Posts Tagged ‘Smart Rhino Publications’

This first via Facebook from Smart Rhino Publications, an official announcement of the contents page for their upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (cf. February 21, 3, January 18, et al.).  Or, well, almost . . . or to put it in their words:  “We have a few other stories under consideration, and the submission period is now over.  But, as you can see, the line up is already impressive.”  And as it happens it is impressive, so here it is as a sort of preview:

Billie Sue Mosiman – Horns, Teeth, and Knobs
Shaun Meeks – Upgraded
Jeff Menapace – Worm
Adrian Ludens – Reduced to Tears
Christine Morgan – Going Green463_zippered_cvr_3
William F. Nolan – A New Man
Jason V. Brock – Transposition
Jack Ketchum – The Rose
Daniel I. Russell – Consume
Jezzy Wolfe – All Will Turn to Gray
E. A. Black – Invisible
L.l. Soares – And the Sky Was Full of Angels
Meghan Arcuri-Moran – Shopping Spree
Charles Colyott – Closer
Graham Masterton – Dog Days
Jasper Bark – Switch
Martin Zeigler – Hypochondria
Sandra R. Campbell – Gehenna Division–Case #609
James Dorr – Golden Age

Then in other news, readers may recall that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has been posting capsule features on Rhysling-nominated poets this month, six at a time, on their blog and that my turn was to be up today (cf. March 29).  Well . . . also, almost.  A bit of rescheduling has been going on (among other things, originally scheduled for a new “spotlight” every other day starting April first, some have been coming out on even-numbered days too) and, as it happens, mine will actually be out tomorrow.  But this gave some time for a bit of more up-to-date information than SFPA apparently had in its files, so it’s all for the best.

My poem, incidentally, nominated in the short poem division, is “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” a rare sports poem involving prize fighting originally published in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES.  A sneak peek of it can also be found in my slightly obsolete “Spotlight” announcement on March 29.

Along with yesterday morning’s marathon interview, Friday also brought these more low-profile items:

1.  A contract by email “signed” and sent back to TALES TO TERRIFY for permission to podcast “In the Octopus’s Garden” (cf. April 1), originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA for March-April 1999 and also the lead prose tale in THE TEARS OF ISIS;

2.  Receipt by street mail of my copy of the corrected contract, countersigned by publisher Scary Dairy Press (cf. March 8, et al.) and with payment included, for “Swarms” as a reprint in MOTHER’S REVENGE, planned to be out for Earth Day, April 22;

3.  Also by street mail, two copies of a contract received from Smart Rhino Publications for my science fiction story “Golden Age” to be reprinted in ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (see March 13, February 21, et al.), one countersigned by me this morning and left out for return mail pickup.

All in all, not a bad way to wind down the week.

If you’re familiar with Smart Rhino’s anthologies (and we certainly hope you are!), you may remember his stories “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, and “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  His story “Golden Age” will be published in ZIPPERED FLESH 3, now in production.  So marks the start of Monday’s outing of Smart Rhino Press Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES.  Here you will find things concerning my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS and the lure of short stories, as well as my upcoming novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, though of the latter the publication date is now set for June (i.e. rather than “spring,” which only means things sometimes get out of date; also the poet Allan Poe may be better known as Edgar Allan, but typos can happen too).  Also the blog itself  may seem familiar, having also been published in Smart Rhino Publications’s own January NEWSLETTER (see January 18).  But as Weldon himself says on his Facebook page:  Just posted my interview with Bram Stoker nominee (and frequent writer for Smart Rhino Publications) James Dorr.  His story “Golden Age,” will appear in the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3.  He has some great advice for writers from his own experience.  So maybe it will be worth reading anew.

Or in any event for those new to this blog it 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.

If at first one should fail to succeed, as the saying goes. . . .  The ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD Kickstarter campaign (see February 3, et al.) having fallen a bit short, word is out from Smart Rhino Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge that a new campaign has been started on Indiegogo, to be up fordpytvjudfckqmkp3hfws the next month.  As we might recall, part of the effort is to secure enough for professional pay for the authors included, which is to say (among others) me, so please to consider checking it out by pressing here.  (My story in this, again see February 3 et al., is “Golden Age,” a surprisingly non-painful SF tale of a future pioneer and is last in the book, but for the gore-hounds among us as well there’s horror enough in the other offerings, so [as we say] give until it hurts!)

In other news, welcome the new goth cat Triana’s very own web page that went up today.  To see it, check under “PAGES” in the far right column, and click on her name.  Wednesday’s is there as well, with the entrance to it just beneath Triana’s.

Word came yesterday from Smart Rhino Publications that my story, “Golden Age,” has been chosen for final position in ZIPPERED FLESH 3.  This is an honor — just as the first two or three stories in an anthology are meant to hook the reader, so the last one is to provide the memory of what the book was about, as well as to prime the reader should a subsequent volume be published later.  Or, as Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge explains:  I’ve decided to end ZIPPERED FLESH 3 with “Golden Age.”  It’s a “quieter” story than others in the anthology, and a perfect denouement for the book.  I think, when you read the story, you folks will understand my decision.  Also, to whet appetites a bit more, Smart Rhino has offered a list of all authors selected thus far to be in the book, with more to be announced, to be sure, as they’re added to it:

Billie Sue Mosiman
Graham Masterton
Shaun Meeks463_zippered_cvr_3
William F. Nolan
Jack Ketchum
Jeff Menapace
James Dorr
Meghan Arcuri-Moran
Jason V Brock
L.L. Soares
E.A. Elizabeth Black
Sandra Rutherford Webster Campbell
Adrian Ludens
Christine Morgan

And then a reminder:  Smart Rhino has also been running a Kickstarter campaign to, among other things, provide the ZIPPERED FLESH 3 writers professional-level payment.  Need I add that that includes me?  But there’s only a dozen days left to give, including reserving some rather nice premiums, so best take a look while there’s still time left by pressing here.

So the first answer starts with a citation to “Allan Poe.”  That’s Edgar Allan Poe, of course, but what’s in a word — I still stand by the answer.  And thus the promised interview by Weldon Burge for Smart Rhino Publications (cf. January 11, 8), in conjunction with a Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 anthology, is now live.  A mention is made at the very beginning about my Smart Rhino story appearances, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and “Golden Age” in the upcomi8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13ng ZIPPERED FLESH volume, but that’s not what the interview is about.  Rather, with reference to Poe as well as my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, we talk about short story writing in general and why, as a writer, I find short forms more interesting than novels.  But then novels come up too with reference to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (expected in June this year, not really “spring,” but that’s because of a change in schedule after my original biographical notes were in) and what is, exactly, a novel-in-stories, also known as a “mosaic novel”?  And, more importantly, why TOMBS is put together in that style.

The Poe citation, incidentally, is to his essay “The Poetic Principle,” which I believe he meant to apply to prose fiction as well.  But to read the whole interview, including some things on the challenges and joys of writing, and what to expect once one has written, why not press here?

The promised Kickstarter campaign for Smart Rhino Publications’s ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (cf. January 11, et al.) is now up and running.  The idea is to raise enough money to, among other things, pay its authors (that is to say, one of which is . . . me!) a professional rate.  I can stand 3cd4144d486be1e6dbbe46ca792d3588_originalbehind that!  So, if not to donate, at least to see what the fuss is about, please to press here.

My canine in the charnel house, this time, is actually a rather sedate science fiction story, “Golden Age,” originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 and about an elderly person’s reflection, a pioneer in the trade as it were, on replacement of body parts damaged by accidents or disease.  But, gore hounds delight, it’s my understanding that other tales, in keeping with the volume’s subtitle, could be a bit more, um, visceral.

So give till it hurts, right? — and afterwards don’t forget to buy a copy when it comes out, details on which will also be found here as they become known.

The email actually came Wednesday, and this may be a sneak preview of sorts as I don’t think the book has opened yet to general submissions (nor do I know for sure if it will).  I do understand there will be a Kickstarter later, probably early next year, to try and move author payments up.  So although I asked, not having been requested not to I’ll softly announce here that I’ve made a new sale.

The acceptance is from Smart Rhino Publications for the third volume in their ZIPPERED FLESH series, ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD, described by Editor Weldon Burge as seeking “dark or supernatural stories in which body modifications play pivotal roles in the plot,” and tentatively scheduled for late 2017.  “Stories do not necessarilyzipper have to be straight horror (chilling stories are preferred, however), but they must fit the theme of the anthology.  Psychological horror is especially preferred.”  Previous works by me in Smart Rhino anthologies are “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and “The Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (cf., respectively, February 7 2014 and January 23 2015, et al.)

Running against type, my story here is actually science fiction, “Golden Age,” originally published in Catherine Asaro’s MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994, and not that dark except in an existential sense, suggesting perhaps that psychological barriers, regardless of physical, might stand in the way of overly extended lifespans.  “Golden Age” has also been published in England in ANDROMEDA’S CHILDREN (Fringeworks 2015, cf. September 4 2015, et al.) and, probably close to one extreme in terms of content thus far lined up for ZIPPERED FLESH 3, it could be thought of as a balance to, to paraphrase Editor Burge, tales of the more “gruesome.”

If you do too, prepare yourself for an emotionally wrenching 93 minutes.  Right from the start — a woman dreaming of herself, pregnant, being driven to the hospital by her husband — about to crash!  Amelia’s son, we find out, was born on the day her husband died and even now, ten years later, she has yet to put it behind her.  This puts her into a love-hate relation of sorts with her son, and the son, who’s a little bit weird himself, doesn’t always help matters.

He still fears monsters in the night, half the time ending up sleeping with mom — that is, when either of them gets much sleep.  His bedtime routine includes checking the closets and under the bed, with mom there beside him, who must also read him a story after she’s tucked him in.  He invents lethal weapons (and hoards firecrackers) babadookagainst the time a monster might actually make an appearance.  He has no friends and, partly because of him, mom doesn’t have that many friends either.

He makes a pact that he’ll protect mom, and insists that his mother promise that she’ll protect him too.  This last is important.

THE BABADOOK is an ugly film, it’s an uncomfortable film.  Because between actress Essie Davis’s all too realistic playing of her part and writer-director Jennifer Kent’s* concept, what I was watching seemed very much like a woman not so slowly going insane on the screen.  And what must her son think? — yet he doesn’t seem all that stable either.

It comes to a head when mom tells son to pick a book from the shelf for her to read for his bedtime story.  He grabs one neither has seen before, a pop-up book called MR. BABADOOK.  It is not a good book for children frightened of monsters, because it tells of a creature that knocks, and knocks again, and once it’s let in it is not a good thing — and “you can’t get rid of the Babadook.”  And the kid goes practically catatonic.

But how much is real, and how much is still only imagination?

Things start going bad fast:  Mom has to take her son out of school.  She has him examined by the doctor, gets a prescription for child tranquilizers, makes an appointment for a psychiatrist in a few weeks.  But in the meantime the two of them have to survive together, under repeated strange happenings that appear more and more to indicate the Babadook is coming!

He (it) does, it all reaching a head in one horrible night when mom almost kills her kid, the kid wounds and ties up mom — or has mom become possessed by the Babadook herself?  And what then when the boy “turns” — or is the Babadook something external, pulling the child away physically once mom has started to calm down?  It’s here where it breaks, maybe an hour and a quarter into it, when something primal brings Amelia onto the attack — her part of the pact, her son before with his wounding and tying and prior misbehavior having done his best to protect his mother.

But what of the Babadook itself?  And was it real, or just symbolic/psychological?  Here I would make a guess, that it is real, a physical being, but born as a manifestation of (mostly) Amelia’s psychological monsters (note to readers:  Find a very old science fiction fan and ask them about “Monsters from the Id” from the 1956 film FORBIDDEN PLANET), which she, on the eve of her son Samuel’s tenth birthday/death of her own husband/the father Sam never met, finally needed to come to terms with.

It’s a scary movie on several levels, and if you like scary movies, see it!  Even if you think you know what may happen.

Then one more thing, the scene at the end, or “you can’t get rid or the Babadook.”  On the walk home I recalled another movie at the IU Cinema late last year, THE LIFE OF PI, about a young man who’s trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger, and its turning point with his realization that he can’t tame a tiger — but he can train it.

And so it may be, too, with Babadooks.

Then in a quick unrelated matter, Thursday afternoon my contributors’ copy of INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (see January 21, 2, et al.) arrived.  “Here you will meet some truly insidious characters — characters you may find yourself applauding when you know you shouldn’t. . .” the back cover of the very handsome volume from Smart Rhino Publications tells us.  No sign on the contents page of Mr. Babadook though.

 

*Like Ana Lily Amirpour’s A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (see January 10, et al.), THE BABADOOK is Australian Jennifer Kent’s first feature-length film.  One suspects both directors will bear future watching.




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