Archive for the ‘Zombies’ Category

Hopefully not to the former!  But the question does come up, what about Valentine’s Day for those people you don’t like so much?  And with less than a month left, here is one answer courtesy of Angel Orona on Facebook’s SHIT JUST GOT WEIRD, “Delivered in Hate: In the Victorian Era, People Sent These Grotesque ‘Vinegar Valentines’ to Their Enemies” from VINTAGE.ES (a.k.a. VINTAGE EVERYDAY).  Or, possibly better, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging around so much with people like that in the first place.

Nevertheless we are into horror and, who knows, one could be on the receiving end too.  So as the February feast day approaches, if only to be forewarned press here.

Then back to business, it was an odd sort of contract, an interactive one in a way, but contracts are contracts and this was received from ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE Editor Jason Brick earlier this afternoon (cf. just below, January 19).  I hope you’re still jazzed about this anthology.  The team and I sure are.  Today, though, we’re mostly about business.  More fun stuff comes later, but it’s always best to get the money and contract stuff done early so everybody’s on the same page and nobody’s feelings get hurt.  It was followed by a preview of what would be covered, and then:  If this still sounds like your idea of a good time, click the button below.  It will take you to a Google form where you sign off on this plain-English agreement.  From there, you’re in and we’re all set to move forward.

And there, step by step, one could check the “yes” boxes as each point came up, finally typing one’s name and the date — all easy and neat and uncomplicated, an interesting idea!  Be that as it may, I did as required, and back it went.

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Well, at 750 words my flash piece “The Junkie” is an itty bitty story so, when the call went out for an anthology called ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, who was I to resist?  The idea is, as I understand it, that one hundred stories at 1000 or fewer words each will be accepted for the book, “any genre welcome, just keep it awesome.”  Pay — and perhaps even just publication — will depend on Kickstarter success in the near future, so watch these pages for an announcement and link when I know it.

But I get ahead of myself.  The point is that in less than a day’s time, at 9:37 last night according to the time stamp, the email came:  I am thrilled to accept “The Junkie” for the book.  You are now officially confirmed.  This was followed by information on a mailing list for further details plus a request for my confirmation that I was still interested, which I returned.

So, again, check back here for future info and, when the Kickstarter is announced, be aware that generosity will be appreciated by ninety-nine authors as well as me.  And then, when the time comes, enjoy an all-new story (hint:  it does have a zombie in it) by me.

Not every list on this blog is of movies, and this one is too delicious to pass up.  So the entries are varied, music videos (Michael Jackson with THRILLER, one of the early starts), individual scenes (the line dance in DEAD AND BREAKFAST), shorts and cartoons (LULLABYE, the video at the end of PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES), stage plays (RE-ANIMATOR:  THE MUSICAL), as well as full-length films (ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, at number 1) — including at number 3 the play EVIL DEAD:  THE MUSICAL (for which see below, December 15).  To see for yourself, check out “Zombie Musicals are the Perfect Genre Mash-up” by Seanan McGuire, on TOR.COM, by pressing here.  Then enjoy, enjoy.

As we continue to settle into 2019, today brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s opening event, “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. December 2, November 4, et al.), this time in the back room of the downtown Soma Coffeehouse.  Featured readers were Bloomington-based writer and occasional dancer and actor Zilia Balkansky-Sellés with “mostly memoirs,” Wendy Teller with the opening chapter of her novel-in-progress THE SORROWS OF SEX, and local poet Eric Rensberger with a brief historical chat about the afternoon’s venue followed by a series of fifteen loosely connected “prose poem paragraphs.”  Holding a larger than average audience, these were followed by seven walk-ons, of which I was third with a just-written (on New Year’s Day to be exact) science-fiction satire of zombies and borders titled “Steel Slats.”

‘Tis the season and all that, so Saturday had me attending not one, but two parties, the first of which was the Bloomington Writers Guild year-end business meeting, pot luck fest, and open mike for everyone gala (see December 9 2017, et al.).  Chicken, salads, pizza, sweets.  Come reading time, my presentation was four very brief, humorous horror poems, all of which were in this Spring’s STAR*LINE: “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “She Did What?,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating,” and “From the Zombie Hunter’s Field Guide: Tracking the Zombie,” all of which I now discover I’d read before but nonetheless which went over well.

That was Saturday afternoon, while evening brought the local Society for Creative Anachronism annual Yule fest:  more food (ham and turkey, pulled pork, deviled eggs, more sweets) and music, the latter of which I helped provide, my recorder group playing carols for a sing along session, followed, as time in the hall ran low, by a Renaissance tune for people to dance to.  In all a pleasant end to the day, but exhausting also.

So a few things it fails at, to credit the homage to Richard Matheson’s vampire novel I AM LEGEND behind George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  To give much attention to non-English language movies and, in particular, to Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBI II for not only popularizing “zombies” as the name of the shamblers but also attempting to bridge the gulf between the original Haitian beliefs (noted here in, e.g., Bela Lugosi in WHITE ZOMBIE and Val Lewton’s I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, though it does suggest a different “bridge” via science fiction movies where aliens animate dead as puppets, e.g. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE*) and post-Romero popular culture.  But then again, hey, we weren’t there to be literary scholars but just to enjoy ripping good zombie destruction scenes.  And for that, Alexandre O. Philippe’s 2014 DOC OF THE DEAD delivered at Friday night’s Indiana University Cinema “Midnight” (that is, it ends around midnight, starting at 10 p.m. — we all need our sleep eventually) Movie.

To quote from the I.U. Cinema blurb:  Shot and edited in a cinematically edgy, high-octane style, DOC OF THE DEAD creates a rich pop-culture dialogue between zombie experts, celebrities, and indie filmmakers, including Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell, and George Romero.  Created by the makers of THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS, this definitive zombie-culture documentary investigates the possibility and ramifications of an actual zombie outbreak.  Contains mature content, including graphic imagery and sexual violence.  Well, it had better contain the latter, that is to say otherwise what’s the point?  But it also ends on a sort of semi-serious note, on the idea of surviving if not “real” zombies, some kind of disease where victims might simulate zombie behavior.

Docent this time was Director Philippe himself as an extra, explaining the film as an attempt to discover “how zombies went from underground (or ‘under cover’) to mainstream in a very short period of time.”  Much thus is a series of short clips, jumping to topics like zombie fandom, zombie walks, etc., along with films that advanced the myth (e.g., RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD with the notion of zombies craving brains), allowing a sort of montage effect — fast moving and fun — with the ultimate question at least somewhat answered:  “Why are zombies such a big deal?”
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*And there is a short sequence actually visiting Haiti, plus a brief reference to Wade Davis (e.g., THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW).

The writing life, a day of routine that goes with the game.  Two brief items this time (well, the second is rather long, actually), the first from 18th Wall Productions reaching back six months into the past, to a story, “Bottles,” and its acceptance for a 1950s-themed anthology, SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (cf. May 1).  The story itself is a reprint 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 and the Cold War as experienced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and today the contract arrived — with edits promised to follow soon — and has as of this writing been, with a slight annotation, signed and readied for mailing back to Editor Nicole Petit tomorrow.

Then second an email from Bryce Raffle of Grimmer & Grimmer Books, publishers of DEADSTEAM with my story “The Re-Possessed” (see September 15, 4, 3, et al.), originally published in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), which now has garnered a clutch of reviews.  None of these actually mention my name, but what the heck it’s a good anthology, and so just this once (“I would encourage you all to share the reviews, so fans know they’re buying something worth reading”) they are quoted herewith:

The first review here is from BookLife (A Publishers Weekly site); particular congrats goes to Ross Smeltzer, for his particularly high praise in this review.

Raffle brings together a fine selection of 17 “dreadpunk” (gaslamp horror and dark steampunk) stories in this gritty, enjoyable anthology.  The London Underground becomes a playground for the undead in Raffle’s suspenseful “Burke Street Station.”  A greedy lover gets her comeuppance in Jay Seate’s “The Velvet Ribbon.”  Rob Francis’s “B.A.R.B.” plays with the concept of devil worship, and the lengths a grieving man might go to revive his dying wife.  The pinnacle of the collection is Ross Smeltzer’s “The Hunger,” in which a man’s encounter with the undead in a forgotten cemetery lurches him toward Lovecraftian insanity.  Although Raffle includes several stories that hover around a similar idea or theme (there is a glut of vampire fiction in this anthology), the standout tales are those that break from conventional horror.  The nature of human frailty and propensity towards violence is underscored in all of the collected tales, making it more than just full of good scares.  Seasoned horror readers will appreciate this dark anthology.  (BookLife)

What a reading delight!!  This dreadpunk (steampunk horror) anthology is a perfect way to get in the Halloween mood.  These stories are reminiscent of classic penny dreadfuls and gothic horror.

I especially loved the tales where vampires were the focus.  Like Agony in Red by Jen Ponce and The Case of the Murderous Migraine by Karen J. Carlisle.  I haven’t read gothic vampire tales in a while and forgot how much I enjoy those tales.

Additionally, I absolutely was spooked by Harvesters by E. Seneca.  It reminded me strongly of The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey.  (Which I absolutely devoured those books).

Many of these stories I would love to have more fleshed out with a full novel or another short story.  This unique blend of horror and steampunk is exactly what I needed to upstart my spooky Halloween season.  Even if you don’t know about steampunk, I recommend this if you are a lover of classic horror stories and gothic literature.  (Clockwork Bookdragon)

DeadSteam:  A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural is a great book for a newbie to dreadpunk like me.  Filled with stories that excite and tantalize the mind, I was on the edge of my seat for many of these short stories.  A great book to light some candles to, turn on the fire place and read in the chilly coldness this winter season. (Kay, Goodreads)

This is a delightful collection of seventeen dreadpunk horror stories, think Penny Dreadfuls.  I have never heard of dreadpunk but I have to say I have fallen in love with these stories.  They include several stories full of vampires, zombies, witches and so much more.  There is a story or two that will delight anyone that enjoys the horrors of the world.

I know I missed Halloween and this book would have been perfect.  But I still got the chance to dance in its pages amount the death, blood, and gore that make all things horror.  I loved the short stories, they gave a perfect taste of the author’s work.  There are more than a couple author’s that I will be looking into their other books.  But then again the down side to short stories is that I would just love to immerse myself in these worlds and find myself over with the trip quickly.

This is a wonderful collection of dreadpunk stories that I recommend checking out.  I will be keeping my eyes out for more in this genre.  (J Bronder Book Reviews) 

Only four days left!  (Say what?)  That’s four days from now, to October 31, for a chance to purchase THE TEARS OF ISIS, my 2013 Stoker(R) nominated collection, at fifteen percent off its regular price.  And that’s for both editions, both print and electronic.  Or, to quote publisher Max Booth III:  Hey!  Speaking of Halloween, starting right now until the end of the month, everything in our webstore is 15% off.  All you gotta do is enter discount code ThisIsHalloween upon checkout.  Go get some spooky lit for your spooky self.

So for celebrating Halloween right, here’s a chance to read THE TEARS OF ISIS if you haven’t but might want to try it.  For information/ ordering, with links to other Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titles as well, one need but check it out in the PMMP store by pressing here.  Or for more information on TEARS itself, including reviews, just click its picture in the center column — then come on back to the publisher’s store for this special discount.

And remember, if you read it and like it (this goes for any author’s books), please consider writing and posting your own review on Amazon and elsewhere as well.

Yes it was, the Bloomington Writers Guild “Second Thursday Player’s Pub Spoken Word Series” (see October 9; October 13 2017, et al.) with a special early Halloween lineup to honor October.  How special?  Even the five open mike readers at the end chose at least some poems, etc. specifically for spookyness while featured musical guest Travis Puntarelli also went out of his way to play and sing numbers with, let us say, Gothic overtones.  Then of the headlined readers, the first one was . . . moi.  Or to read from the blurb, JAMES DORR is a short story writer and poet, working primarily in dark fantasy and horror with some forays into science fiction and mystery.  . . .  The story he’ll be reading tonight is called “River Red,” and appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  It is set on a far-future dying Earth, populated by various creatures including ghouls — eaters of the dead — and is in the same universe as his latest novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, out from Elder Signs Press.  This was followed by another musical interlude, then by the main event, a dramatic reading by Writers Guild members of . . . well, to quote again from the blurb, DRACULA is a screenplay for a never-made film by the late, notorious Ken Russell, Britain’s cinematic sultan of excess and outrage whose films include TOMMY, ALTERED STATES, LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, and GOTHIC.*  The script was written in the late 1970s and published in 2009.  The film came close to being made only to be abandoned when Universal put its Frank Langella headlined version of DRACULA into production.  Russell’s script, however, allegedly formed the impetus for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version, whose screenwriter James V. Hart was directly involved in the inception of Russell’s interpretation.

In a departure from usual practice, the evening ended shortly after 8 as opposed to a more normal 9 p.m., to allow for an additional band Players Pub had scheduled for the night.  This specifically cut down the amount of time set aside for the play, allowing for only two or three scenes, but enough to give an idea of its flavor, set in the 1920s, that of a vampire motivated by a love of music and on a quest to confer immortality on dying artists.  However, the Writers Guild also announced plans to present the play in its entirety at some time in 2019.
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*Re. GOTHIC, cf. October 5, September 30.  But readers may recall having met Mr. Russell before as creator of THE FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER (July 17 2015, “E. A. Poe Meets Alice in Wonderland”), described as a buggy interpretation “for the 21st century” of not just Poe’s “House” (which possibly more deflates than falls at the end of the picture) but almost everything else Poesque beginning with a wink of the eye to “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Reader beware: to open this tome is to invite dread into your heart.  Every page you turn will bring you closer to something wicked.  And when the dead begin to rise from the steaming pits of hell, only then will you discover that it is already too late.  Your life is forfeit.  Featuring an introduction by Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Eterna Files and Strangely Beautiful saga, DeadSteam plays host to the scintillating writing of 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), and more…  With seventeen chilling tales of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk, DeadSteam will leave you tearing at the pages, desperate for more.  For within these pages, the dead rise from their graves to haunt the London Underground, witches whisper their incantations to the wind, a sisterhood of bitten necks hunts fog-drenched alleyways lit only by gaslight, and only one thing is certain:  that dread will follow you until you turn that final page.  And that sinking feeling in the pit of your chest?  That fear that something is following you, watching you, hunting you?  It is not for nothing.  Look over your shoulder, dear reader.  Watch behind you.  Listen to the whispers in the darkness.  But know this . . . it is all inevitable.

Thus the Amazon blurb for Grimmer & Grimmer Books’s new anthology DEADSTEAM (see September 4, et al.), still listed for an official October 1 release. But strange are the ways. . . .  That is, yesterday my author’s paperback copy had nestled itself into my mailbox, seemingly more than two weeks before its official existence!  None the less, my tale in the tome (tomb?) involves not a premature birth of sorts but, recounted through the eyes of a Victorian London undertaker, perhaps an overly quick dismissal of death.  The title is “The Re-Possessed,” originally published in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016).

Not complaining about the date, though (albeit putting down its publication as September 2018 in my bibliography (cf. under “PAGES” in the right hand column) — it is in fact a lovely book.  And pre-orders are being taken now, so those who wish to indulge may press here.  And not only that, there will be an additional hardback edition, to pre-order which one may press here.




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