Monthly Archives: October 2021


It’s funny–as a horror writer, I always get the question, “what are your plans for Halloween?” The answer usually surprises people–NOTHING.

Halloween comes at the end of four to six weeks of celebrating fall, horror writers events, writing scary stories, cocktailing it up at an old cemetery, decorating like crazy, at least one weekend-long short film festival, reverse trick-or-treating at the day job, prepping the Fall issue of 34 Orchard, and eating too much candy. It’s a month crammed with FUN…and when the actual day arrives? I’m done. We don’t get trick-or-treaters where we live, so Halloween is a blessed day of rest.

Today, I’m going to watch some of my old favorites: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973), Chernobyl Diaries (2013), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Forest (2016), The Uninvited (2009) and Lake Mungo (2008), among others. And maybe I’ll lay in bed and READ! …and, of course, I’ll have cake. No holiday is complete without cake.

From our house to yours … Happy Halloween!

Halloween cake from Shop Rite -- best frosting EVER

Dark Thoughts of the Ladies of Salem: Lady Tempest and Lady Icarus


Artist: Kenneth Glover

Lady Tempest - Kenneth Glover

Lady Tempest

The storm killed them all.

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My seaside ghost tale “No Sweet Bird” accepted at CROW & CROSS KEYS!

Lantern Below Decks Charles W. Morgan

A lantern below decks on the Charles W. Morgan, a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT.

“Carving Grace” isn’t my first story about terror by the sea. Although I didn’t grow up near the ocean—I grew up in the middle of the woods by a lake instead—I have always been fascinated by all things salty. While it probably had something to do with the fact that, because of my dad the English teacher, I read both The Old Man in the Sea and Moby Dick before the age of ten, I truly fell in love with the sea’s raw atmospheric power when I read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in high school.

2020 was my best writing summer ever—I had every evening after work and weekends to do nothing but write. One story I’d always Read the rest of this entry

Dark Thoughts of the Ladies of Salem: Lady Peacock and Yvonne

Sponsor: Salem Beautification Committee

Artist: Jeanne Paré

Lady Peacock Salem Beautification Committee -- Jeanne Pare

Lady Peacock

They burned our home.

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Our Corn Maze adventure

Lost in the Corn Maze

I’ve always loved a corn maze, though I must admit I’d never heard of them until the early 2000’s—it seemed like that was a “new” thing back then. Every farm around here was doing them, and there were plenty to choose from.

We always pick some kind of Halloween adventure every year for the two of us to do. We’ve done Pumpkin Blaze, Forest of Fear, and the Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo a few times. Before that, I did things down in Sleepy Hollow. I’ll tell you out of the gate, too, that although I am a horror writer, I’m seriously not a fan of being abjectly terrified. I like things more on the creepy, atmospheric side than the thrill and scream side.

The other issue is that a tradition is Read the rest of this entry

Dark Thoughts of the Ladies of Salem: Lady Baker and Shalimar

Sponsor: Village Tavern Grill and Oyster Bar

Artist: Shella Farren Billings (name unclear)

Lady Baker Village Tavern Grill and Oyster Bar - Shelia Farren Billings (unclear)

Lady Baker

The bread was poisoned.

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Let H-Fest Begin!

Poster for Block Island Sound

Pre- a few family issues and pre-pandemic, my cousin Maryanne and I would get together three to four times per year for a horror movie fest weekend. Although we got together for a “mini” one back in May (just to test the waters, because it’s been a few years), our first full one in October–our fave time of year to do it–is here!

We don’t know what we’ll watch. We usually go through the piles of DVDs and BluRays we have and go with the flow. We do, however, this weekend, have The Block Island Sound–on Netflix–on our list. This movie–which starts on an island in which animals and birds are mysteriously dropping dead en masse–has come highly recommended by a few people I know who have similar tastes as me, so we’re very excited!


Meet Bessie (aka Willow): my very own figurehead!


Bessie, ALFCO figurehead

My husband got me this figurehead as a gift in celebration of “Carving Grace”‘s acceptance. How cool is THAT?

If you’ve been reading my posts for the last month, then you know that earlier this year I wrote a short story called “Carving Grace,” which deals with vengeful ship figureheads coming to life and searching for unhappy souls. In order to write that dark love story, I pretty much had to live and breathe in an imagined town by the sea and read all about figureheads every day for at least two months. We even visited the figurehead exhibit at Mystic Seaport (for Valentine’s Day, no less, but Nathan’s always Read the rest of this entry

The stories in Neil D’Silva’s RIGHT BEHIND YOU have teeth

Neil D'Silva's Right Behind You


Horror stories coming out of India deserve a bigger spotlight; the stuff is viscerally terrifying in ways that make some of our Western classics seem tame. If you love a great scare and you’ve not read Indian horror? You’ve missed out.

Until now. Neil D’Silva’s short fiction collection, Right Behind You, is the place to start. Read the rest of this entry

Dark Thoughts of the Ladies of Salem: Lady Russet and Lady Crinoline

Sponsor: Beverly Cooperative Bank

Artist: Amberlynn Narvie

Lady Russet Beverly Cooperative Bank - Amberlynn Narvie

Lady Russet

I wasn’t allowed to leave.

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