Posts Tagged ‘Myth’

Sometimes this writing business plays out like a detective story.  A mysterious tag on an unknown Facebook page, or more properly speaking just a notice that there was a tag.  You follow it down.  An Amazon link.  And then it begins to come together. . . .

The inaugural volume of the HYPERION & THEIA anthology series features stories, poetry, and art that encapsulate festive revelry and otherworldly reversal:  Gods and Goddesses of old prepare for destruction.  A demonic circus delivers a haunting finale.  The Shebeast lurks in the forest and pulls at heartstrings.  Alien diet supplements wreak havoc in near-future San Francisco.  Three women conspire to break an oath with a wicked witch.  The Herculaneum Scrolls reveal the role of ancient aliens.  A Roman warrior and a warrior turned slave venture into the territory of a Queen of ancient Egypt.  Two cowboys track dark magic in the Wild Wild West.  Ghosts stuck in the mortal realm high off drugs.  You are a lone radio jockey after the apocalypse.

Thus saith the blurb found.  The plot revealed:  HYPERION & THEIA, VOLUME ONE:  SATURNALIA (cf. October 2, et al.), edited by Leah T. Brown and Elizabeth O. Smith and illustrated by Marga Biazzi, has as of October 18 (or 17, according to Amazon) been published — at least in electronic format, but with indication that a print edition should follow.  And, just as my “Golden Age” was the closing tale in ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (see October 10, et al.), a long poem of mine originally published in DARK DESTINY (White Wolf, 1994), “Dreaming Saturn,” is the opening entry in this book.  For more on which (including links to Amazon and others) press here.

More will be revealed as it becomes known.

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A time of revelry and reversal, Saturnalia represents the breakdown of what has been deemed the natural order.  HYPERION AND THEIA’s inaugural volume wants stories and poetry that runs the gamut of genres and turns expectations on their heads.  Submit a fantastical murder-mystery set in the biggest carnival in Atlantis.  Wow us with a sweeping romance in space where gods and goddesses serve their creations after a bloody war. . . .

Such had been the call some months ago and, last December, came the acceptance (cf. December 9 2016).  My “epic” poem DREAMING SATURN, originally published in the anthology DARK DESTINY (White Wolf, 1994) would not only be in the inaugural volume, but tentatively would be set as the opening item.  A contract would follow.

So you know how it is.  Life intrudes, delays happen.  But then, yesterday:  Sorry for the long wait!  I have attached the final contract for you to sign.  I will contact you again on the 27th of October with the cover and other promotional material.  Suffice to say, the signed 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13contract went back in the email this afternoon.

In other news, a run through the e-bookstores this morning unearthed a 33-percent discount for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH on Barnes and Noble, at $9.99 — and that’s just the “official” price, with individual sellers’ new copies as inexpensive as $8.98.  There’s no indication how long these prices may last, so best take advantage soon!  Amazon, also, while listing the full price of $14.95 on its site, has several individual listings in the $10 to $11 range.  If interested, check out Barnes and Noble by pressing here; while Amazon can continue to be found, including several substantive reviews, by clicking TOMBS’ picture in the center column.

Well, yes, that’s not really what “trifecta” means, not exactly, but here’s another group of three things all bunched up in one post:

1.  THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS, a prose anthology for which I sent a poem, er, “story in verse” instead (cf. February 4, January 27, et al.) has appeared in my mailbox.  Not surprisingly, my “Tit for Tat,” originally published in James Ward Kirk’s 2015 anthology GHOSTS:  REVENGE, is the only actual poem in the book, but the editors agreed with me that it seemed a perfect fit.  Further info can be found here.

2.  MOTHER’S REVENGE, briefly noted below in Saturday’s triplet re. my story “Swarms” (see April 8, et al.), looks now as though it will slip past its previously announced April 22, Earth Day release, but hopefully will be at least available for pre-order then.  More on this as it develops.

3.  To quote Editor Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing:  You may have heard that Microsoft is launching a new ebookstore.  This will be part of an upcoming Windows 10 update, and folks will be able to purchase from the MS Digital Bookstore to read on their PC, laptop or tablet devices (like the Microsoft Surface).  I’m pleased to say that thanks to some of the distribution partnerships we have in place, all Untreed Reads titles and those of our distribution clients will be available on the Microsoft platform at launch.  My books in this batch are short story chapbooks I’M DREAMING OF A. . . and VANITAS and the novelette PEDS, all three of which (along with the anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, with my lead story “Appointment in Time”) can be found/ordered right now by pressing any one of their pictures in the center column, while more background on the new Windows 10 outlet can be found here.

The announcement, from Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge, was brief:  All of the Smart Rhino books are currently on sale at Smashwords, most at 50% off.  The sale is until March 11, so grab them while you can.  Just search for the individual titles.  But the finding them may possibly not be quite so simple as it may seem (hint:  for some, you may have to toggle the “adult” switch ON).  For mine, press here, but — remember — then toggle the words “Adult Content” at the top right to be sure it’s on (a check mark is good, circle with a slash through it is bad).  Then scroll down past THE GOOD FIGHT 3:  SIDEKICKS for the ones I’insidiousassassinsm in, and ignore PRESIDENTIAL PULP plus the history one at the very end.  These are all anthologies or magazines with stories by me in them, whether or not they may be on sale, with the Smart Rhino ones being INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS and UNCOMMON ASSASSINS (this latter, I think, toward the very end).  But linger a bit, perhaps there are others that you may like too.  Or  if in a hurry, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS can be found here and INSIDIOUS here (the “Adult” switch pre-set), with my stories in each being “The Wellmasters Daughter” (see August 16 2012, et al.) and “Labyrinth (see January 23 2015, et al.) respectively.

In other news, we had another pleasant, sunny afternoon for this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and Boxcar Books.  And for two hours, we had a good crowd as these things go, with about eighteen people (fourteen of who persisted through open mike afterward) for featured readers Eric Rensberger, with a contemplative essay on books and dust; Joan Hawkins, standing in for advertised reader Jenny Kander who couldn’t make it due to illness, with a memoir of 1974 Prague under Soviet occupation; and bestselling “rural noir” fiction writer Bonnie Jo Campbell with two short shorts from her MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS collection, an excerpt from the title story, and the opening paragraph of her novel ONCE UPON A RIVER.  Then after the break (with lovely cookies), mindful of Mardi Gras having been less than a week before, I ended a walk-on session of some five readers with a New Orleans set “Casket Girls” story, “Death and the Vampire,” in which the flavor of Death is found to be, if not the best, at least not bad.

It seemed an interesting fit even if, technically, too long.  The guidelines did say poetry was to be no more than 100 lines, while my “Dreaming Saturn” was more like 170.  It was also a reprint, but that would be okay, having originally been published in White Wolf’s 1994 anthology DARK DESTINY.  And the venue was fascinating:

sat·ur·na·li·a ˌsatərˈnālyə/
    noun
    the ancient Roman festival of Saturn in December, which was a period of general merrymaking and was the predecessor of Christmas.
    an occasion of wild revelry.
    noun: saturnalia; plural noun: saturnalias

A time of revelry and reversal, Saturnalia represents the breakdown of what has been deemed the natural order.  HYPERION AND THEIA’s inaugural volume wants stories and poetry that runs the gamut of genres and turns expectations on their heads.  Submit a fantastical murder-mystery set in the biggest carnival in Atlantis.  Wow us htlogowith a sweeping romance in space where gods and goddesses serve their creations after a bloody war.  Deadline January 31st, 2017 11:59 EST.

So, caution to the wind and all that, Saturday, December 3 I sent “Dreaming Saturn” in, apologizing for the length but hoping it still could be considered.  Today, six days later, came the reply:  I would be happy to include your poem in the upcoming anthology!  I think it would make a great opening.  Please give me a few weeks to get back to you so I can close out submissions.  I would need your PayPal address and preferred digital format (ePub/mobi/PDF) in the mean time.  I’ll come back with a sample contract for you to review.

And there we are, not just in the show but possibly even the opening act!  For which, a merry pre-holiday to HYPERION AND THEIA Editor Olivia, and the moral:  once in a while it’s worth taking a chance.

Of all the genres, science fiction and fantasy are the ones where humans can tackle their deepest societal problems and thought experiments. Because of this, it’s a natural place for people to explore ideas about religion, faith, and the meaning of life. . .  So begins Leah Schnelbach’s “19 Positive Approaches to Religion in Sci-Fi and Fantasy” on TOR.COM, brought via today’s post-Halloween email.  I thought it would be interesting to look at some examples of books and short stories that have tackled re[SCM]actwin,1352,0,3288,736;Blogger: Adventures of a Grad Student - Edit post - Google Chrome chrome 9/12/2013 , 11:39:59 PMligious questions in respectful and positive ways, she continues and, yes, “The Nine Billion Names of God,” a short story by Arthur C. Clarke is included, as is his “The Star.”  Also there are Roger Zelazny with LORD OF LIGHT, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller, a couple of shorts by Ray Bradbury. . . .  Well, and many others, some of which I’ve never heard of myself but may now consider looking into.

But why religion?  That is, isn’t science fiction (at least) in some way opposed to that?  Maybe, maybe not, but I would suggest that even if not on the surface, the people in a future — or a fantastic — society will still have some unexplained beliefs, that rely on faith.  Perhaps it’s just custom, the way things are done, but for example (and yes, this is a plug, my novel-in-stories due out next year cf. October 31, et many al., and some stories in my other books as well) in my TOMBS stories there’s an implicit belief in the existence of souls, of some kind of life after death — there’s even some description of the nature of souls, how they themselves are made up of parts, and how souls of lovers might be later reunited.  Or in horror in general, if one accepts vampires or ghosts or other supernatural beings, again a subtext of belief is implied, whether in formal or informal terms.  So call it world building — or adding texture.  But even if not overt in a story, religious assumptions may lurk in the background.

And of course, in some, they may be in the foreground, for more on which (and don’t forget to scroll through the comments too) press here.

Here’s one of those lists where I’m not sure I’ve run across many (or any) of the items on it.  How about you?  But it does seem interesting, “10 Films You Need to See Before You Die . . . Literally! bStarLine39.1smy Howard Gorman on SHOCK TILL YOU DROP, brought to me courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  To check it out for yourself press here.

Meanwhile in today’s physical mail STAR*LINE 39.1 arrived, for Winter 2016, with my mermaid poem in it (cf. January 8, November 28).  This is an untitled three-line, haiku-styled piece about . . . well . . . a mermaid, but one perhaps with a special talent.  STAR*LINE is the official publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The poem can be found tucked demurely in the lower right corner of page 13, while more on the SFPA can be found by pressing here.

Fairy Tale Fashion is a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion.  In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress is often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege.  The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many threferences to clothing in fairy tales.

Organized by associate curator Colleen Hill, Fairy Tale Fashion features more than 80 objects placed within dramatic, fantasy-like settings designed by architect Kim Ackert.  Since fairy tales are not often set in a specific time period, Fairy Tale Fashion includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present.  There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st-century fashions by designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, and Walter Van Beirendonck, among others.

Thus says the announcement from The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology for their current display on “Fairy Tale Fashion” through April 16, as brought to my attention via ENCHANTED CONVERSATION:  A FAIRY TALE MAGAZINE, which adds that “[p]acked with clothes and accessories both traditional and at the cutting edge outre fashion, this exhibition looks worth taking in.”  Or as they also say, “Fairy tales inform virtually every aspect of art and culture.”  So it still comes under the aegis of fantasy (light or dark), right?

Should you be in New York City this spring, the place to look is on 7th Avenue at 27th Street, in the Special Exhibitions Gallery.  Or for those who can’t make the event — or those who can! — more information can be found here.

So today brought a proof copy of STAR*LINE 39.1 with my 3-line mermaid shortie (see November 28).  I put “haiku” in quotation marks because it isn’t really, at least in any rigorous sense, but rather an epigram with its title replacing its one-time first line.  But that done, it still works and so the proof was returned tonight with the issue, dated Winter 2016, presumably to be out very soon.

For the poem itself, it’s about a mermaid, but not a very nice one.  One will find it on page 13, nestled in the bottom right-hand corner, appropriately given that its title/first line is “death from below.”  As for STAR*LINE, it’s the official quarterly publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, more about which can be found here.

I don’t usually call them haiku myself, though some euphemize them with genre portmanteaus like “scifiku” or Horrorku” — rather I think of them, in English, as 3-line epigrams that just happen to borrow an approximately 5-7-5 syllable count (which isn’t really exactly what defines the Japanese form either).  As such I generally title them too,

A Mermaid - John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

A Mermaid – John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917)

which purists would not do with real haiku.  But, hey, it’s having fun, no?  And if a title gives it another half-twist (or even not), well, what’s the harm in it.

Thus it happens that I e-sent five of these 3-liners to STAR*LINE a little while back.  And then, today, only four returned, the first retained by Editor Jeannie Bergmann, but with this proviso:  “I like the first poem quite a lot, but would you consider replacing the first line with the title?  I’m not crazy about titled haiku, and not attached to the 5-7-5 form either.  . . .  Let me know if that works.”  Or, in a sense, make it a little more like an actual haiku (though not with a seasonal tag or a sharp descriptive image), a least in form.

Well, in this case, okay so I sent back my nod.   The missing line gave an opening description of sorts but one implied by the rest of the poem, the titleless form fits with STAR*LINE style . . . so what’s the harm in it, eh?  Other than that, all I will say is, as noted above, it has to do with a mermaid or mermaids.

Also, being a horror poem, its conclusion is not nice.




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