This past weekend saw the release of Popcorn Press’s seventh annual Halloween celebration of horror poetry and short fiction, Zen of the Dead. The collection includes two of my haiku and one of my tanka. One of my haiku was inspired by this past summer’s trip to New Orleans. The tanka takes inspiration from my “day” job operating telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Each year, on October 1, Popcorn Press hosts an open call for horror-themed poems and stories. By October 31, they have a finished document published in ebook form, with a print version close on its heels.
This book is the result of that creative marathon. Inside are works from writers new and old, pros and newcomers alike. Some few are previously published pieces deserving new readership; the majority have never before seen the light of day. In addition to my work, you’ll find poems by such Tales of the Talisman contributors as Gary W. Davis, F.J. Bergmann, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Kelda Crich, Deborah P. Kolodji, Christina Sng, and Dwarf Stars winner, Greg Schwartz. I was also thrilled to see Stephen D. Sullivan among the contributors. He wrote Heart of Steam and Rust which is one of the stories in the Empires of Steam and Rust steampunk series that I’ve also contributed to.
Editor Lester Smith’s goal each year is simple: to encourage a wider audience for poetry and short fiction. Halloween provides a perfect opportunity.
Zen of the Dead, then, is the result of Popcorn Press’s month-long Halloween party—though you are welcome to read the contents at any time of the year, ideally after dark…alone. (Or perhaps with a friend or two for company, to stave off the chills.)