The first anthology of Gehenna & Hinnom will be published in late-September of 2017.  It will feature only the most disturbing and horrifying body horror tales readers have ever read.

The challenge is up to you, the authors. How strange is your narrative capable of being?  How morose is your prose?  How in touch are you with the macabre?

Tentatively titled YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR in the guidelines, the call seemed tempting.  Pay was minimal but reprints along with original stories would be okay so, as has happened in the past, the muse on my shoulder whispered “Why not?”  That’s the submissions muse, mind you — the story idea muse is not nearly so gentle.  And why not indeed, I had a story originally published in MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION, in Spring 1999, and. . . .  The word came back from Editor C.P. Dunphey just four days later:  Thank you so much for considering Gehenna & Hinnom for your work, “Flesh.”  The story stands visceral and disturbing; the exact things we love in a work.  We’d love to have it included in our anthology.

As for the story, “Flesh” is a surrealistic sort of a tale in which, in that the guidelines asked for a synopsis, “a wealthy businessman has a series of bizarre dreams as a result of which he decides he should gain weight.  As he grows fatter his wealth grows as well but at the same time he withdraws progressively from ordinary society until one night his dreams come true.”  Also the anthology is listed as open until August 15 so, if interested in submitting yourself, more information can be found here.

Then one other item this afternoon via  POPULARMECHANICS.COM, or, it starts with a wedge-tailed eagle taking down a drone.  And it only gets worse from there in John Wenz’s “7 Robot Beatdowns the Machines Will Definitely Remember When They Rise Up” — would you believe roboticide in the City of Brotherly Love?  Or underage playground bullies?  Anyway, science fiction fans and writers, to better prepare for the Robot Apocalypse, please to press here.

May is International Short Story Month and, in celebration, the Short Mystery Fiction Society has put out the call for a story a day, if they can get ’em, from writer-members.  These would be already published stories, to be sure, with the idea that links will be provided on the SMFS blog daily, and word came this morning:  I’m up for Thursday.  That is, this Thursday, May 11, with the story in question one actually published on DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, but nevertheless a mystery of sorts, a tale of les filles à les caissettes of New Orleanian fame and the one called Lo, titled “Dead Lines” (see April 28, 21 2015, et al.).  Moreover, according to coordinator Kevin R. Tipple, “I took the liberty of adding your explanation of the tale to the blog posting so that folks who are clueless don’t send me emails asking what is up 🙂 ,” this regarding the story’s also referencing, in an oblique way, Edgar Allan Poe as a founder of the detective story — and also, if he includes it, a second link to the original story “Casket Girls.”

So you get two for one on Thursday (or even more — since the story will be in DAILY SF’s archives, type “Dorr” in the search box it will provide to find three additional short shorts by me).  Or, if in a hurry to see what’s what on the mystery side, the SMFS blog with today’s story can be reached by pressing here.

In other news, a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon marked this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local bookstore Boxcar Books, with  featured readers Amy L. Cornell (who we’ve met before, cf. May 1 2016) with a poem, a short story, and a sort of essay coming back to poetry; Abegunde (cf. March 27, 6 2016, et al.) with a selection of essays on “what lies beneath” her recent poetry MS about  a visit to Juba, South Sudan (a portion of which was also a finalist for the 2017 COG Poetry Award); and Khashayar Tonekaboni (pen name Terry Pinaud, cf. February 7 2016) with a short story based, in part, on a French Canadian play.  Then after the break, there were five open mike readers with me number three, with a story of sweet lesbian, non-casket girl, vampire love titled “A Cup Full of Tears,” originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, 2011).

This also marks the last “First Sunday” gathering for this spring, with the series to resume again in early autumn.

TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH postulates an exhausted, dying Earth with a climate increasingly hotter each year, a result, some speculate, of a sun that’s slowly swelling and getting redder.  One story, in fact, alludes to an exodus of part of humanity centuries, perhaps millennia before.  But what comes after that, that is after the sun has become a red giant, the Earth has been swallowed, and now the sun is shrinking back inward.  Could the exiles return?

Well, in terms of the story, we’re not nearly that far in the future by a long shot (truth to tell, if we’re going to bring facts in, even red-gianthood would still be billions of years off itself), but . . . maybe they could, according to Avery Thompson.  To find out more, one can check out his “Here’s the Last Place Humanity Could Ever Live” via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, including its own link to a 6-minute Youtube presentation on white dwarfs, by pressing here.

Then, entirely unrelatedly, Weldon Burge e-reminded us on Facebook today of an Amazon review of Smart Rhino Publications’s INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS mentioning . . . me:  “Excellent anthology with stories by modern masters of the macabre.  Lansdale and Ketchum are worth the read, but so are Mosiman and Dorr and Mannetti.  These are my kind of stories!” — Paul Dale Anderson

So what the heck, it’s the first review posted on Amazon’s site (including nine words omitted from the Facebook quotation) and can be found here.

I’ve mentioned before, I think, that TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is available for pre-order from Amazon with a discount offered  prior to a June 1 publication date.  I recently found out that Barnes & Noble is offering a similar deal — and their price may even be 15 or 20 cents cheaper!  To check it out, just press here, while for comparison the Amazon offer can be found here.  In both cases the discount is on the paperback price; electronic editions are planned too but won’t be available until later.

Also, are any readers also reviewers, and would you be interested in reviewing TOMBS?  If so, please leave a message, with email for contact, as a comment below and I’ll get back in touch (no Facebook messages though, please — they sometimes fail to be forwarded to me).

The word from Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing:  May is National Short Story Month, so we’ll be featuring 30% off all short story collections and anthologies throughout the month of May.  This includes all ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers and large print titles.  . . .  We will be redoing the homepage in the next day or two to reflect the sale.  Please note that this sale is only in The Untreed Reads Store . . .

and,

SUPER BONUS!  The short story collection that sells the most copies will earn a $50 bonus for the author.   The anthology that sells the most copies will earn a $10 bonus for each contributor.  There’s a minimum of ten copies to be sold to be eligible for the bonus.  This can be any combination of ebook or print.

So the moral is:  There is one book on the list with a story by me — the lead story, in fact, “Appointment in Time” — the anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR.  So if you’ve had a hankering to read dark stories set on New Year’s Eve (or maybe have been looking for inexpensive early Christmas gifts) this is as good a chance to buy it as any.  Just press here (and scroll way, way down to the last title on the list)

OR,

And here’s A LAST-MINUTE BONUS, click on any of the three pictures of Untreed Reads chapbooks by me in the center column, PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , or VANITAS, to go to a page with YEAR’S END on it as well.  But also single story chapbooks, it turns out, are on sale too!  This includes a $10 bonus as well for the author of the best seller (hint!), so, if clicking on pictures is inconvenient, just go to my own Untreeds Reads page by pressing here.

Already crummy weather plus a report of an even worse thunderstorm in the offing depressed attendance at April’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center (cf. February 26 — all right, so I had to miss the March one — et al.).  The eight of us who showed up, however, enjoyed some very good out of the ordinary work by local writers Samuel T. Franklin, whose first poetry book, THE GOD OF HAPPINESS, came out last November from Main Street Rag Publishing, and retired astronomy professor Richard H. Durison with publications in SPACE AND TIME, ILLUMEN, DISTURBED DIGEST, FROSTFIRE WORLDS, and others.  After the break, though, with only MC Patsy Rahn and me with poems to offer, plus (remember?) the threat of storms coming, we decided to skip the open readings for this time in favor of a little more conversation (a small enough group to not have to break off into segments) and snacking, then early adjournment.

Afterward, home and dry, I completed and sent in my own weekend project, a third TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH-related guest post for Heidi Angell, who we may remember from her January 9 interview of me (see January 10), or my two previous guest-essays on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” and “It Began With a Map” (for links to both of these as well as the interview, cf. March 30).  This weekend’s article, probably to be published (assuming it’s accepted) this side of mid-May, is titled “The Ghoul-Poet” and notes, among other things, the “Five Act Dramatic Structure” and its relation to TOMBS (or, Why Does the Book’s Contents Page Look Like a Playbill?).

A quick follow up to April 27th’s post just below (paragraph two).  Later that p.m. what should e-appear in ye olde electronic mailbox but the promised contract from Third Flatiron Publishing for “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” to appear in CAT’S BREAKFAST, this being the title for their Kurt Vonnegut inspired summer anthology.  As opposed, that is, to the Goth cat Triana’s morning kibble.  So this afternoon I emailed back my agreement plus some extra requested information on form of payment, current address, etc.  And again, more to be told here as it becomes known.

(Meanwhile as I write this the Goth cat Triana, who is experiencing the first spring ever in her young life, has captured either a small spider or a member of the cricket colony that inhabits my basement briefly in fall and spring, on an all too tragic visit upstairs.  After some play, she has apparently eaten it, so I can’t say for sure which it is [I suspect the spider].  She does appear to have enjoyed it, though.)

The writing life, the writing life.  Last night the proof copy came for “Golden Age,” the closing story for Smart Rhino’s upcoming anthology ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (see April 19, et al.).  The changes suggested were unobtrusive, so back it has been sent today with my okay, plus one small correction.  “Golden Age” itself is a reprint, originally appearing in the science fiction magazine MINDSPARKS for  Spring 1994, and probably will be a bit more “gentle” than much of the content of the finished anthology.  Maybe a lot more gentle, in fact, but also in Editor Weldon Burge’s opinion with a sense of finality that may make it perfect to be the closer.

In other news, we may remember Third Flatiron Publishing which we last met in conjunction with my short short “Chocolat” in their IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION anthology (cf. March 23, February 21).  They do these themed anthologies quarterly and, concerning their latest, the word came earlier this week from Editor/Publisher Juliana Rew:  We’d be pleased to accept the story, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” for inclusion in Third Flatiron Publishing’s Summer 2017 anthology, with the theme, “Cat’s Breakfast.”  This is to be a Kurt Vonnegut inspired collection, inspired itself somewhat by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT.  And so a couple of us writers who both had stories in that one (aha!  so see January 3 2013, below) and have been at least occasionally part of Third Flatiron’s stable were invited to send our work in for possible reprint consideration.  The email added that it would receive a reprint rate, which had been understood, and that a contract should be along soon.  Thus “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” the tale of an up-and-coming modern American young lady — and dancing bears — has earned a new home, more of which to be revealed here as it becomes known.

So it goes.

IndieWire describes THE LURE as “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.”  Not sure there is much more to say.  Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s fiendishly dark and sly modern fairytale is set in Communist-era Poland and highlights the havoc wreaked by two vampire mermaid sisters intertwined in love triangle.  In Polish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence and nudity.  (Indiana University Cinema blurb)

So what’s not to love?  Perhaps “Golden” and “Silver” aren’t precisely classical vampires, preferring to subsist on human hearts, but they do get at them by biting through people’s throats.  At least Golden does, the one truer to her roots and, as one critic notes, the seemingly smarter of the two sisters.  But LurImage220Silver’s mistake is in taking it figuratively as well, falling in love with a dance club bass guitarist, and even enduring an operation to transplant a human lower body in place of her fish tail.  In spite of the fact that Golden warns her, should the fickle musician marry another, she has to “eat him” before the next sunrise lest she turn into sea foam.
 .
It doesn’t end well.
 .
One reason:  the film is actually a version of Hans Christian’s Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” which means part of the deal is she loses her singing voice too, and she and Golden are actually sirens of the lure-sailors-to-their-destruction kind.  And as Golden explains, she doesn’t sing solo.  In fact they’ve become a striptease act of sorts at a 1980s Warsaw night club (“Want to hang out here for awhile before swimming to America?” as Golden asks Silver early on), at one point billed as Corki Dancingu, the Polish title of the film, which I understand translates to “Daughters of the Dance Club.”  Another, perhaps, that it’s really a coming of age film about two young women, but without her sister, can Golden ever get to America by herself?
 .
On the down side, parts of THE LURE are a little confusing and, from a bit of a conversation I overheard outside the theater, the subtitled translations may miss some beats — but then, songs are a big part of the film too (remember:  Silver and Golden are sirens).  According to the docent before the screening, the 1980s are also important, including a sort of dance hall kitsch, as reminiscent of the director’s own childhood.  Also the music, channeling such films as ALL THAT JAZZ and CABARET, or at least a little, as well as Bjork — and the music is good!  And, the docent added, the mer-sisters do NOT wear seashell bras, but that’s not the only reason for not bringing children to this one as some of the violence does turn toward the graphic (something about “strong stomachs,” I think he said).
 .
So . . . maybe not the best movie ever made, but a weirdly good one.  I recommend it.

Another triple play starts the week (we seem to have had a lot of these this month).  So beginning last Saturday. . . .

1.  As we already know, eco-anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE was not to be out in time for Earth Day as originally planned (see April 11, et al.).  However I did receive payment Saturday, April 22, so things are in process —  and one might add it made for a pleasant Earth Day surprise;

2.  Also in process, CREEPY CAMPFIRE QUARTERLY plans to publish instead with DEADMAN’S TOME continue apace (cf. post just below), with a new revised contract received, signed, and returned today;

3.  And, as part of the daredevil life of the writer, much of last week for me was taken up with a second, meticulous (hopefully) proofreading of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (for information on which, plus pre-order, see its picture in the center column).  Bleary-eyed, I sent in the final corrections today, only three that I could find and all very minor, so a tip of the hat this afternoon to publisher Elder Signs Press for a job well done so far!  If all else goes well, the novel should be out in paperback form on June 1, with a Kindle edition to come sometime later.

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