Posts Tagged ‘The Tombs’

This came from one of the authors, Rose Blackthorn via Facebook, that CORPUS DELUXE:  UNDEAD TALES OF TERROR, including my story “River Red” (cf. October 17, September 25, 24), is now available on Kindle.  “River Red” is a tale of the Tombs, my far-future dying-Earth story series, originally published in the 2008 anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE and also appearing in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And now as well in CORPUS DELUXE, for which one may press here.

Also announced is the table of contents (albeit not in final published order), and that’s right here:

Amongst the Living – R. Thomas Riley
A Tale of the Undead – Tony Dews
Blood Bond – Druscilla Morgan and Roy C. Booth
Bury the Bird – Katie M. Flynn
Carlsen’s Plastic Bags – Roy C. Booth and Axel Kohagen
Chooser of the Unslain – Cynthia Booth and Roy C. Booth
Lorcaspedia – Edward Ahren
Lucky Chucky – Stuart Conover
Night Class – David Jon Fuller
Night Staff – Jan Loeb
Night Walker – DJ Tyrer
No Rest – Rose Blackthorn, Author
Rattle of Bones – Robert E. Howard
River Red – James Dorr
Stiffed – Ken MacGregor and Kerry Lipp
The Death of Halprin Frayser – Ambrose Bierce
The Vampire Costume – Daniel S. Duvall
What Are You? – Brian Lu

Sometimes you’ve got it, sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you submit a story to an anthology that may be peripheral to its theme depending on how the editor sees it, sometimes it’s more like a solid hit right down the center of the park — or at least that’s how you see it.  In this case the money might not be great, though they encouraged reprints.  And the title, well, how could one resist?  CORPUS DELUXE: UNDEAD TALES OF TERROR.

“We want your horror stories featuring the undead — zombies, revenants, mummies, ghouls, ghasts, you name it, even vampires although bloodsuckers may be a hard sale since we envision ourselves being deluged with vampire stories.  Be original!”  The length range was 2000 to 5000 words (this let out some vampire stories I might have tried, published in places like DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, since they’d be too short).  So zombies could be nice, but aren’t they getting a bit common too?

But above all the idea is still:  be original.  What I do sometimes is list out stories when reprints are allowed, then cross out the ones that seem least likely, taking in word lengths, sub-themes, etc., circling the ones that seem most attuned to what seems to be wanted.  So what ended up on top was a “Tombs” story, one in an exotic dying-world setting a3766224nd with a zombie in it, yes, but with a science-fictional sort of pseudo explanation, and as a bonus one that appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS (albeit originally published in Canada in Ink Oink Art, Inc.’s 2008 anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE) thus making it a sort of advertisement as well for the collection.  And also a story I often use for readings, etc., with (may I say it?) a truly horrific ending.*  The story, if not last (cf. post for September 19, below) then next to last in THE TEARS OF ISIS, “River Red.”

Off it went Monday, September 21, and the question became “did I choose well?”  The answer arrived today, only three days later, from Editor Jorge Salgado-Reyes:  “Thank you for your submission.  We have accepted it.”  In other words, a resounding yes.

(And one sort of P.S. that can bear repeating:  “Please announce it from the four corners of the interwebs.  We need as much social media buzz as possible in the lead up to publication.”)


*The ending, actually, is cribbed from Euripides so I probably can say it.

It’s been a long time coming all around, but late Tuesday afternoon White Cat Publications’s  steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (see April 7, March 31, et al.) landed on my front porch, via FedEx, completing a voyage lasting nearly two and three-quarter years.  As was reported here at the start of this year (cf. January 3)A_and_A, after a September 4 2012 acceptance of a story by me and adding that mine would be last in the contents of stories to be set in chronological order, “. . .  then it disappeared.  As an airship drifting behind a cloud, the anthology . . . was gone!

“And so it goes.

“Two long years passed, even rumors fading away like wisps of mist before an autumn dawn. . . .

“But then — actually on December 30 but due to a hiatus at this end not opened until January 2 — came an email from Editor [Charles P.] Zaglanis with a contract attached!  With it was a request to copy, sign, and return two copies ‘so I can cut you a check.  Feel free to revise your bio if you wish.  Thank you for your patience and the wonderful story.’”

And then, more waiting, but not so much this time.  The Kindle copy was published first, but a bit of minor last minute editing was required before it went to print.  Then it was at the printers.  Then up on Amazon, where it can be found by pressing here. . . .

And now in my hands!  A delightful volume of “[t]ales from a world that should have been. . .  Fifteen stories spanning the ages from ancient Greece to a far-flung dying future” — from “A Courtly Diversion” by Gary Cuba to my own offering, “Raising the Dead,” one in my series of tales set in the “Tombs,“ a vast necropolis and its environs in the latter days of a ghoul-ridden, dying Earth.

From just a brief dipping in thus far, it has been worth the wait.

Speaking of “long delayed” anthologies (as we have just below) let us now take a trip in the wayback machine to the year 2012, in the month of September.  Here we find news of such things as a story, ”Avoid Seeing a Mouse,” to be published in the anthology ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES as edited by one Max Booth III; local group Upstart Poets continues to hold monthly readings; a poem called “California Vamp” has been selected for inclusion in the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s annual DWARF STARS anthology; DAILY SCIENCE FICTION’s first-year print collection has just been received; and then this item from September 4th:

But what about new work?  Well, yesterday’s walkthrough of mounting up email revealed a quick and at first slightly cryptic, more probably from my still starry-eyed condition from Worldcon than any real failing in its wording, message from Chuck Zaglanis . . . the import [of which] is that a hitherto unpublished story, “Raising the Dead,” has been accepted for the upcoming anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS.  “We seek steampunk stories featuring strong characters, exciting plotlines, and automatons airships-final-front-cover1-224x300and/or airships.  . . .  Dystopian, humorous, pulp, Lovecraftian, upbeat or dark — all have a place here.  Please don’t feel constrained to write in a Victorian setting.  It’s steampunk, push the boundaries.  We’re looking for that certain flavor of writing that’s hard to explain, but obvious when it’s present.”   

“Raising the Dead” is at heart a love story with curators, ghouls, Necromancers, graves . . . and an airship.  It’s one of my “Tombs” stories set on a far-future dying Earth and, as I noted in my cover letter, “dystopic but with a sort of transcendent hope.”

I went on to say that “[a]s I understand it, the stories in AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS will follow a chronological order, beginning with one set in ancient Greece, and progressing to . . . maybe the world of the Tombs?  In other words, as in the guidelines quoted in part above, to take it away from the run of the mill of exclusively Victorian settings and add, I think, an extra level of novelty and excitement.”

And then it disappeared.  As an airship drifting behind a cloud, the anthology . . . was gone!

And so it goes.

Two long years passed, even rumors fading away like wisps of mist before an autumn dawn. . . .

But then — actually on December 30 but due to a hiatus at this end not opened until January 2 — came an email from Editor Zaglanis with a contract attached!  With it was a request to copy, sign, and return two copies “so I can cut you a check.  Feel free to revise your bio if you wish.  Thank you for your patience and the wonderful story.”

So it is back — or at least one hopes.  More will be reported here as it is revealed.  For now at least, the contracts went into the mail this morning; an updated bio was emailed last night (a major addition:  that the collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, then awaiting a hoped for May publication, has since become a 2014 Bram Stoker Award(R) nominee); and, if all goes well, I think AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS may become a major addition to the steampunk genre — and one that will have been worth the wait!

“Inside this issue of the BFS Journal, then, you will find fiction, poetry, and features showcasing the fact that fantasy, perhaps more than any other literary form, can and should be open to all forms of LGBTQ expression.  From trans-forest dwellers lusting after a sultry demigod in Sarah Newton’s ‘The Treeleaper’, to gender-preferences being thrown out of the window in between some classic sword-and-sorcery in Lea Fletcher’s ‘The Last Man of Rowandale’, fantasy’s secondary world structure allows for the examination of alternate norms in a unique way.  Further, it reminds us that no matter how we identify we are all people, and we can all understand each other in that way.  After all, what is fantasy for if not to look at reality in a different way?”

So says BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL #12 Editor Max Edwards, the call having gone out a half year before for “some of the material in #12 to reflect the theme ‘LGBT & Fantasy’.  This could be fiction or poetry featuring LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters or non-fiction concerning LGBT authors or writing.”

On Monday the issue arrived in my mailbox with, sandwiched among the stories cited above, my tale of “Flute and Harp” (cf. May 27), about two doomed musicians and their mutual love.  Originally published in the anthology WHISPERS & SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), “Flute and Harp” is set in my far-future, dying-Earth universe of the “Tombs” where love, above most things and regardless of details, is highly valued .*

And then for something a fair bit different.  A few days ago, with a tip of the hat to Joan Hawkins (cf. post just below) via Nate Carroll on Facebook, I, Francophilehrrrgrndggnl2GrandGuignol (and theatre maven — well, sort of) that I am, came across a piece on an interesting phase of theatrical history.  I speak of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, Paris’s infamous precursor of splatterpunk from 1897 to a little bit after World War II, as described briefly — but with pictures — in a post on by Paul Gallagher, for which press here.

Or for more on le Grand Guignol, since I wasn’t going to let it go at only that, a more complete history by Agnes Peirron (translated from French by Deborah Treisman) can be found here.  Other links can be found on this page too, along with this description of the almost sad ending of live theatre’s possibly most outré era. “In an interview conducted immediately after the Grand-Guignol closed in 1962, Charles Nonon, its last director, explained:  ‘We could never compete with Buchenwald. Before the war, everyone believed that what happened on stage was purely imaginary; now we know that these things — and worse — are possible.’”


*For a special “Flute and Harp” fun fact, the story had also been accepted in 2003 by Laurajean Ermayne for the late Forrest J. Ackerman’s upcoming SCIFI LESBIANTHOLOGY, as by Jamie Dorr.  However, to my knowledge, the anthology has never been published.

The word came later than usual for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION (cf. April 17, et al.), these things happen, but there it was this morning, the proof sheet for my latest story plus the announcement that it would be posted this Monday, September 1.  That’s right, Labor Day, so if you have a holiday that day, there’s plenty of time (that is, after marching in the parade if you’re scheduled to do so, otherwise watching it and enjoying the picnic after) to read and reread all approximately 500 words of the story, called “Rocky Road.”   “Rocky Road” is the tale of a woman who develops unusual habits after a surfeit of Rocky Road ice cream and so has to give it up.  As for the habits, well. . . .

The neat thing, though, is that this is my first story for DAILY SCIENCE FICTION that will include the warning, ***Editor’s Note:  Adult Story, Mature Themes***.

Then speaking of DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, this afternoon saw me on the Spoken Word Stage at this year’s Bloomington Arts Fair (more properly, the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, cf. August 1, et al.) for a half hour prose horror reading, the final story of which was “Casket Girls,” originally published there earlier this year on April 10 (q.v.).  Far from the sweaty sun-filled weather expected, this morning was marked by thunderstorms, serious enough that the start of the Indiana University football team’s 10645193_709074875815015_7329336544313172549_nopening game elsewhere in the city was delayed due to lightning.  However, the show went on — the Bloomington Writers Guild had a shelter the readings were under which helped during rain spells, granted originally planned for protection from the sun — and by the time my “prime time” 2:30 p.m. slot came round (the afternoon weather having improved to warm but cloudy), things were only running about five minutes late.

In all I had a pretty good crowd as these things go, about a dozen people give or take or roughly half the seating capacity which, to put it in perspective, was comparable to the number Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras got at his reading two hours later, despite his being accompanied by a very cute dog.  The other stories I read, in order, were “Tombs” story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (July 23, et al.) and, as a light interlude, my flash “Undying Love” from UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND (January 6 2013).

Members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association who failed to get their DWARF STARS votes in by Friday (see August 11), take heart!  The announcement came yesterday afternoon that they’ve extended the deadline for voting to the end of the month, August 31.  My poem in this is “The Werewolf Explains,” tucked in at the top of page 21.  Telling you in only four words all you need to know should you meet a lycanthrope, it’s also the shortest poem in the book (full disclosure:  if one counts in the title, making a total of seven words, there is an untitled haiku-type poem that comes in a bit shorter, but that takes three lines while my poem has just two).  But many of the poems are worth reading even if you’re not a member of the SFPA.

Nevertheless, if you are a member but failed to vote in time, you now have a second chance.  More information can be found here.

Also Fox Spirit Books has announced that Book 2 of THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD is now out in print format.  This is the one that takes up the happenings post apocalypse, while my story “The Borrowed Man” (cf. August 8, et al.), set in my far future dying-Earth world of the “Tombs,” is in the opening section of Book 1.  However, if you read that volume and enjoyed it, and yearn for more, it can now be obtained by pressing here.

Excitement continues!  Last December the word had gone out that DARK MOON DIGEST planned a special issue,  one geared toward young adult readers.  “Ghosts?  Zombies?  Vampires?  Witches?  Werewolves?  Chupacabra?  It’s all up to you.  Just remember:  Keep it exciting and moving along.  Let’s give the younger generation a taste of horror and keep them reading.”

Sounded good to me at the time — and I’d had dealings with DARK MOON before (e.g, as a book publisher, cf. AFTER DEATH, ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES, November 9, 5 2012, et al.; for the DIGEST, April 27 2012, et al.), so why not?    So I sent off a 750-word or so short short called “The Cyclops,” noting that while the protagonist is actually younger than those in the intended audience, it was “on a theme of alienation and isolation brought through ‘differentness’ that might appeal to young adults.”

This afternoon Editor Stan Swanson emailed, “We would like to use ‘Cyclops’ in the special young adult issue of DARK MOON DIGEST.  Great story and it will be a good fit.”  SuggestedImage edits and a contract are to follow.

So, a good guess on my part, eh?  More details also will follow here.

Then, as proofing of THE TEARS OF ISIS ramps up into high gear, I’ve also received an email from Red Skies Press editor Mark Crittenden that proof sheets for TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (see September 8, August 20 2012, et al.) will be sent out soon, so, while delayed a bit from an originally hoped for publication date last Decenber, the anthology is getting back on the fast track.  My contribution in this is “Ghost Ship,” a story set in the far-future dying-Earth world of the “Tombs,” in this case on an  island  in the south seas for which its own future has come to a stop.

Again, more details will follow as they are known.

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