Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Two items today, to look for in the near future:  The first is courtesy of Steph P. Bianchini’s blog THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, reminding us that the Cassini space probe will be sending its last signals to Earth just eight days from now.  Or from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, “on September 15, with its fuel tank now almost empty, the probe will make its final dive straight into Saturn, heading for the gas giant’s surface.”  And so, via THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, this sendoff:  “Cassini’s 13 Years of Stunning Saturn Science — In Pictures,” by Alexandra Witze on NATURE.COM.  To read (and see), press here.

For the second, we hark back a couple of months to an email from artist, poet, and sometime blog commentator Marge Simon:  Would you have a couple of vamp poems previously published that you could let Kathy Ptacek use for the HWA October newsletter?  If you’ve got an illo to go with it, great.  Maybe something we did for VAMPS?  The reference is to my poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), hopefully to be coming out in a second edition but for info on which, for now, click on its picture in the center column, and so I sent Kathy three favorite poems plus two of Marge’s illustrations.

So then a few days ago came the reply:  thanks, james! I appreciate you sending these to me!  and that’s great that marge sent the artwork for them!  this is going to be a fun issue, I think!  heh!  The issue in question will be the October Horror Writers Association NEWSLETTER with an extra flourish to celebrate the coming Halloween.  And the poems (with initial publication information):  “Night Child,” TOMORROW SF, Feb. 1998; “La Méduse,” ASYLUMS AND LABYRINTHS (Rain Mountain Press, 1997), with a note that it also serves as sort of a foreword to my THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013); and “Bon Appétit,” GOTHIC.NET, Aug. 2002).

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Today brought an announcement from Weldon Burge of Smart Rhino Publications, that ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENT GONE BAD (cf. April 27, 19, et al.) is headed toward a, hopefully, pre-Halloween release.  Just in time for costume suggestions, eh?  In this one my story is in final place, the thought to take with one to possibly a ZIPPERED FLESH 4 — or possibly just to hold in one’s own head — and a probably rather benign one at that, called “Golden Age.”  And with the announcement, here is the finalized table of contents:

Horns, Teeth, and Knobs–Billie Sue Mosiman
Upgraded–Shaun Meeks
Worm–Jeff Menapace
Reduced to Tears–Adrian Ludens
Going Green–Christine Morgan
A New Man–William F. Nolan
Transposition–Jason V Brock
The Rose–Jack Ketchum
Consume–Daniel I Russell
All Will Turn to Gray–Jezzy Wolfe
Invisible–E.A. Elizabeth Black
And the Sky was Full of Angels–L.L. Soares
Shopping Spree–Meghan Arcuri-Moran
Closer–Charles Colyott
Dog Days–Graham Masterton
Switch–Jasper Bark
Hypochondria–Martin Marty Zeigler
Gehenna Division, Case #609–Sandra R. Campbell
Golden Age–James Dorr

And, speaking of body enhancements gone bad, let us also recall the “other” anthology, YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 (cf. May 8), due out tentatively in late September from Gehenna & Hinnom.  My story in this is called, simply, “Flesh,” one a bit on the surrealistic side concerning a wealthy man who decides to become fat.  More on this, as on ZIPPERED FLESH 3, will be revealed here as it becomes known.

I had had to skip the open mike part of last week’s Last Sunday Poetry due to getting ready for early check-in for my “Raising the Dead” reading at that evening’s Ryder Film Festival (see October 31).  This week, however, all was on schedule for November’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. October 3, et al.) with local short fiction writer Tom Bitters and a tale of young love nearly torpedoed by an inflatable doll named Mistress Ping; poetry and prose performer Gabriel Peoples with the rambling and funny quasi-historical “The Story of Jack Daniels,” including audience participation; and First Sundays MC and co-sponsor (with host venue Boxcar Books) Bloomington Writers Guild member Joan Hawkins with more of young love, the “Ballad of Renee and Buzz,” and the start of a second piece, both examples of creative nonfiction.

The crowd was reasonably large at the start although, as sometimes happens, it thinned down to about half its size during the break, after which two people read at the open mike session, me and local poet and essayist and sometimes short fiction writer Tonia Matthews.  My piece this time was of young love also,”Smashing Pumpkins,” that of the vampires Aloysius and Vendetta in an adventure of Halloween, ice-blood (or is it “bloodcream”) cones, and rampaging clowns, all ending up with a trip to the polls on Election Day.

Well, speaking of devils, or werewolves if one prefers, word has just come from Editor Les Smith that one of the three (not two, oops) poems has been accepted.  The poem is “Beware of the Dog” and offers a working-class view of lycanthropy, originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL, September 11 2014, and also appeared in the 2015 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY in May last year.

Untreed Reads has e-reminded us that they’re running a 30-percent off sale on all mysteries and horror, ending Monday October 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST (see also October 2).  One minute before the Witching Hour, for you west coasters!  Two of my stories are included in th2940013874367_p0_v1_s118x184is, the Christmas chapbook I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., and the New Year’s Eve anthology YEARS END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead offering “Appointment in Time.”  For more, press I’M DREAMING’s picture in the center column, from which, if desired, you can also go to other titles in Untreed Reads’s store.

Meanwhile Popcorn Press has announced a kickstarter for their latest Halloween anthology, LUPINE LUNES, with an emphasis on werewolves and very short poems, but you have to hurry — it ends Sunday, tomorrow, October 30 at 12:59 p.m., this time EST.  I may or may not have a dog(s) in this fight — I sent two poems, but haven’t heard back yet — but Editor Lester Smith has published me in the past (see November 17 2015, et al.)  Maybe more on this score as it becomes known.  But in the meantime, for more information, donations, press here.

Seven days more until Halloween, starting the countdown today.  And to help all to celebrate Halloween week, Max Booth III of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has pmmpsalechosen my 2014 Bram Stoker® fiction collection nominee THE TEARS OF ISIS, with nine other books, to put on sale for one week only for 99 cents each!  To let Max tell it in his own words:  Starting now and ending November 1st, we are offering ten of our horror titles for only 99c on the Amazon kindle store.  If you’re the kind of person who loves horror and cheap eBooks, then look no further.  Well, okay, look a little bit further — you still have to actually click the links.  So first click here, then scroll down to THE TEARS OF ISIS, fifth on the list — or, to get to TEARS directly, just press here.

In other news, it is nearly Election Day as well and aren’t we all beginning to think in political clichés?  But this one marks the first new fiction acceptance for all of October (not to mention on Halloween week to boot), making it a pleasant surprise indeed!  And oh, the odds!  The email came Monday from Bob Corry of PHOBOS:  After rejecting more than five hundred stories, I’m very happy to accept “Dark Call of the Sea” for our fourth issue.

Well, there were a few things in its favor, though the acceptance did take some time.  The theme for the issue is “Deep Black Sea,” for stories, flash, and poetry hauled from the brine of oceans both real and fantastic. . . .  Did I mention the story’s title is “The Dark Call of the Sea?”  And in fact it hisisnewad been narrowly rejected by PHOBOS for a previous issue, with an apt, but not quite that apt theme, and with a suggestion for a small change which I thought was okay and so adapted to a slightly rewritten ending.  The story itself is a Lovecraftian fable of music and art and a summer ill-spent on a seaside vacation at Innsmouth.

And, speaking of sea stories (as well as art), let me point out that the opening prose tale in THE TEARS OF ISIS — on sale through Halloween, remember? — is “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  For more information on THE TEARS OF ISIS you can click on the link above or, for perusing reviews from its Amazon site, press here.

On a far-future, exhausted Earth a ghoul — an eater of corpses — explores the ruins of one of its greatest cities in hopes of discovering the one thing that made its inhabitants truly human.  This is the premise, the quest. . . .  And so starts the first answer to British blogger Sonnet O’Dell’s questions on DUSTY PAGES (see also just below, et al.) for October 24, exactly one week prior to Halloween.  Other topics include if the glass is half full or empty, motivations, appearing in public, and my first crush — at least that I’ll admit to.  And at the end, we’re back to my upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH with a quote from the book for the start of a final blurb:  “The city had once lived, blazing with light.  The books all described this.  The Ghoul-Poet sat in the midst of a heap of them, pages torn, rotting, spread out all about him.  This was a library, the pride of New City, or rather a square that had faced the library, that had received this avalanche of thought — words embossed on parchment tombs-final-copy— that cascaded down when the library burst, its walls weakened with age. . . .”  For more, one may press here.

Then Sunday evening, at downtown Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley theatre, I was to read the same quote and a little bit more as an introduction to the flavor of TOMBS, followed by one of the book’s story-chapters, “Raising the Dead.”  This was an entr’acte of sorts between screenings of THE EXORCIST and a new Korean film, THE WAILING, as part of a three-film Halloween festival sponsored by local magazine THE RYDER (cf. October 17 — the other film, screened first, was ARSENIC AND OLD LACE followed by a live mini-dramatization of Angela Carter’s short story “The Company of Wolves” by Cricket’s Bone Caravan), billed in THE RYDER’s calendar as “a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.”  But a funny thing happened on the way from the 1 p.m. sound check to the actual screenings having to do with, live stage sound okayed, a glitch in the sound for the films themselves.  This took about 40 minutes to work out, which was okay for the first two films and the “Wolves” presentation, but by the time THE EXORCIST ended, it was already a bit past 8 p.m.  As a result, including a significant audience drop-off (it being Sunday night, meaning many had to be up early for Monday), we decided to postpone my reading to get THE WAILING back on only-slightly-delayed schedule.

So, tentatively, but more if/when it actually comes to pass, “Raising the Dead” will be read by me at the Ryder Film Festival’s continuation next Sunday, October 30 (yes, All Hallows Eve Eve) at local Bloomington drinkery Bear’s Place at probably a bit after 7 p.m., sandwiched between HORROR OF DRACULA at 5:30 p.m. and an 8 p.m. reprise of THE WAILING.  And, oh yes, for this one you must be over 21.

Just a reminder, my interview with Sonnet O’Dell on her DUSTY PAGES blog (see July 5, et al.) is still scheduled for Monday, October 24 — just one week before HALLOWEEN! — at 7 a.m. GMT.  That’s British time, so night owls on this side of the Atlantic might be able to get a sneak peek before bedtime (depending, of course, on how late bedtime is, as well as for those in the vampiric trade).  In the meantime, alas, one of the local cave computers died last night, the one that takes care of bloggie business here, so I probably won’t be able to post until Monday afternoon, EDT, on a library computer.  Whatever works, yes?

But for early risers, one can get to Sonnet’s open blog (for whatever might be the post of the moment), as well as the latest on TOMBS when it’s time, by pressing here.

That title may be a little misleading.  Okay, a lot?  But it occurred to me that, as a horror writer, cults and people’s joining of cults is an area that might be worth exploring whether for story ideas, or defining characters within already written (or read) stories.  Does DRACULA, for instance, with vampire-in-progress Mina psychically linked to the one who is “turning” her, actually describe a cult, with the ritual of driving a stake through the count’s heart representing an ultimate means of deprogramming?  I think, myself, of my New Orleans-based “Casket Girls” (cf. August 4, March 6 this year; April 28 2015; April 17 2014; et al.) as having formed a polyamorous society of ladies with similar dining habits, but to what extent might that be cult-like too?  Or, more generally thinking, how many horror tales might simply feature bands of non-supernatural zealots who, possibly, might stick together after some menace has been conquered — think torch-bearing mobs following a charismatic burgermeister to seek more Frankensteins’ castles to burn.

Then there are the real cults, as that of Charles Manson.  Or in Waco Texas.  But are all cults bad?   Which all comes down to that, via the magic of today’s email, I ran across an interesting piece, “How Do People Become Indoctrinated Into Cults” by Derek Beres, on BIGTHINK.COM for which one may press here.  Is the horror writing community in itself a cult (well, for this one no, because we all run in different directions — at least when we’re left alone — so we’re probably more unfinishedlike a hypothetical herd of cats.  All after the mouse, yes, but. . . .)?

So, changing the subject, last night I and four others met in an old house on darkest 6th Street for a ritual of our own, a rehearsal for a reading performance of a play, to be presented on October 28 at local Bloomington pub The Back Door.   Scenes from a grisly play in progress, “The Unfinished” by Donald Mabbott, will be read by Writers Guild members Shayne Laughter, Joan Hawkins, Tony Brewer, and James Dorr.   Just in time for Halloween!, to quote the blurb for it.  A horror-themed open mic will follow.  For more on this one, one may press here.

We are screening 3 films at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, The Exorcist and The Wailing.  Frank Capra’s Halloween comedy Arsenic and Old Lace stars Cary Grant as a man learns that his eccentric but sweet aunts have been seeking out lonely, elderly men, poisoning them, and burying them in the basement.  Controversial from the day it opened in 1973, The Exorcist is now recognized as a defining classic of the genre.  Our third film, The Wailing, is a 2016 release.  A foreigner’s mysterious appwebart-bct-oct23earance in a quiet, rural village causes suspicion among the locals in The Wailing.  Released in June of this year, The Wailing  has garnered enthusiastic reviews  on the film festival circuit and is currently the highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.  You can read more detailed descriptions of these below.

The Halloween Fest will also include spine-tingling live performances in between films by James Dorr and by Cricket’s Bone Caravan, so come early and stay late.

So begins Bloomington’s local Ryder Film Series announcement of the coming weekend’s special showing, from 2:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., “Halloween Fest:  Sunday, Oct 23 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.”  That’s right here, downtown on Kirkwood Avenue for those unfamiliar with the venue, with my part scheduled for the intermission between THE EXORCIST and THE WAILING.  And for what I’ll read (hint:  it’s the same tale I read for the 4th Street Arts Festival in September, cf. September 4), let us let the Ryder explain:  [DorTombs Final copyr] will be reading a selection from his newest book, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, a novel-in-stories scheduled for release by Elder Signs Press in spring-summer 2017.  Set on a far-future dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis known as the “Tombs,” “Raising the Dead” is about a young woman who seeks to restore the soul of her newly deceased husband to his body; a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.  “Raising the Dead,” I should add, has also been published in White Cat Publications’s 2015 steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (cf. May 27, April 7 2015, et al.).

Schedules, ticket prices.and more can be found on the Ryder’s own site by pressing here.  And, if all the above weren’t enough, they also add:  Wait, there’s a fourth film.  On Sunday, October 30th we will screen the 1958 classic, Horror of Dracula, at Bear’s Place.  If you purchase a movie pass for the films at the BCT on Oct 23rd, you can use it for Horror of Dracula as well.




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