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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

cf700a30f62287ca72ceb1211de418e6c3e5ed78-thumb October 31st has arrived in rural Maryland. It’s cool and clear with a bright blue October sky contrasting with the remaining orange and gold leaves on the trees in our woods. There are a few roses left on the briars and a hardy marigold still blooms. But mostly, the yard and woods are folding into the bare-branch, dead-looking garden days of late autumn.

Halloween, the time of trick-or-treating, costumes, and a thinning of the barriers between the living and the dead, is upon us. I will, per usual, hand out goodies to fairies, pirates, stormtroopers, wizards, and small witches. Luckily, one of my paintings was used on the October 2016 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk and a hauntingly good Halloween story was published in the most recent issue of Unoriginal – A Science Fiction & Horror Magazine.

For those who’d like to visit spooky places, here’s a link to Haunted Places in Maryland. I’ve visited many of these locations, and felt appropriately “creeped out” – though a photographable ghost never manifested itself within camera range. Living so close to the Pennsylvania line, I’ve also visited a number of the locations which made it onto the Haunted Places in Pennsylvania list.

Spaceports and Spidersilk 10-14 But sometimes, the scariest experiences aren’t at famous locations, but happen in unplanned moments at random places. I can remember a long-ago attempt to scare others in which I hid in a cemetery that turned out to be quite frightening for me!

So whether you’re a fan of candy corn, haunted houses, ghostly encounters, or watching scary movies – have a Happy Halloween! (And enjoy last year’s cover of Spaceports & Spidersilk featuring one of my paintings with a few trick-or-treating dwarves).

 

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51q9gur7vpl Just in time for Halloween and Day of the Dead, my Day of the Dead story (actually Night of the Dead in the tale), Gifts in the Dark, has been published as an eBook by Digital Fiction Publishing Corp as part of their Digital Science Fiction line.

And Gifts in the Dark is science fiction, since the story is set in the far future on a distant planet that humans have settled on after a long voyage in deep sleep. But even in this far-future setting, people remain people, sisters remain sisters, and the Day of the Dead traditions still ring true. Yes, there are fantastical supernatural elements and superstitions, but as in all stories, there are people at the center of the tale.

For in the end, the story, no matter its genre, is about its characters – their lives, loves, fears, and struggles.

Ready for a little Day of the Dead reading?  Gifts in the Dark is only 99 cents – so why not give it a look!

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As Halloween approaches, I think about what monsters frightened me as a child.

I always suspected there were monstrous creatures under my bed, and never let my hands or feet hang over the edge so “they” wouldn’t grab me and drag me under the bed. Likewise, I avoided shadowy places, just in case the shadow-monsters were lurking there, ready to pull me into their shadow world.

With evil clowns capturing recent headlines, I hesitate to mention my dislike of clowns (and mimes – their silent partners in frightening children). My friends thought Bozo and others of his kind were laugh-out-loud funny. But not me. I didn’t want to watch their antics at circuses and fairs, and certainly didn’t want to interact with them at parties.

As for Frankenstein’s monster, I always felt compassion for the fellow. It wasn’t his fault he was the way he was. Dracula? Even as a kid, it seemed fairly easy to me to avoid his fangs – wear a cross around your neck and line your windows with garlic. The whole wooden stake in the heart thing seemed unnecessary if you were careful.

Werewolves were more problematic. I couldn’t imagine myself shooting anyone or anything with a regular bullet, much less a silver one. And as a kid, I had no access to guns – unless you count water pistols and cap guns. And when I thought about zombies, I thought I could out-run their slow shambling gait.

I suppose all those childhood monsters and more have appeared (or are destined to appear) in my dark fantasy and horror stories. One of the benefits of being a writer – I can destroy monsters or make them “nicer” by just typing a few words!

Here’s a link to a wonderful post on Victorian Monsters from my writing friend, Andrew McDowell.

Now, it’s your turn. What monsters frighten you?

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794 Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley was one of the scariest poems read to me as a child. Perhaps its dire warnings and promises of goblins lurking near helped me behave when I was young. Or perhaps they influenced me to write dark stories when grew older.

I remember decades ago, at the annual Halloween poetry reading held for years at Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air, Maryland, members of the Harford Poetry Society and others would turn the lights down low, light a candle, and read in unison Little Orphant Annie. One year while reading the poem, with no windows open and no living person nearby, the candle’s flame wavered and went out when we reached “A-listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about…”

Here for your reading pleasure, in anticipation of Halloween, is today’s quote, Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley.

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IMG_1833 Halloween, the day when ghostly and ghastly thoughts swirl about like an autumn wind, is 17 days away.  A week ago, October 7th, was the 166th anniversary of Poe’s death in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. So naturally, I chose an Edgar Allen Poe quote for today.

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins.” – Edgar Allan Poe in The Premature Burial.

What a perfect quote for this pre-Day of the Dead time. In the era of The Walking Dead, Ghost Hunters, Twilight, and other undead delights. For fans of the undead, two of my zombie-ghost tales are currently available in new books. “The Return of Gunnar Kettilson” can be found in the beautifully-bound Gothic fantasy collection, Chilling Ghost Short Stories from United Kingdom’s Flame Tree Publishing. And from the USA’s Alban Lake Publishing, Potter’s Field 5 – Tales from Unmarked Graves, contains my story “Snowbroth.” (Also available on Kindle).

For Poe fans, here are some other EA Poe quotes: 30 Thoughtful Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

And don’t forget, I’ll be at HallowRead October 23 presenting a workshop on Anthologies at 1 PM, and on October 24 I’ll be participating on various spooky, dark panels.  Plus, I’ll be happy to sell and/or sign my books and talk to fans of dark fantasy and horror.

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I’ll be appearing at HallowRead 2015 in Elllicott City, Maryland on October 23 and 24. Lots of ghostly fun and information for readers and writers alike including panels, workshops, ghost tours, book signings, author chats, a haunted house, and more.

The fine folks of HallowRead have put together a great video promoting the event. Here’s the video link to take a look.

Hope to see you there!

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2 Pawprints large art The Day of the Dead customs celebrated in Mexico and elsewhere are fascinating. The Dead are welcomed. Seemingly macabre toys, food, and costumes are actually colorful and festive symbols encouraging ancestors to return to this world for a visit.

Here’s a link to a site with lots of Day of the Dead information.

And a link to the complete version of one of my Day of the Dead stories, “Gifts in the Dark,” included in my newest story collection, Owl Light.

Gifts in the Dark  Like what you’re reading? You can check out Owl Light and my other books on Amazon.

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