Posts Tagged ‘The Writing Life’

Hopefully not to the former!  But the question does come up, what about Valentine’s Day for those people you don’t like so much?  And with less than a month left, here is one answer courtesy of Angel Orona on Facebook’s SHIT JUST GOT WEIRD, “Delivered in Hate: In the Victorian Era, People Sent These Grotesque ‘Vinegar Valentines’ to Their Enemies” from VINTAGE.ES (a.k.a. VINTAGE EVERYDAY).  Or, possibly better, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging around so much with people like that in the first place.

Nevertheless we are into horror and, who knows, one could be on the receiving end too.  So as the February feast day approaches, if only to be forewarned press here.

Then back to business, it was an odd sort of contract, an interactive one in a way, but contracts are contracts and this was received from ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE Editor Jason Brick earlier this afternoon (cf. just below, January 19).  I hope you’re still jazzed about this anthology.  The team and I sure are.  Today, though, we’re mostly about business.  More fun stuff comes later, but it’s always best to get the money and contract stuff done early so everybody’s on the same page and nobody’s feelings get hurt.  It was followed by a preview of what would be covered, and then:  If this still sounds like your idea of a good time, click the button below.  It will take you to a Google form where you sign off on this plain-English agreement.  From there, you’re in and we’re all set to move forward.

And there, step by step, one could check the “yes” boxes as each point came up, finally typing one’s name and the date — all easy and neat and uncomplicated, an interesting idea!  Be that as it may, I did as required, and back it went.


Well, at 750 words my flash piece “The Junkie” is an itty bitty story so, when the call went out for an anthology called ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, who was I to resist?  The idea is, as I understand it, that one hundred stories at 1000 or fewer words each will be accepted for the book, “any genre welcome, just keep it awesome.”  Pay — and perhaps even just publication — will depend on Kickstarter success in the near future, so watch these pages for an announcement and link when I know it.

But I get ahead of myself.  The point is that in less than a day’s time, at 9:37 last night according to the time stamp, the email came:  I am thrilled to accept “The Junkie” for the book.  You are now officially confirmed.  This was followed by information on a mailing list for further details plus a request for my confirmation that I was still interested, which I returned.

So, again, check back here for future info and, when the Kickstarter is announced, be aware that generosity will be appreciated by ninety-nine authors as well as me.  And then, when the time comes, enjoy an all-new story (hint:  it does have a zombie in it) by me.

The call was out:  Dramatic, large-scale stories of the distant future, focused on optimism and inclusion and blowing things up.  Weird mashups.  Actual arias.  Fat ladies singing on funeral pyres.  Watery tarts distributing swords optional.  Play fast and loose.  No holds barred as long as it’s a tasteful treatment written with respect.  Lengths were to be 2500 to 7000 words with [o]riginal stories preferred but we will accept a few outstanding reprints.

So you’ve heard the tale.  I responded to test that final provision, but also at the extreme of the guidelines.  Attached is a 7000-word submission for SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI, “The Needle-Heat Gun,” that even ends with singing.  It is a reprint (reprint rights in my possession) that was originally published in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geminid Press, 2016).  And yesterday, exactly two months and one day later, came the response from Editor Jennifer Lee Rossman:  We love The Needle-Heat Gun and would like to publish it in our anthology!

With this — “the writing life,” you know — came a contract and information concerning editing, etc., with me returning the signed contract yesterday afternoon.  As a reprint the editing won’t be much, mainly just a copy edit to make sure everything’s in the right format.  “The Needle-Heat Gun,” incidentally, has been met before on these pages, notably for its original sale (see February 22 2016; November 7, 6 2014) but also for an as far as I can tell never published electronic-only reprint by DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION (August 20, July 29 2017), that first NIGHT LIGHTS publication being paid at a professional rate to boot.  It does get around!  And now for its third (well . . . actually second) appearance, SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI is aiming for a release in August.

More as it becomes known.

‘Crow and Rat’ by James Dorr is a mesmerisingly unusual love story with a dark edge, post-apocalyptic urban myth feel.
Yes, they’re at it again, those two malcontents Rat and Crow, byblows from the world depicted in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  But their story was in a different book, HUMANAGERIE (see December 16, October 28, 3, et al.), published in the UK by Eibonvale Press.  And so the above came in Saturday’s email from HUMANAGERIE Editors Allen Ashley and Sarah Doyle:  Some of you may have seen this on social media, but I’m getting in touch because I thought people might like to read this wonderful review of our beastly book, written by renowned poet, critic and publisher, Sarah James, for Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed.  Such a detailed and sensitive reading is really heartening; Allen and I are so pleased to see you all recognised and appreciated.  To see it all for yourself, press here.
Also a second, more eclectic review appeared about a month ago on the blog RAMEAU’S NEPHEW by nullimmortalis, which can be seen here.  This takes an impressionistic approach and doesn’t necessarily cover the the book’s entire contents, but “Crow and Rat” is there, as seventh in the listed items.  Of interest as well is a link in that item to a review of the BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL, October 2014, and another story — which does appear in my novel-in-stories, TOMBS, incidentally — “Flute and Harp.”

As we continue to settle into 2019, today brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s opening event, “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. December 2, November 4, et al.), this time in the back room of the downtown Soma Coffeehouse.  Featured readers were Bloomington-based writer and occasional dancer and actor Zilia Balkansky-Sellés with “mostly memoirs,” Wendy Teller with the opening chapter of her novel-in-progress THE SORROWS OF SEX, and local poet Eric Rensberger with a brief historical chat about the afternoon’s venue followed by a series of fifteen loosely connected “prose poem paragraphs.”  Holding a larger than average audience, these were followed by seven walk-ons, of which I was third with a just-written (on New Year’s Day to be exact) science-fiction satire of zombies and borders titled “Steel Slats.”

The new year starts with . . . another gigantic royalty payment, and this one actually could buy lunch.  But most likely not dessert with it.  The thing, though, is that it represents people actually buying the book in question and presumably reading it.  If they then like it and tell their friends — or especially write a review for Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, etc., too — those in turn might buy their own copies, and hence more might come to help fatten the money bin.  So the moral is every bit counts or, in this case, it already being after lunchtime when I read the report, I okayed rolling it over into royalties already received, bringing a total that if collected might at this point cover a decent dinner.

Yes, another mammoth royalty has been announced.  Though payment has actually not yet been released, it is promised to be by the end of the month, and so the Money Bin is being dusted out and readied for its receipt.  As has been my past practice, the exact amount (and publisher) is being kept under wraps to avoid embarrassment on both sides, but it is above $0.00.  Not much, but above.

Thus the rich life of the writer and poet.

Thursday brought this year’s closing Players Pub Second Thursday Spoken Word Series, co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild with radio play performances of Lucille Fletcher’s SORRY, WRONG NUMBER; Ray Bradbury’s IT BURNS ME UP!; and, by William S. Burroughs, THE JUNKY’S CHRISTMAS.  This has become somewhat of a tradition, having been the offering last year as well (see December 15 2017), and was followed by an open mike session which, due to a bothersome sore throat, I opted not to join in this time.  The plays, however, were good and I’d especially wanted to hear the Bradbury one again.
But that was not all for the gala pre-Christmas theatrical weekend.  Friday I managed to cop the one remaining unsold ticket for a local production of EVIL DEAD:  THE MUSICAL, unfortunately for the Saturday afternoon matinee (Saturday evening was the last performance and it, and Friday night, were sold out) which, today being local “S.C.I.F.I.” writers critique day, meant I had to plan to leave the meeting early.  But not to worry, my story on the docket could wait until January — and at least the sore throat hadn’t gotten (much) worse.
This is the play that asks the question at only about the second scene, “five teenagers break into a mysterious abandoned cabin in the woods for spring break, and nobody knows where they are.  What could possibly go wrong?”  The play based on the three EVIL DEAD movies, the answer is quite a bit, and quite hilariously, with special honors to the character of Ash’s smarter sister Cheryl, who is also first victim, spending most of the play locked in the cabin’s cellar while still conveying, sometimes by facial expression alone, the sheer manic joy of now being evil.  And then there were the disposable ponchos sold in the lobby — for protection if splashed by stage blood of which there was a lot.  I, forewarned, bought one and sat in the first row, thus being immersed not just in the drama but some of the special effects as well.
Songs included “Cabin in the Woods,” “Look Who’s Evil  Now,” “What the Fuck Was That,” “All the Men in My Life Keep Being Killed by Candarian Demons,” and the ensemble dance number “Do the Necronomicon.”  Even for people like me who don’t like the movies that much, I recommend it.

Okay, there’s no particular reason for it save that, by pure serendipity, I came across this one on the Interwebs and, what the heck, why not share?  Perhaps good for a laugh — or possibly compassion for our animal friends (the article explains that “the eel didn’t make it”) — but courtesy of POPSCI.COM, herewith “Megapixels:  This Is a Seal With an Eel Stuck Up Its Nose” by Rachel Feltman.  To see all click here (or, to start off your week. . . .).

‘Tis the season and all that, so Saturday had me attending not one, but two parties, the first of which was the Bloomington Writers Guild year-end business meeting, pot luck fest, and open mike for everyone gala (see December 9 2017, et al.).  Chicken, salads, pizza, sweets.  Come reading time, my presentation was four very brief, humorous horror poems, all of which were in this Spring’s STAR*LINE: “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “She Did What?,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating,” and “From the Zombie Hunter’s Field Guide: Tracking the Zombie,” all of which I now discover I’d read before but nonetheless which went over well.

That was Saturday afternoon, while evening brought the local Society for Creative Anachronism annual Yule fest:  more food (ham and turkey, pulled pork, deviled eggs, more sweets) and music, the latter of which I helped provide, my recorder group playing carols for a sing along session, followed, as time in the hall ran low, by a Renaissance tune for people to dance to.  In all a pleasant end to the day, but exhausting also.

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