34 ORCHARD taking submissions now through July 15!

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 6 COVER

34 Orchard’s Autumn 2022 submissions window is now open! We will only be open from July 1 – 15, 2022, so if you’re planning on submitting, please keep in mind that anything after July 15, 2022, will be deleted unread (and yes, we adjust for all worldwide time zones. So that’s after July 15 at 11:59pm wherever you are).

Please refer to our guidelines for information on how to submit. Check that out here at https://34orchard.com/guidelines/, and we look forward to reading your work!

Sad news. :(

I’m devastated to announce that the baby Carolina wren has died. It’s okay. It’s been over 11 days and he long should’ve fledged by now, though, and he really wasn’t eating, I don’t think, so I don’t think he stood much of a chance and he would’ve struggled in his little birdy life. His parents were very attentive and did all that they could–they were in the nest feeding him (or trying to) ALL THE TIME. In all honesty, he didn’t look right to me when he hatched. I had a good cry and am smoking a real cigarette, and then Nathan will take care of him when he gets home. I feel wren’s little spirit is happy and free, because yes, I can feel him around me. This is nature, and sometimes things just happen that way. We have had other successful nests closeby like this, so I’m sure it’s nothing we did. I hope you are happier and feeling better now, little guy.

UPDATE: (7:30 pm EDT): Nathan came home to bury him and the nest was infested with bird mites. Bird mite infestations cause anemia in baby birds. So that is why he died. Right now, Nathan is spraying the yard so the mites do not spread to our population.

Poor Dead Baby Carolina Wren

Looking for an audio scare? My short “February Thaw” is on the DON’T FALL ASLEEP podcast!

Feb Thaw on Don't Fall Asleep Podcast - Description Screenshot

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, “February Thaw”—which was published earlier this year in Dark Moon Books’ Horror Library Volume 7—is now available on Blood Bound Books’ Don’t Fall Asleep podcast!

There are several ways to listen, so Read the rest of this entry

Looking for documentaries? Recommended watches …

I’m a shameless consumer of documentaries, but like anything else, they are all about personal taste. There are docs that are excellent, but if the subject matter doesn’t float your boat, then you’re not going to be interested (sports, fashion, medical, and political documentaries, for example, are just not my thing).

That said, many people ask me what I’ve been watching lately if they’re into documentaries. Although I’ve been too crazy busy to do much of anything, I was lucky enough to get some downtime due to illness earlier in the year, I’m often working on mindless projects that could use an incentive, and I do take a full day off once in awhile to prevent burn-out and turn off my brain.

Here are some of the documentaries I’ve watched since the beginning of the year, and where Read the rest of this entry

In CT? Visit me at BOOK FIEND READER’S FEST this Saturday, June 25!

Book Fiend III Poster JPEG

Come say hello at Book Fiend Reader’s Fest this Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT. The event is free!

Sponsored by Silk City Steampunk and Oddball Newt, this celebration of steampunk, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, and supernatural authors will feature sword fighting demos, food trucks and plenty of other fun. There will be opportunities to buy books and have them signed, shop for some cool and unique gifts, attend some panels—and even join us for tea at the end of the day for informal chats with writers (the tea is the only thing there’s a charge for—it’s $10, and you can pay at the door. See the above poster for more details).

I’ll be manning the New England Horror Writers table with writer Trisha J. Wooldridge. We’ll have most of the books in the Wicked series on hand, as well as books by both of us and by other NEHW members. Writer Gevera Bert Piedmont—well known for fantastical lizard stories—will be in the booth next to us!

I will be joining other writers on a panel called The Horror! The Madness! The Creeping Sense of Doom!—about writing horror. It’ll run from 12:45 to 1:45 in the Panel Room. I’ll also be available for chats at the tea.

Come on by if you’re so inclined. I’d love to see you there!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! The wren babies hatched!

The little ones arrived yesterday (June 18) at about one in the afternoon!

7 Baby Wren 24 hours old

See his eye? This little guy is fewer than twenty-four hours old!

I came downstairs to get a bottled water, and I saw the female Carolina wren perched on top of the nest box, chirping furiously—calling her mate. When he didn’t come, she jumped Read the rest of this entry

“Life begins when you get back up.”

The last few months, while full of joy and wonderful things, have also harbored a few emotional challenges in the wake of unexpected change.

I’ve always felt I’ve had choices. I can A, let things beat me and roll over and play dead until I recover; B, keep fighting; C, find a decent work around and keep moving; or D, a combination of B and C and take all of that pain and heartache and channel it into something worthwhile instead of whining about it.

First of all, yes, I have chosen A a few times in my life, so this isn’t a post about my fabulous strength and endurance. F—, sometimes, shit just beats me, and that’s okay. Recently, though, it’s been choice D, and there are days when the gumption’s running low. It’s always wonderful, then, to find a little something Read the rest of this entry

Baby birds are coming!

We have another Carolina wren nest this year! It’s under one of our grill covers that we’d pulled off and left on a chair–these little guys build QUICKLY! Mommy wren and Fattypants are being pretty protective, as expected. They have commandeered the porch, pretty much.

Location of Nest

Nest location.

Nest materials

Carolina wrens build their nests of moss and sticks.

TINY EGGS in Nest!

I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THESE TINY EGGS HATCH!!

A win for the weekend!

Cemetery Dance Online Review Celebration Pic

An incredible finish to an awesome week! I didn’t think my amazing week could get any better, but the Cemetery Dance reviewer mentioned my story “Nothing to See Here” in Generation X-ed and Read the rest of this entry

Just in time for summer: dive into THE DEEP HOUSE

DEEP HOUSE ART 2

I grew up on a lake that was created by flooding abandoned towns, and so we had our share of urban legends about the lake and what lie beneath. When someone on Insta posted about the 2021 movie The Deep House (2021, 1 hour/25mins), I couldn’t resist.

This movie is French-made, but is in English, so no, you won’t be reading subtitles unless you have the CC on.

*MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE – ONLY REFERENCES ARE TO THINGS THAT CAN BE SEEN IN THE TRAILER*

This movie is definitely in my wheelhouse and has echoes of my short story, “Rightfully Mine,” which I wrote back in 2016 and was published in Sanitarium #49 here,  in the same year (and although I promise a spoiler-free review, one of the spectral beings totally looks like the woman in my story, at least she does the way I pictured her in my head). I can’t recommend this enough—The Deep House gets high marks for Read the rest of this entry

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