Secrets, secrets. What was my “first ever” book, and why? (Hint, long out of print, you usually won’t see it in my current bio-notes.) Do I claim a specific writing style? Does my novel TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH have an ultimate message for readers (and what is the relation of TOMBS to what dramatists call “the five act structure”)? In the process of coming up with a title, how did TOMBS differ from THE TEARS OF ISIS? And now the answers, to questions I wouldn’t have dreamed up myself and many, many more have been revealed, courtesy of blogger extraordinaire Fiona Mcvie on AUTHORSINTERVIEWS.
And maybe a little more will be there on ISIS as well, or how Peter Lorre might have made a good “Ghoul-Poet.” If curious, press here. (And if interest is piqued by what you find, links are provided at the bottom for pre-ordering TOMBS as well as ordering THE TEARS OF ISIS — or if in a hurry, just click on their pictures on this page in the center column.)
“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.
On a lovely afternoon one day after April Fools, the Bloomington Writers Guild/Boxcar Books “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. March 5, et al.) featured a heady mix of dark fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. The first by many-time participant Shayne Laughter brought the ending of “Incident at Grandmothers Cottage,” a police procedural set in a fairytale forest which she had read the first part of at the premiere of the Players Pub Spoken Word series (at which I had also presented my TOMBS-set “River Red,” cf. February 10), followed by Karen Wylie who we have also met before (see November 1 2015 and August 3 2014) with an excerpt from her “science fiction of one sort or another” novel DIVISION, and mystery author, poet, and local WHFB jazz DJ/talk show host Ray Zdonek with a portion of his novel THE LAST ROUNDUP, fourth in his northern Indiana-set Lee Kosak mystery series. This was followed by five open mike readers of which I was fourth with a 700-word dark fantasy/murder mystery on the subject of pets cooking women (with a bit of back story, that being a “prompt” a few years back at my writers group) called “The Death of Mother Carvey.”
Then yesterday brought the opening entry of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Showcase, each to include mini-bios of six of the poets in this years Rhysling competition (cf. March 29), for which press here. These will continue with new posts every other day throughout the month — with (ahem) mine scheduled for April 19.
It happens sometimes. It’s usually not reported here, but sometimes a magazine or book that’s accepted a story fails to be published. But life must go on, yes? Such has been the fate of “In The Octopus’s Garden,” originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA, March-April 1999, which we might recall had been accepted as a reprint for CREEPY CAMPFIRE QUARTERLY for publication later this year (see June 5 2016). But then in November . . . well, these things happen.
Fast forward to this month, lots going on, but for thirty solid days in March no new acceptances, story or poetry, to be reported until Friday afternoon, March 31, and an email time-stamped 2:45 p.m.: Thank you for submitting “In the Octopus’s Garden” to TALES TO TERRIFY. We loved this story and would like to accept it for publication. So you lose one, you win it back. TALES TO TERRIFY is a podcast with “In the Octopus’s Garden” tentatively set to air “somewhere around July-December 2017.” But for those who can’t wait or would like to read it in print as well, it’s also lead story in THE TEARS OF ISIS which can be ordered by clicking its picture in the center column or pressing here.
We have another awesome guest post from author James Dorr, as he shares with us the inspiration for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, which releases in May. I have to be honest, it has been a true pleasure reading James’ insightful posts, and I am definitely excited to read TOMBS! Without further ado, let’s turn the time over to James!
So begins today’s blog from Heidi Angell, with one small correction: TOMBS is listed by Amazon for release on June 1, though that’s close to May (and if you would like to see for yourself, or perhaps pre-order, one can press here). But given her next sentence, how can I resist quoting exactly the words she uses? This, then, is the second guest essay on TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH on Heidi’s blog, the first on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” posted on February 9 (for which, below, see February 13). While the first told about the structure of the novel itself, this one, titled “It Began With a Map,” is more on the structure of the world depicted within the novel and how it was developed. To quote myself: The original planning for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH began with a map — different areas were defined in terms of the people who lived there. More or less “normal” people lived in the New City and the Tombs; ghouls, the eaters of the dead, were in the Old City; boat gypsies lived on the river — they were mostly normal, but prone to disease from the river’s poisons, thus leading short but more intense lives; more or less normal people again lived in the Port City, far down the river, but had a higher proportion of mutants. . . . And so I continued by wondering what various people did for their livings, social relations between males and females (some of which may seem a reflection on where we might be heading now), and end the post with a sort of portrait of a “typical” night in the Tombs itself, the necropolis just to west of New City across the great river. Or, better, read it yourself by pressing here.
So, probably around the end of April/beginning of May I hope to have a third essay for Heidi, hopefully ramping up interest in the book itself when it’s out in June. And I might mention also that this series really began with Heidi’s interviewing me at the start of the year (cf. January 10). Those late to this blog can catch the interview by pressing here, or if interested in the novel’s structure, my first guest essay can be found here.
Something new indeed! So said the email from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA): We would like to try something new this year to get our members excited about and more involved in the Rhysling Award: to post about the poets behind the poetry on our blog “SpecPo”. We would like to post a brief bio, a picture and links to your poems online. If your poem(s) is/are only available in print, please consider posting them to your own blog or website or an author’s website to which we could link. Otherwise, we have access to the information and there’s no need to send a picture, bio or the links. The idea is that six poets per day will be showcased starting on April 1 (which one hopes will not be a foolish omen) and continuing every other day for about six weeks with, if I’ve read the schedule right, my fifteen minutes of fame, or fraction thereof, on April 19. At that time — or now as well, I suppose — the SpecPo blog will be able to be reached by pressing here.
Who knows, then, what picture of me they’ll have to post! What biographical secrets they’ll reveal! (Of the latter, just in case they’re out of date, don’t forget [*ahem*] I have a novel, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, coming out in June.) Or, more to the point, my poem in this pea patch, “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” was published in the print-only journal DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES so where will they find the link to publish? And so, for that last, why not . . . here (and note a small correction to lines 10-11 should you have the D&N copy with you).
GODZILLA VS. KING KONG
It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King,
armed with his radioactive bad breath
and his lizard cunning,
while what could a monkey do?
“Do what you do best,”
Kong’s trainer, Fay Wray, told him,
“climb if you can, or else throw feces at him.”
Well, climbing was pretty much out of the question
unless he climbed up Godzilla himself,
the skyscrapers of Tokyo already demolished,
but, vis-a-vis Kong, ‘Zilla wasn’t that tall
and the other plan didn’t seem sanitary.
So Kong made sure he’d had a good night’s sleep,
a hearty breakfast of bananas by the bunch,
then stood his ground in the city’s ruins
delighted when Godzilla, stomping nearer,
slipped suddenly on his breakfast’s discarded peels,
taking a dive, backward, into the harbor.
Godzilla could also breathe under water
so, soon enough, he was climbing back out
dripping mud and dead crabs,
except Kong, by then, had already accepted
the winner’s purse,
and was halfway back to his Skull Island home.
Such is the spirit of serendipity, the things we discover. As, last night, re-checking URLs for Saturday’s post, what should I find out but that Amazon is running a fairly hefty discount for pre-ordered copies of TOMBS. I haven’t the foggiest idea of how long this is for — best to hurry, just in case! — but as of right now the pre-order price for the print edition of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is only $10.37, with publication planned for June 1. I’m not going to do the arithmetic to find the percentage, but the full price is listed as $14.95, giving a savings of $4.58 a copy which seems like a pretty good deal to me. So to check for yourself, just push on TOMBS’s picture on the center column or, if you prefer, press here. And please tell your friends — not to mention, when it arrives in June and after you’ve read it, if you like it please consider giving Amazon back a review!
Hark us back to a Thursday seven weeks ago, February 9, and recall that I had a guest blog published by Heidi Angell, “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” (see February 13*), nakedly pimping — guess what? — my own mosiac novel, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH. You thought it was over? But now it comes out: “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” was only the first of a series of three essays planned for Ms. Angell’s blog, and word came today that the second of these, “It Began with a Map,” is scheduled for Thursday next week, March 30. So what will the third be? Well, most likely to come out in early to mid-May, anticipating the novel’s debut from Elder Signs Press on the first of June . . . well, I haven’t officially made up my mind yet, but we shall see then. Perhaps you have some ideas?
Meanwhile, for Thursday, “It Began With a Map” will touch a bit on the geography and peoples of the world of the “Tombs,” hopefully whetting appetites further. While I, having received an advance PDF just a few days ago, have begun the slog of proofreading the thing — another part of the thrill-a-minute life of the writer!
We would like to announce our third annual VESTAL REVIEW Award (The VERA).
Please feel free to nominate one story under 500 words published by your magazine in print or online in 2016. The winning selection receives a prize of $100 and a publication in VESTAL REVIEW, and the runner-up entry gets publication in VESTAL REVIEW at our usual terms. There is no nomination fee. Only a magazine editor is eligible to submit a nomination. One story per magazine, please.
Thus the VERA award, from VESTAL REVIEW, “the oldest magazine dedicated exclusively to flash fiction” as their subtitle has it, and yesterday came the news: Third Flatiron Anthologies editor Juliana Rew wanted to check if it was okay by me for a story, “Chocolat” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), that appeared in their spring 2016 IT’S COME TO OUR ATTENTION (cf. February 21 2016, et al., including for special story background December 11 2015) to be nominated. “Chocolat” is the tale of a beleaguered Frenchman protesting a recent (really, though by now a few years past) European Union Financial Council change in the legal definition of chocolate — which is to say, chocolat in French — and what became of him.
When the winners will be announced is not known by me (I think stories can be nominated through September 30, which would mean not soon) and the chances, of course, of actually winning are probably not great, but Third Flatiron puts out a pretty good series of quarterly themed anthologies (for more information on which one may click here), including offering professional rates. Or in other words, just being singled out by them is itself an honor, and so I’ve said “oui!”
No, it isn’t an early April Fool’s trick and it is a new name (slightly), but the name was especially voted on to keep the initials the same. And so, as announced today, by fairly hefty vote margins the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) has become the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA, though there was a minority vote to add an extra F for SFFPA). The change is simply a long-time-coming recognition that a lot of SFPA members actually write fantasy poetry, if one wants to be picky, and the name change parallels a similar change made some years ago by the SFWA (which is to say, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, once the Science Fiction Writers of America, which for a brief time then initialed itself the SFFWA with occasional members pronouncing the name as if they stuttered). So what’s in a name? For nostalgia hounds, here presented is the old logo, which may take a little time to update and, new name or old name, the group still can be found by pressing here. (And between you and me, I write horror poetry, and I’m still a member.)