And so, for something a little bit different, or, what can I say?  Death:  It is the ultimate unknowable.  Unless — like these zombies and/or resuscitated people who shared their stories on reddit — you die during surgery or in a car accident and then are miraculously brought back.  Whether or not these people were able to accurately remember being dead is debatable (seeing as forming memories is something a living person and brain does), but they’ve died and lived to tell about it, so let’s listen to them.

For more, check out “13 Temporarily Dead People Open Up About What it Was Like to be Dead” by “did you know?” on THE-LINE-UP.COM by pressing here.  But be mindful as the author continues with [w]arning:  Not one person mentioned meeting God or being a zombie.  Or I add that the creepy bit came, at least for me, at the end of number 9.

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Yes, on the B Cubed Press front things continue advancing.  So Sunday’s email was punctuated by a series of announcements as minor details were put in order, but centered around an ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES (cf.  July 27, 23, et al.) cover reveal.  This is the anthology, we may remember, to (from the original guidelines) focus on a re-mastering of core biblical themes that will help justify, or perhaps even expose, modern evangelical theology.  This is an unabashedly critical look at the often hypocritical deviation of the religious right from their biblical and moral base.  But, as was added, [h]umor and good will are key.  A sharp wit and a sharper pen is the objective.
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Thus it progresses.  My worm in the wormwood, we may recall, is a dark-humored poem called “Tit for Tat,” starring the Victorian Age bad boy Little Willie, originally published in the 2015 anthology GHOSTS:  REVENGE.  And so then, today, a table of contents has been released, for which see right here:
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Editors Introduction by Phyllis Irene Radford and Bob Brown
Forward by Jim Wright
Counting Sunrises by Heather Truett
The Pale Thin God © 1994 by Mike Resnick, first published in Xanadu, Tor Books, edited by Jane Yolen
Devine Justice by Philip Brian Hall
Tit for Tat by James Dorr, first published in Ghosts: Revenge, James Ward Kirk Publishing
First by Kara Race Moore
Dear Mary, are you There?  It’s Me, Heartbreak by Meg Bee
Ways of Knowing by Louise Milton
Izzy Tells No Lies by James Norris
The Audit by Colin Patrick Ennen
A Conservative Prayer by Gwyndyn T. Alexander
A Liberal Prayer by Gwyndyn T. Alexander
Forgiveness © 2016 by Phyllis Irene Radford, first published Kindle Unlimited
An Atheist at the Movies by Adam-Troy Castro
Everlasting Due by Marilyn Holt
Extinction Level Non-Conjunction Event by Anton Cancre
Ruby Ann’s Advice Column by C. A. Chesse
Nature Does Not Always Know by Jane Yolen
The Lost Gospel Writers by Charles Walbridge
Don’t Get the Bible Wet by Debra Godfrey
Prayer by Rebecca McFarland Kyle
So You Want to Make Gods.  Now Why Should That Bother Anyone? by David Brin
The Faithless Angel by E.E. King
St Patrick 1, Snakes Nil by Jane Yolen
Temple Tantrum by J. W. Cook
Were You Good Stewards by Joyce Frohn
Righteous Spirits by Lillian Csernica
Last Words by Paula Hammond
The Good Mexican by Melvin Charles
Christian Nation by David Gerrold
A Parable About the 8th Day by Jane Yolen
The Forsaken Wall by Tom Barlow
An American Christian at the Pearly Gates by Larry Hodges
Lilith’s Daughters by Liam Hogan
Believing by Jane Yolen
Angelica by Jill Zeller
Whose Good News by Joana Hoyt
Alternative Beatitudes for the New Right by Janka Hobbs
The Ultimate Messiah Smackdown by Christopher Nadeau

Their setting is among the lowest of the low in New City, known to readers of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  They are of that world — or should one say “were” — but are not in the stories in that anthology.  The story title is “Crow and Rat,” set in the same universe as TOMBS, and now it has a first-time home in an anthology to be published in England.

The anthology, HUMANAGERIE, which (to quote from the guidelines) will showcase both poetry and short fiction on the theme of animals.  The book will not be about animals as such, but will instead be inspired by the characteristics that animals possess, and the points at which these intersect with — and manifest in — humanity. . . .  We are interested in shifting states, in scenarios that explore duality, hybridity, and liminality. We are asking writers to consider how animalistic attributes might manifest in the human psyche — or vice versa.  We want hints of scales, tails, fur and fins . . . gills, claws, paws and spines . . . glimpses of horns, tusks, teeth and tongues . . . stalking, slinking, slithering and stomping . . . roars, whimpers, howls and song.  We want breath, heat, musk.  We want landscapes ranging from urban wastelands to frozen tundra, from bedsits to coastlines, from suburbia to savannah — and the imagined worlds between.  We want water and we want fish out of water. We want the visceral and the vulnerable, the slippery and the synaesthetic, emergence and extinction.

Quite the roundup, if one might say so.  But the tragic would-be lovers, Rat and Crow, beggars and thieves who gained their names from the methods they used, were nothing if not willing to take their chances.  So three months and a week from their journey’s beginning, the word came from Editor Allen Ashley,  I am pleased to tell you that we would like to accept “Crow and Rat” for print publication in HUMANAGERIE, followed by (if I may say) some extremely flattering “Editors comments.”  For a pair of ruffians Crow and Rat, I expect, should be proud!  In any event, the acceptance came lateish Saturday evening with today spent earlier looking over some minor changes plus sending back an acceptance of terms.

If all goes as planned, HUMANAGERIE is aiming for an October release date by Eibonvale Press.  More will appear here as it becomes known.

It’s a reprint anthology with lots of stories; of science fiction-horror; of many writers including some names you’ll probably know, some newer to the game.  For a table of contents see below, July 19.  To quote the blurb:  SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is a dark Science Fiction short story anthology comprised of reprint stories from 28 talented authors.  The stories range from deep space, alien planets, alternate realities and beyond.  Most stories within are flash fiction interspersed with several longer works from both emerging authors and titans in the field.  The anthology collects some of the best dark sci-fi in recent memory. . . .  One story in particular, mine, is about a baby whose mother half-believes he’s a zombie — and who’s beginning to understand why — titled “The Cyclops.”  It’s an anthology I’d like to read.

But, and isn’t this the case with so many projects, if it’s published at all it will be on a shoestring and it needs potential readers’ help.  Editor Eric Fomley has pledged that he’ll pay the writers, at least a little or else end the project, and yes that gives me a dog in the fight too, but right now the kickstarter he’s set up seems to be running short with only a bit more than two weeks to go (if my arithmetic’s right it will end about midday EDT, August 13).  But don’t trust me with numbers.

For more, please press here.

Exciting time.  ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES, PARABLES FOR A MODERN WORLD, is approaching ready to proof and do final formatting.

This is where I ask you to look at your work and ensure we used the correct file, spelled your name correctly, and this is the LAST opportunity to make significant changes, because the page numbers impact the cover.  All of you except Adam-Troy, he can change what ever he wants since he hasn’t actually seen his piece since he posted it on Facebook.

As soon as we get it, we’ll send you the cover to look at your name as well.

This the latest from ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES Editor Bob Brown (cf. July 23, et al.), and so it progresses. After a little frustration downloading the proof (a glitch with the server, it turned out, which they finally fixed) I was able to proofread and get suggestions back. So next stop, hopefully, a look at the cover and maybe a table of contents, all to be reported here when I have it.

Two (not one, but two!) contracts came today craving to be signed.  So back they went this afternoon, the first to Pole to Pole Publishing for their RE-TERRIFY anthology with the story “Gas” (see July 10), and the second to B Cubed Press for ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES and the poem “Tit for Tat” (July 23, 22, 7, et al.).  Then if that weren’t enough, just moments before as this is written, a second contract came from Pole to Pole for RE-ENCHANT and the story “Dust” (July 8) for a total of three, but being away from the speedy library computer by now, signing/returning that one will have to wait until tomorrow.

Well it’s not really late summer, but August is nearly upon us and outside right now we’ve had a couple of relatively cool days. So, cold thoughts/cold cinema, courtesy of DEARDARKLING.COM, might one offer “Slow-Burning Chillers:  Thirteen Eerie Horror Films” by E.K. Liemkuhler?  While jump scares can be used as the “easy” way to spook an audience, one of the hardest things for a horror director to do is create a sustained and genuine sense of dread.  When you come across a good, atmospheric slow-burn, the film tends to stick with you.  Here are thirteen films, ranging from vintage classics to newer releases, that are guaranteed to keep you looking over your shoulder well after the credits roll. . . .  I can vouch for some of these, such as THE VANISHING (original Dutch version), DON’T LOOK NOW, THE BABADOOK, or the groundbreaking 1960 French EYES WITHOUT A FACE.  For more, check here.

Then for a quick foretaste of the upcoming ALTERNATE THEOLOGIES anthology (cf. July 22. 7, et al.) with, let us not forget, my poem “Tit for Tat” concerning a young man named Willie and what the preacher said to him, B Cubed Press has just revealed a new logo for the book’s page on FaceBook, for which see right here.

‘Tis the season, time for the annual Bloomington Writers Guild summer “Potluck Social” and open reading (cf. July 16 2017, et al.).  As if to underscore that in only a few more weeks the fall season will start with August 5’s resumed First Sunday readings and, a month later, September 1 and 2 and the Spoken Word Stage at the yearly fall Bloomington Arts Festival, the weather was a bit cooler than it had been most of the week before, with sun alternating with off-and-on rain that was sometimes heavy.  But the company was warm and the site included a shelter to make for a pleasant Sunday afternoon picnic followed by an informal reading in which I offered “Tit for Tat,” a “Little Willie” warning preachers to be not too hasty in saying who’s bound for Hell, to celebrate its having been chosen for reprinting in B Cubed Press’s upcoming ALTERNATE THEOLOGIES:  PARABLES FOR THE MODERN WORLD (see July 7, 2, 1).  Also, if interested, more on the Bloomington Writers Guild can be found by pressing here.

Then also, from about 10 p.m. Saturday night, a huge “thank you” from me to Charles P. Dunphey, Editor/Publisher of Gehenna & Hinnom Books (cf. two posts below for a sale on titles this week through Friday, July 27) who published on FaceBook:  I’m going to try and post about more indie authors in our field, to help them find new readers.  James Dorr is one of the most talented writers I’ve read, and his novel-in-stories TOMBS is a journey into an imagination unlike any other.  If you love great prose and world-building, pick up a copy of this book.  I semi-immediately posted my thanks, adding that (in my opinion) [i]t’s this kind of passing the word among friends that can be a terrific help to an author.

C.P. Dunphey also reviewed TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH at some depth on his GHENNA POST shortly after it was published (cf. June 3 2017) for which I am also extremely grateful.  The review itself can be found on Amazon, et al. (just press the picture of TOMBS at the top of the center column) or via GEHENNA POST including a link to an interview of me as well by pressing here, while C.P.’s Facebook entry plus comments can be found here.

That is, if the kickstarter is successful.  To quote the blurb, SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is a dark Science Fiction short story anthology comprised of reprint stories from 28 talented authors.  The stories range from deep space, alien planets, alternate realities and beyond.  Most stories within are flash fiction interspersed with several longer works from both emerging authors and titans in the field.  The anthology collects some of the best dark sci-fi in recent memory.  But (*ahem*) the authors need to be paid, the paper purchased, the publication costs reimbursed, all of which takes money.  My part in this, I should add, is a story titled “The Cyclops,” originally published in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR, June 2013 (see July 18 , June 17).

Or, to quote once more:  We have 25 days to raise enough funds for this project to get off the ground. Please let your social circles know of our reprint project.  And needless to say, if you can contribute something yourself, please be more than welcome.  More information including special prizes for pledges can be found here.

Then, for a sneak preview, if funding comes through here’s a table of contents:

Alex Shvartsman – The Far Side of the Wilderness
Christi Nogle – A Fully Chameleonic Foil
Dennis Mombauer – The Dust Bathynaut
Douglas Smith – Nothing
Ed Ahern – The Service Call
Eric Choi – Most Valuable Player
George Nikolopoulos – The Sin of Envy
Gerri Leen – Floating in My Tin Can
Gregg Chamberlain – Apocalypse Beta Test Survey
Henry Szabranski – In The Maze Of His Infinities
Holly Schofield – Tough Crowd
James Dorr – The Cyclops
Jeremy Szal – When There’s Only Dust Left
Jez Patterson – Between Two Distant Shores There Lies Space For an Ocean of Troubles
John Dromey – Death, Where Is Thy Sting
Ken Liu – The Plague
Kevin J. Anderson – Job Qualifications
Laird Long – The Last Racist
Liam Hogan – Remembrance Day
Lina Rather – Last Long Night
Michelle Ann King – God State
Mike Murphy – About Time
Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn – Benchwarmer
Rhonda Eikamp – Angels Behaving Badly
Robert Silverberg – Flies
Russell Hemmell – Tugship
Vaughan Stanger – The Eye Patch Protocol
Wendy Nikel – Memory Ward

Summer readers, the following is from C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom:  Set an alarm for midnight, because ALL of our titles will be $0.99 from July 20th-July 27th on Amazon, in both the U.S. and U.K. markets!  That means Hinnom Magazine Issues 001-007 will all be $0.99, along with both the YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY and the YEAR’S BEST TRANSHUMAN SF 2017 ANTHOLOGY.  That’s seven issues of the magazine plus two anthologies, all combined for just under $10.00 in their electronic editions.  For more information for now press here.
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And yes, I have a thumb in the pie too, in G&H’s first book, the YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see November 1, September 5 2017, et al.).  My entry there is a surrealistic tale called “Flesh,” about a man who decides to gain weight.  And why, one might ask?  Well, here’s a chance to find out for a bargain price, but only tomorrow through next Friday, July 20 through 27.

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