Posts Tagged ‘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what one does in such situations:  the following day I sent an email with my apologies, asking that it be considered withdrawn.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!

And here’s a tip:  try thinking like a comedian; some of their takes on ideas/events/people/things can often inspire/trigger your own weird, wild, BOULD creativity.  Some of my personal favorites are Steven Wright, the deadpan American comedian; Milton Jones, a Brit; and the “Scenes We’d Like to See” segments of a BBC show called “Mock the Week,” all available on YouTube.  (Just a suggestion.  If nothing else, you might have a good laugh or two . . . or ten.)

Say what?

So it was part of a call for the annual BOULD Awards competition, which actually does award smallish prizes as well as publication in an annual anthology.  The anthology, not surprisingly, would be titled BOULD AWARDS 2019 SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY.  And the reading period was about a year long.

BOULD, by the way, stands for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” and, despite the above, does not necessarily have to be comic.  Up to three stories could be submitted, of 3000 words or less apiece, with the judging based on character, plot, writing style (“voice”), creativity and DARING/boldness/audacity (“pushing the envelope” or going beyond it).  So why not, thought I, and I sent in two on January 9, and then more or less forgot about it.

AND NOW IT CAN BE TOLD, word having been sent by Editor Jake Devlin Monday, November 4, with a request to wait on announcing it until the 8th (though due to an over-zealous spam filter, not actually received till yesterday, November 7):  both stories have been accepted for publication in the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology, which will be published in early December 2019 or perhaps before.  Though no word yet about the money prizes, which range from $10 to $50 for the four top places, perhaps to be revealed to me later (or maybe the judges, while liking my work, didn’t like it that much).  But acceptances — in this case both for reprints — are still acceptances, yes?  More here as it becomes known.

And the stories themselves?  The first is “In the Octopus’s Garden,” originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA for March-April 1999 and also lead story in my 2013 collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS; the second “Mr. Happy Head” from WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (as yet uncollected).

Also known as SCIFIANDFANTASYREVIEWER.WORDPRESS.COM, the word came Saturday evening from SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (see August 14, 6 et al.) Editor Nicole Petit:  I wanted to let you know we’ve had one of our first reviews come up!  It’s really detailed and positive!  Thank you so much for all of your hard work, and I’m so glad that someone is noticing!

Nine stories, in fact, are singled out for individual comment by the eponymous reviewer of which my own “Bottles,” about a young Puerto Rican woman in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts, is one:  Set against a background of white privilege, anti-communism and outright racism  . . .  an engaging and unique story that has a genuinely surprising ending that caught me off-guard.  Other tales cited are set in such locales as Las Vegas, the back roads of Texas, and even outside the US in the British Isles, with equally eclectic aspects of the 1950s — and the occult, or at least just strange — providing their own unique background color.

The review can be read for yourself by pressing here (note that the link at the review text’s top is for Amazon.uk, though it is on Amazon, et al., in the US too).  I should note too that “Bottles” itself is also reprinted in my own collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Writers Guild at Bloomington tagged you in the description of Writers Guild Spoken Word Stage was the email message header; the content the schedule of readings for this year’s Writers Guild Spoken Word Stage at the annual “Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts” (see September 1, August 27 2018, et al.) on Labor Day Weekend or, more precisely, August 31 and September 1.  I’m up for “Horror Fiction” on the Saturday, the 31st, in a prime time spot at 2 p.m., sandwiched between a half hour of audio theater and a poetry reading.  But what shall I read, that is the question — I have my eye on one piece from THE TEARS OF ISIS that I don’t believe I’ve read before, but I need to go through it to make sure it isn’t overly “family unfriendly” in terms of language.  And that said, I’ll probably need to choose a shorter piece too, or perhaps some poems, to round out my half hour.

So I’ll try to update in a week or so when I’ve made my decision and done some timings — with also perhaps a schedule then of other readers, allowing a little time for late adjustments.  But circle the dates, the Arts Fair is always fun and this year it’s Saturday and Sunday, the 31st and 1st, on Bloomington’s 4th Street with the Writers Guild’s booth and stage just around the corner to the south on Dunn Street.

What a busy second week in August!  Sunday brought an electronic authors copy of SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (see the first week, August 6, et al.) along with an interview questionnaire.  Part of “The Writing Life” and all that.  A check with Amazon also shows the Kindle edition is now available and can be found by pressing here, while, with the above mentioned busy week, I was only able to get to the interview part last night, with answers going back to the editor today.

SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES, we may remember, is an anthology of stories set in the 1950s.  Supernatural stories.  . . .  Not horror stories, necessarily, but stories that use the 1950s and its spook culture (and spook-busting culture) in an engaging way.  Bring us supernatural adventures, supernatural mysteries, supernatural fantasy, or supernatural pulp.  My part in this, originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and also reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, is titled “Bottles,” the tale of a Puerto Rican maid in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts, mixed up with anti-Communist crusaders and . . . vampires.  Or are they vampires because, as everyone knows, vampires don’t exist, do they?

To find out, one can press the link in the first paragraph, above, or in the August 6 post below find links to the publisher’s ordering site, or to Amazon for the print edition.

The email came from publisher 18thWall Productions (cf. April 20, et al.):  First, congratulations!  SOCKHOPS & SEANCES is now available for sale!  We can’t wait for everyone to enjoy your work!  You might’ve noticed the book going up and down on Amazon over the last few days — we were in a battle with that many-headed hydra to get the HTML in the sales description to appear properly.  All is well now, and ready for general release!  A few other details followed, but what’s SOCKHOPS & SEANCES about anyway?  Well, glad you asked, and the (now available) Amazon blurb may answer:

Award-Winning curator Nicole Petit presents the ginchiest look into the supernatural world of the 1950s.

Between poodle skirts and white picket fences, there should be only one place to meet a monster:  at the local drive-in.  Captured by technicolor, these creatures of the night are banished by hanging up the speaker.

But there are other forces at work in the night.  The ghost of a wooden roller coaster haunts the theme park that tore it down.  Hot-Rodders race a particularly hellish speed demon.  An American P.I. in London braves the fog to find a man chasing lights in the sky.  A small town boy detective takes on three impossible, eldritch cases.  There’s no telling what’s out there, beyond the drive-in’s screen.

In other words, that’s what, and much much more too.  May I quote from myself, on the occasion of my submission’s acceptance from May 1 2018, below?   . . . [T]he job was to recall the 1950s with an occult flavor, the anthology to be called SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES.  Reprints would be okay.  It just so happened I had a story, “Bottles,” originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004; also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS), set in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts.  Historical accuracy would be insisted on (I lived in Cambridge from late 1959 to mid-1964).  But also with vampires, perhaps a bit chancy, or at least someone who believed in vampires combined with a period fear of Communism.

Or to see, perchance to order yourself, check the publisher’s site by pressing here for electronic copies, from which one may also scroll down to find links for the print edition or, more directly, by pressing here.

Yes they are used copies, but out-of-print DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET is there with a “very good” copy for $8.99 and shipping free, plus a very good copy of THE TEARS OF ISIS for $9.46, shipping again free.  And many anthologies with work by me, BORDERLANDS 2, ALTERED AMERICA, INTO THE DREAMLANDS, others, are on ABEBOOKS.COM’s current sale pages — but beware all non-fiction, especially books about descriptive geometry, and a few others by people with names that are similar to mine.  Thus work search engines.
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If interested though there are some real bargains in this month’s list, some from quite a few years back (perusing the list was nostalgic for me), which can be found by pressing here.  In that they’re used I won’t get royalties on any (though for books that one likes, one can always help authors by writing reviews for Amazon, et al.), but what the heck — if you give it a whirl the entries are listed by price, lowest to highest, and the ones I cited (DARKER LOVES, TEARS) will be found on page 2.

Book bargains galore (well, sort of), or a very quick update, Amazon’s price for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (see July 15) is still holding good, though one never knows when such things may change.  But here is some new news, a recheck on THE TEARS OF ISIS now has listings for three used copies in “very good” condition, and with shipping FREE, at $9.98.  That is, under ten dollars (though, since Amazon now adds on sales tax for at least some states, the actual cost may be a little bit more).  And there’s also a fourth copy at $6.03 with a shipping cost of $3.95 which comes to . . . also $9.98!  For more (and maybe to buy one?) press here.

Best hurry though, if you want a bargain — the next least expensive used copy of TEARS is for $22.98 (with shipping still free, but in just “good” condition).  While for a new copy, Amazon still lists the paperback at the cover price of $12.95.




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