Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

To celebrate the tradition of Christmas ghost stories, here are 20 ghost and horror stories to sink your teeth into this holiday season.  Some you can read, others you can listen to, but best of all, they’re available free-of-charge.  So, venture forth, if you dare. . .

So begins “20 Ghost and Horror Stories for Christmas” by Michael David Wilson, via LITREACTOR.COM, a treat that screams to be shared.  But including Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” (number 9)?  Well, as compiler Wilson explains, the story’s original publication was in THE GIFT:  A CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S PRESENT FOR 1843.  Other than that, though, the other offerings have themes or settings more Christmas-like too, and what a selection, again all with links to texts and/or podcasts!  Algernon Blackwood’s “The Kit Bag.”  “Christmas Present” by Ramsey Campbell.  M.R. James, “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad.”  And sixteen more, contemporary as well as classics, which can be savored by pressing here.

Merry Christmas to all!

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Yes, AbeBooks is at it again with a quick through-Christmas sale (cf. November 8, et al.).  Save up to 50% on books and collectibles from select sellers. Discover a great selection of new, used, and collectible books, art and ephemera, all discounted until December 28th, from the horse’s mouth.  And, never mind “only” fifty percent off, there are some copies of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH marked down to less than $7.00, this for new copies with shipping to the US free, which can be found here.

Also, and this is new, there’s even one copy of THE TEARS OF ISIS for $9.02 (usually, for some reason, not on their sale list), shipping again free though this is a used copy in “very good” condition, as well as a new one at $12.95 with shipping again free, for which one may press here.  So give it a try and enjoy, enjoy!

Thursday brought this year’s closing Players Pub Second Thursday Spoken Word Series, co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild with radio play performances of Lucille Fletcher’s SORRY, WRONG NUMBER; Ray Bradbury’s IT BURNS ME UP!; and, by William S. Burroughs, THE JUNKY’S CHRISTMAS.  This has become somewhat of a tradition, having been the offering last year as well (see December 15 2017), and was followed by an open mike session which, due to a bothersome sore throat, I opted not to join in this time.  The plays, however, were good and I’d especially wanted to hear the Bradbury one again.
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But that was not all for the gala pre-Christmas theatrical weekend.  Friday I managed to cop the one remaining unsold ticket for a local production of EVIL DEAD:  THE MUSICAL, unfortunately for the Saturday afternoon matinee (Saturday evening was the last performance and it, and Friday night, were sold out) which, today being local “S.C.I.F.I.” writers critique day, meant I had to plan to leave the meeting early.  But not to worry, my story on the docket could wait until January — and at least the sore throat hadn’t gotten (much) worse.
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This is the play that asks the question at only about the second scene, “five teenagers break into a mysterious abandoned cabin in the woods for spring break, and nobody knows where they are.  What could possibly go wrong?”  The play based on the three EVIL DEAD movies, the answer is quite a bit, and quite hilariously, with special honors to the character of Ash’s smarter sister Cheryl, who is also first victim, spending most of the play locked in the cabin’s cellar while still conveying, sometimes by facial expression alone, the sheer manic joy of now being evil.  And then there were the disposable ponchos sold in the lobby — for protection if splashed by stage blood of which there was a lot.  I, forewarned, bought one and sat in the first row, thus being immersed not just in the drama but some of the special effects as well.
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Songs included “Cabin in the Woods,” “Look Who’s Evil  Now,” “What the Fuck Was That,” “All the Men in My Life Keep Being Killed by Candarian Demons,” and the ensemble dance number “Do the Necronomicon.”  Even for people like me who don’t like the movies that much, I recommend it.

It’s like a sale, sort of. That is, quoting Smart Rhino Publications Editor Weldon Burge, [w]e have a number of Kindle Countdowns starting today, running until next Monday.  The countdown starts at the lowest price and, over the course of the campaign, gradually increases to return to the original price.  So, today is the best day to get the best bargains.  And two of the books on sale have stories by me, INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS with “The Labyrinth” (the one in Crete, with Icarus, Ariadne, etc.; see January 2 2015, et al.) and ZIPPERED FLESH 3 with “Golden Age” as its closing tale (October 10 2017, et al.).  The idea is that the Kindle editions are priced their lowest, at $0.99, for today (Wednesday) only, will cost a little bit more on Thursday, and so on until they’re back to their normal prices after the sale ends Monday.  Other Smart Rhino books in the sale (though without work by me) are GREEN TSUNAMI, THE BOX JUMPER, and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCK FINN.

For further information one must seek these titles out on Amazon, where one should find the price of the day (but check the small print, I just looked now and GREEN TSUNAMI had not yet posted the 99 cent amount).  And then one more thing, in checking INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, the first of the reviews is by Paul Dale Anderson and contains this description:  Excellent anthology with stories by modern masters of the macabre.  Lansdale and Ketchum are worth the read, but so are Mosiman and Dorr and Mannetti.  These are my kind of stories, and I’m glad I bought this in hard copy. 

Strange on strange.  A completist, I checked out the DriveThruFiction site of yesterday’s post to see what other (if any) Untreed Reads titles of mine were available.  One can reach there from the link on that post or, a bit more directly, just press here.  Two of my chapbooks are indeed on sale as well, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . at $0.66 and PEDS at $1.01 on “pages” 5 and 7 respectively (scroll down to the end of the listed titles).  See for vanitas_SMyourself!  But, oddly, my third (and the first, I think, published with Untreed Reads), VANITAS, is not (I did look — it would have been on the last page, 12).

So then I tried the Untreed Reads site and not only is VANITAS listed there, but at its own price of $0.50, making it the best bargain of all.  Doubt me?  Press here.  So how’s that for weird (for all my chapbook titles, incidentally, as well as YEAR’S END on the Utreed Reads site, one can press any of the three chapbooks’ pictures in the center column)?

The writing life, a day of routine that goes with the game.  Two brief items this time (well, the second is rather long, actually), the first from 18th Wall Productions reaching back six months into the past, to a story, “Bottles,” and its acceptance for a 1950s-themed anthology, SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES (cf. May 1).  The story itself is a reprint originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004) and also available in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, having to do with a young Puerto Rican woman and the Cold War as experienced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and today the contract arrived — with edits promised to follow soon — and has as of this writing been, with a slight annotation, signed and readied for mailing back to Editor Nicole Petit tomorrow.

Then second an email from Bryce Raffle of Grimmer & Grimmer Books, publishers of DEADSTEAM with my story “The Re-Possessed” (see September 15, 4, 3, et al.), originally published in CEMETERY RIOTS (Elysium Press, 2016), which now has garnered a clutch of reviews.  None of these actually mention my name, but what the heck it’s a good anthology, and so just this once (“I would encourage you all to share the reviews, so fans know they’re buying something worth reading”) they are quoted herewith:

The first review here is from BookLife (A Publishers Weekly site); particular congrats goes to Ross Smeltzer, for his particularly high praise in this review.

Raffle brings together a fine selection of 17 “dreadpunk” (gaslamp horror and dark steampunk) stories in this gritty, enjoyable anthology.  The London Underground becomes a playground for the undead in Raffle’s suspenseful “Burke Street Station.”  A greedy lover gets her comeuppance in Jay Seate’s “The Velvet Ribbon.”  Rob Francis’s “B.A.R.B.” plays with the concept of devil worship, and the lengths a grieving man might go to revive his dying wife.  The pinnacle of the collection is Ross Smeltzer’s “The Hunger,” in which a man’s encounter with the undead in a forgotten cemetery lurches him toward Lovecraftian insanity.  Although Raffle includes several stories that hover around a similar idea or theme (there is a glut of vampire fiction in this anthology), the standout tales are those that break from conventional horror.  The nature of human frailty and propensity towards violence is underscored in all of the collected tales, making it more than just full of good scares.  Seasoned horror readers will appreciate this dark anthology.  (BookLife)

What a reading delight!!  This dreadpunk (steampunk horror) anthology is a perfect way to get in the Halloween mood.  These stories are reminiscent of classic penny dreadfuls and gothic horror.

I especially loved the tales where vampires were the focus.  Like Agony in Red by Jen Ponce and The Case of the Murderous Migraine by Karen J. Carlisle.  I haven’t read gothic vampire tales in a while and forgot how much I enjoy those tales.

Additionally, I absolutely was spooked by Harvesters by E. Seneca.  It reminded me strongly of The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey.  (Which I absolutely devoured those books).

Many of these stories I would love to have more fleshed out with a full novel or another short story.  This unique blend of horror and steampunk is exactly what I needed to upstart my spooky Halloween season.  Even if you don’t know about steampunk, I recommend this if you are a lover of classic horror stories and gothic literature.  (Clockwork Bookdragon)

DeadSteam:  A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural is a great book for a newbie to dreadpunk like me.  Filled with stories that excite and tantalize the mind, I was on the edge of my seat for many of these short stories.  A great book to light some candles to, turn on the fire place and read in the chilly coldness this winter season. (Kay, Goodreads)

This is a delightful collection of seventeen dreadpunk horror stories, think Penny Dreadfuls.  I have never heard of dreadpunk but I have to say I have fallen in love with these stories.  They include several stories full of vampires, zombies, witches and so much more.  There is a story or two that will delight anyone that enjoys the horrors of the world.

I know I missed Halloween and this book would have been perfect.  But I still got the chance to dance in its pages amount the death, blood, and gore that make all things horror.  I loved the short stories, they gave a perfect taste of the author’s work.  There are more than a couple author’s that I will be looking into their other books.  But then again the down side to short stories is that I would just love to immerse myself in these worlds and find myself over with the trip quickly.

This is a wonderful collection of dreadpunk stories that I recommend checking out.  I will be keeping my eyes out for more in this genre.  (J Bronder Book Reviews) 

AbeBooks has announced today a post-Halloween sale through the end of November.  To quote the source:  Save up to 50% on books, art & collectibles from select sellers.  Click through to find a great selection of items discounted until November 30th.  Also, on their site:  AbeBooks is an online marketplace that connects you with professional sellers selling new, used, rare and out-of-print books, art and collectibles.  Each month, select sellers offer their items for sale on our site at huge discounts, making it easy to buy cheap books, art and collectibles online.  Whether you’re a crime fiction fanatic, a science fiction fiend or a collector of art, you’ll discover thousands of books and other items in our seller sale – all for a bargain.  We may remember (cf. September 25, 20, et al.) that my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH has been one of the sale books in the past with some astounding bargains offered on both new and used paperback copies.  These are continued in this new sale and may be seen by pressing here.

Also, if you should obtain a copy of TOMBS — or have one already and enjoyed it — please consider sending a review to Amazon, Goodreads, and similar sites.  Only a sentence or two would do, but reviews can help us authors immensely (and that includes other books by other authors as well 🙂 ).

Today saw the return of the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. August 5, et al.) at Bloomington’s downtown Thomas Gallery, having been pre-empted in September by the Fourth Street Arts Festival and Spoken Word Stage (see September 1) and in October by Frankenfest (see September 30).  The featured readers were Amy L. Cornell, an active participant with Woman Writing for a Change and on the board of the Writing for a Change Foundation and a past community columnist for the Bloomington Herald-Times, reading a flash fiction tale about a Presidential request for poetry, followed by a series of “relatively short poems” including a narrative of the re-invention of libraries and three retold fairy tales; Lisa Clay Shanahan, author of MURDER BY THE BOOK and MURDER MASTERPIECE in her Boston Publishing House Mystery Series and MFA candidate in creative writing in the Sewanee School of Letters, with a short talk about inspiration followed by the opening scene of a new novel, THE BROKEN CIRCLE; and me with my recently published dark romance “Crow and Rat,” out last month in the British anthology HUMANAGERIE (cf. October 21, 3, et al.).  This was followed after the snack break by a relatively short session with four walk-on readers, including both poetry and short prose.

That’s with free shipping to from the UK to boot, which probably means the exchange rate is breaking really hard in US buyers’ favor.  And . . . hmmm . . . this morning President Trump made a speech at the United Nations.  Coincidence?

Maybe so, maybe not, but if you’re really interested in a bargain copy of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the seller is ABEBOOKS.COM (cf. September 20, just below) and can be reached here.  And at this price, heck, the wise might consider ordering two or three extra for Halloween presents!

Today brought a reminder from AbeBooks (cf. below, September 6) that their September sale has just eight days to go.  Or to put it in their words:  Save up to 50% on books and collectibles from select sellers.  Discover a great selection of new, used, and collectible books, art and ephemera, all discounted until September 28th.  Or to put it in my words, if you might have a temptation to get a paperback copy of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, there’s a week left to find astounding bargains as low as $7.08 and $7.33 — and that’s with free shipping to boot — by pressing here.
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For more on TOMBS itself, you can click on its picture in the center column, or read some reviews by pressing here (and yes, these are all 5-star as it happens, but to be scrupulously honest you can find a few 2 or 3-star ones on GoodReads, for all of which my special thanks!).  Or, more to the point, if you have read TOMBS — or are getting it now and are about to start — why not jot down what you think of it, just one or two sentences will do, and send it to both GoodReads AND Amazon as your review?



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