Posts Tagged ‘Vultures’

And . . . it’s out, on schedule, the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology for stories “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, [and] Daring” (see November 15, 8)!  To see or to buy press here.  A list of contents also appears in my November 15 post below, while we also learned the winners today of the small money prizes (the “Awards” part of the title) for the four presumably BOULDest tales of all.  To wit:

1st Place ($50): The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott
2nd Place ($30): The Society – KM Rockwood
3rd Place ($20): Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson
4th Place ($10): Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury

Okay, so my entries are not on the list, not that they’re still not bizarre, etc., in their own right (one, in fact, having also appeared in a 2013 anthology titled BIZARRO BIZARRO*), “Mr. Happy Head” and “In the Octopus’s Garden.”  But hopefully all should be quite worth reading, to be found, again, by pressing here.


*While the other, “In the Octopus’s Garden,” is also lead story in my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.


The word is out.  Late yesterday the email came from Editor Jake Devlin that the BOULD AWARD ANTHOLOGY (for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” — cf. below, November 8) is expected to be out on Wednesday next week, November 20.  With this came a list of stories, with word counts — as I recall, the limit was set at 3000 words, but with a premium for short and sweet — as reproduced below.  And, as the quote continues:  I’m even more happy to announce that there are double the number of stories that were in the 2018 edition, and we’ve already received several entries for the 2020 edition.  I’d encourage any of you who might want to submit more stories to think “short” stories; I’d love to see more “flash fiction,” maybe 1,000 words or less.  You’ll find an email address at the bottom of the BouldAwards web site* to get the submission requirements via auto-reply.

Then one thing more — two really — my stories in these are “In the Octopus’s Garden,” collected as well in my book THE TEARS OF ISIS (for info on which, click its picture in the center column), and the as yet uncollected “Mr. Happy Head.”  For both of which, here’s the table of contents:

Bitch and Chips – Maddi Davidson – 1060 words
A Walk In The Park – Francis Hicks – 490
A Man Without His Word – Lise de Nil – 1848
Honor Amongst the Rigid – Wil A. Emerson – 2980
Clarity – Francis Hicks – 720
In the Octopus’s Garden – James Dorr – 2400
Take Nothing For Granite – John Clark – 1170
When I Think About – Gary R. Hoffman – 450
Teacher’s Pets – Kat Fast – 1990
Teagan’s Special Sand Castle – Jake Devlin – 1300
Note Found Near Scattered Human Skeletal Remains – Jack Ewing – 1840
Oh Henry – Wil A. Emerson – 2990
Bait – Eve Fisher – 2700
Zero-Sum – Cheri Vause – 1500
Chemo Queen – Tom Barlow – 2970
The Sadist – Jimmy Summers – 750
In A Town Mostly Forgotten – John Clark – 2060
The Purloined Pickled Peppers – Herschel Cozine – 2400
Eggboy and the Drunk – Lise de Nil – 2990
The Price You Pay – William A. Rush IV – 1850
Henry The Butler – Francis Hicks – 500
The Mystery of the Missing Albino – Steve Shrott – 2800
A Shifting Plan – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2500
Input From A Serial Killer – John Furutani – 2570
Confession of a Serial Killer – Jake Devlin – 500
The Cat – Robert Petyo – 2100
Deer Juj – David Hagerty – 850
The Society – KM Rockwood – 2200
Something Wacky This Way Comes – Karen Phillips – 2000
Pinning Ceremony – John Clark – 2670
Drip-Dry and Wrinkle-Free – Lesley A. Diehl – 2440
Mr. Happy Head – James Dorr – 2700
Preincarnation – Eve Fisher – 1000
To Die a Free Man: The Story of Joseph Bowers – KM Rockwood – 2790
The Suicide Bureau – Robert Petyo – 1700
The Silkie – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2900
Meeting on the Funicular – Kaye George – 735
Cold Snap – Maddi Davidson – 640
Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury – 260
An Apocalyptic Micro Short Story – Jake Devlin – 20


* Link to appear here with info for ordering on November 20.

And here’s a tip:  try thinking like a comedian; some of their takes on ideas/events/people/things can often inspire/trigger your own weird, wild, BOULD creativity.  Some of my personal favorites are Steven Wright, the deadpan American comedian; Milton Jones, a Brit; and the “Scenes We’d Like to See” segments of a BBC show called “Mock the Week,” all available on YouTube.  (Just a suggestion.  If nothing else, you might have a good laugh or two . . . or ten.)

Say what?

So it was part of a call for the annual BOULD Awards competition, which actually does award smallish prizes as well as publication in an annual anthology.  The anthology, not surprisingly, would be titled BOULD AWARDS 2019 SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY.  And the reading period was about a year long.

BOULD, by the way, stands for “Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring” and, despite the above, does not necessarily have to be comic.  Up to three stories could be submitted, of 3000 words or less apiece, with the judging based on character, plot, writing style (“voice”), creativity and DARING/boldness/audacity (“pushing the envelope” or going beyond it).  So why not, thought I, and I sent in two on January 9, and then more or less forgot about it.

AND NOW IT CAN BE TOLD, word having been sent by Editor Jake Devlin Monday, November 4, with a request to wait on announcing it until the 8th (though due to an over-zealous spam filter, not actually received till yesterday, November 7):  both stories have been accepted for publication in the 2019 BOULD Awards Anthology, which will be published in early December 2019 or perhaps before.  Though no word yet about the money prizes, which range from $10 to $50 for the four top places, perhaps to be revealed to me later (or maybe the judges, while liking my work, didn’t like it that much).  But acceptances — in this case both for reprints — are still acceptances, yes?  More here as it becomes known.

And the stories themselves?  The first is “In the Octopus’s Garden,” originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA for March-April 1999 and also lead story in my 2013 collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS; the second “Mr. Happy Head” from WICKED MYSTIC for Spring 1996 (as yet uncollected).

Not too long back James Ward Kirk, editor of INDIANA HORROR 2011 (cf. Aug. 30, et al.), contacted me about possibly sending him a story for a planned sequel anthology, INDIANA HORROR 2012.  It wasn’t officially open yet, he was just sounding out some of the authors in the previous volume, so I gave it some thought but not to be in too much of a hurry.  Then about two days ago, he happened to mention an interest in an article on vultures someone had posted on Facebook and it put me in mind of “The Christmas Vulture,” short short and lagniappe (Dec. 23, 2010) originally published in UNTIED SHOELACES OF THE MIND for Fall 2010.  Hmmm.  Vultures.  Horror story request. . . .

So yesterday evening I submitted our hopefully mutual feathered carrion-eating friend just about as editor Kirk sent me a little prod via Facebook and — the rest is history.  Very recent history.   Within hours I received an email with acceptance and contract, the latter of which I’ve just e-signed and sent back.  I also was asked via Facebook to “feel free to pass this on to your writer friends” so, for any who are reading this and are either Indiana residents or have ties to Indiana (you know who you are 😉 ) or possibly just have stories set in Indiana, even though I don’t believe the anthology is officially open yet, take this as an invitation to submit something early.  Information and guidelines can be found at but, to keep us all honest (and/or so the editor won’t freak out), if you do submit please add a note that you heard about it from

What interesting and varied lives we live!  A reader of the local paper’s consumer “hotline” column noted this morning that “[s]everal hundred black vultures have been nesting in the sycamore trees near Childs School and the neighboring areas for two weeks now.  I have lived in Sycamore Knolls for 20 years and have never seen them before,” continuing on to ask if it might be “because of the relatively warmer winter this year?”  The hotline answered via university ornithologist Susan Hengeveld that indeed there has been an increase in the number of vultures in recent years in the eastern part of North America.  Quoting Ms. Hengeveld, “There is some suggestion that the movement of the range north is not just due to warming trends, but also an increase in food supply. As human populations continue to grow and roads are built, the vultures have found a steady supply of food in road-kill.  So the tasty road-side snacks have increased, keeping more vultures around even in colder conditions.  This is not to say warming tends aren’t playing a role, but it may not be the only contributing factor.”  To which I might add, warming or not — and it has been by and large an extremely mild winter thus far — that I kind of like the crows we get in my own neighborhood, so I hope the vultures aren’t going to displace them.

Speaking of dead guys, I ran across a notice on the Collaboration of the Dead Forum just over a week back, “ZOMBIE, THE OTHER FRIGHT MEAT:  AN ANTHOLOGY – Open for Submissions – Closing Soon!”  So what the heck, I sent in a recent story called “The Zombie Prince.”  Apparently it came in just under the wire as, lateish last night, I received an acceptance with contract attached:  “Congratulations!  Your story . . . has been accepted by NorGus Press to be published in our upcoming Zombie anthology,” adding that they were hoping to publish “by the end of February, early March.”  In terms of speed, that’s not exactly shambling.

So what is this anthology anyway?  According to the call, ZOMBIE, THE OTHER FRIGHT MEAT “is a Living Dead-themed anthology.  All genres of horror will be considered.  Dark, disturbing, suspenseful, supernatural, gruesome, and gory are welcome.  Bring out your undead!  Romero-style is always great, but send us anything you think people will want to read:  intelligent zombies, running zombies, zombie animals, whatever.”  In my case, this meant a story I’d written last summer in large part for the pleasure, a 3000-word updating of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Frog King” (from which legions of accounts about young maidens kissing frogs have arisen through the succeeding years) . . . but with zombies.  That being said, while I can’t vouch for its other contents, if “The Zombie Prince” is in any way typical this anthology, whether or not its contents be exactly written by Shakespeare,  ought to be fun!

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