WOW! I got a SPECIAL BIRTHDAY BIRD at the feeders this morning (it’s my birthday today)! This is a male house finch, but he is orange. Why is this special? Well, first of all, I’ve been a Disney Orange Bird freak since I was teeny, BUT…according to All About Birds, “When a bird is molting, its diet will determine the colors of its new feathers. If a diet lacks certain pigments, then a House Finch may end up orange or yellow instead of its usual red.” This makes him rare and special indeed. What a lovely gift! He’s hard to see against the ground so I put hearts around him so he’s easier to spot.
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.
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!
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
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).
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
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
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?
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
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!
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:
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?
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