come true, nature is full of disturbingly similar cases of zombification among plants and animals.  Sometimes the parallels are striking.  And moreover this isn’t something new.  While the “victims” thus far seem to be confined to such lower life forms as insects and spiders, at least one zombie-inducing parasite will attack frogs.

So are humans next?  I have a story, “Swarms,” coming out on Earth Day, April 22, in MOTHER’S REVENGE (Scary Dairy Press, see March 8, et al.), that takes a similar spin from possibly mutated ichneumon wasps — another insect of interest in itself.  But according to Baraniuk, some ants, at least, have been so affected for 48 million years.

Interest whetted?  Then gird your stomach and take another big swig of green beer, then check it out by pressing here.  But do so at your own risk as, to quote its author once more, [t]here is something particularly disconcerting about the idea that an animal’s behaviour could be drastically changed by an infection or parasite, but it is a phenomenon well-established in nature.

One final note for 2016, DISTURBED DIGEST (see December 6) arrived New Year’s Eve with my poem “Zombie Trouyearsedd2ble?” in it.  Also Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing has announced a special sale through Saturday, January 7, via DriveThruFiction for their New Year’s Eve-themed anthology, YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR (cf. March 19, et al.), with my lead-off story “Appointment in Time.”  The sale, which reduces the price from $4.99 to $2.99, is only available on DriveThruFiction and must be reached through a special, one-week-only link, for which press here.




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