Book Review: Tortured Willows by Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, Geneve Flynn and Christina Sng

Review by Daphne Strasert

5 stars

Tortured Willows bleeds, sobs, and howls with rage. The poems stab at the monsters who desecrate, they release spirits to deliver revenge and honour the memories of mothers and grandmothers. The words of these four poets – Lee Murray, Angela Yuriko Smith, Geneve Flynn, and Christina Sng – cannot be ignored. By sharing often intensely personal experiences of otherness, of suffering and prejudice, they reach into your heart and demand you listen.

The driving force behind these verses is the combination of cultural heritage, the definition of woman and the modern-day perception of the poets as ‘other’. Employing a variety of forms, – from sonnet to black-out to blank verse – the poems educate those of us who have been unaware as to the level of suffering of our sisters on the other side of the world. The notes provide further information, book, newspaper, document references to their histories and their realities.

Every poem deserves its place. Lee Murray delivers tragedy in Fox Girl and Exquisite and poignancy in The Girl with the Bellows. Geneve Flynn serves up anger in ‘Abridge’, the cultural practice of ghost brides in ‘Bride Price’, the fears of a mother for her son in ‘Unpicked Stitching.
Christina Sng brings up supernatural revenge in Flat, The Visit and The Last Bus, respect for ancestors in The Offering and the place their ghosts still have in our lives.
Angela Yuriko Smith develops the strength of women in Four Willows Bound, the traditions of the Ryukyuan in Onarigami and Her Hajichi, her sense of difference in The Nukekubi.

In theory, I would list every poem – they all have something to say. In lieu of such a list, all I can say is buy – or borrow – but do read – this extraordinary and eye-opening collection

In the words of Angela Yuriko Smith in her poem, Four Willows Bound:

Four willows stood bound
in their sisterhood, in strength —
unquiet, waiting

They are waiting for you.

“The Asian Myths and Monsters of Tortured Willows” Guest Blog by Geneve Flynn

“The Asian Myths and Monsters of Tortured Willows

Featured Author: Christina Sng

Southeast Asian mythology is much less familiar territory for many horror fans. While vampires, werewolves, and zombies are well-known, creatures such as the tiyanak, the penanggalan, the pontianak, and the nukekubi are less so. Does that make them scarier? Let’s dive in and see. 

 Tortured Willows is a newly released collaborative collection of sixty horror poems by four of the authors from the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, Christina Sng, and Geneve Flynn showcase some of these creepy critters in their poetry. In this blog series, we chat to each of the contributors about their monsters.

Please say hello to Christina Sng.

GF: Please tell us about the themes you explore in this collection.

CS: I explore themes of justice and vengeance as well as traditions in Singapore.

GF: Those are threaded through your work so beautifully. It’s wonderful getting a glimpse into Singaporean culture and mythology. Your poem “Pontianak” features a vengeful female spirit. Where does it come from and how did you add a twist to her legend? 

Picture Attribution: “Kuntilanak-post” by scarysideofearth is licensed under CC BY 2.0

CS: Pontianak was the first ghost most children my age heard about (apart from the “real life” headhunters which were infinitely more scary to us). We were often told to be good or the Pontianak will come and get us. Only when I was older did I read that she only haunted men, usually flagging them down from the side of the road; she had a beautiful face, long black hair, and a flowing white dress. Here are a few lines from my poem:

She stood by the road alone

In her white flowing dress.

The night was moonless,

The streetlight, broken and bent.

The wind promptly picked up,

Gently billowing her hems.

While doing research for this book, I realized a lot of the traditional horror stories centered around women ghosts out to get men. Why? Who came up with these stories? Elders who were men? Possibly, in this patriarchal society. 

Her mother always told her,

Never get into a car with a stranger.

She nodded, fearless this time.

The worst had already happened.

In this day and age, we know there’s another side to the story. The woman’s side. The atrocities that happen to women every day all over the world are too often silenced by society. 

So I tell the woman’s side of the story. Give her a voice. Because we are human beings with thoughts, feelings, and dreams as well. We have volition. We exist. Here are our stories.

GF: The characters in your poems have an unquiet fury that is very powerful. Your poem “Flat” gives voice to a character in the strange urban myth of the flat-faced woman. How did you hear about her and what does she symbolise in your work? 

CS: Oh gosh. As a teen, the flat-faced woman freaked me out so bad. This was a story told to me by someone and I don’t remember who and how. During those days, these stories were often not written down and were just told from person to person. But the details of the story have been preserved in this poem. 

She turned toward me,

Hair parting like the Red Sea.

I gasped 

And screamed uncontrollably.

She had no face!

Where it should have been

Was flat and featureless,

A face of clay before it was molded.

As I grew up, I no longer feared her. Instead, I wondered what led her here. What was her story? Now, I know. It’s the story of so many domestic violence victims, except she came back and she found justice for herself and then, for others.

GF: Thanks so much for introducing us to some of the mythology that features in your poetry. If you’d like to read the poems mentioned in this blog series, Tortured Willows is available from Yuriko Publishing.

Praise for Tortured Willows:

Tortured Willows bleeds, sobs and howls with rage.”—Stephanie Ellis, writer and poet, co-author of Daughters of Darkness

“Thought-provoking, unapologetically brutal, and downright unsettling, Tortured Willows is a collection unlike any you’ve read before…and one you’re not likely to forget. Murray, Flynn, Smith, and Sng have not just raised their voices, they’ve roared them into the pages, and the result is simply superb.”—Rebecca Fraser, award-winning author of Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract.

“In Tortured Willows, the many veils of a woman’s heart are peeled back, revealing multi-layered petals of an aching beauty, rooted on a stem of vulnerable resistance.”—Jamal Hodge, director, writer, visionary

“This is a brilliant book, insightful and scintillant. Construed as a thematic sequel to the award-winning Black Cranes (the anthology edited by Murray and Flynn and containing fiction by Sng and Smith), it may also be viewed as a distillation. The theme is strong, but the lessons reach beyond it. Cutting across rhetoric and euphemism, Tortured Willows will hold meaning for whoever dares read it.”—Kyla Lee Ward, Bram Stoker Award®-nominated poet

Tortured Willows

Bent. Bowed. Unbroken

The willow is femininity, desire, death. Rebirth. With its ability to grow from a single broken branch, it is the living embodiment of immortality. It is the yin that wards off malevolent spirits. It is both revered and shunned.

In Tortured Willows, four Southeast Asian women writers of horror expand on the exploration of otherness begun with the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.

Like the willow, women have bent and bowed under the expectations and duty heaped upon them. Like the willow, they endure and refuse to break.

With exquisite poetry, Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn invite you to sit beneath the tortured willow’s gravid branches and listen to the uneasy shiver of its leaves.

LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Tortured-Willows-Bent-Bowed-Unbroken/dp/1737208334

Christina Sng is the two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Collection of Dreamscapes and A Collection of Nightmares. Her poetry appears in numerous venues worldwide and has garnered many accolades, including prizes and nominations for the Elgin Awards, the Dwarf Stars, the Rhysling Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and the Best Horror of the Year. Visit her at christinasng.com and connect @christinasng.

 

Northanger Book Release Party Today!

Join us on Facebook for an all-day Northanger party!
DECEMBER 16th, 2021
Starting at 8am PST

Games, trivia, and prizes!
To enjoy the fun, join our group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499
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Northanger  by Emmy Z. Madrigal

Kat is a horror fan. She loves to read, watch, and listen to ghostly, frightening things most people shy away from. When she meets her perfect match, Henry, she knows he’s made just for her, but finding out his father may be a murderer, puts a different spin on their relationship. Is Henry’s dad out for blood or just a misunderstood introvert who’s lost his wife? Only a trip to the famed murder house, Northanger, will reveal the truth.

Northanger is a contemporary rewrite of Jane Austen’s least rebooted classic novel, Northanger Abbey. The Clueless version, Northanger explores the fish out of water story of gothy teen Kat, as she’s introduced to the high-society scene of New York City. What would happen if Beetlejuice’s Lydia was plopped into Gossip Girl New York City?

“Emmy Z. Madrigal has crafted a delightful story based on Jane Austen’s classic, Northanger Abbey. She has spun it into a modern story that suits Miss Austen’s novel perfectly. Her modern heroine, Katherine Moorland (Kat), is a young girl who has lived a simple life on a farm, but has a vivid imagination that has been heavily influenced by the horror books she reads, the spooky music she listens to, and the macabre films she watches. It is a book that will appeal to both Jane Austen fans and lovers of the gothic novel, having fun elements of both.” ~ Kara Louise, author of Pirates and Prejudice a variation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice.


Emmy Z. Madrigal’s love affair with Jane Austen may have started late, but her belief that true love can overcome prejudices, differences, and adversity started very early on. Northanger is her modern take on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Emmy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

An Excerpt from Northanger, by Emmy Z. Madrigal

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Visit just one of the haunted houses in this excerpt from Northanger, by Emmy Z. Madrigal.


“I’m excited to see Woodston,” Kat said.

“It’s just the sort of place you’ll like. With a story you’ll love,” Henry said.

“Oh?”

“Yes.” Henry put down his coffee cup and leaned in to tell her the story. “Mr. Woodston was the grandson of old Mr. Northanger. In 1895, Mr. Woodston built the Woodston house for his fiancée. They went to New York for the wedding but on their way back, Mr. Woodston died in a carriage crash.”

“Oh my God, that’s horrible.”

“His bride was hurt, but recovered only to find herself in the house he’d built for her in secret. The new Mrs. Woodston lived there for a few months, but being so isolated and without her groom, she moved back to the main house with the Northangers and then shortly after, back to her family in New York.”

“Poor lady.”

“And on the same day of her husband’s death, not three years later, she succumbed to a fever and died without ever remarrying. Some blamed her death on a broken heart and there are rumors of the couple haunting Woodston.”

“Really?”

“Yes!” Henry grinned and went on, his voice grave indeed. “First the ghost of young Mr. Woodston, calling out for his bride Julieta. And second, Julieta calling out for her love. Yet, they can never find one another despite searching these many years later.”

Kat drew in an excited gasp. “Have you witnessed these ghosts?”

“No. It is just a story to frighten tourists.” He smiled, relaxing back into his chair. “But perhaps you are more sensitive and will witness them yourself.”

Kat smiled, knowing he was teasing her, but at the same time wondering if she would feel a ghost presence when they visited.

“Oh, here comes Ellen. She probably wants to say goodbye one last time.”

“Last time?”

“Yes, you know, before you’re killed by the ghosts of Woodston.”

Kat scoffed. “You tease.”

***

Henry strapped in a small backpack to the luggage rack and then got on the snowmobile. He offered a hand to Kat and she got on behind him, wrapping her arms around him.

“Hold on!” The snowmobile took off with a burst and she gripped him tighter around the waist. His body was warm and solid underneath the puffy parka he wore. A bump in the road unsettled her and he placed a gloved hand on hers, steading her. Piercing cold air stung her cheeks where her scarf, hat, and goggles met.

Before them, a blanket of white snow stretched out as far as the eye could see. Trees covered in white carved out a path leading to more trees.

The endless bank of trees reminded Kat of the scene in Suspiria where a panicked girl is running through the woods as Suzy looks out the cab window that rainy night she arrives at school. Kat’s eyes searched the trees as they whizzed by. It was daytime, but the trees stretched up so high above them, they blocked out the sunlight, causing the formation of strange shadows in the woods. Her eyes—with the help of her imagination—caused her to see some weird things in the woods. A snow mound became a wolf. The shadow of a tree became a human form.

It must have been twenty minutes before Henry slowed the snowmobile before a dark house looming in the distance. It wasn’t like the visibly scary cartoon haunted houses of The Addams Family or The Munsters. It was more like a retold ghost story, welcoming Kat in like her grandmother’s afghan. It was a place that held stories. A place where you could feel at home and connect with the ghosts of the past at the same time.

“What do you think?” Henry asked, removing his goggles.

Kat pushed down her scarf. “It’s awesome.”

Gazing up at the gray shutters and storm blue trim, Kat imagined a ghost in the window. There wasn’t one really, but the one in her imagination welcomed her home. She’d never seen a picture of Julieta Woodston, but in her imagination, she wore a ghostly white dress and glowed in the frame of the window in the attic.

A flash of Mrs. Havisham from Great Expectations came to Kat. Was there a dining room inside covered in cobwebs?

“Coming?” Henry slung the backpack over one shoulder and held out his hand for her to grasp. She took it and he helped her off the mobile. An icy patch in front of the stairs caused her to pitch forward into his arms. Her breath caught as she looked into his eyes. She could see flecks of gold in his stormy ocean gray.

“You all right?” he asked his rumble out of his chest under her fingertips.

“Y-yes. Yeah, sorry.”

His face was so close, she yearned to kiss him.

He let go of her, all except one hand, which he held as he led her to the door with no other falling incidents. As he opened the door, the ancient house smell surrounded her. Cedar. Old books. A little dust.

“I’ll get a fire started right away. Come in, it will get warm soon.” He closed the front door behind her and clicked on the lights with the loud solid plunk of an old electric switch. The foyer and stairs came alive.

“Oh, wow.”

The stairway was wide and took up half the entryway, leading up to a wide-halled balustrade railed with once-white spindles. The floor was an intricate wooden pattern of Greek design.

There were rooms on both sides of her, but what caught her attention first was an open door upstairs that creaked with movement.

Henry followed her gaze upstairs. “Wind from down here always makes that bedroom door move,” he said in explanation. “Or perhaps it’s the Woodstons welcome welcoming us in.”

Kat smiled.

“Let’s go to the parlor first, so I can start a fire. I promised Ellen I’d keep you warm.”

Kat followed Henry into the room on the right, decorated in light blue and furnished in modest but antique furniture. She took a seat on a dark blue, tufted chair and peeled off her winter gear while Henry started a fire.

The room was pretty and she could tell it would be bright on a sunny day with the curtains open. Compared to the rest of the house, the room was clean and organized. The antiques seemed genuine and even the curtains and wallpaper looked if not new, laundered. The wallpaper was blue and white toile and looked so familiar…and then she remembered a passage in one of her favorite books by Marie Gates.

The wallpaper in blue and white toile housed several families and couples taking advantage of a sunny meadow for picnics and frolicking in the lake. They were so lifelike, I wanted to reach out, pluck them from their ministrations, and place them in my pocket, but that was madness, right? But madness ruled in the house on the hill.

Mad House!” Kat exclaimed. 

Henry grinned. “I wondered if you’d pick up on that.”

“Did you truly redo this room to fit Mad House?”

“No, but when I washed the walls and found it in pretty good condition, I knew I had to keep it.”

“Wise decision.” Kat stared at the little Victorian people in hats and parasols picnicking and awed at the detail of each tiny face.

“Alrighty…fire started, would you like the tour while it warms up the place?”

“Sure.”

Tour the house with Henry and Kat by reading… Northanger.

Northanger Book Release Party!

Join us on Facebook for an all-day Northanger party!
DECEMBER 16th, 2021
Games, trivia, and prizes!
To enjoy the fun, join our group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499
na4

Northanger  by Emmy Z. Madrigal

Kat is a horror fan. She loves to read, watch, and listen to ghostly, frightening things most people shy away from. When she meets her perfect match, Henry, she knows he’s made just for her, but finding out his father may be a murderer, puts a different spin on their relationship. Is Henry’s dad out for blood or just a misunderstood introvert who’s lost his wife? Only a trip to the famed murder house, Northanger, will reveal the truth.

Northanger is a contemporary rewrite of Jane Austen’s least rebooted classic novel, Northanger Abbey. The Clueless version, Northanger explores the fish out of water story of gothy teen Kat, as she’s introduced to the high-society scene of New York City. What would happen if Beetlejuice’s Lydia was plopped into Gossip Girl New York City?

“Emmy Z. Madrigal has crafted a delightful story based on Jane Austen’s classic, Northanger Abbey. She has spun it into a modern story that suits Miss Austen’s novel perfectly. Her modern heroine, Katherine Moorland (Kat), is a young girl who has lived a simple life on a farm, but has a vivid imagination that has been heavily influenced by the horror books she reads, the spooky music she listens to, and the macabre films she watches. It is a book that will appeal to both Jane Austen fans and lovers of the gothic novel, having fun elements of both.” ~ Kara Louise, author of Pirates and Prejudice a variation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice.


Emmy Z. Madrigal’s love affair with Jane Austen may have started late, but her belief that true love can overcome prejudices, differences, and adversity started very early on. Northanger is her modern take on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Emmy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

Guest Blog : “The Asian Myths and Monsters of Tortured Willows”

“The Asian Myths and Monsters of Tortured Willows

Featured Author: Angela Yuriko Smith

Interviewer: Geneve Flynn

Southeast Asian mythology is much less familiar territory for many horror fans. While vampires, werewolves, and zombies are well-known, creatures such as the tiyanak, the penanggalan, the pontianak, and the nukekubi are less so. Does that make them scarier? Let’s dive in and see. 

Tortured Willows is a newly released collaborative collection of sixty horror poems by four of the authors from the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, Christina Sng, and Geneve Flynn showcase some of these creepy critters in their poetry. In this blog series, we chat to each of the contributors about their monsters.

Please say hello to Angela Yuriko Smith.

GF: Hi Angela! Please tell us a little more about Tortured Willows, and what inspired you to create this collection.

AYS: In some ways, I think this collection created itself. I wrote a lot about the spirit of the Uchinanchu people and I feel like they were so happy to have a little bit of recognition they refused to let me write tame poetry and move on. I learned more about myself and my family in the time I wrote these poems than I have in my entire life. It was the hardest and best thing I’ve written yet.  

GF: That sense of personal resonance is so clear in your collection: as if you were a tuning fork that had just been struck. Speaking of personal resonance, your poem “The Nukekubi” is based on a real experience, which makes it even more chilling. What is a nukekubi, and when did you encounter her? 

Picture attribution:  https://www.evanseasyjapanese.com/nukeku 1

AYS: A nukekubi is a type of ghost whose head detaches from her body so she can travel. It is said to drink blood and cause harm for the sake of it. Incidentally, for all the Pokemon fans out there: Misdreavus is inspired by a nukekubi. I’d never heard of a nukekubi until I started doing this research and someone mentioned it. When I asked them to describe it I had chills because they were describing one of the ghosts from my teens. I was in Sweetwater, Tennessee which seems an odd place for an Asian ghost. I always thought she came with the house but now I wonder. Here are a few lines from my poem:

Like slick tentacles

her neck cords trailed to the ground

disembodied face

soaked wet from drowning

or perhaps from her own tears.

She couldn’t tell me.

GF: That sends ice down my spine; much creepier than the Pokemon version. As well as malevolent spirits, your collection features a benevolent creature called a shisa. What are they, and what do they mean? 

AYS: Here’s a photo of two shisa I painted recently. shisa were at the beginning of my Uchinanchu rabbit hole, which is appropriate because they are guardians that sit on rooftops and by doors (and anyplace else you can squeeze them) so I like to think they were guiding me in. They are related to the lion dogs in other Asian cultures, but one of the big differences with shisa is they are always a male and female pair. The Okinawans feel that men and women are different but of equal importance. The male dog always has his mouth open to drink in the luck and frighten away the demons. The female keeps her mouth closed to keep the luck in and seal out demons. I read somewhere that all shisa are alive, and all shisa are benevolent guardians. This probably explains why they are everywhere in Okinawa. As soon as I discovered shisa I became obsessed, but there aren’t as many here in the US so I had to make some of my own. They hang on my front door now. These lines are from my poem “Dreaming of Shisa”:

There can never be

too many shisa.

Crouching on rooftops, watching

beside the front gate.

Ryukyu lion dogs—

he breathes the luck in. She holds

her breath to keep it.

GF: Your paintings are gorgeous—such perfectly balanced guardians. Thanks so much for introducing us to some of the mythology that features in your poetry. If you’d like to read the poems mentioned in this blog series, Tortured Willows is available from Yuriko Publishing.

Praise for Tortured Willows:

Tortured Willows bleeds, sobs and howls with rage.”—Stephanie Ellis, writer and poet, co-author of Daughters of Darkness

“Thought-provoking, unapologetically brutal, and downright unsettling, Tortured Willows is a collection unlike any you’ve read before…and one you’re not likely to forget. Murray, Flynn, Smith and Sng have not just raised their voices, they’ve roared them into the pages, and the result is simply superb.”—Rebecca Fraser, award-winning author of Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract.

“In Tortured Willows, the many veils of a woman’s heart are peeled back, revealing multi-layered petals of an aching beauty, rooted on a stem of vulnerable resistance.”—Jamal Hodge, director, writer, visionary

“This is a brilliant book, insightful and scintillant. Construed as a thematic sequel to the award-winning Black Cranes (the anthology edited by Murray and Flynn and containing fiction by Sng and Smith), it may also be viewed as a distillation. The theme is strong, but the lessons reach beyond it. Cutting across rhetoric and euphemism, Tortured Willows will hold meaning for whoever dares read it.”—Kyla Lee Ward, Bram Stoker Award®-nominated poet

Tortured Willows

Bent. Bowed. Unbroken

The willow is femininity, desire, death. Rebirth. With its ability to grow from a single broken branch, it is the living embodiment of immortality. It is the yin that wards off malevolent spirits. It is both revered and shunned.

In Tortured Willows, four Southeast Asian women writers of horror expand on the exploration of otherness begun with the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.

Like the willow, women have bent and bowed under the expectations and duty heaped upon them. Like the willow, they endure and refuse to break.

With exquisite poetry, Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn invite you to sit beneath the tortured willow’s gravid branches and listen to the uneasy shiver of its leaves.

LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Tortured-Willows-Bent-Bowed-Unbroken/dp/1737208334

___________________________________________________________________________

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Uchinanchu-American and an award-winning poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. To find out more visit angelayurikosmith.com.

Book Review: The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg

Synopsis: Horror is part of the human condition, but few peoples across the ages know it quite like the Jews.

From slavery to pogroms to the Holocaust to antisemitism, the “Chosen People” have not only endured hell on Earth, they’ve risen above it to share their stories with the world.

Whether it’s pirate rabbis or demon-slaying Bible queens, concentration camp vampires or beloved, fearless bubbies, THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR offers you twenty-two dark tales about the culture, history, and folklore of the Jewish people.

Review: The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg (pub. Denver Horror Collective) is a dark, informative and entertaining read. I was drawn to this book because I was wondering how can a people, who have endured so much during the history of the human race, create fictional horror and I also wanted to know what was different about ‘Jewish’ horror compared to standard offerings.

The answer is to be found in the rich religious traditions and folk culture associated with the Jewish people, an aspect given a greater voice in the introduction by Rabbi John Carrier. Story settings varied from biblical to present-day to post-apocalyptic. Demons abounded, and I encountered the dybbuk properly. Social mores and expectations were also touched on, whether to be battled against or to attempt to maintain. Some were quiet horror, others less so, nor was the tragedy of the concentration camp shied away from. Religion and the question of faith was central to many.

It’s hard to highlight favourites when there isn’t a bad story amongst them, but a few standouts for me were ‘How to Build a Sukkah at the End of the World’ by Lindsay King-Miller, ‘The Horse Leech has Two Maws’ by Michael Picco and ‘Ba’alat Ov’ by Brenda Toliari.

Jewish horror as a subgenre is unique, it carries the weight of one of the oldest traditions in the world. This is horror from a different perspective and all the more refreshing for it.

5/5 stars

HorrorAddicts.net 204, Comika Hartford, Geneve Flynn, Orion Thought Beings

204

Horror Addicts Episode# 204
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Guest Hosts: R.L. Merrill, Ari, Cam
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


SEASON FINALE! Halloween Special

204 | #DiversityinHorror | #ComikaHartford | #GeneveFlynn | #Orion #ThoughtBeings | #NightTerror |

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

8 days till Halloween

Music: “Falling Time” #NightTerror

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #NightTerror

Catchup: #Halloween #HalloweenBroke #DollarStoreBroke #MidnightMass #Villette #CharlotteBronte #MidnightSyndicate #DestiniBeard #ValentineWolfe #IceNineKills #MuppetHauntedMansion #Disney+ #HalloweenQuilt #Oats #BodyPartMonster #HuluWeen #SpiritStore #Costumes #KittyPaws #CoolGloves #Ouija #BeetljuiceSwag #HauntedMansionSwag #SandWorm #ScaryBabyFace #BabyHead #BabyJudgingCam

Spooky Book Craft:

1022211525_2

*Blank journal

*Halloween or spooky stickers

*Scrapbooking scraps

*Spooky washi tape

*Colored pens

*Metallic Pens

*Highlighter

*Glue stick

Theme: #DiversityinHorror

#AsianHorror #LatinxHorror #AfAmHorror #CulturalHorror #InternationalHorror #EventheWindWasAfraid #AztecMummy #MummiedHimUp #MummiedUp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curse_of_the_Aztec_Mummy

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #HPLovecraftFilmFest

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #SatanicPanic #SatanicPanicBooks

What Hell May Come by Rex Hurst

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman

Hell Patrol by R.D. Tarver

#LostSouls #AnneRice #Exorcist #SatanicPanicBands #DeliverUsFromEvil #Evil 

21:40 #Orion #ThoughtBeings #Interview

https://thoughtbeings.bandcamp.com/album/strange-matter

https://www.instagram.com/thought_beings/

#SistersofMercy #Goth #NightoftheComet #GeorgeMichealGoth #80s #MetophistoWaltz #Nosferatu #RunLolaRun #HavePatience #DontCompare #DoWhatYouLove #BeYou #Aha #Grunge #TimeHole

40:52 Best Band Award Announced 

41:53 Dead Mail:

Retraction: I said, Patricia! Sorry, Priscilla. 
Eric: New Music!
https://subgoth.bandcamp.com/album/lament-configurations-from-hell-we-rise

Martin: Yoda meme, Robot Chicken Ouija Borad Clip

Sumiko: Poetry reading. His Flesh was Haunted

https://www.amazon.com/Within-Me-Without-Poetry-Prose-ebook/dp/B09GM9GTHM

Jeff: #ChuckWendig #Wanderers #ScottSigler #Pandemic

Moch Fox: “Hollow Moons”

https://machfox.bandcamp.com/album/hollow-moons

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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Coming in 2022 in HorrorAddcits.net

*Season 17

*Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2

*Horror Curated

#CreepyDollDecor #HauntedToys #CreepDolls #DollHeads #Safeway #HalloweenLeggings #BigLots 

51:28 Coming Attractions – Horror movies coming end of 2021-2022

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Polidori #Vampyre

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #DarknessinthePines #HarlanGraves #Bigfoot

1:03:55 Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, jame seo

1:15:13 Best in Blood Announcement

A.F. Stewart, Desiree Byars, Jason LaVelle, Jonathan Fortin, Kathrin Hutson, Lucifer Fulci, MJ Preston, Paul Lubaczewski, Rob Bliss, Shannon Lawrence 

Spooky Book Craft – Questions/Prompts (at bottom of this post)

1:18:07 #GenveFlynn #Interview

#AsianHorror #BlackCranes #AsianWomenWriters #TheyCallMeMother #ClassicMonstersUnleashed #TorturedWillows #HWA #HalloweeninAustralia #HungryGhostFestival #ChineseTradition #MalaysianGhost 

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Cranes-Tales-Unquiet-Women-ebook/dp/B08GF8K6CQ

https://www.amazon.com/Tortured-Willows-Bent-Bowed-Unbroken-ebook/dp/B09JML99HN

http://www.geneveflynn.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/gene.flynn.750

1:42:50 NEWS: 

#NUDA 

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob

#Followers #ChristinaBerglin #BookReview #BNguyenCalkins 

#KbatzKrafts #Hauloween

#FreeFiction #JS OConnor #Alan Moskowitz

#MidnightSyndicate #Bloodlines #CedarPoint #Halloweekends

Book Review: #Vacuity #TellTalePublishing
Reviewed by: #DJPitsiladis 

#PumpkinSpice #PumpkinFlavoring #PumpkinPie #Cakewalk #CupCakes

1:49:42 #ComikaHartford #Interview

#TheGreyArea #Webseries #ParaFlix #DomesticatedPodcast #Interview #vampires #GangaandHess

#CrisCourtneyMartin #MelodyCooper #CruiseCrime 

https://paraflixx.vhx.tv/

https://www.instagram.com/blamethewriter/

https://www.facebook.com/comika

https://rizzle.tv/

R.L. Merrill 

https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com/

———————————–

Scary Book Prompt Questions:

The scariest costume I ever wore was?

The worst costume I ever wore was?

The 3 best movies to watch on Halloween are?

The best Halloween decorations are?

My favorite Halloween character is?

If I were a vampire I’d love to bite …

The item I wish people would stop decorating with is…

The Halloween movie that scares me the most is…

The place I’d love to spend Halloween night is?

The best classic scary movie character is?

If you are going to trick me on Halloween you better…

If you knock on my door on Halloween you should be prepared for…

Where I come from, we celebrate Halloween by…

3 things I must see on Halloween are…

Halloween dinner must include…

Jack-o-lanterns or black cats?

Ghosts or Goblins?

My favorite Halloween legend is…

My favorite scary story to tell is….

If I could perform a magic spell, I would most like to…

If I were a monster my name would be…

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, CM “Spookus” Lucas

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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Book Review: Followers by Christina Berglin

Review by: B. Nguyen-Calkins

Internet privacy is a scary concept. Anybody, with enough effort, could find your name, photos of you, and even past locations you’ve visited. If somebody wanted to, I’m sure it’d be easy to… you can fill in the blank with any horrifying end. Stalking, online harassment, or worse. Why are we online at all?! 

Followers expresses the benefits of online friendships and social media. When Sydney, a horror movie enthusiastic and reviewer, is isolated and hit with constant passive-aggressive comments from her personal acquaintances, she instead goes online where people may appreciate the details of the genre (however shallow they may be). She kindles relationships online that have meaning to her personal life. And, ultimately, she sees her blog as an escape from her dead-end job. 

With the benefits of an online life comes risk. Are those often-shallow interactions even reading her work? Do those relationships have any substance? Will she ever make a living as a reviewer? Can Sydney live with the constant horror that runs beneath the surface of her everyday online interactions? And what if those interactions meddle within her personal life? The buildup brewed constantly as I found myself questioning each of the people in her life. This justified paranoia ends up hitting Sydney in the face as she struggles with the balance of digital and personal.

The novel works as a contemporary horror piece on multiple levels. Horror fans will look out for references to the genre as a mental trivia. My personal favorite was when characters review independent horror films at a festival. Holistically, the book is also meta-horror. One element of examining the genre explores the guilt of the “final girl,” especially in a progressively worsened situation. Who could be hurt because she posted clickbait photos for her online blog? How much information is too much to reveal to a virtual stranger? Can Sydney handle the repercussions of a demented stalker?

Strap yourself in and be sure to finish the book, because it truly thrives when Sydney finds herself in her own Scream. Sure, the book is initially carried by its prose and its likable (and unlikeable) characters. Christina Bergling sprinkles some interesting prose inside some dialogue and monologues and plays with some of the reader’s pent-up tension. But while the beginning may seem like a story on another shelf, the story’s resolution rightfully places it as a suspenseful, introspective horror. Followers is a worthwhile read, especially for fans of horror cinema. Its tension builds continuously throughout the story, and it extends today’s horror of digital social lives. The story is finished with some jaw-dropping scenes that seemingly come out of nowhere. It felt like Bergling was biding her time to lull the readers in while she waited for the opportune moment to strike.

HorrorAddicts.net 203, Valjeanne Jeffers

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 203
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


203 | #AfAmHorror | #ValjeanneJeffers | #ElleNoir | #Achoura |

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

22 days till Halloween

Music: “Welcome to My Hell” #ElleNoir

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #ElleNoir #HauntedMansion #CrystalBallLady

Catchup: #Halloween #LifeSoFast #Northanger #12thOfOctober #ReadLive #SanMateoPublicLibrary #GhostsBBC #GhostsAMC

October 12th Horror Readings: Tales of Horror

https://www.smlibraryfoundation.org

Theme: #AfAmHorror

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/black-horror-movies/

#AbbieSleepyHollow #SleepyHollow #ZNation #RobertaWarren #BlackSummer #Blade #Vampire #VampireHunter  #DraculaTV2013 #Renfield #MidnightTexas #PeterManesh #Figi 

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Achoura

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #HorrorRomance Blood and Chocolate (2007), Warm Bodies (2013), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Ghost (1990), The Shape of Water (2017)

Dead Mail:

Martin: “When He Died” #LemonDemon #Alien Comic

Cessly: #ScreamMovie #90sHorror

https://www.wate.com/news/airbnb-renting-out-scream-house-from-1996-horror-flick/

Sam: #ChooChooCharles #VideoGames

https://kotaku.com/new-open-world-horror-game-features-an-evil-spider-trai-1847788363

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #BillyGraham #Vamperella #Marvel #LukeCage #BlackPanther #FirstBlackVampire #RobertCSands #TheBlackVampire #JackTheRipper

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Vampire-Stories-1800-1849-Anthology/dp/1933747358

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #Exsists

https://tubitv.com/movies/359982/exists

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, jame seo, emerian rich

WickedWomen Writer’s All-star announcement!

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #TagusND

NEWS: 

#PanicLift

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#KbatzKrafts #FreeFiction #TamaraWatson #JSOConnor

http://www.melissasercia.com

http://www.temeculaterror.com

Book Review: Reviewed by: #APHawkins #OblivionInFlux #MaxwellIGold

Featured Author: #ValjeanneJeffers #ImmortalIII #StealerofSouls

Read by EmerianRich.

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, CM “Spookus” Lucas

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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HorrorAddicts.net 202, Naching T. Kassa

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 202
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


202 | #Polynesian #PacIslander #Horror |  #NachingTKassa |  #ErrieMovie | #InChasmsDeep

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

36 days till Halloween

Music: “A Suicide in Paradise” #InChasmsDeep

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #InChasmsDeep #BlackMetal #TheWindInHerLament #MetalHead

Catchup: #Halloween #PandemicLag #Stress #StrangeDays #TrunkNTreat #CobraKai #OctoberTalesofHorror #Northanger #JaneAusten #HauntedHouses #ghosts #costumes 

October 13th Horror Readings: Tales of Horror

https://www.smlibraryfoundation.org

Theme: #PolynesianHorror  #PacIslanderHorror

#HawiianGhostStories

#FilipinoHorror #Aurora #Eerie #PagPag

#EerieMovie #TeenSuicide #ReligiousConspiracy #Nun

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Sunod

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #UniqueVampire #OnlyLoversLeftAlive #BloodRedSky

Dead Mail:

Martin: “Hellslide” #Siiickbrain #Nosferatu #NosChick

Book reviews: https://forms.gle/ayAq37qMV7ENwcQW8

Kim: #WhatWeDoInTheShadows #Goth #MetalHead #bat

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Giallo

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #BigFootAShortStory #DLFinn

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, ramon cantarero, emerian rich

Ghastly Games: #CMSpookusLucas #HorrorGames

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #AnnalieseMichel

NEWS: 

#CliffandIvy #BringUsTheNight #AlaskaGoth

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#Bianca #Bookhoarding #CoffinPurse #CoffinShelf

#Neflix #MightnightMass 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #MattMorovich #OfMenandMonsters #TomDeady

Featured Author: #NachingTKassa #TheDarkerSideofGrief #ArterialBloom
https://www.amazon.com/Arterial-Bloom-John-Boden-ebook/dp/B085QLBYSS

Read by the author.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! 

https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, CM “Spookus” Lucas

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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I♥radio

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HorrorAddicts.net 201, Crystal Connor

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 201
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


201 | #AfAmHorror | #CrystalConnor | #PalaceofTears | #Candyman |

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

50 days till Halloween

Music: “Ruination” #PalaceofTears

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #PalaceofTears #IceNineKills #TwelveFootNinja #VisionVideo #GothDadJokes

Catchup: #HalloweenDecor #PumpkinsAreOut #DragonontheFrontPorch #HuluWeen #BoyfriendDungeon #DatingaCat #OldTechMonsters #GoingUnder #InternBattles #OfficeAngst 

Theme: #AfAmHorror #MovieList

Black Horror Movies

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Candyman

Frightening Flix: #KBatz #TalesFromTheCrypt 

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #BadMoviesGoodMovies

Dead Mail:

Jay: #VampiresonaPlane #BloodRedSky

Martin: #Cartoons #Jokes #GargoyleintheAirport

Russell: #HisHouse #HoodoftheLivingDead

Toni: #YouTubeSpiral #ComedyVids
Ask a Mortician https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath

Andy Sandberg: https://youtu.be/gAYL5H46QnQ

Dino Rap: https://youtu.be/L1SKf9YU4QQ

Soundless Music: https://youtu.be/BHkhIjG0DKc

Carl Poppa:

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheOregonSasquatch #SyFy #ParanormalWitness

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #BaronVonEmmelmann

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, rish outfield, kadirah wade

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #PeggyTheDoll

NEWS: 

#JohnathanChristian #NewMusic #MyDyingWords

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#LorenRhoads #ThisMorbidLife

https://www.amazon.com/This-Morbid-Life-Loren-Rhoads-ebook/dp/B09C11J43W

#FrightTrain #RenataParvey 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #MattMorovich #HowlsFromHell

Featured Author: #CrystalConnor #AisforAigamuchab
Read by Emerian Rich with voices by Evan and Scorpius

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! 

https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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http://www.horroraddicts.net

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I♥radio

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-horroraddictsnet-30940547/

amazon podcasts

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FRIGHT TRAIN : An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways

FRIGHT TRAIN

An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways reviewed by Renata Parvey

Editors: Switch House Gang

“Anyone who has ever been awakened late at night by a distant train whistle knows there is no lonelier sound. It is a mournful howl from a soulless traveler on a night journey to destinations unknown.”

Halloween arrived early this year with a spooky collection of tales based on the railways. Editors Charles R. Rutledge and Tony Tremblay came up with the concept of horror stories set around trains, and were rewarded with an assortment of stories ranging from Victorian-era ghostly yarns to contemporary thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction, ranging from creepy and humorous to atmospheric and downright gory. Fright Train comprises a mixture of contemporary authors with classic writers and a plethora of suspenseful, horror, and chilling stories set on or around train journeys. I particularly liked the concept of train travel and picked up the collection curious to see how each writer interpreted the narrow theme. The anthology is a ticket in itself to travel to unknown lands with shady co-passengers in suspicious cabins. Switch House Gang has reserved a seat for the reader and the ride awaits!

The collection includes classics like Charles Dickens’ The Signalman and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost Special which have spooked us for over a century. And there are also newer stories about ghost trains, train accidents, missing trains, invisible rails, piercing whistles, vampire and zombie passengers, peculiar drivers, specials that give a whole new meaning to ‘special’, and a host of wonderful short stories that keep you on edge as you ride along with the characters. Themes include broken marriages, dead children, grieving parents, retrospecting the past, seeing the future, predicting alternative realities, journeys to and from hell.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because every story is outstanding in its own way and deserves its own review. They’re so different from each other, while simultaneously adhering to the narrow theme. The haunting tale of motherhood in Amanda DeWees’ A Traveler Between Eternities, as an unborn child takes a train ride; the dystopian rail route of Stephen Mark Rainey’s Country of the Snake; Errick Nunnally’s gore-fest Lust for Life that keeps you guessing till the end who the real killer is; past demons catching up with the present in James Moore’s The Midnight Train; the pandemic world of Scott Goudsward’s Plague Train; the haunted joyride of Elizabeth Massie’s Tunnel Vision; Jeff Strand’s Devil-powered Death Train of Doom that questions parental behavior and its influence on the actions of children; Tony Tremblay’s Pépère’s Halloween Train that focuses on the grandparent-grandchild relationship; Charles Rutledge’s twist on Dracula in The Habit of Long Years; Lee Murray’s cultural fest of Maori traditions and seers, spirit-guides and goddesses assisting a search-and-rescue in Weeping Waters; Mercedes Yardley’s The Rhythm of Grief that navigates the rail crossings between the living and the dead; Bracken MacLeod’s Weightless Before She Falls that distinguishes real monsters from imaginary ones, Christopher Golden’s All Aboard and its eerie 3:18 special. The contemporary writers even make up thirteen in number, to go with the horror theme of the book!

A special mention needs to be made of Lee Murray and Christopher Golden whose stories follow Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle respectively. Fright Train is a spectacular collection in itself, and to be placed next to classic writers is a formidable task. Murray and Golden are absolutely stellar with their standout creations, Weeping Waters and All Aboard. The sounds of the fantail and the shrill whistle of the 3:18 stay with you long after finishing the book.

Some quotes:

-The 3:18 was a ghost in and of itself, ridden by phantoms.

-The night air seemed to ripple, to have texture, just a hint of substance.

-Resentment and blame hung in the air like static building before a thunderstorm.

-An engine, a tender, two carriages, a van, five human beings – and all lost on a straight line of railway! Does a train vanish in broad daylight?

-The fog lay like a thick mist so that people appeared to be dissolving at the ankles.

-The sharp scream of the whistle slashed his eardrums.

-The desert sun pummeled his face like a hot iron fist.

-Does his intention define his evil nature, even if his actions harm nobody?

-You are trapped in the quandary of welcoming the tourist potential of Stoker’s work, but still wishing to change the national image of Romania.

-Pihanga’s tears rolled down the mountainside and onto the plateau.

-There were too many vampires on the train. Inspector Godina rolled his eyes at the motley assortment of Halloween revelers.

-That was the trouble with his gift – it was a feast or a famine – either everything spoke to you, or nothing at all.

-The slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine.

-The stars themselves were weeping, hurling themselves from the heavens.

-They fill their ears and minds and souls with noise, because it’s easier than listening to the quiet.

-This is a train for the dead, and you’re still very much alive.

-He wasn’t a cosmic spiderclown in the sewers. He was a real monster.

The old-world charm of the cover is extremely striking too – it reminds me of those classic spooky movies that showed so much in so little. Atmospheric horror at its best! A good time to revisit Horror Express (1972).

My rating: 5/5 

HorrorAddicts.net 200, Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Challenge

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Horror Addicts Episode# 200
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


200 | Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Challenge | Batavia | Dark Shadows 1879 Plot 

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

AllStars2021new
64 days till Halloween

Music: “The Absinthian” #Batavia

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Batavia #FromtheInside #AliceCooper #Styx

Catchup: #KidBackinSchool #Silence #200thEpisode 

Theme: #200thEpisode #WWWAllStars

Frightening Flix: #KBatz #DarkShadows #1897Plot

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Pride  #LGBTQ #HorrorMovies #WhatKeepsYouAlive #CreaturesFromThePinkLagoon #TheDisappearanceofAliceCreed  #Spiral #ColinMinihan

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #HorrorManga #DevilsLine #Uzumaki #Parasyte #AjinDemiHuman #TokyoGhoul

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #EarlyTV #SuspenseShow #1947TV #RadioPlay #BelaLugosi #Poe #TheCaskofAmontillado #WWII

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheRedBook #JillHedgecock #PattersonGimlin #BigFoot

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, emerian rich

NEWS: 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #EmerianRich #WolfeManor #AdeleMariePark

WICKED WOMEN WRITER ALL-STAR CHALLENGE

JUDGES: 

#RhondaCarpenter  http://www.themarkofadruid.com/

#HERoulo http://heatherroulo.com/

#KillionSlade https://www.killionslade.com/

THE WICKEDS: 

Jaq D. Hawkins “Naga People”

Daphne Strasert “The Blood of Sorus”

D.M. Slate “International Cuisine”

Naching T. Kassa “Prey Upon the Wicked”

Stacy Fileccia “Zandra’s Kiss”

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! 

https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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Book Review: Wolfe Manor by Adele Marie Park

reviewedfixedWolfe Manor by Adele Marie Park

Reviewed by Emerian Rich

wolfemanorA great first novel from a bright and promising author, Wolfe Manor takes you on a magical journey of self-discovery.

Wolfe Manor  is a school where two interesting aunts welcome students and lost souls. An orphan left at the manor as a babe, Fianna teaches art to the young girls, inspiring them with lessons she learned in the same halls.  The manor is the only home she’s ever known, but even though she’s been there all her life, it holds secrets even she doesn’t know about. As dark entities attack the estate, Fianna comes into powers she never knew she possessed. With the help of her adopted aunts and several quirky characters she’s become friends with, her powers awaken. The secrets of who her parents were, why they left her, and what her destiny is come alive in this paranormal drama. 

Reading, I felt as if I had fallen down the rabbit hole into a universe that I wanted to explore. Could I get out of the train car and walk around in this magical manor myself? Well, yes. Through the author’s description, she creates an atmosphere that involves the reader as if you are just another character trying to help Fianna realize her true purpose. The author’s characters are fully developed and have passionate souls that wrap you in a warm hug. This is definitely the sort of book best read under the quilt by the fire with the wind blowing outside.  

For fans of Practical Magic, The Magicians, or even Harry Potter, this book will make you feel as if you’ve grown up with Fianna and are right at home. Magic, demonic entities, animal familiars, and fantastical libraries await you. A must read for any dark fantasy lover.

HorrorAddicts.net 199, Sandra Becerril

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Horror Addicts Episode# 199
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


199 | #MexicanHorror | #SandraBecerril | #TheFunhouseCollective | #Diablero

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

78 days till Halloween

Music: “Twilight Zone” #TheFunhouseCollective

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #TheFunhouseCollective

Catchup: #HalloweenDecor #TheWalkingDead #BloodRedSky #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge #Aterrados #Terrified #NakedContortionists #UndeadKid

Aterrados:

Theme: #WillTheThrill #MexicanHorror #TombsoftheBlindDead #NightoftheSeagulls #ReturnoftheBlindDead #TheLoreleysGrasp #NightoftheSorcerers #Werewolf VSTheVampireWoman #CurseoftheDevil #DraculasGreatLove #TheMummysRevenge #HunchbackoftheMorgue #VengenceoftheZombies #HorrorRisesFromtheTomb #VampyrosLesbos #SheKilledinEcstasy #TheAwfulDrOrlof #TheDiabolicalDrZ #Succubus #VenusinFurs #AVirginAmongTheLivingDead
Frightening Flix: #KBatz #Diablero

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #TheRing #Insidious #LightsOut #Mama #TheGrudge

Dead Mail: Write in! HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

LAURA: #chupacabra #MexicanMonster #LatinxMonsters
https://tubitv.com/search/chupacabra

SAM: #GhostbustersAfterlife November 11th, 2021 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaG_5ZZ2PyM

CHARLES: #ThePicassos #DeathRock #RememberYouWillDie

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #SpookyMusic #Ratchet #DanseMacbre #Beethoven #LeRouetdOmphale #TheShadow #QuietPlease #SymphonyinDMionr #ILoveMystery 

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #BigfootHorrorStories #StevenArmstrong

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, ramon cantarero

Odds and Deadends: #KieranJudge #CulturalTouchstonesinCandyman #Candyman #RomanNumerals

NEWS: 

#VisionVideo #ComfortintheGrave 

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#TemeculaTerror #HorrorEvent

#LionelRayGreen #Interview #BrianALane

Book Review: Reviewed by: #DJPitsiladis #GhostMagnet #James Beach

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #

Author Audio: 

#SandraBecerril #TheSilenceOfAllDead

Read by Emerian Rich

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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New Horror Bite: Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present our newest Horror Bite…
dfphone

Deathly Fog
by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

HorrorAddicts.net 198, L. Marie Wood

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Horror Addicts Episode# 198
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


198 | #LMarieWood #AfricanAmericanHorror #Provision #Heks

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

92 days till Halloween

Music: “Clarity” #Provision

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Provision

Catchup: Miss me? #RenoDeserted #ScaryPortaPotty #BlackHoletoHell #JeepersCreepers #CityGirlCreeps #AvoidthePortaPotty #ZombiesAteMyNeighbors #SegaGenisis #BigFatBaby #HatchetGuys #ChainsawMen

#TwilightZone #BlackSummer

Theme: #AfricanAmerican
https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/tv-movies/g33624587/black-horror-movies/

#NightoftheLivingDead #Blacula #GangaandHess #SugarHill #Candyman #TalesfromtheHood #TalesfromtheCryptDemonKnight #EvesBayou #Bones #GetOut #Ma #Us

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Heks

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #InfectiousMovies #Pandemic #Quarantine #Contracted #Pontypool #CabinFever #Blindness 

Dead Mail: 

Write in! HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

MARTIN: #ZombieCartoon

TINA: #13thAnniversary #Podcast #200thShow

LANEY: #StrayKids #FelixAnimeGhost #TekkenAnimeGhost #GodsMenu #UpAllNight #VampireSpoof

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Slicks #PulpMagazines #HPLovecraft #RayBradbury #WeirdTales

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #PrimalRage #Tubi

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, rish outfield, emerian rich, dj pitsiladis, philip ginn

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #TheConjureBox

NEWS: 

#Microwaved #SaveMe #Betelgeuse 

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#FreeFiction #DanACardoza #CarlosRuizSantiago #HankBelbin #RajalaxmiBehera #TerryPierson #PraptuiGupta #Alice Paige

#CreeptheRomanceAlive #GothicRomance

#JunjiIto #EisnerAward

Book Review: #EmerianRich #MuhyoandRoji #YoshiyukiNishi

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #LMarieWood

Author Audio: 

#LMarieWood #TheRealm

Read by Emerian Rich

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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HorrorAddicts.net 197, ON TIME Transmundane Press

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Horror Addicts Episode# 197
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


197 | #TransmundanePress #OnTime #BlackAngel #TalesfromtheDarkside #TimeTravel

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

113 days till Halloween

Music: “Kiss of Death” by #BlackAngel

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #BlackAngel

Catchup: #Melting #HorrorMovieWatching #PODs

Theme: #TimeTravel #EvilDead #BillandTeds #BacktotheFuture #Triangle #Terminator

Frightening Flix: #Kbatz #TalesfromtheDarksideS4

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #TheGiant

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #AsianDrama #StreamingHorror

Dead Mail: 

Write in! HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #EarlyHorrorCinema #GeorgeMéliès #SFX

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheKiamichiBeastExpedition #Tubi

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo.

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #DrWho #WeepingAngels

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #LadyinWhite

NEWS: 

#MidnightSyndicate www.MidnightSyndicate.com

#HauntsandHellions #gothicromance #Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Haunts-Hellions-Gothic-Romance-Anthology-ebook/dp/B097HZRR9J

 #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#FreeFiction #AlanMoskowitz

Book Review: #ArielDaWintre #Smithy #AmandaDesiree

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #AlishaCostanzo #AnthonySBuoni

Author Audio: On Time authors read excerpts from the book

#EmerianRich #PODs

#BenjaminBlake #SomethingintheWay

#JCRaye #EarlyDayswithFletcher

#VictorRodriguez #ADiscourseBetweenaManandaNuke

#MelissaRMendelson #TheTicking

#ScottHarper #Witwenmacher

#PhillipTStephens #CoincidenceandCorrespondance

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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h o s t e s s

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h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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Book Review: Smithy by Amanda Desiree

Reviewed by Ariel DaWintre

Genre: Horror-paranormal

The story of Smithy is centered in an old mansion called Trevor Hall with a past in a wealthy old town. It begins with a group of college students and a chimpanzee called Smithy. The story is told through the characters’ letters, journals, and diaries. The story starts out very academic. The students and scientists are conducting an experiment with a young chimpanzee which is very smart. They are teaching him to use sign language to communicate but he starts signing things that don’t make sense and acting oddly in the mansion. Strange things start happening at the mansion and the students can’t explain. 

I liked the characters Ruby, Gail, Tammy, Jeff, Eric, and their very different personalities. The main character is the chimpanzee Smithy, whose formal name is Webster. And is about his interactions with everyone and his surroundings. The main person running the experiment and head of the program is Dr. Piers Preis-Herald along with his assistant Wanda. The students are at different levels of academics and have their own ideas of how things should be run, setting up issues, friction, and confusion between the team members. 

The story took a bit to get started for the horror part but it was a good story. I was engaged and with the group wanted answers. I don’t know if I got all the answers to what was happening. I know at the end I was looking back in the story for answers. You did get an ending and it was kind of a sad ending and but the house did win after all. I did have lots of questions and wondered if there will be a part two or a new story and see if it was based on a true story.

HorrorAddicts.net 196, Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts

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Horror Addicts Episode# 196
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


196 | #LeeMurray #DanRabarts  #NewZealand  #RiotLegion #TheDeadLands

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

127 days till Halloween

Music: “Liberation” by #RiotLegion

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #RiotLegion

Catchup: #MasksOff #TooTiredToVacay #LostTime #PublicPhobic #HippyNoBraNoMaskNoCare

#NakedMaskFace

Theme: #NewZealand

#WhatWeDointheShadows #BrainDead #BadTaste #Black Sheep #NightoftheHellHampsters #ISurviviedaZombieHolocaust #Frighteners #Perfect Creature #TheScarecrow #TheIrrefutableTruthAboutDemons #TheFerryman #Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws #MicheleRoger #NZHubby #WaitomoHotel

Movie Review: #Nox #TheDeadLands

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Gaia #NEONFilms

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #10DrinkstoPairwithMovies #MovieDrinkRecipes

Dead Mail: 

Billy:  #BadLivingSituations #BadApartments #CrazyNeighbors #Crazies #MonsterAnts

Jeff: #podcastsuggestions #OldGodsoffAppalachia #13DaysofHalloween

Eddie: #RealLifeHorror #carjack #CarSafety

https://news.yahoo.com/cctv-horror-movie-stranger-sneaks-into-car-154241096.html

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #MeaCulpa #StephenKingHouse #Architecture

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #BigfootintheBronx

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff, music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by emerian rich, em markoff, james seo.

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #BrainDead

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #TheRake

NEWS: #CreatureFeature https://tinyurl.com/ek98a35e

#HauntsandHellions #gothicromance #Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Haunts-Hellions-Gothic-Romance-Anthology-ebook/dp/B097HZRR9J

 #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#StudentBody #Cannes #TheCaseStudyofVanitas #Unearth #FrackingHorror

Book Review: #DJPitsiladis #MadeInLA

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #Lee Murray #DanRabarts

Author Audio: 

#LeeMurray #DanRabarts #FromBloodoftheSun

Voiced by: #EmerianRich #PeteLutz

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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Book Review — “Made in L.A. Vol. 1: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels”

Hello Addicts,

This month’s book review takes us to Los Angeles, CA. The anthology Made in L.A. Vol. 1: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels contains stories written by Los Angeles based authors which take place in or around the Los Angeles area. The tales range from funny to spooky and many genres in between.

The first in the anthology, “Between Broken Pieces,” is about an actress trying to be what everyone expects her to be, no matter how self-destructive it is. The story, shared from the points of view of the four women most directly tied to her life and career, is the kind of tragic story that can carry the tagline, “ripped from the headlines.”

The second standout for me takes place in the Cecil Hotel, “No Vacancy.” A man travels to the famed haunted hotel with a psychic to help him solve a mystery involving his sister that led to her death.

Another that caught my imagination was “Unquiet Baggage.” The story is told from the perspective of a murdered man as he follows the suitcase carrying his remains wherever his husband goes with them. It very much has a “The Lovely Bones” feel about it.

In truth, any of the ten stories included in the anthology is well worth the read. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good rainy day read.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

HorrorAddicts.net 195, Eugen Bacon

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 195
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


195 | #EugenBacon | #AfricanHorror |  #Vexillary | #HisHouse |

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

141 days till Halloween

Music: “Maritime Panic” by Vexillary

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Vexillary

Catchup: #SpilledMilk #TheShiningwithMilk #GothGirlFail #Vaccination #TummyCamera #AftermathofPinkyToeCutOff #ElderGoth #MentalVacay

Theme: #AfricanHorror 

#NuzoOnoh #AboutAfricanHorror
https://www.lounge-books.com/award-winners-we-lov/horror-lounge-blog-nuzo-onoh

HELP! We need more to add to our list.
#AfricanHorrorMovieList
#TheTokoloshe #Heks #TheUnforgiving #LastOneOut #TheBoneSnatcher #Eternity #FriedBarry #Hellgate #TheSoulCollector8  #Missing Angel

Filmed in Africa?

#House on Willow Street #Lost Boys: The Thirst #The Mangler #Dracula3000 

#Surviving Evil

Frightening Flix: #Kbatz #HisHouse

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #TheBinding #Held

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #

#TheHellboundHeart #CliveBarker
#WhoGoesThere # JohnWCampbell

#TheForbidden #CliveBarker

#IKnowWhatYouDidLastSummer #LoisDuncan

#Psycho #RobertBloch

#Jaws #PeterBenchley

Dead Mail: 

Billy: #ApartmentHorror #SubwayApartment #FarmChickenPoopHouse #BlackMold #Cockroaches

Martin: #IEatBoys #ChloeMoriondo

Sherry: #VTMBloodRivals #BloodandAlchemy

https://www.ccdiscovery.com/vampire-the-masquerade-rivals-card-game

Write in Dead Mail! horroraddicts@gmail.com

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #ComingAttractions #HorrorMovies #HorrorStudios

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen  #Hulu #Sasquatch

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff, music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by rish outfield, emerian rich, em markoff, dj pitsiladis, philip ginn, james seo.

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #Tokoloshe

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #WhiteBluffScreamer

NEWS: 

#HauntsandHellions #gothicromance #chilingchat #InspirationStories

 #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition #GravestonePress #AHS #FXonHulu #WhatWeDointheShadows

Book Review: #DaphneStrasert #UnkowingISink #TimothyGHugenin

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #EugenBacon

Author Audio: 

#UnlimitedData

Read by author Eugen Bacon

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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h o s t e s s

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h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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HorrorAddicts.net 194, Haunts and Hellions

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 194
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


194 | #gothicromance | #HauntsandHellions | #Dissonance | #KindredtheEmbraced

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

162 days till Halloween

Music: “Precipice” by Dissonance

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Dissonance

Catchup: #ZombiesAteMyNeighbors #LucasFilmGames #GiantBaby #GhoulPatrol #ApartmentHorrorStories 

Gothic Romance: #HauntsandHellions 

Buy the book now:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09429HWLJ

Party at our FB group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499

Frightening Flix: #Kbatz #KindredtheEmbraced

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Koko-di Koko-da

Top Five TV Series: #Kindred #RedDwarf #DeadLikeMe #Buffy #BloodTies #PushingDaises #Moonlight

Write in your top 5 TV series! horroraddicts@gmail.com

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #InsectHorror #LaurelAnneHill #WWWChallenge #RhondaCarpenter

Dead Mail: 

Sage: #HotGoss #VampireGame #ArkaneAustin #OmenVampires
Martin: #GrimReaper #LocktheDoor 

Drayton: #HorrorHistoricals #BookRiot #TheGreyWoman #NorthangerAbbey  #MysteriesofUdolfo #TheCastle of Ontronto #TheVampyre  #Frankenstien #Dracula #DrJandMrH 

Write inDead Mail! horroraddicts@gmail.com

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #SavannahGA #HauntedHouses #AddamsFamily #BeAfraid #Rats #VincentPrice #OldRadioShow

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen  #Hulu #Sasquatch

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff, music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by rish outfield, emerian rich, em markoff.

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #AnneRadcliffe #TheItalian

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #LovelandFrogmen

NEWS: #WalpurgisNight #TheSixthChamber 

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN-EjPcky1Y

 #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition #TheLetter #JSOcconor #Undone #PJCurtis #HistoryoftheOccult #argentinehorror #variety #FilmSharks #AnimeNewsNetwork #VampireComedyManga #

Book Review: #MattMorovich #AliesterBlake #ValentinaCano #HorrorRomance

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #EmerianRich

Author Audio: #gothicromance #hauntsandhellions

“Lighthouse Legend” by Emerian Rich

“Maudaleen” Kevin Ground

“She Woke At Midnight” Naching T. Kassa

“TheHouse Must Fall” R.L. Merrill

“” Daniel R. Robichaud

“Companions” Daphne Strasert

“Love Never Dies” Rowan Hill

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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#HauntsandHellions Special Edition Gift Pack


Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night,
HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents: Haunts & Hellions

13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling and romantic tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.

$20.00 USD
SPECIAL EDITION PACKAGE INCLUDES:
signed book + wax-sealed letter + skeleton key

$20.00 USD

**Includes shipping and handling in the US.**
**For international shipping, please email first.***
***Books ordered by May 31st will be mailed by June 13th***
Questions? Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Book Review : Aleister Blake by Valentina Cano

Review by Matt Morovich

An admission before I begin: I’m not that much of a fan of the romance genre.

It’s not for particularly any negative reason, the previous statement isn’t an indictment of the genre, it’s just not a genre that I have had much experience with. Admittedly, it also not one I have a preference for; if I’m going to pick up a book, it’s much more likely going to be horror, science fiction, or fantasy.  Maybe a more accurate statement would be that I don’t have enough experience with the genre to say if I’m a fan or not. 

That said, this book, Aleister Blake

Here I thought it was going to be a horror novel and yet it’s a sneaky, stealthy horror romance.

And that is not a bad thing in the slightest.

Aleister Blake is the story of Nora, a young woman living in Victorian London with her brother Peter. Decidedly working class, the pair work as rat catchers for a man named Sharpe, clearing the homes of wealthier citizens of vermin. Having grown up as orphans on the city streets, the siblings are incredibly close and Peter has done everything he could to keep his sister safe. That said, they are still products of their environment which expresses itself in Nora’s suspicion and dislike for the upper class and her penchant for nicking objects to pawn from the homes of their clients when her brother, the moral compass of the two, isn’t able to stop her. Due to her smaller size and figure, Nora is the quick and nimble one, crawling beneath floors and between walls to catch the rats while Peter helps manage their working relationships to get more clients.

While not a comfortable life, the two of them get by with their work, making a mostly honest living, and things go well until Peter makes the mistake of placing too large a bet on a dog during a rat-baiting when a tip doesn’t pan out. When it is revealed he doesn’t have the money to cover the wager, Peter is stabbed and mortally wounded while his sister watches. Crying for help in a filthy London alley, Nora’s prayers are answered when a stranger appears out of the night to offer her a devil’s bargain: Nora could agree to work for the stranger on a project that he needed her assistance with and he would save Peter. The additional drawback would be that Nora would become invisible to everyone who had previously known her, excising her from her previous life, but, facing living in a world without her brother, she’d rather go on knowing he was alive and unable to see her than for him to be dead, so she agrees. 

And that is how we are introduced to the mysterious Aleister Blake.

The horror of Aleister Blake comes from the same-named character, who, right from the go, is clearly more than he appears. Able to heal mortal wounds with a wave of a hand, he lives in a Tardis-like home that is far larger on the inside than it is on the outside and is staffed with misshapen shadow creatures that flit about silently on the edges of your vision. Over the course of the book, we learn Aleister’s secrets as Nora uncovers more about her mysterious benefactor and business partner and the unsettling nature of his house.

The romance portion of this novel is, you probably could have guessed, the growing relationship between Nora and Aleister. Over the course of the book, the two come to an understanding of each other and gain mutual respect, leading to Nora acknowledging she has feelings for him. To go too much more into either the romance or horror aspect of the novel would be to give too many spoilers, but, to my unfamiliar experience with the romance genre, the relationship seemed to grow organically and realistically.

I’m happy to say that, as opposed to the last two books I reviewed, I enjoyed Aleister Blake quite a bit. Written from Nora’s perspective, she’s an entertaining and realistically written character who I enjoyed getting to be a part of. Her interactions with her brother, Aleister, and others felt real and unlike other female protagonists whose name rhymes with “Smella”, she is competent and realistically flawed. She has a sense of humor, her own fears, and desires, and the end of the novel was refreshing in how it turned out. I particularly enjoyed how Cano wrote the dialogue, it flowed well and sounded like how people actually talk; additionally, the way that Nora and Aleister speak with each other also really emphasized the changing nature of their relationship, becoming more familiar and humorful as they grow closer. 

The only thing that made me frown at the book was, once again, the main threat came down to sexual violence around women, specifically women who had been kidnapped to be trafficked. I will say that there are no graphic depictions of any abuse, only implications of it, but again that was being used as a trope made me roll my eyes a bit. What saved it for me was how little it was part of the plot; it existed, and dealing with the kidnapping was part of Nora’s motivation, but it wasn’t the singular facet of the story nor was it over-emphasized. Part of me wishes Cano had found a different reason for Nora to care about Aleister’s schemes, because of how overdone this sort of thing feels to me, but I could look past that opinion for how much I enjoyed the rest of the book.

I will say that I was hoping that the book would have had more horror. While what was there was well written, I felt like this skewed a bit more toward the romance side of the hyphenated genre than the horror side. The horror had a decidedly PG-13 feel to it, which isn’t necessarily bad, I was just hoping for more. 

If you’re looking for a horror-romance book with an interesting and entertaining female protagonist, I would definitely recommend Aleister Blake.

HorrorAddicts.net 193, Angela Yuriko Smith

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 193
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


193 | #okinawanhorror | #AngelaYurikoSmith | #StaticX | #BlackButler

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

176 days till Halloween

Music: “Worth Dying For” by Static X

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #StaticX

Catchup: #HauntsandHellions #CrappyMovies #Underwater #Underwear #TheBeguiled #ShadowandBone #Netflix #RichardArmitage #VampireSeries
HorrorAddicts.net YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4E9vnOzVkdRNLnL2QWVk3w

Japanese Horror: #SlitMouthWoman  #Hikiko-San #Hanako-San #HellToilet #TekeTeke
https://jw-webmagazine.com/4-scariest-japanese-urban-legends/

Featured Movie: #EmerianRich #BlackButler #LiveAction #OneHellofaButler

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #InTheEarth #NeonFilms

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert Kevin wrote in asking…  #nongoreyhorror #PG13Horror #HerDarkInheritance 

Dead Mail:
Jeff, horror addicts better at coping during #pandemic
Leslie, non-Japanese asian movies: #TheEye #Dumpling #TheChildsEye #RigorMortis #UndertheShadow #Macabre #23:59 #Alone #ComingSoon #Shutter #Alive
#JapaneseHorror movies: #Ju-on #Ringu #BattleRoyale #SuicideClub #OneCutoftheDead #OneMissedCall #Pulse #Audition #Confessions #Kwaidan #ItComes #DakrWater #ForestofLove #IAmaHero #Rinne #AsTheGodsWill #DeathNote #YoYoGirlCop

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen  #Hulu #Sasquatch

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff, music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by james seo, rish outfield, phillip ginn, gabriel markoff, em markoff.

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr OMG! Emz forgot! Bad Emz! We’ll have 2 next episode! (Sorry Mark x.x)

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #Audition

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #OliviaMabel

NEWS: #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFiction #JohnDrury #GothicRomance on Insta @HorrorAddicts.netPress #Sanrio #HelloKittyHorror  

Book Review: #ClockworkWonderland  reviewed by Ariel DaWintre #AliceinWonderland

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #AngelaYurikoSmith

Author Audio: Angela Yuriko Smith “Nothing to Give” voiced by Ryan Aussie Smith

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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HorrorAddicts.net 192, SLAY #MochaMemoirs

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 192
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


192 – #SLAY | #valentinewolfe | #vampiresvsbronx | #blackvampires

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 190 days till Halloween

Music: “I Felt a Funeral” by Valentine Wolfe

Ro’s Recs: #RLMerrill #VisionVideo

Catchup: 2021, better year? pandemic no fun, taxes, no zombies, still have to go to work

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff, music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by james seo, dave strom, kadirah wade

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #vampires

Frightening Flix: #Kbatz #KristinBatestella Vampires Vs. Bronx

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Kindred

Dead Mail: martin: smoking comic, kate: horror movies help you burn calories lovefilm.com, #TheShining

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen “The Mystery of Bigfoot” #HistoryChannel #AmericasBookofSecrets #WeJustNeedaBody

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr in memoriam

Odds and Dead Ends: #KieranJudge #Blade #WesleySnipes

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #CongelierHouse 

NEWS: #GabrielandtheApocalypse, #JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFiction, guest blogs: #LMarieWood #ShakespeareanHorror  #religioushorror #monstermadness #freefiction #DanACardoza #DayShift #SnoopDog

Book Review: #EmerianRich #Deadcades #StephanieEllis #ChristopherLong 

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #NicoleKurtz #SLAY

Author Audio: SLAY from #MochaMemoirs

L. Marie Wood “The Dance” #LMarieWood

Penelope Flynn “Unfleamed” #PenelopeFlynn

Alicia McCalla “The Last Vampire Huntress” #AliciaMcCalla

Valjeanne Jeffers “Beautiful Monsters” #ValjeanneJeffers

Michele Tracy Berger “Blood Saviors” #MicheleTracyBerger

Samantha Bryant “His Destroyer” #SamanthaBryant

————————————-

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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https://www.himalaya.com/en/show/501228

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Monster Madness Month: Review of GROTESQUE : Monster Stories by Lee Murray

GROTESQUE: MONSTER STORIES 

A book review of Lee Murray’s Bram Stoker Award nominated collection

Reviewed by Renata Pavrey

“Generosity could be as contagious as the plague, as long as enough people were willing to be carriers”, is a quote that opens the book and sets the tone for the kind of writing one is in for. A collection of eleven tales narrated as flash fiction, short stories, and novelettes, Grotesque spans the horror landscape from mythological creatures to contemporary social media addictions, as the reader travels across France, China and New Zealand, meeting everyone from Maori warriors to zombies, spirits and sea gods and gods of earthquakes and volcanoes, Leonardo Da Vinci and Tangaroa, tin soldiers and kaiju. A taut collection I came across in a horror literature forum, the book is in equal parts thrilling, dark and educative, an action and horror fest, with layers of historical references and cultural influences.

The titular story opens the collection with an archaeological find transporting us to the 16th century to reveal its secret. As we move back and forth from the 1500s to present day, fantasy elements of horror merging with historical roots made Grotesque one of my favorite stories and a fabulous one to start the collection as it set the pace for what lay ahead. History is followed by mythology that serves to remind and educate about the stories of lore, as Hawaiki takes us through Chinese mythology, Taiwanese history, and the Maori immigration story; as does Maui’s Hook, another monster story with its foundations in Maori mythology. I love mythological retellings in literature as they teach you so much about different cultures around the world; legends and folklore containing treasures of life stories through the ages. The kaiju story was another one of my favorites.

The New Breed is a post-apocalyptic zombie story, while Cave Fever merges science fiction with horror through a two centuries-old storm that forces mankind to seek refuge underground into a claustrophobic cave existence. Selfie and Dead End Town are out-and-out horror fests. I loved Lee’s take on the millennial social media obsession with her twisted spin on selfies in the former, while addressing domestic violence in the latter. Edward’s Journal was another stunner of pure horror – an epistolary story of colonialism featuring a British soldier from India helping white settlers in New Zealand, while Heart Music takes us through the restless spirit of a fourteen-year-old dead child. Into the Clouded Sky is a novelette of adventures in New Zealand – a ride through action, thrills, and monsters all the way, and Lifeblood pits marginalized groups against each other to detract from their actual problems.

Every story offers a unique reading experience, and encourages you to read between the lines into the theme being expressed in each one. Grotesque is a splendid collection to note the range of the writer’s prowess in relaying stories across genres and themes, having relatable elements as well as something new to learn wherever in the world you might be reading the book. Lee’s dark and disturbing tales cover commonplace topics like clicking selfies, address issues like dementia and child abuse, and turn the spotlight on immigrants and grave robbers – causing the reader to ponder upon who the real monsters are. Grotesque is a collection filled with monsters, but through an array of science fiction, fantasy, horror, mythology and more, Lee reminds us that we have already encountered many monsters; with many more still to be met.

In an increasingly dark and ominous world, monster stories force us to challenge our fears. 

~Lee Murray

This book will delight horror fans and is a magnificent collection for those new to the genre to explore. I would also recommend it to readers of mythology – there’s much information to be gleaned about world cultures. The Maori glossary is a wonderful touch to familiarize readers with terms and phrases in the stories, although Lee does a splendid job in explaining them through the context of the story itself. Lee’s creations are out of this world and each one surprises in its own way. There’s an aftertaste that you could read an entire novel surrounding each plot.

Lee Murray is an award-winning writer and editor with several novels and series to her credit. Grotesque is her first short story collection, which has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Awards this year in the category of collections.

My rating of the book: 5/5

Renata Pavrey

March 2021


Renata Pavrey is a Nutritionist by profession; marathon runner and Odissi dancer by passion; driven by sports, music, animals, plants, literature and more. She reads across several genres and languages, and loves the world of horror – in both, books and movies.

https://tomesandtales365.wordpress.com/Asian

 

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents: Two Book Birthdays Today/Horrible Disasters and Plague Master Sanctuary Dome

Horrible Disasters

hahdfront-coverA Horror Disaster Anthology
Available now on Amazon.com

HorrorAddicts.net proudly presents Horrible Disasters. Thirteen authors from around the globe share their visions of terror set during real natural disasters throughout history. Travel back in time to earth shattering events like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the Winter of Terror avalanches, 1950. What supernatural events went unnoticed? What creatures caused such destruction without remorse? Stock your emergency kit, hunker in your bunker, and prepare for… Horrible Disasters.

Cover Art by: Thierry Pouzergues

Edited by: Larraine Barnard

authors:
Emerian Rich
H. E. Roulo
Dan Shaurette
Steve Merrifield
Mark Eller
Laurel Anne Hill
Timothy Reynolds
Ed Pope
Jennifer Rahn
Chris Ringler
Philip Carroll
Mike McGee
Garth von Buchholz

Proceeds to benefit Disaster Relief by way of the non-profit agency, Rescue Task Force.

Historian of Horror: The Answer, My Friend, is Bowen in the Wind

The Answer, My Friend, is Bowen in the Wind…

by Mark Orr

A strange title, you might think, but it’s one born of long hours of contemplation of a writer whose works I’ve read for decades, and yet have had a hard time getting a handle on for this contribution to my little corner of the Horror Addicts realm. Her ghostly yarns written under this pen name have been anthologized extensively, but have impacted the popular culture outside of the confines of literature remarkably little. Two of her historical romances were made into silent films with significant casts. A handful of her suspense novels, all written under one of her other several pseudonyms, Joseph Shearing, were filmed either as theatrical releases or for television in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Only three of her many spooky short stories appear to have been adapted into other media, either during her lifetime or in the decade after her demise. And other than the occasional podcast, Libravox recording, or other internet-based venues, nothing since.

Nor is there any single work so inextricably linked to her name that to mention one invokes the other. Lady Cynthia Asquith has her “God Grante That She Lye Still”, Charlotte Perkins Gilpin her “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Edward Lucas White his “Lukundoo”. She was praised by no less a literary giant than Grahame Greene, although she was dismissed as a writer of “bad adventure stories” by the somewhat-less-impressive-but-not-totally-to-be-sneered-at Colin Wilson. Speculative fiction luminary Fritz Leiber considered her 1909 novel of Medieval witchcraft, Black Magic, to be brilliant. Weird fiction aficionado Sheldon Jaffery compared her work favorably to that of Mary Wilkins-Freeman, Edith Wharton, and the aforementioned Lady Asquith. So, why so small a footprint on the culture at large?

She was born Margaret Gabrielle Vere Campbell on a small island off the southern coast of England on the first of November in 1885. Her father was an alcoholic who died in a London street. She was raised by an emotionally detached mother in genteel poverty. She married twice, her first husband dying of tuberculosis three years into the marriage, and bore three sons and a daughter. The girl died in infancy. Bowen wrote her first novel, the violent historical epic, The Viper of Milan when she was only sixteen, and eventually produced over one hundred and fifty volumes of historical romances, biographies, popular histories, and supernatural yarns before her death from a concussion in 1952 at the age of sixty-seven.

Perhaps it is the plethora of pennames spread over several genres that have diffused her influence, for there is nothing inherently inferior in the work itself. Her short horror stories, frequently revolving around bad marriages or rakehell ‘gentlemen’ using ladies of quality but poorly, most certainly do compare favorably with her peers. So, the question remains: why so few adaptations of those tales?

Alfred Hitchcock himself took a run at her twice. The first was his 1949 historical epic, Under Capricorn, which starred Ingrid Bergman, who had played the wife but poorly used by her own nefarious husband in the 1944 Hollywood version of Gaslight. The second was for the seventh season of his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. “The Silk Petticoat” aired on January 2, 1962, and was the thirteenth episode of the season. Appropriate, n’est pas? It was based on Bowen’s short tale, “The Scoured Silk”, written in 1918 and included in her collection, The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories. Michael Rennie, who had been the visitor from another world in The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951 and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables the next year, starred as the not-quite-as-nice-as-he-seems husband who takes a second wife without being quite done with the first.

Of the other theatrical adaptations of Bowen’s works, a couple do have genre connections without being themselves horror films. Blanche Fury (1948) starred Valerie Hobson as the unhappy bride of Michael Gough and doomed lover of Stewart Granger. She had previously wed a mad scientist in Bride of Frankenstein and a lycanthrope in Werewolf of London, both in 1935, and later became engaged to a serial killer in the delightful black comedy, Kind Hearts, and Coronets, in 1949. In real life, her second husband was an English politician turned sex fiend and alleged Russian spy John Profumo. Perhaps she ought to have avoided marriage altogether.

Gough had a long career as a movie villain, in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), the kaiju gorilla picture Konga (1961), the 1962 Hammer version of The Phantom of the Opera with Herbert Lom as the Phantom, the caged-animals-gone-wild movie Black Zoo (1963) and the Amicus anthology film Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), before reforming himself enough to appear four times as Batman’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth. He did play a more sympathetic role in Hammer’s Horror of Dracula in 1958, but that was an anomaly. Granger went on from this picture to replace Errol Flynn as the hero of big-budget swashbuckling adventure movies in the 1950s such as King Solomon’s Mines, Beau Brummell, Scaramouche and The Prisoner of Zenda, and played Sherlock Holmes in a 1972 television version of The House of the Baskervilles to something less than general acclaim.

So Evil My Love was made as a feature film in 1948 and for television in 1955 for the Lux Video Theatre series. The movie starred Ray Milland, star of genre films The Premature Burial in 1962, the only one of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptation for American International Pictures that didn’t star Vincent Price; X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes in 1963; and the exceedingly cheesy Frogs in 1972. The television version starred James Mason, who as Captain Nemo wrestled with a giant squid in the 1954 Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and who as Professor Lindenbrook in 1959’s Journey to the Center of the Earth encountered several monstrous denizens of that region. He also played Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper film, Murder by Decree, in 1979, with the late Christopher Plummer as Holmes.

Moss Rose is the closest any of the feature films based on Bowen’s novels came to being possibly considered a horror picture. Made in 1947, it starred Victor Mature, caveman hero of One Million Years B.C. (1940); Ethel Barrymore, helpless old lady in the 1944 classic, The Spiral Staircase; frequent villain in myriad second feature horror movies George Zucco as the butler; and Vincent Price, playing against type as the police inspector tasked with unraveling the mystery and preventing the untimely demise of leading lady Peggy Cummings at the hands of a serial asphyxiast. Set in the Victorian era, it stylistically and thematically resembles the aforementioned Gaslight and Spiral Staircase, as well as other horrific thrillers like Hangover Square or The Lodger. So, yeah, maybe it is a horror picture, even if it is so very unlike Bowen’s ghost stories. I refuse to reveal whether or not the butler did it, by the way.

As for the other two television adaptations of her spooky yarns, I have so far been unable to track down videos of either “Avenging of Anne Leete”, the 166th episode (!) of the second season of the NBC series Matinee Theatre, aired May 23rd, 1957, or “They Found My Grave” from the Canadian series Shoestring Theater, aired February 12, 1961. The former starred future Simon Templar and James Bond Roger Moore, future Avenger John Steed Patrick McNee, and future mother to Richie Cunningham Marion Ross. The latter starred Kay Trembley, who had a bit part in Veronica Lake’s last movie, the abominable Flesh Feast, in 1970. Both tales are among Bowen’s best, and one could wish for a more accessible adaptation for each. But one must not hold one’s breath, apparently.

Her horror novels have pretty much gone out of print apart from the occasional independent or micro-press electronic editions, although her short stories do still pop up in anthologies assembled by the true cognoscenti of the genre, as they have since at least 1929 when mystery maven and creator of Lord Peter Wimsey Dorothy L. Sayers selected “The Avenging of Anne Leete” for the horror section of her landmark collection, The Omnibus of Crime. Dennis Wheatley included Black Magic in his “Library of the Occult” series of paperbacks in 1974 for Sphere, who also published The Spectral Bride the previous year, but if there’s been a dead tree version of any of the supernatural novels since, I haven’t found any evidence of such an endeavor. 

Since Marjorie Bowen passed on more than twenty-seven years before Sonny Bono, on behalf of Disney Studios, got Congress to push the copyright laws back into the antediluvian era in which Mickey Mouse was born, her entire oeuvre seems to currently be in the public domain. Many of her works, including most if not all of her shorts, are available from 

Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/41727 

Project Gutenberg Australia http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-a-m.html#bowen 

Open Library https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL27801A/Marjorie_Bowen 

Ray Glashon’s Library http://freeread.com.au/@RGLibrary/MarjorieBowen/MarjorieBowen.html 

Libravox https://librivox.org/author/12478

and the Internet Archive https://archive.org/search.php?query=%28%28subject%3A%22Bowen%2C%20Marjorie

An online biography by Jessica Amanda Salmonson (much more in depth than the one I provided above) can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20081204234335/http://www.violetbooks.com/bowen.html and information on a new print biography, The Furies of Marjorie Bowen, by University of Kansas associate professor of film and media studies John C. Tibbetts here: https://news.ku.edu/2019/12/06/book-aims-revive-interest-forgotten-weird-fiction-writer 

I don’t know about any of y’all, but I’m saving up for that one. 

I also want to point out that Valancourt Books has a new edition of The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories coming out in March of 2021. I would encourage the populace to support that very worthy publisher by purchasing a copy from them rather than scooping it up for free from the internet, despite its contents being public domain. I intend to do so. Valancourt is an invaluable resource for rare and wonderful horrors from years gone by. They did not pay me to say that, nor would I accept money from them to do so. I value them that much.

https://www.valancourtbooks.com/the-bishop-of-hell-and-other-stories-1949.html

Regardless of where they are to be found, I do hope the frequenters of this space give Marjorie Bowen’s stories a look. They deserve better than to be forgotten. And, as always, be afraid. Be very afraid.

HOW CON: Top 10 Things To Remember When Planning a Writer’s Event

Top 10 Things To Remember When Planning a Writer’s Event
by Kate Nox

1. Consider your audience – Who will be there? This will determine everything else, venue, speakers, entertainment, everything starts here.
2. Reserve your venue early – Many venues sell out fast, so get the place settled. Your advertising and attendance depend on it.
3. Set a firm deadline for registration – This is for your sanity more than anything else. It should be far enough in advance for you to alert your venue, your caterers and your workshop presenters as to numbers. If you just can’t say no, then anyone who tries to register after the deadline goes on a waitlist in case there are cancellations.
4. Think about comfort – make sure your attendees will be comfortable. Is the room big enough, can they hear, is it too hot or cold? Are there tables to be comfortable writing? If they are to be there more than an hour, will they need a break? Is the restroom nearby? Are there sleeping accommodations if it is a multiple day event? Will water or other refreshment be furnished by you or the venue?
5. Provide a contact  – A phone number or email address where attendees can ask questions. There will be questions! Make sure someone answers.
6. Fit speakers to the crowd – Workshop or keynote; the speaker should be of interest to your crowd. As a teenager I was part of a church group that would advertise teen crusades and when we arrived the speakers would invariably be in their sixties! Not a fit.
7. Add a little for expenses – Nothing is worse than arriving at an event and realizing something is missing. A few dollars extra in the kitty can be a lifesaver. Just a couple of dollars per attendee is all it takes.
8. Remember you are working with human beings – People need time. Time to walk or drive from event to event, time to network, time to use the restroom. When making your schedule, leave time for human needs.
9. Communicate with your audience – Make sure your attendees know if the weather could be chilly, if the hotel has wifi, if they will need to provide their own meals. Help them be as prepared as possible when they arrive for your event.
10. Thank everyone – your speakers, the facility, anyone who helped you in any way and all who attended.

Book Review: “Severed Wings” by Steven-Elliot Altman

Hello Addicts,

Imagine that you are an actor on the cusp of becoming a breakout star in a new series, only to have fate take it away in the blink of an eye. How low would your life sink, and what would you do to get that life back? These are the questions raised by Steven-Elliot Altman in Severed Wings. .

Brandon Jones is a rising star set to take on a sitcom role that he sees as his big break. Fate intervenes in the form of a head-on car accident that takes the life of a teenager and places him paralyzed from the waist down and permanently in a wheelchair. He breaks up with his girlfriend, a starlet in her own right, loses the sitcom role he fought hard to get, and cuts off contact with family and friends. He sinks into depression, finding solace in alcohol and companionship with a drag queen and an escort working her way through college.

Life and circumstances change when new neighbors move in down the hall. At first, they are a mystery he feels a strong urge to solve, but he is smitten when he sees the woman living there. Unfortunately, while she is distantly friendly, her boyfriend is anything but that. The mystery behind the couple deepens when a man leading a blind older woman knocks on Brandon’s door by mistake. He recognizes the woman as a prestigious agent. Her presence in their apartment building is enough to inflame his curiosity further. What follows are miracles and the discovery of entities almost as old as the world itself.

I found the take on a man falling from the highs of stardom to the lows of despair, self-loathing, and depression to be engaging. The supernatural elements fold into the mix in a satisfying way for the tale. There is a bit of redemption towards the end, although it doesn’t go as far as offering a thoroughly happy ending. If you are looking for a quick read a la the Masters of Horror television series, I think this will satisfy that craving.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Asian Horror Month: Book Review/REVENGE by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese)

Book Review – REVENGE by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese)

(English translation by Stephen Snyder)

Review by Renata Parvey

Yoko Ogawa is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and I love how her writing covers a range of genres, all brilliant works in their own way. Revenge is a peculiar book, written in the form of short stories, where each story connects to another – in no particular order – culminating into a larger tale somewhere down the line. More recently, Jane Borges’ Bombay Balchao was another book written in the experimental fiction format – a collection of seemingly unrelated short stories woven together to form a novel. Both Ogawa and Borges are a pure delight to readers with their literary prowess in taking writing – and reading – to a different level.

Coming back to Revenge, it can be termed as a series of dark tales, with sinister elements binding them to one another. The protagonist of one story can be a minor character in another, at times not even named – leaving the reader to decipher who we are reading about, what role they play in each story, are they even connected or does the reader feel so because we assume the stories are strung together. The eerie world created by Ogawa moves across generations, time spans, places – past, present, future, the real world and the supernatural, fact and fantasy all drawn in as well as apart from each other.

An aspiring writer, a murderous landlady, an obsessed bag maker, a singer, a surgeon, a Bengal tiger, a mother, strawberry cake – crossing paths and converging their fates in this dark web of vengefulness. Ogawa can be emotional and unsettling, impassive and heartbreaking, creepy and gentle. Her macabre take on relationships and emotions make this book effectively terrifying. Revenge is not horror in the traditional sense. A passenger train, a bakery, home gardening – the fact that her settings are so bland ups the ante of the terrors that lurk within. Ogawa’s writing can transform a normal scene next door to something downright horrifying – nothing seems out of the ordinary, and you can’t tell when and how the horror crept up on you. The best part is connecting the stories, navigating clues as you wander in this strange world.

Of course, Ogawa’s frequent English translation collaborator Stephen Snyder deserves as much of credit as the writer herself, for marvelously bringing life to her stories. Revenge is a disturbing collection for those who revel in the written word and the beauty she creates with literature.

My rating – 5/5 

Renata Pavrey ~ December 2020

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Renata Parvey is a Nutritionist by profession; marathon runner and Odissi dancer by passion. Driven by sports, music, animals, plants, literature and more. Reads across several genres and languages, and loves the world of horror – in both, books and movies.

Asian Horror Month:The Genetic Alchemist’s Daughter by Elaine Cuyegkeng

This story was originally published in Black Cranes edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

‘The Genetic Alchemist’s Daughter’

by Elaine Cuyegkeng

She dreams of death and rebirth on her mother’s table.

The smell of antiseptic: chemicals, artificial cherries and other-fruit. The specimen on the table. Herself, slipping a needle under the specimen’s skin to obtain samples for reconstruction. Finally, the disposal of the body while the new one grows inside her crimson egg, kicking her little amphibian feet. Later, a telepathic matrix imparts an (edited) library of the Prodigal’s memories. This reinforces the desired traits, knitted carefully into the genome.

In twelve days and twelve nights, there will be a single, perfected being: waking in the specimen’s old room with only a vague, uneasy sense of displaced time. There will be no official record, no trace of the original (save for the genetic profiles, buried deep in her mother’s libraries).

Everyone dreams those strange, mundane dreams of themselves performing their daily rites. The genetic alchemist’s daughter is no different; why should she be? But still, Leto Alicia Chua Mercado wakes as if she were a child waking from a nightmare. Leto thinks: there are fragments of bone and marrow in her pyjamas, in her blankets, her bed. For a moment, her hands are viscous with ruby red.

The Genetic Alchemists

Leto is her mother’s daughter, and so, when she wakes, blinking out crimson dreams in the pre-dawn, the day’s business is the first thing that occupies her. Nothing in Leto’s creation was left to chance; the same is true of Chua Mercado Genetic Alchemy.

Below, the family’s laboratories gestate the fruits of several lucrative contracts. Tiny mermaid embryos, for a techno-prince’s private aquarium. A new variant of winged cat: Bengal Beauties, with jade eyes and leopard spots, jewelled peregrine’s wings. Luminous Moths, ordered by an exclusive fashion house for their silk. There are the Prodigals, the human specimens who will be delivered to their families’ holdings, waking in the original’s old room as if from a dream.

And finally, there are the little Seraphim, tiny embryos swimming in their exo-wombs. The bulk of these are still ordered by foreign CEOs—grateful for the assurance of a rarefied offspring, grateful to be spared the inconveniences of caring for pregnant wives. One day, Leto’s mother hopes, the world will be full of them. There will be no Prodigals, no broken creatures in need of repair.

(Leto feels a tenderness for them. She doesn’t know why—perhaps it’s their shared origins. The fact she knows, and they don’t.

Leto’s mother scoffs at that. You’re not a specimen. You’re my daughter.)

But Leto has always been what she is: the girl with all the gifts, Ofelia Chua Mercado’s irrefutable proof. All the world had seen Leto in her womb, the tiny crimson egg Ofelia created. It made Ofelia’s fortune and her infamy. How the Manilero elite were scandalized! Ofelia had created Leto without the help of a husband, without the blessing of the Holy Apostolic Church (or any church), simply because. Priests cried about the dissolution of the family from their cathedrals, pastors from their multi-million-dollar pulpits. But hereditary heads of state, foreign billionaires, Hollywood queens—all of them came clamouring for Ofelia’s service.

Leto’s mother waits for her at the breakfast table. She is a slender woman, not beautiful but magnificent. She has a cruel mouth, a hard face, a hooked nose as if she truly were the witch the more poetic among the Manila elite call her. Her black hair falls in rivulets down her back. No matter the demands of the day, Ofelia Chua Mercado insists on taking this time: the time to sit down and have a meal with family. She didn’t create a daughter just to neglect her. She prides herself on having better husbandry of children. On the table are buttered toast, salted duck eggs, slices of chilled fruit.

“Today’s clients will need careful handling,” Ofelia murmurs, handing her daughter the day’s dossiers. “I know you’ve managed them before, but darling, today, I need you to resist the urge to gloat.

Leto opens the dossiers. She understands the moment her eyes fall on the client’s name. She doesn’t smirk; she knows it’s unladylike.

Ever since she was a tiny thing, old enough to be presented in a sad little classroom with portraits of saints, every single one of her classmates had hated her. They called her soulless. They said: You don’t have a papa. And yet, over time, so many of them ended up on Leto’s table. She carefully explained all the reasons why their families elected them for the procedure. She feels that they’re owed an explanation, but she can’t help feeling some satisfaction. She had never disappointed her mother.

“Not one Prodigal,” Ofelia says, sipping her tea, “but three. Can you imagine that, darling? Imagine if they’d come to us from the beginning. It would have spared them so much trouble.”

It’s an old, old story. It is the puzzle that so many familial dynasties have tried to resolve. How does one halt the decline that seems to seep in the third, fourth generation? Sixteen, eighteen, twenty years old, and their beloved offspring showed signs of delinquency, addiction, general malaise, rebellion, depression, of all things. They showed poor scholarship. How does one save a child from themselves? Eighteen years of Mandarin lessons, ballet or music, and Catholic school didn’t fix them. The Church and the promise of heaven can’t fix them.

Manila might have been horrified by Ofelia, the woman who made a daughter. But as the decades passed, one by one, they crept to Ofelia’s door, and begged her for her help. They turned to her genetic alchemy and, over the years, a whisper network has formed between desperate, gossiping mothers, patriarchs over games of golf and exquisite lunches.

Leto feels her fingers itch. Thinks of the discarded original, turning to ash in the furnace while a new, tiny creature emerges whole from Leto’s artistry. All her fellow heirs have hated her: have always hated her. But here she is anyway, granting them a gift unbidden. They will never even know.

Her mother rises and kisses her cheek. “Good hunting, my sweet girl,” Ofelia murmurs, and Leto blushes.

Her mother knows her, inside and out. Better than she knows herself.

The Dowager

When Leto goes to meet clients, she brings her mother’s wares as if they are the trappings of their self-appointed office. In her arms, she brings a winged cat with snow-white plumage, her little feet ending in owl’s talons and one blue eye alongside jade (feline specimens with heterochromia fetch three times the price). A speckled serpent with a forked tongue wraps himself around Leto’s neck like a regent’s gold necklace (base specimen: Atheris hispida). And finally, after a moment’s consideration, Leto carefully selects amber earrings made from the chrysalises of Luminous Moths. She picks up a rose as white as a funeral, a present for the Dowager. She paints her mouth with a neutral pink (edging towards a baby pastel); lines her eyes with modest shadow (Industrial Revolution—a shade popular among her peers). She takes her little slate and programs the nanites in her hair; they colour it a deep black with only the faintest streaks of a foreign autumn.

Leto understands what the heart wants: it wants a useful young woman, modest and helpful, who will solve all their problems with a flick of her manicured fingers. Leto meets clients because her existence says: you could have a helper, a dutiful, reliable heir. The child you need, if only you had asked for our services from the beginning. She revels in clients’ gritted teeth and fingers pressed into their palms—how they hate being proven wrong! She sits herself at the little table, waits for the client to arrive.

And when the Dowager slips into Chua Mercado’s rooms, dressed as if for a funeral (or a cocktail), Leto can’t help it. She rises up and kisses the Dowager’s cheeks like a fond niece. The Dowager closes her eyes; she smells, very faintly, of very fine, expensive whiskey. She shudders; or perhaps, it’s poor Leopold that terrifies her, the gorgeous speckled band winding himself around Leto’s neck, or Anne-Marie, the snow-white cat purring in her arms. Here is Leto, an unnatural thing, decked out in unnatural things. But the Dowager needs her help.

“I have three daughters,” the Dowager says with a rasp. “And they will all be the ruin of me.” Her elegant hand trembles as she sits in the client’s chair. Outside, Leto smiles; inside, a frisson of schadenfreude ticks upwards in spite of herself. She knows the Dowager’s daughters: they are just like every other classmate who’s ended up on her mother’s table.

“Why don’t you tell me what you need, Tita?” Leto asks. Like the witch in the story. What do you need? What do you lack? What price are you willing to pay?

The Dowager is Eva Maria Romano Iglesia—scion of a saintly house, married to a handsome media pastor in her baby-faced youth. She was a woman alone of all the multi-million-dollar pastors: having inherited the position after his untimely death. She preached in Chanel and pearls, wasp-waisted dresses with billowing skirts, and spoke of love and deference to husbands and fathers. She spoke of the sanctity of the family, this woman with no husband, and adoring crowds of women threw money at her. She was the most vicious of Ofelia’s detractors, when Leto and the exo-womb were unveiled. She called Leto soulless. She called Ofelia a fallen woman, creating a child outside the sanctity of marriage, outside the bounds of God’s intended methods.

But now two tiny granddaughters are dead. A son-in-law is set to be buried tomorrow, and the daughters are locked in their rooms in the family compound.

“I need you and your mother to give me the daughters I should have had from the beginning,” the Dowager says. She almost spits. How it humbles her, to be abandoned so by the God who showered her in gold but gave her delinquent children on which to build her church.

“Our congregation needs us,” the Dowager whispers, clutching her Chanel pearls. An entire congregation of lost souls—expensive women with husbands who loathe them, girls who became pregnant too early. They all find solace in the Dowager and her family of perfect women. What happens when the image that gives them so much comfort comes crashing down?

Leto is never really interested in all the clients’ reasons why this has to be done. She’d rather hear from the specimens themselves. Console them on their deathbeds.

“We’ll need to stagger them out,” Leto says. “One by one, to accommodate schedules for other clients.”

“I want it over and done with, as soon as possible.”

“I understand,” Leto says evenly. And nothing more.

(Really, Leto just wants her to anguish over it, just a little longer.)

Silence settles between them. Leto feels the Dowager acquiesce. No one else can help her. She can’t disappear three young women and gain their replacements, their better selves, on her own. She can’t create a replacement daughter, and raise her, not at her age.

The Dowager is old. She is running out of time.

“No one will know?” The Dowager’s hands tighten around her cane.

“No one will know,” Leto says softly. “From head to toe, down to their cells, they will be exactly the same.”

Leto takes the pale white rose, as perfect as a faerie dress. They named it Blanca Nieve. It smells like a perfumed night. She gives it to the Dowager. Places it carefully on the table, along with a lacquered box containing its food. Ten little nightingale corpses.

“People need to see you leave with it in your hands,” she tells her. “So you’ve had a reason to come to us. Feed it with ten nightingales. You won’t be disappointed.”

The next day, a funeral for the Dowager’s son-in-law is held in her stained-glass church. The cathedral arches are snow-white with roses, and they spill down the steps of the church, singing with bell-like voices.

No one even sees the bones.

Faith

She starts with the youngest. Why not?

They take her from the family compound. They place her, fast asleep, on Leto’s table in the lab. Faith is a delicate snow-white beauty: long limbs, a small head, the fair skin that Manileros prize so much. It’s at odds with Faith’s reputation.

Leto waits, and watches as the specimen slowly blinks herself awake. The upsurge in fear when she realizes that she’s strapped to the table. When she realizes that she’s not alone.

Leto doesn’t see what she does as revenge, as former classmates have accused her when they have woken up to find themselves in her lab. She sits with the specimens, waits for them to wake up. It feels wrong to her, simply destroying the originals without explaining why their families requested the procedure. She hopes that a vague memory of that conversation settles into the client’s cells. When they perform the process, create the new, perfected specimen, the Prodigal will not relapse.

“Faith?” Leto says. Her words come out muffled behind her mask. The girl stops struggling; she recognizes Leto’s voice.

“Oh God,” says Faith, and the pretty girl laughs. “All the stories they said about you are true.”

Leto’s hairs prick up at the back of her neck.

When they were children, Leto was the witch’s daughter. Now, as adults, she is her mother’s right hand, her coolly competent heir and that is where her story ends. All the specimens returned to the client families have had their memories edited: they know nothing of her mother’s labs. But her classmates know nothing of Prodigals, of Leto’s part in the process. They know nothing of the Procedure. It’s in their parents’ interest: that their children know nothing. They’d rather forget the unpleasantness and have their baby back (they never really will).

“Do you know why you’re here?” she asks Faith. Faith laughs and pulls at the straps.

“I killed my sister’s husband,” Faith rasps. “We did it together, you know. Me. Charity. Harmony. We pushed him off the balcony.”

They’d said it was an accident. Pat del Rosario—beloved husband, beloved son-in-law—falling over the balcony in the family’s multi-million-dollar compound. Thank God, the Dowager had board positions on various media boards: his death was announced without mention of murder or suicide. They had locked Faith in her room until the funeral and she had appeared with the rest of the family, her stony face easily interpreted as a perfect mask of dignified grief.

“I did it knowing you’d show up,” Faith whispers.

“You knew nothing of the sort,” Leto says. Her voice is even, but under the table, her hand shakes.

Faith has no reason to believe Leto would show up. She has no reason to believe in her mother’s lab. Leto is not a fairy tale, the way the Prodigals she perfects are fairy tales. They emerge perfect and whole under her fingers, blessed with cool-eyed competence, the smothering of their genetic demons.

“Do you even want to know why?” Faith asks.

“I know you want to tell me,” Leto says.

It doesn’t matter what they tell her; the procedure will go ahead anyway. But it’s as if she’s a confessor tending to a penitent on their deathbed. How can she say no?

You’re not a specimen, Ofelia had told Leto. You’re my daughter.

But still, the fact remains: Leto was created to prove the viability of her mother’s product, the efficacy of her mother’s services. Ofelia edited Leto’s genes. She edited them for beauty, for genius, for musicality, an affinity for maths and languages, all those things that the ultra-rich crave in their children. They like to feel as if their genes have given rise to better stock, better product.

Leto was engineered for obedience, which meant she was inclined to recognize her mother’s authority in all things. Her mother had been frank about this: there was no point in raising a child who spurned all her gifts. From the moment Leto stepped inside a classroom, she had excelled, surpassing her peers. It gave the elite of Manila something to consider, even as they called her soulless. When their beloved babies grew up, showing signs of rot by the time they reached their teens, they turned to Ofelia Chua Mercado and her helpful, perfect daughter. Who swap out imperfect specimens for better ones. Or at least, they edit the genetic code, so they are more inclined to conform to their parents’ expectations. They’re like fairy godmothers, granting obedience as a gift.

Faith had failed from the beginning. Even when she and her sisters were little, when the Dowager paraded them around as her little saints, Faith was infamous for her rage. There was a party, when a group of boys held her down to take her photo (wasn’t it sweet? Babies and their games!). She’d pushed one of them down the stairs, and he broke his leg, right there on the Dowager’s immaculate floors. When they were all older, there was another incident, another more grown college party, when she’d taken out someone’s eye.

The Dowager said: they’d hoped she’d grow out of it. That time and patience and their guidance would temper her. It honestly surprised Leto that it’s taken Faith this long to come to her table.

(Leto’s mother said, scoffing, that they should have edited Faith’s anger out of her, long ago. Leto had wisely kept quiet. She doesn’t blame Faith, the way her mother did. But she knows what traits are desirable and what aren’t—they don’t like rage in little girls.)

And now there’s a dead body that they’ve had to cover up with bribes and ritual, and a snow-white funeral.

“He killed Charity’s babies,” Faith snarls. “Did Mommy tell you that? He killed her girls.”

It was in the dossier—a sad obituary in the Manila Times of the Dowager’s twin granddaughters. But babies often die for strange, unknown, and unknowable reasons. Especially when they’re so small.

“He put stuffed toys in their crib,” Faith says. “It’s a SIDS risk: everyone knows that. They kept telling him to stop; he laughed and kept doing it. Look, she loves her little teddy. What’s the harm? Everyone said: Men don’t raise children, it’s not in them. You can’t expect them to understand. It was Charity’s responsibility: after all, she was their mother.

“Charity couldn’t stay awake forever. She tried. We all did. He found reasons to keep us away. And one day she found him standing over their crib with a pillow—and her baby girls were dead.” She closes her eyes. “A house full of people who were supposed to love them, and they all said she was hysterical. They didn’t believe her. Poor Charity. He barely cried.

“Why would he do that?” Leto asks.

She really shouldn’t have asked. All Faith wants is to unburden herself.

“He wanted boys,” Faith says. “It’s not as if he hid that. He was so disappointed when they came out! And Charity was so happy—his disappointment was such a small thing to her, at least in the beginning. That she loved something he didn’t.”

“Annulment was an option, you know.” It’s not that she objects to what Faith did; it’s that she should have been clever about it. She starts thinking of ways to snip the rage out of her, or at least temper it. They can modify memories to reinforce caution.

“Annulment isn’t part of our brand,” Faith says. “It’s not an option for us. Can you imagine the scandal? Lola would kill us first. Mommy would.”

That, Leto thinks, unfortunately is true.

“I’d have been more careful about it than you,” Leto says. Faith laughs.

“We were past careful,” Faith says. “After he killed the girls. After they all said Charity was hysterical and not thinking clearly. They even blamed her: Lola, Mommy, our aunts. We shut them up when we threw him down the balcony.”

Leto starts prepping her needle. She needs to draw blood; their work is easy, really. They have such a rich source of DNA.

“So what are you going to do?” Faith asks. “Replace me with a soulless little drone? A more palatable version of me?”

“Don’t be so dramatic,” Leto says. “I can’t make or remove a soul. I’d make a version of you that wouldn’t have gotten caught.”

It’s not quite what Faith’s mother would have wanted. It’s not what Ofelia Chua Mercado would have wanted. But there is no one here to gainsay her decision.

She’s not sure why or how she decided this: that Faith is entitled to her anger. But here she is.

“It’s alright,” Leto says, and she is back on familiar ground. “It’s alright. You won’t even remember this happened. The you that wakes up won’t even remember this.” And if the new Faith doesn’t remember and the old Faith is simply erased, does Faith even suffer?

She lets Faith see the tiny little selves, swimming in their little crimson eggs, before she puts her to sleep. It seems to calm Faith: watching tender little creatures made from her bone and marrow. Leto dresses the new specimen herself when she emerges, perfect and whole. The new Faith will be little more calculating, a little less given to rages. If the new Faith does need to act on her rage, she will take better care not to get caught. The Prodigal is returned to the family. The Dowager sends back a message, saying: Faith is much improved. Leto imagines the Dowager breathing a little easier even as Faith is counting her grudges and biding her time. Counting down the days, until it’s all done.

Leto schedules the next two procedures. She takes her time.

Charity

She was the last person Leto had thought would end up on her table.

The middle sister: kind-hearted and soft, the kind of girl who deflected other people’s faults. The fairy tale girl people say they want but, in reality, isn’t equipped to keep a dynasty together. Still, she had that fairy tale wedding, married the boy her family picked for her. The Dowager was very clear about her specifications: they want their sweet girl back, before she went wrong.

Really,” Leto told her mother wearily, over chai tea and congee for breakfast, “they want a Charity who doesn’t remember how much her family failed her. They want a Charity who won’t make them feel guilty, every time they look at her.”

“If that’s what they want to believe,” Ofelia said. She shrugged her elegant shoulders. It’s cheating, but it’s not quite cheating, is it, if a Prodigal is exactly the same, just slightly improved? It’s the improvements they focus on.

Leto didn’t tell her mother about what Faith had said. It’s not that she believes Faith, exactly, but…

When Charity wakes up, when she sees Leto, she looks almost resigned. There’s no shock. Ice pricks at the back of Leto’s neck. Charity should be shocked. Charity should cry for help. Why doesn’t she?

“I knew something was wrong,” she says. “When Faith came back… She wasn’t herself.”

Leto doesn’t answer.

“Poor Faith. Did she feel anything? Was it fast?”

“What can you possibly know about the procedure?”

Charity laughs, a sad little laugh that almost sounds like affection.

“We all talk about it, you know,” she says. “All our old classmates, all our old friends.

None of you were ever my friends. Leto digs her nails into her palms. She is not…she is not supposed to be the monster in anyone else’s story. She’s more than that unveiled creature in the womb, more than the girl in the schoolroom, more than the witch’s baby everyone decided they should hate.

“I’m frankly surprised that you don’t know. I would have thought that your mother would have told you. We could never match you in scholarship, but we’re not stupid. Sometimes an old classmate would show up and…they weren’t quite themselves. They would remember things—but in slightly different ways. We heard about the oldies’ little whisper network. They say there’s a little dungeon somewhere—where all the bodies are kept. There’s a little lab where you clone tiny little creatures to replace us. That you sell our souls yourself.”

Leto’s heart is beating fast.

There is no reason. There is no reason why Charity and her friends should know. The specimens’ memories of her mother’s workshops are wiped. The Prodigals are returned to their rooms, and they don’t remember—they don’t remember anything of their time as tiny little creatures in blood-red eggs, their hatching.

If what Charity says is true and there are whispers of the process, and Leto’s part in it… How could she not know that she has turned into a story she has no control over? How could her mother not know? She feels like she’s back in that dreary little room again: her classmates whispering poison, spinning stories she has no control over.

Charity watches her face. “Do you remember?” she asks. “Do you remember anything—from before?”

“Before what?”

Charity closes her eyes and sighs, as if she is very tired and ready to go to sleep. She opens them again, and her eyes fix on Leto. “I wouldn’t tell your mother about this conversation if I were you.”

“We tell each other everything,” Leto says.

“Do you?” Charity asks. “Do you really? Do you ever wonder about the little gaps in your memory—”

She doesn’t have to pay attention to this. She doesn’t.

“Look at me,” Charity says, her voice soft and urgent. “I did everything my mother wanted. I married a boy she wanted. I gave up the idea of a master’s degree in science. And still—look at where I am right now.” Leto twitches, remembers her dreams of little feet, a crimson world.

“I wasn’t expecting to have to destroy everything I was when I married,” Charity whispers. “I wasn’t expecting to destroy everything I loved. That wasn’t the bargain I thought I made. Do you remember your Bella Norte?

When she was fourteen, Leto had engineered little bees who sang like bells and were nocturnal. As sweet and docile as Charity. She’d been frankly surprised that the Dowager had purchased a specimen from Chua Mercado Alchemy. A birthday gift for her middle daughter, who later became obsessed with beekeeping.

“They never really caught on,” Leto says. That was the trouble with new patents.

“Do you remember?” Charity asks. “Do you remember making them for me?”

Leto just stares. She’d done nothing of the kind. She made them, Charity ordered them, and that was the end of it. Charity sighs, softly.

“I kept beds and beds of nocturnal flowers to feed them. I did everything you told me to, even when you stopped answering my letters.

Nocturnal roses, honeysuckle, lavender. Leto can’t even remember why she made them: only that she did.

“Mommy and Lola never approved. Pat wanted me to stop: they were dangerous to me and the baby. Who knew what they were picking up while they were dancing in the dark? Who knew how reliable the patent was, how docile they really were? I went on a trip to the States; I came back to find most of my hives burned. Lola said: But it’s such a little thing. Mommy said: You have babies now. You won’t even notice they’re gone.”

Charity closes her eyes. “And then the girls turned out to be girls. We didn’t even want to know—he was so sure God would give us what he deserved. I took their blood. I cut their hair. I wanted something to remember them by, just like I kept the bees to remember you.” She breathes in, breathes out. Looks over at Leto, whose face is carefully blank.

She would have no reason. Her mother would have no reason to remake her. Leto is perfect, has been perfect, since the beginning. She was engineered for beauty, for intelligence, reliability. There is nothing that Leto wants, outside of what her mother needs.

“They were right,” Charity whispers. “Oh God, they were right.”

Leto doesn’t answer. She preps her needle.

Listen to me,” Charity says, before she slips off to sleep under Leto’s needle. “You’re not so different from us. Someone should have told you that from the beginning. I’m sorry we didn’t.”

Charity is easier, in many ways. They keep the base genetic profile. They edit her memories. Faith did it. Harmony did it. Charity just watched. Leto goes through an entire album of memories, editing things out, snipping inconvenient ones.

When the new Prodigal wakes in her room, she is more certain of her mother’s authority, of her mother’s love and adoration. The need to defer to her authority. She won’t remember that conversation with Leto, in the lab below.

Leto should talk to her mother. She should talk to her, but something stops her, every time. Leto stays in the lab, watching over the dreaming specimens. Cinderella, over the turtledoves that shake gold and silver over her. She thinks of the ashes of every discarded specimen, feeding her mother’s roses. Faith, Charity, an endless, endless parade of names before them.

And she wonders, she wonders. How many of them were her? How many dreams has she had, of a crimson world and kicking feet? Can she count all the times she might have been remade? She wouldn’t even know when it began, what had been the starting point. She walks into the garden at twilight, where the apiaries of little Bella Norte are kept. Their little feet brush against her cheek like a kiss.

Do you know more of me than I do? she asks them.

Do you?

Harmony

The eldest daughter escapes.

She must have seen the writing on the wall, Leto muses to herself when it happens. The Dowager is beside herself. It would not have happened, it would not have happened, if Leto had done all three of them at once like she had asked.

You should have known better than to let the other girls out, is all Leto thinks. Ofelia lets the Dowager know, calmly, that matters are being handled and shoots Leto a look. Leto understands: she wants Leto to fix it. The foundations of the world her mother is building depends on Chua Mercado’s reliability, their reputation. She needs to undo the damage she’s caused.

But Leto spends some time in the garden, among the specimens and patents that never quite caught on. She spends some time with the Bella Norte bees, waking in the moonlight, settling on Leto’s dress like golden dust.

You made them for me, said Charity. Why would Leto do that? What did she owe her?

She considers that Charity and Faith may be right, that her mother has been wiping her memory, altering her like a story that she can’t quite perfect. She should be terrified. She should be outraged, but all she feels is hollow. She wonders if anger was edited out of her too.

“I don’t know what to do,” she says, honestly, to the Bella Norte bees, as if they could answer her.

They track Harmony down in a shabby little street in Binondo, in a shabby little room. Leto insists on going herself. After all, it was her mistake.

At that, something inside Ofelia seems to untwist and loosen. She kisses Leto on the cheek. She says: She knows Leto will make it right. Everyone makes mistakes. We all learn from them. We make ourselves perfect.

Leto lets herself into the shabby little room, and there is Harmony, waiting.

The survivors of Charity’s bees surround her, drinking sugar water. Harmony is tall and striking, even with her hair slick with the humidity and the lack of care over the past few days. Charity was the sweetheart, Faith was the baby, but Harmony was meant to be their mother, all over again. It must have galled the Dowager, when Harmony picked her sisters over her mother. That was not the natural way of things.

Leto isn’t sure what edits to make to improve those outcomes.

“We all know you’d come for us, you know,” says Harmony. She doesn’t move. The bees settle around her, as if she is their saint.

“So I’ve heard,” says Leto. Harmony raises her eyebrow.

“What do you remember?” Harmony asks, point blank.

Leto says nothing.

“What do you remember?” Harmony asks. “How many times did she make you over, so she could start all over again, a clean slate?”

Leto thinks of the ashes in her mother’s garden. Whether any of them are made up of her former selves. She wouldn’t know when her mother started. She wouldn’t even know where to begin.

“I know about Charity’s daughters,” she says, her voice hollow. “I know about the bees.”

Harmony sighs, and her shoulders slump over.

“We didn’t know,” she says, “if she’d remake you, over and over again. Just to make sure you couldn’t remember. Do you remember? Making the bees for Charity? Do you?”

Leto feels breathless. A little bella norte lands on her cheek.

“She cried when you stopped answering her letters,” says Harmony. “When we passed by each other and you acted as if you didn’t know her. And later—when classmates came back, from rehab, from sabbaticals, from tours, not quite right, well, we all wondered.

It’s like a knife to her ribs. She doesn’t—she can’t feel anything.

Harmony gives her a box.

“I’d do it again you know,” she says, between her teeth. “I would pick Faith and Charity, every time. Every time. Hollow me out, empty me of all the inconvenient things my mother wants gone, and I’d still make the same choice.”

“What’s inside?” Leto asks.

But she already knows.

The Dowager sends payment: all three Prodigals, successfully remade. She even gifts Leto with the survivors of Charity’s bees. They have no use for them, and the girl is getting married again in the fall. Another fairy tale wedding. Then: one for Faith, and one for Harmony. She’s already signed contracts for little Seraphim to be made.

“Well done,” Ofelia says, and kisses her cheek. Another death, smoothed over. Because these girls wanted something outside what they should want.

What does Leto want? Nothing except her work. There’s nothing that her mother left her.

So she creates a second variant of the Bella Norte, from the daughters of Charity’s bees. They have Faith’s anger; Charity’s love; Harmony’s loyalty. And inside, inside, they contain slivers of memory, two baby girls avenged by their mother and aunts.

Leto’s daughters have no debut: they are not presented to the world the way Leto was. Instead, she lets them fly wild.

That year, the Dowager and her congregation will be haunted at night time by bees that sing like wind chimes, that smell of baby’s breath, and build cathedrals inside her church. At her wedding, Charity will turn to look at them, and she won’t know why she feels joy and heartbreak. Faith will wonder as she lets them settle on her shoulders and Harmony will feel a strange peace, even as the bees murder her mother’s congregation.

They’ll say it’s a miracle, that the three of them are left alive.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Elaine Cuyegkeng

Elaine Cuyegkeng is a Chinese-Filipino writer. She grew up in Manila, where there are many, many creaky old houses with ghosts inside them. She writes about eldritch creatures, monsters with human faces and the old, old story of art and revolution. She now lives in Melbourne with her partner.

Elaine has been published in Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, The Dark, Rocket Kapre, and now, Pseudopod! You can find her on @layangabi on Twitter.

FIND MORE BY ELAINE CUYEGKENG 

Asian Horror Month: BLACK CRANES : A Review in Verse

 

BLACK CRANES: A REVIEW IN VERSE

Tales of Unquiet Women

From voices no longer silent

In this anthology of Asian narratives

Ranging from hilarious, to haunting and violent

A frisson towards an immersive journey

Headlined by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

Not merely stories, but an assemblage of shared experiences

And teamwork presented by Omnium Gatherum

Alma Katsu leads the proceedings

Of what follows and what to expect

Asian, women, and horror

Tales of identity, expectation and neglect;

Obligations, traditions, duties and more

Scientists, warriors, princesses, spirits

We can be many things

But we cannot be defeated

A haunting foreword sets the tone

For Elaine Cuyegkeng to kick off with a bang

Pandora’s box of gene editing

Or more attuned to a boomerang;

Snipping out traits and replacing preferential ones

Rarefied offspring too good to be true?

There’s always a price to pay

Specimens or daughters? Are we a ‘what’ or ‘who’?

Nadia Bulkin marshals an uprising 

With Indonesian history and folklore

A princess’s people retrieving her throne

A fight and reclamation at its core;

Who is monster and who is human?

Questions Kapre in his chronicle

Rin Chupeco’s unique love story

Depicts a tale heartwarming and ironical

Beauty, cosmetics, enhancements galore

Two tales from Angela Yuriko Smith

How far would you go to be yourself no more?

Sci-fi abounds; this isn’t myth

White on the outside, yellow within

Patchwork eyes and warring factions all over

Whom do we belong to if we don’t belong at all?

Gift recipient or pushover?

Grace Chan makes a two-fold mark

With hunger and fury, suspicion and doubt

Gabriella Lee’s rites of passage

Aspects of womanhood poured out;

The legend of the nine-tailed fox

Of trickster entities and lotus feet

Rena Mason presents womanhood again

As past, present and future accrete

Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

In their dual roles of editor and writer

Lend duality with contrasting themes

From heartbreak to horror, and lighter;

Caring for an ailing parent,

A mind-blowing take on pets,

A litmus test of acceptance,

Words – their shining assets

Set the clock ahead with Christina Sng

As we time travel to a zombie apocalypse

An ode to women in the military

Fury is not one to be eclipsed;

The fury of sacrifices to accommodate 

Meeting the expectations of others

Hollowed versions of ourselves

Emptied out; unconsidered druthers

With stories of folklore and legend

From the common to the esoteric

Across geography and culture

From charming to barbaric;

Returning to one’s roots

Or imagining a far-fetched world

From the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore

China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand;

Asian women from wherever they might be 

Scattered across place and time

Breaking notions and stereotypes

That living is not a crime;

There’s no single type of woman

No all-encompassing concept of Asian

The multifaceted identities of horror

And the stories of women who experience their own versions.

                                      ~Renata Pavrey

                                        December 2020

Ranata Pavrey is a Nutritionist by profession; marathon runner and Odissi dancer by passion. Driven by sports, music, animals, plants, literature and more. She reads across several genres and languages, and loves the world of horror – in both, books and movies.

 

Spooky Writer’s Planner Giveaway, WINNERS!

Thank you to all those who watched the video below and entered to win the Spooky Writer’s Planner Prize Pack! Here are our winners!

Spooky Prize Pack Winner!
Willow Croft

Runner-up winning a digital copy:
Cal Lumney

Winners, please be on the lookout for a message from us. If you don’t hear from us, please email at horroraddicts@gmail.com so we can distribute your prize!

If you did not win, the planner is still available at the links below.
Also, subscribe to this blog for more contests coming your way soon.
Happy writing!

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QLMT83J

Digital: https://www.etsy.com/listing/920797923/spooky-writers-planner

PLANNER INCLUDES 13 months of monthly and weekly spreads Monthly goal and recap sheets Weekly check-ins and note pages Writing challenges, planners, and instructions. Submissions, published works, and contacts trackers. Marketing, newsletter, and blog planners. Check-off sheets for website maintenance, social media profiles, and expenses. Fun sheets to generate writing ideas, track your favorite TV series, or to be read and watched lists.

 

Asian Horror Month: Colors, Fox Demons, and Folklore in “The Ninth Tale”

Colors, Fox Demons, and Folklore in “The Ninth Tale” from Black Cranes Anthology

By Rena Mason

It’s never one thing that inspires me to write any story, and the same was true for “The Ninth Tale.” With the popular resurgence of a modernized Huli Jing, (Pinyin – húlijīng) or Fox Demon/Spirit portrayed in anime and video games with a blending of cultures and added superpowers, many of the original stories get muddled and lost to younger generations. Because of my mainly Chinese heritage, which I grew up knowing little about, I wanted to write a classic folktale-style story using the Chinese mythos versus the versions from other countries like the Japanese Kitsune, or Korean Kumiho. 

In Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, a collection of myths, fables, and stories written in the mid 1600s to early 1700s, the majority of the works about the Huli Jing, Songling depicted the demon, and all women for that matter, as villains and the explanation behind men’s troubles. I knew I needed to take that and crush it. So I placed the character, traditionally seen and feared as a powerful woman, and set her in a time when the sexist practice of foot binding was at its peak yet nearing its end with changes occurring in the country’s political climate. Her complete disdain and disregard for the practice along with her sympathy for the women forced or encouraged to do it sets a character trait I wanted for my Huli Jing in the story. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the contrast between the reverence for, and fear of women in East Asian mythos compared to the treatment of East Asian women by their male counterparts throughout history. I’m certain my curiosity began with the first stories I ever heard from my mom about powerful Thai female ghosts who’d enact their rage and vengeance upon their spouses. 

Another component I wanted to incorporate in the story was East Asian interpretations for colors I’d mostly seen used in movies. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I was introduced to Zhang Yimou’s films. JU DOU was the first, and I was mesmerized by the story, but most of all by the colors that cued my emotional responses during different scenes (although I didn’t realize they were having that effect on me at the time). Culturally, I grew up knowing that different colors symbolize different things, and Yimou had tapped into this ingrained knowledge visually. It took me years and several of his movies to figure out what he’d done. Not until HERO was it so obvious and profound. So I was taken aback when I watched SHADOW this past year in its beautiful but bleak monochrome hues. Where were the colors? The lack of them made me suspicious of all the characters. I felt dread and impending doom and not much else. Then it hit me during The Black Cranes Skeleton Hour panel that every character in the movie is a shade of bad, or black, hence the monochrome hues. Yimou had done it again but with the absence of color—genius. PAINTED SKIN, taken from one of the stories in Songling’s Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, loosely adapted by filmmaker Gordon Chang, uses colors this way in his acclaimed film as well. But could I pull it off in a written story? I had to try. 

Red or vermillion is a popular color in Chinese culture, symbolizing luck, joy, and happiness. It also represents celebration, vitality, and fertility in traditional Chinese color symbolism. Think of the red envelopes handed out for Chinese New Year and on other celebratory occasions, and the “power” tie color businessmen wear with suits. Chinese brides wear red to ward off evil. The color also represents the summer and the element of fire. Red is the only color that has two different and almost opposite meanings, as it can also represent jealousy and anger. 

—In “The Ninth Tale” the Huli Jing sets off on her journey and is excited and feeling happy, so I emphasized that with the scarlet leaves. I pictured her pale skin glowing red underneath the canopy as she headed out of the forest to complete her celestial ascension.

Yellow is an imperial color in traditional Chinese color symbolism, representing power, royalty, and prosperity. It also represents the late summer season, the central direction, and earth. 

—As the Huli Jing meets the farmer in his wheat fields, the yellow represents the future prosperity she would bestow upon him and his family for revering her. (Although banned, Fox Spirit worship is rumored to exist to this day in parts of northern China.)

Gold symbolizes wealth and riches in Chinese culture as well as most other cultures. 

—In the very beginning of “The Ninth Tale” the Huli Jing acquires a pair of slippers embroidered with a gold chrysanthemum. A double meaning, since gold represents riches and the chrysanthemum represents nobility. I also used the color gold when describing the farmer’s wheat fields because good crops are representative of wealth. 

Blue represents the element of wood, and symbolizes freedom, the heavens, immortality and advancement. 

—When the Huli Jing in “The Ninth Tale” meets Xin, her rival, the young woman is pale and underwater with a blue hue to her skin, hinting at Xin’s character being carefree. That she’s feeling indestructible, and wanting advancement.

Green is similar to blue, but also represents harmony, wealth, growth, cleanliness and purity from contamination. 

—In the story, the Huli Jing is often flying and dancing in the air with evergreen branches behind her, showcasing the Fox Demon’s ability to remain unfazed by the ordinary around her. 

Black represents water, and also symbolizes destruction, evil, cruelty, and sadness. Hei is Chinese for black, but it also stands for bad luck, irregularity, and illegality. 

—When the Huli Jing visits her lover Zhang, it is always at night, under the cloak of darkness, and his black hair, and dark eyes, and all the shadows and absence of color in his room portend his “deception” and the evil of his character in the story. 

White represents the metal element in traditional Chinese culture, and also symbolizes purity and innocence. It’s also commonly associated with death, mourning, and funerals in China. 

—From the white light that comes from the Huli Jing when she’s injured, emanating from her celestial self, to their glowing faces in the moonlight, I used a lot of white toward the end of the story to symbolize death and the Huli Jing’s ascension to the heavens. I also used the silver blade to represent the metal element of white. 

In the end, I felt I’d accomplished what I’d set out to do when I’d thought of how I’d wanted to write my Huli Jing story. I’ve never really paid much attention to what colors might mean in stories that I’d read, but I know now that I’ll take a closer look and scrutinize whether or not the author wants me to feel a certain way with the colors they incorporate into their stories. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rena Mason is an American horror author of Thai-Chinese descent, and a three-time Bram Stoker Award® winner of the The Evolutionist and The Devil’s Throat, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 /The Blood List Search for New Blood Screenwriting Contest Quarter-Finalist. She has short stories, novelettes, and novellas published in various anthologies and magazines and writes a monthly column. 

She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, The International Screenwriters’ Association, and the Public Safety Writers Association. 

An avid scuba diver, she enjoys traveling the world and incorporating the experiences into her stories. She currently resides in Reno, Nevada but plans to relocate to the Pacific Northwest in 2021. For more information visit her website: www.RenaMason.Ink 

or follow her at:

Facebook: rena.mason 

Twitter: @RenaMason88 

Stage 32: Rena Mason

Instagram: rena.mason 

In the works, she’s co-editing and reading submissions for the next HWA anthology Other Fears slated for publication with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2022. She’s excited to be participating in an anthology that will amplify diverse voices in horror and for her role in representing the long line of great horror from the HWA Presents publications. Her next novel is near completion, and she is also writing some nonfiction, short fiction, and a screenplay. 

 

Spooky Writer’s Planner Release Giveaway

How to win: Comment on the vid about how much a planner fanatic you are or what you plan on writing in the coming year. Why do you need the Spooky Writer’s Planner? Comment on the vid on YouTube, Facebook Watch, Instagram, or HorrorAddicts.net to be entered into the giveaway drawing. Entries close on Jan. 6th, 2021. Winners will be announced via HorrorAddicts.net on Jan. 7th.

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QLMT83J

Digital: https://www.etsy.com/listing/920797923/spooky-writers-planner

PLANNER INCLUDES 13 months of monthly and weekly spreads Monthly goal and recap sheets Weekly check-ins and note pages Writing challenges, planners, and instructions. Submissions, published works, and contacts trackers. Marketing, newsletter, and blog planners. Check-off sheets for website maintenance, social media profiles, and expenses. Fun sheets to generate writing ideas, track your favorite TV series, or to be read and watched lists.

Reminder: Spooky Writer’s Planner Event @ VirtualWriters.org

Join Emerian Rich from HorrorAddicts.net Press on Second Life to chat about their new project the Spooky Writer’s Planner and find out why she and fellow writer, Loren Rhoads, decided to tackle such a big task. Emz will explain what makes this planner different from all the others and how it can make your life as a writer easier. One lucky attendee will win a digital copy of this brand new publication. Join us on Second Life at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Milk%20Wood/71/62/22

Spooky Writer’s Planner Event @ VirtualWriters.org

Join Emerian Rich from HorrorAddicts.net Press on Second Life to chat about their new project the Spooky Writer’s Planner and find out why she and fellow writer, Loren Rhoads, decided to tackle such a big task. Emz will explain what makes this planner different from all the others and how it can make your life as a writer easier. One lucky attendee will win a digital copy of this brand new publication. Join us on Second Life at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Milk%20Wood/71/62/22

Spooky Writer’s Planner Event Calendar

Welcome to the Spooky Writer’s Planner Event Calendar. We have many delightful events planned for your enjoyment and edification. Be sure to join us for interviews, tales of inspiration, excerpts, and parties galore! We would be most honored by your presence.

DECEMBER  
18 Planner Launch! horroraddicts.net
18 Planner Introduction Loren’s Blog
19 Events Calendar Revealed horroraddicts.net
20 Party on the FB Group Announcement horroraddicts.net
20 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
21 Planner Launch! Emerian’s Blog
21 Announce Second Life Event horroraddicts.net
21 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
22 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
23 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
23 Reminder of party on FB Group horroraddicts.net
24 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
25 Facebook Party Event Facebook Group
26 GB: Book Full of Tools for Writers R.L. Merrill’s Blog
27 Reminder of Second Life Event horroraddicts.net
28 Announce Facebook Party winners horroraddicts.net
28 Second Life Event Milkwood, VirtualWriters.org
29 Interview with Emerian and Loren horroraddicts.net
30 Facebook Watch Event horroraddicts.net
31 GB: Can a Planner Help Your Writing Career? Patrick Greene’s Blog
JANUARY  
Jan HWA Newsletter coverage HWA
1 GB: Planners, planners, everywhere and not a one is right! Naching T. Kassa’s Blog
2 GB: Is Frankensteined a word? When it comes to planners it is! Loren’s Blog
3 GB: How Do Writer’s Stay Organized? Lea Kirk’s Blog
4 GB: Get Organized the “Spooky” Way. Dave Strom’s Blog
7 Facebook Watch Event Winners Announced horroraddicts.net

Book Review: LeRoux Manor by Liz Butcher

I was drawn to LeRoux Manor by Liz Butcher with the promises of a spooky old house and possibly some ghosts. What I found was a spooky YA Thriller with so many different types of paranormal activity, I didn’t really know what was going on until the last moment and even now, I still have questions. Perhaps there will be a sequel. 

Camille is an Aussie teenager whose parents move her to their ancestral home in England during her most formative high school years. A bit of culture shock isn’t the biggest thing for her to deal with when it seems she’s moved into a haunted house. If not haunted, it does have some secrets to tell. 

LeRoux Manor is a legend in her new town, mostly known for a dinner party that went awry years ago. With the help of some new school friends and a crush named Lachlan, Camille pieces together parts of a puzzle in search of answers as to why her family wanted her parents to give her away and why she shares the birthday of an old ancestor who went missing and has never been found.

While reading, I did find myself wondering if Camille was crazy. Was she just imagining things, or was the house actually making her see things that weren’t there? Who is the woman in the woods she spies from her bedroom window? Why did Lachlan’s Uncle disappear after visiting the estate? What exactly is that weird being reaching out of the large wardrobe in her bedroom? Who’s the little kid skittering around the attic?

This book reads very YA, but for those of you who adore spooky houses like I do, you might not mind. For fans of The Haunting, The Woman in Black, and The Haunting of Bly Manor, you’ll be thrilled with spooky middle of the night snooping, phantom earthquakes, and creepy servants lurking about. With jump scares that would be more at home on film, I was only mildly caught off-guard in the beginning, but as the teen’s experience more and more strange occurrences on an all-night fear-fest, their fear becomes contagious like the scare you might have experienced at camp when someone told a ghost story around the campfire. 

HorrorAddicts.net 191, Holiday Ghost Story Special

Horror Addicts Episode# 191
SEASON 15
**Holiday Ghost Story Special**
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Russell Holbrook


**Holiday Ghost Story Special**
Dedicated to our long-time listener Jeff. Here you go, buddy!

Ghost Stories:

“A Corpse Going to a Ball” or “Fair Charlotte” by Seba Smith, read by Emerian Rich

http://www.emzbox.com

“The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service, read by J. Malcolm Stewart

https://www.amazon.com/J-Malcolm-Stewart/e/B0088I39XG

“The Open Window” by Saki, read by Daphne Strasert

http://daphnestrasert.com/

“Gatekeeper” by Rish Outfield, read by the author

http://rishoutcast.blogspot.com/

“The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christen Anderson, read by Emerian Rich

http://www.emzbox.com

“Staying After” by Angela Yuriko Smith, read by Ryan Aussie Smith
http://www.spaceandtimemagazine.com/

“Four-sided Triangle” by Nancy Kilpatrick, read by the author

https://nancykilpatrick.com/

“Company” by Sumiko Saulson, read by the author

http://www.sumikosaulson.com/

“Citrus, Spice, and Not a Thing Nice” by Phillip T. Stephens, read by the author

https://reifinery.medium.com/

“Just Like a Dolls” by Michele Roger, read by the author

https://www.amazon.com/Michele-Roger/e/B00FJQIMJ6


Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Russell Holbrook, Lionel Green, Keiran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, Courtney Mroch, R.L. Merrill

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Authors of SLAY – John Linwood Grant

‘AIN’T NO WITCH: CAROLINE DYE, HOODOO AND THE BLUES’
by John Linwood Grant

Hoodoo. Conjure-work. We’re going to the roots of root-work today, with music, material, and musings. My writing flowed this way from an interest in Cunning Folk, both European and African, plus the pleasure of early blues. I also have a love of Manly Wade Wellman’s character John the Balladeer, though that part only came to mind afterwards, when I was looking up early sourcebooks related to hoodoo (more below). The Memphis Jug Band was the real start for me, decades ago, with their “Aunt Caroline Dye (Dyer) Blues”, and it spread from there…

I’ve written about the Northern European tradition of Cunning Folk before. The hedge-wizards, wise women, and more, often – though not always – Christians, who could be called upon for protection against curses, hexes, and blights. Whilst Wicca, historical witchcraft, and voodoo or vodun, are fascinating in themselves, the real roots that interest me in the US are those of hoodoo.

“Because sometimes I’m waitin’ at the crossroads, but I does it how I choose,” said Mamma Lucy. “I ain’t one of your mamalois, voodoo girls or Sant-eria ladies, liftin’ their skirts when you come callin’, neither.”

I’m only a writer, exploring strange places. But you might find what follows interesting. Historically, as with many of the old Cunning Folk, the guiding principle for most hoodoo was belief in God and the Bible. Where Caribbean and New Orleans spiritual movements blended Catholic saints with African belief systems, a lot of hoodoo folk were Protestant in one form or another. Voodoo and hoodoo get confused, but they ain’t the same.

You might call hoodoo a dominant blend of African beliefs, with threads of European herb and symbolic lore pulled in as well. Much conjure-work links back to Ewe and Fon lore from West Africa. The lines got blurred, as people from different tribes and cultures were enslaved and forced together. They sought systems that might sustain at least a fraction of their origins and identity, including shared reference points. With time, some of these developed into beliefs and oral traditions that echoed the lost past but also reflected life in the States.

If this was a predominantly black road, it didn’t automatically exclude whites, because it slowly drew in folklore from European immigrants, especially Germanic ones. It came from the big slave plantations, but as the 19th century progressed, it spread into communities through freedmen and women and had value for many poor and disenfranchised people. It absorbed elements of Native American herbalism and became its own thing. Hoodoo. Rootwork is another name, from the use of medicinal or magical roots and herbs.

(Zora Neale Hurston, who we mentioned briefly last week, wrote a study of Afro-American folklore, including discussion of hoodoo, rootwork and conjuration in her 1935 collection of tales, Mules and Men.)

One written crossover example is The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, a magical text allegedly written by Moses, passed down as hidden portions of the Old Testament. A grimoire, a text of magical incantations and seals, the text circulated in Germany from at least the 1700s, passed through immigrants such as the Pennsylvania Dutch and entered both white general folklore and black Christian hoodoo.

John-the-Balladeer

The direct Manly Wade Wellman link slipped into my mind when I came across mention of Pow-wows, or The Long Lost Friend whilst researching conjure-work. This book crops up in a number of Wellman’s stories. This is another genuine ‘grimoire’ from the 1820s, by one Johann Georg Hohman, and was originally called Der Lange Verborgene Freund.

“Bind,” he said to someone over me. “Bind, bind. Unless you can count the stars, or the drops in the ocean, be bound.”

It was a spell-saying. “From the Long Lost Friend?” I asked.

Wellman, ‘Vandy Vandy’, (1953)

The Long Lost Friend is a collection of spells, charms and remedies for everyday use. Like the Books of Moses, it initially entered hoodoo through the Pennsylvanian Dutch and other groups of Germanic origin.

It crossed relatively easily into hoodoo because it also puts Christianity in the driving seat and emphasizes belief in the Bible as the core. ‘Pow-wows’ was added to later editions, in reference to real or supposed Native American practices.

“The book has remained quite popular among practitioners of Hoodoo… James Foster noted that many shops in Harlem and Brooklyn stocked The Long Lost Friend in 1957.”

Daniel Harms, The Long Lost Friend: A 19th Century American Grimoire (2012)

So, I was traveling 1920s Harlem in my mind a year or two ago, learning, and expanding my Tales of the Last Edwardian, when I saw someone passing through, one of the Cunning Folk who might resonate in her own time and place.

She was old like me, black like I’m not, and a foil to the industrialised, post-Edwardian scientific approach. Bare feet in the earth, and silver dimes around her ankles. A worn print dress on a strong, gangly frame. She used her brains more than she used out-and-out conjure-work, but she knew what she was doing if she had to lay a trick or turn a jinx.

I also knew that she held no truck with oppressive wealth and monstrous laws, that she was plain ornery, her heart with the voiceless.

‘She’ turned out to be Mamma Lucy.

Caroline Dye: A Mighty Fine Vision
If you write about hoodoo from around the early 20th Century, you can’t avoid the blues – which is a good excuse to mention some tracks here. You also can’t avoid Aunt Caroline Dye (not Dyer- the track at the start was named through an error or pronunciation or transcription).

Despite her association with hoodoo, Caroline Dye was a psychic, a fortune-teller – there’s less evidence of her performing the slower root-work, laying tricks or setting up actual spells. And typically, there were more claims made for her and her skills than she made for herself. People went to her for readings, and they went in their thousands, hopefuls looking for answers.

She was born to enslaved parents in Jackson County, Arkansas – or in Spartanburg, South Carolina. There are different versions, both of her origins and her death. The earliest suggestion of her birth is 1810, which seems unlikely, and the more accepted one is in the 1840s. As Caroline Tracy, a name which seems to have come from her family’s original owners (a phrase which should never have had to be typed), she married Martin Dye of Sulphur Rock, sometime after the American Civil War.

Called “one of the most celebrated women ever to live in the Midsouth”, she is said to have died September 26th, 1918 (which would have made her 108 years old – or, more likely, in her seventies). She was buried in Jackson County.

Caroline Dye was supposed to have the ‘second sight’ even when she was young, but became famous for being a seer after the Dyes set up home in Newport, Arkansas, around 1900.

Despite the dates above, others such as Catherine Yronwode of luckymojo.com have compiled evidence that suggests Caroline Dye may have been around longer. One of the problems is that there are mentions of her in music which suggest she was alive in 1930, when Will Shade and the Memphis Jug Band recorded their song about her. This details Dye’s hometown as Newport News, in Virginia, but the song’s music and a verse was lifted from the band’s 1927 song Newport News Blues, so that was probably just convenient (or locally popular).

Some have spoken as if she was around until 1936-37. This may have been the general remembrance of a notable figure. It may even have been complicated by the tendency for famous ‘names’ in fortune-telling and hoodoo to be adopted by later practitioners. So there may have been a second ‘Caroline Dye’, no relation but using her reputation.

Aunt Caroline and the Blues
Dye was “the gypsy” in the 1914 song “The St. Louis Blues,” according to W.C. Handy, who wrote it. He later names her directly, in his 1923 song “Sundown Blues.”

For I’m going to Newport
I mean Newport Arkansaw
I’m going there to see Aunt Car’line Dye
Why she’s a reader
And I need her
Law! Law! Law! She reads your fortune, and her cards don’t lie.
I’ll put some ashes in my sweet Papa’s bed,
So he can’t slip out, Hoodoo in his bread

In 1937, Johnny/Johnnie Temple named her again in his “Hoodoo Woman” song:

Well, I’m going to Newport,
just to see Aunt Caroline Dye
Well, I’m going to Newport,
just to see Aunt Caroline Dye

She’s a fortune teller, hooo, Lord,
she sure don’t tell no lie
And she told my fortune,
as I walked through her door

And she told my fortune,
as I walked through her door
Said, “I’m sorry for you, buddy, hooo, Lord,
the woman don’t want you no more”

Aunt Caroline Dye also crops up in “Wang Dang Doodle,” (1960) by Howlin’ Wolf and Koko Taylor. This is a curious song about rowdy merry-making. It borrows from black oral history, including lesbian nicknames of earlier times. The original reference to Fast Talkin’ Fannie, for example, used a word other than Talkin’.

Tell Peg and Caroline Dye / We gonna have a time…

Dye would read futures and make predictions. Her most commonly quoted method was using cards, as in Handy’s lyrics. It’s said that she wouldn’t help in romantic matters, though, and told people that they should sort their own love lives out. She did offer to find lost people, lost cattle and other items through reading her deck, or through her visions.

“Going to go see Aunt Caroline Dye” became a common saying among black people of the time, and as she grew famous, she became respected by many whites as well. She reportedly died a landowner with a substantial fortune.

In the 1960s, Will Shade spoke of her having wider powers. He said of her:

“White and Colored would go to her. You sick in bed, she raise the sick. Conjure, Hoodoo, that’s what some people say, but that’s what some people call it, conjure.”

Interview by Paul Oliver, Conversation with the Blues

“Seven Sisters ain’t nowhere wit’ Aunt Caroline Dye; she was the onliest one could break the record with the hoodoo.”

A Mojo Number
The Seven Sisters were supposed hoodoo women in 1920’s New Orleans. As usual, controversy surrounds their nature. Some say they were genuine sisters, others that they were just seven black women working together, and it’s even been claimed that they were one woman in different guises. The name also crosses concepts of seventh sons and seventh daughters being special. As with Caroline Dye, they were well known for their psychic abilities or clairvoyance.

They tell me Seven Sisters in New Orleans that can really fix a man up right
They tell me Seven Sisters in New Orleans that can really fix a man up right
And I’m headed for New Orleans, Louisiana, I’m travelin’ both day and night.

I hear them say the oldest Sister look just like she’s 21
I hear them say the oldest Sister look just like she’s 21
And said she can look right in your eyes and tell you just exactly what you want done.

They tell me they’ve been hung, been bled, and been crucified
They tell me they’ve been hung, been bled, and been crucified
But I just want enough help to stand on the water and rule the tide.

It’s bound to be Seven Sisters, ’cause I’ve heard it by everybody else
It’s bound to be Seven Sisters, I’ve heard it by everybody else
Course, I’d love to take their word, but I’d rather go and see for myself.

When I leave the Seven Sisters, I’ll pile stones all around
When I leave the Seven Sisters, I’ll pile stones all around
And go to my baby and tell her, “There’s another Seven Sister man in town.”

Good morning, Seven Sisters, just thought I’d come down and see
Good morning, Seven Sisters, I thought I’d come down to see
Will you build me up where I’m torn down, and make me strong where I’m weak?

Number Seven has its own significance in hoodoo work, as have the other odd numbers.

Conjuration
As to hoodoo itself, apart from mid-century and later commentaries, it’s interesting to read earlier writers. One source is Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858 – 1932), an African-American author, essayist and activist. Chesnutt was born in Ohio, his parents being “free persons of color” from North Carolina.

His position was odd – Chesnutt was legally white in some States, black in others. In a shameful time of Jim Crow laws in America, many state had a ‘one drop’ rule, which meant that even if you had only a single grandparent or great-grandparent who was black, you could be discriminated against. North Carolina adopted ‘one drop’ legislation in 1923.

Chesnutt’s paternal grandfather was known to be a white slaveholder, and he would have had other white ancestors. Despite his outward appearance, he identified as African American, and apparently never chose to be known as white.

Here are a couple of passages from his essay Superstitions & Folklore of the South:

Conjuration

The origin of this curious superstition itself is perhaps more easily traceable. It probably grew, in the first place, out of African fetichism (sic), which was brought over from the dark continent along with the dark people. Certain features, too, suggest a distant affinity with Voodooism, or snake worship, a cult which seems to have been indigenous to tropical America. These beliefs, which in the place of their origin had all the sanctions of religion and social custom, become, in the shadow of the white man’s civilization, a pale reflection of their former selves. In time, too, they were mingled and confused with the witchcraft and ghost lore of the white man, and the tricks and delusions of the Indian conjurer.

The only professional conjure doctor whom I met was old Uncle Jim Davis, with whom I arranged a personal interview. He came to see me one evening, but almost immediately upon his arrival a minister called. The powers of light prevailed over those of darkness, and Jim was dismissed until a later time, with a commission to prepare for me a conjure “hand” or good luck charm, of which, he informed some of the children about the house, who were much interested in the proceedings, I was very much in need.

I subsequently secured the charm, for which, considering its potency, the small sum of silver it cost me was no extravagant outlay. It is a very small bag of roots and herbs, and, if used according to directions, is guaranteed to insure me good luck and “keep me from losing my job.” The directions require it to be wet with spirits nine mornings in succession, to be carried on the person, in a pocket on the right hand side, care being taken that it does not come in contact with any tobacco.

Modern Culture, volume 13, 1901

His collection The Conjure Woman (1899) is available on-line, and also includes the full essay.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11666

Passing Fictions
Finally, there is one problem with writing fiction about hoodoo. It’s difficult to get right, and yet sometimes difficult to get wrong. People did make up ‘spells’ to suit them. And there are so many variants – styles of traditional conjure-work can be personal to a practitioner, or peculiar to a geographical area. The terminology varies across the States, and some branches came from passed-down pamphlets, others through family word of mouth. I always try to use versions of recognised conjure-work where I can, preferably form direct folk sources.

But it’s always interesting, anyway.

So Mamma Lucy is around in a number of my stories – ‘Hoodoo Man’; ‘Iron and ‘Anthracite‘, ‘Whiskey, Beans and Dust’, and ‘The Witch of Pender’, plus a few others. I hope she trusts me well enough to keep spinnin’ them tales…


Bio: John Linwood Grant lives in Yorkshire with a pack of lurchers and a beard. He may also have a family. When he’s not chronicling the adventures of Mr Bubbles, the slightly psychotic pony, he writes a range of supernatural, horror and speculative tales, some of which are actually published. You can find him every week on greydogtales.com, often with his dogs.

Slay: In Egypt’s Shadows by Vonnie Winslow Crist

In Egypt’s Shadows by Vonnie Winslow Crist

When I saw the submission call for SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire edited by Nicole Smith, my thoughts went instantly to Egypt! Since my teens, I’ve been a fan of Ancient Egypt. I’m sure I was initially attracted to the pyramids, glyphs, art, and desert locale—but later, the longevity of the Egyptian culture was inspiring as well. Myths and legends which last across thousands of years must speak to something at the core of our humanity.

So when writing about vampires, who can live millennia, what better place to set a story than Ancient Egypt? Thus, In Egypt’s Shadows was born.

Of course I wanted my vampire to be handsome, strong, and desirable, but vampirism is often too romanticized. When you think of the bonuses of living forever, you tend to forget the negative. You’ll see your friends and family die. You’ll have to keep moving and changing identities to prevent discovery. Unless you’re in love with another vampire, you’ll endure countless heartbreaks.

The countless heartbreaks part of vampirism also inspired me to write ‘In Egypt’s Shadows.’ I thought, “What if your true love is human, she refuses to change, and you just can’t forget her?” Now, that’s a story I wanted to tell.

My protagonist, Akhon longs for Kebi, his former human life’s love interest. He watches her, dreams of her, and imagines her children could be his. His vampire maker, Nawa, discovers him spying on Kebi again and again. Finally, Nawa convinces him he must leave and begin a new life farther up the Nile. Akhon only agrees with her terms, if she’ll send him a message when Kebi is near death so he can return to Giza.

Lest the reader forget exactly who and what Akhon is, I included him spotting, killing, and feeding on a meal. When done, he coldly disposes of the bloodless body while honoring a crocodile-headed deity:

“Here’s a gift for you, sons and daughters of Sobek,” he said. Whistling softly, he slipped the corpse into the lapping water. Akhon didn’t move as the crocodiles approached, studied him with their yellow eyes, then ripped the unlucky traveler’s carcass into bite-sized chunks and swallowed him.

Quiet as a tomb, Akhon stood on the banks of the Nile, admiring the crocodiles’ efficiency. He smiled as within a few minutes, the children of Sobek finished their meal and there was nothing left on the surface of the water at Akhon’s feet but moonlight.”

The mention of Sobek and his sacred creatures was a way of including Ancient Egyptian culture. I tried to include other small details as well, while not overwhelming the story with too much historical information. But I sure did have fun reading the research material—almost all of which is not in the story!

If you want to discover how Akhon resolves his dilemma, and if he is finally able to be with his true love, Kebi, you can check out In Egypt’s Shadows in the SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire anthology. The collection is filled with wonderfully horrific stories of vampires from the African diaspora.

Vonnie Winslow Crist, HWA, SFWA, is author of The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, Murder on Marawa Prime, and other award-winning books. Her stories appear in Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Cast of Wonders, Amazing Stories, Killing It Softly 2, Blood & Beetles, Horror for Hire: First Shift, Creep, Mother Ghost’s Grimm 1 & 2, Devolution Z, Monsters, Scary Snippets: Halloween, Re-Terrify, Samhain Secrets, Forest of Fear, Re-Haunt, Coffins & Dragons, and elsewhere. Still believing the world is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, Vonnie strives to celebrate the power of myth in her writing. For more information: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

Buy link for SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire: https://www.amazon.com/SLAY-Stories-Nicole-Givens-Kurtz-ebook/dp/B08FM3MC3L/