Posts Tagged ‘Medusa’

Only four days left!  (Say what?)  That’s four days from now, to October 31, for a chance to purchase THE TEARS OF ISIS, my 2013 Stoker(R) nominated collection, at fifteen percent off its regular price.  And that’s for both editions, both print and electronic.  Or, to quote publisher Max Booth III:  Hey!  Speaking of Halloween, starting right now until the end of the month, everything in our webstore is 15% off.  All you gotta do is enter discount code ThisIsHalloween upon checkout.  Go get some spooky lit for your spooky self.

So for celebrating Halloween right, here’s a chance to read THE TEARS OF ISIS if you haven’t but might want to try it.  For information/ ordering, with links to other Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titles as well, one need but check it out in the PMMP store by pressing here.  Or for more information on TEARS itself, including reviews, just click its picture in the center column — then come on back to the publisher’s store for this special discount.

And remember, if you read it and like it (this goes for any author’s books), please consider writing and posting your own review on Amazon and elsewhere as well.


The Autumn issue of ILLUMEN, received with Friday’s street mail, brings a new policy along with essays by poet and artist Marge Simon and by me.  As Editor Tyree Campbell explains, the focus remains on poetry, obviously.  But beginning with this current issue, in addition to poems, art, and articles, I’ll present writings addressed to readers, inviting them into — or further into — the joys and sorrows of reading poetry.  I firmly believe that one reason folks avoid poetry, or at best illumen-25-tyree-campbell-200x300tolerate it, is that they don’t understand it, or are afraid they won’t understand it . . . a fear of being found out by their peers. . . .  A failed understanding, he goes on to suggest, that he feels may be nurtured by the way poetry is introduced to schoolchildren, as early as the third or fourth grade.

And so, now there will be a series of essays written by poets themselves to, as he continues, “demystify” poetry, some addressed to more experienced readers, some intended to reach a younger audience.  These essays will present the case for poetry; that answer The Question:  Why should I read poetry?

I was one poet Tyree reached out to for a possible essay (see October 8, August 31), Marge Simon — who also is a previous editor of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s STAR*LINE — another, and so we are both featured in this issue.  Tyree bats first, ending his editorial with a short reflection on reading and language, then Marge with “Illuminating Poetry:  Why Bother” on how we may “know” poetry more than we thought, with examples from her own work on how it can speak to certain classes of readers, children, lovers, lovers betrayed, or mothers and sons.  Then, finally, my essay “It Begins With the Sound” recommends reading poetry aloud, reveling in the sound of the words and how they can amplify the meaning, and ends with two poems of mine, “Metal Vamp” with dancing and jazz (plus a review from STAR*LINE by Daniel C. Smith) and “La Méduse” (also, to give a quick plug, the foreword to my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS) with its series of s-sounds to, hopefully, echo the serpents that compose its subject’s hair.

A very pleasant early May outing began with the month’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading” (see April 6, February 1, et al.), co-sponsored by Boxcar Books.  Featured readers were Alyce Miller, award-winning author and Indiana University Graduate MFA program teacher and Director of Admissions, reading humorous essays on death in California and, having moved from there to here, the difficulties of becoming a “Hoosier”; poet, essayist, and MFA graduate Doug Paul Case with a series of “little prose poem micro-essay things,” humorous and ironic; and incoming THE INDIANA REVIEW Editor-in-Chief Peter Kispert with a first person story-essay on failed aspiring actors and reconstructed Netflix FATAL ATTRACTIONS episodes “where exotic animal owners are victimized by their pets.”  Although running late, the audience stayed for five open mike presentations that followed, of which mine, third in the lineup, was a recent as yet unsold story, “Medusa Steps Out,” about . . . well . . . an exotic animal owner of sorts who is also victimized by her pets (although, unlike the onlookers in this case, survives).

This was also the last “First Sunday” reading of the 2014-2015 season, the series now going on summer hiatus until August 2.  Other presentations will also be winding down as the month continues, but even now plans are also developing for 20111holst6, including a possible multi-disciplinary joining with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra for a concert next February.  Along these lines, Writers Guild members had also been offered comp tickets for a production this evening of Gustav Holst’s THE PLANETS, Op. 32, by the Symphony Orchestra (joined at the haunting end of the final movement, “Neptune, the Mystic,” by the Bloomington Chamber Singers Women’s Chorus).  This, too, was a mixed media performance, accompanied by a slide show of the planets with NASA and ESA images put together and introduced by Indiana University Astronomy Professors Gabriel Lubell and Richard Durisen, thus perhaps to help us, the writers, stretch out imaginative wings.

In any event, it was a great show.

Another short Sunday note with a huge thank you goes to writer and artist William Cook whose very favorable review of THE TEARS OF ISIS is now up on Goodreads.  I highly recommend it (ahem!), but here’s a link to have a look and decide for yourself.

Happy New Year to all!  Mine has started off well, albeit with a bit of queasiness when I first woke up this morning.  Not a hangover, mind you, but a reminder that eggnog counts for even the mildly lactose intolerant.  Still, it seemed a good idea at the time. . . .

Parties are parties even though I hosted this one, with the real payment to come as I “re-mess” the house, putting all my stuff back where it belongs, cluttered about me for convenient use, after having boxed it and hidden it away to make room for last night’s guests.

Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878

Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878

But first today I wrote a story, the first of the new year.  It is only a short one, just 900 words, based on Greek mythology (as it translates to more modern times) called “Medusa Steps Out.”  But if nothing else, it gives me something for my writers group meeting later this month.

Also concerning stories not much over 1000 words, my last official writing act of the year just past was two days ago, December 30, with the receipt, agreement, and sending back the contract for “Dead Lines” (see December 23) to DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, along with a bio-note and brief description of how the story came about.  You too will be able to read this when “Dead Lines” is published, but that probably won’t come for several months so, for now, let me just say a lot of it goes back to Edgar Allan Poe.

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.


More information, ordering at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing or via Goodreads for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, et al.

The “Upstart Poets” venue, previously held in the coordinator’s home, had changed to a somewhat obscure location called “The People’s Bar” which I, no fool, had made a point of scoping out beforehand.  This is where I had been invited to read two weeks back and, as it happens, it turned out to be a person’s garage converted into a rather nice outdoor pavilion — although perhaps just a little bit chilly after the sun went down.  Nevertheless, the evening went well, with fellow reader Karen Groth leading off with a half hour of poems primarily about Indiana and the Midwest, travel, family, the seasons, and one’s relation to these and to the intersection of rural and urban spaces.  I followed then with poems about — guess what — vampires and related dark topics, leading off with a poem first published here, “From the Vampiress Mignonette to Prof. Abraham van Helsing, Currently Deceased” (Apr. 13), followed by the dedicatory poem of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) to NOSFERATU actor Max Schreck, a trilogy of poems about King Kong (with a special nod to actress Fay Wray),  grave worms and Medusas,  the death of Virginia Poe (“The White Worm,” being reprinted in THE SPIRIT OF POE, cf. Apr. 2, Jan. 9, et al.), and ending with a ten-minute reading of  “Chinese Music,” a long jazz-based poem originally published in STAR*LINE in March-April 1998, reprinted in 1999’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, and currently in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

In all we had about a dozen people attending, a record turnout for the Upstart Poets series, although this is only its third presentation, with donated drinks available to help things along (thus the “people’s bar,” not a cash enterprise, albeit mostly with root beer and cider where I was sitting).  Special thanks go to coordinator Joel Barker, bar “proprietor” Dan, and local poets Frida Westford and Tonia Matthew who accompanied me there with Tonia driving us.

Then in the wee hours of Friday morning I sent copy in to Naomi Clark who, anticipating the release of her new werewolf novella, is planning a series of guest blogs on her site “from writers of vampire and shapeshifter tales, discussing which you prefer and why.”  Or, as she continues, “Are you a bloodsucker-lover or a full-moon fiend?”  In view of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) it’s easy to guess which side I come down on, but in my entry I also point out that, in folklore, sometimes it’s not so easy to tell one from the other.  Today I received an e-confirmation that her posting of guest blogs will start next week, with mine to come in some time during the series, at which point I’ll have a .url so readers of this blog can see it too.

Finally issue #7 of DARK MOON DIGEST arrived today with a reprint story of mine, “Skin” (cf. Jan 9).  It’s a story I’m fond of, originally published in GOTHIC.NET in April 1998 – thus exactly fourteen years ago this month.  “Skin” is an example of psychological horror,  where obsessions influence behavior based on what is perceived as reality by the protagonist.  And, need one add, that can’t lead to a good end.

In addition some other work of mine has been coming out this year from DARK MOON BOOKS, notably “The Third Prisoner” in DARK MOON DIGEST #6 in January and “Bones, Bones, The Musical Fruit” in SLICES OF FLESH, expected in the next few weeks.

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