Posts Tagged ‘Vampires’

A strange day, today, with gloom and rain to greet the dawn — and me when errands took me from the house; a clearing by noon and bright sun from about 1 p.m. on and me locked back in the house.  A seasonal thing, sort of, a morning like March, “in like a lion,” and an afternoon only a few degrees short of summer weather, more June than even May.  And so the spring issue of STAR*LINE arrived in the mail, number 43.2, with one poem by me this time, one written for summer, “A Ray of Sun,” on as it happens p. 13 (cf. April 7, 1, et al.).  So who’s superstitious, but “A Ray of Sun” brings back our seagoing blood-drinker the Mermaid Vampiress and tells us how she likes to spend her summer — decided bad luck for the people she shares with.  But, and here’s the point, another publication and thus good luck for me.

STAR*LINE, for any who may not know, is the official publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, more on which can be found here.

We’re speaking of visual beauty here, as the author explains:  As humans, we are predisposed to crave beauty in our lives — you know, even in the most dire of circumstances, we seek out spring flowers, blue skies, a dazzling smile.  When it comes to film, visual excellence can enhance the story in ways we, as an audience, might not even notice upon first watch.  The lighting may shift towards a darker color palette as the plot thickens.  The fabrics and dress style of our heroine may indicate something about her character.  And then sometimes the camera is fully focused on Harley Quinn’s breakfast sandwich cooking on a bodega griddle and it’s just gorgeous.  We can’t explain why, but it is.  But all of these elements combine to take us out of the real world.  And in this real world of coronavirus and global pandemic — from which any of us may crave a brief respite — the author adds that any and all of these may be streamed on the device of your choice right now.

The article is “In Pursuit of Visual Escapism:  8 Beautifully Designed Films to Watch Now” by Christina Orlando via TOR.COM, and I haven’t seen the “Harley Quinn” movie, but she does mention a few that I have.  First off, for instance, Guillermo del Toro’s CRIMSON PEAK (which I, with DVDs I can watch too, just took off the stack for a possible re-screening tonight) as well as PAN’S LABYRINTH at number seven, combined with Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (cf. June 26 2014) in number four spot.  So one of these, already, is about vampires, to which is added (and which I may re-watch tonight instead) BYZANTIUM at number 3.  And then there are four more, including BLADE RUNNER 2049, which from their descriptions I think I may want to add to my collection.

To see more, press here.

As promised, SHALLOW WATERS VOL. 5:  A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY is officially out on Kindle, at least for the present at only 99 cents for approximately 84 pages with 23 stories. For more one may press here.  My tale in the tote bag is called “Midnight Dark” (see April 8, March 24, et al.), officially blurbed as “A woman journeys north for survival.”  But the question is why she must travel, no?  And it’s listed fourth from last in the contents although, due to some late term editing, the title there is now slightly outdated.  So these things sometimes happen (in this case the “old” title is the one it had for the original competition).

To quote from publisher Crystal Lake:  SHALLOW WATERS is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing.  Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email.  The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page (an exclusive behind the scenes community of readers and authors), where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner.  What you’ll find in these SHALLOW WATERS anthologies include the winners as well as the most popular of our finalists.  Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges (or gain access to our STILL WATER BAY series).

Volume five includes suspenseful stories of horror on the road, war, graveyards, Karma, and Halloween.

Includes:
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Driving On” by Guy Medley (winner)
“Dichotomy” by Jason Parent
“Babysitting for Writers” by Kevin David Anderson (winner)
“The Good Samaritan” by L.F. Falconer
“Of Debris and Duty” by John Boden
“The Visitors” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave” by Richard Thomas
“The Knights of Cold Days” by Dave Jeffery
“Travel Bag” by Bryan Miller
“In the Desert, In the Night” by Pedro Iniguez
“Grievance” by Christine Lajewski
“Fuel for My Fire” by Linsey Knerl
“The Dead Lands” by Anthony D Redden
“Welcome to Gothmart” by David Bernard
“The Mascot” by Jennifer K Carstens (winner)
“Wasteland” by Sheldon Woodbury
“All’s Fair” by Michelle Mellon
“Stay Away” by Michael Patrick Hicks
“The Road Home” by Rand Eastwood
“Midnight Sun” by James Dorr
“The Wind Stakes Its Claim” by Kris Kinsella
“The Forest of Skin” by Esteban Vargas
“Second Chance” by Alex Ebenstein (winner)

Its full title is SHALLOW WATERS VOL. 5:  A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY and its Amazon description begins:  With 23 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath.  Elsewhere it’s noted of shallow waters that that’s where “nothing stays buried.”  So what exposed treasure might I have therein (cf. March 24, October 15, et al.)?  A story of zombies, vampirism, and Christmas called “Midnight Dark.”

The theme to write on, I recall, was “travel,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the tales will relate to that subject — the twenty-three chosen will have come from several of these calls.  But in any event the Kindle edition of SHALLOW WATERS 5, with new story “Midnight Dark,” will be available a week from now, Wednesday, April. 15, with more information including pre-ordering to be found by pressing here.

So talk about quick!  Today’s email brought a finished PDF copy of the Spring STAR*LINE it seems like I just proofread . . . how long ago now?  Just under a week, on April first (see April 1, March 25), including my poem “A Ray of Sun” continuing the adventures of our well-fed friend, the Mermaid Vampiress.  But that wasn’t all.  Just the day before, Monday, the print edition of the Winter STAR*LINE arrived in my mailbox, though there weren’t any poems by me in that issue.

Such is the way things happen sometimes.  Was the winter issue just *really* late, or has some insidious spinoff from COVID-19 made its manifestation?  I tend to lean toward the first, actually — I don’t know if others got late copies too, or just mine perhaps was misdirected (occasionally mail for Bloomington, Indiana takes unscheduled side trips to Bloomington, Illinois — in fact, my luggage on a plane almost did that once, except I spotted its tag in the outgoing queue [BIL instead of BMG for those into airport code letters, though nowadays one has to land at IND and take a bus the final fifty or so miles]).

Anyhow, the reason for nothing by me being in that issue is that I don’t get around to submitting poetry as much as I should, so let that be the moral.

At 5.2 MB it took half an eternity to download on the antique Cave Computer, or at least so it seemed, but metaphorically chugging away the beast did its job.  Thus unveiled, a proof copy of STAR*LINE 43.2 for Spring 2020.  And nestled inside on lucky page 13, “A Ray of Sun” (see March 25), a three-liner on our sybaritic friend, the mermaid vampiress, who demonstrates the way she likes to greet the summer.  But then to business:  Please proof your piece(s) in the attached PDF of Star*Line 43.2 as well as your listing(s) in the table of contents.  Your name may also appear in the SFPA announcements.  And so I did, finding no errors, and sent my approval back to Vince Gotera.

This will, incidentally, be Editor Gotera’s final issue, stepping down after three years of sharing, among other virtues, a sense of humor that was able to put up with the mermaid vampiress.  For that alone, he will be missed (although perhaps not by the mermaid’s victims).

Oh, those pesky vampires, you can’t get away from them, you can’t keep your blood when they’re around.  This time it’s a poem, another three-liner about the overly-gluttonous mermaid vampiress who, this time, hasn’t gotten the word that people should not congregate at beaches — at least for the time being.  The title: “A Ray Of Sun,” and just now accepted by Editor Vince Gotera for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s magazine STAR*LINE, or to quote the source, I’d like to accept “A Ray of Sun.”  Could you please let me know . . . still available?

So I sent back my “yes” and will post more news as further details become available.

So today the governor of Indiana has ordered residents, with a few exceptions, to stay holed up at home until April 6.  That is, for two weeks (well actually thirteen days), with April 6 also the tentative date for the public library to reopen (see March 16, 14) — though when the time comes both closures could of course be extended.  Meanwhile the writing life, even if curtailed, continues.

Thus yesterday, from Crystal Lake Publishing Editor Joe Mynhardt, came the email:  I’d love to publish “Midnight Sun” in the next SHALLOW WATERS anthology, out around Mid-April. . . , but with one small catch.  We may recall that “Midnight Sun” scored last fall in a three-way tie for third place in Crystal Lake’s Flash Fiction Contest for “Travel Horror” (cf. October 15, 11, et al.), part of the prize being prospective future publication.  So the time has come, but the catch was an up-front request for possible editorial changes.

Well, that’s part of the writing life too and, as I looked the story over, I did see one thing that bothered me about it, a passage justifying the title that otherwise didn’t seem to make that much sense.  So I changed the passage — but also the title, the story of a Los Angeles vampire’s Christmas journey to the far north now renamed “Midnight Dark.”  Then a round of small changes from the publisher’s side, my okaying some, re-changing some others, all taking far longer than they otherwise might have due to the underpowered Cave Computer at this end.

But then nobody said it would be easy, right?  The changes went in Monday night, a contract came today (more problems for the Cave Computer), and a photograph of the signed contract plus an RTF copy of “Midnight Dark” with its final changes went back to Crystal Lake this evening.  The book, when it comes out, will be SHALLOW WATERS:  A FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY, VOL. 5, with more to come here as it becomes known.

Humor pervaded the featured portion of this evening’s Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at local tavern Bears Place (cf. February 5, et al.) with storyteller Nell Weatherwax opening with two pieces on her first amateur comedy club presentation and an up-coming radio gig morphing into the eccentricities of her father; stand-up comedian Shanda Sung on the everyday challenges of being a 35-year-old woman and mother of three kids; and Mary Armstrong-Smith with “I Teach at the Walgreen’s” and “Watering the Flower,” the latter concerning a childhood memory about family relations and an incident with her mother and grandmother and a pet puppy, all presentations extremely funny but with their serious sides as well.  Then, along with musical guest Trillium, a well-populated open mike portion brought nine readers, with me number four with another in my “Casket Girls” series, “Fit for a King,” with the irrepressible Claudette and more poetically-minded Yvonne discussing the pre-Mardi Gras carnaval tradition of sharing a king cake.

A xenological invasion.  A creature in the pipes.  A monster in the dark.  A dragon.  And childhood toys that are more than they seem.  Five novelettes.  Five stories that will force you to get in touch with our undeniable connection to the animal and insect worlds and the monster within . . . for are we really all that different from the monsters that we loathe?  Our deft and expert authors have won awards and had work in award-winning anthologies, and these stories showcase their gift for terrifying us but also in finding the humanity through our fear.  They are . . . Gordon B. White, James Dorr, Mark Pantoja, Jon Gauthier, Peter Emmett Naughton.  We challenge you to read these stories, but only if you’re ready to explore the nightmarish creatures within us all.

Say what?  Let us hark back to June 11 2019, et al., when the Kindle edition was already up (and had been, in fact, since late May) with a print edition from Tell-Tale Press to be in the future.  So it’s been awhile, but the time has come — had actually come yesterday — and now it’s here, the paperback version of THE BLOOD TOMES VOLUME TWO, CREATURES, NOVELETTES EDITION for those of us who like the feel of a book in our hands, five long stories of beings both real and imaginary to kindle (sorry) the reader’s imagination.  My tale in this:  “The Bala Worm,”* set in modern-day Wales, of a quest for a dragon last seen in the Middle Ages.  Or at least one just like it.  And where do vampires come into all this?

For more on the new paperback edition one need but press here (or to check all titles on Tell-Tale Press’s own website, including the CREATURES, NOVELETTES Kindle version, one may press here).
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*”The Bala Worm” is a reprint first published in BLACK DRAGON, WHITE DRAGON (Ricasso Press, 2008) and reprinted in my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.




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