Category Archives: Horror Stories
My short story “Where There’s Smoke” will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Haunted Traveler: A Roaming Anthology. The first half of the story takes place on the premises of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which survives today on Greene Street in New York City (my brother lives near there). There is definitely a special brand of chilling silence in that area–at least for me. In fact, here’s an interesting article about the building’s current state: https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/triangle-fire-the-building-survives/?_r=0
If you’re not familiar with the tragedy, this Cornell University website is a good place to start: http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/story/introduction.html
The last couple of months have been busy on the Ink Stains January 2018 issue. It hasn’t been easy finding pieces that ring my bell for this anthology–I’m looking for that specific something that’s intangible, really; pieces that are making a specific statement about decay that isn’t the same statement that any of the already accepted pieces have made. So far, though, I’ve been lucky! Since the last update, contracts have been signed to publish:
“The Depths,” by Elizabeth Allen
“Stikini,” by Travis D. Roberson
These will be Read the rest of this entry
I’m happy to announce that the Table of Contents for the anthology I’m guest editing—Ink Stains January 2018—is coming together nicely!
Before exploring the submissions box, I acquired two stories by dear friends that I’d read years ago and never forgotten (both pieces were not intended for publication; they were part of theses, so fortunately for me the rights were still available!). One more—a poem, actually, which will serve as the preface—came along by default, and I have feelers out for another piece, but I won’t know if that’s going to come through for a few weeks, probably. I’ll talk about these in another post.
For now, I’d like to announce that contracts have been signed to publish Read the rest of this entry
My short story, “Roots” is available in the anthology Pernicious Invaders from Great Old Ones Publishing!
“Roots” is inspired by the famous legend of the Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar (read more on this here — but for a really in-depth fascinating look with lots of wonderful art, read this here), and I’m not saying more than that because it’ll ruin the story. Get your copy of Pernicious Invaders here: https://amzn.com/1539140008
Hell Notes–a site dedicated to horror in fiction, art, and the movies–gave Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway, which contains my story “Mujina,” a great review! You can read the full review here: http://hellnotes.com/30016-2/
If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of this collection, don’t miss out…you might think twice about all those night drives (it’s also the only place you can read my latest ghost story at the moment, so…) You can get Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway here: https://amzn.com/1539813878
I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.
Back in the 1970s, every Easter–usually on Good Friday–one of the major networks (I wanna say CBS, but it could’ve been ABC) would air Chuck Jones’ cartoon special Rikki Tikki Tavi, based on one of Kipling’s Jungle Book tales about a mongoose and his fights to the death.
Despite the fact that I looked forward to this every year–it might have had something to do with the fact that my young mind associated it with the Easter Bunny’s visit–there were things in it that were so terrifying they’d haunt my waking (yes, waking) hours.
- The opening credits show us a violent, terrifying storm deep among the frightening, mysterious remnants of the abandoned temples of a lost civilization. This was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop watching.
- The narration by Orson Welles. His voice was chilling enough, but there is some kind of reverb or something put on it that gave it a slight echo, rendering it almost ghostly. I sounds like a dead person talking from beyond the grave. This really bothered me.
- The first time we meet the cobras, Nag and Nagaina, they are presented as looming shadows speaking in sinister whispers (which are performed by Welles as part of the narration). Heart-stopping.
- There is also another snake the color of sand, so he’s presented against the sandy background as almost spectral. Yipes.
I was not alone in my terror. Kindertrauma (if you’ve not heard of this website, you owe it to yourself to check it out–I have managed to rediscover horrors that had become nameless over the years) has Rikki Tikki Tavi featured here.
Still, there were a couple of positive things I never forgot. I always remembered the line “A full meal makes a slow mongoose,” and I swear to God that’s what’s kept me for never being overstuffed at a meal, even one as big as Thanksgiving. It’s also where I learned all about mongooses and their relationship with snakes, and probably where I got such a fascination for all things overgrown and abandoned (one of the sources for that, anyway–I also know I was fascinated with the abandoned temples in Disney’s animated version of The Jungle Book).
As far as this has influenced my writing, when I was in high school, I wrote a story (two versions of it, actually, a couple of years apart) set in a village in India with the terrible title of “Slithering Serpents” (the stories are probably equally terrible). It was Rikki Tikki Tavi that made me start reading about India, and that’s how I learned about the subject matter that inspired the stories.
God knows why I’m doing this, but you can read both versions of the story by opening the PDF below. Special thanks to my friend Rob Mayette, who found the only existing printed copy of the one that was published in The Piper — our high school literary magazine (which I’d forgotten even existed) in his basement during a move.
If you’d like to cleanse your palette after reading those pieces of crap with Rikki Tikki Tavi, you can get it here.
My ghost story “Blood on the Snow” is now available in Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology Volume 3, published by Dark Alley Press!
“Blood on the Snow” takes place on an abandoned Christmas tree farm in rural Connecticut. I’m not going to give anything away, but here’s a link to the story’s real-world (and very much still in business!) counterpart: Angevine Farm. My family, however much it’s changed over the years, has been getting our Christmas trees there since the 1970s. I don’t have many photos from that time period, but here’s a montage of the pix I do have — notice some of the landscapes, particularly on a gray day with snow. It’s the perfect place for a ghost story.
If you love ghost stories–and stories about being haunted by the past–then Ink Stains Vol. 3 is for you! Here’s the full Table of Contents: Read the rest of this entry
It’s often thought that writers love solitude. I can safely say that we do…when it’s appropriate and we need to work. But then there’s this other part of the writing life called socializing–when it’s with other writers especially, it can profoundly inspire.
In Episode 6: Hangin’ with Sasquatch, we surprise writer Andrea Schicke Hirsch with a release party for her YA novel Sasquatch (which you can purchase here!) In Episode 7: Words at a Wedding, the partying leads to some new projects on the horizon.
Check out Episode 6 here: https://youtu.be/B19dlTm_otg
Check out Episode 7 here: https://youtu.be/zbRuiAHR2X8
I’m pleased to announce that Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors–which contains my story “Crawl”–has been named Best Anthology in Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll 2016! You can see the results (as well as the results for the other categories) here: http://critters.org/predpoll/final_tally_antho.ht
The collection includes stories by Stacey Longo (Amston), Melissa Crandall (Hebron), G. Elmer Munson (Vernon), Dan Foley (Manchester) and John Valeri (Portland) and Ryanne Strong (Norwich). It also includes lesser-heralded ghost stories by Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
In the fall of 2016, several of us did readings around the state. I was able to participate in one at the Whiton branch of the Manchester library, and one in Mystic at Bank Square Books. What a blast we had!
If you’ve not picked up your copy of Tricks and Treats, it’s available in several bookstores around the state–or you can order it on Amazon here: http://a.co/8kFkXAf