Submission Call: Haunts and Hellions, A Gothic Romance Anthology

Haunts & Hellions
a gothic romance anthology
edited by Emerian Rich

GOTHIC ROMANCES of old featured a female protagonist dealing with a terrifying ordeal while struggling to be with her true love. Set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins or haunted castles, the love interest was either a brooding handsome gentleman or a supernatural monster disguised as a gentleman. Following the example of such works as Northanger Abbey, Phantom of the Opera, The Grey Woman, Dracula, The Woman in White, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Witch House and the like, we want your darkest, creepiest horror love story. 

Although we crave gothic romance style, don’t feel the need to paint a damsel in distress. The woman may certainly be the one who saves the day. We are also open to LBGTQ love stories. The main plot should be horror and romance. We don’t like stories written specifically with social or political agendas. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes horror. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy.

Stories MUST contain: 

  1. An overwhelming sense of menace and dread. Horror must be just as much a part of the story as romance. 
  2. Inclement weather.  ie…fog, rain, snow, hurricane. 
  3. A supernatural horror being or entity. ie…ghost, monster, vampire, werewolf. Being can be the hero, anti-hero, or the being they are battling against. Just remember the editor likes horror. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy.
  4. Set in a spooky location. ie…ghostly gatehouse, haunted lighthouse, dilapidated abbey, crumbling cathedral, terrifying tower, cursed castle, decaying plantation.
  5. Time period 1700-1940. We are looking for the classic gothic romance feeling in whatever time period you choose. Also, if writing a diverse character, please set to time period standards. Know your world, what the political/social rules were and if you break them, make sure it’s plausible. If it’s an alt-history world, make sure our readers understand how it became that way without writing an encyclopedia on the subject.  

Look below for examples of books & movies that have the feeling we are looking for.
No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.
We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.
Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:
*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.
*Double spaced.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.
*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**
*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:
https://forms.gle/KKb39vo7Go9FFqGZ6

 

Deadline: October 31st, 2020, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/20). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com


FURTHER EXAMPLES OF THE GOTHIC ROMANCE FEEL WE ARE LOOKING FOR TO INSPIRE YOUR WRITING: 

Movies: The Hearse, Crimson Peak, Vampire Journals, Dragonwyck, Sleepy Hollow, The Woman in Black, Gingersnaps Back, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Byzantium, Suspiria, Corpse Bride, Mary Riley, Dark City, Kill, Baby…Kill

Books: Northanger Abbey, The Grey Woman, Dracula, The Woman in White, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Witch House, The Yellow Wallpaper

Music: Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, Destini Beard, Goblin, Mazzy Star

Musicals: The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeny Todd, Love Never Dies, Corpse Bride

TV Series: Dracula (2013), Penny Dreadful, Dark Shadows (1991), Twin Peaks 

My Darling Dead : Bastards – Episode Four/ Council Feasts

The Honorable Prefect Mosh Barris had been running what remained of the kingdom of Dandoich for many years now, ever since he had been slim and a deceptively wide-eyed and innocent youth. He had swindled and conned his way into a position right beneath the then-acting ruler, a duke with pretensions and enough soldiers to back them up. Barris attached himself to the duke and fed off the man’s power for many years, growing more bloated as he did so like any true parasite. When Barris had absorbed enough of the ruler’s power, the man was found dead in his bed by an apparent self-inflicted dose of poison. Only Barris and an apothecary several townships over had any idea otherwise. 

Once Barris had eliminated the apothecary, he wasted no time in claiming rulership of the kingdom, citing his years of experience as the late duke’s advisor. Learning from the example of the many dead kings to precede him, Barris was too wise to declare himself the reigning ruler de facto. Instead, he immediately appointed a council of twelve, with himself at its head, equally matched between the sexes. The decisions of the council would be reached democratically, he explained in those early days to the skeptical kingdom, and would no longer depend on the whims of one man. What Barris failed to divulge was that the council was made up of his own circle of like-minded individuals with whom he had come into contact as the parasite of the previous ruler. This council sought pleasure and had no qualms treading upon the citizens of the kingdom to obtain it. 

It was to this council that the rat woman who had overheard Zavier and Orteg in the forest was brought. The chamber door burst open and two large armored men carrying large pikes in one hand, one of the rat woman’s scrawny arms apiece in the other, her frail body elevated between them. Her biting and scratching glanced harmlessly off the armor with squealing sounds that rose hair on the back of Barris’ neck. 

“Guards!” boomed Agathas Pyle, to Barris’ right. “What is the meaning of this intrusion?” She waved a roast turkey leg in the direction of the rat woman. “Such a creature as this near puts me off my meal.” She belched and tore off another chunk of the turkey leg. Barris chuckled. Several other council members tittered. 

“We crave your pardon, Honorable Prefect,” said one of the armored figures, his voice echoing out of his helmet slits. “This creature did assault the very gates of the castle and raise such a racket that we were compelled to respond.”

“Well, what is it doing here?” Barris asked impatiently, seizing a roast turkey leg of his own and taking a huge mouthful. Bits of flesh sprayed from his mouth as he continued. “The rat creatures are to be flogged until they are driven away, or executed. Why bring it to the council?” He chewed slowly, juice dripping down his chin. 

“Honorable Prefect, it spoke your name.” One of the armored guards gave the rat woman a firm shake, rattling her head on her neck. “’ere you, stop that fussing and say what you said to us.” 

The rat woman’s vocal cords had not been properly used in many years. This one (a long-time tavern wench in her past life) had spoken far more words than many in her days serving customers. She had managed to retain just enough of her speech to be able to relate what she had heard from the treetops. As she did so, the color drained from Barris’s face, his turkey leg falling unbidden to the table. The council members muttered to each other as Agathas looked at Barris, eyebrows raised, chewing. When the rat woman had finished, Barris dipped into his money pouch. 

“Give her this,” Barris said, flicking the coin through the air to one of the guards, who caught it. “Give her meat scraps from the kitchen and then get her far away from this castle. The sight of her sickens me.”

“Barris!” Agathas blurted, shocked, around a mouthful of meat and wine. “Surely you cannot believe anything that it—”

“Do as I have ordered,” thundered Barris, rendering Agathas mute. “By the gods, remove this creature at once.”

The room was silent but for the clanking of armor as the two guards hustled the rat woman out, slamming the stout door behind them. Agathas glanced at Barris, then at the rest of her council members, all of whom were trading their own uneasy looks. 

“Honorable Prefect ,” ventured one of the councilmen. “I must inquire—”

“The matter is closed,” Barris said briskly, pulling his plate closer and reclaiming his turkey leg. “Now, back to our feast, I wish to hear no more about it.” 

The man, Daghved Chancey, pushed his chair back and stood, hands on his hips. “Seems to me, Honorable Prefect, that after such a display as that, your council members are owed an explanation of some sort.”

Barris looked up from his plate, frowning. “Explanation?”

“It is common practice to destroy the rat creatures on sight, not reward them and set them free to infect—”

“I owe you nothing,” said Barris, chewing. “You are advised to desist.”

Chancey advanced on Barris, his voice rising. “You are advised to explain yourself sir, how and why you departed from the law stating—”

Barris moved like lightning, belying his bulk. The silver drinking horn in his hand collided with the side of Chancey’s head, sending him crashing to the ground howling. Blood oozed from the wound to mix with the wine as Barris roared, advancing on the stricken man, “You will not presume to lecture me on laws I myself put into effect, Chancey! The kingdom’s subjects cannot be trusted to think for themselves as I can. Perhaps this will help you to remember everything I have said.” 

Before anybody could react, Barris pulled a mace and chain from the sleeve of his robe and brought the metal ball crashing down on Chancey’s head. The man’s head rebounded from the floor with a dull thud like a falling sandbag. Barris placed one meaty foot on Chancey’s chest, bearing down, forcing the air from Chancey’s lungs as the latter gasped for breath, hands opening and closing as they grasped at nothing. 

“What have I just said to you, Chancey?” Barris asked, grinning, bearing down still harder as Chancey fought to speak. “What did I just tell you to remember?” There was a cracking sound from deep inside Chancey’s chest and he let out a squeak that would have been a scream with more air.

At the council table, Agathas had her hand between her legs beneath her robe, eyes glazed and jaw slack as she watched the life being crushed from the man on the floor. The rest of the council watched avidly, exhibiting their own signs of estrus as the darkness surrounded Chancey and his struggles for breath grew less meaningful. He was about to drift off into a peaceful sleep when the crushing weight lifted and he felt nourishing life-giving air trickle into his lungs like a stone knife. He sucked greedily at it and the darkness cleared a little. 

“What are you supposed to remember, Chancey?” asked Barris, swinging the mace and chain in front of Chancey’s eyes. Fear flashed in them as Chancey attempted to scramble away. One leg was half-paralyzed and hindered his movement as Barris advanced grinning. “Can’t remember?”

Barris raised the mace. Chancey’s breathless scream was cut off by a thick meaty thud and the sound of a woman’s orgasm, Agathas reaching her climax just as Chancey’s brain splattered across the walls. She shuddered in her chair, convulsing, her eyes rolling back as she moaned. Barris dropped the bloody mace on Chancey’s body and wiped his hands on his robe. He stepped back to his seat at the table, drew his chair under him and sat. 

“Agathas, when you’ve recovered, summon a steward for wine and to clean up what’s left of Chancey,” said Barris, and sunk his teeth into another turkey leg. 

My Darling Dead: Bastards Episode 2 / King’s Prerogative

Harriet Washburn, of the Thistledown Grove Washburns, had been attending the annual Harvest Festival for as many years as she could remember. Even after her mother’s death, her family had always made the journey from the edge of the kingdom to the castle and erected a booth to sell the produce they raised on their tiny farm. Some of her earliest memories were of her and her brothers giggling and chasing each other around behind the booths as their parents and hundreds of others haggled over beans, corn, wheat and the other crops grown by the inhabitants of the kingdom of Dandoich. 

It was during the festival in her seventeenth year of life that she had been minding the family booth, alone, when a great hubbub and scurry spread the tightly packed masses of people. Harriet raised her head from her inventory of the cherries to see the king striding in that direction, followed by his usual entourage of courtsmen. Her heart flew into her throat and her eyes darted about the little booth, judging its appeal with a practiced eye before taking up a position at the front of the booth and pasting on her best smile. 

King Wendell was in mid-stride, turning his head to deliver a particularly witty bit of commentary to his nearest aide, when his eyes met Harriet’s. He stumbled and three men were immediately at his side, each taking an elbow. 

“Watch it there, Sire…”

“Awful uneven terrain out here, Your Majesty.”

“Do you require a seat, Highness? I shall summon—”

“Silence!” barked the king, having regained his footing with ease and now shaking off his aides. “Enough of your coddling, fools. Step back, I say!”

With muttered apologies, the three aides scuttled backward a respectful distance and stood watching the king as he strode to Harriet’s booth and selected a cherry from her stand. “A good afternoon, maiden. How are your wares?” He smiled at her and she felt her heart flutter.

“They have never been known to disappoint, Your Highness,” Harriet said with numb lips as she sank into a curtsy, her eyes on his boots as she had been taught to behave when meeting royalty. 

“Nor do they this time,” said he, chewing the cherry he had taken with unfeigned enjoyment. “Is this your stand? What am I saying, such a pretty, young thing as yourself? This will be your family’s stand, I am thinking.”

“You think correctly, Highness,” Harriet said, still in her curtsy, memorizing each detail of his boots. “This produce comes from the Washburn family farm, from the northern reaches of your realm, Sire.”

“Well, maiden, this is to be your lucky day,” King Wendell boomed, bringing a hand down to the young woman’s elbow and pulling her to her feet. “When your family returns to your booth, inform them that the total of your stock has been purchased for the king’s personal stores and that one of the royal logisticians will be in contact to arrange transport and compensation.” He smiled magnanimously. “What do you think of that?”

“Oh, Sire! Highness, it would be…oh it would be an honor!” Harriet’s eyes were shining and she actually clapped her hands. “My family will be so excited! How can we ever repay you for your generosity?”

“That is for the logistician to discuss with the head of your household, my dear,” said the king, popping one more cherry into his mouth. “Now I must take my leave, but I daresay, if your family wishes to return home with bulging pocketbooks, I must see you again soon.” He cupped one of her breasts and nodded appreciatively. “Mmm, yes indeed. Until then, maiden.” With that, he was gone, back to his entourage, then out of sight as the hubbub faded away. 

Harriet stood, rooted to the spot, the smile frozen on her face. She looked down at the breast he had cupped, then back whence he had disappeared. Already, it did not seem real, that the king had actually been here, had arranged to purchase everything they had, groped a part of her that not even she had much experience touching, then left. There were a few titters from the surrounding peasants as those who had witnessed the exchange shared the details with those who had not seen it all. Harriet sat down and waited for her father to return, hoping he would hurry. 

When her father, mother and brothers had returned from exploring the festival and she told them what had happened, they all laughed. The laughter stopped however, when those who had seen the king corroborated Harriet’s tale. The king’s attention to her breast was omitted from all testimonies. When her story had been verified to her father’s satisfaction, he began pacing around in a state of such agitation that if the royal logistician had not shown up at that moment, he may have worked himself into a frenzy. 

The royal logistician was a large, beefy man with a walrus mustache and the smell of dust exuding from his ruddy complexion. He carried a thin piece of wood with a strap of sinew holding several sheets of parchment in place. Walking into the general area of the Washburn booth, he glanced at the topmost sheet of paper on his board and bellowed, “Washburn family!”

When her father waved, the man strode toward them, his mustache flying behind him as he did. “Right, I’m to arrange the transport of this ‘ere lot of fruit an’ veg plus one girl to ‘is Majesty’s castle yonder. For these–“

“Excuse me,” Harriet’s father interrupted. “You said fruit an’ veg an’ what??”

The logistician looked at his sheet of paper and nodded. “An’ one girl. That’n,” he said, pointing with his board at Harriet, who felt her stomach suddenly give way. 

“You mean… Harriet? You’re taking her?” her mother asked, her voice frightened. 

“Yuh,” the man said, and held out one of the pieces of paper. “She’s on m’list.” Harriet’s father took the paper as the man went on “Yer t’deliver the lot to the castle by no later than sunset tonight. ‘ere’s your pass through the gates.” He pulled another piece of parchment from the board and handed it to Harriet’s father, who was in a daze. “The pay for yer fruit n’veg will be given t’you when it’s delivered. See you get it all there afore dark if’n you want full price.” He turned to go. 

“But…um…” Harriet’s father said, finally rousing his vocal cords. “Is, ah…” he lowered his voice and moved closer to the logistician. “Are we getting paid anything for my daughter?” 

The man fixed him with a look of utter incredulity. “That’s a good’n, mister. Why should the king pay fer the use of one of ‘is subjects? You see she’s clean an’ smells nice for ‘im. Before dark, Washburn!” He strode off in the direction of the castle, the walk of a man who has many places to be as quickly as possible. 

“So, um, Harriet…” her father said, averting her eyes. “Be sure you’re there by dark an’…” he swallowed. “Clean yerself up.”

Three months later, Harriet had given up all hope that her monthly visitor was merely late and had resigned herself to carrying a child. Her family looked at her nervously, forever since she had returned in the wee hours from the castle, disheveled and refusing to say what had gone on, they had treated her as an outsider. Now, as they watched her belly grow, the distance between them became absolute. Her father would not meet her eyes and her brothers snickered behind her back. She took solace in the woods, taking long walks through the trees as her belly grew birds with no judgement singing to her. 

Finally, the day came. Harriet’s screams echoed over the countryside for miles and every midwife within earshot came running with their own infallible home remedies. Thanks to (or perhaps in spite of) their ministrations, Harriet’s son came into the world at midday nearly nine months to the day after his conception. Her father, softened by the presence of the new life, bestowed upon the infant his father’s own name, Orteg. 

Harriet’s father had received a visit from one of the king’s messengers soon after wagging tongues had carried word of the imminent baby to the royal court. The man appeared at the door late one night, bearing the king’s seal and a leather pouch. After making sure the children were all out of earshot, Harriet’s father took the pouch, almost dropping it at its unaccustomed weight. The messenger handed him an envelope, which explained that the king could be relied upon to ease the pains of upbringing the child with gold sovereigns, in exchange for the Washburn family’s unconditional obeying of His command of silence as to the origins of the infant. The alternative, the letter went on to explain, was immediate execution of the entire Washburn family, with only little Orteg to be spared. The messenger had to wait only a very little time for Washburn’s answer; thanks to the king’s fondness for the women of his kingdom, the messenger had made these late-night deliveries many times and had yet to see another outcome. 

The family warmed to Harriet once again with little Orteg’s help and the help of the king’s monthly gold infusion. In an effort to spend the gold as quickly as possible, Harriet’s father took to drink and was often gone all night. On one of his many trips to the local tavern, he drank up the last of that month’s allowance and, not being sated, fell to grumbling loudly about the king’s miserly nature and the terms of the arrangement. Most unfortunately he was overheard by the bartender, who had been in the pocket of the kingdom for decades. 

The bartender summoned the nearest guard and informed him. The guard reported it to his superior at his nightly debriefing, who passed it on to the local garrison master. The master presented it in his report to the kingdom’s security forces as High Priority, automatically flagging it to be given to the king as part of his daily briefing. 

When the king read the name Washburn, his jaw clenched. There was a brief conversation with the wizard Sapius, then a seldom-used red crystal bell was pulled from a hidden shelf in the side of his throne, which, when rung, produced a somehow sinister tinkling sound and two silent men, clothed in hooded black robes. After a moment’s instruction, they were gone. By morning, the Washburn family lay slain in their beds, all except for little Orteg, who was found shortly before noon when a passing gypsy heard his indignant screams from within the home. 

Officially, the massacre was declared to be a robbery. Those familiar with the kingdom’s midnight assassins knew the truth. Orteg, not yet a year old, was taken in and raised by one of these men, a nearby dairy farmer who had lived his life in the shadow of the castle and knew its ways too well. The farmer’s family had red hair, pale skin and freckles and it didn’t take Orteg long to ask the farmer where he had come from. The farmer explained what he knew with a sick feeling in his heart as he watched Orteg’s face grow incredulous, horrified, saddened and disgusted before giving way to a smoldering hate which had no place on the face of one so young. 

Orteg grew up hating the kingdom and the crown, sparing thought and effort for very little else. Finally, his eye caught that of another farmer’s daughter at a livestock auction. Discovering the pleasures of the flesh quickly, within two cycles of the moon they were wed. Within a year, they had one child and were expecting another. When Orteg’s father was taken by a heart attack, Orteg took over farming his land, grimly eking a crop year after year from the thin, rocky soil. When his wife became pregnant with their third child, she flatly told him that there would be no more. After the birth, she took to wearing multiple layers to bed and flatly rejected any advances he made, telling him to go play with the three children he already had. 

It was after one of these heated exchanges that Orteg began to patronize the top floors of the local tavern and to meet the women who worked there. He would stride in, jaw clenched, a muscle working in his cheek, and down several drinks. The fire would dim in his eyes and what would become a silly grin grew at the corners of his mouth. The upstairs women would no longer fear approaching him and one of them would invite him upstairs. He would give them all the gold he had and enjoy their company, usually not for very long. When the women spoke of him in their after-hours gab sessions, he was neither praised nor mocked for his performance. 

One night, Orteg had been heavily overserved and passed out in the woman’s chamber. She pulled him into the hallway and turned him on his side before returning to her room and locking the door. Orteg did not awaken until the sun was past its highest the next day, returning home in mid-afternoon to find his pale wife’s leg being bandaged by his eldest child. The moment he walked in the door, the yelling and recriminations began. Orteg learned to shut his ears to her most of the time. But the night he carried a bundle of soggy wood into the cold, dark house, his wife’s sharp tongue set events in motion which could not be halted. 

Submission Call: Haunts and Hellions, A Gothic Romance Anthology

Haunts & Hellions
a gothic romance anthology
edited by Emerian Rich

GOTHIC ROMANCES of old featured a female protagonist dealing with a terrifying ordeal while struggling to be with her true love. Set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins or haunted castles, the love interest was either a brooding handsome gentleman or a supernatural monster disguised as a gentleman. Following the example of such works as Northanger Abbey, Phantom of the Opera, The Grey Woman, Dracula, The Woman in White, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Witch House and the like, we want your darkest, creepiest horror love story. 

Although we crave gothic romance style, don’t feel the need to paint a damsel in distress. The woman may certainly be the one who saves the day. We are also open to LBGTQ love stories. The main plot should be horror and romance. We don’t like stories written specifically with social or political agendas. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes horror. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy.

Stories MUST contain: 

  1. An overwhelming sense of menace and dread. Horror must be just as much a part of the story as romance. 
  2. Inclement weather.  ie…fog, rain, snow, hurricane. 
  3. A supernatural horror being or entity. ie…ghost, monster, vampire, werewolf. Being can be the hero, anti-hero, or the being they are battling against. Just remember the editor likes horror. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy.
  4. Set in a spooky location. ie…ghostly gatehouse, haunted lighthouse, dilapidated abbey, crumbling cathedral, terrifying tower, cursed castle, decaying plantation.
  5. Time period 1700-1940. We are looking for the classic gothic romance feeling in whatever time period you choose. Also, if writing a diverse character, please set to time period standards. Know your world, what the political/social rules were and if you break them, make sure it’s plausible. If it’s an alt-history world, make sure our readers understand how it became that way without writing an encyclopedia on the subject.  

Look below for examples of books & movies that have the feeling we are looking for.
No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.
We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.
Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:
*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.
*Double spaced.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.
*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**
*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:
https://forms.gle/KKb39vo7Go9FFqGZ6

 

Deadline: October 31st, 2020, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/20). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com


FURTHER EXAMPLES OF THE GOTHIC ROMANCE FEEL WE ARE LOOKING FOR TO INSPIRE YOUR WRITING: 

Movies: The Hearse, Crimson Peak, Vampire Journals, Dragonwyck, Sleepy Hollow, The Woman in Black, Gingersnaps Back, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Byzantium, Suspiria, Corpse Bride, Mary Riley, Dark City, Kill, Baby…Kill

Books: Northanger Abbey, The Grey Woman, Dracula, The Woman in White, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Witch House, The Yellow Wallpaper

Music: Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, Destini Beard, Goblin, Mazzy Star

Musicals: The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeny Todd, Love Never Dies, Corpse Bride

TV Series: Dracula (2013), Penny Dreadful, Dark Shadows (1991), Twin Peaks 

Terror Trax: #178 Justin Symbol aka Star Daddy

Justin Symbol aka Star Daddy

Star Daddy – vocals, beats, programming, bass guitar
Ryan Lynch – guitar
DJ Swamp – beats, samples, scratching
Byron Alvarez – drums

Who writes your lyrics?

Star Daddy – I write all the lyrics, other than the one song “The Devil You Know” which was written by Ryan Lynch

Website

justinsymbol.com

IG @the_star_daddy

facebook.com/thestardaddy

stardaddy.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/thestardaddy

Album/Song/Tour we are excited about right now.

My new album – ’Candy Man’ !!!

 

 

What singers or bands inspired you growing up?

Marilyn Manson, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Doors, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Kanye West

Who are your favorite artists today? Tyler the Creator, Ghostemane, XXX Tentacion, Lil Peep, Ouija Macc, Gvllow, Razakel, Angel Nightmare

What non-musical things inspire your music? Surrealist art, pop art, fashion, colors

Is there a place where you go to be inspired? Traveling, walking and hiking around Los Angeles, Yoga, Exercise

What’s been the greatest achievement of your band? Opening for Ministry on tour, opening for Twiztid

Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most? We always love playing Florida. Best crowds.

What are your favorite horror movies? The Exorcist, Suspiria, Silence of the Lambs, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pink Flamingos…is that horror?!

What was the scariest night of your life? In 2018, while on tour with Ministry we were driving in the tundra across the border from Canada to the U.S. It was about 3 or 4am and the road was a pure sheet of ice! Suddenly we came across a herd of elk crossing the road in the blizzard. Each one was about 1,000 pounds and could have totaled the van, and we almost hit the whole herd! They were completely un-phased as our van ground to a halt on the ice road, and they passed silently by. Also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band? I would love to play in Europe specifically Germany and the UK I know we’d do really well.

What are you working on now for future release? I’ve been experimenting in fashion, designing custom leather jackets and punk style DIY pants with my girlfriend, (sideshow performer) Nola Star. As far as music, I recently did a feature for Razakel and I’ll be featuring on my friend Buddy Danger’s song. Been dabbling in my own beats too but the direction for future recordings is still very much up in the air!

Final thoughts / Anything you want to tell the listeners? Tune in, stream, watch, share and tell your friends! And thank you to those who’ve been listening and coming to shows! This is just the beginning!

From The Vault : A Vampire’s Guide To New Orleans

The following was previously posted on December 2, 2013

A VAMPIRE’S GUIDE TO NEW ORLEANS

By

Steven P. Unger

 novamp1I wrote this article on New Orleans as an homage to one of my favorite cities, one still fresh in my mind and heart after a long-postponed revisit there as an invitee to the Vampire Film Festival’s Midsummer Nightmare last year.

All of the photos in this article are my own, except for the portrait of the Compte de St. Germain and the two pictures otherwise credited.  Most of the text is a compendium of others’ words and research.  With apologies to anyone I may have inadvertently left out, my online research for this chapter led me to articles from hubpages.com; Kalila K. Smith (whose Vampire Tour I can recommend from personal experience—see http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Kalila-Smith/178024410); New Orleans Ghosts.com; GO NOLA; Brian Harrison; Haunted Shreveport Bossier.com; and Frommers.com.  I’ve borrowed freely from all of these sources and recommend them highly to those who would like to delve more deeply into the secrets of this unique city.

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If you have ever walked the dark, rainy streets of the French Quarter at night, you have seen the voodoo shops selling their gris-gris and John-the-Conqueror Root.  You’ve seen the old woman in the French Market whose pointing finger foretells your death  And if you know the right person to ask and you ask in the right way, you’ll be shown to the vampire clubs.

I’ve been in those clubs and seen people who believe with their heart, body, and soul that they are real, live vampires.  And some of the people in those clubs are scared to death of a select group of vampires who have only appeared there a few times, and always in the darkest of night.

By day, of course, the vampire clubs are closed and locked or turned back into regular tourist bars . . .

–Crazy Horse’s Ghost

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St. Louis Cemetery (Photo Courtesy of David Yeagley)

Like the Spanish Moss that drapes the trees of the nearby bayous, mystery and the occult have shrouded New Orleans since its birth.  For hundreds of years, families there have practiced a custom called “sitting up with the dead.”  When a family member dies, a relative or close family friend stays with the body until it is placed into one of New Orleans’ above-ground tombs or is buried.  The body is never left unattended.

There are many reasons given for this practice today—the Old Families will tell you it’s simply respect for the dead—but this tradition actually dates back to the vampire folklore of medieval Eastern Europe.  First, the mirrors are covered and the clocks are stopped.  While sitting up with the deceased, the friend or family member is really watching for signs of paranormal activity, e.g.,. if a cat is seen to jump over, walk across, or stand on top of the coffin; if a dog barks or growls at the coffin; or if a horse shies from it, these are all signs of impending vampirism.  Likewise, if a shadow falls over the corpse.  At that point, steps are taken to prevent the corpse from returning from the dead.

Ways to stop a corpse—especially a suicide—from becoming a vampire include burying it face down at a crossroads.  Often family members place a sickle around the neck to keep the corpse from sitting up; stuff the mouth with garlic and sew it closed; or mutilate the body, usually by decapitating the head and placing it at the bottom of the feet.  But the most common remedy for impending vampirism is to drive a stake into the corpse, decapitate it, then burn the body to ashes.  This method is still believed to be the only sure way to truly destroy the undead.

THE CASKET GIRLS

Ask any member of the Old Families who the first vampires to come to New Orleans were, and they’ll tell you the same:  it was the Casket Girls.

Much of the population that found their way to New Orleans in the early 1700s were unwelcome anywhere else:  deported galley slaves and felons, trappers, gold-hunters and petty criminals.  People who wouldn’t be noticed if they went missing.

Sources vary on the specifics, but the basic story is that the city’s founders asked French officials to send over prospective wives for the colonists.  They obliged and after months at sea these young girls showed up on the docks, pale and gaunt, bearing only as many belongings as would fit inside a wooden chest or “casquette,” which appears to have been the 18th Century equivalent of an overnight bag.  They were taken to the Ursuline Convent, which still stands today, where the girls were said to have resided until the nuns could arrange for marriages.

Some accounts say they were fine young women, virgins brought up in church-run orphanages; some say they were prostitutes.  But there are many who swear they were vampires, vampires who continue to rise from their “casquettes” on the third floor to break through the windows and hurricane shutters—windows and shutters that always seem to need repairing after the calmest of nights—to feed upon the transient crowds that for centuries have filled the darkened alleys of the Quarter.

Finally in 1978, after centuries of rumors and stories, two amateur reporters demanded to see these coffins.  The archbishop, of course, denied them entrance.  Undaunted, the next night the two men climbed over the convent wall with their recording equipment and set up their workstation below. The next morning, the reporters’ equipment was found strewn about the lawn.  And on the front porch steps of the convent were found the almost decapitated bodies of these two men.  Eighty percent of their blood was gone.  To this day, no one has ever solved the murders.

LE COMPTE DE ST. GERMAIN

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Le Compte de St. Germain and the Balcony at Ursuline and Royal

If there is one person who encapsulates the lure and the danger of the vampire, it is the Compte de Saint Germain.  Making his first appearance in the court of Louis XV of France, the Comte de Saint Germain endeared himself to the aristocrats by regaling them with events from his past.  An alchemist by trade, he claimed to be in possession of the “elixir of life,” and to be more than 6,000 years old.

At other times the Count at claimed to be a son of Francis II Rakoczi, the Prince of Transylvania, born in 1712, possibly legitimate, possibly by Duchess Violante Beatrice of Bavaria. This would account for his wealth and fine education.  It also explains why kings would accept him as one of their own.

Contemporary accounts from the time record that despite being in the midst of many banquets and invited to the finest homes, he never ate at any of them.  He would, however, sip at a glass of red wine.  After a few years, he left the French court and moved to Germany, where he was reported to have died. However, people continued to spot him throughout Europe even after his death.

In 1903, a handsome and charismatic young Frenchman named Jacques Saint Germain, claiming to be a descendant of the Compte, arrived in New Orleans, taking residence in a house at the corner of Royal and Ursuline streets. Possessing an eye for beauty, Jacques was seen on the streets of the French Quarter with a different young woman on his arm every evening.  His excursions came to an abrupt end one cold December night when a woman’s piercing scream was heard coming from Jacques’ French Quarter home.  The scream was quickly followed by a woman who flung herself from the second story window to land on the street below.  As bystanders rushed to her aid, she told them how Saint Germain attacked and bit her, and that she jumped out of the window to escape.  She died later that evening at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

By the time the New Orleans police kicked in the door of Saint Germain’s home, he had escaped.  However, what they did find was disturbing enough.  The stench of death greeted the nostrils of the policemen, who found not only large bloodstains in the wooden flooring but even wine bottles filled with human blood.  The house was declared a crime scene and sealed off.  From that evil night to the present day, no one has lived in that home in the French Quarter.  It is private property and all taxes have been paid to date, but no one has been able to contact the present owner or owners.  The only barriers between the valuable French Quarter property and the outside world are the boarded-up balcony windows and a small lock on the door.  Whispers of Jacques sightings are prevalent, and people still report seeing him in the French Quarter.  Could it be the enigmatic Compte checking up on his property?

 ANNE RICE AND THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES

 There is no one who has done more to bring the vampire into the New Age than Anne Rice, born and bred in New Orleans, with her novel Interview with the Vampire and the films and books that followed.  Those who have profited mightily from the popularity of True Blood and Twilight owe her a great debt.

The ultra-retro St. Charles Avenue Streetcar will take you close to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, the gravesite of Louis de Pointe du Lac’s (Lestat’s companion and fellow vampire in Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles) wife and child and where Louis was turned into a vampire by Lestat.

The Styrofoam tomb from the film Interview with the Vampire is gone now, but you can easily find the site where it stood, the wide empty space in the cemetery nearest the corner of Coliseum and Sixth Street.

During the filming of Interview with the Vampire, the blocks between 700 and 900 Royal Street in the French Quarter were used for exterior shots of the home of the vampires Louis, Lestat, and Claudia, trapped through time with an adult mind in the body of a six-year-old girl.  In fact, the streets there and around Jackson Square were covered in mud for the movie as they had been in the 1860s when the scenes took place.

The perfectly preserved Gallier House at 1132 Royal Street was Anne Rice’s inspiration for the vampires’ house, and very close to that is the Lalaurie House, at 1140 Royal Street.  Delphine Lalaurie, portrayed by Kathy Bates in American Horror Story:  Coven, was a real person who lived in that house and was indeed said to have tortured and bathed in the blood of her slaves—even the blood of a slave girl’s newborn baby—to preserve her youth.  She was never seen again in New Orleans after an angry mob partially destroyed her home on April 10, 1834.  There is a scene in American Horror Story where Delphine escapes from the coven’s mansion and sits dejectedly on the curb in front of her old home. A private residence now, some locals still swear that the Lalaurie House is haunted and that the clanking of chains can be heard through the night.

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Built in 1789, Madame John’s Legacy (632 Dumaine Street) is the oldest surviving residence in the Mississippi Valley.  In Interview with the Vampire, caskets are shown being carried out of the house as Louis’ (Brad Pitt) voice-over describes the handiwork of his housemates Claudia and Lestat:  “An infant prodigy with a lust for killing that matched his own.  Together, they finished off whole families.”

RESOURCES FOR VAMPIRES

 As a service to this most vampire-friendly city (http://www.vampirewebsite.net/vampirefriendlycities.html), the New Orleans Vampire Association describes itself as a “non-profit organization comprised of self-identifying vampires representing an alliance between Houses within the Community in the Greater New Orleans Area.  Founded in 2005, NOVA was established to provide support and structure for the vampire and other-kin subcultures and to provide educational and charitable outreach to those in need.”

Their Web site also points out that “every year since Hurricane Katrina, the founding members of NOVA have taken food out on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to those who are hungry and homeless.”  (See http://www.neworleansvampireassociation.org/index.html.)

FANGTASIA, named with permission from HBO after the club featured in True Blood, is an affiliation of New Orleans-based musicians and film and TV producers who for three years have presented a multi-day vampire-centric event of the same name, the first two years at 1135 Decatur and last year at the Howlin’ Wolf.  You can follow their plans and exploits via their blog athttp://www.fangtasiaevent.com/fangtasia-blog/.

Next year FANGTASIA hopes to create “the South by Southwest of Global Vampire Culture” at an as yet undisclosed location in Greater New Orleans.  As they describe it:

Moving beyond this third consecutive year, FANGTASIA is building a broader international draw that will bring fans to not only party at club nights but also attend conferences, elegant fashion shows, film & TV screenings, celebrity events as well as an international Halloween/party gear buyers’ market.

Participants will experience gourmet sensations, explore our sensuous city and haunted bayous… as well as epically celebrate the Global Vampire Culture in all its sultry, seductive, diverse and darkly divine incarnations.  Additionally, FANGTASIA is strategically poised months prior to Halloween to provide corporate sponsors and vendors a perfect window to connect with their core demographic.  This also allows FANGTASIA to actively support and promote existing major Halloween events in New Orleans and beyond.

On the subject of vampiric Halloween events, for 25 years the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club (http://arvlfc.com/index.html) has presented the annual Vampire Ball (http://arvlfc.com/ball.html), now as part of the four-day UndeadCon (http://arvlfc.com/undeadcon.html) at the end of October; and on the weekend nearest Halloween Night (for example, November 1, 2014), the Endless Night Festival and New Orleans Vampire Ball takes place at the House of Blues (http://www.endlessnight.com/venue/).

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The Boutique du Vampyre (http://feelthebite.com/boutique2013.html) is a moveable (literally—they’re known to change locations on short notice) feast of vampire and Goth-related odds and ends, many of them locally made.  There are books as well—you may even find a copy of In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide if they’re not sold out.  Their Web site itself holds a surprise treat:  a link to a free videocast of the first two seasons of Vampire Mob(http://vampiremob.com/Vampire_Mob/Vampire_Mob.html), which is just what the title implies.

Finally, no visit to the Crescent City would be complete, for Vampire and Mortal alike, without a taste of absinthe (http://www.piratesalleycafe.com/absinthe.html), or even more than a taste.  There is a ritual to the preparation and serving of absinthe that should not be missed; one of the sites that does this authentically is the Pirates Alley Café and Absinthe House at 622 Pirates Alley.

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            Steven P. Unger is the best-selling author of In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, published and distributed by World Audience Publishers (http://www.amazon.com/Footsteps-Dracula-Personal-Journey-Travel/dp/1935444530/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262485478&sr=1-1).

            In the Footsteps of Dracula can be ordered from your local bookstore or online atwww.amazon.com,. www.amazon.co.ukwww.barnesandnoble.comwww.amazon.fr,www.amazon.dewww.amazon.com/Kindle, or with free delivery worldwide fromwww.bookdepository.co.uk.

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https://www.amazon.com/author/steven_p._unger_wordworker

From the Vault : Nightmare Fuel — Baron Samedi


The following was previously posted on August 14, 2016

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us down to the bayous of Louisiana to visit a bit of voodoo royalty.  I am speaking of one of the more widely known loas, or spirits of voodoo, Baron Samedi.

Dressed in a black tailcoat, top hat, dark glasses, and cotton plugging his nostrils and a face painted white like a skull, Baron Samedi is responsible for digging the graves for the dead and welcoming them to the afterlife after they are buried. He is a married man, but it doesn’t stop him from chasing mortal women, swear continuously, tell filthy jokes to fellow spirits, and behave otherwise outrageously.  Rarely is this loa seen without a glass of rum in his hand or a cigar to puff on.  And, although he is known for death and sickness, many people offer entreaties with the hope of their loved one being denied for death and be healed instead.baron_samedi

Baron Samedi’s likeness can be found in many forms, such as in “The Princess and the Frog”, “Live and Let Die”, and even in WWE wrestling programs from the 1990’s.  If you do run across someone dressed as the Baron, offer him a cigar or a glass of rum. You never know if it will be the real one, and he may grant you more time on Earth for you generosity.

Until next time Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis