Posts Tagged ‘Tombs’

If you’re familiar with Smart Rhino’s anthologies (and we certainly hope you are!), you may remember his stories “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, and “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  His story “Golden Age” will be published in ZIPPERED FLESH 3, now in production.  So marks the start of Monday’s outing of Smart Rhino Press Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES.  Here you will find things concerning my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS and the lure of short stories, as well as my upcoming novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, though of the latter the publication date is now set for June (i.e. rather than “spring,” which only means things sometimes get out of date; also the poet Allan Poe may be better known as Edgar Allan, but typos can happen too).  Also the blog itself  may seem familiar, having also been published in Smart Rhino Publications’s own January NEWSLETTER (see January 18).  But as Weldon himself says on his Facebook page:  Just posted my interview with Bram Stoker nominee (and frequent writer for Smart Rhino Publications) James Dorr.  His story “Golden Age,” will appear in the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3.  He has some great advice for writers from his own experience.  So maybe it will be worth reading anew.

Or in any event for those new to this blog it can be found here.


A couple of snippets today in an otherwise quiet week.  The first, the official schedule for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage (cf. just below, August 14) has been announced on Facebook.  So far I’m still at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, September 4, for a half hour of horror — for which, and more, one can find the full schedule here.  For my slot I’ll most likely be reading my story “Raising the Dead,” originally published in AIRSHIPS AND AUTOMATONS (White Cat Publications, 2015) and set for release space-shuttle-atlantis-station-undocking-071911in spring-summer next year from Elder Signs Press as an independent chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (see also, below).

And then, as an extra, I ran across an interesting item for space shuttle buffs, “NASA’s Space Shuttle By the Numbers:  30 Years of a Spaceflight Icon” by Tariq Malik on SPACE.COM, for which one can press here.  Finder’s credit this time goes to Steph P. Bianchini and THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND in an entry interesting in its own right which can be found here.

Well, maybe it’s not really, truly “mammoth,” but it’s enough for an upscale meal at a local restaurant.  Including tip.  And it’s not entirely for THE TEARS OF ISIS, nor just this quarter (though that’s there as part of it, in itself enough for, maybe, a burger and fries and isis-ecover-664x1024that’s something too).  Also included are moneys accumulated in past quarters, enough to make it worthwhile for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing to cut a check, or more accurately a PayPal payment, for a pleasant start for the month of June.  A sign of summer, and nice times to come?

A small amount as well — perhaps a tad over a twentieth — is for my story, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” in the Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology SO IT GOES (cf. May 27; also January 3 2013), also published by PMMP.  Anthology royalties generally are small since they have to be divided among a number of authors.  But the nice thing is, although the money is nice to have too (being on PayPal, it’ll actually most likely go to a couple or three horror DVDs, perhaps some somewhat rare or expensive ones that I might have otherwise put off buying — for what’s the point of having money if not to afford the occasional treat?) — but the nice thing is the reminder that a few dollars are being earned each quarter, a few more copies are being bought of THE TEARS OF ISIS.

For more information on THE TEARS OF ISIS (which also, I might add, has three “Tombs” stories), one is invited to click on its center column picture.  From that one may navigate to other books, including SO IT GOES if one desires.

And the thing is this — it all adds up.


“It’s only time travel, what could go wrong?  . . .  No, seriously, you tell me.  When things don’t go as planned, what’s Plan B?  What’s the contingency?  Who cleans up the mess?”

So started the original guidelines for SINGULAR IRREGULARITY, twenty-plus answers to these questions as time has gone by, including mine, “The Master of Time” (cf. May 9, April 27).  The book is scheduled to be out for an Indianapolis, GenCon debut in early August.  But before that happens comes the kickstarter, in this case to help pay the authors more which means, among others, me.  At about halfway through it’s not doing too badly, and as of tomorrow will be entering its final two weeks.  And this means that, while there are some tasty incentives still left, if you had been thinking of taking a lootimetravel4CharlieChaplink at the offers yourself — or just plain pre-ordering now rather than later — this is a good time to check it out.  One need but press here.

Meanwhile, the weekend has brought some exciting news.  I’m downplaying it here a bit to wait for a few details, but for those who’ve seen one or more of my (mostly) prose collections, you might recall a few stories therein set in the far-future world of the “Tombs”; in THE TEARS OF ISIS, for example, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red.”  For the last few years I’ve been pitching, as a sort of back burner thing, a novelization linking sixteen stand-alone story-chapters (including two of those noted above, as a sort of preview) within a continuing narrative frame, similar to the Ray Bradbury novels THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, or Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB, etc., under a tentative title TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

And so Sunday’s email included a contract from one of the publishers I’d sent it to, not one of the international giants, but not the smallest of small press either.  And maybe not with every detail I might have liked, but still a good one at least at first glance.  I’ve already sent back a couple of questions, but in all probability, after I’ve gone through the seven densely packed pages of clauses, there’ll be no problems.  And so, as more becomes known, look for more here.

The curator tried to solve the mystery.  Of her flesh’s coolness.  “The soul,” he explained, “is a complex thing, a thing of more than a single aspect.  Its z’etoile, over all — its ‘star of guidance’ — in some ways determines its other parts’ workings.  Its will, its psyche, those things that make it unique, that is, the person whose soul it is part of.  For the body, also, is part of a person.   

    ”Its animus, that which inhabits the flesh and gives to it motion.  And halts its corruption.  These are other portions as well, all held together in delicate balance.  When one is living, held, too, with the body.” 

    ”And when one is dead?” a listener questioned.

    ”And when one dies, that balance is broken.  A ‘glue,’ if you like, has released its hold on these parts, letting all go their ways — some all at once, some lingering for some time.  Some leaving, perhaps, never, as in those cases the Ancients called ‘hauntings’ in legends that have come down over the ages.  Yet this is no ghost-soul — “

(From “The Ice Maiden,” THE TEARS OF ISIS, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013)

In my “Tombs” series of shared-universe, far-future stories of which “The Ice Maiden” is an example, I have yet to depict an actual full-blown religion, with ceremonies, temples, etc., but I have had characters often relate to a set of shared beliefs in spiritual matters — of what is the soul made?  what becomes of one after death?  etc. — from which a religion might be constructed.  Other descriptions come up, e.g., in “The Walking” and “There Was an Old Man” in my DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, as well as “Raising the Dead,” published this spring in the White Cat Publications anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS.  Thus in “The Ice Maiden” the title character’s z’etoile, for instance, has placed her into a sort of stasis, body and soulimages, until her fated lover, Caldera, arrives to join her even if thousands of years too late.

Not all of these stories hinge on these beliefs, as the three I cite do, but they’re still in the background, a part of the (hopefully) rich, complex setting that becomes the common theme of the series.  So, too, any horror story that includes characters existing after their Earthly deaths — zombies, ghosts, vampires — also implies a set of beliefs which, even if not a part of the foreground, suggests a society in which religion or spirituality plays a role in the way people think.

So why bring this up?  As it happens, today’s email included a piece by Michael W. Clune on “Five Books About Imaginary Religions,”on TOR.COM, in which it is noted:  Speculative fiction writers can’t look away.  If technology represents humanity’s transcendence through reason, religion implies its eternal submission to mystical entities. . . .  [O]ften anti-science, they attract charlatans, they prey on ignorance — and yet there’s usually a kernel of real mystery at their heart, and the workings of the religion are often the coolest things about a book.  Perhaps it’s no surprise.  After all, sci-fi and fantasy writers create entire worlds; many of them feel that no imaginary world would be complete without an imaginary religion.

And so, in the spirit of Monday’s entry on economics just below, about something else I think is important to be aware of in a story’s background, one may (or not, as one’s taste dictates) click here.  But if so, be sure to read the comments too for other titles beyond the first five.

We’ve got a double header for Tuesday, one a fantasy story accepted (albeit maybe a bit on the dark side), the other psychological horror.  The first is from Editor Sarah Newton of the BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL who had put out a special call for “some of the material in [issue]#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.  Submissions of material not relating to this theme are also welcome.”

So it’s not an entirely LGBT edition, but as it happens I had a story called “Flute and Harp,” originally published in WHISPERS & SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001) and set in my far-future “Tombs” universe, that seemed like it might fit the bill.  The British fantasists apparently thought so too as Editor Newton replied, in part, “I enjoyed it very much, and would like to publish it in our upcoming LGBT-themed issue 12.”

For more information on the BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL, including guidelines for publication (including articles, etc., too), press here.

Then the other’s a little more complicated but, in essence, VOLUTED TALES puts out periodic special editions, with one coming up this year from Guest Editor Christopher Nadeau to be called THE DARKNESS INTERNAL.  But let’s let him explain it in his own words:

“THE DARKNESS INTERNALl”– Looking for stories that are outside the norm.  They can be horror, dark fantasy, science fiction or even mainstream lit as long they meet the following criteria: Tales of inner darkness.  Think Kafka or Phillip K Dick or any U.S. Congressional hearing. Stories should focus on an internal struggle or occurrence.  Not looking for genre staples such as vampires, werewolves, and especially VolutedTalesMagazinenot zombies.  More interested in tales of torment and struggle as defined by the classic “Man Versus Himself” approach to writing.  Still, if you can find a fresh and exciting way to tell the story following the criteria and using those fabled beings, knock us out!

So this one’s not about digestion, or even “the darkness eternal” as I finger-fumbled on the subject line of my submission, but what I sent was another reprint, “Extinctions,” originally published in THE BLUE LADY in Autumn 1996, having to do with a man who thinks he’s seen a comet scheduled to collide with the Earth on New Year’s Eve 1999.  But has he really? Well . . . he does seem to be a little unstable, so maybe it’s psychological horror. But much has to do with actual news headlines in the year the story was published, so maybe it’s alternate history instead.

Be that as it may it’s been accepted too, according to this afternoon’s email, for “our Winter issue.”  And for more information on VOLUTED TALES and THE DARKNESS INTERNAL, press here.


“City on Fire,” originally published in the premiere April-May 2005 issue of SHADOWS OF SATURN, has scored another first, accepted today for Nocturnal Press Publications’s initial anthology TORCHED.  Non-surprisingly TORCHED is a themed anthology, the theme being “fire” — but “City on Fire” is also a story set in my far-future, Torched-200x300dying-Earth universe of the “Tombs,” about a dozen of which have been published in various venues including three, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red,” in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  (Yes, even if she didn’t quite bag the Stoker®, Isis basks in any attention she can muster.)  In this case, “bought” may be a little bit of a misnomer as TORCHED is a non-paying startup project, but the premise seemed interesting enough to give it a go and, who knows, if this one succeeds, hopefully future books will be more lucrative.

Hoped for publication for TORCHED will be July this year.

In the meantime, following the updated links for Untreed Reads books pictured in this page’s center column (see just below), I’ve also updated the one for perhaps the prettiest cover in the lot, POLUDNITSA.  This is one in a series of stand-alone short fantasies from Chamberton Publishing (cf. November 17 2012, et al.), with the link now leading more directly to its Amazon Kindle edition.

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