PIG ROAST by Aaron Gudmunson

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excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlackCOVER


 

PIG ROAST
by Aaron Gudmunson

Chet fancied himself a mustard aficionado. It was more than that though; mustard was his passion. Chet loved red meat, period. He didn’t care that he stood shy of six feet and pushed 300 pounds–food was his life and if that meant forfeiting a few years at the far end, that would suit him fine. Nothing compared to food. Not his ailing mother, who he’d placed in a cut-rate nursing home last May, not his lackluster job as a claims adjuster for a second-tier insurance company, not even his Great Dane Groucho. Food. Was. It.

In his lifetime, he’d scarfed bushels of burgers, mountains of meatloaf, bundles of bratwurst, and cables of kielbasa–all of them enhanced by the glorious spice of mustard.

Arch’s Market was a throwback to the years before big box stores combined gardening with groceries. Arch’s was old school, a squat seven-aisle shop smack in the center of town. It specialized in specialties–it was the only place within a hundred miles where you could buy thirteen varieties of honey and three hundred types of cheese. The in-house bakery pumped out pumpernickel–his all-time favorite bread–in basket after basket of steaming loaves. Arch’s butcher was an artist, fileting and dicing and chopping like a master craftsman, which he was.

And then there was the mustard aisle. Well, half an aisle anyway. The opposing shelving held standard condiments like ketchup and pickles and corn relish and the like, but Chet never even glanced their way. They were all so pedestrian.

His pulse quickened every time he stood before the golden wall of goodness. There were Dijons and deli-styles, honeys and hots, spirited and sweets, whole grain, fruit, beer, and lovely simple yellow. He’d sampled many brands and varieties and had narrowed down his favorites. But there were still so many to try!

Chet loved the 4th of July because the Park District held an annual pig roast and oyster bake. For eight bucks, you got a plate of seared pork with baked beans, cole slaw, a buttered roll and all the oysters you could shuck. Now the rest of the stuff could go to hell, to Chet’s mind, but the pork was utterly to die for. He’d stand soaking in the smoke at the edge of the stone pit while the pig spun over the open flame. He’d savor it. Foster it. Turn it into a deep crave which would start as a black hole in his belly and threaten to devour him whole. By the time the beast finished blackening, Chet’s mouth would fill with saliva so fast he’d have to subtly spit into the grass. By the time he got his plate, he’d pay extra for doubles.

And he always brought his own mustard. He’d carry the jar in a fanny pack, usually a spicy brown. Mustard made everything taste better. Everything.

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


 

aaron g1Aaron Gudmunson lives and writes in the Chicagoland area. He has worked as a contributing writer and columnist for local and regional periodicals. His work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Apex, Dark Moon Digest, and Empirical Magazine. His debut novel, Snow Globe, is available now in Kindle and trade paperback formats, as is Emma Tremendous, his first novel for young adults (written as A.D. Goodman). Visit him on the web at http://www.aarongudmunson.com.

NEWS: Wrapped In Black

Allison M. Dickson, anthology, horror, James Glass, NEWS, Patrick C. Greene, Sekhmet Press LLC, short stories, Solomon Archer PhD, Suzi M, Wrapped Anthologies, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Black

We are very proud to announce the contributors for

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVERIt wasn’t easy to narrow down the fantastic submissions we received, but we think we’ve picked 13 amazing stories from 13 talented authors and we hope you will agree. 

Stay tuned for more links, interviews, excerpts, release date, cover reveal and more!

CLICK the NAMES to visit their Facebook Author pages.

Patrick C. Greene

Rose Blackthorn

James Glass

Aaron Gudmunson

Michael G. Williams

Eric Nash

Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

Mike Lester

Gregory L. Norris

Gordon White

Nick Kimbro

Solomon Archer

and Special Guest

Allison M. Dickson

DREAMING OF ARTAUD – Ulcer Magazine

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 DREAMING OF ARTAUD by Suzi M – Ulcer Magazine

Cloudy sunset

“I used to be a story-teller,” he says bitterly, almost as if he has read my thoughts of him.

We continue walking, the ocean’s roar made more deafening by the darkness of the night. The salt spray clings to me, and I can feel its sting in my lungs. I wonder about this old man on the beach, the tight-lipped edges of his mouth stained by laudanum, and his face made haggard by life instead of by nature.

“I was famous in my time,” he explains to me. “They called me Artaud, giving me a god’s status until I told the story they didn’t want to hear.” READ MORE

Wrapped In White: Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

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from the creators of  WRAPPED IN RED

WRAPPED IN WHITE

Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

(meet the authors here)

Tragedy begets terror, then circles back on itself, and a cycle is born that ripples through the worlds of the living and dead eternally, until satisfied by love, tears–or blood…

The creators of Wrapped In Red have struck again, unfurling thirteen gossamer shrouds of woe and weirdness, laying bare the faces of fear that watch and wait in the shadows of cemeteries, the corners of ancient structures, the thoughts we wish we didn’t think . Some will crawl under your skin, some will batter you senseless with limitless otherworldly power, others will walk a line as thin as the veil between us and them.

Leave the lights on for this collection–but know that no precaution will keep its tales from haunting you even into the noonday sun…

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Open Call * Submissions * Horror Anthology – CLOSED

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As we approach the March 25th release of

WRAPPED IN WHITE

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Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

Sekhmet Press is pleased to announce

our next anthology in the successful WRAPPED series!

wrapped in blackWRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales

of

Witches and the Occult

Here is your chance to be a WRAPPED contributor!
We are very excited about this third anthology and we look forward to filling available slots through open-call submissions. You may submit your story as an attachment to sekhmetpress@gmail.com between May 18, 2014 and June 8, 2014. Contributors will be announced in July. Expected release date for Wrapped in Black is October 2014.
Original stories only please. No reprints.
Any submissions or inquiries sent anywhere other than sekhmetpress@gmail.com  will be deleted. Submissions received before or after open call dates will be deleted.
Stories should range from 2,500 to 5,000 words.
We are not looking for stories reflecting religious dogma.
In your email, make sure to include your full name, the title of the work you are submitting, and a word count.
A short Bio will be requested upon acceptance of story.
Please spend time proofing and editing your submissions before sending them. Submissions with incorrect grammar, misspellings or formatting will be automatically excluded from the review process. Those submissions that are accepted must be open to receiving minor editorial corrections.
If your story is chosen, pay rate is $0.01 per word, within 30 days of acceptance/signed contract and one paperback copy of WRAPPED IN BLACK within 90 days of publication. Publisher will retain first worldwide publication rights for one year from publication date.
Good luck

Submission Guidelines:

TITLE
Author Name
Word count
e-mail address

12pt Garamond or equivalent

Single Spaced

Do not use TAB key. New paragraphs should be formatted with a 0.3 indent.

Do not use symbols such as # or * between sections. A single blank space is sufficient.

Now go write a story!

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 WRAPPED IN RED: Thirteen Tales of Vampiric Horror

Kindle Version FREE when you buy the Paperback! Now through Christmas!

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Author Spotlight – Maynard Blackoak

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Maynard Blackoak is the author of the short story

Dangerous Dan Tucker: Vampire Gunslinger in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

Maynard Blackoak

Excerpt from:

Dangerous Dan Tucker: Vampire Gunslinger

The north Texas night found me perched wearily atop my faithful mustang, Mesquite. We had been riding since the break of dawn, headed for a range war just across the Red River, into the town of Cale, in Choctaw Nation. Fred Sterritt, the man who had hired my gun hand, awaited my arrival with a one hundred dollar payday for my services. It was to be a quick job, with only a rival rancher’s young, inexperienced hired gun and a few slow handed cowhands that I would be facing.
Feeling Mesquite’s lumbering gait, I knew my horse and I would need a decent rest before continuing on to Cale to meet with my latest employer. As we topped a hill in Dennison, overlooking the Red River, I spotted a cantina sitting on the Texas side of the river. I decided to pay the little establishment a visit, for a few drinks and a period of rest before continuing with my journey.
While my horse refreshed himself in the waters of the river, I ventured inside the lively confines of Rosarita’s cantina. Strolling casually, I made my way through drunken cowboys and the saloon girls who coquettishly helped separate patrons from their money. Two of the ladies approached me, as I headed toward the bar. Not wishing to be relieved of my money, nor in the mood for their brand of company, I declined their offers.
After purchasing a cheap bottle of watered down whiskey, I searched for an empty table where I could enjoy my drink in solitude. Spotting a place in a corner, I navigated through the raucous crowd. Sidestepping stumbling cowboys and prancing saloon girls, I was vigilant to keep from bumping into anyone along the way.
The slightest wrong move on my part could instigate a fight that I wished to avoid. Not that I feared any man there. I knew that I could take any one of them if it came down to it. However, I lived by a strict code. I didn’t believe in looking for trouble. But rest assured, I was ready with a gun if it found me. That code had kept me alive in a dangerous profession for many years, while most my contemporaries had met their ends long before.
As I neared the table, my eyes inadvertently made contact with the most alluring woman I had ever seen. Her eyes were like the blackest velvet, sprinkled with stardust that sparkled in the flickering candle light. Long, black hair flowed behind her like a train, gently rippling in the breeze. Her silky smooth, burnt umber skin wrapped her in beauty, enhancing her perfectly constructed features.
I was struck by the odd nature of her presence there. While most the women who worked saloons had a tendency to be hard and coarse in appearance, she seemed soft, almost demure. She carried herself elegantly, passing among the rowdy patrons and shamelessly flirtatious women.
“May I join you?” she inquired, after gracefully strolling up to my table.
“Nothin’ personal, m’am. I’m just not lookin’ to share right now. I just want to have a quiet drink alone.” I refused, even though I could not take my eyes off her.
“I only want to sit and talk to you.” she countered with a sly grin, “I have no interest in your drink.”
Though I wanted to be alone, I found myself agreeing to her company. There was a mysterious hold her eyes had over me, something that not only prevented me from turning her away, but kept my own eyes fixated on hers. Never before had I encountered such mesmerizing beauty. The longer I stared into her sparkling pools of darkness, the more I felt myself drawn into a desire to be with her. I found the situation both vexing and at the same time, pleasing.
“I am Felina.”
“Dan Tucker m’am.”
“Dangerous Dan Tucker, the fastest gun in all the west?” she asked with a lilt of excitement in her voice.
I looked at her with a hint of surprise showing in my expression. I had not expected such a graceful lady to know of me and my reputation with a gun. Still, I have to admit it pleased me that she did.
“The one and the same.” I replied, a twinge of vanity showing in my tone. “But I ain’t so sure about being the fastest m’am. I ain’t faced ever gunslinger out there. Truth be told, if I had my druthers, I’d just as soon not.”
She nodded, chuckled amiably, then said, “Please Dangerous Dan, call me Felina.”
“Alright Felina it is. And what’s say we keep the Dangerous Dan talk under our hats. Don’t want any of these yahoos gettin’ ideas about makin’ a name for themselves by takin’ on ole Dangerous Dan Tucker.”
“It will be our little secret….Dan” READ MORE

______________________________________

Maynard Blackoak is a freelance writer living in the backwoods of Pawnee County, Oklahoma. He began writing as a student in high school. His first piece was published in 1976 as part of an anthology of stories and poetry written by high school students in Oklahoma. He has written many short stories, reviews, articles and conducted interviews for various magazines. His latest work, Under the Black Oak Tree, a short story included in The Endlands Vol 2 anthology through Hobbes End Publishing, is currently available in print and ebook form.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Maynard Blackoak

55

Lives in Pawnee County, Oklahoma

Prefers night to day and enjoys aimlessly walking along a dirt road or absorbing the darkness in a forgotten cemetery. Two daughters, two granddaughters and one grandson with another due to arrive in December.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I will have two short stories in the soon to be released anthology, A World of Dark Spirits and the Fay.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing as a senior in high school at the urging of my creative writing instructor.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I honestly don’t consider myself to be a writer. I just don’t have the body of work.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?

I was researching some interesting characters of the wild west and learned about a gunfighter who simply vanished from sight.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve never really thought about it. Perhaps I’m just a story teller in an old fashioned balladeer style.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The title came from the main character, Dangerous Dan Tucker

Fiona: Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp(?

I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just to show that history can be fun

Fiona: How much of the story is realistic?

Only the main character is based on reality. He was a lawman who decided he could make more money selling his gunhand.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I wish!

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and A Christmas Carol

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d be insulting one of the classic authors to consider them a mentor

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I recently read The Grapes of Wrath

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are a few I’d like to read. However, there are still some classics I need to read first.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I really don’t have anything new at the present. I’m in somewhat of a holding pattern, waiting to see if something good happens.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Not really. I just don’t believe the talent is there.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I haven’t published a novel. So I can’t answer that.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My high school teacher suggested it. I just didn’t pursue it seriously until recently. One day about twenty years ago I dabbled with it, though.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

About a month ago, I wrote a novella about antihero who tortures and assassinates corrupt politicians and corporate heads

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The challenge is to get published. There are too many talented writers out there.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Poe for his darkness. Dickens for the images his stories paint in my head. Conan Doyle for the way his novels challenge my mind. READ MORE

Author Spotlight – Mark Parker

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Mark Parker is the author of the short story

 THE SCARLET GALLEON in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

He is also the author of WAY OF THE WITCH and HALLOWEEN NIGHT

mark parker headshot

Excerpt from:

THE SCARLET GALLEON

ADRIFT – 1634 A.D., Somewhere off the Coast of Spain

The Orenta has been at sea for so many days, my crew has nearly lost count.  Days melt into nights, nights bleed back into days, until sunlight, starlight, and moonlight together, have become one relentless fabric of waning hope. Teasing us like an all-too-distant mirage. Tempting the weak of heart, and causing even further suspicion, in the minds of those seafaring souls who have lived long and hard enough – to not be misled by the beguiling vixens that are the celestial bodies above.

Santos Consuega, Captain of the Orenta, had all but run out of excuses to offer his men for all this maddening drifting they’d been forced to endure.  The war had not been kind to the Orenta.  Her sails had been irreparably damaged by round after round of cannon fire, and her two main masts were listing – much like the Captain’s own flagging spirits.  And, if that wasn’t enough, night was once again upon them.In deep, velvety folds, the night air stood deft and infernal around the Orenta, much like the abysmal nothingness of Hell itself, had only the Fates been merciful enough to deliver the vessel and her bereft crew to its obsidian shores.

But alas – as of yet – it had not.

Rather, Consuega and his men had been consigned to this earthly hell of supposition, knowing full well that land must be out there somewhere…perhaps neither close nor far…but surely within enough proximity to keep the Captain’s mind from forever guessing of its whereabouts.

If only I could deliver the galleon and my crew to the hope of some distant shore by the fanciful endeavor of imagining it so.

 In his despair, Consuega knew nothing could be further from the truth.

Even now he found himself wondering if he and his men would ever see land again.  But then, as if in answer to his unarticulated question – not yet voiced to the entombed silence of the listless night around him – came a clamorous sound that all but tore the night in two.  It was as if the stalwart crust of the earth itself had somehow risen up through countless fathoms to meet the vessel’s sea-ravaged bow, just as the wayward warship’s bulk came to a sudden and hull-shearing halt beneath Consuega’s own uncertain footing.

The mind-rending thought was like a sulfurous thing; exploding and re-exploding in the Captain’s mind until he was able to wrap the breadth of his well-schooled intellect around the enormity of the matter.  The Orentahis Orenta – had run aground under the blackened veil of night.

Once the sky-splitting cacophony of the vessel’s grounding had subsided, all the creaks and growls gradually put to rest, there came a moment of the most unnerving silence, the likes of which Consuega had never before encountered.  Such voluminous silence caused the Captain’s already unsteady mind to question whether the grounding had occurred at all.

Despite the caustic heat of his surroundings, the air in Consuega’s lungs had frozen.  His mind was a jumble; thoughts colliding one into the other.  He desperately fought to seize upon anything that might help stabilize his battle weary mind and reconnect him to at least some sort of rooted truth.

Try as he might, Consuega couldn’t find a single thing to latch onto.  Not one moment’s worth of consolation to stave off his most disparaging of fears.  There was no vestige of reprieve to glean strength from, nothing to rightly exorcise the thrashing tangle of demons that assaulted him from all sides; tearing at his weakened will with their most tortuous of tests.

The Orenta’s grounding was a fate he and his crew would be forced to endure together, just as they had so much since first departing from their beloved Spain all those months ago.

Although the Orenta boasted a crew of a hundred men or more, Consuega had never felt more alone in his life.  Such deafening silence threatened to undo him at any moment.  A solitary soul adrift on a sea of malignant isolation; a man desperate to find his way home.

In the expanse of a single well-drawn breath, the Captain could feel the weight of his current predicament seated upon his chest, as if the Orenta itself had somehow been hoisted upon him – the weight threatening to crush the very life out of him where he stood.

The warship’s waywardness had been dreadful enough, to be sure, but it was his orders alone that had caused the vessel to veer so completely off course, to encounter grounding as it had.  With the supine expanse of blackened night draped over them like a moisture-laden funeral pall, it was as if they were already dead. READ MORE

_______________________________________

Mark Parker was born in the Midwest, but has lived all over the country, partly while serving in the United States Navy.  For much of his life, he has called coastal New England home—a place rich in literary history—with authors such as Melville, Lovecraft, Poe, Hawthorne, and King, to influence his own mixed brand of horror, suspense, and mystery fiction.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Name: Mark Parker

Age: 50

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tell us a little about yourself (education, family life, etc.)

I studied at Boston College and hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, and two years towards my Master’s Degree in Theology.

Share some of your latest news.

I recently debuted on Amazon with two short pieces of fiction.  First one is what I would term a “quiet little vampire story” titled BIOLOGY OF BLOOD.  Second, a short “psychosexual-thriller” titled LUCKY YOU.

When and why did you begin writing?

I first began writing when I was twelve or thirteen.  I remember creating a neat little story titled THE ICE CREAM MAN.  My mother loved it and encouraged me to “keep on with it.”  She even bought me a manual typewriter that I clunked away on for years.  The thing was my prized possession, and I was elated to have it.  I remember the story had quite a frightening premise that I still think would make for a cool read today.  And I guess I first knew I wanted to write, when I came across a blood-splattered mass market edition of Stephen King’s CARRIE in 1974 or so.  I think it must’ve been the movie-tie in that had Sissy Spacek on the cover.  It wasn’t so much the story itself that made me want to write—or even the fact that it was horror—but rather that a world could be created with words, and could exist between the foil-lettered covers.  I can remember thinking that was very cool.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a tough one.  I’ve had people tell me “Writer’s write, so therefore you’re a writer.”  But I guess it was when I first saw my stories go live on Amazon, that it all began to sink in.  I might’ve even said to myself, “Okay, now it’s real…you’re officiallya writer.”  That’s big, heady stuff for someone who’s been dreaming about such a day all his life.  Part of me still thinks I won’t really believe it all until my work is represented by an agent and published by one of the BIG New York publishers.  I supposed if that day ever comes, I’ll know I’ve truly arrived.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I ever wrote was a literary thriller titled FOR THE SAKE OF THE STORY.  I remember it beginning with the question: “How far would you go to get published?” That line was the inspiration for the story and kept me thinking it would be cool if a has-been author met up with a cocky (but talented) young Turk, who might just possibly reinvigorate his waning career and help put him back ON TOP if the two were to collaborate on a project that might even become a bestseller.  I still want to write and publish that novel.  I think it might need to undergo a title change however.  Perhaps something simple like THE COLLABORATION or THE BESTSELLER.  I’m open to title suggestions.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have been told by some that I have an “old world” style.  What I feel about my writing is that while I aim to entertain, chill, and even terrify, I tend to do it all in an admittedly “quieter” way than most.  In my opinion subtlety is a lost art and is very effective if done right.  I have always loved stories like Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY for that very reason; the creep-up-on-you factor I guess you would say.  That is the way I write or the style I tend to most readily implement.  I have a very diverse taste in stories, which is either a plus or minus.  I am interested in writing all kinds of stories, but they most definitely need to have that unexpected element to them; the twist at the end.  When I’m reading a story or a novel, the puzzle is everything for me.  If there isn’t anything for me to figure out or discover for myself, I’m simply not engaged.  An opening with the proverbial hook is what I love and do my best to strive for when beginning a story.  For some reason straight fiction doesn’t hold my interest very much.  Slice of life stories are okay, but again they have to have that element of shock or surprise.  I am most interested in the horror, mystery, and suspense genres, and have most particularly been influenced by the literary works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson—and even the classic works of writers like Melville, Dickens, Poe, and Hawthorne.  I’m currently working on a series of whaling mystery chapbooks that are written in an “old world” gaslight dock style, and have American whaling as their atmospheric backdrop.  For me atmosphere is extremely important.  I oftentimes find myself drawn to a story’s setting as much, if not more, than I am to its plot.  For me, mood is essential. READ MORE

Author Spotlight – Brian D. Mazur

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Brian D. Mazur is the author of the short story

SHATTERING GLASS in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

He is also the author of the short story DUMAINE in the anthology Dying to Live.

Brian D. Mazur

Excerpt from:

SHATTERING GLASS

It was the second time that Harry Kirkland’s life had changed; it was also the last. It began with a knock at the door as he sat watching the news, a human-interest story. The knock was light, but authoritative. It was a small hand he decided, shuffling to the door.

Rap music boomed from somewhere in the condominium complex, greeting Harry and ushering in a pair of women standing on his front stoop. The older of the two was an attractive woman, about thirty-five or so, he guessed. Her brown hair, short, swept across her forehead, trimmed neatly framed around ears that displayed silver earrings in the shape of feathers that sparkled in the setting sun. She wore a dress brushed with the colors of the rainbow. Her eyes were emerald green and she greeted Harry through a Mary Tyler Moore smile with big gleaming teeth.

Next to her stood a young woman, about the older woman’s height, but not so effervescent in her appearance. She was thin, hollow cheeked, rather morose as she stared at Harry with dull, lifeless eyes. Her hair was straight, dull brown, well past her shoulders, lying lightly on a dress that was too big and seemed as if it should have the same design as her companion’s, but like her, lacked color, life. She hung on almost desperately to the older woman, her right arm intertwined with the woman’s left, hand clutched tightly into her companions until her knuckles were white, her left hand grasping the woman’s upper arm.

Harry thought that he’d seen them before.

“Hello,” the older woman said, brightly, her free arm extended in greeting. “My name is Jennifer Warston. This is my daughter Melissa. We moved into the complex a short time ago. We’ve been so busy that we haven’t had time to introduce ourselves.”

Harry realized that he was still staring at the young woman. He found that looking into Melissa’s eyes a little longer that, yes, he had seen them before. They’d moved in about three months back. It was as if they were just suddenly here. There had been no moving van of any kind. None of the activity normally associated with moving. They had just been . . . here.

“I’m sorry. Harry Kirkland.”  He shook her hand. “Welcome to the neighborhood. Actually, I think that introductions should have been my responsibility. I have seen you and your daughter around but neglected to introduce myself.”

She didn’t respond, only smiling a very pretty smile.

“Won’t you come in for a moment?” he stepped back and swung the door open wider. “If you don’t mind the bachelor’s ambiance that  . . .”

Jennifer shook her head vigorously, her earrings dancing with slivers of sunlight off its metal.

“No, no, no, thank you anyway. Melissa and I have to get to the grocery store. We just came by to introduce ourselves and to invite you to dinner tomorrow night at our place. Number twenty-four.”  She turned and pointed back across the court.

Harry glanced quickly to Melissa, who was staring blindly, still clutching at her mother as if she were about to be taken away forever. He looked back to Jennifer who was still smiling.

“Can you make it, Harry?”

Harry considered the invitation for a moment and the twinge of guilt that rode with his thoughts. He hadn’t realized his devotion to Lois was still so strong, but there it was.

It came at first, the changing of his life, in total silence. It greeted him, as he stood in the entranceway of the old Victorian, unmoving; the house vibrating with what was not in the air. When he came home, he would always hear Lois singing in the kitchen as she cooked. That night being their fortieth anniversary, he had expected her to be singing loud and clear with that alto warbling voice of hers.

“Lois?” he called out.

He placed his lunch bag on the little table between the umbrella stand and a fifty-year-old cherry wood coat tree. His gaze skidded along the immaculately polished wood floor of the short hallway ahead, to the kitchen door at the end. A yellowish white glow around the doorjamb reflected white pools on the floor and on the thirty years of memories that covered the walls on either side.

He stepped forward with some hesitation. Something wasn’t right. It was too quiet.  READ MORE

____________________________

In the summer of 2009, Brian’s short story “Raven and the Darkness” appeared in Horror Bound’s anthology Return of the Raven.  2011 saw “What She Dreams” in another Horror Bound publication, Fear of the Dark. In 2012 his short story, “Home Coming”, was published in Wicked East Press’, Behind Locked Doors and from Jaletta Celgg & Frances Pauli, the weedy anthology Wandering Weeds: Tale of Rabid Vegetation, is his horror/dark fantasy influenced, “Oh, Dark Tumbleweed”. The last twenty years have seen numerous publications in smaller press magazines as well.

Brian also leads a local writing group of no specific genre, from which evolved his first public reading, June 2013.

Author Spotlight – Billie Sue Mosiman

short stories, vampires, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

Billie Sue Mosiman is the author of the short story YE WHO ENTER HERE, BE DAMNED in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

She is also the author of the New

SINISTER –  TALES of DREAD 2013

Billie Sue Mosiman

Excerpt from:

Ye Who Enter Here, Be Damned

As he opened his eyes the dark thickened, and grew as black as the bottom of a barrel. He lay in the depths of a grave. Swaddled in rotting clothing from a former century, his long nails clawed patiently at the shredded satin padding of the coffin. He had been at it even in his sleep-dream.
His heart beat slow as an African drum he’d heard once as a young man in Uganda. It came from a tribe he stalked, a group of primitives who wore carved sticks over their penises and sported black tattoos on their shoulders. He had drained dozens of them before he was done. The memory of blood made him lick his lips. His stomach was flat, his veins collapsed, but his brain festered with atoms sparking and igniting in the center of each brain cell.
Now he listened to his heartbeat, as he clawed away stinking satin and clots of cotton stuffing pressing down inches above his head. Only when he was free and fulfilled would his heart beat with new energy enough to carry him through into the future.
They had pushed the stake through his unholy heart, but as soon as they closed the coffin lid he’d withdrawn it. It had taken every ounce of his remaining strength. The pain, excruciating, left him faint and weak. But not dead. It had taken nearly a hundred years for the damage to correct itself, for it was his black heart that propelled him. With it punctured he had lain like the corpse they thought him for years, dreaming.
His nails reached the wood of the lid, having gotten through the batting. He methodically scratched at it, imagining it clarified butter, imagining it as cloud. The wood gave and rained down bits of damp splinters onto his chest. Finally earth filtered through the cracks. It smelled rank and full of worms, fertile as a river delta. He forced his right forefinger nail into the split wood and pushed it down and down, widening the gulf between him and the ground holding him hostage.

He came forth in darkness -a lucky matter for him. He hadn’t seen the sun for a hundred years, even as a shadow cast on a wall. That great orb’s beam would have rendered him blind for some time. It was not always true they could not take the sunlight. He was a creature living beyond all myths, even the deadly stake through his heart.
He sat beside his own grave, noting they had left a stone marker holding a warning: DO NOT ENTER HERE, FOR THERE BE DRAGONS.
He smiled. He was more powerful than any dragon and longer-lived, for the dragons had long gone from the earth even before mankind swam through the mud puddles as tadpoles.
He raised his head to see the moon and it was full. He arched his neck, letting the light bathe him in silver essence, renewing his soul. For he did indeed have a soul, though a black one. It responded to the celestial body circling the earth to bring reflected sun to those like him, who could not bear the brighter star for too long at a time.
He stood, shucking the tatters of his suit, leaving him a skeletal and naked man. He brought up his hands and ran his fingers through long raven hair, knocking loose dirt. He brushed his face down and clapped his hands to be rid of what earth still clung to him.
He put a hand over his heart, judged it strong enough to animate him for at least a while more, and set off into a lope out of the lost graveyard for the plantation house belonging to his murderer.
He -Charles Highgood -would not still be alive. No. It had been too many decades and taken him too long to release himself from the deep grave. But Highgood’s descendants…they might still be in the big house, unaware he was coming.
For he was coming. READ MORE

Author of more than 50 books, Billie Sue Mosiman is a thriller, suspense, and horror novelist, a short fiction writer, and a lover of words. In a diary when she was thirteen years old she wrote, “I want to grow up to be a writer.” It seems that was always her course.

Her books have been published since 1984 and two of them received an Edgar Award Nomination for best novel and a Bram Stoker Award Nomination for most superior novel. Billie Sue has been a regular contributor to a myriad of anthologies and magazines, with more than 150 short stories published.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Name – BILLIE SUE MOSIMAN

Age- What? Oh no. No, no.

Where are you from- Alabama originally.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect

I’ve been writing and publishing for thirty years. It’s been my life, along with raising children and being a wife to my good husband. You’ve heard of a life well-spent? Mark me down for that.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My collection of all new short stories was just published. The title is SINISTER-Tales of Dread. Fourteen short stories, many of which will be in anthologies too. I just sold my fifteenth novel, a suspense, to Post Mortem Press, for publication in April/May 2014.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in journals and diaries as a kid. I began writing (trying to write) short stories when I was eighteen. I’m not sure why except I always knew I wanted to be a writer.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I wrote my first short story. Writers write and that’s what I was doing. I worked at it with dedication and finally began to sell my work.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?

I hadn’t written a vampire story since DAW Books published my trilogy of the Vampire Nation novels. I wanted to try one and in my mind I saw a swampy, foggy area in the South and a house where gene4rations of vampires had lived.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Lately I’ve been called a “quiet horror” writer, meaning the opposite, I guess, of “extreme horror” writer. I am also known for realistic suspense novels.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It came from the quote to the entrance to hell “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?

Not really.

Fiona: How much of the story is realistic?

The setting, and I hope the emotions.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some are, but not in this story. The last vampire I knew made me promise not to speak his name in public.

Read more HERE