Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus’

MEET CUTE (cf. November 23), the flash fiction anthology of unexpected, eccentric, or just unusual meetings of couples, has had a few changes in scope, according to Editor Kara Landhuis.  An immediate one is a change in pre-publication funding from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, deemed a better fit for a smaller publication’s actual needs.  For other news, publication is tentatively planned for January for distribution in February; the funding project itself will close December 31.  meetcute

As Ms. Landhuis explains, MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.  I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include around 20 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by writers from around the world.  There will also be 10-15 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories.  My own entry in this is “Butterfly,” a saga of forests and fairytales — or was that insects and axes?  To find out more, one will just have to buy the book, or for an inside track, check out the Indygogo crowdfunder by clicking here.

In other action, The Bloomington Writers Guild’s December business meeting and end-of-year party was Saturday afternoon.  As in previous years, it ended with an open reading for about a dozen participants, my contribution (in lieu of a story which I suggested I’d save for February’s First Sunday Prose, as being perhaps a bit long for this session) was three Santa Claus poems, posing the question — especially in the case of the first two, which also appear in my collection VAMPS — do we really need Krampus?

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Street mail this time, not email, two items found in the mailbox this evening from Mocha Memoirs Press and Upper Rubber Boot Books.  The first is a slim volume containing ten stories — and these flash fiction to boot — MOCHA’S DARK BREW (see July 2, et al.), the top ten finalists in a contest last February by Mocha Memoirs to honor Women in Horror Month.   Men could enter too (and several others also made the top ten, although the majority are still women), but THUMBNAIL_IMAGEall entries had to have female protagonists as well as come under a maximum word limit.  So, reprints being okay as well, mine in the mix is one that stars Aimée of “Casket Girls” fame (who else?), “Flightless Rats,” originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG in January 2015 and concerning a date that went bad in Nineteenth Century New Orleans.  It’s also an inexpensive book, given its size, ideal for, say, gifts for Halloween and other occasions – and for more on which one may press here.

Then the second is the much-anticipated THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM (cf. July 26, 14, et al.) with another reprint, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians,” originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2007), and starring Santa Claus, bubbas, and . . . zombies.  And, one might add, quite a few other stories and poems that I’m looking forward to getting into tonight myself.  For more information on this one press here.

Two quick items, the first serendipitously* discovered via Facebook, “New Film Extraordinary Tales Animates Edgar Poe Stories, with Narrations by Guillermo Del Toro, Christopher Lee & More,” by Josh Jones on OPENCULTURE.COM.  This discusses an animated version of several Poe tales, with several in some cases extra-tales-pk-1famous narrators, that came out last October, complete with trailer and a sample clip (from “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”) and can be found by clicking here.  If impressed, more can be found as well on the film’s own Facebook page here.

Then word also came out on Facebook today that Upper Rubber Boot Books’s eclectic anthology THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM (see July 14, et al.) is now officially available in both print and electronic forms, including my tale of Christmas and Santa and . . . zombies, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” (originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS by Yard Dog Press, 2007).  If interested, the Museum’s Gift Shop offers links for all editions and can be visited by pressing here.
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*Well — full disclosure — with help from Dan Clore and THE WEIRDVERSE:  GOTHIC HORROR FANTASY & DECADENT POETS & POEMS

Two items to post for Bastille Day, the first that Alessandro Manzetti’s THE BEAUTY OF DEATH anthology (cf.  June 25, et al.) has now been officially published.  My story in this, we may remember, is “Gold,” a tale of greed, adventure, and . . . well, gold.  Learn of its mining, its smelting, its spending, a Greedy-Gus guy you’ll love to hate, available only in Kindle, however.  For more, press here.

Then added to that, and also in Kindle, Editor/Publisher Joanne Merriam has announced that Upper Rubber Boot Books’s THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM (see March 17, et al.), “. . . an 13522019_1212828662069675_1084416840149191457_nanthology of science fiction featuring blunt force trauma, explosions, adventure, derring-do, tigers, Martians, zombies, fanged monsters, dinosaurs (alien and domestic), ray guns, rocket ships, and anthropomorphized marshmallows” according to the blurb, is now available for pre-order.  Official publication date will be July 26, in just shy of two weeks.  My tale in this is “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians,” a jolly Christmas accounting of down home values, interplanetary space adventure, and . . . zombies!  To latch onto this one, press here.  Or as an extra, and a fun one at that, to learn more about it from its Facebook page, one can also press here.

“THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM is an anthology of science fiction featuring blunt force trauma, explosions, adventure, derring-do, tigers, Martians, zombies, fanged monsters, dinosaurs (alien and domestic), ray guns, rocket ships, and anthropomorphized marshmallows.”  So it says on Kindle where Upper Rubber Boot Boom61YDDmiN1lL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Books’s eclectic (to say the least) anthology has now been posted.  Curious or wish to order? press here.  Or for pre-ordering both print and/or electronic versions, plus a plethera of other info, one can visit the Museum’s own gift shop by pressing here.  So says Editor/Publisher Joanne Merriam.

As for me, remember the TERROR TREE PUN BOOK and “Olé Bubba and the Forty Steves” (cf. June 22 et al.)?  Well here we have another Bubba (a Bubba brother?) in a tongue-in-cheek tale of Christmas gone wrong, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” (cf. June 13, March 17, et al.), originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2007).  With  . . .  zombies.

TABLE OF CONTENTS (so okay, you saw it March 17 too, but so much stuff in it. . . .)

Khadija Anderson, “Observational Couplets upon returning to Los Angeles from Outer Space”
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, “Photograph of a Secret”
Kristin Bock, “I Wish I Could Write a Poem about Pole-Vaulting Robots”
Alicia Cole, “Asteroid Orphan”
Jim Comer, “Soldier’s Coat”
James Dorr, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians”
Aidan Doyle, “Mr. Nine and the Gentleman Ghost”
matagb-dorr-001-150x150Tom Doyle, “Crossing Borders”
Estíbaliz Espinosa, “Dissidence” (translated by Neil Anderson)
Kendra Fortmeyer, “Squaline”
Miriam Bird Greenberg, “Brazilian Telephone”
Benjamin Grossberg, “The Space Traveler and Runaway Stars”
Julie Bloss Kelsey, two scifaiku
Nick Kocz, “The Last American Tiger”
David C. Kopaska-Merkel, “Captain Marshmallow”
Ken Liu, “Nova Verba, Mundus Novus”
Kelly Luce, “Ideal Head of a Woman”
Tim Major, “Read/Write Head”
Katie Manning, “Baba Yaga’s Answer”
Laurent McAllister, “Kapuzine and the Wolf: A Hortatory Tale”
Martha McCollough, “valley of the talking dolls” and “adventures of cartoon bee”
Marc McKee, “A Moment in Fill-In-The-Blank City”
Sequoia Nagamatsu, “Headwater LLC”
Jerry Oltion, “A Star Is Born”
Richard King Perkins II, “The Sleeper’s Requiem”
Ursula Pflug, “Airport Shoes”
Leonard Richardson, “Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs”
Erica L. Satifka, “Thirty-Six Questions Propounded by the Human-Powered Plasma Bomb in the Moments Before Her Imminent Detonation”
G. A. Semones, “Never Forget Some Things”
Matthew Sanborn Smith, “The Empire State Building Strikes Back!”
Christina Sng, “Medusa in LA”
J. J. Steinfeld, “The Loudest Sound Imaginable”
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, “The Wanderers”
Lucy Sussex, “A Sentimental, Sordid Education”
Sonya Taaffe, “And Black Unfathomable Lakes”
Mary A. Turzillo, “Pride”
Deborah Walker, “Sea Monkey Mermaid”
Nick Wood, “The Girl Who Called the World”
K. Ceres Wright, “The Haunting of M117”
Ali Znaidi, “A Dolphin Scene” and “Australian Horoscope”

Today brings some of the ancillary aspects of writing, the major bit being to go over proof sheets from CEMETERY RIOTS for “The Re-Possessed” (cf. May 5, et al.), my tale of the business side of Victorian funerals.  First, to be sure, one must find an honest undertaker — but then the bereaved must be certain that he is Cemetery Riothonest himself as well.  If things stay on schedule the book is expected later this month, so corrections, if any, should go back tonight.

Then, unrelated, an acceptance and contract came today, the latter of which must be read over, signed, and popped into the mail tomorrow.  For what, one may ask?  But here’s the odd part.  That must be a secret, at least for a few days in deference to other writers who may still be awaiting word.  Which is fair enough.  So stay tuned and, in time, all will be revealed.

And then, speaking of timetables, I now have an expected release date for “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” and Upper Rubber Boots Books’s THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM (cf. March 17, et al.).  “Bubba Claus,” of course, is a Christmas story — in this case one that also has zombies — and so, for visions of sleighs and snow (or at least a space shuttle) in the height of summer, it’s slated for publication next month on July 26.

The dawning of Saint Patrick’s Day brings news from Publisher Joanne Merriam of Upper Rubber Boot Books.  But let her tell us first via Facebook:

I am the proudest of this book launch website that I’ve ever been about any promotional idea ever.  Go check it out! I’ll be keeping the blog updated with alien art, actual historical artifacts which had to be smuggled off Earth when Timeline B invaded, creative weaponry, and more!

MATAGB (the book) contains work by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Kristin Bock, Alicia Cole, Jim Comer, James Dorr, Aidan Doyle, Tom Doyle, Estíbaliz Espinosa, Kendra Fortmeyer, Miriam Bird Greenberg, Benjamin Grossberg, Julie Kelsey, Nick Kocz, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Ken Liu, Kelly Luce, Tim Major, Katie Manning, Martha Mccollough, Marc McKee, Sequoia Nagamatsu, Ursula matagb-logo-blackPflug, Erica Satifka, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Christina Sng, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Lucy Sussex, Sonya Taaffe, Mary A. Turzillo, Deborah Walker, Nick Wood, K. Ceres Wright, and Ali Znaidi and the book can be pre-ordered in the gift shop by people in Canada and the USA (and the ebook by people everywhere) — will be adding countries as I can figure out shipping etc.

And so, no, the Irish can’t pre-order their print copies yet, but the ebook will be available to all (and the print, one hopes, soon).  But happy St. Patrick’s Day anyhow!  My corned beef in this cauldron (with cabbage, natch), I might add, is an out-of-place Christmas tale titled “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians,” reprinted from Yard Dog Press’s 2007 HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS.  With zombies.  But information on all can be found here, of which, to quote just a little bit:

Articles in the MATAGB Collection include artifacts, equipment, weapons, clothing, disguises, letters, taxidermied kills, holodeck simulators based on actual memories in amber, exotic life forms, artwork, vehicles, technologies, listening devices, and memorabilia and insignia designed, manufactured, or used by swashbucklers, pirates, ninjas, adventurers, privateers, spaceship commandos, illuminati, and intelligence organizations now and in the past.

And the table of contents (albeit perhaps not in final order):

    Khadija Anderson, “Observational Couplets upon returning to Los Angeles from Outer Space”
    Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, “Photograph of a Secret”
    Kristin Bock, “I Wish I Could Write a Poem about Pole-Vaulting Robots”
    Alicia Cole, “Asteroid Orphan”
    Jim Comer, “Soldier’s Coat”
    James Dorr, “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians”
    Aidan Doyle, “Mr. Nine and the Gentleman Ghost”
    Tom Doyle, “Crossing Borders”
    Estíbaliz Espinosa, “Dissidence” (translated by Neil Anderson)
Kendra Fortmeyer, “Squaline”
    Miriam Bird Greenberg, “Brazilian Telephone”
    Benjamin Grossberg, “The Space Traveler and Runaway Stars”
    Julie Bloss Kelsey, two scifaiku
    Nick Kocz, “The Last American Tiger”
    David Kopaska-Merkel, “Captain Marshmallow”
    Ken Liu, “Nova Verba, Mundus Novus”
    Kelly Luce, “Ideal Head of a Woman”
    Tim Major, “Read/Write Head”
    Katie Manning, “Baba Yaga’s Answer”
    Laurent McAllister, “Kapuzine and the Wolf: A Hortatory Tale”
    Martha McCollough, “valley of the talking dolls” and “adventures of cartoon bee”
    Marc McKee, “A Moment in Fill-In-The-Blank City”
    Sequoia Nagamatsu, “Headwater LLC”
    Jerry Oltion, “A Star Is Born”
    Richard King Perkins II, “The Sleeper’s Requiem”
    Ursula Pflug, “Airport Shoes”
    Leonard Richardson, “Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs”
    Erica L. Satifka, “Thirty-Six Questions Propounded by the Human-Powered Plasma Bomb in the Moments Before Her Imminent Detonation”
    G. A. Semones, “Never Forget Some Things”
    Matthew Sanborn Smith, “The Empire State Building Strikes Back!”
    Christina Sng, “Medusa in LA”
    J. J. Steinfeld, “The Loudest Sound Imaginable”
    Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, “The Wanderers”
    Lucy Sussex, “A Sentimental, Sordid Education”
    Sonya Taaffe, “And Black Unfathomable Lakes”
    Mary Turzillo, “Pride”
    Deborah Walker, “Sea Monkey Mermaid”
    Nick Wood, “The Girl Who Called the World”
    K. Ceres Wright, “The Haunting of M117”
    Ali Znaidi, “A Dolphin Scene” and “Australian Horoscope”

Some of these we’ve seen before (cf. December 13, below), but what the heck, it’s already Christmas Monday!  So herewith, for your Yuletide run-up nightmare pleasure, by Katie Rife, “The night Santa went crazy:  18 killer Santas from TV and film” via AVCLUB.COM.  Kudos for this one to Wicked_St_NickMike Olson on Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA, and to see for yourself, one need but press here.

(My favorite, I think, may be number 13, 1999’s “Xmas Story” from FUTURAMA:   Xmas is now a holiday of fear after a Santa ’bot programmed to separate the naughty from the nice was recalibrated way too far on the “naughty” side in the year 2801.  With his sensors registering everyone he sees [except for Dr. Zoidberg] too naughty to live, the humans of the future spent their Xmas Eve indoors, singing carols with lyrics like, “You’d better not breathe, you’d better not move / You’re better off dead, I’m telling you, dude / Santa Claus is gunning you down.”)

On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:17 PM, James Ward Kirk wrote:  “Thank you for the poem, James.  I loved it.  I even chuckled aloud, something I can’t recall doing over a poem in a long time.  I’ll be sending out the first batch of acceptances on Saturday.”  I thought it best to follow the publisher’s schedule on announcing the acceptance, which actually came latish Sunday evening along with a contract to print out and return today.

The poem in question is called “Tit for Tat,” one of a type sometimes known as “Little Willies,” about a naughty boy who either causes or comes to grief, resulting in the poet reacting with either glee, grindifference, or sometimes drawing from it a tragically inappropriate moral.  For more on Little Willies one can see below, February 6 2012.  And what it was for is an anthology on vengeful spirits called GHOSTS REVENGE which, should Little Willie become a ghost, might be just the thing he’d try to get.

To be published by JWK Publications, GHOSTS REVENGE is still accepting submissions, both poetry and fiction to 4000 words (it will also have a section for flash up to 1000 words), but will be closing as soon as it’s filled, so speed may be called for.  Guidelines can be found here.

And as for Little Willie, Publisher Kirk sent a follow-up email:  “Even though I chuckled, I admire the work.  It’s perfect.”

Then even later Sunday night I got an acceptance from Joanne Merriam of UPPER RUBBER BOOT BOOKS for another fiction and poetry anthology to be published in 2016, again for a comedy piece although this time a story.  As I introduced it in my cover letter last October, “I hope you don’t mind a humorous, possibly crude in a few places, would-be swashbuckling SF submission for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM — and with a chainsaw roar instead of a boom because the shotgun had the wrong shells — the attached ‘Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians.’  It was originally published in HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT BUBBAS (Yard Dog Press, 2007) and also, one might note, offers a sideways tip of the hat to the holiday classic and perennial ‘10 all-time worst movies’ listee SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS.  Also zombies.”

So here’s the reply:  “Hi, James.  Thanks so much for your submission.  I’m accepting Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM, which will be published in 2016.  I won’t announce the table of contents until I’ve received back all of the contracts, but you may feel free to announce your inclusion in the meantime.

“I’ll send along a contract in the next several days.”

This one, however, closed early last month.

No, this isn’t a complaint.  It’s a reference to Krampus and, last night, my joining in the town’e first Krampus Parade.  Krampus is the dark Santa Claus depicted as a slew of hairy, horned monsters who make sure the naughty children get switches instead of candy.

So each of us has to make a decision when handed two stickers:  to wear the “Naughty” one or the one that says “Nice.”  Be chased by the monsters or be given candy by the women Imagewearing white — the Bishop/Saint Nicholas’s assistants  — even if, when I asked one if she believed the label I’d stuck on my coat, she answered “No” (but gave me candy anyway).  My favorite part was the Krampus cart, pulled along the parade route and holding, in front, a kettle of some red-glowing substance and, in the back, a wooden cage containing one or two small children, apparently already caught by the monsters to be taken home for further torture.

But I had been nice.  Thursday night, late (well . . . really more like early Friday morning), having received the materials I needed earlier that day, I sent in the completed revised introduction for Damnation Books’s TELLING TALES OF TERROR:  ESSAYS ON WRITING HORROR AND DARK FICTION (see December 3, including link; October 19).  Then earlier Saturday I was at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s (cf. October 26, et al.) annual combined December business meeting/officer election and party.  Of the party part, I ate Danish, chocolate, and several kinds of cookies and read three poems at the reading portion,  “Émile’s Ghosts” from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) plus two new ones, one about a zombie which I’d first read at the November Upstart Poets, and the other a “glosa” — a 40-line, line by line explication of the “Little Willie” poem that goes “Willie saw some dynamite,/ he didn’t understand it quite,/ curiosity never pays/ it rained Willie seven days.”  The particular Little Willie poem, incidentally, was one I also cited at Upstart Poets to explain the spirit of the zombie poem, “Pas de Dead,” that in which a terrible thing happens but is greeted by either the poet’s indifference or, worse, a rehashing of some Victorian-era moral lesson that’s tragically inadequate to the situation (“curiosity never pays,” indeed, or as the glosa expands it:  “. . . yet with caution, sidewise gaze/ upon the kitten lest its claws/ might harm the nose that’s stuck too close./ When overzealousness betrays,/ curiosity never pays.”).

Business was done at the party too, and I’m now signed up for two public readings in 2013, the first to be in February as part of a new monthly “First Sundays” prose reading series, and the second in October for the more established thrice-yearly “Fountain Square Poetry” series.  Of the latter, the first opening, in June, seemed too close to World Horror Con weekend, but also, as I’ll most likely be reading vampire poems, the later date’s being nearer to Halloween seemed appropriate to the coordinator.  Fountain Square, I might add, is an upscale downtown mall and these readings usually coincide with an evening opening at one or more local art galleries there (which, not entirely to be ignored, usually means a stroll down the hall during breaks will lead to a table of high-class snacks — hey, we’re writers and a cardinal rule is never to pass up a chance to eat free).

Then rounding out the two weeks (more or less) before Christmas weekend, today I saw NUTCRACKER:  THE MOTION PICTURE on TV, from a 1980s performance in Seattle by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, including production and costume design by the late Maurice ImageSendak (i.e., author of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, et al.).  This version hews a little bit closer in spirit to the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” and was noted as being darker than the more usual ones seen at Christmas time.  Also, there is a voiceover by a now grown-up Clara at the beginning, to the effect that “The Christmas parties of long ago blur and mix as one.  The real and the unreal merge together.”  And thus, the production also seems to emphasize the blend, the never quite knowing where the dream ends, which to me as a writer of fiction — especially dark fiction — adds a particular fascination.

In all, a delicious Christmas candy!




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