Posts Tagged ‘Bloomington Writers Guild’

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. . . .

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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.

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

Sunday’s weather belied the predictions of afternoon storms which perhaps helped May’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” in conjunction with the Monroe County Convention Center, garner fifteen participants who stayed the whole time.  The featured poets were native Hoosier and Americorps veteran Charles Culp, with poems on such things as diners (“the liquor store closes, the church closes, but the diner’s still open”) and the art available just by looking around one, among other topics, and Virginia native Breon Tyler, a visual artist with a degree in Painting and Printmaking, currently completing a masters here in African American and African Diaspora Studies, who started with a work by a poet from Sierra Leone as well as recent poems of her own  Then after a break, six non-scheduled poets read from the audience, of which I was sixth with three somewhat summer-themed poems (parties, vacations, poolside relaxation) from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) collection, “Through This Wicked, Winding Way,” “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” and “Moonlight Swimming.”  Last Sunday Poetry will resume August 27 following a a two-month summer hiatus.

Then a second item, simply for fun on a holiday weekend, or, I don’t usually cover politics here but. . . .  But satire does count as literature and this one is difficult to resist, a “claim” by satirical site THE ONION of having “Obtained Hundreds of Trump Documents” including, well, a number of topics from which one may choose after pressing here.  And for horror fans (thus bringing it under this blog’s purview, ahem) I especially recommend, under “Family,” Melania’s letters home to her mother, particularly the last concerning an apparition seen one night on the White House lawn of. . . . (but be sure to read her other letters first).

Let us take a quick trip down memory lane to April 25 and my coverage of the Polish mermaid film THE LURE, a Goth-rock variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”  Then, back to today, what should I run across courtesy of DIRGEMAG.COM but “Dark Mermaids Take Everything Men Fear and Use It Against Them” by Brenda S G Walter, including her take on “The Little Mermaid” as well as THE LURE and two other films.  In this case the “lure” (sorry) is primarily via the Andersen tale — no dwelling on mermaids’ alter lives in the siren trade, for instance, but then the payoff is still the same.  These are hungry fish-ladies.  And, music or not, the piece is interesting (and a little Freudian) and can be read by pressing here.

Then, for the writing life, Saturday after my writers critique group eviscerated my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH essays (cf. May 18 just below, et al., and no, they didn’t really — I did post all three essays to the group in lieu of a story this month, for which comments, while mixed as to which one might be a given critiquer’s favorite, were generally encouraging), I continued to local restaurant-bar The Crazy Horse for a celebration and signing for Bloomington Writers Guild member and poet Nancy Chen Long’s just published book, LIGHT INTO BODIES.  To lazily quote from the invitation:  This event is a thanks-giving.  As a way of honoring, Nancy has invited Cynthia Bretheim and Beth Lodge-Rigal, two women that she credits for getting her back into poetry back in 2006, to read.  Members of Five Women Poets, a local writing group that Nancy belongs to, will also read.  In addition, two friends whose artistic-ness inspire her — Matt Allen on jazz guitar and Stephen Simms on bass — have been invited to share their music.  It also was fun, and with good snacks too, and a special feeling of kinship for me on the eve, as it were, of my own book’s release which, if not an absolute first as such, is my first novel.
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More on Nancy’s book, officially published on May 10, can be found by pressing here; more on my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH by pressing its picture in the center column.

Thursday, while warm, was gloomy and threatening-rainy all day long, though the rain itself held off.  Nor did it disturb this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored Second Thursdays Players Pub Spoken Word Series(cf. March 10, February 10), featuring four Indiana readers (though one will be leaving for Germany soon) along with singer-guitarist Brandon Pfeiffer.  The readers were poet Patsy Rahn (who we’ve met before) and story writer Brian Leung and, following a musical interlude, Josh Brewer (no relation, as Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer emphasized) and, in her last local Guild-sponsored reading, novelist Annette Oppenlander (who we’ve also met before, this time reading from her recently published SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND, based on her own parents’ experience growing up during World War II).  Then when open mike time came, no less than nine writers and poets took their turns on the stage — with mine being fifth with a tale for May of enduring love, and zombies, “His Dead Ex-Girlfriend” — which I think may be a record for audience participation.  Also, unlike other Writers Guild readings, Second Thursdays will persist during the summer, so the next few months may also pick up some Last Sunday Poetry and First Sunday Prose regulars too.

Then a week ago Thursday, May 4th, I noted that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble were offering pre-order discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price being actually twenty-some cents lower at $9.95.  This is for paperback copies, of course — I understand there will be an electronic edition but it won’t be out until a little late8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13r.  But now serendipity strikes again, with my having somewhat accidentally discovered that Amazon’s price has been lowered to $9.95 too, to match B&N’s!  To see for yourself, press here.  (And not only that, but Amazon promises all pre-publication orders will be billed at the lowest price on June 1, when the book is officially published, so if you’d pre-ordered at a higher price, you’ll still get the full discount.)

So, hey, what the heck, just for a lark I moseyed over to B&N too, just to see, you know, if they still were at $9.95 too, and . . . the Barnes and Noble price has been lowered as well, this time to a mere $9.75!  Exciting times these — and to see for oneself one need but to press here (although to my best knowledge B&N may not have a similar promise, that already pre-ordered books will have their prices lowered too).  But the moral in any event is, with less than twenty days remaining until TOMBS is released, check out the bookseller of your choice for some hefty discounts before it’s too late.*

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*How hefty?  Barnes & Noble says you’ll save 35 percent off a listed full price of $14.95, while Amazon’s discount is an only slightly smaller 33 percent, or one third off.

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.




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