Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

There is a peculiar allure of insidious characters — and especially assassins, hit men, and their ilk.  Perhaps we find their uncomplicated moral codes and brutal efficiency appealing.  These characters care little about ethics — and perhaps that alone, that freedom from guilt, is exactly why we love them.  Perhaps, deep down, we wish we could be like them.  And perhaps, by reading stories with such characters, we can vicariously experience that thrill.  With this fascination with evil characters in mind, Smart Rhino Publications decided to publish this anthology, INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, a sequel to UNCOMMON ASSASSINS.  The book contains 24 stories by some of the best horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy authors writing today — including Jack Ketchum, Joe Lansdale, Billie Sue Mosiman, Lisa Mannetti, L.L. Soares, James Dorr, Shaun Meeks, and 17 others!  In these stories, you will meet some truly insidious characters — characters you may find yourself applauding when you know you shouldn’t.  Enjoy!

Thus Amazon’s blurb for INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS which, via Weldon Burge and THE SMART RHINO PUBLICATIONS MISCHIEF-MAKING SYNDICATE on Facebook and a quick scroll down to April 16, I discovered is on sale in paperback format on Amazon.  And by sale I mean really, really on sale, for $5.37 as of today with a list price cited at $18.95.  (And that’s going down — the Facebook note said it was $5.65.)  How long this will last I do not know, but to snap up a good deal I’d press here right now.  My cog in the kill-a-thon is a tale set in pre-Euro Crete, which is to say originally published in TOMORROW SF in March 1997*, “The Labyrinth” (cf. November 28 2018; January 23, 2 2015, et al.) for more on which — well, for scarcely over five dollars (granting that shipping and tax may add to that) perhaps one should just buy it and see for oneself.
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*Also reprinted in my collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES, in 2001, the year Greece itself adopted the Euro.

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Yes, mini-horror films, to wit “10 Terrifying Short Horror Movies to Watch in the Dark Tonight” by Occult Museum via THE-LINE-UP.COM.  Horror films don’t always need a full two hours of build-up and suspense to pack in the scares.  The following bite-sized shorts will have you screaming and hiding behind the sofa in just a few minutes flat.  The genre, after all, lends itself well to the short film format, as just the merest flash or suggestion of something unusual is often more effective.  The merest glimpse of terror can leave you unsettled for hours after.  And with the rise of YouTube and creepypasta, the folklore of the digital age, directors have found new and inventive ways to terrorize their audiences.

Press here to enjoy as a late night post-holiday treat, but (as the blurb continues) [r]emember to turn the lights down low as these mini scream fests are best enjoyed in the dark.

Yes, AbeBooks is at it again with a quick through-Christmas sale (cf. November 8, et al.).  Save up to 50% on books and collectibles from select sellers. Discover a great selection of new, used, and collectible books, art and ephemera, all discounted until December 28th, from the horse’s mouth.  And, never mind “only” fifty percent off, there are some copies of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH marked down to less than $7.00, this for new copies with shipping to the US free, which can be found here.

Also, and this is new, there’s even one copy of THE TEARS OF ISIS for $9.02 (usually, for some reason, not on their sale list), shipping again free though this is a used copy in “very good” condition, as well as a new one at $12.95 with shipping again free, for which one may press here.  So give it a try and enjoy, enjoy!

Serendipity strikes again, or, quite by accident I ran across a sale from ThriftBooks with a number of older anthologies that have stories by me in them.  The offer is “20% Off $20 or More” for which one must use the code SALE20 when ordering and some of the titles go back to, well, years before I had even started this blog.  One example, GRAILS:  QUESTS OF THE DAWN with a long poem by me about the Irish god Dagda — and one of my earliest professional sales!  One caveat is that, when you check it out, many of the titles they show are marked as being unavailable, two of these unfortunately being THE TEARS OF ISIS and TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  But a lot that’s there are books you’ve perhaps never heard of (and for me, that I’ve almost forgotten by now), many of which may be worth reading even without my work being in them.  So, bottom line, if you’re interested  or even just curious press here, but hurry because the sale ends tomorrow, December 13.

Strange on strange.  A completist, I checked out the DriveThruFiction site of yesterday’s post to see what other (if any) Untreed Reads titles of mine were available.  One can reach there from the link on that post or, a bit more directly, just press here.  Two of my chapbooks are indeed on sale as well, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . at $0.66 and PEDS at $1.01 on “pages” 5 and 7 respectively (scroll down to the end of the listed titles).  See for vanitas_SMyourself!  But, oddly, my third (and the first, I think, published with Untreed Reads), VANITAS, is not (I did look — it would have been on the last page, 12).

So then I tried the Untreed Reads site and not only is VANITAS listed there, but at its own price of $0.50, making it the best bargain of all.  Doubt me?  Press here.  So how’s that for weird (for all my chapbook titles, incidentally, as well as YEAR’S END on the Utreed Reads site, one can press any of the three chapbooks’ pictures in the center column)?

Exciting times!  A story of mine is running neck and neck in Carrie Ann Golden’s latest A WRITER AND HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE competition, this one for a tale of 100 words or less as prompted by the picture just below.  And as of last notice there were two entries in the running, each with exactly fifty percent of the total vote.  Or most likely, each has just one vote.

Should you wish to tilt the odds, you can find stories “A” and “B” in their entireties, the picture again, and a link for voting in the poll here.  And as a bonus, scroll toward the bottom and there’s a link to an interview Carrie Ann did of me on her blog back in 2016.  See early comments on my as yet to be published novel-in-stories TOMBS, as well as some dish on THE TEARS OF ISIS and on New Orleans’s filles à les caissettes.  What better to read on a warm, sunny Wednesday?

And, as for which of the stories is mine, well, you know me.  It’s likely to be the more “horrible” of them.

The Challenge is this:  Using this image, write a 25 words or less story.  Post your story in the comment section below*.  The one with the MOST LIKES will be featured in a future post.
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The Challenger:  Carrie Ann Golden via her blog page “Friday Fun** (A Story Prompt Challenge #6)” on A WRITER & HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE.  The image is here (but bigger on Carrie’s page).  And the deadline for this is tomorrow, Monday, at 11:59 p.m.
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It is fun, too, and doesn’t cost anything.  Three of us, including me***, have already presented our entries which you can see as well.  And two (as of this writing) have even already received “likes.”  In fact some may remember I’ve been the winner in this thing before, in “Challenge #3” (see April 15, below), though perhaps one a bit less hotly contested.  So, if you win, the prize is fame.
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Where I am, today is sunny and lazy, a lovely May Sunday, not a day for great ambition but one in which a little creativity goes well.  A good day to give a small challenge a try, which one may do by pressing here!
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*That is, the comment section on Carrie Ann Golden’s blog page, not on this one.
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**Which is to say, the challenge has been up for several days now, but there’s still a day left for those wishing to bite.
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***Mine’s kind of silly, but then most of you probably know me by now.

For news of the day for Tuesday, Gillian Whitaker of Flame Tree Publishing tells us, “You may be seeing hints already on our website and elsewhere, but I am pleased to report that the now-published MURDER MAYHEM and CRIME & MYSTERY anthologies are finally available to order!”  I have stories in both, as it happens, “Mr. Happyhead” about a not-so-nice man who won’t let death deter him in the first and 1998 Anthony Short Story finalist “Paperboxing Art” in the second (cf. July 11, et al.).  They also can be found on Amazomurdermayhemn, etc., but for more about them from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, one simply need press here for MURDER MAYHEM SHORT STORIES (to give it its full name) or, for CRIME & MYSTERY SHORT STORIES, here.  And if that weren’t all, one may still check out last year’s CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES with my “Victorians” (see November 4 2015, et al.) by pressing here.

Also on Tuesday, Editor Clifford Garstang sends news for those who might be in the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area that EVERYWHERE STORIES:  SHORT FICTION FROM A SMALL PLANET, VOLUME II (cf. July 5, et al.) will be one of the books featured at the 2016 Fall for The Book festival, at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus from September 25-30.  The EVERYWHERE STORIES panel will be on Tuesday September 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza, according to festival information, with Editor Garstang “joined by some of the contributors whose stories follow the new edition’s theme of ‘it’s a mysterious world’:  Frances Park and her story ‘The Monk in the Window,’ set in Korea; Joel Hodson and ‘Memiş the Conqueror,’ set in Turkey; Brandon Patterson and ‘Jonkshon,’ set in Sierra Leone; and Chris Cleary and ‘An Idea of the Journey,’ set in Norway.”  My story in this one is “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” originally from ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and set in Mali; I myself, however, will not be able to attend.

Today brings us an email by Flame Tree Publishing’s Gillian Whitaker to the effect that their two upcoming mystery anthologies (cf. June 20) have now gone to print.  Moreover, “we have now announced the list of authors — new and classic — included in each anthology, so you can finally see who you will be appearing alongside.  The stories appear alphabetically by author in the books, regardless of whether they were classic stories or new submissions, as we have found this keeps the pacing and tone varied throughout.”  For a little background, or to practically quote myself from last month, two titles had been announced, CRIME AND MYSTERY (to “feature whodunits, detective stories and mysteries bordering on the supernatural.  Probably the more gentle of the two volumes so think Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and Poirot”) and MURDER MAYHEM (“more hard boiled and hard gore.  If your 13626995_919973128130969_4821930082339875374_nstory features real monsters, human, serial killer or otherwise, this is the home for them, especially if the story’s POV is the killer’s”).  My offerings in these are “Paperboxing Art,” originally published in NEW MYSTERY in Summer 1997 and a 1998 Anthony Award nominee for best short story, and “Mr. Happy Head” from WICKED MYSTIC, Spring 1996, the magazine that once had the distinction of being turned back from a prisoner-subscriber by the Texas prison system as being unsuitable for an inmate on death row (true story).

So now we know where the “new” stories stand, or two of them anyway, but what we don’t know still are the titles of the classics they’ll live amongst.  Be that as it may though, below are listed the roster(s) of “newbies” by name and title, plus listings of names alone of the old masters.

Gotta retain some surprises, eh?

But to the chase, or, to quote the publishers once again:  Building on the success of last year’s Gothic Fantasy anthologies, deluxe hardcover editions on Horror, Ghosts and Science Fiction, we’re thrilled to be adding two new titles to the collection: Crime & Mystery, and Murder Mayhem.  Once again offering up the potent mix of classic tales and new fiction, we take a fascinating look back to the origins of the genre from golden age detective whodunnits to chilling horror-based tales of murder.  We’re including such auspicious names as Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, G.K. Chesterton and William Hope Hodgson, who masterfully crafted stories that are still worth reading today, and that continue to inspire the modern authors we are excited to be able to publish alongside them.  Our call for submissions was met with a fantastic response, and though the final selection was tough, we thoroughly enjoyed reading so many new tales of mayhem and intrigue.

We’re delighted to announce the full list of successful submissions for the first two of our 2016 Gothic Fantasy deluxe anthologies.

Crime & Mystery

The Cost of Security by Tara Campbell
Skitter and Click by Jennifer Dornan-Fish
Paperboxing Art by James Dorr
Home Run by Marcelle Dubé
Suggestive Thoughts by H.L. Fullerton
I Am Nightmare by Jennifer Gifford
Three Words by Nathan Hystad
The Marionettist by John A. Karr
Mechanical Love by Kin S. Law
iMurder by Josh Pachter
Creature of the Thaumatrope by Tony Pi
The Whipping Boy by Conor Powers-Smith
The Man Wore Motley by Stephen D. Rogers
The House by Steve Shrott
Catzized by Annette Siketa
Ghosts, Bigfoot and Free Lunches by Dan Stout
Blood and Silver Beneath the Many Moons by Brian Trent
Murder on the Cogsworthy Express by Cameron Trost
Chains of Command by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and Ruth Nestvold

These new authors will appear with the following classic and essential writers: Ernest Bramah, G.K. Chesterton, Wilkie Collins, Richard Harding Davis, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, R. Austin Freeman, Jacques Futrelle, Anna Katharine Green, Arthur Griffiths, E.W. Hornung, Maurice Leblanc, Jack London, Arthur Morrison, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur B. Reeve, Mark Twain, Edgar Wallace, Victor L. Whitechurch, Israel Zangwill.

Murder Mayhem

The Wendigo Goes Home by Sara Dobie Bauer
Funeral by Michael Cebula
Into the Blue by Carolyn Charron
Mr. Happy Head by James Dorr
Nineteen Sixty-Five Ford Falcon by Tim Foley
Mama Said by Steven Thor Gunnin
Six Aspects of Cath Baduma by Kate Heartfield
Freedom is not Free by David M. Hoenig
How to Build a Mass Murderer by Liam Hogan
The Two-Out-of-Three Rule by Patrick J. Hurley
Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings by Michelle Ann King
Less than Katherine by Claude Lalumière
Shared Losses by Gerri Leen
Drive Safe by K.A. Mielke
Redux by Alexandra Camille Renwick
The First Seven Deaths of Mildred Orly by Fred Senese
Mister Ted by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
Corpses Removed, No Questions Asked by Dean H. Wild
Fragments of Me by Nemma Wollenfang

These new authors will appear with the following classic and essential writers:  Ambrose Bierce, Steen Steensen Blicher, G.K. Chesterton, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Dick Donovan, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Hope Hodgson, E.T.A. Hoffman, Robert E. Howard, W.W. Jacobs, Franz Kafka, Rudyard Kipling, H.P. Lovecraft, Edith Nesbit, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur B. Reeve, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Ethel Lina White, Oscar Wilde.

Quotation marks — do I sense a pun?  But first let us repair to the wayback machine for a journey to June 21 2015, “Now It Can Be Told. . . .” (cf., as well, November 4, August 7, et al.), where it was revealed that my reprint story from GOTHIC GHOSTS, “Victorians,” had been accepted for an omnibus volume of unworldly imaginings, both old and new, called CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES, to come out in Britain in a deluxe edition by Flame Tree Publishing.  In this case, neatly sandwiched between tales by luminaries Charles Dickens (“The Signal-Man”) and 09_flame_tree_chilling_ghosts-1Arthur Conan Doyle (“The New Catacomb”).   And then to fast forward where we now discover that Editor Gillian Whitaker is at it again.

Two titles were announced this time out, CRIME AND MYSTERY (to “feature whodunits, detective stories and mysteries bordering on the supernatural.  Probably the more gentle of the two volumes so think Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and Poirot”) and MURDER MAYHEM (“more hard boiled and hard gore.  If your story features real monsters, human, serial killer or otherwise, this is the home for them, especially if the story’s POV is the killer’s”).  Ah, now, I thought. . . .  And so I submitted a total of three stories, actually (we were allowed to do that), two for the MURDER MAYHEM selection lest my favorite of them prove too extreme (good news:  it didn’t).  Then Monday and Tuesday last week the word came back, first for MURDER MAYHEM, then the next day for CRIME AND MYSTERY, but with the request that successful submitters hold off announcing the fact until all authors had had a chance to be informed.

So . . . to cop a cliché, now it can be told!  For MURDER MAYHEM my dog in the dogpile will be “Mr. Happy Head,” originally published in WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (and also reprinted and noted in the pages here in BIZARRO BIZARRO, cf. December 27, October 12, October 7 2013), about a dead man who’s still very persuasive and . . . birds.  For CRIME AND MYSTERY “Paperboxing Art,” originally seen in the Summer 1997 issue of NEW MYSTERY and subsequently an Anthony Award short story finalist at Bouchercon the following year, about an artist whose skill is in sculpting (wait for it!) paper boxes (and also reprinted in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, for more on which one can click on its picture in the center column).

The expected publication date for both of these is August 2016, of which more will appear here as it becomes known.




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