Posts Tagged ‘Dark Fantasy’

This is one that can’t really be classified — is the story horror, romance, fantasy?  It doesn’t even have a title, though its protagonist’s name is Emily so probably that will have to do.  After all it was only allowed to be one sentence long.

So Emily (we’ll say) was published today as the “Winner of April 6th Story Prompt Challenge” on Carrie Ann Golden’s blog, A WRITER & HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE.  Full disclosure:  Emily may have had an advantage since she seems to have been the only entrant.  But technicalities, technicalities, what’s important was the story had to be based on the picture to the right, and be only a sentence long.  Or, from the official rules (in fact, the only official rule):  “Since this is a one-line story, there is no limit on the word count; however, be creative and use your words and punctuation wisely.”

To read it for yourself, press here.  And as for the competition, since she was an early entrant perhaps Emily (or her circumstances) frightened potential rival contestants away.

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It’s skinny and long (it’s a lot of poems) but here it is, the contents list for the current STAR*LINE (see March 29) with four, count ’em FOUR, poems by me.  Well, they’re very short poems (on a very long list) and spaced out through the issue, but see if you can find them all!  Hint:  The final two have VERY long titles, the fourth perhaps the longest of all (but the first two are shorter).

Departments

Dragons & Rayguns • Vince Gotera
President’s Message • Bryan Thao Worra
From the Small Press • Herb Kauderer
Stealth SF * Flying Blind * Denise Dumars
XenoPoetry: Japanese Scifaiku and Tanka • Shouko Izuo (translated by Natsumi Ando)

Poetry

[spewing] • Roxanne Barbour
[spray of rocks] • Roxanne Barbour
Workshop Exercise 21/08/2337: My Earliest Memories • David Jalajel
UFO • David Barber
[multiple moons] • David J Kelly
[life sentence] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
[their drone ship came to Earth] • Lauren McBride
The Fallen Angel’s Ace of Wands • Mindy Watson
Why aliens shun India • Arjun Rajendran
[huckster moon] • Greer Woodward
Never Trust a Vampiress • James Dorr
[that] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
It’s Universal • Marsheila Rockwell
Transported by Song • Herb Kauderer
[easy mole removal?] • F. J. Bergmann
A Cinephile Steps On-Screen • Alberto Sveum
Symbiosis • Chris Galford
[Striped gaiters, breather] • Denise Dumars
Stone Clutched to Chest • Laura Madeline Wiseman & Andrea Blythe
The Holy Firmament of Venus • Mary Soon Lee
Measure • Banks Miller
[alien worm—] • Susan Burch
Widening Gyroscope • F. J. Bergmann
[rising] • Roxanne Barbour
Cost-Benefits Analysis of Being a Zombie • James Reinebold
Till Death Do Us Part • Kathleen A. Lawrence
[a GoFundMe account] • Beth Cato
If Only I Could Sleep • G. O. Clark
Hermes • Jonel Abellanosa
Friends of Traitors • Matthew Wilson
[bottle trees on Mars] • Sandra J. Lindow
When Semi-Benevolent Aliens Conquer Earth • R. Mac Jones
Cosmic Roshambo • John Richard Trtek
[we’re leaving] • Robin Wyatt Dunn
Oh No She Didn’t? • James Dorr
[revealing] • Roxanne Barbour
Archaeopteryx • Robert Borski
[Terrans scooping gravel] • Lauren McBride
Wolf Moon • Susan McLean
[FTL propulsion achieved] • Lauren McBride & Jacob McBride
[cosmology] • Katrina Archer
Flight of Fantasy • crystalwizard
[no need] • Susan Burch
[we buried] • ayaz daryl nielsen
alien sea beams • David J Kelly
A Leaf Fairy Feels Under-Appreciated • Sharon Cote
The Return • Ken Poyner
The Cold Spot • Kimberly Nugent
From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide: Tracking the Zombie • James Dorr
[summer waits for him] • Holly Lyn Walrath
[vampire job fair] • William Landis
Data Value • Patricia Gomes
[close encounter] • Susan Burch
[Irresistible panhandling] • F. J. Bergmann
From Antartican Vibranium Tankas • Eileen R. Tabios
Ghazal • Joshua Gage
Elixir Stores Open for Business! • Ronald A. Busse
[the sound of black holes] • Alzo David-West
Lost in the House of Hair • John W. Sexton
[end of the road] • Greg Schwartz
The Music of the Spheres • Mikal Trimm
Come Embrace Space • Lauren McBride
E pur si muove • Deborah L. Davitt
[nothing’s so beautiful] • Alzo David-West
[red shift] • David J Kelly
[alien pool shark] • F. J. Bergmann
Second Life • Davian Aw
[eruption] • Roxanne Barbour
[for sale: sweet cottage] • F. J. Bergmann
Illiteracy • Scott E. Green & Herb Kauderer
[outside the greenhouse] • Greg Schwartz
The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating: Taking Your Date Home • James Dorr
[alien teenagers] • Susan Burch
[prohibited] • Roxanne Barbour
The Ghost Diet • Robert Borski
Everything started with the Big Bang, they say • Juanjo Bazán
[held to my ear] • F. J. Bergmann
Red in the Morning • James B. Nicola
[the prospect recedes] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
[heat death of a universe] • F. J. Bergmann
Missouri City, Texas, in a Far Tomorrow • José Chapa
Intruders • Cindy O’Quinn
[Looking at each star] • William Landis
The Plague • Matthew Wilson
Mermaid Warrior • Darrell Lindsey
[star party] • Lauren McBride
[Stiff with chill] • Denise Dumars
Exfil • WC Roberts
[class four body dies] • Holly Lyn Walrath
[guys on a float trip] • William Landis
Shapeshifter Taxonomy • A. C. Spahn

Illustrations

Low Rounders • Denny E. Marshall
First Time on a Swing • Christina Sng
Squirm • Denny E. Marshall

And then a second very short item, the Goth cat Triana had her annual checkup yesterday at an all new vet’s, a bit closer than the one she went to last year, and (the triaba2b4001question local people who know her all asked) she conducted herself like a perfect, if apprehensive, lady.  Or more to the point, she didn’t bite either the vet or his assistant!  GOOD Triana.  (There had been some discussion when I had first gotten her of giving her a name with vampiric connotations, but the decision had been that that might be too much of a red flag — cf. February 12 2017.)  And, pending test results on certain, er, organic samples, her health is good.

Well, with one possible exception to the last, something I’d sort of noted myself as I took her in her carrier to the vet.  She may be getting a tiny bit chubby.

Or, in the words of Jamie Bogert in “The Disturbing Origins of 9 Beloved Fairy Tales,” on THE-LINE-UP.COM:  Bedtime is often sweetened by stories of handsome princes and beautiful princesses, comical witches and lovable forest dwellers.  But what happens when we follow the breadcrumb trail to a fairy tale’s gloomy origin?  From the Little Mermaid to Little Red Riding Hood, the sugarcoated renditions we know and love come from much darker places.  If a Disney-themed wedding is in your future, beware:  The disturbing origins of these classic stories are anything but sweet.

And so it goes, in some cases only that the Disney versions we may know and love often leave out the, um, interesting parts; in others perhaps that dark actual events may underlie what we read as children. In addation to the two already noted, the fairy tales discussed are Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, and the neat thing is that I’ve written my own versions of, or inspired by, every one of these (disclaimer: that doesn’t necessarily mean every one of these has sold), though Cinderella and Snow White are probably my favorites.  E.g., did you notice Sleeping Beauty in TOMBS?  But in any event, for a quick update on the lore of our youth, one need but press here.

Ahhh, the first story acceptance for spring, via Sirens Call Publications Editor Lee A. Forman, along with co-editors Julianne Snow and Nina D’Arcangela:  We’re delighted to let you know that we are accepting your submission of Casket Girls (with one time publication rights) for this issue.
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We’re sending you suggested edits in the document attached to this email.  Please review the document and return it within one week with your acceptance or decline for each suggestion. 
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Short and sweet.  “Casket Girls” is the original tale of Aimée and the coming of vampires to New Orleans, originally published in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014, as well as in several other places (see February 6, January 23 2018; October 30 2017, et al.).  She does get around.  And with a magazine title like THE SIRENS CALL, how could she refuse the lure of yet another outing.  This will be the April 2018 issue of SIRENS CALL eZine, so look for it soon (the email, in fact, asked for any changes to be sent back in a week; the only ones here though seemed to be regarding house style, so back it went with my “OK” the same afternoon).
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More on THE SIRENS CALL, and Aimée, here as it becomes known.

This is another announcement I’ve missed by a few days (so it goes, cf. March 26) but DIGITAL HORROR FICTION ANTHOLOGY is now available on Amazon in print as well as Kindle.  Also the Kindle sale is over, with the price there gone up to $4.99, while the paperback price is $12.99.  My story in this, as noted before, is “The Borrowed Man,” a TOMBS world story but one that does not appear in the novel TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH itself.  Originally published in THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD, BOOK 1 (Fox Spirit Books, 2014), “The Borrowed Man” tells of a women who hires the help of a corpse-train master to build a man out of selected parts — legs for dancing, lips for kissing, etc. — from the recently dead in order to construct a perfect lover.  But a question remains:   What of this man’s soul?

If interested, for more on the print edition press here, while a link to the Kindle version can be found in the post for March 26, below.

This is sort of a stealth announcement, the publication of one of my stories that I only found out about today, obliquely, via another author’s tag on Facebook.  So it goes.  The anthology is DIGITAL HORROR FICTION ANTHOLOGY:  VOLUME 1, by Digital Fiction Publishing Corp., and the story, sixth on the contents list, “The Borrowed Man” originally published by Fox Spirit Books in 2014 in THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD, BOOK 1 (cf. August 30 2017; August 8 2014, et al.).  “The Borrowed Man,” incidentally, is set in the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH although not a part of the novel-in-stories itself, and concerns a wealthy New City woman who wishes to possess a perfect man.

In all, DIGITAL FICTION HORROR ANTHOLOGY contains 25 stories, and looks at least to cover a variety of types and topics.  For more one may peruse the table of contents, below, or check it out on Amazon here where, at least for the moment, the Kindle edition can be obtained for just 99 cents!

2:51, Behind the Caterpillar — Gregory L. Norris
A Dream for Sugar — Bruce Memblatt
A Pocket of Madness — Samuel Marzioli
Aces and Kings — David M. Hoenig
The Animals — Aaron Gudmunson
The Borrowed Man — James Dorr
His Own Personal Golgotha — Geoff Brown
Building Condemned (Seeking Asylum) — Adrian Ludens
Compartmental — Jay Caselberg
Democracy — Larry Hinkle
Demon Driver — Adrian Cole
Late for Eisheth — Tracie McBride
Giving at the Office — Geoff Gander
Shadows of the Darkest Jade — Sarah Hans
Intermediary — Jason A. Wyckoff
Ark of the Lonesome — Jenner Michaud
SdroW — Bruce Lockhart 2nd & Suzie Lockhart
Roadkill — C.M. Saunders
Sapphire Eyes Shining — Rie Sheridan Rose
Suggestive Thoughts — H.L. Fullerton
Symeon — Bill Zaget
The Good Life — Michelle Mellon
The Great White Bed — Don Webb
The River Slurry — Rue Karney
Where There Is Life — Renee Miller

I might mention, also, that I have a story due to come out in DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION, a companion volume of sorts, or maybe even out by now.  More tags via Facebook, perhaps, will tell.

Drakula Istanbul’da (Dracula in Istanbul) is a Turkish horror film from 1953.  The screenplay was based on a 1928 novel by Ali Riza Seyfi called Kazikli Voyvoda (“Impaler Voivode”), and is more or less a translation of Stoker’s novel, but there is no Renfield character and Guzin, the “Mina” character, is a showgirl given to performing in revealing outfits.  Drakula/Dracula is played by balding Atif Kaptan.  Long believed lost, Drakula Istanbul’da is considered the first non-western film version of the Dracula story, and oddly, one of most faithful to the Bram Stoker original.  With Dracula scaling the castle walls, implied infanticide, and the ceremonious end of the vampire, with first a staking, then a beheading, then stuffing the mouth with garlic (as per the instructions in the novel), this movie adaption contains more of the creepier elements of the book than many higher-budgeted and more pedigreed productions.  Perhaps it’s the proximity of Turkey to the Eastern European setting of the novel, or perhaps shared similar legends and folklore, but Drakula Istanbul’da, in all its threadbare grace, seems to have an authentic and maybe innate feel for the myths of the region that cannot be found in any Hollywood back lot.

Say what?  And yet it’s true, the above from CREATIVECOMMONS.COM, with the information brought to us via E. K. Leimkuhler in “Dracula Retold:  Early Variations on a Gothic Classic” in DEARDARKLING.COM.  This, in fact, is the film version of KAZIKLI VOYVODA, a Turkish “translation” of DRACULA by Ali Riza Seyfi that follows the main plot points pretty well, albeit with Turkish characters substituted for the English originals and other changes (e.g. Dracula fears not the cross, but the Quran) to make it more relatable to a Turkish 1920s audience.  Also, unlike the “real” DRACULA, there’s an actual direct connection to “Vlad the Impaler,” the Harker character prior to meeting the Count in fact wondering if he could possibly be a descendant of the historical Vlad.

The DEAR DARKLINGS article covers four variations in all, the Turkish book being the third.  First is “Dracula’s Guest,” originally a part of Stoker’s novel but left out of the final version, published separately in 1914, two years after Bram’s death, by his widow Florence.  Then in second place is another “translation,” MAKT MYRKANNA (a.k.a. POWERS OF DARKNESS), a 1900 Icelandic version published “by” Bram Stoker and Valdimar Asmundsson.  After the start, however, this one varies considerably from the original (e.g., [a]mong other misadventures, Harker finds multiple rotting corpses [which don’t disturb him nearly as much as the Count’s lewd banter], encounters an allegedly insane Dracula cousin, and witnesses the Count leading a Black Mass a la Hammer.  Additionally, the Count’s machinations involve a somewhat convoluted international political conspiracy) although, according to Leimkuhler, there’s some indication Stoker may have at least shared unused parts of his notes with Asmundsson.  Both this and the Turkish book version have since been translated into English, with links provided (a third variant in Swedish has yet to be translated, however).  Then, finally, Universal’s Spanish language film of DRACULA, made concurrently with the Bela Lugosi version in 1931, is cited, again with a link, this one to an omnibus edition of all six Universal “Dracula” films (i.e., up to and including 1948’s ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN) which includes the Spanish version as an “extra.”

And so, to see for yourself, check here.  But also a bonus, linked to as well in the DEAR DARKLINGS piece but deserving a special place here as well, what of that Turkish Dracula movie?  To see it for yourself, with English subtitles (at least of a sort — and with the desk clerk at the inn early on, despite its reimaging into Islam, still crossing herself when Dracula is named), press here.

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).

So, as we know (cf. March 4, below) I made it home from Providence Sunday, though fate (and American Airlines) apparently would have preferred that it be Monday.  A flight to Philadelphia cancelled (one does not get to Indianapolis without changing planes at some point in the journey)!  But I persisted as the saying goes, and a way was found, via Washington DC, with only one small glitch — it left from Boston.  Ha ha!

But I once lived in the Boston area a long time ago and Logan Airport is no farther from Providence than, say, Indianapolis from where I live now.  There are trains and busses, though schedules might be chancy on Sunday.  So going back to the Dean Hotel (a lucky connection with a Providence city bus from the airport there back into the city) where I had been staying, and technically wouldn’t have had to check out till 11 a.m., where they let me borrow my room key back to rest for an hour or two, then set up a ride for me via Uber for, still, significantly less than the cost of an extra night in a hotel.

So I got back to Bloomington three hours later than I had planned — big deal, big deal!  I who on Friday had survived, and walked between hotels, and 7-11s and CVSs to cobble together a rustic lunch, what USA TODAY has described as a “bomb cyclone”!

So, weather disasters and airports aside, just what was I doing at StokerCon?

Not schmoozing in the ConSuite for one thing.  They didn’t have one — which is rather amateur in my opinion, the hospitality suite even more than proverbial, though over-noisy hotel bars being where people get together during lulls between panels and other activities.  On Friday night, however, after 4 p.m.’s Dark Poets Face to Face Redux, several of the poets and I kind of faked it with order-in pizza (the “bomb cyclone” beginning to wind down) in one of our number’s room.  And at 8 p.m. repaired from there to the Third Annual Final Frame Horror Short Film Competition, won by the very funny — and horrid — Great Choice (dir. Robin Comisar, “A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial”), with 2nd place going to Exhale (a.k.a. Expire, dir. Magali Magistry, “A toxic fog, the Smog, blanketed the planet forcing people to live confined.  But when you are 15 like Juliette, real life truly begins outside) and 3rd to Winston (animated, dir. Aram Sarkisian, “A man is driven mad by his obsession and paranoia), some of which once the film festival season has ended may begin to be seeable on YouTube.

Other things I wasn’t on, but attended on Friday, were panels:  Pulp Horror 2018, How (Not) to Win the Bram Stoker® Award, a post-lunch final half hour of What’s Vlad Got to Do with It? (“a tour thru Romania with Dacre Stoker”), How to Make Ordinary Things Scary (having noted to Dark Poets moderator Marge Simon that my TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, on the other hand, seeks in a way to make scary things ordinary), and DARK CARNIVAL: The Writing Prompts of Ray Bradbury.  A very full day!

Saturday, following coffee Americano and a huge pecan donut at the Dean Hotel’s coffeehouse (very good, but nevertheless apart from the convention, still not a ConSuite) I shared a prose reading (Block Thirteen, 10 a.m. in the official program) with participant and host for the previous evening’s poetry and pizza Karen Bovenmyer, and Nathan Carson, with me reading the Part III chapter called “Carnival of the Animals” from TOMBS.  Afterward it was back to my hotel and one block farther to Providence’s public library, to use a computer to reconnect, briefly, with the outside world.  Then, back at the Biltmore a panel attended, The Classic Weird in 2018, and out again for a late lunchette before 4 p.m.’s Vampires:  The Next Generation which I moderated, and a final panel, Unspoken Clichés.

And that was pretty much that — with nothing planned for those who might not be going to the awards banquet, after some chatting with folk in the Biltmore lobby, etc., it was to the Subway across the street for a sandwich to go, then reviewing a busy and enjoyable weekend at my hotel and an early bedtime.  And thus, well rested, I could find out at something before 7 a.m. Sunday that, re. getting home, the adventure had actually not quite yet ended.

But we already know about that.

Publisher/Editor Weldon Burge has noted that Smashwords has several Smart Rhino Publications titles on sale for the month of March.  Or, from the as it were horse’s mouth:  Smashwords is holding its annual sale of ebooks!  Now’s the time to get most of the Smart Rhino books at a 50% discount.  Browse the sale page or search for the specific titles.  Just use the following codes before checking out.  Look for the codes on the list below, but I’d also note that I’ve two specific hounds in this hunt (a third, ZIPPERED FLESH 3 with my “Golden Age,” seems not to be included, however), the “Assassins” books UNCOMMON ASSASSINS including my story “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS with “The Labyrinth,” for all of which on the Smashwords site one may press here.  And, for the list of all Smart Rhino sale offerings:

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: CY79N
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get GREEN TSUNAMI, the horror/SF novella at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: MK84N
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get THE BOX JUMPER by Lisa Mannetti at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $2.00
Coupon Code: DT99X
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS at a 50% discount. Get it while the sale lasts!

Promotional price: $1.98
Coupon Code: JZ46D
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: SOMEONE WICKED: A WRITTEN REMAINS ANTHOLOGY now 50% off!

Promotional price: $2.00
181_UncommonAssassinsChrome_smallCoupon Code: AE27W
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: UNCOMMON ASSASSINS now at a 50% discount. Get it while the sale lasts!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: JJ76E
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: The first ZIPPERED FLESH is now at a 50% discount!

Promotional price: $2.00
Coupon Code: PB42R
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: ZIPPERED FLESH 2 now discounted at 50%. Get it while you can!

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: FX52L
Expires: April 5, 2018
Description: Get Lisa Mannetti’s THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCK FINN at a 50% discount.




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