Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

We have a quick a double header to announce for today, that not just one but two Elder Signs Press anthologies are now available for pre-order from Amazon:  DARK HORIZONS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF DARK SCIENCE FICTION (see just below) and STREET MAGICK: TALEstreet-magick2-194x300S OF URBAN FANTASY (with DARK HORIZONS, see also January 22, et al.).  Needless to say I have stories in both, the near-future set “Dark of the Moon” in the former and a late 1950s tale of vampires and Cold War paranoia in Cambridge Massachusetts, “Bottles,” in the latter.  Both have histories, “Bottles” also appearing in my own collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS, and now both will be available for new readers as well.

More on both these anthologies can be found on Amazon, DARK HORIZONS by pressing here and STREET MAGIC here, while for THE TEARS OF ISIS one can click on its picture in the center column, or check it out on Amazon here.

Also, yesterday’s street mail brought my copy of EVERYWHERE TALES, VOLUME 2 (cf. July 25, et al.), from Press 53, with my “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, an adventure of deserts and double crossings for more on which one can press here.


A somewhat major announcement for me came today via Facebook, listings of the tables of contents for not one, but two anthologies I’ll be in this fall, DARK HORIZONS (cf. December 26 2015) and STREET MAGICK (cf. December 5) .  The stories are “Dark of the Moon” for the first and “Bottles” (also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS) for the latter, both of these reprints but worthy, at least in my opinion, of finding new readers.  The proof of the pudding, as it were, will of course be in the consumption of the books as a whole, both edited by Charles P. Zaglanis and published by Elder Signs Press, which I might also note published, under previous Editor William Jones, HORRORS BEYOND in 2007 with another story of mine, “The Candle Room” (and also since reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS — yes, this is a plug for both).  And for a sample of Zaglanis’s work, he’s also editor of White Cat Publications’ steampunkish AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS which ended with an original story of mine, “Raising the Dead” (see May 27 2015, et al.).

Dark Horizons final table of contents:
Dark of the Moon by James Dorr
Gospel of the Ascended Machines by Aaron J. French
Demon on His Shoulder by Eric Del CarloDark_Horizons
The Fall of Strongholds by Joshua Steely
Digital Edition by L.Chan
A Small Plot of Land by Benjamin Sperduto
The Glass Plague by Costi Gurgu
Circular Argument by Darin Kennedy
Drifting Into the Black by Timothy G. Huguenin
The Damascus Code by Lee Zumpe
Ice Cream by Jay Caselberg
Last Contact by Stewart Sternberg
Making the Rounds by Adrian Ludens
Mother Lode by David Hoenig
The Psychic Battery by E. Dane Anderson
The Shipment by Kevin Bannigan Jr.
The Yellow Planet by Eric Blair
We Have Rules Here by Madison McSweeney
Deeper by Christopher Fulbright

Street Magick table of contents:
The Occasional Beast That is Her Soul by John Claude Smith
Bottles by James Dorr
Branded For Hell by James C. Simpson
Grounding a Mockingbird by D.H. AireStreet-Magick2-194x300
Codex Veritas by Darrin Darin Kennedy
How to Beat a Haunting by Evan Osborne
Whatever the Moon Decides by Sherry Decker
Come Mr. Eric Del Carlo
Death’s Harvest by Nicole Givens Kurtz
Children of God by Costi Gurgu
Valkyrie’s Quest by Josh Brown
Dragonfound by Steve Lewis
Miracle Worker by L. Chan
The Gift by Charles P. Zaglanis
Choose Your Own Excuse by Christine Daigle
Thy Soul to Him Thou Servest by Lee Zumpe
In a Witching Minute by Tara Moeller

More information on Elder Signs Press can be found by clicking here.

“Within this anthology,” so said the guidelines, “modern day witches and warlocks shape reality to their will.  Creatures of legend make back-alley deals under cover of darkness.  The city’s inhabitants encounter items and events imbued with mystic power.  Because cities have a life — a magick — all their own.”

Well the city here is Cambridge Massachusetts in the year 1958 and the mood is more noir, with Communists seen around every corner — at least by those who would call themselves patriots.  There are the “Minutemen” — self-styStreet-Magick2-194x300led “militias” — and a burgeoning John Birch Society.  This is, after all, only a few years after the Senate McCarthy hearings, and for a young Puerto Rican woman not exactly a time of tolerance for people who are seen as “different.”  The story, “Bottles” is in fact a reprint, originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and, as I selected it later to be in my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, I was suddenly struck by how little some things have changed.  Substitute Near-Eastern extremists for Communists, Mexican-Americans for . . . well, it occurred to me then as now that the story may deserve to be kept in circulation.

Oh yes, and one more thing about “Bottles” — this version of Cambridge has vampires in it.  But of a particularly Hungarian (and presumably anti-Communist) derivation.  Which all adds up to last evening’s email from Charles P. Zaglanis for Elder Signs Press (also editor of White Cat Publications’s AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS, cf. May 27 et al.) that “Bottles” has found an additional home in their anthology STREET MAGICK:  TALES OF URBAN FANTASY, currently set for fall 2016.  “Great story.  Please fill out and send back the contract and a bio.”

More to be reported here as it becomes known.

Travel times were good for a change, partially due to Atlanta being a hub for the airline I was using.  That is, virtually all flights passed through Atlanta anyway, thus I arrived in early afternoon Thursday, and left the hotel for public transportation via MARTA to the airport, and home, at about the same time Sunday.  I was armed with a list, the five things I must be available for, one Thursday evening — plenty of time for the ride from the airport, lunch, registration, settling in — two Friday, one each Saturday and Sunday mornings.  So duties, below, were evenly spaced, with much time left for other activities to be taken up in tomorrow’s post.

Thursday, 8 to 9:30 p.m., brought Linda Addison’s READING:  HORROR POETRY OPEN MIKE, with a fairly good crowd with almost everyone with poems to read.  Quality varied as would be expected, as did themes and styles as people read one poem each in turn, one actually a humorous song, with time enough to allow about half of us to do an encore.  Linda read an opening poem herself, followed by G. O. Clark, followed by . . . me with what I introduced as a sports poem, “Godzilla vs. King Kong” (“It came to this, finally,/ the fight of all fights/ Godzilla against the King. . .”).  And who was the winner?  Well, fortunately there’ll be a chance to find out as the poem has been accepted by British ezine GRIEVOUS ANGEL (cf. March 30 – GRIEVOUS ANGEL was also publisher, last year, of my Rhysling-nominated “Beware of the Dog,” see September 11 2014).  More information on that available as it becomes known.

While not reading themselves, Bruce Boston and Marge Simon were also present, with whom Gary Clark and I made a quartet during the brief times when none of had other obligations.  Gary was also present for my last scheduled item, my otherwise under-attended  9-9:30 Sunday morning reading  (that is, at a time when most conventioneers who were up and sober were most likely attending church) at which I presented two stories, “Casket Girls” from DAILY SCIENCE FICTION (cf. April 28, et many al.) as a curtain raiser and, having by then picked up the other half of my audience, “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS as the main event.

I had two panels, the first being SCAREBIZ:  JUST THE FACTS, MONSTER:  HOW TO DIG DEEPER THAN THE INTERNET FOR ACCURATE STORYTELLING, on Friday 5-6 p.m.  For those present, this was the one where I cited a book several times as DEATH AND DYING  (the actual, not misremembered title is DEATH TO DUST, by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.) as, among other things, the inspiration of the story that opens THE TEARS OF ISIS, “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  Indeed, as a short story writer I gave a fair bit of emphasis to serendipity in research as a source for ideas.  But, idea in hand, research is also needed to get details right, whether from living, e.g., in an area or thoroughly reading tourist guides, using internet, print, recordings and films, in addition to personal experience to add more verisimilitude.  My sum-up was from a TV producer who had been advised by a local expert, filming a miniseries in the then USSR, that it’s the small things that must be gotten right, because these earn reader/viewer confidence that allows you to slip in the Big Lie — that is, the story itself when one is writing fiction — with practically no one noticing.

Saturday, 9-10 a.m., brought my second panel, TERRIFYING TROPES:  URBAN FANTASY:  IT’S SELLING LIKE HELLCAKES, BUT IS IT HORROR?, which was well attended despite the hour.  Much involved panelists’ definitions of what urban fantasy is in the first place (my quip:  “Imagine Woody Allen directing NOSFERATU”); whether there was urban fantasy prior to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER; distinguishing the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance by whether it’s a sexily attired woman or man on the cover; and whether it must actually involve a city, or if suburban or even smaller town settings still qualify.  I cited my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) as being perhaps 75-percent urban fantasy poetry, involving  vampires in ordinary societal problems (e.g., what gift to bring to a newly married vampire’s reception?), and there seemed to be general agreement that, as opposed to high fantasy, urban fantasy involves the supernatural within a societal background that readers can identify with.  And to answer the question of the panel’s title, yes, it should involve horror, often perhaps tending toward the mild side, but that’s up to the writer (or perhaps more to the point, the writer’s editor and/or publisher) — there’s no definitional reason why it can’t be more intense.

And then, finally, there was the MASS AUTHOR SIGNING Friday, 6:30-8 p.m., to which, in part because I generally travel light, I had brought only three copies of THE TEARS OF ISIS (one with the old cover, and with a turned up corner) along with maybe half dozen of the smaller poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  Business was pretty brisk as these things go, though, with people bringing their own materials to be signed along with actually buying books there.  And the bottom line was:  I sold one copy of VAMPS and, offering a dollar discount on the damaged copy, sold out of the others.

I don’t know if this is quite carved in stone yet, but there is a schedule now for panels and other intellectual goodies at next month’s World Horror Convention in Atlanta GA.  For me, I’m on two official panels and also expect to be part of Linda Addison’s Thursday night informal Poetry Open Mike reading.  A warning, however, one of my panels is at 9 a.m. and I also have a prose reading at 9 a.m. on Sunday, so please plan not to party too late the nights before.  My other panel is at a more comfortable 5 p.m. Friday (pack in a sandwich for dinner if needed, I won’t mind) and I’ll also be at the autograph session more or less just after on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (just enough time for me to sneak in a sandwich for myself).  The entire schedule as it exists now can be found here, while for easy reference to where and on what and when I’m scheduled, see just below.


8-9:30 PM     Reading:  Horror Poetry Open Mike – INNSMOUTH

Moderator:  Linda Addison.  Various attending authors.


5-6 PM            Panel: SCAREBIZ:  Just the Facts, Monster:  How to Dig Deeper than the Internet for Accurate Storytelling   – R’LYEH

An incorrect fact or detail in a story can pull a reader right out of your narrative and destroy the impact of an otherwise excellent piece of fiction.  Writers who also are research professionals (librarians, archivists or journalists) share their insider tips to help you avoid the factcheck trap.  Topics covered will include Net and bricks-and-mortar resources you may not know about, how to approach experts, how to vet sources, maximizing a trip to an archives or library, and more?  What was their greatest research challenge and how did they solve it?

Moderator:  John T. Glover.  Panelists:  Courtney Alameda, James Dorr, Cynthia Lott, Loren Rhoads, Matthew Weber

6:30-8 PM       Mass Author Signing – THE BARRENS

Convention guests and attending authors will be available to sign their books.


9-10 AM          Panel:  TERRIFYING TROPES:  Urban Fantasy: It’s Selling Like Hellcakes,  But Is It Horror? – DUNWICH

When is a vampire not a vampire?  When is a werewolf more of a beast or less of one?  Should witches be sexy or scary or both?  A lot of the same creatures and processes are used in writing the tales but are the lines just blurred or are they really separate genres?

Moderator: James A. Moore.  Panelists:  James Dorr, Yvonne Navarro, Jana Oliver, Lucy A. Snyder, James R. Tuck


9-9:30 AM       Reading: James Dorr – INNSMOUTH

URBAN FANTASIST is a new webzine published fortnightly out of the United Kingdom, “dedicated to the urban fantasy genre.”  Quoting editor Charles Christian, “[a]long with my own news and book reviews, this site carries flash fiction and interviews with other science fiction & fantasy authors, while Craft Talk looks at technical aspects of SF&F creative writing.  We also have a shopping gallery where you can buy or download copies of urban fantasy-related books, ebooks, artwork and prints.”  I’m not quite sure where I ran across it myself (possibly LinkedIn?) but I noted it was looking for more flash stories so, checking the guidelines, I decided to try one called “The Dragon Tattoo” on them.

“The Dragon Tattoo” was originally published in a slightly longer form in the Summer 1993 issue of FANTASQUE, then, cut to about 950 words as a flash piece, re-published in FLUSH FICTION (Yard Dog Press, 2006) and subsequently posted as part of FLASH ME’s “All Fantasy” issue on Halloween night 2008.  So it had been around, but to good places, and with such credentials why not to Great Britain?  Then two days later came the acceptance, “I love it — and I really didn’t see that ending coming.  I’ll definitely use it.”

URBAN FANTASIST is a non-paying market at present but does accept reprints.  Moreover the editor plans to publish an annual ebook of stories that have appeared in the webzine which adds a bit more to its showcase value.  More or less anything would seem to be okay as far as subject matter is concerned, as long as it can fit beneath the (fairly loose) umbrella of urban fantasy as, according to URBAN FANTASIST’s home page, “a story that has a fantastical element set in an urban context. It may be set in the past, in the present or future and involve alien races, time travel, earthbound mythological characters, paranormal beings or the supernatural. The tensions within urban fantasy frequently stem from crossing the fine line that divides the mundane and familiar from the arcane and weird that can lurk just around the corner or over a cooling mocha in a city-centre coffee shop.”

Mine involves a tattoo parlor — does that count?  Find out when it’s published or, in the meantime, if interested in submitting yourself or just for more information check out the guidelines by pressing here.

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