We’re still making decisions — and announcing our SPRING 2023 Cover!

We haven’t made our final selections for the Spring 2023 issue of 34 Orchard yet–we’re finishing those up in the next few weeks. HOWEVER, I’M THRILLED TO SHOWCASE OUR COVER, featuring Optic Nerve by Page Sullivan. We’re only three months away from release!

I wanted to take a moment, also, to thank all of our supporters–writers who send in work, those who donate, our reading volunteers, those who have jumped in to save my ass whenever I’ve needed it, and our incredibly loyal readers. When I founded this publication back in 2019, I was going to be happy if I just had a little magazine that ten of my friends read. Never would I have dreamt that so many people would read and enjoy it. It has completely blown past all of my expectations, and we plan to continue to deliver quality experiences for many issues to come.

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 7 SAMPLE COVER

Join me for Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday Bash Online next Thursday, January 19!

So thrilled to announce it’s almost time to grab your amontillado and join me and a host of other Poe-enamored writers as we read “The Raven” and “The Bells” in celebration of Poe’s birthday Thursday, January 19, at 7 pm on Zoom!

2023 Edgar Allan Poe Birthday Bash Art

The event is free. If you’d like the Zoom link, PM me, email me, text me or however you get in touch with me, and I’ll get it right to you. You can also reach out to me through my contact page.

Co-sponsored by the Untitled Open Mic at Lowell Poetry Wheel and hosted by writer Meg Smith, we’ll each be reading Read the rest of this entry

Pushing the Reset Button

Success Popper 2022

When I was a kid, my parents had people over on New Year’s Eve. Usually, those couples brought their kids, and it was an evening of unsupervised fun in one of the downstairs rooms in our house. We got to eat things like Fritos and Port Wine cheese balls and could stay up as late as we wanted, playing Atari or watching movies.

But my parents looked at New Year’s as little more than the less exciting, not very meaningful finish to the holiday season, and I have to admit I did too, up until I got into my late 20s. Once I moved in with my housemate Charles and started to embark on my writing career and my own life in earnest, we began to mark both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as something to be celebrated, something special. Over the years, it’s gotten to the point at which, after Christmas Day, I start taking down the decorations and switch those in my home over to “winter,” and New Year’s Eve and Day have a spirit, feel, and magic all their own—it’s a party with friends (virtual for the past few) followed by a full day of rest on the couch, eating fun food and taking in Syfy’s annual The Twilight Zone marathon (and I own them on DVD, so if that ever goes away, I can happily continue that tradition).

Over the past five years, the two days have also taken on a spiritual bent for me. Not only a holiday, but a chance to begin completely anew. I’m not one for “resolutions” and never have been, but I always look at the start of a new year as the chance to reflect on the past year, take stock of things, and set new goals with the idea of “working on it” and not necessarily “completing it” to be successful.

I’ve seen writers socially sharing what they achieved in the past year, and I thought it was a neat idea, because I don’t do that. Not in the sense of a “tally” anyway. Last year’s New Year’s Eve cracker wish for me was SUCCESS, and holy crow, I wasn’t prepared for what that actually meant.

 

The year was a whirlwind. There are probably some things I forgot—honestly, that’s how awesome this year was—but here we go:

7 polished new short stories

3 new works in progress

29 new story ideas (nothing written yet, no. They go in a file for later).

5 acceptances

2 invitations to submit (successful)

12 story publications

Guest Speaker at 2 College Creative Writing Classes

6 interviews (podcast and print)

9 positive reviews of my stories or projects

2 successful 34 Orchard issue releases

4 panel events

LOL – a tiny photo of me in the New York Times and an interview in the Washington Post

Featured Author for Sirens Call eZine’s Winter 2022 issue

Final selections for anthology I’m co-curating; editing underway now

1 incredible new opportunity I can’t talk about yet

…and 1 film credit! Thanks to my husband Nathan, I got to be an extra on the set of the upcoming horror movie Candlewood. My first time on a movie set, I was nervous as shit, but I had a wonderful time! Whether anyone actually sees anything more of me than my arm or something kinda isn’t the point. That was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m looking forward to this summer’s release.

I also opened my 2022 “Wishes & Intentions.” I didn’t necessarily Read the rest of this entry

New story and essay, novel excerpt AVAILABLE NOW in FREE SIRENS CALL EZINE ISSUE 60!

SIRENS CALL ISSUE 60 COVER

BIG NEWS!! I’m ecstatic to announce that Sirens Call eZine Issue #60—FREE to download—not only contains my story, “What the Ocean Knows,” but, because they honored me with being featured author, also contains an essay, “Whispers Beneath the Lines: Dark Fiction’s Power to Heal” and a longer excerpt from my novel, Bad Apple! This giant issue also features Read the rest of this entry

Happy New Year!

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who has always supported my work! It’s safe to say the last few years have been chaotic no matter who you are, and who doesn’t look forward to pushing the “reset” button?

Happy New Year 2023

We wish you a joyful, productive 2023, and I hope all your hopes, wishes, and dreams come true!

Kristi, Nathan, Charles and Mikey the Kitty

Welcome, 2023! 34 ORCHARD’s submissions window is open through January 15!

34 Orchard is now considering work for our Spring 2023 issue! We will only be open from January 1 – 15, 2023, so if you’re planning on submitting, please keep in mind that anything after January 15, 2023, will be deleted unread (and yes, we adjust for all worldwide time zones. So that’s after January 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!

PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER! “Sea Legs” available in Lovecraftian Microfiction Vol. 8!

Tree Nestle 1

How CUTE is this tiny book on a Christmas tree?

I’m thrilled to announce that my piece, “Sea Legs,” is now available in Lovecraftian Microfiction Volume 8!

“Sea Legs” is one of thirteen winners in the 2022 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon Microfiction Contest, and the collection makes the perfect stocking stuffer (tiny trim size is so cute too!!). It’s also two books in one, with Tales from the Tainted Inkwell—stories from the past that are out of print, including by cosmic favorites Cody Goodfellow and Peter Rawlik—on its flipside.

In “Sea Legs”: On a North Sea island, villagers are grateful for what the sea goddess gives—until what She tries to take in return may force one of them to go to unusual extremes. I was trying my hand at a cosmic/folk horror blend, something about which I learned at this year’s Necronomicon in Providence, RI in August.

Fill a stocking, put it under the tree, or treat yourself. You can get it here:

https://arkhambazaar.com/books/lovecraftian-microfiction-2022-tales-from-the-tainted-inkwell-collection/

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Check out this crazy “turkey” of a dark ride!

I’ve always been a fan of dark rides—especially ones that are a little more bizarre. I created a whole theme park full of them based on different types of human sacrifice in my short story, “Incident at Dark Acres,” which you can read here in The Smoking Poet, Winter 2010-2011 Issue #17 (scroll down page to read story). https://thesmokingpoet.tripod.com/winter201011/id12.html

Last Thanksgiving, I was up very early. A couple of days before, I’d discovered the Holiday World Theme Park in Santa Claus, Indiana, with what looks like a fantastic dark ride called “The Gobbler Getaway.” In it, guests have to “shoot” turkeys that have escaped so the pilgrims can serve them for Thanksgiving Dinner. How had I not ever heard of this?

Gobbler Getaway Attraction at Holiday World

The Gobbler Getaway Attraction at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.

I let my brain wake up with coffee as I watched the ride through, and it’s as crazy as it sounds—crazy in that wonderful way that makes me want to take a road trip.

Not awake yet? Take a five minute break and enjoy a Full POV ride-through on “The Gobbler Getaway.” Holiday World’s official ride-through video is here: https://youtu.be/6WioF1rlMCQ, but if you want to get an extended close-up and see the turkeys actually popping out, you can check out Adventures by D’s episode on the attraction here: https://youtu.be/48s_rmCq1PY

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from our house to yours!

Krissi, Charles, Nathan and Mikey the cat, as well as a host of winter back yard birds

Yay! My short story “Let the Rain Settle It” accepted for HUSH, DON’T WAKE THE MONSTER—Stephen King homage anthology!

So excited to announce that my short story, “Let the Rain Settle It” has been accepted for publication in Hush, Don’t Wake the Monster—A Women in Horror Anthology containing stories inspired by Stephen King but with a female spin!

Hush, Don't Wake the Monster Cover

“Let the Rain Settle It” is an homage to Stephen King’s “Rainy Season,” which I read in the early 1990s and has haunted me ever since. Here’s the introduction I penned for my submission:

Why I chose Stephen King’s “Rainy Season”

 It’s been said the experience of a story is different for each reader, because it depends on what that person brings to the table. I didn’t read Stephen King’s “Rainy Season” until it was reprinted in his 1993 Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection, but of all the pieces I’d read of his, this is the one that stuck. As a starry-eyed twenty-two year old who was, at the time, blissfully unaware she was engaged in a toxic relationship, I connected most with the subtle clues King presents about the broken young couple heading toward not just physical demise, but eventual emotional disaster if they did survive. While John and Elise aren’t the focus of King’s narrative—the spotlight, as always, shines on unsettling Mainers—they’re clearly in a place where the ordinary drudge of life and its reactionary transgressions have squelched the blush of love and romance. The blinders are off, they see each other for who they really are, and it’s not pretty.

While it’s been accused of being too similar to Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and a “time passer,” “Rainy Season” isn’t just another folk horror tale or creature feature. It’s a warning that the killer toads of life are always at your romantic door, and sometimes, it’s just better to let them in.

I’m so excited and honored my story was chosen for this unique project, and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories! Watch this space for pre-order and ToC announcement—Hush will be released March 2, 2023!

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 6 IS HERE!

A shocking occurrence unmasks a professor and a ne’er-do-well covers up the truth. A machine exposes the past and lies linger between a dinner’s courses. A bijou boogeyman unleashes a daughter’s rage while ordinary colors and unusual mattresses strip away the pretense of composure. In Issue 6, seventeen artists brood on the secrets we keep, and what happens when they are exposed.

Autumn 2022 features a dark tale from India, disturbing looks at real-life events, emotional pieces by newer voices and scary stories by names that frequently haunt anthology tables of contents. Why, even the cover photo has an unsettling tale behind it! Our sixth issue is what you’ll want waiting when you take your break from prepping for the busy holiday season.

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 6 COVER

Announcing our Table of Contents!

Cover Art: Ophelia’s Last Secret – Robert Cedergren

Shrike Song – Zachary Kellian

The Beginning of You – Samantha Bryant

The Gritter – Kurt Newton

The Baron of the Rails – Douglas Ford

The Dusk of Day-shapes – David H. West

And Satyrs Shall Dance There – John Berbrich

The Yakshi Next Door – Hareendran Kallinkeel

Head – Mark Steensland

Memory Foam – Rowan Hill

Her Color – Grace Rolen

Step on a Crack – Jake Jerome

Birthday Dinner, May 28. – Jennifer Judge

All Aboard – KC Grifant

Young People in Love – Sam Lesek

Ugly Cinderella – Molly Greer

Insert Name Here – J. Paul Ross

The downloadable PDF is designed so that it can be printed on double-sided paper for easy reading like a print magazine. As always, the issue is free, but there is a donation link should you choose to contribute.

Click here to get your copy!

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