Posts Tagged ‘The Tears of Isis’

Life continues, the good with the bad.  As I write this, Triana has just had her supper.  Outside there’s still coronavirus, but as one unexpected local spinoff, at least for now one can ride city buses for free (albeit on a somewhat reduced schedule, and there may be fewer places or events to ride them to).  And then — the Writing Life — today brought the contract from BLACK INFINITY for “Waxworms” (cf. April 4, et al.), my story of insects and flying saucers and strange goings on in the West Virginia hills:  Please find attached the contract for “Waxworms”.  I’m sending these contracts as word documents, which should make signing easier for contributors, I hope.  Please sign and return at your earliest convenience during the next two weeks.

The document format was easy to handle, even for The Second Slowest Computer In The World (the slowest is being used exclusively these days for off-line work), and it went back about an hour ago to BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English.  The theme this time out is “Insidious Insects,” with the issue expected to be published around early June.

A little bit roundabout in its coming, via Facebook, from BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English (cf. November 13, October 28, 21, et al.):  A sneak peek at the cover (barring any last-minute tweaking) of upcoming issue 6 for spring.  And nestled among (or [blush] actually at the top of) such names as Murray Leinster, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Sheckley is . . . mine.  Well, actually my name is the shortest which makes a top placement convenient for design purposes, but why not bask in it?  More to the point, the issue theme this time is “Insidious Insects,” along with a factual portion on the earlyish TV series THE OUTER LIMITS.

An exciting combination, I think.  My part of the brew is a story first published in CHIZINE for July-September 2003 and also appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, “Waxworms,” a tale of the days of UFO reports, and probable landings, spiced in this case by a series of insect infestations that seemingly almost follow the story’s narrator.  This also will mark my second appearance in BLACK INFINITY, an extremely well put together semi-annual with a classic 1950s/’60s science fiction flavor, my first being with “Ghost Ship,” set in the universe of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and first published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (Red Skies Press, 2013), in issue 5 on the theme of “Derelicts.”

The full title actually is TWISTED FATE VOL. I:  APPLES RED AS BLOOD (cf. January 6), to be published by Fantasia Divinity, whose magazine of the same title we’ve met before.  The call had been for retellings and retakes on the fairy tale “Snow White,” with no nods to Walt Disney (at least ones that might cause copyright problems).  We want you to elaborate on the original short tale, give depth and feeling to the characters, motivations, desires, hope, and despair.  The stories can be told from the POV of any character, not just Snow White.  Reprints being okay, I sent a tale from the “Tombs” far future, dying Earth universe called “River Red,” originally published in the anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art, Inc., 2009) and also appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

That was last September with the acceptance coming in January this year.  And so the wheels turned deliberately, slowly, the myriad details of publication each in its own time being addressed until, at last, today, the contract arrived, was read by me, electronically signed, and sent back this afternoon to Editor/Publisher Madeline Stout.  As for “River Red,” the names have been changed along with the setting and a ghoul added as well as, maybe, a sort of zombie, the ending cribbed from (I admit it!) the Greek tragedian Euripides (well out of copyright by now), but there is still a magic mirror.  Or a mirror, anyway.  So while maybe not obvious, the roots of Snow White are there.

Or more to the point, the Writing Life continues.  An edited copy will come next for my approval or possible re-tweaking, maybe an updated bio sent. . . .  A date for publication set?  More to be here as it becomes known.

A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.  Five novelettes.  Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?  Our deft and expert authors have won awards and had work in award-winning anthologies, and these stories showcase their gift for terrifying us but also in finding the humanity through our fear.  They are . . . Gordon B. White, James Dorr, Mark Pantoja, Jon Gauthier, Peter Emmett Naughton.  We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

Say what?  Let us hark back to June 11 2019, et al., when the Kindle edition was already up (and had been, in fact, since late May) with a print edition from Tell-Tale Press to be in the future.  So it’s been awhile, but the time has come — had actually come yesterday — and now it’s here, the paperback version of THE BLOOD TOMES VOLUME TWO, CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION for those of us who like the feel of a book in our hands, five long stories of beings both real and imaginary to kindle (sorry) the reader’s imagination.  My tale in this:  “The Bala Worm,”* set in modern-day Wales, of a quest for a dragon last seen in the Middle Ages.  Or at least one just like it.  And where do vampires come into all this?

For more on the new paperback edition one need but press here (or to check all titles on Tell-Tale Press’s own website, including the CREATURES, NOVELETTES Kindle version, one may press here).
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*”The Bala Worm” is a reprint first published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and reprinted in my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Perhaps we’ll recall FANTASIA DIVINITY which we’ve met before concerning a reprint of “Flightless Rats,” a tale of the “casket girl”/vampiress Aimée and her problems with dating in 19th century New Orleans (cf. September 27 2017, et al.).  Fast forwarding to September last year, the publisher emerged again with a call for TWISTED FATE VOL. I: APPLES RED AS BLOOD, [t]he first in a new series featuring retellings of fairy tales!  This one will feature Snow White.  We will be looking for new and fresh takes on the tale, however it has to be easily recognizable as a Snow White story.  . . .  We want you to elaborate on the original short tale, give depth and feeling to the characters, motivations, desires, hope, and despair. . . .  Reprints would be okay and the deadline was listed as September 5.

As it happens I ran across the call on September 4, so the time would be short.  But I also realized I had such a reprint, “River Red,” a “Tombs” universe story originally published in ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art, 2009) and reprinted in my 2013 THE TEARS OF ISIS, so out it went the next day, deadline day, with a cover letter hoping it wouldn’t “be too far afield for use.”  Living on the edge, yes?

Then yesterday evening the email arrived — and a happy ending:  Congratulations!  Your story has been chosen to appear in our upcoming anthology APPLES RED AS BLOOD.  We will be in touch soon with the contract.

Details to appear here as they become known.

Maybe not that new, it actually was posted last May, but that just shows I don’t check Goodreads as often as I probably should.  The reviewer is James Agombar and what’s especially nice is he offers a detailed story by story description, though admittedly with possibly one or two spoilers.  Also some stories don’t go over as well with him as others — two going as low as two stars out of five! — though he admits that those might be a matter of taste.  And, best of all, his overall score for the book is a full five!

As he concludes:  . . . I love the way James Dorr crafts his stories and the strangeness fuses well with his style and clarity.  This mixture represents just what he is capable of in terms of diversity and I’d recommend this anthology to anybody if they are wanting something different to the run of the mill blueprint that publishers seem to want with short stories nowadays.  An excellent and strange journey awaits you in top literal form.  But see for yourself by pressing here (from which you can also click the book’s title at the top for its main Goodreads page, including links for purchasing should one so desire).

And . . . it’s out, on schedule, the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology for stories “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, [and] Daring” (see November 15, 8)!  To see or to buy press here.  A list of contents also appears in my November 15 post below, while we also learned the winners today of the small money prizes (the “Awards” part of the title) for the four presumably BOULDest tales of all.  To wit:

1st Place ($50): The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott
2nd Place ($30): The Society – KM Rockwood
3rd Place ($20): Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson
4th Place ($10): Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury

Okay, so my entries are not on the list, not that they’re still not bizarre, etc., in their own right (one, in fact, having also appeared in a 2013 anthology titled BIZARRO BIZARRO*), “Mr. Happy Head” and “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  But hopefully all should be quite worth reading, to be found, again, by pressing here.

 

*While the other, “In the Octopus’s Garden,” is also lead story in my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

 

It was a bit of a star-crossed submission.  “Moons of Saturn” was originally published in Algis Budrys’s TOMORROW in July 1993 as well as reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  Fast forward to this year and, following a second read, it had been rejected by PULP LITERATURE on January 7, though as sometimes will happen with an explanation that it just didn’t fit in with a particular issue.  In any event one doesn’t just send something right back again — except that I did, on June 20, having misread (or somehow skipped over) its previous trip on the story’s log!

So I did what one does in such situations:  the following day I sent an email with my apologies, asking that it be considered withdrawn.   And so life went on.  Except a bit over four months later an email came saying “Moons” had advanced to a second reading.

So you know what comes next.  Today an email arrived from Assistant Editor Genevieve Wynand:   Thank you for your submission.  I am pleased to offer you a tentative acceptance for ‘Moons of Saturn’ to be published in 2020 (specific issue to be determined).  I thoroughly enjoyed your story and look forward to sharing it with our readers!

So . . . closure of a sort.   It’s not unknown that a story not right for one issue will fit exactly right for another.  But what, exactly, does a “tentative”acceptance mean?  So, roll with the motion, I sent a “thank you” email back but added the question of when we would know for sure.  And so it is thus far (the “tentative,” after all, may just mean pending signing a contract, which usually won’t come until at least a little while after).

As for the story, “Moons of Saturn,” here’s the description that had been asked for with the submission:  A man and a highly imaginative woman watch extensive TV coverage of the Voyager missions past Saturn while the woman grows progressively more ill.  More to be revealed here as it becomes known.

The word is out.  Late yesterday the email came from Editor Jake Devlin that the BOULD AWARD ANTHOLOGY (for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” — cf. below, November 8) is expected to be out on Wednesday next week, November 20.  With this came a list of stories, with word counts — as I recall, the limit was set at 3000 words, but with a premium for short and sweet — as reproduced below.  And, as the quote continues:  I’m even more happy to announce that there are double the number of stories that were in the 2018 edition, and we’ve already received several entries for the 2020 edition.  I’d encourage any of you who might want to submit more stories to think “short” stories; I’d love to see more “flash fiction,” maybe 1,000 words or less.  You’ll find an email address at the bottom of the BouldAwards web site* to get the submission requirements via auto-reply.

Then one thing more — two really — my stories in these are “In the Octopus’s Garden,” collected as well in my book THE TEARS OF ISIS (for info on which, click its picture in the center column), and the as yet uncollected “Mr. Happy Head.”  For both of which, here’s the table of contents:

Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson – 1060 words
A Walk In The Park – Francis Hicks – 490
A Man Without His Word – Lise de Nil – 1848
Honor Amongst the Rigid – Wil A. Emerson – 2980
Clarity – Francis Hicks – 720
In the Octopus’s Garden – James Dorr – 2400
Take Nothing For Granite – John Clark – 1170
When I Think About – Gary R. Hoffman – 450
Teacher’s Pets – Kat Fast – 1990
Teagan’s Special Sand Castle – Jake Devlin – 1300
Note Found Near Scattered Human Skeletal Remains – Jack Ewing – 1840
Oh Henry – Wil A. Emerson – 2990
Bait – Eve Fisher – 2700
Zero-Sum – Cheri Vause – 1500
Chemo Queen – Tom Barlow – 2970
The Sadist – Jimmy Summers – 750
In A Town Mostly Forgotten – John Clark – 2060
The Purloined Pickled Peppers – Herschel Cozine – 2400
Eggboy and the Drunk – Lise de Nil – 2990
The Price You Pay – William A. Rush IV – 1850
Henry The Butler – Francis Hicks – 500
The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott – 2800
A Shifting Plan – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2500
Input From A Serial Killer – John Furutani – 2570
Confession of a Serial Killer – Jake Devlin – 500
The Cat – Robert Petyo – 2100
Deer Juj – David Hagerty – 850
The Society – KM Rockwood – 2200
Something Wacky This Way Comes – Karen Phillips – 2000
Pinning Ceremony – John Clark – 2670
Drip-Dry and Wrinkle-Free – Lesley A. Diehl – 2440
Mr. Happy Head – James Dorr – 2700
Preincarnation – Eve Fisher – 1000
To Die a Free Man: The Story of Joseph Bowers – KM Rockwood – 2790
The Suicide Bureau – Robert Petyo – 1700
The Silkie – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2900
Meeting on the Funicular – Kaye George – 735
Cold Snap – Maddi Davidson – 640
Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury – 260
An Apocalyptic Micro Short Story – Jake Devlin – 20

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* Link to appear here with info for ordering on November 20.

A quick, quick note.  While I’m still reading — and enjoying — my authors copy of BLACK INFINITY 5 (see November 6, et al.) I also received a note from Editor Tom English inviting me to send something early to the not quite yet open for submissions BLACK INFINITY 6.  Theme for the issue: “Insidious Insects.”  And as it just happens I do have a story I’m rather fond of, originally published in CHIZINE for July-September 2003 and reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS, a tale of insect infestations . . . and possible alien action in a sort of surrealistic way (to quote myself from the pitch I sent with it), called “Waxworms.”  And one with flying saucers to boot!

So — long story short — I sent it in and yesterday evening received the reply:  I enjoyed reading “Waxworms” and would like to publish it in BLACK INFINITY:  Insidious Insects (issue #6), adding that I should expect a contract a bit after Christmas.  And thus, you’ve read it here first!




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