Posts Tagged ‘The Tears of Isis’

This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington.  This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts.  This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey.  The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.

That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me.  The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood.  And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles.  This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and triana3c2001playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks:  a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.”  The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.

Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave.  But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!

Back for 2017, this afternoon saw the new year’s first “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (see November 28, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center.  Featured poets this time were Lisa Low, in her final year in the MFA program at Indiana University, whose reading covered such subjects as grocery stores, ghosts, and gold, ending with a group of poems from a work in progress about a girl named Ruby; and Stephen Hopkins, “born in Texas but raised in the Midwest, bloomingtonwritersguild[and] moved all over Ohio, often,” an IU PhD candidate who read works from his recent chapbook HYMNS OF PERPETUAL MOTION.  This was followed by snacks and an open mike session in which I was last of six participants, with five short, relatively light poems about vampires, “The Vampire’s Reflection,” “An Unsuitable Kiss for the New Year,” “Something New,” “Nothing Better,” and “The Vampiress’s Embarrassment.”

Also announced was a new Writers Guild “Second Thursdays” evening series to be held each month at Bloomington’s Players Pub, beginning February 9.  While programs will vary, the premiere offering will highlight prose readings,  including a short tale by me from THE TEARS OF ISIS, “River Red,” set in the same universe as my upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

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?

Just a quick note, that Weldon Burge has announced a Kickstarter campaign for for the upcoming Smart Rhino Publications anthology ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD, scheduled for launch next Tuesday, January 17.  In conjunction with this will be his interview with me (cf. January 8, below) with remarks on short stories, novels-in-stories, structure of novels, and TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIM298555_180672618685797_840344211_nES OF EARTH:  “I’ll be sending out the e-letter once the campaign has started, so you should see your interview posted next week as well!”  Also mentioned in the interview are THE TEARS OF ISIS and “The Poetic Principle” by Edgar Allan Poe.

As for ZIPPERED FLESH 3, my part in this is a strangely muted (given the promise of some of its stories) science fiction tale called “Golden Age,” reflecting a future history of worn out, or otherwise damaged body replacements (see September 9), a reprint originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994.

Another interview lurks in our future.  Completed just now, this one was rather a quickie as well, the contact coming from Smart Rhino Publications Editor Weldon Burge just last week:  James, would you be open to a short interview for the January Smart Rhino newsletter?  It would only be three or four questions, short and sweet.  But I’d need a pretty fast turnaround, if possible.  Please let me know.  Thanks!  My connection here is having stories in two Smart 463_zippered_cvr_3Rhino anthologies thus far, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and in a third to be coming out soon, ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 9, et al.).  So, “sure,” I sent back, and we set things up to be done this weekend.

More, such as a tentative date, will be noted here when it is known, but I will say now that, while short, it’s one of the heavier ones I’ve done in terms of writing and writing theory, even including a quote from Poe from his essay “The Poetic Principle.”  Why that essay?  Because I think Poe intended it to apply to fiction in prose as well, perhaps then explaining his own predilection for the short story form, and hence, by extension, mine.  This is for a question having to do with my own short story collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But then, from there, a question on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH brings up a discussion of form, in addition to content, and novels-in-stories or “mosiac” novels (see also, October 20), and why that form might be chosen over traditional narrative for telling certain kinds of stories.  And also, why the mosiac form might answer Poe’s dictum that effective “poetic” writing be kept short.

. . . the idea of faith is more general in the sense that it covers any devotion to a higher being or spiritual power.  It could be anything, from a religion-based god to alien overlords to the Force.  The point is that you believe in something outside yourself that, in some way, shapes, influences, or even controls the nature of our world.  Yet somehow, regardless of the faith, the path to getting there is always the same:  you have to hear the call, and then yoarrival_movie_posteru have to take conscious steps to overcome that adversity within and without to reach its source, taking you from a non-believer to a believer.

Well, no, I haven’t seen ARRIVAL yet, I tend to wait sometimes for what I think may be important films to be out long enough on DVD to bring the price down to buy for myself, but that’s my problem.  The above, from “Communication and Faith in ARRIVAL”  by Michael Moreci, on TOR.COM a day or two back, piqued my interest however (cf. below, for instance, November 3, August 26 ; September 17 2015):  the question of faith, belief, in science fiction as well as, perhaps to be more expected, in fantasy and horror.  The need for an author — or reader — to know a people’s traditions in order to build their world.

Or that’s how I see it.  Moreci also brings up Joseph Campbell (the hero’s journey), and the movies STAR WARS:  A NEW HOPE and CONTACT; while in my own writings I might note the upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH as well as, at least in part, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And in any event I may look into ARRIVAL myself sooner than I had expected.  Moreci’s critique, on the other hand, may be read right now here.

And there is something new under the sun to ring in December 2016.  TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH has been added to the portrait gallery in the center column, just to our right.  It is still scheduled for publication next year in June, but the link will take you to Amazon’s listing for pre-order, if desired, and which also contains the notorious James C. Simpson substitute biography instead of mine (cf. below, November 14, 4).  Well, we’re working on that one.  Also, as time goes on and some people may have a chance to have seen pre-publication copies, perhaps a few will be moved to offer early reviews there as well.

Also I’ve made another change in the center column, just below TOMBS.  If you click on the picture of THE TEARS OF ISIS it will now take you to Amazon’s listing for it, partly to bring it into conformance with most of the other books’ links, but also (*speaking of reviews*) to allow those who might wish to see them some thirteen other readers’ opinions.  (WARNING:  one or two didn’t care for the book!)  Just click on the picture, then scroll down and, if you like what you see (with the exception of the just aforementioned “one or two”), well this is one you can order for delivery right now!

Speaking of fast work, Tuesday, while skipping some of the slow, slow reports of election results, I was finishing up questions for a new interview by Carrie Ann Golden.  No ducks walking into bars or early crushes in this one (cf. October 24), but good writerly questions still, seven in all, including a few on my upcoming novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A 13921093_549470955240395_4107293061612582985_nCHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  And even a comment on THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But here’s the thing:  We were looking toward a publication date prior to Thanksgiving, just a couple of weeks down the pike, but when I sent my copy in Wednesday early afternoon, Carrie was back to me by that evening.  “These [the answers] are wonderful . . . am planning to post your interview on Monday, November 14.”

But wait.  That’s this Monday, the one coming up.  Four days from today, today being Thursday.  Talk about quick work!  So anyway, just around the (as it were) calendar corner, I’ll be there on Carrie Golden’s A WRITER & HER ADOLESCENT MUSE blog, more on which, with link, we will see here on the 14th.

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.

Seven days more until Halloween, starting the countdown today.  And to help all to celebrate Halloween week, Max Booth III of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has pmmpsalechosen my 2014 Bram Stoker® fiction collection nominee THE TEARS OF ISIS, with nine other books, to put on sale for one week only for 99 cents each!  To let Max tell it in his own words:  Starting now and ending November 1st, we are offering ten of our horror titles for only 99c on the Amazon kindle store.  If you’re the kind of person who loves horror and cheap eBooks, then look no further.  Well, okay, look a little bit further — you still have to actually click the links.  So first click here, then scroll down to THE TEARS OF ISIS, fifth on the list — or, to get to TEARS directly, just press here.

In other news, it is nearly Election Day as well and aren’t we all beginning to think in political clichés?  But this one marks the first new fiction acceptance for all of October (not to mention on Halloween week to boot), making it a pleasant surprise indeed!  And oh, the odds!  The email came Monday from Bob Corry of PHOBOS:  After rejecting more than five hundred stories, I’m very happy to accept “Dark Call of the Sea” for our fourth issue.

Well, there were a few things in its favor, though the acceptance did take some time.  The theme for the issue is “Deep Black Sea,” for stories, flash, and poetry hauled from the brine of oceans both real and fantastic. . . .  Did I mention the story’s title is “The Dark Call of the Sea?”  And in fact it hisisnewad been narrowly rejected by PHOBOS for a previous issue, with an apt, but not quite that apt theme, and with a suggestion for a small change which I thought was okay and so adapted to a slightly rewritten ending.  The story itself is a Lovecraftian fable of music and art and a summer ill-spent on a seaside vacation at Innsmouth.

And, speaking of sea stories (as well as art), let me point out that the opening prose tale in THE TEARS OF ISIS — on sale through Halloween, remember? — is “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  For more information on THE TEARS OF ISIS you can click on the link above or, for perusing reviews from its Amazon site, press here.




  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 980 other followers