Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

For those who may have a hankering to give a read to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the novel-in-stories of which you may have been seeing a bit about in some past posts, Amazon has been offering fairly substantial discounted prices for some while now.  A check today (lSunday), in fact, saw the print edition offered for only $9.36 (that’s compared to a cover price of $14.95) and the Kindle edition at $6.29 (compared to $8.99), though I have no idea how long these bargains may last.  I also don’t know how that will affect the royalty that comes to me, if at all, but — especially with Stoker voting season coming up soon, for those reading this who might be members of HWA — now might be a propitious time to buy.  And that goes double should you be searching for that perfect, but bizarre gift for a horror-loving (or dystopic science fiction, or dark romance, or far-future science fantasy) special friend.  Just click on its picture in the center column, or else press here.

Then, speaking of Christmas, while I missed November’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” Sunday afternoon brought the December edition and, unfortunately, last to be hosted by Boxcar Books (or, capitalism strikes again and small bookstores tend not to last forever, though part of their mission may be revived at a new location).  Be that as it may, the featured readers were Shana Ritter who read from a just completed novel about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century, this part told from the point of view of a teen-age girl in one of the affected families, and Writers Guild founding member and prior chairperson Patsy Rahn with a portion of a short fantasy called “The Reality Game.”  Snacks were served, then following custom it was time for walk-on readers of which I was third of four with a seasonal story originally published in DARK JESTERS (Novello Publishers, 2006), “The Worst Christmas Ever,” from the point of view of a not-too-competent Santa’s elf about . . . well . . . a pretty bad Christmas.

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It’s “Our Favorite Fictionalized Scientists, Methematicians, and Inventors in SFF” on TOR.COM by Stubby the Rocket.  It starts like this:  Sci-fi and fantasy writers love populating their stories with towering geniuses.  After all, nothing lends credence to a work of SFF like a brilliant mathematician or an ahead-of-their time scientist.  But as fun as it is to see characters inspired by historical figures, it’s even more fascinating when authors take the real person and reimagine them within the context of SFF.  Recasting mathematicians as demon hunters, analysts as steampunk spies, and even Greek scholars as superheroes. . . .  Hypatia, Mandelbrot, Newton, Tesla. Einstein (sort of).  But what’s neat here is not just the article itself but some of the links, as with my favorite, fifth on the roster, the team up of “crime fighters” Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage.

For all, click here — if you’re anything like me you won’t regret it.  And be sure to scroll down to the very bottom with its link to Kate Beaton’s “Hark! A Vagrant” archives.

Another sale, this one by DriveThru Fiction according to Untreed Reads Publishing’s Jay Hartman:  If you’re getting this email, it’s because one or more of your titles have been included in DriveThruFiction.com’s special Halloween sale.  They’re going to be offering 31% ImDreamingoff all horror/ghost titles through the end of October.  And two of the titles offered are my short story Christmas horror chapbook I’M DREAMING OF A . . . and the Untreed Reads New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END with its lead story by me, “Appointment in Time,” as well as my non-horror dystopian science fiction (and hence not part of the sale, but still cheap at only $1.50) novelette PEDS.  For more, press here, where you’ll find seventeen titles from various publishers (mainly anthologies with stories by me in them) concerning me, plus two, PRESIDENTIAL PULP and THE ADVENTURE MEGAPACK, that have nothing to do with me whatsoever.  Whereas for Untreed Read titles on sale only, including ones mostly not by me, one can press here.

Tis the season, well into the run-up to Halloween.  Thus in today’s email, from C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna Publishing, [w]e are happy to announce that from the 25th-31st of October, we will discount all our titles to $0.99 on Amazon.  We may have some difficulty running the promotion for HINNOM MAGAZINE Issue 003, but rest assured, we will do our best to include the Halloween-themed issue in the lot.

We advise you to buckle up and prepare for one haunting Hallows’ Eve with these terrifying tales.

He says “all our titles” from which presumably not only the two already published issues of HINNOM MAGAZINE but YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY including my story “Flesh” (cf. September 25, et al.), among other books, will be included along with HINNOM’s third issue; also given the low sale price cited it’s most likely for electronic format, but no matter the details it sounds like a sale worth looking into, in less than ten days time.  More details here as they are learned.  And for those who can’t wait, YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY is available on Amazon now in both Kindle and paperback editions for which, to take a look, one can press here.

Also received from Bards and Sages Publishing, a galley proof for THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES, Volume 1, with its lead story by me, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace” (originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE; see January 19, et al.).  This will be the promised print collection of stand-alone electronic chapbooks that came out last year under the “Misfit Stories” aegis, hopefully to be out “in both large format trade paperback and hardcover for libraries” in time for Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t to be a big convention, even by NASFiC standards – I was told there were 400-some paid attendees, but actual crowds seemed considerably less.  But I hadn’t gone for a big convention necessarily, though part of it was the new novel-in-stories, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and a chance to show copies of it to fans in the hope word might spread.  In fact the convention could sort of be considered cozy, though part of the reason I really went was for the adventure.  The North American Science Fiction Convention, held for us home folks in years when the World SF Convention is going to be overseas, was itself overseas for 2017 — if only a little.  Farther than Cuba, though, or Haiti, in San Juan Puerto Rico.

So, yes, that’s still the United States, no problems with passports, but a lot of people speak Spanish too (which I myself don’t), and some don’t speak much English.  The money’s the same, which is helpful too, though some foods tended to be more salty, and others sweeter than I would prefer.

But in the hotel things were more familiar, including an unfortunately sparse con suite (most missed: morning coffee, heated things being forbidden, the staff explained, for “liability reasons”).  So, okay, make that a pioneer adventure.  Nor was there an autograph session, but there were a small number of readings scheduled, of which one was mine!  And there were panels, for the most part well attended.

My Part of the Show

I had two panels Friday, the first on “Genre Blending” which, in my introduction, allowed me to point out TOMBS as an example, keyworded by Amazon as Horror and Dystopic Science Fiction and on this blog as Science Fantasy and Dark Romance.  Discussion included the reason for genres — originally to know which shelf to go to in the library or bookstore — and whether “literary” fictioneers look down on us (but with one advantage of ghettoization, we have our own festivals such as NASFiC, and another as I pointed out of coming to know a small number of writers well enough to allow

San Cristobal

a sort of apprentice system).  But for the future with more and more book sales via the internet the old shelf labels are being replaced by keywords, allowing cross genres for readers to narrow their searches farther.  Then following that, “The Critical Eye” (with me moderating) included discussions of writers’ groups and mutual critiques prior to publication, editors’ comments and suggestions and why and how to sometimes decline these, and finally post publication reviews, even if not all necessarily “five star” — and why fans do authors a real favor by writing reviews, even if only one or two lines, and sending them to Amazon, et al.

Saturday gave me another panel, “World Building as More than Background,” again offering an opportunity to present TOMBS as an example (“It starts by finding the rivers,” I answered to the moderator’s opening question – rivers move commerce, and commerce brings cities, and cities begin to define civilization).  Other questions:  If you like a world, do you expand the book into a series? Can you get mired in research, and how to get out of it (my answer there referenced my story “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” which I built from leftover research about deserts, and which became my first ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE sale*)?  What do you do if your world is so popular readers want to write fan fiction in it?  And, as an example of a “built” world, this was immediately preceded by my reading (in fact, I came into the panel a minute or two late) in which I followed the back cover blurb and section II part of the Ghoul Poet’s story in TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for orientation of a sort, with the story-chapter of “The Last Dance” to a rather large audience as readings go at conventions I’ve been to.  In fact, it was almost as though there were a cadre of readings groupies, other readings that I dipped into drawing relatively large audiences too, for which kudos to NASFiC and/or I hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

Then Sunday morning brought “Zombies Over Time and Space,” a more relaxed free-wheeling affair with an audience that didn’t mind our straying into vampires for part of the session (I had pointed out that functionally post-Romero zombies are really vampires, just after solid food rather than liquid, and that he himself had said NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was meant in part as a homage to Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND).  Also touched on were Vodoun and Haitian zombies (the “zombies of folklore”), attempts at scientific explanation including various poisons (e.g. Wade Davis’s THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, the “zombies of science”), the Nineteenth Century New England vampire epidemic, and semi-salacious gossip involving Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly, and other companions.

What I Wasn’t On

There were other panels, including one I had been assigned to at first but then removed from in later schedules, “Writing Diverse Characters of Impact” on Saturday morning, that I still attended.  Others included “Alternate Histories Outside the West,” “Imagining the Impossible” (this primarily about visual art, but of interest to me as having to do with creativity), and “How to Make Religions in Fantasy/SF Stories Real” (also in its own way relating to TOMBS).  In addition, the Opening Ceremonies Thursday night were followed by an “Ice Cream Social” (and as we know, cf. July 7, my being caught in a sudden rain on my way back to the hotel I was staying at), Friday night offered an Artists’ Reception, and Saturday brought an “Alien Abduction Masquerade Party” including food and a live slide show and reading performance of 1976’s “The Capture,” by Robert Aspirin with art by Phil Foglio, depicting an SF convention hijacked by aliens.

The Castillos

Weather for the most part was good, despite brief bouts of rain the first three days. Sunday it was supposed to be rainy in the afternoon, which was to be my free time for exploring the old

El Morro

part of the city and the “San Juan National Historic Site,” but Weather Channel forecasts aside it turned out to be sunny.  Lovely.  So this was the main “adventure” part, including a glance into the huge Cementerio Maria Magdelena de Pazzis outside the city wall to the north, the Cathedral of San Juan, the Plaza Colon (a very nice park, of which there are several, in this case with a statue of Columbus at the top of a pillar but up too high for my camera to reach to), and to the south a walk down the Paseo de la Princesa along San Juan Bay and entering the city through its original main gate.

But the main attractions were the two castillos, that of San Cristobal to the east, dating back to the Seventeenth Century, and a century before that El Morro guarding the bay on the western tip of the city, begun in 1539.  Both fortifications continued to be added onto over the centuries, El Morro ultimately having six separate levels (of which I explored five but skipped the “water battery” at the very bottom, my knees beginning to give out by then), including a lighthouse at the top built (I think) in the early Twentieth Century — and still in use.

And then, Monday morning, I chickened out on taking the city bus (I had come in on the bus, however, through – someone has to say it, yes? – picturesque narrow streets) and hailed a taxi to the airport.  Time to go home.  But, having changed my seat to the left of the airplane the evening before, I did have a brief final look through the window at a tiny Morro Castle to start the trip back to the mainland.
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*”The Wellmaster’s Daughter” can also be found in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for which, click its picture in the center column).

Received last night, from FANTASIA DIVINITY Editor Madeline L. Stout:  I really enjoyed this story.  I love the twist.  For inclusion in this particular anthology however, it doesn’t really fit.  . . .  Although it doesn’t fit what we are looking for in the anthology, I would like to publish this in our September issue.  Please let me know if that would be something you are interested in.  And so, yes, I emailed back that I would be interested — the money’s not much, but the story, “Flightless Rats,” originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG on January 12 2015 (see November 30, 26 2014) and starring New Orleanian vampiress Aimée (cf. April 17 2014, et al.), is a reprint and publication is publication, so why not?  Details to be revealed as they become known.

So this is being written on a hotel computer in San Juan Puerto Rico where I arrived MASFiC2017safely yesterday afternoon, checking into NASFiC and attending Opening Ceremonies that night.  More details on the convention will probably wait (except maybe for snippets, like this) to come most likely after I’m back home.  But one note — ah, those tropical weather patterns! — Opening Ceremonies plus a following “Ice Cream Social” over, who would get caught in a sudden, brief rainstorm?  Me, that’s who, who am writing this at the end of a similar rain event Friday morning and must rush back to the convention hotel now.

Again, more to come later.

Today’s serendipity comes to us courtesy of Usman Mlk, via BARNESANDNOBLE.COM (a.k.a. “B&N SCI-FI&FANTASY blog”).  No, TOMBS isn’t on the list, but perhaps it’s in a different category (or possibly not 😉 ).  But to start us off, quoth author Joel Cunningham in “The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 So Far”:  As six-month periods go, the first half of 2017 has certainly been, shall we say, interesting.  But even as the real world works ever harder to convince us that we’re all living inside a genre novel (though what kind will depend on your particular point of view:  sci-fi?  Alt-history?  Dystopian thriller?  Grimdark fantasy?), the authors we rely on to provide us with an escape into fictional worlds continue to up their game.

So I myself may be away from computers later this week, but there’s plenty for us all to busy ourselves with.  For a few suggestions, albeit from one who would love to sell you the books itself, press here.

By the time the first three reviews appeared, I was in the middle of TOMBS.  Later, re-read them and frankly can do no better, as they all appreciated this excellent novel-in-story format.  So begins the fourth review on Amazon just up today, by Margaret B. Boston, on TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  Fortunately, she adds that she will try, continuing on with her own much-appreciated assessment.  She also gives it five stars out of five, as do the other three reviews as well.  To see for yourself (and, perhaps, to buy?) press here.*

Then one other note, as NASFIC approaches the first long-range weather reports for San Juan have been posted.  Highs in the eighties — warm, but not sweltering — and most days with clouds but only Thursday listed as threatening afternoon rain (and that still just a 30 percent chance).  And best of all, no hurricanes in sight.  So, so far so good (though another site warns I’d do well to bring mosquito repellent).
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*To keep myself absolutely honest, not all reviews everywhere have been five-star.  There is one on Goodreads that’s kind of crummy, though all that may mean is not everybody’s tastes are the same (and if you want to see it, no fool I, you’ll have to look up the site for yourself 😉 ).

Most of these are just room assignments, received yesterday in an hour-by-hour schedule of all panels and readings for NorthAmeriCon’17, a.k.a. this year’s NASFiC (see post just below).  One however is a bit more notable in that I seem to have been removed (or probably more accurately someone else added in my place, since I still have four panels plus my reading) from “Writing Diverse Characters of Impact” on Saturday morning.  Not to worry, I still have my reading and “World Building” panel that afternoon, so I’ll still be busy, as well as two panels Friday and one Sunday morning.  But with two exceptions not in the rooms we’d thought they’d be in, so herewith the new schedule of my doings, at least as of this posting:

Friday – 10 a.m. – Bahia 1 – Genre Blending
Friday – 4 p.m. – Bahia 1 – The Critical Eye (moderating)
Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – Sol Boardroom – Reading from TOMBS
Saturday – 3 p.m. – San Cristobal – World Building as More than Background
Sunday – 10 a.m. – Bahia 1 – Zombies Over Time and Space

Then Sunday afternoon look for me in Old San Juan where, weather permitting, I hope to be exploring Morro Castle and Fort San Cristobal.

We have to stop meeting this way, or, for the past announcement of both items below, cf. June 11.  How’s that for coincidence?  The first is that Tammy Coxen, in Programming at NASFiC, sent me two schedule changes for my panels next month, July 6 – 9.  As of now, the new official schedule is:

Friday – 10 a.m. – San Geronimo – Genre Blending
Friday – 4 p.m. – San Geronimo – The Critical Eye (moderating)
Saturday – 11 a.m. – San Cristobal – Writing Diverse Characters of Impact
Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – Sol Boardroom – Reading from TOMBS
Saturday – 3 p.m. – San Cristobal – World Building as More than Background
Sunday – 10 a.m. – San Geronimo – Zombies Over Time and Space

Two items are changed, the first my reading, originally scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bahia 1 (this one in particular is a relief for me, since it gives me extra time Thursday night if my plane should be late) and now on Saturday in the Sol Boardroom at 2:30, convenient for strolling into after a leisurely lunch, and the second “Zombies Over Time and Space” to be one hour earlier Sunday morning and nudged to the room next door, from 11 a.m in San Cristobal to 10:00 a.m. in San Geronimo.

Then the second announcement is from Cin Ferguson of Scary Dairy Press (for background on which see June 11 again, et al.), that their eco-horror anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE:  AN ANTHOLOGY OF GLOBAL PROPORTIONS is now available in Kindle as well as print form, with hopefully an audio edition to come out this fall.  To quote from their website, [f]rom living garbage to earth witches and cities that come to life to destroy mankind, there is something for everyone between the front and back cover.  One of the best outcomes from the sale of this anthology is our commitment to donate 10% of our earnings to earth-saving organizations such as Water is Live, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force.  We are so pleased to be a part of what can help make the earth a better place, and thrilled to bring you in as a participant in this goal when you make a purchase.

My story in this is called “Swarms,” or mutant insects gotta live too, originally published in CD ROM in Lone Wolf Publications’s 2001 anthology BLOODTYPE as well as in print in my DARKER LOVES collection (Dark Regions, 2007), and now can be perused in Kindle format via pressing here (though one will note the print version costs more, thus increasing the donation part of the good work too, for a link to which — is everyone still with me here? — see June 11).




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