Crescendo of Darkness Tour: While My Guitar Gently Bleeds

Crescendo of Darkness from Press.

“While My Guitar Gently Bleeds” by Benjamin Langley
A rock musician is visited by an undead band member and forced to pay for his crimes against rock ‘n’ roll.

Benjamin shares his thoughts about his story with us below.

Of all the stories I have written and submitted, none have spent as much time under consideration with editors as ‘While My Guitar Gently Bleeds.’ Finally it has found its home in Crescendo of Darkness and I couldn’t be happier.

The first place it was submitted was to a university tutor. This story was one of two I handed in for a second-year short story writing module. Given the way that horror was frowned upon, it wasn’t as well received as the literary story that accompanied it. (‘I Am Roadkill,’ published by Flash Fiction Magazine in 2015.) Why did I write quirky horror story about aging (and undead) rockers for a tutor I knew wouldn’t like it? It was the story I wanted to write at the time, and was never a fan of playing it safe.

The first time I sent it out seeking publication it was shortlisted from more than 500 submissions. Eventually, it did not make the cut, but the fact that had been close brought me comfort. I took it back in gave it a polish, and sent it on its way again. A number of editors seemed to like it, but claimed it didn’t quite fit and I could see their point. Yet again I took it into the workshop, and gave it another going over. It was changed from present tense to past, which seemed to give it more of an edge. Key parts of the story where slowed down, allowing for tension to build. Extraneous parts of the text were cut away. The story of former band-mates Dallas McCann and Tyler Gunn was stronger, scarier, and dare I say, gorier.

I was sure that when I sent it out again, to a well-selected publication, they would be sure to take it.

Not so. But again, it was close. I got one of those rejections that made me feel positive, that made me feel like I was getting somewhere. The rejection note stated that they had to cut some stories that they loved. The final line was great: “We’re sorry for sitting on it for so long, but these last few cuts caused us real pain.”

I knew the story was good; the trouble was that it was rather niche. Imagine my absolute joy when I saw the submission call for Crescendo of Darkness, an anthology seeking to combine horror and music. Perfect. So I sent the story, and again had to suffer the agonising wait.

Finally it was accepted. I was elated. Every time I see the cover to the anthology I think about what a perfect fit the story is. I can’t wait to get hold of my own copy now, and I’m looking forward to hearing readers’ reactions.


Crescendo of Darkness

Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

Cover by Carmen Masloski Press


Let music unlock your fear within.


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