This was to be the one on poetry, last month’s premiere “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local tavern and music venue Players Pub, being dominated by prose fiction — including, ahem, my opening reading of “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. February 10).  And so it was, mostly, with even its musical component being poetry-based via Evansville Indiana group SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, a “poetry band” reminiscent of 1950s coffeehouse safe_image.phppoetry accompanied with jazz (albeit in this case, guitars and hand percussion), who we’ve met before at the Bloomington Arts Festival Spoken Word Stage (see September 4).  The featured readers this time out were Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer whose poems included a Pushcart Prize nominee, local poet Eric Rensberger who began his reading with a guitar accompanied “Medicine Show” spiel introducing bartender “Dr. Joe” and the pub itself before continuing with the more “serious literary part,” and First Sundays Prose Series Chair Joan Hawkins breaking the pattern with two prose “creative memoirs.”  Then the open mike session added four readers of whom I was second, reading three pieces from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “La Méduse,” “Émile’s Ghosts,” and “Night Child.”

Then for another quick note, I’ve added two pieces to “Poetry (Essays)” under PAGES in the far right column, my ILLUMEN feature “It Begins With the Sound” (see November 5, et al.) and “What Is a Novel in Stories” (see February 13), the latter admittedly really about my upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but springing from Edgar Allan Poe’s essay “The Poetic Principle.”


Mentioned last post, proofreading poetry, and this evening the task has been finished.  We may recall the absence of the orange-colored picture of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) in the center column (cf. March 16) and hints of a new edition looming.  We’re one step closer as proof sheets arrived just before the weekend, the reading and corrections on which (largely concerning spacing issues for two very long poems, “Dreaming Saturn” and “Chinese Music” — what are these about?  buy the book when it’s out and see for yourself) took a fair bit of the weekend to go through.  But final corrections went in this evening (with possibly now a new problem concerning pagination) so that’s another step completed, at least for the OCTOPODIDAEmoment.  Ah, the writing life — it never  ends, does it?

For octopus fans (see April 25, January 14, et al.), UPWORTHY.COM has brought a followup concerning, in part, an eight-armed diva named Rambo (Rambette?) who takes pictures of people.  The article is “Scientists Gave a Camera to an Octopus and She Only Needed Three Tries to Learn to Use It” by Thom Dunn, also including some things you may not have known about tentacles, and can be found here; and which also links to another fascinating look at cephalopod intelligence with an essay on some moral implications thereof, “Why Not Eat Octopus?” by Silvia Killingsworth on NEWYORKER.COM, for which press here.

Yesterday brought an update from Bards and Sages Publishing to the effect that the first of the “Great Tomes” books, THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS is proceeding on schedule and should be available at most locations before the end of the month (cf. March 4, February 27, et al.).  Also, while first announced last January, to pique readers’ interest here is an up to date table of contents.  For the moment, pre-orders can be made at Createspace here or, for the Kindle edition, at Amazon here.

The Candle Room by James S. Dorr
The Heart of Irelda by Jeff Sullins
Her Long Hair Shining by Simon Kewin
Digging for Paradise by Ian Creasey
Light Bringer by Deborah Walker
The Nimrod Lexicon by Taylor Harbin
Life Sentence by Miranda Stewart
The Shepherd by CB Droege
The Rightful Owner by Linda Tyler
The Head of John the Baptist by G. Miki Hayden
The Binding Agent by Douglas J. Ogurek
Seamus Tripp and the Golden Plates byRichard Walsh and Jon Garrett
Oracle at Delphi Street by Jon Etter
Special Collections by Jon Etter
The Djinn at the Wheel by Kathy L. Brown

For a second item, some may have noticed the orange cover of the poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) has been missing from the center column of late.  This is in part because a new edition is in vamps2the works from White Cat Publications, complete with a new cover and slightly altered table of contents (the latter primarily consisting of some tweaks in the order of the poems to bring it closer to the original MS, but also the addition of a new poem, “Metal Vamp,” which had been inadvertently left out [my fault, not the original publisher’s] of the first edition).  Prior posts on VAMPS include September 8 and March 12 2013, July 10 2012, et al.; also an essay on VAMPS, with sample poems, can be found by clicking “Poetry (Essays)” under PAGES in the right-hand column and scrolling down one entry (to where it says “From BLOOD & SPADES. . . .”).  More details will appear on these pages as they are announced.

Saturday, along with the excitement of having sold “Bottles” (see post just below), brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s end-of-year combination business meeting, voting for officers, pot luck party, and open reading, for which I ran for nothing but brought orange slices for a healthy pot luck dessert.  Just like “party calories” though, which do not count, so, too, healthful party food adds no nutrition, so I with everyone else went for the chocolate chip cookies.  More to the literary point, however, I had brought two items for possible reading: one a Christmas story excerpt which would run about five minutes; the other three poems (one of which some people would have heard before but others wouldn’t) which could be read in less than three minutes.

The business/election part ran a bit long so I ended up taking the three-minute option, but adding that the other, a Christmas story involving a vampire and St. Nicholas, would be read “tomorrow” as a First Sunday open mike option.  And so for Saturday afternoon I carroll-borland-as-spidra-in-mark-of-the-vampire-1365795084_orgread the three poems, “as a sort of introduction, to show the up side of vampirism” and all from my poetry collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), the jazzy “Hi-Flying,” the unlife-celebratory “Night Child,” and the exhilarating “The Aeronaut.”

Then Sunday brought December’s First Sunday Prose Reading with featured participants Shayne Laughter with “Emmonsburg,” from a collection of stories inspired by her grandfather’s writings about growing up in Indiana; speculative fiction and poetry writer Darja Malcolm-Clarke with an excerpt from a novel in progress, HIS ONE TRUE BRIDE; and Poet Eric Rensberger with “a prose thing” composed by taking an existing text, chopping it up, and reassembling it into a new story, in this case from memoirs by an early American actor, John Durang.  These were followed by the open mike session where, as promised, my reading was of the latter, and larger half of “Naughty or Nice?” as published on December 21 2011 in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, concerning the vampiress Mignonette and whether she could prove to the Saint that she was sufficiently “nice” to get presents.  And which, by the way, you can find out for yourself by clicking here.

And then two more items to complete the weekend.  Friday I went to the opening night of a workshop production of Jean Anouilh’s version of ANTIGONE, in this case combining dance with the action and very well done.  Then Saturday evening, after the party, brought a visit to the local Bloomington Krampusnacht celebration, considered one of the best these days in the United States.  For various reasons this was the first I was able to get to since the initial one three years ago, for which see below, December 9 2012.

What a weekend!  Along with wrestling with income tax (finished the federal forms Saturday p.m., state tax to go) I went to a “matinee” movie Saturday night, then today was actual matinee time for a Bloomington Writers Guild poetry reading.  Matinee what?

Well, Saturday’s movie was part of an “Art and Legacy of Roger Corman” program the Indiana University Cinema has been running this spring, this time celebrating the sf/horror exploitation films of the 60s with a special nod toward Corman rival William Castle in the form of schlock film priducer “Lawrence Woolsey.”  The film itself is MATINEE, directed in real life by Joe Dante, and starring John Goodman and Cathy Moriarty as Ruth Corday, Woolsey’s long-suffering girlfriend, lead actress, and stand-in nurse (to have movie patrons sign wavers in case they die of fright during the performance).  And then there’s 15-year-old monster fan Gene Loomis and his little brother, his new Ban-the-Bomb girlfriend, his friend Simon and his new girlfriend (and her little brother) with her juvenile delinquent ex-boyfriend (who also writes poetry) just back from reform school, all coming together in 1962 Key West Florida, site of the premiere of Woolsey’s latest movie, MANT! — Half Man, Half Ant, in Atomo-Vision with new RumbleRama.  And, oh yes, by coincidence also occurring at this time is the Cuban Missile Crisis (with Gene’s father in the Navy and out with the fleet facing off with the Soviet Union).

Ah, nostalgia!

So it starts off fast with a nuclear bomb blast — which turns out to be part of the trailer for MANT! — which itself ends with another atomic bomb blast to clear out the theatre, in which in “real life” the balcony is about to collapse.  With the juvie delinquent meanwhile in an ant suit.  Getting confused yet?   Then add what may be the movie’s motif, as spoken by Woolsey to Gene toward the end:  “You think grown-ups have it all figured out?  That’s just a hustle, kid.  Grown-ups are making it up as they go along just like you.  You remember that, and you’ll do fine.”

You really just have to see it for yourself.  I recommend it!

So today has been calmer, and also sunnier, good enough weather this afternoon to stroll downtown for this month’s Writers Guild “Last Sunday” poetry reading (see February 23, et al.), starring Abegunde and previous Writers Guild chair and co-founder Patsy Rahn.  And not only that (to quote this month’s announcement):  “We are starting a new tradition at this event:  we will have a table for LITERARY SWAP.  Bring your literary magazines, journals, books that you’d like to pass on, and please take home any of your items not taken by others.”  For myself, I only brought a couple of poems for the open mike session, both this time from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “Leaves” (about a vampire competition runner) and “Night Child” (one who grew up as a vampire and “learned quickly”).

These are exciting times for  THE TEARS OF ISIS fans, with a not-quite-interview but “Author Spotlight” on me scheduled to start the fall season off the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 3.  Hosting this will be Morgen Bailey who long-time followers of this blog may recall interviewed me more than two years  back in 2011 (see specifically July 2 2011, with a follow up June 1 2012).  This was on the eve of publication for my poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and time has, of course, since passed.  So the “spotlight” this time will be largely focused on my latest book, THE TEARS OF ISIS, that came out this May.

See you all Tuesday?

The call went out last January from Lori Michelle for submissions to an anthology to benefit the Children’s Cancer Society.  “I need stories; good stories.  Not just good stories, but great stories to help this anthology sell and make the profits to help those kids in need.  I am looking for allegorical horror stories where the monster represents cancer.  And while this is a book to help children, the stories do not need to be young adult.”  The deadline wasImage to be June 30, “but if you could let me know if you are willing to participate ASAP, I would appreciate it.”  Other particulars were that there’d be no pay except for a copy and if one was willing to let the book’s cost be a donation to the fund as well, that would be even better.  Reprints would be allowed. . . .

As it happened I had a story, a favorite of mine titled “King Rat” but which didn’t fit into THE TEARS OF ISIS (originally published in GOTHIC.NET in March 2002, it was reprinted in my DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET collection from Dark Regions Press in 2007 — cf. its cover portrait in the center column), but how far could one go with allegory?  Do economic systems count?  And so — nothing ventured, nothing gained! — I sent it in, explaining in part:  “’King Rat’ is a story that is at heart about the ills brought about by an increasingly unbalanced and uncontrollable world economic system.  We speak of the ‘body politic’ — by which we sometimes may well mean the ‘body economic’ — and the problems we see could be analogous to a cancer affecting the human body.  Still, it is a political story. . . .*”

And so, today, the word came back — politics (or at least economics, its older, duller brother) is okay!  “Thank you for your submission to our children’s cancer anthology, BLEED.  It is so wonderful to know that so many people are willing to help donate to such a worthwhile cause.  We got an outpouring of submissions and it was very difficult to choose the stories that were to make the final table of contents.  But congratulations, your story “King Rat” was chosen to be in this fine collection.”  BLEED will come out under the Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing imprint in, presumably, the not too distant future, with details to follow.

And there you have it.

In other news, this arriving late last night from Max Booth III, Sandy DeLuca, and others:  “For the July segment of the HWA’s Horror Poetry Newsletter, we are honored to feature excellent poems from Keith Deininger, JG Faherty and Vincenzo Bilof.  James Dorr was also kind enough to let us use an old essay of his on vampires and poetry.  Thanks, everyone!”  This is a new HWA project beginning, I think, just last month, and I’m honored to be included so soon.  The essay in question is “Vamps:  The Beginning” (cf. January 1 2012), originally published in Marge Simon’s “Blood  & Spades” column in the HWA NEWSLETTER concerning my 2011 poetry collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  You had to be a member of the Horror Writers Association to read it though, so if you aren’t — or weren’t at that time — here’s a chance to read it now by pressing here.  Or even better, to read some good poetry by the three other poets noted above!

As for VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), it’s available to all who wish to buy it — just click on its center-column portrait (about two below the one for DARKER LOVES).


*And I might add here, initially published ten years before the Occupy Wall Street, et al., movement came about 😉 .

Click on the picture at the top of the column just to the right and you will see . . . something different!  VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) is now available in an electronic edition, bargain priced at jusvamps2t $2.99, via White Cat Publications’s (as of last year the parent company of Sam’s Dot Publishing) new order page.  But for those who prefer the sensuous feel of their VAMPS on paper, not to worry:  a click of a button on the site brings you to that version, still priced at a mere $7.00 (less than the price of a blood-sausage pizza!) plus shipping.  One slight warning, though, even using a library computer — much faster than the cave computer I’m writing this on now — the White Cat site seemed a tad poky to load, even just to change between print and electronic editions.  But then maybe that’s just VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) for you — even vampiresses want to linger a bit over foreplay.  

DWARF STARS is an annual anthology put out by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, similar to the RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, but confined to poems of ten lines or less.  As with the Rhyslings, SFPA members will vote on the poems in its pages to determine the best eligible poem for a given year, but unlike the Rhysling, the editor or editors of that year’s anthology will have made a preliminary choice of the poems sent in to determine which will actually appear in that year’s DWARF STARS — that is, just as if they were submissions to an ordinary anthology.

So it was that I sent in some of mine published in 2011 for consideration for the 2012 anthology last July or so.  Today the word came back:  one of these, “California Vamp,” has been selected to be in DWARF STARS.  “California Vamp” is a rondelet, a 7-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and a repeated refrain in lines 1, 3, and 7, that first appeared in my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE (see August 1 2011 and/or click on its picture in the center column).  Whether it will go on to be voted the best of the year is, of course, a different matter (hint from the poet, who ought to know:  wait for a really favorable point spread before you bet on it).

For more information on the SFPA and/or DWARF STARS, press here or here, respectively.

Can’t put those Vamps down.  The summer edition of DARK GOTHIC RESURRECTED came out today with contents including a review of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) as well as an interview of . . . me.  Of the Vamps (the more interesting), on p. 99, “[a] delightful collection of vampire-inspired poems . . . from elementals to shape-shifters and to the vampires that have graced the silver screen.  There are also illustrations in this collection that complement this book nicely. . . .” as reviewed by Editor/Publisher Cinsearae S.   Less exotic perhaps is my interview, starting on p. 85, but you do learn among other things what I would do if “a zombie is coming towards you!” (hint:  “Run like hell!”  But also find out why I’d then visit my niece who lives in Oregon.)

DARK GOTHIC RESURRECTED is available in print via CreateSpace as well as in a Kindle edition through

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