Posts Tagged ‘Ghouls’

So, okay, cutting to the chase I’m scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m for a half hour (well, 25 minutes anyway — cf. just below, August 26) reading, probably of stories from THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But here is the entire two-day schedule from the horse’s mouth, as it were, of readers and performers, poets and prose writers, some known to us from before, some unknown.  So if in the area this coming weekend do plan to stop by — isisnewit’s the FOURTH STREET ARTS FESTIVAL, with artists’ booths galore, but also the Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage on Dunn Street, just south of 4th.  While I, in the meantime, practice timed reads while making my final story selections.  (Hint: it’ll probably be a short curtain raiser followed by “River Red,” which I’d read once before a few years back and had gone over well then, set in the TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH universe although actually printed in TEARS.  Two birds with one stone, eh?)

So read, plan, enjoy:

September 1, 2018 @ 10:00 am – September 2, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Spoken Word Stage at 4th Street Arts Festival

Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington
Supported in part by the Bloomington Arts Commission

Labor Day Weekend
Saturday, September 1: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, September 2: 10am – 5pm
Intersection of Dunn and Fourth Streets
Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts

Save the Date!

Now in its 8th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations.

And of course, the ever-popular Poetry on Demand table will be staffed with a fleet of poets armed with typewriters ready to deliver!


10:30 . 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:00 . Patsy Rahn (poetry)
11:30 . Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:30 . Shana Ritter (poetry)
1:00 . Maria Hamilton Abegunde (poetry)
1:30 . Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
2:30 . Mary Pat Lynch (fiction)
3:00 . Juliana Ramos Crespo (fiction)
3:30 . James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 . Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)
4:30 . Erin Livingston (poetry)
5:00 . Butch D’Ambrosio (sonnets)
5:30 . Stephen Vincent Giles (storytelling)

10:00 . Eric Rensberger (poetry)
10:30 . New Leaf-New Life (poetry and fiction)
11:00 . Adam Henze (poetry)
11:30 . Monroe County Civic Theater
12:00 . Joan Hawkins (fiction)
12:30 . Lisa Kwong (poetry)
1:00 . Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
1:30 . Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
2:00 . Richard Hague (poetry)
2:30 . Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 . Michael Brockley (poetry)
4:00 . Jeffrey Pearson (poetry)
4:30 . Bloomington Storytellers Guild 

Well, life in the far future as depicted in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is, to be sure, not exactly cheery.  And Amazon’s keywords do include the term “Dystopian,” as well as “Horror.”  But here’s a description from Erin Roberts’s “How to Tell If You’re Living in a Dystopia — And Why It Matters,” from TOR.COM:  Dystopian fiction, which comes from the Ancient Greek words “dys” (bad) and “topia” (place), lives up to its name by featuring worlds in which reality is cruel, suffering is extreme, and hope seems pointless.  But not every horrible place is a dystopia — the trope usually features a world in which society itself is the problem — and not every dystopia is horrible in the same way.  The social order is broken, but how?  The system has been corrupted, but by whom?  These futures may be bleak, but they are not interchangeable.  And so the question, are troubles in TOMBS primarily that of a social order (or orders) gone wrong, or is it more just a physically lousy place to live?  Or some kind of combination of both?

Ms. Roberts suggests four questions one could ask to determine whether one’s milieu is dystopic or not, mostly having to do with societal origins and hopes of relief, but as some of the comments after may suggest those might not be the only criteria.  But see for yourself by pressing here.  While as for TOMBS, for more information click on its picture in the center column, read the reviews, and perhaps buy a copy.

Aha!  It has come to pass!  Click on the center column’s picture of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. December 1, et al.), scroll down to the author’s mini-biography and find these words:  Indiana writer James Dorr‘s The Tears of Isis was a 2014 Bram Stoker Award® nominee for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.  Other books include Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance, Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret,tombswithsubtitle and his all-poetry Vamps (A Restrospective).  An Active Member of HWA and SFWA with nearly 400 individual appearances from Airships & Automatons and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia and Yellow Bat Review, Dorr invites readers to visit his blog.  Who’s he, you may wonder?  “He,” here, is . . . me!

Yes, no more of the wilds of Pennsylvania, the arcane titles of works actually written by one James C. Simpson.  Just weeping goddesses and wonder and mystery, but, hey, it’s all mine!  And note while we’re there my sneaky product placement of AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS, also published (with TOMBS) by Elder Signs Press.  (And, seriously, also my thanks to the publisher for getting the error corrected quickly.)

Then finally, remember that TOMBS is available for pre-order — just press its picture in the center column (or if you’d rather, click here) and take it from there.  The official publication date, so says Amazon, will be June 1 2017, but why not slip in now ahead of the crowd, eh?

And now revealed, with discussions over the past ten days, the cover painting has been completed:  


art final

Still on track for a Spring 2017 release from Elder Signs Press.

Busy, busy, busy weekend and busy end of the week leading to it.  Saturday’s task is to send changes back to Bards and Sages for my story, “Ice Vermin,” to come in THE GREAT TOME OF FANTASTIC AND WONDGreatTomeV3.125102232_stdROUS PLACES (cf. May 11), Volume 3 in the GREAT TOMES series.  This along with an early meeting of my writers group (usually on the third, not the second Saturday of the month), but for the solitary writer that’s almost more fun than work.

But then this will segue into a second set of proof sheets, this to GrayWhisper Graphics Productions for SINGULAR IRREGULARITY with my story there “The Master of Time” (see May 23, 9, April 27), a tome (to pardon the expression) of time travel gone wrong.  Hopefully this will be finished on Sunday.

And lastly the task I’ve already completed, actually lateish Thursday night in response to a question by Chuck Zaglanis of Elder Signs Press:  a description of ghouls as they appear in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. July 5, 1, May 23).  Details, details.  I threw in some other beings too, boat-gypsies, necromancers, for these to morph into artist suggestions as the book’s cover begins to take shape.  The book itself is to be a novel-in-stories, scheduled to be out next spring, about a far-future dying Earth and the death-centric culture that starts to arise as the end grows nigh.  But of course there are other concerns as well, as trade, making money, planning funerals, protecting the dead from those who eat corpses, and above all loving.

But more on this one as its own time grows nigh!

It’s been a long time coming all around, but late Tuesday afternoon White Cat Publications’s  steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (see April 7, March 31, et al.) landed on my front porch, via FedEx, completing a voyage lasting nearly two and three-quarter years.  As was reported here at the start of this year (cf. January 3)A_and_A, after a September 4 2012 acceptance of a story by me and adding that mine would be last in the contents of stories to be set in chronological order, “. . .  then it disappeared.  As an airship drifting behind a cloud, the anthology . . . was gone!

“And so it goes.

“Two long years passed, even rumors fading away like wisps of mist before an autumn dawn. . . .

“But then — actually on December 30 but due to a hiatus at this end not opened until January 2 — came an email from Editor [Charles P.] Zaglanis with a contract attached!  With it was a request to copy, sign, and return two copies ‘so I can cut you a check.  Feel free to revise your bio if you wish.  Thank you for your patience and the wonderful story.’”

And then, more waiting, but not so much this time.  The Kindle copy was published first, but a bit of minor last minute editing was required before it went to print.  Then it was at the printers.  Then up on Amazon, where it can be found by pressing here. . . .

And now in my hands!  A delightful volume of “[t]ales from a world that should have been. . .  Fifteen stories spanning the ages from ancient Greece to a far-flung dying future” — from “A Courtly Diversion” by Gary Cuba to my own offering, “Raising the Dead,” one in my series of tales set in the “Tombs,“ a vast necropolis and its environs in the latter days of a ghoul-ridden, dying Earth.

From just a brief dipping in thus far, it has been worth the wait.

The word came later than usual for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION (cf. April 17, et al.), these things happen, but there it was this morning, the proof sheet for my latest story plus the announcement that it would be posted this Monday, September 1.  That’s right, Labor Day, so if you have a holiday that day, there’s plenty of time (that is, after marching in the parade if you’re scheduled to do so, otherwise watching it and enjoying the picnic after) to read and reread all approximately 500 words of the story, called “Rocky Road.”   “Rocky Road” is the tale of a woman who develops unusual habits after a surfeit of Rocky Road ice cream and so has to give it up.  As for the habits, well. . . .

The neat thing, though, is that this is my first story for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION that will include the warning, ***Editor’s Note:  Adult Story, Mature Themes***.

Then speaking of DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, this afternoon saw me on the Spoken Word Stage at this year’s Bloomington Arts Fair (more properly, the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, cf. August 1, et al.) for a half hour prose horror reading, the final story of which was “Casket Girls,” originally published there earlier this year on April 10 (q.v.).  Far from the sweaty sun-filled weather expected, this morning was marked by thunderstorms, serious enough that the start of the Indiana University football team’s 10645193_709074875815015_7329336544313172549_nopening game elsewhere in the city was delayed due to lightning.  However, the show went on — the Bloomington Writers Guild had a shelter the readings were under which helped during rain spells, granted originally planned for protection from the sun — and by the time my “prime time” 2:30 p.m. slot came round (the afternoon weather having improved to warm but cloudy), things were only running about five minutes late.

In all I had a pretty good crowd as these things go, about a dozen people give or take or roughly half the seating capacity which, to put it in perspective, was comparable to the number Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras got at his reading two hours later, despite his being accompanied by a very cute dog.  The other stories I read, in order, were “Tombs” story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (July 23, et al.) and, as a light interlude, my flash “Undying Love” from UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND (January 6 2013).

A few short notes to start the new month, the first being that the electronic version of Chupa Cabra’s GROWING CONCERNS (cf. January 20, 9, et al.) arrived yesterday.  Actually published in January, it comes in at just under 200 pages with 18 tales of ecological horror plus introduction — plants gone wild! — with my own contribution, “Seeds,” originally published in the February 1997 edition of KEEN SCIENCE FICTION, in the next-to-last spot in the table of contents.

Then in today’s pre-Super Bowl activity, the local Writers Guild’s First Sunday Readings series started off the year, having missed the beginning of January due to excessively inclement weather (see January 5, et al.), with fiction readings by Darja Malcolm-Clarke and Donna Lodge and an essay and poems by Mary Pat Lynch.  Then in the following open mike session, I led off with an as yet unpublished flash tale of an evening in a Transylvanian graveyard called “Demons Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend.”

And finally, a possible correction to the previous post, in that my tale of “The Worst Christmas Ever” may, according to recent Facebook postings, be in Volume 2, not Volume 1, of HEARTCORE:  THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES ANTHOLOGY — but they may be being published simultaneously, so from a reader’s point of view it may not make a lot of difference.  In any event, perhaps I’ll find out when the contract arrives.

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