Posts Tagged ‘Courtroom Drama’

Word has come from Bards and Sages Publishing’s Julie Ann Dawson that THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES PRESENTS. . . VOLUME ONE (see December 9, October 16, et al.) has been nominated for Best Anthology in the 2017 Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll.  Lead story in the volume happens to be by me, winning its spot as best of its year in THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES’ own poll, a fantasy mystery originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCKS MYSTERY MAGAZINE titled “By Force and Against the King’s Peace.”  And so, if you voted for me or not, you can now vote for the entire anthology by pressing here.  (But beware if you do.  The announcement cautions that [u]nfortunately, the voting process is a little cumbersome.  Make sure to confirm your email address after voting so that the vote counts.  The good news is that you only need to confirm your address the first time.

Also, if you’d like to know more about THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES itself (or even possibly buy a copy of Volume 1 — just scroll on down the page until you come to a link), press here.

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was my most recently published poem in the current STAR*LINE (see December 2, et al.), while the others, thus far unpublished, were “From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home,” “Never Trust a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.”

Tis the season, well into the run-up to Halloween.  Thus in today’s email, from C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna Publishing, [w]e are happy to announce that from the 25th-31st of October, we will discount all our titles to $0.99 on Amazon.  We may have some difficulty running the promotion for HINNOM MAGAZINE Issue 003, but rest assured, we will do our best to include the Halloween-themed issue in the lot.

We advise you to buckle up and prepare for one haunting Hallows’ Eve with these terrifying tales.

He says “all our titles” from which presumably not only the two already published issues of HINNOM MAGAZINE but YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY including my story “Flesh” (cf. September 25, et al.), among other books, will be included along with HINNOM’s third issue; also given the low sale price cited it’s most likely for electronic format, but no matter the details it sounds like a sale worth looking into, in less than ten days time.  More details here as they are learned.  And for those who can’t wait, YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY is available on Amazon now in both Kindle and paperback editions for which, to take a look, one can press here.

Also received from Bards and Sages Publishing, a galley proof for THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES, Volume 1, with its lead story by me, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace” (originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE; see January 19, et al.).  This will be the promised print collection of stand-alone electronic chapbooks that came out last year under the “Misfit Stories” aegis, hopefully to be out “in both large format trade paperback and hardcover for libraries” in time for Thanksgiving.

This year, we launched a new initiative called THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES.  To celebrate we’re adding the “Misfits” to our Reader’s Choice poll.  Such was the beginning of November 2’s post announcing that my story “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” late of ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE for December 1999, appeared to have been voted favorite “misfit story” this year by a fair landslide, though no real announcement had been made.  Well, as of this week it’s official, for more of which one may press here (and, reflecting the relative importance vis a vis their other category winners — hey, they did say it’s for “misfit stories” — scroll down, and down. . . .  But as a bonus, you’ll find a link to Bards and Sages Publishing’s MISFIT STORIES page as well, where you can even buy a copy of “By Force” for yourself).  As for the prize, well, that’s still unsure (though these days simply being honored for anything is, in itself, something), but more will be posted here as it becomes known.

Then, moving on down to October 22, in a post announcing the up and coming Sonnet O’Dell pre-Halloween interview in DUSTY PAGES you may have noticed this buried toward the end:   In the meantime, alas, one of the local cave computers died last night, the one that takes care of bloggie business here, so I probably won’t be able to post until Monday afternoon, EDT, on a library computer.  Whatever works, yes?  And indeed for the next several weeks these posts were coming to you from the Computer Annex, a.k.a.The Monroe County Public Library.  But now, a consultation with a local computer repair guy having suggested the afflicted instrument would do best to receive a peaceful interment, an all new reconditioned machine discovered on eBay is now up, running, and equipped with the appropriate software, and is bringing you this very post.  The same basic model as the one it replaces but of a slightly more recent sub-vintage, it seems to be working well and, if anything, may be slightly more sprightly than its predecessor.

Let’s wish it a long life!

This year, we launched a new initiative called The Society of Misfit Stories.  To celebrate we’re adding the “Misfits” to our Reader’s Choice poll.  Let us know which story you have enjoyed the most so far.  Each story is only 99 cents and they are also available as part of your KindleUnlimited subscription.  This was the announcement from Bards and Sages Publishing as part of their annual Reader”s Choice poll.  This year, however, we are changing things up.  You will still select your favorite stories from each issue, but now the Author of the Year selections also include authors published in our GREAT TOMES series and THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES!  You can also vote for your favorite “Misfit” that we have published so far!  But the thing was, while I’m not sure they follo51hxoyeaatlwed through on the others, a quick check of the “Misfit” voting showed that my entry in the stand-alone electronic chapbook series, BY FORCE AND AGAINST THE KING’S PEACE (see October 3, et al.), was running in first place!

And now polls have closed and, while I’ve not received an official announcement yet, the totals on the voting pages show BY FORCE to have won in the “Misfits Division,” if one may call it that, with 56 percent of the final vote!  Or, to see for yourself, press here.

BY FORCE AND AGAINST THE KING’S PEACE, incidentally, is a reprint, originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1999, a tale of mystery and courtroom drama concerning a peasant’s plea for redress against a wayward wizard.  As for THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES (cf. July 6, June 23), the general idea is to provide a place for longer stories, from about 5,000 to 20,000 words (BY FORCE is about 9800 words), to provide a loving home for those misfit tales that are too long for most periodicals but too short for print.  So it looks like it may be printed yet again, or at least so has said the polling information, that [w]inning stories and authors will be invited to have their work republished in next year’s BARDIC TALES AND SAGE ADVICE anthology.  But if you want to read it right away, you can also press here.

Remember THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES?  See August 22, below, plus July 6 and June 23.  But the thing is, I missed announcing at the time that the reprint story they bought from me (originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE), “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” was published there on September 9th.  Oops!  And if you don’t believe it, you can check it out (and even buy it on Kindle, if desired) here*.

But now it comes up again in this announcement from Julie Ann Dawson of Bards and Sages Publications:  With the release of the October issue of the BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY, the voting period has started for our Reader’s Choice Awards.  The purpose of the Reader’s Choice awards is to celebrate our writers.  Readers get to vote for their favorite story from each issue of t51hxoyeaatlhe BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY.  Authors are invited to have their winning stories republished in the annual BARDIC TALES AND SAGE ADVICE anthology (it is always nice to get paid for the same story twice, right?)

We are changing things up a little this year.  This year, for the Author of the Year award, we are including authors from THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES and the three current GREAT TOME anthologies.  

And the thing here is that, as of this writing, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace” is leading, with 42 percent of the vote, in the SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES category.

For more information on the Bards and Sages Reader’s Choice Awards one can press here.  And best of all, one can vote there too — just scroll down and down, through the four BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY listings, and you’ll come to the nine titles published thus far under Favorite “Misfit”.  About in the middle you’ll find “By Force and Against the King’s Peace” and to give it your vote you need but click on it.  Try it.  It’s easy!

And, if scrolling down farther, one will also find a ballot for “Author of the Year,” with my name first (although nowhere near in the lead for this one), which, were one to truly desire to, one could vote for also.  In that this is for all appearances in Bards and Sages publications, I might remind, too, that I have stories in all three of the published GREAT TOMES volumes (for which see variously below, October 1, September 21, June 9, May 10, etc.)

*Also, more information on the MISFIT STORIES series in general, including ordering links by title, can be found here.

“Can a poor farmer get justice in a court of law when an errant wizard destroys his crops?  And even if the crime can be proven and restitution ordered, how does one compel a wizard to comply?”  This the blurb, or at least a preliminary version, by Bards and Sages Publishing for my story “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” currently scheduled for September 9 for THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES (see July 6, June 23).  This is a new electronic-only publication, tailored for stories from about 5,000 to 20,000 words, “to provide a loving home for those misfit tales that are too long for most periodicals but too short for print.”  And so today the galley proof came with a request for it to be returned by the weekend with any changes.  Yes, the life of the writer continues.sorceress1

“By Force and Against the King’s Peace” has been published before, in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1999, and, yes, partly because of its relatively long length (about 9800 words), it has not been reprinted since.  Also it is a story of crime, though speculative too as defined by Bards and Sages’s guidelines (“horror, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc.”), a sort of fantasy courtroom drama involving a young, new-minted wizard just starting her practice and an experienced, older — but not too old — King’s Justice of the Peace.

And, of course, magic.

Contracts came Tuesday, were signed Wednesday, and went into the mail today.  And oddly they shared the same envelope, although they’re for very different projects.  For the first, in fact, there’s a funny story that goes back to when I had been in Boy Scouts, and of an over-zealous (though mercifully fictional) Scoutmaster who proposed a survival hike in which participants would spend a week in the woods with “nothing but a jock strap and a knife.”  And so, once upon a more recent time, I wrote a sort of absurdist story in which the horror trope of the defenseless woman lost in the woods being stalked by a monster would be ratcheted up, the victim becoming a college student in a “survival geology” course with nothing but a rock hammer, a thong, and a silver dollar.

The geology part, incidentally, was a spinoff from another story, “Ice Vermin,” which will be reprinted in Bards and Sages Publishing’s third volume in their GREAT TOMES anthology series (cf. June 9, et al.), THE GREAT TOME OF FANTASTIC AND WONDROUS PLACES (see specifically May 11), thus joining stories I already have in their first two entries.  And so by coincidence this new story, called “The Stalker,” seemed like it might fit in the fourth and last book, but there was a snag.  The editors thought the undies might make it too over the top, and so on request I rewrote a new, more modestly attired version.  And now the word has come (well, actually Tuesday), the new better dressed “Stalker” (well, actually the stalker’s victim, the stalker itself being more like fur-covered) has been accepted for Volume 4, THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES, set for a December 2016 publication — and so I have stories either out, or due out by the end of the year, in all four of the GREAT TOMES volumes.

But another coincidence now comes forth.  A new Bards and Sages project has been announced, THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES “to provide a loving home for those misfit tales that are too long for most periodicals but too short for print.”  This will be in electronic format only, with reprints allowed although unpublished stories are preferred, for tales between 5,000 and 20,000 words in length “in all speculative genres (horror, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc.).  We will also consider mysteries, thrillers, and action-adventure stories for this series.”  These will be bought for a modest sum, but only for a six-month period, subject to subsequent renewals by mutual consent.  And I have several stories that otherwise are doing nothing that fit the description.

So, long story short, Tuesday also brought a contract for my 9,800 or thereabouts word “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” a fantasy-mystery originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in December 1999, and now tentatively scheduled for this September.

It is hilarious.  This was the Friday night, 10 p.m. showing at the Indiana University Cinema — hence my writing this just after midnight Saturday — of director John Waters’s 1994 SERIAL MOM.  “A hilarious and dark twist on the everyday mediocrity of suburban life,” so say the program notes, “SERIAL MOM gives us Kathleen Turner as we’ve never seen her before.  As Beverly Sutphin, Turner plays a seemingly perfect homemaker, who will stop at nothing to rid the neighborhood of anyone who cannot live up to her perfect moral code.”  This even includes, as we find out when she’s finally caughtSerialMom, brought to trial, and in a parody of courtroom dramas acts as her own lawyer to gain an acquittal, murdering one of the jury members for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.  This even after the juror explains that particular etiquette rule is no longer in force.

So it’s a crime film in a way too, or a satire of one — but is it horror?  Her son and his friends’ watching horror movies (he works in a video rental store, which helps feed his habit), which mom does too augmenting it with reading about real live serial killers, is certainly part of the “corrupting” mix.  But what of the neighbors?  Those who she finds “guilty” and metes out varying degrees of punishment to.  How well, in fact, do you know your own neighbors?

Even at this moment they could be watching you.

But the supreme horror for me was at the end, just as the jury found mom not guilty, and one sees the looks on her family’s faces when it sinks in:  They will have to continue living with her.  (The daughter hastily assures her new boyfriend, the previous one deceased after mom overheard the daughter complain when he’d stood her up, that everything would be okay as long as he was careful not to get mom upset.)  Granted, of course, they had stood by her, but to the extent of wearing “anti-death penalty” buttons and hoping for an insanity finding.  And such was her fame already that Susanne Somers was set to play her in an upcoming SERIAL MOM TV film.

Paranoia anyone?

Upper Rubber Boot Books has announced the start of a series of stand-alone ebooks for reprint speculative fiction from 5000 words to 20,000 words with the advantage that rights will be completely non-exclusive.  That is, if they publish something of mine, I can turn right around and sell the rights again to another publisher, as long as they take non-exclusive rights too.  So, ever willing to try something new, off I sent a 9600-word novelette originally published in the December 1999 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” about a young wizardess called to a medieval justice of the peace court as an expert witness in a case that may involve magic.  Fantasy/courtroom drama, yes!

In pretty quick time the answer came — “yes” — along with a contract that will be mailed out tomorrow morning.  Pay is in royalties which, for short fiction, has in the past never amounted to much in part because Amazon takes a relatively large skim off lower-priced ebooks sold through their site, in part because, well, they are lower priced.  But that’s the thing with the non-exclusive bit, that should another opportunity come along for a reprint magazine or an anthology I’m not prevented from taking it too.

So we’ll see what happens, in terms of editing (especially with reprints, I prefer editors with a light hand, but then I’ve been around awhile and I also place a high premium on style), covers, sales and royalty reporting, etc., some of which you may learn about here too.  And as for the basics, if you’d like to give Upper Rubber Boot Books a try too (the name presumably comes from a Canadian expression for a small, nondescript town, much like “Podunk” in the United States — although the press itself is located in Nashville, Tennessee), their website can be checked out by pressing here.

Then, moving to another set of ebooks, Untreed Reads Publishing has announced that this is “Read An Ebook Week” and, from now through Saturday, May 8, they’re celebrating by holding a 30% off sale.  This covers all titles including my chapbooks VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., PEDS, and the YEAR’S END New Year’s horror anthology with my lead story “Appointment in Time.”  For more press here (yes, this is my page, after all it’s my horn I’m tooting, but you can go from there to their general catalog pages as well).

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