Posts Tagged ‘Dark Romance’

We are excited to announce the first round of acceptances for inclusion in BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS.  This is our charity anthology to raise funds for the Australian bushfire victims.  All sale proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross and matched dollar-for-dollar by Microsoft (up to $50k) as part of their Giving campaign.  This was the announcement on Facebook today, and so it can now be made known:  This is the “Mystery” acceptance of January 15’s post, with preliminary details just released — despite being still open for submissions “of 1,000 words (ideally, but we’ll consider any length as it’s for charity!)” until January 31.

The guidelines:  The theme is Valentine’s Day, so we’re after dark, suspenseful, menacing, memorable tales of human love gone wrong, or monster love gone right!  We want to have your stories by end of January please!  It’s a tight deadline, but we think it’s a fun theme and a worthy cause, so please get your writer’s heads on and start scribbling.  So what better story for me to send but one concerning those New Orleanian vampire ladies, les filles à les caissettes (see e.g. May 2 2019, et al.), one as yet unpublished of the literal-minded but always ready for fun Claudette?  And best of all, titled simply “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale.”  And thus, five days ago, Editors Louise Zedda Sampson and Chris Mason agreed.

So there’s no money in it, but les filles are not averse to a worthy cause.  Should you be good with that as well, more information can be found here, or if you would simply be interested in a whole bunch of flash stories on love gone bad, to be out in time for Valentine’s Day, for details/Kindle pre-orders press here.

Those horrid vagabonds, Crow and Rat, have been at it again!  Or at least the book they appeared in, HUMANAGERIE (cf. September 8, July 24, et al.), published in the UK in October last year is still getting reviews.  Thus the latest, by Megan Turney in the British science fiction magazine SHORELINE OF INFINITY:  One of the joys of reading this collection was not knowing what to expect from one poem or short story to the next.  The style of these texts dabble in magic realism and fantasy to the almost academic; each style as engaging as the last.  Even though I could easily recommend every contribution, there are a select few that I find myself returning to. The key element that that drew me to these specific texts was their focus on the often unusual, but always compelling, question of what it means to exist.  So, in no particular order, my personal favourites included:  ‘The Orbits of Gods’ by Holly Heisey; ‘Crow and Rat’ by James Dorr; ‘Aquarium Dreams’ by Gary Budgen; ‘Polymorphous/Stages of Growth’ by Oliva Edwards; ‘And Then I Was a Sheep’ by Jonathan Edwards; ‘Hibernation’ by Sandra Unerman; ‘Wojtek’ by Mary Livingstone; ‘Notes for the “Chronicles of the Land that has no Shape”’ by Frank Roger; and ‘Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation’ by Jason Gould.
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Well, despite the inclusion of Ms. Rat and Mr. Crow with their habit of finding themselves in places where they’ve not been invited, Turney’s review is extremely thoughtful, even scholarly, and well worth reading — as is the anthology itself with hats off to Editors Allen Ashley (with special thanks for bringing the review to my attention) and Sarah Doyle.  For example, to quote from the final paragraph:  To paraphrase literary critic Karl Kroeber, this kind of literature can serve as a powerful lesson in ‘how our world [is becoming] so exclusively humanised as to be self-diseased.’  To agree with the writers of Humanagerie, it is considerably ironic that we continue with such detrimental practices.  Whilst nature has the power to persevere without us, we certainly wouldn’t be able to survive without it.  So, finally, it surely seems like the right time to recommend such an outstanding contribution to this increasingly essential genre, especially one that emphasises our need to be more aware of humanity’s destructive behaviour.
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To see all for yourself, press here.

The wages of sin are not large for Black Hare Press’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS anthology series, but reprints are accepted and it’s an interesting sounding venue.  So when the second in the series, LUST (the first, I believe, was PRIDE, but the deadline had already passed), opened for submissions I thought I had something that might fit the bill.  The theme was broad enough (although, of course, “lust” would be part of it too):  Speculative fiction.  Dark bias.  Can include comedy and romance elements.  Word count was up to 3000 words, with no minimum.  And so I had a slightly less than 1000-word tale (957 in fact, according to the “official” count in the contract) of a lesbian vampiric seduction of, shall one say, a youthful new prospect, which seemed a reasonable one to try.

The story itself:  “A Cup Full of Tears,” originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, 2011), and Saturday the word came back.  Thank you for your submission to LUST.  We really enjoyed your story — A Cup Full of Tears — and would like to inform you that it has been accepted for inclusion in the publication.  Congratulations!  With it came more information, a link to Facebook, and guidelines for a couple of future projects, plus a contract which I filled and sent back yesterday afternoon.

And so it goes.  Word is they’re trying for a release date of February 18 2020 — in time for a late Valentine’s Day present?  Also that the next deadly sin to be tackled is SLOTH, perhaps not so exciting, but I might lazily take a look to see if there’s anything I have that might fit that theme too.

The illustration is by artist and poet and current Horror Writers Association trustee Marge Simon, who some years ago challenged me to write a poem about it.  The result, titled “Émile’s Ghosts” (the title was also Marge’s, for the illustration), was published originally accompanied by the picture in ILLUMEN in Spring 2008 and also appears in my 2011 poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  And now it, still with the illustration at my suggestion if Marge was willing, has been published again in the HWA’s October NEWSLETTER, a special expanded Halloween issue, with a full dozen poets included, including such names as Linda Addison and Alessandro Manzetti, Michael A. Arnzen, Christina Sng, Stephane M. Wytovich . . . the list goes on.  So for HWA members, just press “Gallery of Poets” in the October NEWSLETTER (fourth from the bottom in the issue’s contents), then scroll down and down until you see the picture, the only illustration that’s there, with the poem to its left.

Yes, the email said the final week but the site itself says only “five days,” though it also says Sunday, October 6, 7:59 AM EDT, perhaps as an allowance for London time?  But one way or another in just a few days the DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH kickstarter (see September 12, et al.), and the opportunity to sign up for bargain copies and even swag, will be no more.   Love takes on many forms, as does death, and this anthology features twenty-two stories that dance the line between Dark Affection and Paranormal Romance, where death is not the end but merely the start of some truly original tragedies, tales that will often stop you dead in your tracks, challenging your preconceptions of what is right and wrong, before allowing you to return and continue reading.  DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH offers up twenty-two fabulous inspired short stories, by a fresh line-up of authors from around the world, ensuring that there is something for everyone; and with many being on the macabre side, we believe that this anthology makes the perfect alternative gift for those who want something a little different come Valentine’s Day.

My tale in this tangle is one of hauntings, and gangsters in Depression era Florida, and of a young woman whose life is in danger titled “The Sending,” a slightly longer description of which can be found on the kickstarter site itself, along with descriptions and mini-biographies of all the writers.  And, as said above, many prizes including publisher-related cups and T-shirts and other such merch, but one still must act fast.  (And may one remind, from the authors’ point of view, last minute pledges may mean higher pay?)  So for information and possible action — the book itself is slated to be out on Valentine’s Day 2020, so why not reserve your copy today? — one need but press here.

There’s plenty of time left, however, to make a pledge in the DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH:  DARK AFFECTION ANTHOLOGY kickstarter (to give it its full name; see also below, September 6, et al.), scheduled to end on October 6 at 7:59 a.m. EDT.  And the premiums include not only book deals, but there’s also a link to an assortment of related swag (scroll way, way down toward the end of the site), and even for those who don’t want to pledge yet there’s a series of mini-bios of the authors to check out, as well as their own brief comments about the stories.  In other words, a sort of sampler before jumping in.

The title kind of says what it’s about; the initial call was for [a]n 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.  Mine in this was a non-TOMBS, more real world (though at the beginning of the 1930s Great Depression, in northern Florida) crime story, “The Sending,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and also reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.  Which might kind of say it for the anthology:  wonder and romance, leavened with death, perhaps a murder or crime or two (though mine, a ghost story, begins with one partner already deceased).
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For more, though, the kickstarter’s author comments provide many clues, all of which may be seen by pressing here.  (And also [*ahem*] a timely pledge may mean more money in authors’ pockets.  Well, a little bit anyway.)

A quick Sunday note that yesterday’s email brought a notice from HUMANAGERIE Co-Editor Allen Ashley (cf. July 24, April 3, March 21, et al) announcing yet another review, from the international poetry news and event website WRITE OUT LOUD (a.k.a. WRITEOUTLOUD.NET).  Word of the anthology does get around!  My part in this is the TOMBS related tale of “Crow and Rat,” a pair of good-for-nothings on a dying, depleted far-future Earth and, while reviewer Neil Leadbeater doesn’t cite it specifically (there is, however, a paragraph on prose in general, as well as the poetry), it does give a nice overview of the book as a whole.  It also ends with a link to the publishers website, for those who might be interested in buying it or just for further information, while the review itself can be seen by pressing here.

Hark back to a sultry July 23, and the news that the kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH had gone on hiatus, to return in fall a little bit closer to its projected release date of Valentine’s Day 2020 (cf. July 23,10, et al.).  That time is now upon us or, well, more exactly at midnight tonight.  But never mind that, and what time zone are we talking about anyway or, well, what’s a few hours among friends.  So maybe it is a little bit early, but Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate has opened it now!

Love takes on many forms, as does death, the description begins, and this anthology features twenty-two stories that dance the line between Dark Affection and Paranormal Romance, where death is not the end but merely the start of some truly original tragedies, tales that will often stop you dead in your tracks, challenging your preconceptions of what is right and wrong, before allowing you to return and continue reading.

DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH offers up twenty-two fabulous inspired short stories, by a fresh line-up of authors from around the world, ensuring that there is something for everyone; and with many being on the macabre side, we believe that this anthology makes the perfect alternative gift for those who want something a little different come Valentine’s Day.

And so you have it, live again and awaiting your perusal of many offers from now until October 6.  My own part in this, perhaps a bit less “macabre” than some, is a classical ghost tale, “The Sending,” set in an early 1930s Florida lighthouse, originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE as well as in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE.  But even it contains gangsters and dire plots, including a romance that can’t be thwarted by such a minor detail as death.

Or, for more details on the kickstarter press here.

Remember those ne’er-do-wells “Crow and Rat,” and how they slinked into England to be in the book HUMANAGERIE (cf. April 3, March 21, et al. )?  So wouldn’t you know, they’ve gotten themselves in the news again, or at least the book that accepted them has.  According to Co-Editor Allen Ashley:  I just wanted to let you know that HUMANAGERIE has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award in the “Best Anthology” category.  Sarah and I are absolutely thrilled.  And of course, we could not have done this without the superb writing that we received from all of you.  . . .  The British Fantasy Award shortlist of five titles — including an anthology edited by our very own Dan Coxon (AKA Ian Steadman) — now goes to a select jury for final decision, to be announced at FantasyCon in Glasgow on 20 October.  The British Fantasy Award, I might add, is not a small thing; sponsored by the British Fantasy Society it’s the UK equivalent of, on this side of the ocean, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula or the Horror Writer Association’s Stoker Awards(R), rather rarefied company for such as Rat and Crow!

“Crow and Rat,” one might remember, were beggars and thieves in the far future world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, albeit not in that book itself, whose unwise (and probably one-sided) love simply led them into even more trouble.  To quote from their own story, [h]is name was Crow, and she was called Rat.  Both of them were beggars in the New City, not the creative kind, jongleurs or tale-tellers, gossip-mongers or criers or news-spreaders, but rather the shabbier, desperate grubbers of others’ detritus — ghouls as it were of the wealthier precincts’ trashheaps and middens.  Petty thieves, sometimes, when courage and opportunity blessed them.  In other words, common enough to be unnoticed.

However the book they are in has been noticed.  For a complete list of British Fantasy Award finalists in all categories one can press here — while for background information on the world Crow and Rat came from, the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (which disdains to give rascals such as them even a mention), one can click its picture in the center column.

For those who might wonder whatever happened to the kickstarter for DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH (cf. July 10, et al.), there is now an answer.  Visitors may have noticed it’s been closed, but now the official word, that the closure is temporary — after a fashion.  That is, there will be a new kickstarter, most likely in September or October (authors [*ahem*] meanwhile will be paid), closer to an intended Valentine’s Day 2020 date for publication.  Also, according to Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate, it will be simpler that the aborted one, and noting the romantic aspect to the anthology’s contents, perhaps more inclusive to women readers.

To remind, DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH is an anthology of short creepy & emotional stories based around the idea of love evading the limitations of life & death . . . a mix of ghost stories / horror / thriller and erotic fiction [including] cross genre stories, with my part in it “The Sending,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, a ghost story/mystery set in an early-1930s Florida lighthouse.  (“The Sending” also has been reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, for more information on which one may click on its picture in the center column.)

More information will be reported here as it becomes known.




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