Every year, Popcorn Press celebrates Halloween by publishing a collection of horror poetry and short fiction. Previous years have included Vampyr Verse (2009), The Hungry Dead (2010), Halloween Haiku (2011), and Cthulhu Haiku (2012).
This year the topic is Cthulhu Haiku II and More Mythos Madness, a collection of works inspired by H. P. Lovecraft.
Here's what we're asking . . .
1. Submissions: Most of the reason for this annual project is to promote fun with poetry and short fiction. We'd love to see something from you! We're paying at least $1 per poem or half page of fiction. (More if this Kickstarter does well; last year we were able to double that amount.) You keep the rights beyond our use in the collection. Submission deadline is Oct. 25. (Visit www.CthulhuHaiku2.com for more details.)
2. Support: Please consider supporting us with one of the backer levels listed at the right. The more we earn, the more we can pay contributors.
3. Exposure: Please share this page with everyone you know! The bigger the buzz, the more submissions we'll see, and the more backing, which means a bigger, better book for everyone.
Excerpts from previous books . . .
"Vampyr Birthday "
I wake up
dead in Toledo
buy a cake
at Dairy Queen
watch it melt
and kill your daughter
If I drain your blood
in the woods, where no one hears,
would you make a sound?
The Hungry Dead
Shuffling through the day:
Stayed up way too late last night
watching zombie films.
Excerpt from the story "Unlife on the Mississippi" by J. Robert King
I reckon some folks don’t realize right off that they’re dead. For them, it ain’t such a big change. By the time he kicked off, old man Murphy hadn’t left his bed in ten years. For longer still, widow Smith had worn a black veil and uttered not a word. Mickey MacDonald once slept so still we had him half buried before he moved to wipe his nose. Death didn’t change them much. Course none of them became a vampire.
I reckon I, Waterhouse Billy, was the first vampire in Hannibal. It was a big change for me, and I realized pretty much right off. . . .
"Front Porch Storyteller"
Red flame laughter—a pyre dance
Whispers to the Wind.
—Patrick T. Randolph
It’s times like this when
your ghost haunts me most:
Halloween with all its trappings.
Sam Spade’s wisdom:
the thrill’s no good
without the threat of death.
I look everywhere for your ghost,
longing for that shivering touch.
I’ve locked myself in closets, hoping,
through the hunger and thirst,
the fainting dark,
to taste some trace of you—
if only in passing.
—Lyn C. A. Gardner
from the deep,
caress the love boat.
—David Lee Summers
Such syllabic hell
Upon the shores of distant lands
there rise the crags of broken heights,
where marble structures fade to sand
and life is naught but dusted lights.
It was these cliffs above the sea,
from whence I saw the brewing storms;
where chilling mists encompassed me;
and I forsook my mortal form.
Now in this maze of ancient graves
of old and older tombs of time,
there are no gods to whom to pray,
nor wicked acts of fiends malign.
Beneath these cliffs of vulturous birds
I found myself beyond the dead—
I’ve died within these lands undone,
which gods and fiends alike have fled.
I’ve seen my own unhallowed bones
rise up from depths more far than gone,
and walk away for skies unknown
to endless seek a distant dawn.
pouty-lipped & gilled
their tongues like fishermen’s hooks—
kissing Innsmouth girls
on my Kindle, downloading
hell in a handheld
Excerpts from Grim Series . . .
"How Conrad Came Back"
Two knocks on the door. My father let him in.
Conrad wanted to talk about his trip,
but his tongue kept on sliding out of his mouth.
I told him to push it back. Hard. He did.
And the tongue was hinged back in.
He said there was too much to eat out there.
Thanks to Mrs. Kelly’s surgical skills, he looked too human
and how the girls swooned and sometimes followed him home.
My mother insisted he get some rest.
His skin flaps were starting to slough off.
I quickly wiped away the blood, and I discovered that his flesh
was like sugared sun. I remembered what Grampa said: We were
all yellow inside. That wrong shade of yellow—the color of the gods.
I smiled at the memory. “We’ll fix that later,” I said to Conrad.
He nodded. His chest gaped open at the motion of his head.
I saw something ticking inside. It was not his heart.
"The First Stranger"
He was not claiming to be the messiah.
“Think of me as a door-to-door salesman,”
he said, “with things to offer—most of them
are things you do not need.”
He smiled. His faded
jeans, wrinkled; his face,
shaved clean, reeked
of gasoline when he leaned closer.
I opened the door,
let him in.
He came from another place, insisted
that he could tweak our eyes so we could
see much better. I believed him;
he had brought my next-door neighbor
back to life.
“You are beautiful creatures,” he went on,
“only limited. But I can help you with your vision,
make you see things beyond your visible range.”
And he did. It only hurt when he grazed
the optic nerves. He said that pain was all right,
that it could not exist in the memory,
that it was just there for the moment.
He told me to open my eyes, and all I saw
was darkness. “You blinded me,”
I said. “No,” he said, chuckled.
“Look closely. There are certain colors
interspersed with the black.”
Filmy, mottled swatches shifted
across the blackness.
All the colors were unfamiliar,
unnatural yet they looked as if
they had always existed.
And, oh, how the darkness sang
—Kristine Ong Muslim
100 Backers: Every backer will receive a free audio book version of Cthulhu Haiku II!
150 Backers: Every backer will also receive a free audio book version of last year's Cthulhu Haiku!
200 Backers: Every backer will also receive a free audio book version of Halloween Haiku!
250 Backers: Every backer will also receive a free audio book version of The Hungry Dead!
300 Backers: Every backer will also receive a free audio book version of Vampyr Verse!
Risks and challenges
Popcorn Press has brought Halloween books to publication for four years running now. It began in 2009, with a crazy idea to start a contest on Oct. 1 and have a book to the printer on Oct. 31. Every year is a crunch, but we've succeeded each time.
This year our goal is to have the ebook to supporters by midnight Oct. 30, when the Kickstarter project ends. Print book shipping will begin as soon as funds clear Amazon. (Amazon says up to 14 days, but from our experience—with four successful Kickstarter projects thus far—the time is usually much shorter.)
Cover production: Front cover is completed. Back text by Oct. 24
Submissions: Underway—deadline Oct. 25
Responding to submissions: Ongoing through Oct. 25
Finalizing selections: Oct. 26
Finishing book interior layout: Oct. 27
Ebook release: Oct. 30
Print book shipping date: Nov. 9, estimated
- (20 days)