Wedding Night — New Story Published

“It came crawling up the hillside to the alter and the sacrefice, and it was the black thing of my dreams-that black ropy, slimy, jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms. And the men bowed and stood back and then it got to the alter where they was something squirmin on top, squirming and screaming.” — Robert Bloch, “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”

My story, or vignette really, “Wedding Night” has been posted at The Were-Traveler.  Read it here.  It’s probably rubbish, but the kindly editor at Were-Traveler saw some value in it and accepted it to be part of their tribute to Poe and Lovecraft.  Included in the tribute are Deborah Walker and Rick McQuiston, along with over a dozen other talent writers.

Okay, I have to admit something. I cheated. My story isn’t so much a tribute to Lovecraft as it is to his friend Robert Bloch. You may not recognize the name but you know his work — a lonely motel, and it’s young proprietor with an unhealthy fixation on his mother.  And oh God, the blood. Bloch wrote the novel that inspired Hitchcock’s masterpiece.  

Bloch also wrote “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”, one of the greatest non-Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos stories to come out of the Lovecraft Circle. It inspired a young Ramsey Campbell, master of the modern horror story, to pick up his pen and give us Gla’aki, the Insects from Shaggai, and Y’golonac, among other nightmares. Campbell did it better than anyone else and still does.  A brilliant visualization of “Notebook” can be found here.

“Wedding Night” was born from a reading of “Notebook”, and like the source material, features a backwoods cult of Lovecraft’s Great Old One, Shub-Niggurath.  Whereas the narrator of “Notebook” is a victim of “them ones”, the narrator of “Wedding Night” is a member of a particular branch of the cult, and soon to be very familiar with its ways.  If you take the time to read it, thank you.

I love Shub-Niggurath. Unlike Old Ones such as Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth, Lovecraft provided little detail about the being. Aside from the evocative title “Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young” and a vague description in a letter as a “evil, cloud-like entity”, we know nothing about it.  Lovecraft left it for later writers to fill that cloud with their own horrors.  Stay tuned, there will be more coming from me on the Black Goat. 

“Somewhat Disturbing”

It’s been almost six months since I last updated this thing.  That’s terrible.

But hey! Hello to everyone stopping by from the FierceBuddhist, who reblogged my Krampus post from two years ago.  Thanks for coming!  

While you’re here, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about my latest publication, “Seahorse,” part of Hellnotes’ “Horror in a Hundred” series.  On their Facebook page, Hellnotes called it “somewhat disturbing”.  I’ll take it!

Two New Stories

Way back in November, in this post, I discussed the Cruentus Libris Press project Another 100 Horrors.  One hundred writers contributing one hundred stories, each tale no more and no less than one hundred words.  The book, containing my short “While You Sleep”, more a vignette than a story, has been unleashed upon a not-so-unsuspecting world.  Get a copy from Amazon, in electronic or dead-tree format, not so much for me, but for the 99 other awesome authors.  You may find your new favorite writer somewhere between the covers.

In a moment of temporary insanity, and a decision I am sure they are regretting, the fine folk at the splatter punk fiction site Carnage Conservatory picked up my weird-fiction story “Three Square and a Warm Bed“.  Editor Emily Smith-Miller runs a picture that I am sure in another context would be innocuous.  But given the “Old Church” described by the narrator, the picture blesses the story with a sinister air.  I had an idea what the Old Church looked like.  Emily proved me wrong.

Wherein I Talk About A Poem or Two, Terrible Poems

gr-cvr-2I’m supposed to be writing a review (that’s right, dear reader, I’ve been reviewing books at Horror Novel Reviews since January!  So far I’ve reviewed The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury and Cthulhu Unbound 3) but what better way is there to procrastinate than by plugging my own work?

James Ward Kirk’s anthology Grave Robbers is now available in dead-tree format.  Any guesses about the theme, dear reader?   That’s right!  Puppies.  And Jesus.  Jesus puppies.

Between the Grave Robbers‘ covers are poems I wrote, two of them, as you may have figured from the title of this post.  Why poems?  The first, “The Gallows of Perdition” is based on the rhyming scheme  I found in a Robert E. Howard poem, the name of which escapes me at the moment, featuring the consequences, both legal and unholy, of an act of necrophilia in the Old West.   The other “No Rest in Arkham Graves” an abortion of a poem with Cthulhuvian themes.   Really, they’re bad.  I should be too embarrassed to even admit to writing them.

And wow…sacrilegious and abortion jokes, and talk of necrophilia in a single blog-post.  Really out-did myself this time.  I feel like I should apologize to my grandma.

Despite my lack of talent whatsoever in crafting poetry, Mr. Kirk was kind enough to accept them.  It may have had to do with the hefty contribution I made to his PayPal account.  And the attached photo of me making puppy-dog eyes.  My cover-letter for the submission consisted of just one line, “Pretty please?”

And now that I’ve done a first-class job selling this work to you, go…read!


Bigfoot Terror Tales Vol. 2

BigfootOut now on the e-reader of your choice, Bigfoot Terror Tales Volume 2, sixteen stories of Sasquatch-inspired horror.  Included between those digital covers is my story “Incident at Hobb’s End”, the title lifted-with-love from John G. Fuller’s seminal UFO investigation classic Incident at Exeter (recently debunked by skeptic-extraodinaire Joe Nickell).   The titular town a reference to the book by missing horror-author Sutter Cane, itself a reference the classic Quatermass and the Pit.   All for $4.99 American.  You love me, you love horror, and you probably love Bigfoot.  You.  Want.  This.  Book.

Though, dear reader, I cannot allow you to purchase Bigfoot Terror Tales Volume 2 in good conscience without first making a confession.  I cheated.  You will not find a single Sasquatch in my story.  Sure, there are references to Bigfoot in “Incident at Hobb’s End”, but much like the TV series Finding Bigfoot there is not a single member of the eponymous species seen.

Fret not, I assure you “Incident at Hobb’s End” is heavy with the weird and paranormal, inspired by Hunt for the Skinwalker and the work of Phil Imbrogno (who was exposed as a fraud in 2011).    You’ll get Devil Monkeys, which according to the cryptozoologist Loren Coleman were responsible to the mauling of livestock in Kentucky in the 1970s.  These mysterious beasts once a starring role on an episode of the excellent but unnecessary Animal Planet found-footage series The Lost Tapes.  There are UFOs.  There is possession.  The Oz-Factor.  Men In Black, based on descriptions of DevilMonkeyaliens by Betty Hill and related by the aforementioned John G. Fuller in The Interrupted Journey, the book that created the alien abduction phenomenon.   Nothing in the story is made up, everything footnoted and referenced, a literary device I first encountered in Stephen Graham Jones’ brilliant, brilliant, brilliant Demon Theory.  I said I
didn’t make it up, but I didn’t say any of it is true.

And best of all, you see that quote from A.P. Fuchs, publisher and editor of Bigfoot Terror Tales Volume 2, at your right?  He is talking about “Incident at Hobb’s End.”   As I said, You.  Want.  This.  Book.

Esther and What She Brought Home

Last year, I placed a story in Cruentus Libri Press’ 100 Horrors anthology, a piece called “One Day, Tomorrow”.  The concept behind the collection is great, one hundred stories by one hundred writers, each story a total of one hundred words.  At Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig issued a similar one-hundred-word story challenge for his weekly writing exercise.

I like one-hundred-word stories, both for the challenge they present in trying to craft a complete story with such a strict limitation and for the freedom it presents.  The economy one must work forces a subversion of the ideas of what a story is or must be, in the process liberating it. I love being able to able to play around with form and style.

Cruentus Libri Press has put out a submissions call for a follow up to 100 Horrors, so of course I’ve submitted another piece.  Wrote several in fact before settling on one to send.  Below is one I did not submit.  Enjoy.

Esther and What She Brought Home

My cat Esther, a tortoise-shell, brought me a gift from the overgrown field behind the house. In her jaws, a tiny man of tree-bark skin, wings like dead leaves and iridescent, compound eyes.

The man shrieked in cricket chirps, his wings buzzed angry. Esther squeezed the creature’s neck until it died. Beth, my wife, screamed at the sight.

I buried the thing under her rose bushes.

Insect songs and droning, and Esther’s agonized howls, woke us that night. We found her in the morning, hung by the neck from the porch light. Dozens of miniature spears protruded from her.

Wherein I Talk About Real Things

Today would have been my Grandma Shafer’s birthday.  The day she was born was also an election day.

To celebrate, three generations of her descendants will sit down at a kitchen table, playing Scrabble and eating ice-cream, two of her favorite things.  

No poll watching, no election results.  Those things are not real.  It’s sideshow.  It’s legerdemain.  

Your loved ones, family by blood or bond, is all that is real anymore.