Posts Tagged ‘Fairy Tales’

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington.  This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts.  This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey.  The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.

That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me.  The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood.  And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles.  This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and triana3c2001playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks:  a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.”  The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.

Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave.  But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!

DARKFUSE MAGAZINE Managing Publisher Shane Staley announced today that the print edition of DARKFUSE 6, including my steampunkish tale “The Candle and the Flame” (cf. January 13, et al.), has been given a May 30 publication date.  Information and advance ordering can be found here.  “The Candle and the Flame” is a variation of sorts of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Little Match Girl,” sans angels conveying one’s soul to darkfuse6Heaven.  Because there are other uses for souls, more practical ones as one might say for those who can afford it — or maybe not.  With eight stories in all, DARKFUSE 6 is planned as a “mini-hardcover” collectors edition, including several signing options, and the following contents:

“Mommy’s Little Man” by Brian Hodge
“The Friday Special” by Renée Miller
“Dare To” by Bruce Golden
“Night of the Dog” by Brian Knight
“The Candle and the Flame” by James Dorr
“Fear” by Ben Pienaar
“Where They Belong” by Aeryn Rudel
“Instant Swimmers” by Ronald Malfi

So go the news cycles, days in which nothing happens at all, then periods where it all piles up, one or two happenings every day.  And so, today, a twofer the first of which is by William Herkewitz via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Behold Bat Bot, the First Flying Robot Bat.”  Yes, really, but not necessarily intended as an aid for blood drives, but landscape-1485967968-batbotrather activities where drones might otherwise be used, except they’re in close proximity to people.  That is, if there’s an oopsie, even mechanical bats are softer than something with four little whirling, sharp rotors.  And besides that, they’re cool!  But a robot bat does provide, it seems, some unique design problems, for more on which one can press here.

Then, actually a day before, what should be met in the computer cave mailbox but my authors’ copy of MEET CUTE (see December 31, 11, et al.), with my own tale of flying beings, “Butterfly.”  This is a small book of flash fiction concerning unexpected encounters between pairs of people, some romantic, some not so, but all with a touch of the unusual to them.  In this case, my story met up as well with an illustration by Marge Simon, but that wasn’t necessarily surprising — Marge and I being friends for some years, I had told her about it.

Edited by Kara Landhuis, MEET CUTE can be found on Amazon by pressing here.

A few loose ends as the year winds down.  Proof sheets went back Friday to Editor Kara Landhuis for MEET CUTE (see December 11, November 26, 23), the illustrated anthology of eccentric meetings scheduled for early 20splatter217.  My part in this, “Butterfly,” is a rather gentle tale as stories by me go and will be, I understand, illustrated by Marge Simon.

Then later in the evening Grey Matter Press weighed in with an announcement that their nouveau splatterpunk anthology SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. October 22 2015, et al.) can now be obtained free by both new and old e-readers with Kindle Unlimited.  My tale in this one is the far less gentle “The Artist,” for more on which, and the book in general, one may press here.

The Amazon Publication date listed was March of this year but, due to the kinds of mixups that happen sometimes, my copy of DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (cf. March 11, et al.) only finally arrived in yesterday’s mail.  But what wonderful timing, the day after dystopianexpressThanksgiving, and special thanks to Hydra Publications Editor Tony Acree for sending it Priority Mail!  So all’s well that ends well — or, in that it’s a book about dystopias, maybe not that well.  My mutt in the melange, in any event, is a tale called “Invisible People” of a near-future society where everyone knows his or her place, or else . . . nobody cares.  Post election blues anyone?  Or more to the point, while as of yet I’ve only glanced at the contents, there’s probably a story that will fit the bill however you voted!  (But to make extra sure you might want to press here.)

Then in other news, due to the holiday I had to wait to use the cave computer’s library annex machine today, but this afternoon I e-sent back the signed contract for MEET CUTE (see November 23).  This is the one about unexpected or otherwise amusing meetings between pairs of people in flash fiction settings, in which my offering is one of forests and fairy lore titled “Butterfly.”

MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.

I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include 25-50 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by different writers.  There will also be 10-20 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories. . . .

Note:  While a “meet cute” may traditionally be romantic, this is not a romance anthology.  Many of the stories involve encounters that are odd, intriguing, awkward, and entertaining — but not all of them are romantic.

So has said Editor Kara Landhuis and, not too long ago, I sent a 900-word story about an encounter in a forest through which a highway is to be cut, an ecological fantasy of sorts — or is it a fairy tale?  And, in this evening’s email, the reply:  “I would like to include your story, ‘Butterfly,’ in the anthology.  I enjoyed your interpretation of the theme, and I am excited about what your story will add to this collaborative work.”

Then two other things, first that Editor Landhuis has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with the project, which can be found here.  It can also serve as a pre-order opportunity ($15 for the paperback version, with free shipping in the US included), though other pledge options are offered as well.  And the second, MEET CUTE is still open for submissions until December 16 (including payment which, while modest, is guaranteed regardless of the kickstarter’s success), for more on which one may press here.

‘Twas that time again, the first Sunday of the month and the Bloomington Writer’s Guild “First Sunday Prose Readings and Open Mic,” held in conjunction with Boxcar Books.  Featured readers were Indiana native Charles Culp with an excerpt from “a story that takes place between the Ohio and the Wabash,” BETWEEN THE LINES; Anne Cabe with a poem to recognize National Poetry Month, “Hungry Witches,” a flash prose piece, and excerpts from a longer story, “Talk to Me”; and Frida Westford with a period fantasy story, “The Third Raven,” followed by a poem about dragons.  After the break there were four walk-on readers, with me batting cleanup with a 75-word all-dialogue take on fairy tales, “As Fine As Frogs’ Hair,” originally published in MISCELLANEA:  A TRANSDIMENSIONAL LIBRARY  (see November 14 2013, et al.).

Also, briefly, while perusing my email etc. just prior to Sunday afternoon’s readings,  through luck and blunder I came upon, from BBC.COM/FUTURE, “The Seven Ways to Have a Near-Death Experience” by Rachel Nuwer.  It seems there has been some serious research on this kind of thing, with resuscitated patients reporting a variety of experiences while they were technically dead, which generally fall into seven categories, some pleasant, some fearful.  Details can be found by pressing here.

Kindle readers alert:  For a start on the upcoming Halloween season, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has gone one up on its Labor Day sale (see September 1) with a month-long special discount on the Stoker Award® nominated dark fantasy/horror collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.   In effect from now through September 30, according to publisher Max Booth III, the electronic edition can be obtained for just 99 cents.

To quote from the blurb on the PMMP site:  . . . the book we have here, THE TEARS OF ISIS, begins with a poem about a sculptor, a modern Medusa, and concludes with the title story of another sculptor who travels a continent for inspiration, in search of the IsisNewgoddess, “the Weeping Isis,” and ends with discovery of her own self.  But THE TEARS OF ISIS, the book, is a journey too, encompassing, yes, “forms such as never were in nature,” as not just “La Méduse,” but also a man’s soul absorbed by an octopus, vampires both physical and metaphorical, music and retellings of Cinderella, an Ancient World caper involving the Golden Fleece of legend, a far-future recasting of Sleeping Beauty — one of three stories in THE TEARS OF ISIS set in the author’s world of the “Tombs,” another “Tombs” tale of the origin of ghouls, cockroaches spawned by war, insects by UFOs, Lovecraftian monsters called forth by candles, a woman who takes in a rat as a pet, the “death planet” Saturn and women who buy birds, the life-cycle of dragons, another “Tombs” story of love and a zombie-like form of revenge, and at last to Isis — her search to create but destroying as well, as is part of her nature, and back full circle to sculptress Medusa who “spoke to her hair at times” and “in her dreams . . . her hair hissed its/ answers.”

The sale is just for the electronic edition, normally priced at $2.99, but there is a print edition as well for only $12.38 on Amazon, reachable from the Kindle site for those who prefer the feel of paper.  For further information including readers’ reviews, or to order, press here.

And as for the portion I wrote in this one (excepting the introduction), all of it.

In fact, I wish this had been out before the voting, not that one review, even on Amazon, likely would have made that much difference, but this one’s a keeper.  It appeared Sunday — just in time for me not to see it until latish Tuesday, since much of Monday was taken up by the trip home from Portland — but, in itself, it is worth the waiting.

By William Cook, the review is titled “Beautiful depiction of the dark and tragic soul of humanity” and even covers the dedication (“The homage to Edgar Allan Poe that precedes the first piece should give you a fair indication that there will be darkness, requiring no less than a blood-red candle to light the way”) along with discussions of the golden-isisfirst and last stories, the opening poem, and bits and pieces on two or three of the other tales.  The thing that especially pleases me too, though, is Cook’s close attention to the literary aspects of THE TEARS OF ISIS:  language, allusions, imagery, myth – as well as modernism and contemporary references.  Parable and psychological horror.  And if I may say it myself, I think a number of Cook’s observations are quite astute.

In full disclosure, it should be added that Cook is a book cover artist which he mentions too, including for the present edition, to which he adds “[t]hat is not to say I feel compelled to review those works but in this case I had to write this review upon reading Mr Dorr’s book as it left such an impression on me.”

To read William Cook’s review of THE TEARS OF ISIS, along with eleven other reviews (so far, and nine of which are nice ones 😉 ), along with [ahem] a chance to buy . . . press here.


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