Posts Tagged ‘Dark Fantasy’

A lovely, not-too-hot Sunday afternoon brings two quick notes of the “The Writer’s Life” variety.  The first was a contract from Madeline L. Stout of FANTASIA DIVINITY MAGAZINE for reprinting “Flightless Rats” (cf. July 7), starring New Orleanian Casket Girl Aimée on the prowl for a husband, signed and sent back.  Then earlier this p.m. it was time for the annual Bloomington Writers Guild picnic and open reading (see July 24 2016, et al.), starring fried chicken and many sides, in which I read a cautionary poem not of Aimée but those of her kind, titled “Evening.”  Also announced, beginning with the first Sunday next month and “First Sunday Prose Readings,” a new fall cycle of Writers Guild activities will have begun.

It’s just a short post, but cruising the interwebs what should I find but, on SCREENJUNKIES.COM, “5 Best French Vampire Movies”?  In ways it’s a strangely limited list, all five films being made in the late 1960s/1970s and four of them being (including his first, in 1968) by Jean Rollin, for more on whom – in an amazing coincidence – see June 12, below.  But if you like your vamps to exude a dreamy erotica in mildly surrealistic settings, whether or not they’re the absolute best, in four out of five one could do a lot worse.  So with no guarantees*, and today is Bastille Day, for one apparently anonymous film critic’s selections press here.

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*Note that the one non-Rollin entry, Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, was co-produced by the French film company Gaument (and does have some French actors, notably Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker), but that may be pushing things a little.

Speaking of cats, the Goth Cat Triana is napping happily next to the keyboard, joyful that I have returned home to her.  More of what I did at NASFiC to come, but for now there are items to be caught up on.  And so this first popped up in today’s email from PHOBOS magazine (cf. February 24, et al.):  Good news!  The print edition of “Deep Black Sea” is now up for sale on Amazon!

Apologies for the delay, but I feel confident in saying this is our strongest issue yet, which of course is a result of the high quality stories by everyone present.  Thank you all for being a part of it.  Our next step will be putting out a Kindle version and making it available at select local bookstores. 

In the meantime, feel free to direct anyone interested to the Amazon site — and have them drop a review about how great your story is!  Reviews go a long way, even if it’s not five stars.

So . . . my story in this is a Lovecraftian romp, “The Dark Call of the Sea,” of a summer vacation at Innsmouth gone wrong.  For more, press here — and as quoted above, if you enjoy the issue, or just my story, please give the Amazon folk a review!

Then for a second item, my copy of CAT’S BREAKFAST: KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE (cf. June 15, et al.) arrived from Third Flatiron Publishing while I was gone, in a print edition at a (for Third Flatiron) whopping 270-some pages long.  My story in this is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013, see April 24 2013, et al.), about girls both alive and dead . . . and bears.  More on it can be found here and, should you enjoy, it can be reviewed too.

Another quick list to keep us busy the next several days  (cf. July 2, below), this one courtesy of Joan Hawkins,”The Best Horror Films of 2017 (So Far)” on VULTURE.COM by Jordan Crucchiola.  I think the only one I’ve seen so far is THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, an interesting zombie film with an intelligent difference — that is, to my mind not that scary really (once you get around the fact of zombies) but one that invites thought.  Then, wouldn’t you know it, I seem to have since misplaced the DVD.

Well, I’ve seen it once anyway (good for me!) and the list is worth checking out, for which press here.

The Question is asked:  What makes a scary movie scary?

If you glanced at what’s come out in the past 20 years, you might think it’s the amount of diced body tissue flying around the screen.  Horror has always depended on shock value (see: FREAKS below), but what really unsettles us hasn’t changed much: an ominous sound from around the corner, an indecipherable figure in the distance, a sense of impending doom as somebody opens a door.  Gore has its place, but only when it’s attached to an idea.  HOSTEL is less a spine-tingling chiller than an endurance test for ick along the lines of E!’s BOTCHED.

And so it goes (to coin a phrase). Herewith a list everyone’s going to have some disagreements with, courtesy of ESQUIRE.COM (via THISISHORROR.CO.UK), but with the acknowledgement that these are just one horror fan’s opinions.  Mileage may vary (to coin another phrase), but, for me, the value in a project like this is to view it as a kind of checklist to see which pictures I may have missed out on.  So, yes, homage is given to many one would expect, but others less known may be there as well (e.g., to deal from the top, most should recognize Fritz Lang’s M [#47], but how many also know UNDER THE SKIN with Scarlett Johansson [#49]; or consider #21, CARNIVAL OF SOULS) — and how many have you seen?

Well, I’m not going to say (I have seen the three noted just above), but it’s fun to go through, so enjoy Paul Schrodt’s “The 50 Scariest Movies of All Time” by pressing here.  (But caution: for those afraid of spoilers, avoid reading “scariest moments”).

Now, about that interview (see May 18 two posts below, April 18) . . . it’s here!  Conducted by blogger Gwendolyn Kiste, this is a fairly straightforward one with mentions both of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and my previous book THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And possibly one or two surprises too, like the place football takes in my writing routine.  Or music and differing narrative styles.  Other highlights:  My first ever official fiction sale, and how much did I get?  What are “honorary weekends”?  And, speaking of my writers group (cf. post just below), what of the time the Goth cat Triana added a comment of her own to a member’s story?*

See all this and more by pressing here.
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* And remember, Triana has not been here that long (cf. February 2).

And here it is, the third of my TOMBS-related essays in Heidi Angell’s AN ANGELL’S LIFE OF BOOKISH GOODNESS.  This one is titled “The Ghoul-Poet” and has to do in part with the division of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH into sections based on what’s sometimes called “Five-Act Dramatic Structure,” the structure of classical plays like those of Shakespeare.  Well, that sounds pretty fancy, but then what’s a ghoul doing being a poet?  “The Ghoul-Poet” joins my previous guest posts “It Began With a Map” on March 30 and “What’s a Novel-In-Stories?” on February 9, concerning, respectively, building the world of the “Tombs” and the reasons for choosing a mosaic, or novel-in-stories format for its presentation.

So, okay, then what is a ghoul doing being a poet?  To find out, press here.  Also there are links in the essay to my first guest post, on mosaic novels, and a month before that, on January 9, Heidi’s original interview of me, as well as to Amazon’s page on TOMBS where, at least as of this writing, a bargain $9.95 pre-order price is still being offered*.  (For the second essay, however, you’ll have to scroll down to March 30 and use the link there.)

Then a quick, somewhat related note:  TEARS, TOMBS, and contributions by the Goth cat Triana?  And what about the influence of music?  Yes, an all new interview of me is in the offing, this one conducted by Gwendolyn Kiste (cf. April 18), and has now been officially scheduled for this coming Monday, May 22.  This will be part of a series of interviews I’ve given this year (cf. April 7, March 13, January 10) leading up to next month and the June 1  release date for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  So, sure, the purpose is commercial too, but there still should lurk a few fun facts (or so one might hope) about me.

See you all Monday?

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*Or one can always just press TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH’s picture in the center column.

Dragons — bad-ass dragons.  Dragons that destroy things and eat people, and the people/robots/aliens/time lords that fight them or out-smart them — or get eaten by them.  No story book dragons that live in forests helping orphans or peddling psychedelics.  My dragons eat orphans for breakfast.  Timeline and setting is wide open.  Your dragons aren’t necessarily getting stabbed by swords — but swords are welcome too.  I want dragons — awe inspiring fear provoking monsters.  They can be mechanical, mystical, steam-powered, alien, aquatic, from another dimension, or from outer space — but they must be terrifying beasts of destruction.  Here be dragons.

Now who could resist that?  Moreover, while the money offered by publisher Digital Fiction may not have been much (though there may be a royalty involved as well), HIC SUNT DRACONES is to be a reprints only anthology and, as it happened. . . .  Well, as I told them with my submission, [h]ere is the bad-ass dragon tale of “The Bala Worm,” originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008), with reprint rights in my possession.  It also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013).  

It had the makings of a marriage arranged in . . . well, wherever it is that dragons arrange such things.  And so, this afternoon, the word came back from Editor Michael Wills:  Thank you for sending us “The Bala Worm”.  We think it is a great fit and would like to publish it.

And then one more detail for fellow authors who might have a dragon or two in the closet, the guidelines say the anthology may be open until the end of the month, May 31, for details on which one may press here.  But best hurry because they’ll only want thirty stories or so for about 150,000 words total and some of them (mine included) may be long.

The first anthology of Gehenna & Hinnom will be published in late-September of 2017.  It will feature only the most disturbing and horrifying body horror tales readers have ever read.

The challenge is up to you, the authors. How strange is your narrative capable of being?  How morose is your prose?  How in touch are you with the macabre?

Tentatively titled YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR in the guidelines, the call seemed tempting.  Pay was minimal but reprints along with original stories would be okay so, as has happened in the past, the muse on my shoulder whispered “Why not?”  That’s the submissions muse, mind you — the story idea muse is not nearly so gentle.  And why not indeed, I had a story originally published in MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION, in Spring 1999, and. . . .  The word came back from Editor C.P. Dunphey just four days later:  Thank you so much for considering Gehenna & Hinnom for your work, “Flesh.”  The story stands visceral and disturbing; the exact things we love in a work.  We’d love to have it included in our anthology.

As for the story, “Flesh” is a surrealistic sort of a tale in which, in that the guidelines asked for a synopsis, “a wealthy businessman has a series of bizarre dreams as a result of which he decides he should gain weight.  As he grows fatter his wealth grows as well but at the same time he withdraws progressively from ordinary society until one night his dreams come true.”  Also the anthology is listed as open until August 15 so, if interested in submitting yourself, more information can be found here.

Then one other item this afternoon via  POPULARMECHANICS.COM, or, it starts with a wedge-tailed eagle taking down a drone.  And it only gets worse from there in John Wenz’s “7 Robot Beatdowns the Machines Will Definitely Remember When They Rise Up” — would you believe roboticide in the City of Brotherly Love?  Or underage playground bullies?  Anyway, science fiction fans and writers, to better prepare for the Robot Apocalypse, please to press here.

The word from Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing:  May is National Short Story Month, so we’ll be featuring 30% off all short story collections and anthologies throughout the month of May.  This includes all ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers and large print titles.  . . .  We will be redoing the homepage in the next day or two to reflect the sale.  Please note that this sale is only in The Untreed Reads Store . . .

and,

SUPER BONUS!  The short story collection that sells the most copies will earn a $50 bonus for the author.   The anthology that sells the most copies will earn a $10 bonus for each contributor.  There’s a minimum of ten copies to be sold to be eligible for the bonus.  This can be any combination of ebook or print.

So the moral is:  There is one book on the list with a story by me — the lead story, in fact, “Appointment in Time” — the anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR.  So if you’ve had a hankering to read dark stories set on New Year’s Eve (or maybe have been looking for inexpensive early Christmas gifts) this is as good a chance to buy it as any.  Just press here (and scroll way, way down to the last title on the list)

OR,

And here’s A LAST-MINUTE BONUS, click on any of the three pictures of Untreed Reads chapbooks by me in the center column, PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . , or VANITAS, to go to a page with YEAR’S END on it as well.  But also single story chapbooks, it turns out, are on sale too!  This includes a $10 bonus as well for the author of the best seller (hint!), so, if clicking on pictures is inconvenient, just go to my own Untreeds Reads page by pressing here.




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