Posts Tagged ‘Casket Girls’

Humor pervaded the featured portion of this evening’s Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at local tavern Bears Place (cf. February 5, et al.) with storyteller Nell Weatherwax opening with two pieces on her first amateur comedy club presentation and an up-coming radio gig morphing into the eccentricities of her father; stand-up comedian Shanda Sung on the everyday challenges of being a 35-year-old woman and mother of three kids; and Mary Armstrong-Smith with “I Teach at the Walgreen’s” and “Watering the Flower,” the latter concerning a childhood memory about family relations and an incident with her mother and grandmother and a pet puppy, all presentations extremely funny but with their serious sides as well.  Then, along with musical guest Trillium, a well-populated open mike portion brought nine readers, with me number four with another in my “Casket Girls” series, “Fit for a King,” with the irrepressible Claudette and more poetically-minded Yvonne discussing the pre-Mardi Gras carnaval tradition of sharing a king cake.

This will be another quickie report, that BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS (see February 5, January 20) is now available in paperback format. To let Amazon tell it:  Britain’s most respected living horror writer Ramsey Campbell has said of this magazine-sized charity book of short stories:- “A fine anthology for a fine cause.  Invest your imagination in it and you’ll be investing in the world as well.”  BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS is a collection of dark Valentine’s Day tales; a charity anthology to raise funds for the Australian bush-fire victims, and ALL sale proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross.  For more information, including a list of all authors and titles, one need but press here.  (Or if preferred, the Kindle edition, to be released officially Friday for Valentine’s Day, is available for pre-order as well.)

So sometimes several things come all at once, such is the magical life of the writer.  And so today, Thursday, there are three new items under the aegis of “The Writing Life.”  (1)  For starters, an authors proof copy arrived from publisher Things in the Well for BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS (cf. February 5, January 20, 15) in which my story “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale” appears in number three slot in the table of contents.  So says the publisher:  We’ve wound the stories and poems — all 60 of them — into a bit of a narrative.  You’ll find no two are alike, in any way.  It’s so wonderful to have such a diverse representation of dark or dangerous love.  We are delighted with how it has all come together, and hope you are too.  (2)  Then second, for Black Hare Press’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS:  LUST anthology, I received an edited copy of my story, “A Cup Full of Tears” (see December 8), to be checked over.  (3)  And then, last, a contract came from The Great Void for using my novelette, “The Garden,” in their upcoming UNREAL anthology.  So. . . .

A flurry of reading, okaying the proof for an already announced February 14th Kindle edition, with paperback following in its time, for vampiress Claudette and “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale”; more reading to check out Black Hare Press’s edits and find them okay for “A Cup Full of Tears”; and a gimlet-eyed poring over the contract for UNREAL and “The Garden,” with a hoped for publication date of March 14 — all of which I have okayed, approved, and signed and sent back to their respective recipients.  Or, in a word, just another day in the Writing Life lived.

New Year’s Day was on a Wednesday last month which meant taking a bye, but this evening’s First Wednesday Spoken Word Series at local tavern Bears Place (cf. December 4 last year, et al.) came on strong to start a new decade.  The featured readers were Antonia Matthew, who we’ve met a number of times before, with a prose retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamlin from the point of view of a boy left behind; and Bonnie Maurer, author of RECONFIGURED and THE RECONFIGURED GODDESS:  POEMS OF A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR as well as a 2020 Indiana Poet Laureate finalist, with a gathering of poems on various topics; with musical interludes on sitar and guitar by SITAR OUTREACH MINISTRY.  Illness prevented a third scheduled reader from attending, but there were a total of eleven open-mike walk ons to take up the slack, of which I came seventh with “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale” (presented about a year ago too but this year to celebrate finally being sold), of the New Orleanian vampiress Claudette and what she once did to an unruly husband.

Then in a somewhat related item, news came today that BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS (cf. January 20), including “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale,” is officially scheduled for a February 14th release — at least on Kindle.  This is the anthology earmarked for relief for victims of the recent Australian bush fires, details on which, including a partial list of authors, can be found by pressing here.

We are excited to announce the first round of acceptances for inclusion in BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS.  This is our charity anthology to raise funds for the Australian bushfire victims.  All sale proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross and matched dollar-for-dollar by Microsoft (up to $50k) as part of their Giving campaign.  This was the announcement on Facebook today, and so it can now be made known:  This is the “Mystery” acceptance of January 15’s post, with preliminary details just released — despite being still open for submissions “of 1,000 words (ideally, but we’ll consider any length as it’s for charity!)” until January 31.

The guidelines:  The theme is Valentine’s Day, so we’re after dark, suspenseful, menacing, memorable tales of human love gone wrong, or monster love gone right!  We want to have your stories by end of January please!  It’s a tight deadline, but we think it’s a fun theme and a worthy cause, so please get your writer’s heads on and start scribbling.  So what better story for me to send but one concerning those New Orleanian vampire ladies, les filles à les caissettes (see e.g. May 2 2019, et al.), one as yet unpublished of the literal-minded but always ready for fun Claudette?  And best of all, titled simply “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale.”  And thus, five days ago, Editors Louise Zedda Sampson and Chris Mason agreed.

So there’s no money in it, but les filles are not averse to a worthy cause.  Should you be good with that as well, more information can be found here, or if you would simply be interested in a whole bunch of flash stories on love gone bad, to be out in time for Valentine’s Day, for details/Kindle pre-orders press here.

So maybe a trifle late for Thanksgiving, the Bloomington Writers Guild First Wednesday Spoken Word Series (see November 7, et al.) featured two poets, a longish short story, and musical interludes by Mike Notaro and a Moog synthesizer.  First up was 2015-16 Kentucky Poet Laureate and once local resident George Ella Lyon with several selections including one from her VOICES FOR JUSTICE, a book of poems for young readers; followed by J.T. Whitehead, one-time editor of SO IT GOES, the literary journal of Indianapolis’s Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, among other things, and whose poetry included pieces from his 2015 National Book Award nominated THE TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS; and finally a farewell reading by Guild member Shayne Laughter (cf. December 1) of a “longish” short story “We Lie, We Die.”  Then “Open Mic” time came with me fourth out of seven with a just-written-last-Friday Casket Girls tale, “A Time for Gratitude,” in which a put-upon Aimée brings a new acquaintance home to her fellow filles for their Thanksgiving dinner.

These occasionally turn up on the internet and, as one might suppose, the answer is hoax.  Regardless of the actual age of some of the items included, they have a way of relying perhaps a bit too heavily on vampire lore gathered from post 1950s-ish movies.  Nevertheless. . . .

Well, I’ve used the notion once in a story, “La Valise,” starring Aimée, of les filles à les casettes, published in ZEN OF THE DEAD (Popcorn Press, 2015; cf. November 17, October 28 2015, et al.), suggesting that should a real vampire come across one in your luggage, it might not lead to a happy conclusion.  But for a bit more on the “hoax” part of the formula via Dan Evon, “Is This a Vampire Hunting Kit from the Early 19th Century?” on SNOPES.COM, one can check here.

Last night brought a little bit different mix at the First Wednesday Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. October 3, et al.).  The session began with poet Roger Pfingston with locally-based poems, primarily from his latest chapbook, WHAT’S GIVEN,


Ernie Pyle, as remembered on the IU campus (IDS Photo)

followed by poet/performer and sometime teacher of theatrical magic Tom Hastings with dramatic readings of works by several poets and even a rope trick, emphasizing that a stage magician’s patter is at least as important as the trick itself.  Then third was WFHB radio writer and performer Richard Fish reading selections from Indiana University journalism graduate and war correspondent Ernie Pyle’s columns from World War II as an interesting — and in places touching — change of pace, while musical interludes were provided by guitarist and singer Gabriel Harley.

This was followed by six “Open Mic” readers (a seventh, Joan Hawkins, relinquished her spot to Gabriel Harley for two final songs), of which I was third with another in the “Casket Girls” series, “Flightless Rats,” of New Orleans vampiress Aimée’s encounter with a religious man with a slightly odd take on the Noah’s Ark story.

Another week, another contract, this time from Canada’s House of Zolo via Publisher Nihls Andersen:  We are so excited to have your work as part of the first edition of the HOZ JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE LITERATURE.  Attached please find our contract.  Once you’ve had a chance to read it and you are satisfied with the terms, please fill in your address, sign and return the document at your nearest convenience.  If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  This was followed by an up to date biography request, for a picture if possible, plus payment information.

The story in question is “Golden Age,” originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 and also reprinted in Smart Rhino Publications’ ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 11, et al.).  Thus the writing life continues:  We are expecting to release the JOURNAL in November 2019 as an E-Book and as a Printed Book, and we will let you know the exact date as soon as it is finalized.  The JOURNAL will be available Internationally on Amazon and other platforms — we’ll keep you posted as we add other venues.  The signed contract went back this afternoon, with more details to be printed here as they become known.

Also late Sunday the following came from Zombie Works Publications Editor Alan Russo:  You will find attached the official digital copy to MONSTERTHOLOGY 2!  Print copies will be available soon, along with the eBook version.  Thank you to every[one] and their hard work and contribution to this great anthology!  The tale here is a dark-humored take on a New Orleans vampire, but one not in the “Casket Girls” series, “Beefcake and the Vamp” (see September 25, February 19, et al.), with, again, more information here as soon as it’s known.

Past Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf was the lead featured reader at Wednesday’s Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. September 4, et al.), reading a dozen selections from his latest book, INDIANA HILL COUNTRY.  He was followed in a slightly truncated session by writer and sometime dancer and actor Zilia Balkansky-Selles with four highly descriptive essay-poems, “two long, and two short,” and Newburgh Indiana poet and musician Jon Koker with work from his book SON.  Musical interludes were by guitarist/songwriter Richard Layton, while I came in second of seven “Open Mic” readers with the shortest and newest (and perhaps somewhat influenced by Joan Hawkins’ and Tonia Matthew’s “color” presentation last month) of the “Casket Girls” series, “Shades of Difference.”

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