Posts Tagged ‘Bloomington Writers Guild’

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.

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Last night brought 2017’s closing “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. October 13, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild, and featuring three radio play presentations, Lucille Fletcher’s SORRY, WRONG NUMBER; Ray Bradbury’s IT BURNS ME UP!; and by William S. Burroiughs, THE JUNKY’S CHRISTMAS.  Added were musical performances by local group Urban Deer and an open mike session with six takers, in which I appeared fourth.  It was an interesting and exciting evening, a little bit out of the normal run, my part of which was a “First Sundays” reprise of my short short “The Worst Christmas Ever” (see December 4), this time to a largely different audience.  Also as an extra, cover charge proceeds were earmarked this time to the upcoming “Wounded Galaxies Festival 1968:  Paris, Prague, Chicago Festival and Symposium,” scheduled for February next year, more of which will most likely be covered here (and for which in the meantime, including schedules, one can press here).

Then speaking of Christmas, DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (for which see December 12, et al.) has proposed a competition, or in Editor/Publisher Jesse Dedman’s words:  We’re approaching the end of 2017, and that means it’s time for a popularity contest.  Now, remember that this is all in good fun.  I personally will sit out on this vote as I enjoy every story in this collection, but please don’t follow my example.  Spread the link out to as many people as possible.  What does the winner get?  C’mon, shouldn’t the reception be the prize?  How about some beer money?  $20 bucks (PayPal) and a certificate.  The contest and voting is care of Patreon and can be reached here.

To remind, MY story (*ahem*) is third on the list, “A Christmas Carnage,” recently cited by “JME” in her review on Amazon (December 12).  And, technically, you don’t even have to have read the book to vote on the stories (though you really should — there’s a link on the voting page as well to where you can buy CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, in my opinion a great book for giving to one’s [twisted] friends too!).  So do consider, buy, and vote (again, that’s “A Christmas Carnage”), okay?

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.”

For those who may have a hankering to give a read to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the novel-in-stories of which you may have been seeing a bit about in some past posts, Amazon has been offering fairly substantial discounted prices for some while now.  A check today (lSunday), in fact, saw the print edition offered for only $9.36 (that’s compared to a cover price of $14.95) and the Kindle edition at $6.29 (compared to $8.99), though I have no idea how long these bargains may last.  I also don’t know how that will affect the royalty that comes to me, if at all, but — especially with Stoker voting season coming up soon, for those reading this who might be members of HWA — now might be a propitious time to buy.  And that goes double should you be searching for that perfect, but bizarre gift for a horror-loving (or dystopic science fiction, or dark romance, or far-future science fantasy) special friend.  Just click on its picture in the center column, or else press here.

Then, speaking of Christmas, while I missed November’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” Sunday afternoon brought the December edition and, unfortunately, last to be hosted by Boxcar Books (or, capitalism strikes again and small bookstores tend not to last forever, though part of their mission may be revived at a new location).  Be that as it may, the featured readers were Shana Ritter who read from a just completed novel about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century, this part told from the point of view of a teen-age girl in one of the affected families, and Writers Guild founding member and prior chairperson Patsy Rahn with a portion of a short fantasy called “The Reality Game.”  Snacks were served, then following custom it was time for walk-on readers of which I was third of four with a seasonal story originally published in DARK JESTERS (Novello Publishers, 2006), “The Worst Christmas Ever,” from the point of view of a not-too-competent Santa’s elf about . . . well . . . a pretty bad Christmas.

Who knows what Friday the Thirteenth will bring, but yesterday, Thursday the twelfth, was rather nice despite a gloomy, Octobery day.  The highlight, a first poetry acceptance for me by STAR*LINE new editor Vince Gotera, for a “horrorku” titled “Wet Work.”  Horrorku?  Well, it’s sort of supposed to be horror plus haiku though it’s really more just a three line poem with a vaguely 5-7-5 syllable count (mine is 5-7-4) on a horror subject, which in my case would more likely be epigrammatic, although not always.  But to the point, even if lacking walruses (cf. October 1) “Wet Work” does have a mermaid.

Then Thursday night brought the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. June 8, et al.) with, this time, a special reading performance of PREMIUM TAFT, a two-act play by Tom Trent, with musical interludes by Jason Fickel.  PREMIUM TAFT is, to read from the Facebook description, “[a] fictional time-traveling comedy about William Howard Taft’s whistle-stop presidential campaign appearance at the Mitchell Opera House in 1908 . . .  or maybe 1958?”  Or science fiction meets farce, in this case with an Indiana small-town ambience with grifters, politicos, greed, and rock ‘n’ roll.  And lots of fun.

This was followed by “open mic” presentations of which mine came in fourth of six, to an audience of about 15 people.  Noting that it had been a gloomy, Octobery day, ideal as a precursor for Halloween, I read four poems from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “Night Child,” “La Méduse,” “Moonlight Swimming,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.”

An unseasonably warm sun-drenched day greeted September’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf. May 29, et al.).  Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, four local writers were featured this time, Jenny Kander, Thomas Tokarski, Doris Lynch, and Roger Pfingston, billed as “The Tuesday Poets” and offering a variety of styles and subject matter.  After the break, four walk-ons stepped up to read, offering a symmetry of sorts as well as a similar range of styles, of which I was the last with a series of very short, horror-related pieces, on tracking zombies, mermaids and vampires, Erzebet Bathory, and other such subjects, the best received of which — why not? — I’ll present here as well:

LAND OF MILK AND HONEY

It wasn’t bad
till they released the bears;
the cats came
of their own accord.

And so the autumn season begins. . . .

While Saturday started off a bit cool and clouded for my taste, the sun had established itself by a little past noon and Sunday followed sunny and warm too, a beautiful weekend for this year’s Bloomington 4th Street Festival of Arts & Crafts and, with it, the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage (cf. below, August 30).  Along with a number of poets both days, Saturday also brought Bloomington High School South’s Poetry Out Loud (getting the new generation on our side), children’s theater with the Merry Mac Players, FRANKENSTEIN as presented by the Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players, and poetry “band” Shakespeare’s Monkey.  Then Sunday introduced more prose fiction readers, including Joan Hawkins and Shayne Laughter who we’ve met before (cf., e.g., various First Sundays Prose readings, for which in a way today’s Spoken Word session was a substitute), and . . . somewhat late in the day at 3:30 p.m., me.  In my case, I read three excerpts from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the back cover blurb and the introduction to Section II — by way of a sort of introduction — followed by the Section II story-chapter “The Last Dance.”  This was the same as the reading I presented last July at NASFiC in Puerto Rico (see July 13) and it seemed to go over well to an audience that started out on the small side, but grew as I continued, a good sign as these things go.  Next month, also, I’ll probably read the same first two parts but a slightly shorter story-chapter for October’s First Sunday.

Then speaking of TOMBS, Saturday’s email brought an “eligibility check” from the Horror Writers Association for works submitted to the Bram Stoker Award(R) Jury.  This consisted of questions concerning publication date, length and content, and prior publication (if any) of parts of the contents, all of which I was able to answer in the affirmative and send right back.  While this will be checked by the Jury people, with an official “acceptance” probably not for two weeks, one possibly ambiguous thing has been decided.  Although TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is a novel-in-stories, akin to Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES or Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB, under the technicalities of the Stoker rules, it will be voted on in the Fiction Collection category.

So what that means in the here and now:  If you’re a HWA member and have read TOMBS, and have a hankering to recommend it for a Stoker, please do it for “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.”  But even if you’re not a HWA member, while/if the spirit moves please also consider reviewing it for Amazon and Barnes & Noble (both of which are offering wildly discounted prices on TOMBS, by the way, while they last), as well as on Goodreads.

“Now in its 7th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations,” the announcement tells us (see also, below, August 9 and 7).  As in years past, I will have a slot too, billed as “horror fiction” from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, September 3rd.  The event itself, arts fair, music, local displays, and the Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored “Poetry on Demand” booth and Spoken Word Stage, spans the Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday September 2 and 3, arrayed along 4th Street in Bloomington, Indiana.  Or more to the point for the Spoken Word Stage, just off 4th on Dunn Street.

Here is the schedule, as of today, noting again that I’ll be on Sunday with excerpts from my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, from 3:30 to 4.  And if you like it, I’ll be up again with an excerpt from a different section the following month, in a featured spot at the Writers Guild’s First Sunday Prose Reading, on which more later.

SATURDAY Sep 2
10:30 Shana Ritter (poetry)
11:00 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:30 Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:00 Merry MAC cont’d
12:30 Butch D’Ambrisio (sonnets)
1:00 Alex Hollett (poetry)
1:30 Abegunde (poetry)
2:00 Matt Hart (poetry)
2:30 Wil Gibson
3:00 PrideSlam Showcase (poetry)
3:30 Bloomington High School South Poetry Out Loud (poetry)
4:00 Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
4:30 Fig Tree cont’d
5:00 Steve Henn (poetry)
5:30 Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)

SUNDAY Sep 3
10:00 Tony Brewer (poetry)
10:30 Eric Rensberger (poetry)
11:00 Joan Hawkins (fiction)
11:30 New Leaf New Life volunteers (poetry and fiction)
12:00 Adam Henze (poetry)
12:30 Shayne Laughter (fiction)
1:00 Jack Ramey (poetry)
1:30 Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
2:00 Wil Gibson
2:30 Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
3:00 Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 Lisa Kwong (poetry/personal essay)
4:30 Bloomington Storytellers Guild (storytelling)

In other news, today brought proof sheets for “Flightless Rats” from FANTASIA DIVINITY (cf. July 7, et al.) which, with one correction noted, went back this afternoon.  To be published in the September issue, “Flightless Rats” is the tale of New Orleanian “Casket Girl” Aimée a-prowl for a new husband, but how some prospects may not make the grade.  It is a reprint, originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG, January 12 2015, and has also appeared in the flash fiction anthology MOCHA’S DARK BREW: 10 TALES OF HORROR (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2016).

As posted just below there will not be a September “First Sunday Prose Readings” scheduled because the Bloomington Arts Fair, and with it the Writers Guild’s “Spoken Word Stage,” will be on that weekend.  And now a preliminary schedule has been released, with me slotted for a half hour of “horror fiction” at 3:30 Sunday, September 3.  The reading most likely will be from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, probably the same program I offered at NASFiC last month (cf. July 13).  Then, as we already know from the post below, I will also be a featured reader when First Sunday Prose resumes on October 1, most likely again with a story-chapter from TOMBS, but a different one this time.

In other news, PayPal has apparently adopted a policy this year of refusing to tell people when they’ve received payments, one would like to presume for good purpose.  Keeping us on our toes, for instance, or maybe trying to discourage small businesses from reporting earnings to the IRS.  I’ve asked (well . . . complained to) PayPal about this for which they’ve responded thus far by not bothering to get back to me on it.  Be that as it may, today I’ve discovered — only four days late! — that another mammoth royalty payment has been received by me, of nearly a whopping three times as much as the amount the PayPal folk skimmed off for themselves (to cover, presumably, the cost of providing such services as not emailing me that I’d received it).

For how much?  From whom?  For what story and where?  Well, as is my custom, let’s let that be secret to prevent embarrassment on all sides, but this is for an anthology that’s been in print for a few years now, and for which the initial payment had been refreshingly substantial (well, for an individual story, shall we say in a highish two figures?).

What is this about nine-day acceptances (see “Needle-Heat Gun,” July 29)?  We may recall England’s GRIEVOUS ANGEL, publisher among other things of my Rhysling-nominated poem “On the Other Hand,” on King Kong’s doomed romance with Fay Wray (cf. September 5, March 30 2015).  So on that same day, July 29, just nine days before today as it happens, I sent GRIEVOUS ANGEL a flash submission for which has just come from GA-White-Red copyeditor Charles Christian:  Another fantastic story — love it & will use it.  Has that wonderful mix of quirky with a human touch.  And so for the first acceptance for August, a new story, “Matches,” the 650-word “slightly absurdist” tale of a frustrated young man who hopes to set the world on fire.

Then yesterday brought the coming fall’s opening “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. May 7, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local bookstore Boxcar Books, with featured readers Dennis McCarty reading reflections on the Little Bighorn/”Custer’s Last Stand” battle site from his upcoming book, tentatively scheduled for early 2018, MONUMENTS:  ONE ATHEIST’S TOUR THROUGH TIME, CULTURE, AND MEANING; Wendy Teller with opening excerpts from her novel-in-progress BECOMING MIA BROWER; and novelist Annette Oppenlander, who noted that her first ever public reading had been at a Writers Guild First Sunday and, scheduled to leave Bloomington later this month, this will be her last reading here, an excerpt set in Germany in the final days of World War II from her fact-based SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND.  All were interesting and well received, though the presentations for the open mike session after the break were a bit skimpy.  Mine, third of only three on a rather gloomy afternoon outside, added perhaps to the ambience with a tale of New Orleanian vampiress Aimée, “Flightless Rats,” on a date gone bad, one that’s been around the block a few times already and is soon to be reprinted next month in FANTASIA DIVINITY (see below, July 16 and 7, et al.).

And two announcements regarding First Sundays:  Next month will be skipped insofar as September’s first weekend will also bring the Bloomington Arts Fair with the Writers Guild-sponsored Spoken Word Stage.  Then for the month after, on October 1, I have been asked to be one of the featured readers.




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