Posts Tagged ‘The Writing Life’

A thought provoking dark fantasy anthology where Love follows Death, and where that’s not always a bad thing.

Twenty Two fabulous inspired short stories, from a fresh line-up of authors, ensure that there will be something for everyone, and with many being on the macabre side of things, this anthology makes the perfect counter-programming read for those who want something a little different come Valentines Day.

The wheels grind slowly, but they keep grinding, this a small notice from an anthology called DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, from Beyond Death Publishing, and a call to look over text for a Kickstarter campaign to begin soon which, hopefully, will add a bit more to author payments.  And so there is skin in the game for us all.  The blurb above pretty well describes the theme, with my story in it originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, about a lighthouse and a ghost lightkeeper titled “The Sending”* (see April 30, which also includes a table of contents).

So Thursday evening I sent back two small corrections for my bio copy, another small part of the life of the writer.  If all goes well, according to Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate, they’re aiming for a Valentine’s Day 2020 release.  But look for the Kickstarter much, much sooner with prizes spanning both books and keepsakes, like T-shirts and coffee mugs, to be announced on these pages when live.

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*”The Sending” has also been reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, for which one can click on its picture in the center column.

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Catching up, what a wonderful feeling when it’s story acceptances!  This came in after I’d written yesterday’s post (and that for a late Thursday night sale itself!), from Editor-in-Chief Patrick C. Harrison III:  Congratulations! We at Death’s Head Press have chosen to publish your short story, “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City,” in our anthology, BREAKING BIZARRO.  Please look over the attached contract (don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions) and email a signed copy back to us within the next few weeks.

The story, a reprint originally published in the March 2001 edition of NUKETOWN, to quote myself in my cover letter when I sent it in is written stylistically as a tall tale, yet is still an absurd story of the Olde West, and of how a failed alien invasion, an ace muleskinner who also could herd cats, a failed tree planting, and green-glowing mice turned a dying town into a city as up to date as St. Louis.  That and the invention of a better mouse trap and a warehouse full of dried navy beans, which all also combine to serve young love — although at worst with a mildly implied PG rating.  This one, also, is a bit longer than yesterday’s “Frogs’ Hair,” which actually is about five words shorter than my self-quoted description above.

And so today, Saturday, back went the contract, with more to be reported here as it becomes known.

By any other name. . .  On the contract the book is called BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS; on at least one set of guidelines, THE FAR EDGE OF NORMAL; on another BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR THE SOUL.  The description:  What?  You were expecting it to be a NORMAL book filled with NORMAL stories?  Nope. Silliness and weirdness will abound.  All I ask is that submissions be happy and silly and hopeful.  Not dark or froggie1scary or disturbing.  Well, maybe a little disturbing.  And one more thing, that the cut-off for length was 125 words.  So, as it happened, I had such a story, “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair,” a tale of fairyland witches and magic.  And also beauticians.

So late last night, possibly while I was still at the movies (see post just below), came the reply from Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg:  I would like to publish “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair” in the collection.  Attached is a contract.  Please fill it out and send it back to me as a doc attachment.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  And that is that.  “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair” was originally published in MISCELLANEA:  A TRANSDIMENSIONAL LIBRARY (Eggplant Literary Productions, November 14 2013) and is exactly 75 words long, but more to the point it is silly and weird.  And maybe only a little disturbing.

Ah, June!  And with Wednesday evening it was time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at Bears Place (cf. May 2, et al.).  The musical guests were the VLF (drummer John Valdez, bass Park Law, and guitarist and sometime voice Jason Fickel) Trio, sharing the stage with poetry by Tim Heerdink, author of RED FLAG AND OTHER POEMS plus another collection, THE HUMAN REMAINS, and first novel LAST LIGHTS OF A DYING SUN due in the near future; creative nonfiction (and sometimes mixed with a little fiction too) from Juliana Crespo with work in or forthcoming in a number of literary journals; and more poetry from local Bears Place server Brian Boucher, with a novella, “Wahoo,” serialized in THE RYDER Magazine plus poetry book ARROGANT ENLIGHTENMENT AND A CRY FOR PURPOSE on Instagram.  Then we, the walk-ons came with, in fifth place out of seven, new fille à la caissette Yvonne making her debut in a brief, 1830s-set New Orleanian tale of blood and absinthe, “The Darkness, Forgotten.”

Well, not just a “sheet” but a whole 256 page book, ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see May 14, March 27, et al.), or at least a Word DOCX copy thereof.  The challenge:  The stragglers are in.  What’s attached is the manuscript proof for our book.  Here’s your assignment.

Step One:  Read your entry carefully (including your listing in the table of contents).
Step Two:  Email me here with either an indication that all is well or exact specifications of changes you want.  This is emergencies only.  Misspellings.  Typos.  Using your real name instead of your pen name.  The time for stylistic “improvements” is long past.
Step Three:  Read the entries immediately before or after yours, checking for typos and similar errors.  If you have the last entry, read the one before and the first.  If you have the first entry, read the one after and the last.
Step Four:  Include suggested changes in the email.

This is the compendium of “100 Stories by 100 Authors,” each story no more than 1000 words long, edited by Dani J. Caili and Jason Brick and with my story in it a 750-word epic, “The Junkie,” about current day medico-socialogical problems . . . and zombies.  And, the challenge further to be getting corrections in by the middle of next week, I made a point of returning mine (just one minor change needed) this evening.  Or as co-editor Brick expressed it, [i]f you can get this done by mid next week, that would be amazing. We’re still on track to ship in June, but we’ll have to hustle a wee bit. 

Or, as one might say, the last “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” of the current season, the series going on summer hiatus for June through August.  Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington in collusion with The Monroe County Convention Center, there were two featured poets this wonderfully warm end-of-May afternoon:  the first, Nancy Chen Long, author of LIGHT INTO BODIES along with a chapbook CLOUDS AS INKBLOTS FOR THE WAR PRONE, both of which were available at the reading, read six poems from her latest project, WIDER THAN THE SKY, about memory and the actions of the brain; this then followed by Writers Guild regular Eric Rensberger reading from the most recent “sequence” — a chronological grouping of fifty to sixty poems — from his ongoing internet collection ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS.  Then after the snack break a larger than usual group of seven poets offered their work, of which I was sixth with three summer (or at least with summer mentioned in them) poems, “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, “Summer Cancellations” concerning seasonal ways to die, and the vampirically-tinged “The Esthete,” the last of which also appears in my own VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

Can’t live with it, can’t live without it, once in a universe long ago, far, far away, PayPal used to tell one when one had received money.  Or maybe it is that they now considered themselves so important that, why just naturally, people would visit them every day — maybe even each hour! — to see what they’d spent and/or what they’d got.  So, silly me, having blogged about Tell-Tale Press’s publication of my novelette “The Bala Worm” (for which, see just below for yesterday’s post), I started to wonder if, having earlier posted on May 14 that payment was due within a week, I had in fact been paid.  So, what to do?  Check PayPal.

So the good news is this:  I have not only been paid, but the cash came just a day after the 14th, on May 15, semi-pro to be sure but nevertheless a nice little sum and worth several dinners.  Even with cocktails, should I wish to have them.  And one more surprise, one more little secret the folk at PayPal were concealing from me — or, rather, were daring me to seek myself — payment had also been received from CURIOUS GALLERY (cf. May 1) for “Appointment in Time” apparently just after I’d sent back the contract, on May first as well!

“Appointment in Time” is a clockpunky New Year’s Eve story originally published in Untreed Reads Publishing’s YEARS END:  FOURTEEN TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, about how the New Year actually comes forth (not exactly the same as they show on TV), while for “The Bala Worm,” well, you can read it yourself right now for free by just pressing its link in the post just below.

Two quick bits of news arrived late yesterday and today, the first from Editor Andrea Dawn that payment (ahem!) for my story “The Bala Worm” (cf. April 26, 6) will be coming in less than a week, with the Tell-Tale Press anthology CREATURES on schedule to appear on Kindle on May 23 with stories also available then on the publisher’s website.   “The Bala Worm,” a novelette of dragon hunting in modern Wales, is itself a reprint, originally published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and also appears in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

Then today’s note comes from Editor/Publisher Jason Brick that things had gotten a wee bit behind for ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE (see March 27, et al.), so to catch up we’re going to . . . skip the step where everybody gets a pdf proof of the copy of their story individually, and roll right on to sending out a pdf proof of the book itself.  Which I’m hoping we’ll send out late next week.  This is an anthology of 100 stories of 1000 or fewer words apiece, “any genre, any style,” including my original flash piece,”The Junkie,” with publication still expected for June.

Another step, this on the road for poetry, to resolve some questions involving commas in “Roadkill Doll,” one of two poems being set up for STAR*LINE (cf. May 1) from Editor Vince Gotera.  The trick with poetry is oftentimes not the just the words themselves, but how they’re presented and why they’re presented so.  And so, too, the importance of punctuation — and whether a poem is something that’s to be seen on a page, or if it’s to be sometimes read aloud:  that is, grammar versus flow.

So it’s complicated, but questions answered, reasons given, and just sent back, with “Roadkill Doll” (and companion poem “Enemy Action”) now that much closer to publication in a future STAR*LINE.

This afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s last “First Sunday Prose and Open Mic” readings at Bears Place (cf. April 8, et al.) for spring, the series going on summer hiatus for June and July.  There were two featured readers:  novelist and essayist Dennis McCarty, whose latest book, THOUGHTS FROM A GENTLE ATHEIST, is expected to be available on Amazon later this month, read parts of three chapters from his REFLECTIONS:  ON TIME, CULTURE, AND SPIRITS IN AMERICA about Idaho’s Minidoka War Relocation Center and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; and mystery novelist and DJ/host of local WFHB radio’s weekly show “All That Jazz” Ray Zdonek read two short chapters from DIANA OF THE DUNES, the latest in his multi-volume Lee Kosac detective series.  Then, following a short break, there were five walk-on readers of which I was first with a holdover from last month, “Che,” originally published in the Summer 2006 BLEEDING QUILL, a flash fiction satire about the George W. Bush administration and how it defeated a terrorist Cuban zombie invasion of the moon.




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