Posts Tagged ‘Dark Fantasy’

It’s seventeen movies in all, or at least the characters of the mothers who star as “The Baddest, Raddest Moms of Horror” by Jacob Trussell, et al., on FILMSCHOOLREJECTS.COM, as brought to us courtesy of this week’s THISISHORROR.CO.UK.  The films range from THE OTHERS to HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, from CUJO to CHILD’S PLAY, THE BROOD to BRAINDEAD (a.k.a. DEAD ALIVE), and that last one alone gives this new list some heft.  From Mama to mother! to the oft-forgotten Mom, no two horror movie matriarchs are born alike.  Some may be cannibalistic like in Bob Balaban’s cult masterpiece PARENTS or classically psycho like Kathleen Turner in John Waters’ SERIAL MOM, but we love them all the same.  For this list curated by your very own Boo Crew, Rob Hunter, Meg Shields, Kieran Fisher, Anna Swanson, Chris Coffel, Valerie Ettenhofer, Brad Gullickson and myself are bringing you a selection of not just the baddest but the raddest movie moms that genre cinema has blessed us with.  And if we can take this opportunity to remind you: did you remember to call your mother?  So we’re a week late for Mothers Day, perhaps, but there’s still time to make it up with a mini film festival of female parents by, yes, pressing here.

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A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.

Five novelettes.  Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?

Thus the blurb, the book is entitled THE BLOOD TOMES, VOLUME 2:  CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION, and to get to the point it’s the one with my story “The Bala Worm” (see just below, May 14, et al.).  And the news that just came, the Kindle edition is up for pre-order rather faster than had been expected, on Amazon now, for which press here!  As noted above, you get five novelettes for $0.99, 171 pages according to Amazon divided between authors Gordon B. White, me, Mark Pantoja, Jon Gauthier, and Peter Emmett Naughton, my part being the one with the dragon in the above description, though at novelette length of course there’s more.  Much more.  While for more information from the publisher, Tell-Tale Press, including other CREATURES volumes (horror short stories, fantasy, mystery, . . . ) one can press here.

Or, going back to the Amazon copy, so says the blurb:  We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

Two quick bits of news arrived late yesterday and today, the first from Editor Andrea Dawn that payment (ahem!) for my story “The Bala Worm” (cf. April 26, 6) will be coming in less than a week, with the Tell-Tale Press anthology CREATURES on schedule to appear on Kindle on May 23 with stories also available then on the publisher’s website.   “The Bala Worm,” a novelette of dragon hunting in modern Wales, is itself a reprint, originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Then today’s note comes from Editor/Publisher Jason Brick that things had gotten a wee bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see March 27, et al.), so to catch up we’re going to . . . skip the step where everybody gets a pdf proof of the copy of their story individually, and roll right on to sending out a pdf proof of the book itself.  Which I’m hoping we’ll send out late next week.  This is an anthology of 100 stories of 1000 or fewer words apiece, “any genre, any style,” including my original flash piece,”The Junkie,” with publication still expected for June.

The play is part of the Indiana University Arts and Humanities Council celebration, Granfalloon:  A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence (see also below, May 11 2018), “Vonnegut On Stage: War, Technology and Unintended Consequences” presented this afternoon and tomorrow evening by Cardinal Stage at the downtown Bloomington John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium.  Cardinal Stage presents an evening of dramatic adaptations of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories from WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE in partnership with the 2019 Granfalloon Festival presented by the IU Arts & Humanities Council.  Staged readings will include “Epicac” (adapted by Vonnegut) and “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” (adapted by Claris A. Ross for NBC radio), which speak to Vonnegut’s wariness of the military industrial complex and the unintended consequences of technological advancement.  A second performance will be tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 p.m., today’s being a 3 p.m. matinee more convenient, as it happens, for me to get to as well as (Friday being a work day) more likely to have tickets still available when I showed up at the door.

The readings themselves were presented in radio theatre format, the first in fact, according to the blurb above, adapted by the author himself, with performers in chairs stepping up to the mike to speak their parts accompanied by a variety of audio special effects.  I thought it worked well.  The first, “Epicac,” was about a newly invented supercomputer of special interest to the Navy for use in battles, but which, due to a lovesick programmer, became more interested in poetry and love itself, transferring its own affection to the programmer’s fiancee.  Then the second, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” from Vonnegut’s first published short story, has to do with a civilian professor developing what we might now call teleportation — an ability to manipulate solid objects with his mind — and his subsequent revolt against the military’s interest in using this in warfare, having become as he puts it himself the world’s “first weapon with a conscience.”

I had reread “Barnhouse Effect” fairly recently and, as I remember it, think the adaption did a good job of presenting the essence of the story.  In any event, I’ve dug out my old copy of WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE and plan to take another look at both stories tonight.

I find that sometimes my best stories come from combining several different ideas.  Thus “The Sending” combines a detective/crime story with a ghost story, then with a romance, and brings in details both on lighthouses and on Depression-era Florida.  The details also required research (including touching on spiritualism as understood in the 1920s and ’30s, and references to Florida’s original colonization by Spain) which, as a one-time graduate student, I find adds to the fun, which I hope shows through in the finished product.

Details on this had been a little fuzzy, with an original call on December 6, re. LOVE BEYOND DEATH — An anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death.  For the anthology I am looking for around 20 short stories — (based on the overall word count of all accepted entries).  The genre will be a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction, cross genre stories are welcome.  Each story to be of approximately between 4,000 > 8,000 words in length.  So four days later I sent “The Sending” (aha, one that has absolutely nothing to do with my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH!) a reprint originally published in the December 1997 ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and also appearing in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for info on which, one may click its picture in the center column).  A reply came back on April 13:  The selection process for the deliberately ambiguously entitled anthology LOVE BEYOND DEATH has now concluded, and it gives me great pleasure to say that your story has been successful. . . .  The next step is to agree a few terms before I can make the announcement official.

So it goes, an acceptance I could not announce quite yet, from Beyond Death Publishing in the UK.  Until, that is, two days ago on Sunday when I received details and a questionnaire from Editor Dickon Springate, and a check on Facebook to make sure the news was, as it were, now in the public domain.  And thus my answer, above, to “Question 2” which went back yesterday afternoon, or, the publication machine grinds on with corrections (or not) to edited copy to come, along with details on a Kickstarter campaign, the latter one hopes to bring us authors more money, set for the future.  So please be generous.  Question 1, in fact, had to do with Paypal details while Question 3, on a brief plot description, may appear on these pages in the near future.  Or maybe not — after all, the best way to find out what a story will be about is to buy the book after it’s published.

Publication of LOVE BEYOND DEATH is tentatively set for 2020, on Valentine’s Day, if all goes well — and so the writing life continues — while above, to the right, is a tentative table of contents (and with, it would seem, a few more than the originally planned twenty stories).

April 6 saw the announcement that Tell-Tale Press had accepted “The Bala Worm,” the story of a dragon hunt in present-day Wales initially published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) as well as in THE TEARS OF ISIS, for the Horror Novelette division of its upcoming CREATURES anthology.  Today Editor Andrea Dawn has announced that it’s expected out on Kindle on May 23, with pre-orders starting May 17, as well as on the Tell-Tale Press website.  Also included were tables of contents, divided into separate “Libraries” for Fantasy, Horror, Mystery & Crime, and Science Fiction, with the horror one also subdivided into Short Stories and Novelettes.  Thus “The Bala Worm” is in Horror/Novelettes as we see below, also noting that all CREATURES stories are listed as in Volume 2, Volume 1 being a previous collection with the over-title WINTER HOLIDAYS:

The Blood Tomes, Volume 2 – CREATURES, Novelettes Edition (Horror Library)

The Buchanan Boys Ride Again – Gordon B. White
The Bala Worm – James Dorr
Buck – Mark Pantoja
Teddy Bear Picnic – Jon Gauthier
Borderland – Peter Emmett Naughton

One quickly notes that while there are only five titles here, “Novelettes” is the smallest category, horror short stories for instance having about twenty stories in it (the largest of all), with the other Libraries coming in at 11 titles each.  Confused?  I know I am, but more will be clear when the volumes are actually published, for which see here as the time grows nigh.  While the cover above, also, is for horror novelettes only, with separate covers for each of the other Library divisions.

Well, first off it’s now the final 86, two more slots apparently having been added since last we checked.  This is the LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES LIST on Goodreads that we’ve been exploring to see if any with stories by me are in the lineup.  And, yes, there have been:  three in the first one hundred slots (as posted below on March 12), two in the second 100 (March 28, one of which was in a 5-way tie), and one in the final full one hundred (April 12, this one in a . . . wait for it . . . 58-way tie!).  But what of the rest, the 84 — oops, 86 — titles that remain?

The good news is yes, there is one more book, DANTE’S DISCIPLES, locked in a tie also with ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY READER, that includes not quite a story of mine but a poem.  A very long poem.

And herein is a tale, and perhaps a special spot in my auctorial heart (isn’t that a neat word — auctorial?).  It’s one I was invited to write, a “canto” in the style of the poetry in Dante’s INFERNO, which actually came out a little longer than Dante’s cantos at a bit less than 200 lines.  Also, titled “Canto (Evocare!),” it was written in the voice of Satan, giving a sort of overview of Hell is all about.

The thing is, I subsequently presented “Canto (Evocare!)” at a poetry reading at World Fantasy Convention where Dark Regions Press Editor Joe Morey heard it, inviting me to republish it in his upcoming THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASTIC FICTION, which I agreed to.  Then in subsequent conversation we discussed my submitting a collection — something I was at just about the right time to do — resulting in my first full-size book, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (and which was, some years later, followed by DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, for both of which click on their pictures in the center column).

But back to the present, for more on DANTE’S DISCIPLES itself (which despite my poem, is mostly stories) and the 85 other books in this last batch, please to press here.

Let us recall March 28 and March 12 when we learned of the List, on Goodreads, of the 384 best dark fiction anthologies or, under its more formal title, LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES.  As these are multi-author productions, did I, I wondered, have stories published in any of these?  The answer(s), yes:  three in the first 100 at slots 24, 50, and 97; then in the second 100 two more, one in a five-way tie for number 130 and a second at 155.  Details with links are in the posts for the dates above (that is, March 28 and 12) plus links through Goodreads to Amazon, et al. for any who might want to find out more.

But that leaves a full 184 yet to be accounted for, so herewith the third set, the 200s, of which I am represented in just one at. . . .  First, however, a quick digression, that with this many titles there will certainly be some ties, as indeed we found in the second 100 at number 130, the title UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with my “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in it sharing the honors with four other books.  And so, in the third tier we find one entry, MISERIA’S CHORALE including “The Cherry Tree” by me, in a crowd at number 209 with fifty-seven fellow anthologies!  That is to say, 58 books in all.

Wow.

For more detail, “The Cherry Tree” is a Southern Gothic horror of sorts, with ghosts from the past and memories of the Civil War, and, if one is counting, MISERIA’S CHORAL is thirty books down in the pack at 209.  To see for oneself, one need only press here.

Well, the story is actually called “The Bala Worm” and it’s fairly long as these things go, first published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) as well as in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. its picture in the center column for reviews and more).  And then the call came:  We are looking for short stories about any kind of creatures you want:  animals, insects, arachnids (all giant or otherwise), dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, cryptids, legends, mythical, mythological, whatever strikes your fancy.  We really want you to go outside of the usual box that we see in fiction.  Sure, you can have classic vampires or aliens, werewolves or unicorns, but the story needs to be new and fresh, something that hasn’t been thought of before or hasn’t been worked with a lot.  The story should fit in any of the the genres of fantasy, horror, mystery, and science-fiction.  And not only that, but [w]e are also looking for novelettes.  We will be picking ONE novelette as the final story for each genre anthology.  Your novelette should be something that really catches us, perhaps that touches our hearts, horrifies us in a new way, has a profound vision of technology or the future, or baffles us with a twist or shocking revelation.  I did say “The Bala Worm” was long, yes?

So it seemed a good match.  The publication from Tell-Tale Press was to be titled CREATURES and, while semi-pro, payment for novelettes (here defined as 7000 to 10,000 words long) would be double that for “regular” stories so, even if only one would be picked, why not?  Then yesterday afternoon the word came from Publisher/Editor Andrea Dawn, I read your story “The Bala Worm” and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writing was strong and to the point.  It was interesting and I liked the mythological legend woven in there.  So I would like your permission to publish it in the CREATURES novelettes anthology.

So there it is.  Publication is tentatively set for May 23 on the Tell-Tale Press site — free, if I understand correctly, as individual story files — and as an anthology on Amazon Kindle with the possibility of a future print edition.  More to be reported here as details become known.

Well, first of all they aren’t all stories, “The Balloon Hoax” for instance first published as a genuine news account while POLITIAN is a never-completed play.  Nevertheless, I am a Poe fan — THE TEARS OF ISIS in fact is dedicated to Poe — and anyway who wants to quibble?  Thus when I ran across “13 True Stories Behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Terror Tales” by Christopher P. Semtner, Curator of Richmond Virginia’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum, on BIOGRAPHY.COM via Scott M. Goriscak on Facebook’s THE HORROR SOCIETY, I knew this was one I had to share.

But first a bit of an introduction by Curator Semtner:  Regrettably, the focus on Poe as counter-culture hero, cautionary example of the dangers of substance abuse, and grandfather of Goth may have obscured the reality of this immensely talented and versatile author.  This was true even during his lifetime when the controversial editor and critic appeared as a character in other authors’ novels, poems, and short stories, blurring the line between Poe’s legend and his real life.  Poe actively promoted his own legend by spreading rumors that he had fought in the Greek War of Independence and was held prisoner in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Poe’s reputation has kept him in the public eye, but it has also obscured the true significance.  This then is followed by a quick, but interesting biography plus some notes on the Richmond museum.

And then to the main event, thirteen tales including the above perhaps non-tales, plus others both familiar and possibly some somewhat less so.  “The Pit and the Pendulum.”  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (an illustration for which appears here).  “The Masque of the Red Death.”  “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  But also “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”  “Some Words With a Mummy.”  “Berenice.”  Others, the origins of some a bit speculative maybe, and some more convincing, my favorite being that of “A Cask of Amontillado” born from a feud between the author and one Thomas Dunn English.

To see all, press here.




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