Fearful Cold

To Build a Fire   by Jack London (1908)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    November 18, 2014


Winter. A red-bearded, tobacco-chewing man is hiking the Klondike not far from the Bering Sea.

Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.”

Ice jams and unbroken snow as far as the eye can see. Fifty degrees below zero. Harsh winds. One man, two bacon biscuits, and his dog. They travel alone through a hostile environment, headed to the camp where the man knows he’ll find warmth, food, and safety. But he makes a simple mistake, one that reconnects him to his animal instincts.


We tend to think of horror as supernatural powers against human powers, but in this tale, it’s the brutal power of nature who is the antagonist. Nobody does wilderness stories better than Jack London. This is one of those old stories that has fallen off the radar over the years. In To Build a Fire, London’s vivid imagery, mood, atmosphere, and sounds take the reader into a tale where there is “no sun or hint of sun.” Maybe the world truly is heartless and indifferent? Maybe we are truly alone when facing our hardships?


A certain fear of death, dull and oppressive, came to him. This fear quickly became poignant as he realized that it was no longer a mere matter of freezing his fingers and toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that it was a matter of life and death with the chances against him.”

When was the last time you were paralyzed by a fearful cold in your life?






Read the short story at JackLondons.net


Listen to the audio on YouTube 



Watch the film, directed by David Cobham and narrated by Orson Wells. I really enjoyed this film. Beautifully done! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBB06RLmCcU


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.


Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror

Looking for a Horror Blog?

We love to browse  for just the right horror blog to suit our tastes. I look for ones with substance and quality in this genre and have been reading HorrorAddicts.net lately and loving it. Check out my guest blog post on HorrorAddicts.net  “Where do stories come from?”



Lots of other great posts and recommendations on this highly rated horror blog!


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Are you a Stephen King Fan? “Revival” is his new novel.

Stephen King has a new novel out, Revival. There’s talk that this story is Lovecraftian. I’m dying to read it now.

Here’s an interview with King where he speaks about how fear of failure is still a struggle when he’s writing.




Art by Oscar Oliva OA / DeviantArt

The Guardian’s Review of Revival : http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/29/stephen-king-religion-dangerous-god-exists



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Flash Fiction Horror Shorts: Ten 100-word stories

Are you a FLASH FICTION FAN? I love flash stories because you can read a whole story on a coffee break or as a lunch time read. And I can tell you, flash fiction is technically and structurally very challenging to write.

Try these little fictions at Horror Novel Reviews to spook your day: ten short stories at 100 words each. Settle back with a cup o’ joe and cast a vote for your favorite short.





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Supernatural Powers in Music: Venetian Ghost Story

A Wicked Voice   by Vernon Lee (Violet Paget)   (1890)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    November 4, 2014


Imagine yourself in old Venice, the slurping waterways and black gondolas. Magnus, our narrator, is fan of Wagner’s music and comes to Venice to write his opera. This story hinges on a famous singer, Zaffirino, who received a sapphire, (engraved with cabalistic signs) from a masked stranger, reportedly to be the devil. Inspired by this power, Zaffirino charms the Italians with his songs.

LuisaFumiImages-2Can music have evil powers? We know music affects the human spirit but can it penetrate so deeply that it might cause death? When Zaffirino sings to the lady Pisana Vendramin, his music has a shocking result …

“ …she [Pisana Vendramin] began to change frightfully; she gave a dreadful cry, and fell into the convulsions of death. In a quarter of an hour she was dead! Zaffirino did not wait to see her die.”

Zaffirino’s ghost-voice haunts Magnus to no end, and he cannot write his opera. He finds Zaffirino’s voice possesses both beautiful and wicked tones. Even to the point of the music seducing with erotic flavors. Magnus describes the voice “ … They were long-drawn-out notes, of intense but peculiar sweetness, a man’s voice which had much of a woman’s, but more even of a chorister’s, but a chorister’s voice without its limpidity and innocence; its youthfulness was veiled, muffled, as it were, in a sort of downy vagueness, as if a passion of tears withheld.”

Highly descriptive, rhapsodic, and with a mesmerizing effect, A Wicked Voice is a tale that reaches beyond the expected ghost story. You will find undertones of homoeroticism here. Vernon Lee was  considered to be a cosmopolitan intellectual at the time (1856-1935) and eccentric. She is said to have failed to achieve mass fame in her day, but today readers are rediscovering this forgotten writer.


I was especially drawn to this story since my current novel-in-progress is about the supernatural powers of music; I am looking forward to reading more of Vernon Lee’s stories. Vernon Lee wrote three collections of supernatural tales.


















Read A Wicked Voice at Gutenberg.org (scroll down to about 80% to locate story title)

[Art: masked figure by Luisa Fumi]

Today is November 4th!  Did You Vote?

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.


Filed under demons, fiction, ghost stories, horror, horror blogs, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

Beyond Castle Frankenstein in Journals of Horror: Found Fiction

SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES are having a lively come back, and Journals of Horror: Found Fiction is one that breaks out of the boundaries. And it’s just released today on Amazon.

Here’s a peek into my story Beyond Castle Frankenstein.

images-1A letter is found written by Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein). Mary recounts a night when she attempts to conjure up the ghost of her dead husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.


Terry M. West and Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. present a revolutionary approach to the horror fiction anthology. Found Fiction is a collection of terror inspired by the mechanics of the found footage horror film and this anthology is the first of its kind in literature. Some of the talent here are authors Michael Thomas-Knight, Wesley Thomas, Michael McGlade, Indie Book Award Finalist Todd Keisling, DS Ullery, Paula Cappa, and some twenty more new voices in the supernatural, mystery, and paranormal genres.

Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, on Amazon.com in Ebook for Kindle. Print edition to be released soon.


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Darkness of Solitude on Halloween: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s Necromantic Literature

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 28, 2014


Halloween is this week. What if you didn’t go trick-or-treating or didn’t answer your doorbell to the playful ghosts and witches? What if you stayed locked in your home, alone, and entertained the darkness on this oh-so-hallowed night. What consciousness of the dead would conspire to make your acquaintance? How brave are you?

Edgar Allan Poe knew the power of being alone. He knew the power of the imagination. He knew the power of death. His characters were masters at conjuring up palpable and mysterious presences. A Tale of the Ragged Mountains is a less popular short story from the Poe collection that I’m betting many here haven’t read. This story is about Augustus Bedloe who travels alone a mountain in Charlottesville in a thick and peculiar mist.


“Busied in this, I walked on for several hours, during which the mist deepened around me to so great an extent that at length I was reduced to an absolute groping of the way. And now an indescribable uneasiness possessed me–a species of nervous hesitation and tremor. I feared to tread, lest I should be precipitated into some abyss. I remembered, too, strange stories told about these Ragged Hills, and of the uncouth and fierce races of men who tenanted their groves and caverns. A thousand vague fancies oppressed and disconcerted me–fancies the more distressing because vague. Very suddenly my attention was arrested by the loud beating of a drum.”

What happens to Bedloe alone on this mountain? This is a story of mesmerism, disembodiment and reembodiment, bizarre encounters, and death. Perfect for a Halloween read because there is no Halloween without the macabre adventures of Poe.

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains by Edgar Allan Poe (1844)

Read this short story at Classic Literature About.com

In keeping with this theme of solitude, Poe also wrote the following poem Alone, which I’ve posted here. Quite revealing, this poem expresses what it is to love alone and what it might bring.


images-1From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

[Above art credit:  Ashwini Shrivastava]


images-1Lastly, I want to give you Poe’s final story, just before his sudden death. Poe began a manuscript titled The Light-House. Unfinished and unpublished, this is the story of a man with a passion for solitude, who goes to live at the edge of the sea in a lighthouse. Poe wrote only four paragraphs.

“My spirits are beginning to revive already, at the mere thought of being — for once in my life at least — thoroughly alone …”

Read The Light-House at E.A. Poe.org.




Poe’s biographies tell of his great misery and tragedies as well as loneliness. We think of solitude and loneliness as walls that shut out the world. For Poe, the aloneness may have acted as a bridge to his necromantic literature. A master of dark fiction, Poe died, October 7, 1849 at Washington Hospital. His last words, “Lord, help my poor soul.”






Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.


Filed under Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, ghost stories, Halloween stories, horror, horror blogs, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, weird tales