Torchlight Tales sounds like a huge deal. It’s not. It’s just the name that I print my chapbooks under.
Although many of the stories eventually do get published and are available elsewhere, these books have been so popular that, beginning in 2010, anything I print under the Torchlight Tales name will be exclusive in some way–meaning it’s a version that isn’t available anywhere else, contains an additional small piece of work, a commentary not available on line, photos, or something to that effect.
So far, I’ve printed one of my stories as a regular issue of Torchlight Tales, “Deconstructing Fireflies,” which I co-wrote with Nathan Schoonover. This Winter 2007 issue saw a limited run of one hundred and fifty copies. The story is included in the Beacons of Tomorrow: Second Collection.
The other pieces printed under the Torchlight Tales name were Special Releases and were shipped only to friends as Christmas/New Year’s gifts, given away with purchases of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole–Tales from Haunted Disney World, or included as an exclusive part of a personal event.
“Bridging Christmas” was printed in December, 2008. I printed and hand-bound two hundred books and sent them to my closest friends as Christmas gifts. It used to be that I had no more copies and no longer had the electronic file, but due to popular demand — even though you can read the story at Toasted Cheese as a winner of its 2008 Dead of Winter Contest in the March 2009 issue — I recreated it. Sure enough, I ran out of all those copies. It has yet to see a third print run; maybe one of these days!
“Paisley Surprise” was printed in January, 2010. I printed a short-run of two hundred books and sent them to my closest friends as New Year’s wishes. The original piece was written in first person, and this is the only place it’s available; a later version, done in third person, appears in the Inner Fears Anthology from Static Movement–however many of my friends loved the original so much they wanted to buy copies for their friends, so I did another run of 250. I now don’t have enough of those left to offer them for sale, either.
“Denigrating David” was printed in January, 2011–assembled in Norman Mailer’s living room at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony in Provincetown, Mass., and mailed to friends from the Provincetown Post Office. The chapbook’s front matter is what’s exclusive here–I’ve always been fascinated by a writer’s revealing of where, exactly, the story came from. I finally got smart and did a much larger run of this one–360, to be exact–and the remainder of those were given out at various horror conferences. If you want to read the story, it is available in State of Imagination‘s Issue #3, July, 2011. You can check that out here: http://stateofimagination.wordpress.com/denigrating-david-by-kristi-petersen-schoonover/.
“A Bone to Pick” was printed in December, 2011. It was an entry in Toasted Cheese‘s 2011 Dead of Winter Contest, so I prepared them not for the Holidays but as a late winter mailing–way more appropriate considering the type of tale it is! Once again, they were all assembled up at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony during my winter stay there…and what a job it was! I got “smart”and printed 500 copies. In early 2013, I found that I still had a little over 100 more than necessary. Books & Boos, a really awesome bookstore up in Colchester, Connecticut, was glad to take them off my hands. I believe they are giving them away with purchases at Halloween time. Whether or not they have any left, I don’t know…but it did place in the contest and is online, available for you to read, here: http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/2012/12-1/schoonover.htm. In 2017, it was listed in Post Mortem Press’ A Horror Guide to Northern New England. I will add here that there was a run of 3 of these chapbooks that were given out at Christmas as part of a gift set that contained a can of corned beef hash, a candle, matches, and a bottle of Amontillado. Don’t know why those things go together? Read the story and find out!
“This Poisoned Ground” was printed in December, 2011 as a Special Edition of 20 specifically for Christmas Gift sets built around the story. The sets included a copy of the chapbook, the set of wine glasses that inspired the ones which play an important role in the story, a vanilla candle (with accompanying holder) and a bottle of red wine. They were a big hit. I should do more with these story-experiences-in-a-bag…as for the story, it was, originally, a commission that in the end didn’t work out–however, it was published as a novelette in January of 2014 by Dark Alley Press; you can purchase that here.
“The Lace in the Window” was printed in July, 2012. This ghost story was written specifically as part of the favors for our wedding that September. The story was set at Howe Caverns, where our nuptials were taking place. Only wedding guests and our friends up at Howe Caverns who took such great care of us received copies, and I don’t plan on submitting it anywhere. I spent most of my Independence Day weekend, as I recall, printing the limited run of 150 while I listened to paranormal documentaries. The story was eventually published in Rose Red Review in 2014.
“Can You Hear Me Now?” was printed in January, 2013 as a release for a “Happy Spring!” mailing…with all the wedding craziness it wasn’t happening for the Holidays or for New Year’s! The chapbook enjoyed a limited run of 200, and in June of 2013, the story was picked up by Rind Literary Magazine for their third issue. You can read that here: http://rindliterarymagazine.com/2013/05/04/issue-3-check-it-out/
“37 Birds” was printed in April, 2013. Since the story was a personal reaction to the Sandy Hook, CT tragedy, it really wasn’t ready for wide release: everything was too raw. Only 28 copies were made, and I still have most of them. Only a scant few of my close friends have them. The story, as it stands now, will be included in an upcoming collection.
“You Were There” was printed in September, 2013. This Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style piece on escaping Walt Disney World on 9/11 was written, again, as a personal reaction to that day, and so even though it was released to the Admit One Literary Theme Park project’s limited list, I never did anything with it. This is the only chapbook that is print-on-demand. I usually send it to people to ask for it, or send it along with copies of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole. It was originally part of the Admit One Literary Theme Park story series, but only as a PDF, because it was put together before I knew how to make chapbooks.
“Whispers in the Wood” was printed in September/October of 2013 with a limited run of 200 and included a copy of the poem “Journey into You” which poet Heather Sullivan had written for our wedding (her book These Onyx Hours had just been published, and her work is so wonderful I really wanted to share some of it, as well as the news, with my friends). As far as the story goes, it was shortlisted for Fringeworks’ TIKI TERROR anthology which never happened (bummer, even if it hadn’t ultimately made it in I really would’ve enjoyed reading that!) After about a year and I realized they’d bagged it (or, at least, nothing was happening), I decided to make it my Christmas card to send to friends for the Holidays. The story was published in 2015 in New Pop Lit.
“Regrets, Paradox Lake” and “Ladies of the Lake” were printed/put together in the summer of 2014 and sent out that year for Christmas/New Year’s. “Regrets…” hasn’t been placed yet, but it really needs to be a longer piece to be complete, and I haven’t had time to work on it. “Ladies of the Lake,” it turns out, was the impetus for a couple of much larger projects I started working on in August of 2016.
“Stones” was a sample of just the first part of a short story appearing in From the Corner of Your Eye: A Cryptids Anthology, which was going to be published in Fall of 2015. This promo was distributed at Conbust in March, 2015.
“Mujina” was prepared in the summer of 2016 for distribution at RoCon 2 in Mystic, CT. The story was already slated to be published in Skinwalker Press’ Dark Passages II: The Black Highway, coming later that year.
“The Thicket” was printed in January 2017 for the New Year’s mailing. The story hasn’t yet been published.