“Elf Houses” Accepted Again!

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Tree in a park near my house. Taken by me.

Today I received the welcome news that my story, “Elf Houses,” which appeared in 2015 in Between Worlds Zine, has now been accepted by Doubleback ReviewDoubleback publishes pieces that have appeared in now-defunct journals. It operates under the umbrella of Sundress Publications, which is dedicated to resurrecting both journal and small-press casualties of what Doubleback calls our “churn and burn culture.”

I think this is a fantastic idea, and I am especially grateful to Fiction Editor Samantha Edmonds for seeing merit in my story, “Elf Houses,” which is based on a game I used to play of building houses for imaginary elves outside, and also on less happy aspects of my childhood. It is the first horror story I ever wrote, and I believe it should live again to chill more people.

As always, I will be familiarizing myself with the journal while waiting for my work to appear. I can’t wait to encounter all the resurrected zombies.

“Loquats in Vienna” Out at Last in Leaves of Loquat V

450px-Eriobotrya_japonica3Photo credit: Oldie~commonswiki, Eriobotrya japonica. Wikimedia Commons. GDSL 1.2 or later.

Faithful readers of this blog may possibly remember that in 2018 I won second prize in the Loquat Literary Festival. As part of the prize, my poem, which I am particularly fond of because it is about my husband and me, was to be published in Leaves of Loquat IV with other contributors to the festival. But when the volume arrived, I found it only contained half of my poem. 

The Loquat Festival, including its literary part, is run by kind, generous, caring people who have lives and do other things, too. So when the contrite editor promised to include my entire poem in the next edition of Leaves of Loquat, I was gratified, but uncertain whether this would actually occur.

I must now apologize for underestimating Dell DeChant and all the excellent people involved with the festival. Leaves of Loquat V arrived today, and it includes not only all of my poem, “Loquats in Vienna,” but also the usual quirky mix of local contributors and  prize-winning writers from all over. I am already almost finished reading.

Copies of Leaves of Loquat V are available from Ecology Florida for, I believe, a small contribution. Pick yours up today, and, as always, please let me know what you think of my poem.

 

 

What We Talk About When We Talk About It Update

Just a quick update: the paperback edition of What We Talk About When We Talk About It, with my story, “Second Honeymoon,” in it, is now available on Amazon here. I have  been reading the first story, and am definitely intrigued by the love between a girl and her pet tornado. 

So be sure to get your copy today! And please please please leave a review.What-We-Talk-Front-Cover-400x600x72dpi-188x300                        Photo credit: Promotional cover photo, Darkhouse Press.

“Second Honeymoon” Out in Love-Themed Anthology

What-We-Talk-Front-Cover-400x600x72dpi-188x300                     Cover design for the volume. Darkhouse Books promotional photo.

“Second Honeymoon,” which I wrote about in this post, is now out in Volume 1 of the Darkhouse Books anthology, What We Talk About When We Talk About It: Variations on the Theme of Love, on Kindle here. Paperback and other formats to follow. 

The call for submissions asked for unusual takes on love, and I guess my tale of a middle-aged couple struggling with their marriage was unusual enough. On re-reading it, I still find the ending abrupt, but at the same time, I believe people do sometimes experience moments like the one I describe, especially when they are highly emotional.

Regardless, I look forward to reading the volume and seeing what other takes on love people came up with. It contains poems and other genres, so there is plenty of variety. 

So pick up your copy in time for Valentine’s Day! And as always, please let me know what you think.

 

“Theda and Me” Out in Horror USA: California

HorrorUSACAPromo1Publicity photo, Soteira Press.

As promised, Horror USA: California is now out in Kindle and paperback editions, with a hardcover edition coming soon, I imagine. I have just purchased my Kindle edition, and am looking forward to reading the stories. There are a lot of them, so if you are looking for holiday gifts for anyone remotely interested in horror and/or California, this anthology probably has something in it for them.

So buy it! And please let me know what you think of my story, “Theda and Me.”

“Peekaboo Monster” Accepted by B Cubed Press

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Photo credit: Oleg Shpyrko, peekaboo! 10 March 2011. Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

I am psyched that Bob Brown of B Cubed Press is purchasing my short children’s poem, “Peekaboo Monster,” for the collection, Alternative Bedtime Stories. This is especially thrilling for a number of reasons. First, it is my first piece of children’s literature. Second, it is based on the “Cuddle Monster” game my daughter and I played when she was very young. Third, B Cubed Press is explicitly progressive; the “alternative” in its titles alludes to this. “Peekaboo Monster” is not very political, but I think it fits the paradigm because in it the child speaker sees themself as powerful and magical, making the rules for the ordinary adults. Finally, I will be in the same volume as the amazing Jane Yolen, whose Commander Toad books were a particular favorite with us when my son was small.

I will leave you with the words to the cuddle monster game. They should be chanted with a blanket over one’s head. The tune is just one pitch, rising an octave for the italicized words:  “I am the Cuddle Monster, I’m coming to cuddle you! / I’ll give you lots and lots of hugs, and lots of kisses too!”

My poem is better, but the chant brings back warm memories.

“Theda and Me” Due Out Friday, 12/13

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Soteira Press promotional photo for Horror USA.

I’m pleased to announce that my story, “Theda and Me,” which I posted about here, will be out in the anthology, Horror USA: California, from Soteira Press, on December 13th. Ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers will be available through Amazon, and possibly (via distributor IngramSpark) at other venues, though the hardcovers may be delayed.

This is the first time I’ll have been between hard covers, so that’s something. Also, though “Theda and Me” falls under the general umbrella of horror, I think of it as primarily an allegory and also historical fiction about Hollywood. The fact that the story is part of this volume tells me that the editors were eclectic in their selection, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else did. 

So if you are a horror aficionado, or know someone who is, I hope you will pick up a copy. And as always, if you read my story, let me know what you think.

 

“The Rollaway” Up on Online Writing Tips

image_939574f4-3c46-463f-ad7b-a67c17fcf562.img_2780I am delighted to see my story, unregenerately titled “The Rollaway,” up on Online Writing Tips. Many thanks to D.D. Johnston for his kind words and helpful edits.

Whenever I read a recently printed piece, I feel reassured about its quality, and my experience reading “The Rollaway” on  Online Writing Tips was no exception. I especially like the subtlety with which I’ve portrayed the relationships, and the blend of melancholy and hope. So please head over and read it–then let me know what you think.

Thanks!

Photo credit: My rollaway suitcase, taken by me. 

Redemptive Rejection from Corona Horror

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I’m on this list, at the end.

Once again in the “Glass Half Full Rejections” category, my story, “The Jet-Black Knight,” made the top 6% of over 800 submissions for The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories. The letter was one of the nicest rejections I’ve had, and unlike another publication that promised to put me in the list of honorable mentions, Corona delivered. Many thanks to Editor Lewis Williams.

This encouragement was especially important to me for three reasons:

First, the story includes a no-doubt controversial, critical portrayal of US military raids in the Iraq War, a portrayal that I believe is based on sound research. In this era of mandatory jingoism, I would like varied views regarding the US role in the world to get out there.

Second, the story is based on my son’s misunderstanding of “the jet-black night” in the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, Northwest Passage. So it connects to my feelings for my son and my memories of his childhood.

Third, a relatively prestigious publication sent me a reader’s report with its rejection, and the reader criticized my having given the narrator and main character Southern speech that the reader felt was (as I recall) distracting and ridiculous, even as she (I’m guessing) acknowledged that she would have thought a veteran wrote the piece had I not signed it, and that I had “skillz” (this is how I remember its being spelled). I know I have a good ear for language, and I do not understand how not giving the character an individualized background would have been a stronger choice.

For all of these reasons, it was good to have a reason for continued hope that this story may one day see the light of day.

Photo credit: Corona Press. P. 223 of Lewis Williams, ed., The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories. N. P.: Corona Books UK, 2019. Fair use.  

“Gutman to the Rescue” Up in Launch of Daikaijuzine

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As I wrote in my last post, my humorous superhero story, “Gutman to the Rescue,” has at last been picked up by a reputable concern. Editor Richard S. Crawford  has been patient and gracious in cleaning up my mistakes, and I’m happy to say the story seems to be pretty mistake-free. The new magazine where it appears, Daikaijuzine, promises to be a smorgasbord of high quality speculative fiction. I can’t wait to dive in.

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking we could all use a laugh these days, so please go check out my story–it’s free–and enjoy. If you have time, please let me know how you like it.

Gif credit: Simon Kirby,  SelinaMedium. 2006. Wikimedia Commons. CC0 1.0 Universal
Public Domain Dedication.