Posts Tagged ‘The Writing Life’

Remember FLASH IN A FLASH? “The Third Prisoner” (a.k.a. just “Prisoner” — cf. January 21, et al.)? A persistent sort, that pesky prisoner may be making a comeback!

The occasion is a kickstarter for the omnibus FLASH IN A FLASH print compendium from Editor/Publisher Jason Brick, titled WORTH 1,000 WORDS: A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY. Or, quoting the blurb, 100 short stories by 100 authors. Flash fiction at its finest. We have authors from the USA, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, China, and the Netherlands. It’s truly become a worldwide celebration of fiction, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Also, it’s set to be ready for shipping on December 3 — that’s just two weeks from now — at which time the kickstarter will also have ended!

But first it needs to be funded, and that’s the point. For details, donations, one can press here. And there are prizes, including multiple copy opportunities (WORTH 1,000 WORDS is the latest of four separate flash anthologies, another of which, ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, cf. August 28 2019, et al., also has a story by me, of zombie addictions) to be found at the site by scrolling down the list at the right side. But, again, one must hurry: as noted above these special deals will be gone in just two weeks, at 12 a.m. (PST) Thursday, December 3.

(Not to mention a generous response could add to our, the authors’ pay.)

My part in the project is the tale of revolution and certain arts of a darker variety, “The Third Prisoner,” as noted above, originally published in (as Honorable Mention, Ligonier Valley Writers 2008 Flash Fiction Contest, “Zombie Stories”, November 2008) as well as in Brazil in I ANTOLOGIA LUSIADAS (in Portuguese as “O Terceiro Prisioneiro,” Ediciones Lusiadas, 2009), along with a few other places in English. And under the truncated title of “Prisoner,” again noted above, on January 21 this year in FLASH IN A FLASH number 39.

This one’s almost a mystery. Last heard from a year ago in fall (see September 30 2019, et al.), the book’s full title would be DISCORDANT LOVE BEYOND DEATH, from Beyond Death Publishing. My tale within, one from ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in 1997, was “The Sending,” of lighthouses, ghost keepers, and soon-to-be lovers at the beginning of the Great Depression.

Kickstarters were started, bookplates for authors to autograph were mailed around, and . . . pfft! It was gone.

But then in today’s email, the following missive from was-to-be Editor/Publisher Dickon Springate: For BDP, its writers and editors, it is fair to say that things haven’t gone according to plan, and deadlines and been revised and then re-revised, with only minimal progress to show for the passing of time.

The decision was made a few hours ago, that come hell or high water, the anthology needed to be published, and with it being a book about love, the most fitting day for the release date would be: 14th February 2021.

So . . . maybe? Of course, those of us who have been in discordant loves in the past know all about promises, but we’ll see.

We’ll see.

Please find attached the edited version of your story for the Black Hare Press #LOCKDOWN FREE FICTION anthologies, launching soon.

Please check that the title and author name are correct. Please review all suggested changes, and add any further amendments you require directly into the document. If you have a query about any of the suggestions, please make a note in your returning email.


Ah, now. The story in question: “The Blade of Gudrin” (see April 20), originally published in the Spring 1993 edition of SPACE AND TIME, a sword-and-sorceryish tale of derring-do in a desert kingdom, complete with knife fights and evil queens. And the occasion? From Black Hare Press, an acceptance (cf. April 20) for your submission to FANTASY (#LOCKDOWN FREE FICTION). We really enjoyed your story – The Blade of Gudrin – and would like to inform you that it has been accepted for inclusion in the publication.

The idea was this would be one of three anthologies, the others being horror and sf, to be offered free to readers during the coronavirus lockdown. A nice idea and, in that the lockdown seems to be continuing and/or being reimposed in much of the world this winter, even if perhaps a little later than first expected, still one that is welcome. Black Hare Press, incidentally, is the one also putting out a series of seven (non-free) anthologies based on the Seven Deadly Sins, in which I have a story of sweet lesbian vampire love, “A Cup Full of Tears,” for the one on LUST (see February 25, et al.).

Then back to “Gudrin,” the proof copy went back lateish this afternoon, with more to be here as it becomes known.

And it is here!

MADAME GRAY’S CREEP SHOW that is (see October 28, et al.), landed in the Computer Cave mailbox earlyish this afternoon. We remember, don’t we, to be a book of (to quote the original call) well-written, spine-tingling tales of horror infused with black humor (gallows humor)?

And my story in this, long a favorite of mine of sorts, but one which for some reason (poor taste, by any chance?) was doomed to languish for many years before Madame Gray finally agreed to take it in, a tale of a newly dead man titled “Wormbreath.” Or maybe not precisely unsold for that many years, it actually having been accepted on one of its earlyest trips out, but to a journal which promptly folded before it could be published. In other words, “The Writing Life,” right?

And thus an earlier story of mine, maybe a smidge crude in style, but one that at last can now be read! One of twenty-three stories in 408 pages (in paperback form) which, to see for oneself, may be checked out here.

I’d sure forgotten it, yes, a story originally sent on May 26 . . . 2016! Yes, that’s four and a half years. But today the word came from Editor Jason Marchi.

This will come as a shock to you after all this time . . . but after many interruptions, long waits on a number of permissions, and factors beyond our control, the AUTOMOBILIA book is finally nearing completion and will be published in August 2021.

We would like to include “The Christmas Vulture” in the anthology.

“The Christmas Vulture?” Originally published in Fall 2010 in UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND, as well as elsewhere (cf. March 21 2012; December 23 2010), a tale of poor driving habits and an unexpected just-before-holiday rescue, this highway horror will now re-emerge in AUTOMOBILIA in, tentatively, August 2021. Other details were offered involving contracts and payment, to which I sent back my “yes” this evening.

As for AUTOMOBILIA, original guidelines having long been lost, I can still quote from THE GRINDER from way back when: as the title suggests an automobile should be such an integral part of the story that if removed the story collapses. While as for the rest, well, time will tell.

Well, just one monster, but perusal of Post Mortem Press’s “new” 2011 and 2012 September 15 re-editions (cf. post just below re. 2010’s MON COEUR MORT) has unveiled two more books with stories by me.

The first, and if I may say so one I’m still rather fond of, is “Girls Gone Dead,” a piquant tale of “brought back” models discussing their deaths for the popular video series GIRLS GONE DEAD, in the also now brought back NEW DAWN FADES: 20 INTENSE ZOMBIE TALES OF THE AFTERMATH OF THE APOCALYPSE (POST MORTEM PRESS: THE EARLY YEARS BOOK 8). Not overly profound, I don’t think, but fun. And the second is a reprint itself, originally published in NEW MYTHOS LEGENDS (Marietta Publishing, 1999; also reprinted in my 2001 Dark Regions Press collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE), a French and Indian War set story of horrors found in New York state’s Taconic Mountains, “The Calm,” in TORN REALITIES: 19 SHORT STORIES INSPIRED BY H.P. LOVECRAFT (POST MORTEM PRESS: THE EARLY YEARS BOOK 10).

The expanded titles (the first editions were simply NEW DAWN FADES and TORN REALITIES) give, I think, a fair idea of the contents, and as I recall — it has been awhile — the stories in both are in general quite good. For those with a yen to pursue them further, the second link in the post just below takes you to the whole series, from which one may scroll down to the eighth and tenth volumes.

The ad just sneaked into my email today, from Petulant Child Press.

Halloween is Upon Us

Who doesn’t like a scary story, especially around Halloween?

For a limited time, Petulant Child Press has 12 unique horror anthologies for your Kindle on sale for ONLY 99c!

It goes on to say if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member you can get all twelve for free, but the one that interests us here is number six, titled in full, MON COEUR MORT: MY DEAD HEART (POST MORTEM PRESS: THE EARLY YEARS BOOK 6). Twenty-seven international authors bring us tales that range from humorous to horrifying, lyrical to lurid, touching to terrorizing. Regardless of tone, they all have one thing in common, they deal with the theme of otherworldly fear associated with love. In MON COEUR MORT the vampires do not sparkle and the werewolves wear shirts in public.

My tale in this is “A Cup Full of Tears,” of sweet lesbian vampire love and the need at times for it to be refreshed. But wait a minute, might there be something familiar in this, the book that is, not only the story? Let us hark back to an earlier post, on August 21 this year, “One By Me In Post Mortem Press The Early Years Offer,” about a super-reprint anthology combining the seven earliest Post Mortem Press books together, itself to be called UNKNOWN PLEASURES, and it to be just the first volume. But there was a hitch, as noted on August 25, “Unknown Pleasures, Mon Coeur Mort Re-Edition Cancelled,” having to do with contract difficulties. And that, seemingly, was that.

So this the next chapter, that apparently the book(s) can be published, or rather re-published (an out, incidentally, I’d surmised when I had re-read my own contract) simply as a series of second editions of the separate circa 2010 anthologies, dated this time (at least for MON COEUR MORT) September 15 2020. And so the saga of Asenath and Carmilla, much like the ladies in question themselves, would appear to live on.

And the bottom line then: If you’d like to check the “new” MON COEUR MORT out for yourself, with my story “A Cup Full of Tears,” you can find it here; or if you’d prefer a glance at the whole list, the place is here.

The week winds on with Wednesday night bringing an email from PULP LITERATURE Managing Editor Jennifer Landels, including a PDF (cf. September 11, et al.), to the effect that they’re slightly behind on their production schedule for the Autumn issue. So goes the life, in this case of publishers as well as authors.

However, this did give a chance as well for a final look while it’s in the final proofreading stages, especially to check such ancillary items as author biographies, bylines, and titles. And as it happened I did find one or two problems, albeit minor, hence noted and sent back this afternoon. This will issue 28 including my story “Moons of Saturn,” originally published in 1993 in Algis Budrys’s TOMORROW and also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS, a somewhat surrealistic tale of the 1980s Voyager space probes and two people watching the pictures being sent back on TV.

So, things back on track, hopefully I’ll receive my copy in time for Halloween although, in that it will be coming from Canada, maybe November will be more likely. In either case, watch for announcement here.

Another short wander down Memory Way, this time to May of this year and a contract, from an anthology with the promising title of MADAME GRAY’S CREEP SHOW. The call had been for original stories — well-written, spine-tingling tales of horror infused with black humor (gallows humor) — and as it happened I had a piece that just might do, so I bit at the bait. Who wouldn’t? The story was one sold once before, to a publication then semi-immediately canceled before it could appear. And so it had languished.

The tale was called “Wormbreath” and was about a man with a keen sense of humor, but also a failing marriage and a surly daughter — and who, as the story begins, is dead. It’s an earlyish story that I’ve always been fond of, although with a possibly . . . coarse? . . . sense of humor which hadn’t helped it in the marketplace since, until last spring when Mme. Gray bit back.

And now, contract signed, oh, ages ago, the edited copy came back late Friday for my going over. So, doing so and finding very few errors — a really good job! — back it went today.

So, yes, it was late as is this “report” insofar as the Facebook post (cf. September 10, et al.) came on September 26.  The prompt, or perhaps more accurately what I took from it, had to do with “sweetness.” Thus:

(September prompt #2) “Sweets to the Sweet”

He always said he had a sweet disposition.  Sweet, sweet, sweet.  And he loved to eat sweets.

He loved cookies the best, big sugar cookies, the kind as large as small dinner plates.  He could munch them all day.  But he liked especially to remove the flour — he accomplished this by using a special blender that reduced the cookie to its liquid components, then letting the various parts settle out into layers according to density.  Then all that was needed was to decide which was the flour level, which all the rest, siphon out the flour — rather than waste it, he’d put that into a bowl for the cat — pour the rest into rough oval shapes on a cookie sheet, and re-bake the flour-less part in the oven.  Or else, alternatively, if he felt he couldn’t wait that long, he might simply drink it out with a straw cut into a length where it would reach down to just the right level.

This second had an advantage in that it didn’t have to be chewed — he could just drink it down bypassing his teeth which saved him immensely on dentist bills.  Though it didn’t mean teeth didn’t come into his life at all, in that we live in a “dog eat dog” world.  In his case this meant that, after he’d snacked, he’d have become so sweet that vampires would gather from miles around to bite him for dessert.

Unfortunately relatively few in the Writers Guild seemed to respond to these this time, possibly because the prompts were late, or possibly just missing the immediacy of the live pre-corona face-to-face sessions, the latter of which I can appreciate as well.  But I rather like one aspect of this “virtual” format myself:  that I don’t have to respond to every prompt given, but can pick the one I think “speaks to me” the most (in itself a reasonable way to approach writing prompts), though with watch on the table still try to write quickly, getting everything down in more or less the allowed ten minutes.

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