Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Acorn #21

Acorn is a small cardstock-covered journal of English-language haiku, published biannually in April and October. Editor Carolyn Hall has collected an impressive array of poems for the current issue, #21.

Like a haiku, Acorn's format is simple and unassuming. A sketched acorn adorns the front cover, drawn with an Eastern use of white space and lines. The haiku are presented one or two to a page, leaving each poem plenty of room to stretch. This format works especially well for haiku, which (like the line-drawn acorn) rely as much on what they don’t say (the white space) as on what they do.

The list of contributors for this issue of Acorn includes many names familiar to haiku enthusiasts: Bruce Ross, John Barlow, Stanford M. Forrester, John Stevenson, Gary Hotham, Billie Wilson, George Swede.... The list goes on and on.

And now onto the poems themselves. Below are some of my favorites.

William Cullen Jr. treats us to a view of not only a job, but a whole way of life that is slowly vanishing:

steam whistle
coal miners disappear
into the dusk

Rich Heller takes us back (or forward) to spring:

March thaw
children swoop
at the ends of kite strings

Elliott Nicely reveals the uglier side of things, but does it lyrically:

the promise
it won't happen again
black-eyed susans

The magazine contains over one hundred haiku in all -- poems about all four seasons, plenty of one-line haiku, and even a couple of humorous poems, like this gently comic one by Jennifer G. Popolis:

summer solstice—
the drinking fountain
overshoots its rim

Individual issues of Acorn are available for $6 each (for U.S. residents) or $12 for a two-issue subscription. Poem submissions are accepted by mail or email – no previously published poems or simultaneous submissions. See Acorn's website for more information.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

AnthologyBuilder, some haiku

I'm pleased to announce my short horror story, "Hayride," is now available on the website. For those who haven't heard of AnthologyBuilder, it's an online archive of stories (mostly speculative), and for a set price readers can build their own anthology. It includes stories by current writers as well as some classic stories by Poe and other authors.

If you're interested in building your own anthology, consider including a story or two from Dreams & Nightmares editor David C. Kopaska-Merkel. He is one of the site's featured authors for this month, and any anthology purchased by October 31st that contains one of his stories gets a $1 discount.

You can read a teaser of "Hayride" here, as well as browse around the site. (Click on the eye icon next to my name to read the beginning of the story.)

And for your more immediate reading pleasure, here is a group of fantasy haiku by Aurelio Rico Lopez III, and a scifaiku by Raven Electrick editor Karen A. Romanko.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Currently Reading List, Black Petals

Because I constantly have to change things around here, I've started posting a list of books I'm currently reading and a list of books I've recently finished. Both can be found towards the bottom of this blog, under the banner ads. A lot of the books I've read I've only found by talking to other writers about books they're reading, so maybe people can discover new books from my list, too. Feel free to leave a comment about any of the books listed, or about any books you're reading. I'd be happy to tell you what I liked or didn't like about any of the books.

There are a lot of poetry and fiction contests open now, with deadlines toward the end of the year. I'll be posting links and more information about them, either in a new post or on the sidebar. In the meantime, here's one contest for drabbles (100-word stories):

The Sam's Dot Special Drabble Contest - Sam's Dot Publishing holds regular drabble contests throughout the year, but this one has a special theme -- "Alien Sex Secrets: What Your Alien Lover Wants You To Do In Bed." Finalists are published in a contest anthology, The Drabbler, and all writers with stories chosen for publication will get a copy. First prize is $10 plus a Sam's Dot paperback, second prize is $5 and a Sam's Dot chapbook. Deadline for submissions is December 31st.

Black Petals #45 is now online, including two poems by yours truly. There's also a creepy Halloween tale by C.S. Watts.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Issues, Submission Deadlines

For your reading pleasure, the latest issues of these magazines are now online:

- Tales from the Moonlit Path - Their annual Halloween issue.
- From the Asylum - The first new issue since April, filled with goodies.
- Chrysanthemum - All the haiku you can eat.

Submission deadlines for many magazines are fast approaching. Make sure you get your story/poem/review/whatever in on time:

- Frogpond - November 15th
- Tales of the Unanticipated - November 15th (postmark deadline)
- Sybil's Garage - November 30th
- Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine - November 30th
- Vestal Review - November 30th
- Goblin Fruit - December 1st

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Shantytown, Higginson tribute

The new issue of The Shantytown Anomaly is out now and available for purchase. Click on the link for a list of contributors, or to buy your copy.

The Australian Haiku Society has set up a tribute page for William Higginson. You can email them your haiku in memory of Bill, and once all the poems are gathered, they will be sent to his family. All poems must be submitted by October 27th. (Thanks to Deborah P. Kolodji for the link.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

William Higginson

William J. Higginson, one of the giants of the haiku world, has passed away. Enough can not be said about this man, but let it be said by better writers than me:

- Don Wentworth
- Curtis Dunlap
- David Giacalone
- Deborah P. Kolodji

a yellow paper
zig-zags to the floor
bare trees

- William J. Higginson, The Haiku Handbook

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two contests, a market, and a story

It seems we're right in the middle of writing contest season. Here are a poetry contest and a short story contest you might find worth entering:

2008 San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and Rengay - Sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Northern California, this contest pays $100 to the top poem in each of the four categories. In addition, for the haiku and rengay categories, there will be a second and third prize of $50 and $25, respectively. Entries are $5 per rengay or $1 for each entry in the other three categories. Get cracking, because the deadline for haiku, senryu, and tanka is October 31st. (November 30th for rengay.)

Oceanview Publishing's Short Story Contest - No entry fee for this one, and they're looking for stories that "might even be a little twisted." Submit unpublished stories (1000 to 5000 words) by email before the November 17th deadline. Prizes are $250 cash plus $150 in Oceanview books for the winner, and $100 plus $150 in Oceanview books for two finalists.

In market news, OG's Speculative Fiction has recently raised its pay rates: $35 for short stories and $10 for poems (on acceptance). Not bad at all.

For your reading pleasure, author Charles Gramlich has started something he calls "Halloween Horror October," and he has posted the first of what I hope will be many short horror stories on his blog, Razored Zen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dwarf Stars, a Halloween contest, stuff to buy

For those of you who have never heard of the annual Dwarf Stars anthology, it is a collection of short (10 lines or fewer) speculative poetry published in the previous calendar year. The anthology was created to recognize short poems that may be overlooked in the Rhysling nominations, and is edited by two talented and hard-working poets/editors, Deborah P. Kolodji and Stephen M. Wilson. I am proud to say that my poem "The Reaper" (published in Aberrant Dreams) was chosen for inclusion this year, and I can't wait to read the anthology (mailed free to all SFPA members).

Swimming Kangaroo Books is hosting a Halloween Short Story Contest. No cash prize, but no entry fee either. Here are the complete guidelines:

Swimming Kangaroo's Halloween Short Story Contest

Halloween is Swimming Kangaroo's favorite holiday! Who doesn't love dressing up in costume and going through haunted houses! In honor of our favorite holiday we're having a short story contest! The rules are very simple because we're simple folks!

1. The story must be family friendly.
2. The story must be no more than 1500 words long.
3. The story must be original.
4. The story must be entered by the author.
5. Entries must be received by Sunday, October 19, at 12:01 AM CST.

We have three contest categories: Scary, Funny and Kangaroo. We think these are pretty self evident but just in case, the scary story must send goose bumps down our spine. The funny story must make us laugh. And the kangaroo story must involve a kangaroo.

Entries that meet the above guidelines will be posted on our website. Winners will be determined via a vote by visitors to the website. Winners will receive a Spooky Book Set from Swimming Kangaroo containing The Dead Detective by Lorene Robbins, Evil Reflections by Larion Wills and Spectral Rewind: Class of '81 by Terry Lloyd Vinson. Winning stories will also be posted on the SK Website and announced in the newsletter.

So get out your keyboards and start typing away!

Send your Halloween Story either in the body of an email or as a Word or RTF Attachment to one of the following email addresses (guess which type of story goes to which address!):

If, like me, you find yourself wondering what to do with all that extra cash you have just laying around, think about buying yourself (or a loved one) a Dismember-Me Plush Zombie. Or, for something more practical (but not as fun to play with) pick up a copy of the Horror Writer Association's helpful book On Writing Horror, edited by Mort Castle. The book usually sells for $16.99 at the F+W Publications Bookstore, but enter code "hallow08" at checkout to get 25% off.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another contest and two ku

The Union County Writers' Club Annual Adult Literary Contest (try saying that five times fast) is taking entries until Halloween in four different categories: Short Story, Children's Story, Fantasy Story, and Poetry. Prizes for Short Story and Children's Story are $30/$25/$10, and for Fantasy/Poetry they are $25/$15/$10. Not a huge prize by any stretch, but entry fees are only $3/poem (two for $5) or $5 per story. And as far as sending reprints, the guidelines state you can not enter anything that has been previously published in a PAID publication. So that poem you had in Blue Collar Review or that story that appeared in Black Petals is fair game to re-use.

Speaking of non-paying publications, here's one to check out. Macabre Cadaver is an online speculative magazine that just put out its third issue. They're looking for unpublished short stories (500 to 8000 words), poetry, nonfiction, and artwork that relates to the speculative genres. No payment, but the magazine is free to read, and there is talk of a print edition in the future which contributors would be paid for.

Let's close with two speculative haiku. The first is a fantasy poem, titled "Lonely Fairy Rath," by R.H. Fay. The other is a scifaiku by the scifaiku master, Deborah P. Kolodji.

Happy writing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Two contests

Now that the deadline for the Basho Haiku Challenge has passed, here are two more contests to consider entering. Both have entry fees, which tends to discourage a lot of writers, but both also have rather large prizes. (Both are also listed on the sidebar with the other contests.)

- Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition: The Writer's Digest contests are always big, and this one's no exception. The top three prizes are $500/$250/$100, 4th through 10th place each receive $25, 11th through 25th place get a $50 gift certificate good toward Writer's Digest Books, and all winners will be given a copy of the 2009 Poet's Market. All forms of poetry are welcome, and haiku is even mentioned by name (which is pretty rare for a mainstream poetry competition). Deadline is December 19th. Entry fees are $10 for the first poem, $5 for each additional poem.

- The Sow's Ear Poetry Review Poetry Competition: Unlike the WD competition, this contest only has one prize -- $1,000. Not bad for one poem. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, and the high entry fee of $20 covers up to five poems AND a subscription to The Sow's Ear Poetry Review. Deadline is November 1st.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Contest Deadline, Baseball Haiku

Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting to the Basho Haiku Challenge, so hurry up and send in your haiku if you haven't already done so.

If you find yourself with a free minute and want to hear one of the haiku masters, go to and listen to Cor van den Heuvel discuss baseball haiku, and hear him read the very first American baseball haiku, written by Jack Kerouac.

While the Basho Haiku Challenge may close on 10/2, Boulevard opens for submissions that same day. The editors accept (they even say "encourage") simultaneous submissions, and they pay $25-300 for poems up to 200 lines.

Dwarf Stars Award 2015

Dwarf Stars Award 2015