Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The story concerned a somewhat slightly built, skinny alien with pointed ears who, disguised as a cosplay Mr. Spock, has been gaining intelligence at STAR TREK conventions in preparation for the invasion.  But Earth, he learns, is preparing for an annual celebration, affecting virtually every nation, offering an opportunity for him and his fellows disguised this time as Christmas elves to infiltrate department store “Santa’s Villages” in nearly every city of any size on the planet, to start the conquest on Christmas Eve.  The story’s title was “Holly Jolly” but somehow calls for invasion stories, with horrific endings, revolving around department store Santas seemed strangely sparse.  And so the story languished.

Until. . . .

The call was from a magazine I was unfamiliar with, PLANET SCUMM, but for information on which one may press hereA horror issue?  In winter?  Not, perhaps, the season you think of when it comes to frights and ghosties and things that go bump in the night, eh?  Then again, perhaps your favorite intergalactic editors forgot to send out the submission call in time, and are now one cycle behind on their theme issues?  Hmm, yes.  Perhaps, perhaps.  And [i]f your story plays off the “winter” theme — literally or not — even better.  Most of our normal submission stipulations still apply here. Ideally, submissions should be both horror AND have a speculative/sci-fi element — a slasher cutting through skiers with an ice-pick (while fun) won’t cut it.

And Christmas is winter, yes?

The rest is history.  Came the reply this afternoon:  Scummy is . . . pleased with your science fiction offering.  We’d like to publish “Holly Jolly” in our Winter 2019 issue of PLANET SCUMM.  A contract was offered which went back today (a little bit of money up front, perhaps a royalty).  So buy an issue when it comes out.  And look for more information here, or maybe at the link above, as it becomes known.

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You read about Smashwords annual March ebook sale just two posts down (see March 5), as regards Smart Rhino Publications.  Now Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads adds that Untreed Reads books are part of the sale as well, but only books with prices over 99 cents with discount added, and no short stories.  But on the Untreed Reads site itself, [t]hrough March 10th, we’ll also be running the Read an Ebook Sale in our own store. . . .  Readers get 40% off when they enter coupon code EBOOK during checkout.  This includes every title published by Untreed Reads, including short stories.
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I would note this includes three short story chapbooks by me, New England set steampunk/mystery VANITAS, Christmas/horror tale I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , and near future science fiction novelette PEDS, plus a New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead story “Appointment in Time.”  To check these out, one may press here (from which, if one wishes, one may also navigate to the Untreed Reads store main pages).

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.

So it’s still the Christmas Season, isn’t it (cf. number 10, “12 Days of Christmas: A Tale of Avian Misery,” and one of my favorites)?  So herewith, to while the minutes of an otherwise very cold late New Years Day, at least where I live and not a time to be going outside, welcome “13 Short Horror Films to Exorcise Holiday Mirth and Cheer” by Marni Molina, courtesy of DEARDARKLING.COM.  Viewing times range from 1:49 to 16:01 minutes.

To sample, press here — but think twice before sharing these with the kiddies (this means you too, Triana)!

(Courtesy of “15+ Dogs and Cats That Destroyed Christmas” by Viktorija G. on BOREDPANDA.COM, for more of which press here.  Triana especially likes #14.)
 

Lava is between 1,300 and 2,200 degrees. It’s so hot you wouldn’t even cook or burn — you would flash boil, which means all your water would turn to steam.  Since you’re mostly water, this is bad.  Once your water converted to gas you would turn into a bubbly mess, and all that bubbling would churn and broil the lava into big lava fountains.  These fountains can shoot up surprisingly high, five or six feet, and they would cover you in the stuff.

So haven’t you wondered what would happen if unfriendly zealots sacrificed you by tossing you into the local volcano?  Of course you have — but the above tells only part of the answer (for instance, if the heat weren’t a problem, the fall might very well kill you too).  And what about if you’re shot from a cannon?  Or swallowed by a whale?  Well, fret no more because answers can be had in AND THEN YOU’RE DEAD, by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty.  In fact, I’ve just ordered a copy from Amazon myself.

Why?  Well, I’m a horror writer and I just came across it on a list (ah, another of these . . . ), “21 Science Books that Make Excellent Gifts” by Mary Beth Griggs on POPSCI.COM, and finding a cheap copy how could I resist?  Another on the list for horror fans is one I already have, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, in which [m]ortician Caitlin Doughty looks at our approach to death across cultures and technologies, from “skeleton farms” to crematoriums to mummification rituals.  The author has a detached fascination with death, and after reading FROM HERE TO ETERNITY your friend might, too.  But if you like science fiction as well, you don’t have to have a science degree to read the other titles cited, such as PSYCHOLOGY:  THE COMIC BOOK INTRODUCTION or, pictured, THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.  Or SOONISH (on near-future technological likelihoods — lots of robots here), or ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY, or SPACEPORT EARTH.

So it’s not too late if you can find one of these in a bookstore (though for shopping on the web, the earliest for the one I just ordered is stated as December 29) but Christmas gifting’s not the real point, is it?  The point is these are books you might want to have for yourself.

For more, press here.

Roughly half the movies cited in “13 Best Horror Movies of 2017,” by Orrin Grey on THE-LINE-UP.COM, are also noted in July 5’s post, below, “Best 2017 Horror Films Thus Far” — which figures, if you think about it.  So, THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER (check), IT (check), THE GIRL WITH THE GIFTS (check), RAW (check), they’re all there.  THE DEVIL’S CANDY (check).  Six films in all, and now seven are added to represent the year’s second half, such as HAPPY DEATH DAY and BETTER WATCH OUT.  THE BELKO EXPERIMENT. . . .

It’s all just one person’s opinion, of course, but for a fear-filled Christmastide’s viewing it’s one place to start, for more on which press here.

And speaking of things not overly jolly, let us hark back to November 26’s post (see also November 11; January 18 2016, et al.), “Cthulhu Christmas Special Cover Revealed, Publication Set for December 1,” and note that DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN YULETIDE TALES is now out in both Kindle and print.  And it’s also already picked up a review, by “JME” who has noted four stories out of a total 11 for special mention.  AND the first of these mentioned is “A Christmas Carnage,” by meA favorite, this story is aptly named.  Lots of carnage, and in a sick way for a sick purpose.  Who comes up with this stuff?

(*A moment while I sit, quietly proud.*)

To see for oneself, one may press here.  And then click the book’s title above the review for more information, including ordering.  It’s a short book, listed as only 82 pages, but judging from the stories and poems I’ve read thus far, worth it!

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.

The email arrived today, along with a pre-publication electronic copy, to the effect that (to give it it’s full name) DEADMAN’S TOME CTHULHU CHRISTMAS SPECIAL AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN YULETIDE TALES is scheduled to be out December 1 in Kindle, with a print edition expected “soon after.”  My story in this is third in the lineup, “A Christmas Carnage” (see November 11; January 18 2016, et al.), originally published in IN THE BLOOD (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2013) as well as THE FIRST ANNUAL GEEKY KINK ANTHOLOGY (Riverdale Avenue Books, 2015).  And, yes, Santa’s elves under the age of 18 may not find this tale entirely appropriate.

Indeed others may find “A Christmas Carnage” inappropriate also, including lovers of Charles Dickens’s immortal A CHRISTMAS CAROL.  Or lovers of puns (the dead don’t approve of such things, you know).  It is the tale of a rather high strung young man (he keeps a chainsaw in his closet for personal protection) with a very specific Christmas wish, and an “umpty-umpth-great” aunt named Carol who might be in a position to grant it.  Or possibly not — but to find that out you’ll just have to read a copy yourself, available for pre-order by pressing here.




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