Category Archives: Short Stories

Short Story Sunday: Yellow Smoke, Scott Thomas

Urn and Willow Cover

While every story in Scott Thomas’ Urn & Willow—a collection of ghostly tales set in 18th and 19th century New England—is great, “Yellow Smoke” is a standout for its genuine mastery at inducing absolute terror; few short stories scare me into sleeping with the lights on like this one does.

This is due to its Read the rest of this entry

Looking for a quick little getaway? Join me at Howe Caverns this weekend!

I’ll be signing copies of my book The Shadows Behind up at Howe Caverns this Saturday, August 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the main lodge.

Anyone who purchases a copy at the event this weekend will receive a bonus book—Twisted Routes—free! The book contains one special edition and one unpublished piece, set at Howe Caverns and at Paradox Lake (near Fort Ticonderoga, which also figures prominently in the story).

Beyond that, Howe Caverns is a wonderful place to spend a day or an overnight. Aside from the sheer beauty of the property, there are plenty of activities. The 90-minute traditional cave tour features Read the rest of this entry

Meet Stacy Horn…and read the Foreword for THE SHADOWS BEHIND

Stacy, Charles, me on Roosevelt Island

From left, Stacy Horn, my housemate, Charles, and me on Roosevelt Island, May 2018. Horn hosted a walking tour of the site following a signing event for her book, Damnation Island, at Astoria Bookshop in Queens, NY.

I was incredibly honored that Stacy Horn wrote the Foreword for Read the rest of this entry

Short Story Sunday: Barrington Bunny, by Martin Bell

The Way of the Wolf

My parents first read me this tragic tale of a sad bunny who endures Christmas Eve alone when I was about four years old, and I never forgot it. Its ability to emotionally move the reader isn’t just due to its profoundly sad subject matter; the language is simple, the tone is childlike, and the messages are clear. There are plenty of ghost stories in the world, but I’ve honestly experienced so few that are as haunting as this little masterpiece.

The Way of the Wolf Original Cover

This is the original hardcover edition–the one from which my parents read me “Barrington Bunny.”

“Barrington Bunny” appears in Martin Bell’s collection The Way of the Wolf: Stories, poems, songs and thoughts on the parables of Jesus, which was originally published in 1970 by Seabury Press. You can purchase the most recent edition of The Way of the Wolf inexpensively at Amazon here.

THE SHADOWS BEHIND cover reveal!

I’m thrilled to show off the cover for my forthcoming short story collection, The Shadows Behind, coming from Books and Boos Press on April 30, 2019! The cover’s art is by A.L. Cortez, who had some interesting things to say about its creation. You can read that on the press’ website here: https://booksandboospress.com/2019/03/21/the-shadows-behind-cover-reveal/

The Shadows Behind Final Cover

This collection, which is foreworded by Damnation Island author Stacy Horn, contains six long out-of-print favorites, among them “Doors” (Carpe Articulum, 2010), as well as four featured in various, esoterically-themed anthologies (which, if you didn’t buy those anthologies, you probably haven’t read).

What’s most exciting are the seven new Read the rest of this entry

“Splendid Chyna” on Black Friday sale for a whole week!

Nothing says Black Friday like a ghost story, right? If you missed the opportunity to read my novella “Splendid Chyna” – perfect if you like Asian Horror (i.e., The Ring, for those of you not familiar) and abandoned theme parks – the Kindle version is on sale for 99 cents through Thursday, November 29!

“Splendid Chyna” appears in the collection Three on a Match with two other novellas, “All’s Well that Ends” by G. Elmer Munson, and “Thicker than Water” by Melissa Crandall. These shorts are just the thing to be reading in between season busy-ness.

You can get it here, and happy holiday shopping!

Celebrate with me!

Writer John Palisano recently posted the following on Facebook:

Just got an email from NanoWrimo stating that ‘every’ writer would rather ‘have written’ than ‘write’ and that writing is painful and such.

I disagree. I love being in the zone. I love tapping away at the keyboard, the story flowing out like music. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not painful. It’s not a struggle to make happen, most of the time.

I’m not the only one, am I?

No, he’s definitely not the only one. There is nothing like being in that zone. That vanishing into a world in my head and staying there with my characters, living out whatever fantasy I want (no matter how outlandish), the words just flying out of me as easily as drunken conversation. It’s almost like being on a magical vacation; the outside world recedes. I obsess over whatever topic, setting, or interesting object that the story is about. I avoid bills, cleaning, laundry and just about anything else I can get away with for the sake of art, and hey, if I have to function because I can’t get out of something, it’s an excuse to mentally tune-out.

On the flip side, if the fiction is really just a channel for something sad, stressful, and overwhelming I’m trying to process, it can be gut-wrenching. I fail to eat for however long it takes to get it done, I avoid correspondence or contact with anyone as much as I can, I question every single choice I’ve ever made in my life or even why I exist at all. And I usually cry a lot.

This isn’t the case with every piece I write, but it was the case with a piece I finished this morning. It’s been the greatest week of my life in a long, long time, but it’s also been balls-on anxiety and other not-so-pleasant emotions since Tuesday.

A few of you out there are aware of this. It’s official–the first draft is done, and I have set myself free! I’ve not only written a very solid story (yes, it still has to go through revision and critique, but I don’t invest in that on a spiritual level), I’ve emotionally worked through what I was processing. I feel completely unburdened and can have some fun now—I can focus on cleaning my house, doing the shopping for Thanksgiving, and wrapping some Christmas gifts (I shop all year, so it’s never really too early to start).

I’m having a glass of wine in a nice hot bath to celebrate. I encourage you all to celebrate with me in whatever way you see fit! If you’re waiting to hear from me, you will soon. And oh my God, where are the cheese and crackers because I’m starving.

Have a great week!

Short Story Sunday: Thirteen Wedding Dresses, Douglas Bruton

And Nothing Remains Cover

It’s unusual that a short story is so moving that I finish it and immediately give it a second read. Douglas Bruton’s “Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is, happily, one of those rare finds.

This compact tale of loss details the impact of a missing suitcase on several lives. Where this piece excels is in its universal appeal: there is not one of us who hasn’t felt one of the carefully illustrated emotions here. Its hauntingly-rendered prose will make it difficult for the reader to forget that sometimes something lost can lead to something found.

“Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is one of a dozen in The Fiction Desk’s 12th anthology And Nothing Remains. You can get a copy here: https://www.thefictiondesk.com/anthologies/and-nothing-remains.php

THIS WRITING LIFE EPISODE 15: THE JOY OF REVISION

 

EP 15 BLOG ART 1

In this episode, things get super-hairy just minutes before deadline, and friends are called in. This may be the one time revision is just no fun…unless wine’s involved. You can read the short story “Mujina” in Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway. Get it at http://bit.ly/DP2Mujina.

Books and Boos Press signs THE SHADOWS BEHIND!

Shadow in the Cemetery

I’m over the moon to announce that I’ve signed the contract for Books and Boos Press to publish my collection of short stories, The Shadows Behind. The original announcement is on the Books and Boos Press website here.

Release date is set right now for April 30, 2019, and there will be some signings, along with a special one up at Howe Caverns in Howe’s Cave, New York, next summer!

Although the Table of Contents is still being finalized, this collection will contain a few long out-of-print favorites, among them “Deconstructing Fireflies,” (co-written with Nathan Schoonover), “Candle Garden,” and “How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Bunny,” which was originally published in Citizen Culture back in 2005.

It will also include some pieces which are only available in single anthologies, and several brand new stories as well as a preview for an upcoming novella.

I’ll keep you posted!

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