Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

And here it is, the DAILY SCIENCE FICTION contract for “Steel Slats” (see August 17) arrived and has been signed (or more precisely, my agreement assented) and returned.  As requested I also included an about 150 word biographical note and, as DAILY SCIENCE FICTION will sometimes have, a few remarks concerning the story’s writing — the latter in this case including the words “the devil made me do it.”  “Steel Slats,” that is, is a sort of reaction to troubles at the US southern border, and celebrates the *President’s Dream* of a “beautiful wall” to be paid for by Mexico to solve all problems.  But might it possibly lead to some new ones?

Exactly when we’ll find out I don’t know, DAILY SCIENCE FICTION usually having a robust lead time before stories are published (though not as bad as some recent examples, including the one that won’t appear until 2021).  In this case it should be within a year, though, and possibly sooner than later, exact information to be shared as soon as I find out.


Speaking of Aimée et les filles à les caissettes, the contract arrived today from WEIRDBOOK for the blood-appreciative New Orleanian’s most recent adventure, “Death and the Vampire” (cf. June 16).  This will be the fifth, I believe, of the “Casket Girl” stories to be published, including two in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION as noted below, so Aimée and her friendMusidora_6_16_19s have been getting around.  Not to mention some of these have been reprinted as well, plus that the entire casket girl canon, published and non-published, is currently being presented at the Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” in form of successive open mike readings.

“Death and the Vampire” runs at about 1000 words and concerns a late night meeting on Rampart Street, in front of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, between Aimée and a tall, gaunt gentleman claiming to be Death.  But if, as the saying goes, Death cannot be delayed, the issue he’s to be a guest star in apparently can.  According to Editor Douglas Draa, due to a last-minute special issue, material planned for WEIRDBOOK #44 in mid 2020, including this story, will now appear in #45 later that year.

A busy Saturday!  First there was my writing group’s monthly critique session; then a Bloomington Writers Guild meeting.  If that weren’t enough, the Goth Cat Triana reminds us that August 17 is “Black Cat Appreciation Day” (so, she’s mostly black).  But added to all that is one thing more.

Saturday’s email brought a new story acceptance and not just by any market either, but DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, a story-a-day free website with professional rates for tales of less than 1500 words, plus an amount of prestige.  Not to mention a pretty wide circulation to boot.  And it’s been a while, though I have been in DSF before (cf. April 21 2015, et al.), five times in fact including two starring our New Orleanian vampiress acquaintances, Aimée et les filles à les caissettes, one of which being their “origin story” (for which see also April 17 2014, et al.).  Today’s new, non-vampiric story is called “Steel Slats” and the really neat thing is I hadn’t had overly high hopes for it, it having been written originally for a satirical near-future anthology which, it turned out, decided it could get along with apocalypses that did not include walking dead, and, well, some of the background may be just a tiny bit politically tinged.  That is, in the case of high-circulation magazines, with a possible risk of irritating some of the readers.

As for what exactly “Steel Slats” is about, perhaps I’ll say more in a future post, but for now there may be some hints in such things as the “Tags” above.  And as for why it was accepted despite my misgivings, I’d like to think it’s because it’s a good story.

Writers Guild at Bloomington tagged you in the description of Writers Guild Spoken Word Stage was the email message header; the content the schedule of readings for this year’s Writers Guild Spoken Word Stage at the annual “Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts” (see September 1, August 27 2018, et al.) on Labor Day Weekend or, more precisely, August 31 and September 1.  I’m up for “Horror Fiction” on the Saturday, the 31st, in a prime time spot at 2 p.m., sandwiched between a half hour of audio theater and a poetry reading.  But what shall I read, that is the question — I have my eye on one piece from THE TEARS OF ISIS that I don’t believe I’ve read before, but I need to go through it to make sure it isn’t overly “family unfriendly” in terms of language.  And that said, I’ll probably need to choose a shorter piece too, or perhaps some poems, to round out my half hour.

So I’ll try to update in a week or so when I’ve made my decision and done some timings — with also perhaps a schedule then of other readers, allowing a little time for late adjustments.  But circle the dates, the Arts Fair is always fun and this year it’s Saturday and Sunday, the 31st and 1st, on Bloomington’s 4th Street with the Writers Guild’s booth and stage just around the corner to the south on Dunn Street.

What a busy second week in August!  Sunday brought an electronic authors copy of SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (see the first week, August 6, et al.) along with an interview questionnaire.  Part of “The Writing Life” and all that.  A check with Amazon also shows the Kindle edition is now available and can be found by pressing here, while, with the above mentioned busy week, I was only able to get to the interview part last night, with answers going back to the editor today.

SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES, we may remember, is an anthology of stories set in the 1950s.  Supernatural stories.  . . .  Not horror stories, necessarily, but stories that use the 1950s and its spook culture (and spook-busting culture) in an engaging way.  Bring us supernatural adventures, supernatural mysteries, supernatural fantasy, or supernatural pulp.  My part in this, originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and also reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, is titled “Bottles,” the tale of a Puerto Rican maid in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts, mixed up with anti-Communist crusaders and . . . vampires.  Or are they vampires because, as everyone knows, vampires don’t exist, do they?

To find out, one can press the link in the first paragraph, above, or in the August 6 post below find links to the publisher’s ordering site, or to Amazon for the print edition.

It won’t be until June 2021, but “Flute and Harp” is now one step closer to publication in HELIOS QUARTERLY (cf. June 17, 3) with the arrival of the contract which, after a little bit of discussion, I signed and returned Sunday.  The still lengthy time to release, I might add, is a result of an overly successful submission drive resulting in Volume 5, for 2020, to be almost immediately filled, pushing musician lovers Flute and Harp back to issue 2 of Volume 6.  However, with success can sometimes come reversals, in this case a fire personally affecting HELIOS QUARTERLY’s editor/publisher and that in turn has engendered an emergency subscription drive, for funds to help assure the magazine can continue to come out on time.  If you would be interested in helping — or just to get a neat magazine, including the reprint of “Flute and Harp” — more information can be found here.

“Flute and Harp” was originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), and is a sort of personal favorite of mine.  It tells the tale of two doomed musician-lovers on a far-future dying planet and also appears as a story chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), more on which can be found by clicking its picture in the center column.

The magazine’s subtitle is “Strange Science, Weird Worlds, Hostile Aliens, Renegade Robots . . . and the Cold Vacuum of Space,” and the theme for the upcoming BLACK INFINITY would be “Derelicts.”  Abandoned space ships, alien ships, lost ships on the high seas, as long as they had some science fiction element and, yes, reprints would be okay as well.  So exactly a week ago (sneaking in, that is, on a last minute call and why not take a chance?) I sent the hopefully not too generically titled “Ghost Ship,” set on the far-future dying Earth of my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, adding that while not in TOMBS itself it had been previously published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU in 2013 (cf. May 2 2013, et al.).

Then yesterday the reply came from Editor Tom English:  Thanks for submitting your eerie horror story “Ghost Ship.”  I’d like to reprint it in the next issue of BLACK INFINITY, to be published in October.  Details as to payment followed and, if all was well, I’ll send a contract.

So what with being in a play and all, I’d say Saturday was a pretty good day, not to mention following just two days after “International Cat Day,” plus an anthology’s publication, another in progress, and a “surprise” acceptance just before that — an interesting first half of August so far!  So this morning I sent back my “okay,” with more to be told here of BLACK INFINITY as it becomes known.

Came the 7th, the first Wednesday in August, and with it the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” (cf. July 3, et al.), co-sponsored by local Bear’s Place tavern, with music provided by “experimental/mod classical” group ORTET.  The featured guests were Michael Dauro with excerpts from his speculative epic-in-progress spaghetti western inspired SIERRA AMNEZIA (hero:  “The Woman With No Name”); Rachel Ronquillo Gray who, “evoking her muse,” read poems on the theme of girls, girlhood, what it means to be a good girl, and what happens when good girls stop being good; and Indiana University’s Dr. Jen Maher with a wonderfully funny essay on the connections between infertility and recreational shoplifting.  Then at “Open Mic” time I came seventh of a perhaps record thirteen readers with part two of my “casket girls” story “A Moment in Time,” of the vampiress Lo and, as we found out, who the “nice sailor man” Mel really was who she’d met in New Bedford Massachusetts in late 1840.

The email came from publisher 18thWall Productions (cf. April 20, et al.):  First, congratulations!  SOCKHOPS & SEANCES is now available for sale!  We can’t wait for everyone to enjoy your work!  You might’ve noticed the book going up and down on Amazon over the last few days — we were in a battle with that many-headed hydra to get the HTML in the sales description to appear properly.  All is well now, and ready for general release!  A few other details followed, but what’s SOCKHOPS & SEANCES about anyway?  Well, glad you asked, and the (now available) Amazon blurb may answer:

Award-Winning curator Nicole Petit presents the ginchiest look into the supernatural world of the 1950s.

Between poodle skirts and white picket fences, there should be only one place to meet a monster:  at the local drive-in.  Captured by technicolor, these creatures of the night are banished by hanging up the speaker.

But there are other forces at work in the night.  The ghost of a wooden roller coaster haunts the theme park that tore it down.  Hot-Rodders race a particularly hellish speed demon.  An American P.I. in London braves the fog to find a man chasing lights in the sky.  A small town boy detective takes on three impossible, eldritch cases.  There’s no telling what’s out there, beyond the drive-in’s screen.

In other words, that’s what, and much much more too.  May I quote from myself, on the occasion of my submission’s acceptance from May 1 2018, below?   . . . [T]he job was to recall the 1950s with an occult flavor, the anthology to be called SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES.  Reprints would be okay.  It just so happened I had a story, “Bottles,” originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004; also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS), set in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts.  Historical accuracy would be insisted on (I lived in Cambridge from late 1959 to mid-1964).  But also with vampires, perhaps a bit chancy, or at least someone who believed in vampires combined with a period fear of Communism.

Or to see, perchance to order yourself, check the publisher’s site by pressing here for electronic copies, from which one may also scroll down to find links for the print edition or, more directly, by pressing here.

Mysteries, mysteries — the story, “Atoms,” involving an invasion of an alien planet revealing an enemy that would not die.  How could such a thing be?  The anthology, to be titled MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE!:  Each story must take place somewhere other than the Earth.  It can happen on a spaceship, on a colony, on a new terraformed planet.  . . .  Each story must also feature (at least) one classic monster.  We are looking for new takes on the old classics.  Feel free to explore, but they should still be recognizable to the average reader.  “Atoms” was a reprint, originally published in FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES in February 1992,* but reprints might be reluctantly taken.  So — long story short — away it went.

That was May 22.  The reply was quick, on June 6:  Thank you for your recent submission to the Dragon’s Roost Press anthology MONSTERS IN SPAAAACE!.  We enjoyed portions of “Atoms,” especially the Admiral’s motivations for keeping responses under military control rather than sending in diplomats.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite fit with our current project.

And that was that.  Except that today, August 2, came Editor Michael Cieslak’s email:  Enclosed, please find “Atoms” with our suggested edits.  If there are edits you question, please note why in a comment.  Thank you again for your excellent story.  Say, what?  So I am a professional, of course I went through the edited copy, noted changes if any, and just a few minutes ago I sent it back as requested.

*Also reprinted in TALES OF THE TALISMAN for which see below, August 29 2011.

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