Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Dazzling Darkness: Latest Review, 5 Stars

Greetings and Happy New Year!

Often times, my followers here request me to  post my latest book reviews. So, here’s one from last month. Karen at “My Train of Thoughts on…” blog site reviewed The Dazzling Darkness. Karen is a member of  Rosie’s Book Review Team. Her 5 stars is a great compliment! If you are looking for a good book review site, you might want to add My Train of Thoughts on … to your bookmarks.

You can read Karen’s review of The Dazzling Darkness at her blog site: https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/the-dazzling-darkness-by-paula-cappa/

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BUY at Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com

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The Angry Fir Tree: A Legend for a Winter Solstice

The Legend of the Douglas Fir    December 23, 2014   (From Native American Folklore)

Because I love to read stories, and write them, I went back to nature legends to find this tale that has just a little bit of wickedness as we all snuggle in for the winter …

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Long, long ago when the land was young there stood a very tall and proud Douglas fir tree. The fir tree was so tall that its topmost branches touched the clouds. The branches spread widely and offered protection to small plants and animals below. The fir tree held many cones on the ends of its branches which stood open and contained many seeds. A little mouse lived in the protection of the tree’s spreading branches.

There was a long and cold winter where the snow was deep and the wind blew across the land. The Douglas fir stood tall and proud through the days of bitter cold. The little mouse was protected from the bitter winds and the snow fell only softly beneath the tree. But the little mouse could find no food in those cold dark days. The Douglas fir took pity on the mouse and said “climb up to the ends of my branches little mouse and you will find my cones. Inside the cones are many seeds which will keep hunger from you.”

The little mouse climbed onto the tree’s branches and found just as the tree had said. The little mouse feasted well on the Douglas fir seeds. He grew fat and healthy on the generosity of the fir tree. The other little mice looked at him and asked, “Why are you so fat and healthy while the rest of us are thin and cold?” The little mouse dared not tell the other mice where he was finding the lovely seeds. He was afraid that the other mice would come and eat all that the Douglas fir had to offer.

He waited until the other mice were sleeping before he snuck away to climb and eat. But not all were asleep and one mouse saw where the little mouse had gone. He watched the little mouse eating seeds from the Douglas fir and he woke all the other mice. He told them what he had seen. All the others mice ran for the fir tree and climbed up to the cones. They climbed inside the open cones to get to the plentiful seed.

This invasion angered the Douglas fir. The fir snapped shut all its cones, trapping the little mice inside.

To this day when you look at a Douglas fir cone you can see the little back legs and tails of the mice sticking out of the cones where they are trapped.

 

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Have the merriest of holidays!

Thank you all for following my blog. I am especially grateful to so many of you who have purchased The Dazzling Darkness and Night Sea Journey. And for all the comments and reactions to my short story Beyond Castle Frankenstein in Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. I am hoping to have my third novel out in 2015 and several new short stories. Please continue to stop by Reading Fiction, Tales of Terror.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year,

I remain, yours truly,

Paula

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A Ghost Story for Christmas: M.R. James

The Tractate Middoth   by M.R. James (1911)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   December 16, 2014

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Shadows, cobwebs, spiders. If ghosts have any presence in our world, these images will conjure up a few shivers. Every Christmas Monty James, as his fans know him (Montague Rhodes James), presented a new ghost story for the holiday at King’s College in Cambridge. James is probably the master of craft when it comes to ghost stories. He beguiled his readers with his scholarly expertise of medieval manuscripts and his clear understanding of fear.

images-1Antiquarian libraries are always mysterious and this story opens with Mr. John Eldred—who wears Piccadilly whiskers—inquiring in a library for a book titled The Tractate Middoth (The Talumud). Our main character is Mr. Garrett, an assistant librarian, who attempts to locate this book for Eldred. Garrett is a book lover and in his search for this book labeled 11334 (note the number) he encounters a frightening experience. So frightening that it causes him to become ill. But that doesn’t stop Garrett.

 

 

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Noticing an odd smell of dust in the library stacks, Garrett does not find the book at first but he does find something else among the stacks: “ … His hat was on the table, and he had a bald head. I waited a second or two looking at him rather particularly. I tell you, he had a very nasty bald head. It looked to me dry, and it looked dusty, and the streaks of hair across it were much less like hair than cobwebs…”

 

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A death, a will, a puzzle, family greed, a ghost, and a little romance for Mr. Garrett, this tale is perfect for a Christmas ghost story.

Read The Tractate Middoth it at Ebooks.Agelaide.edu.

Listen to the Librivox recording (scroll down to The Tractate Middoth)

 

 

 

 

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Watch the BBC adaptation of The Tractate Middoth on Youtube, produced by Mark Gatiss.  This 36-minute film is well done!

Listen to A Podcast to the Curious, 2-hour discussion (with excerpts) of The Tractate Middoth (scroll down to stream button).

 

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.

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Do you like 100-Word Flash Fiction?

Some of you may remember that I entered a 100-word short story competition for horror at Horror Novel Reviews. While my story did make the top ten finalists, it did not win. As I am always happy to connect readers to new contemporary talent, I am  pleased to present to you the winner, Ross Baxter’s Body Art. Congratulations to Ross!

Body Art

by Ross Baxter

After seven solid hours of drinking Emma finally had enough courage to get the tattoo she’d always wanted. The other girls cheered as she staggered from the bar, happy she would have a lasting reminder of the hen party.

“You can be as creative as you like,” she babbled to the proprietor of the backstreet shop as he silently led her into the dark musty basement. “Just make sure it doesn’t hurt.”

In her drunken haze she didn’t worry when the old man strapped her into the chair. It was when he started the chainsaw that she started to panic.

 

ross-baxterIf you are interested in reading more of Ross Baxter’s short fiction, you can visit his web site at http://rossbaxter.wordpress.com/ .  Ross’ work has been published  by a number of publishing houses in the US and the UK such as Bonté Review, Romantic Ruckus Anthology, Cover of Darkness magazine, and others.

 

 

AND … just in case you missed my 100-word shortie published with the ten finalists on Horror Novel Reviews, here it is again.

 

Varlok

by Paula Cappa

© copyright

 

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The ninth hour. Julietta carried her violin up the darkened stone bridge. “I seek glorious Varlok, the blind angel of the ninth chorus.”

She played her sulky étude to the vale of sky, squeaking such discord she feared the music angel would flee. “Dearest Varlok, I give you my perfect eyes. Please grant me your immortal sonatas.”

The black falcon flew the Dusha River. He pecked her eyes, releasing glittering harmonies. Julietta breathed in the triumphant notes, grew dizzy, splashing into the river like a coin. Varlok soared the stars, consuming her lustful soul like a tasty fish.

 

 

I would love to hear comments! Please don’t be shy. 

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Hawthorne for Christmas: A True Ghost Story

The Ghost of Dr. Harris   by Nathaniel Hawthorne  (1850s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   December 9, 2014

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Ghost stories for Christmas are as traditional as mistletoe and roast turkey. This ghost story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Ghost of Dr. Harris, is reportedly not fiction and his original handwritten copy is not dated. The story was published as one of his “sketches” (scenes from daily life); this genre was in the fashion of the British essay. If you know anything about Hawthorne, you know he had fascination with the supernatural. The thumbnail backstory is the curse on the Hawthornes. Nathaniel’s great-great grandfather Colonel John Hathorne (different spelling) condemned over 100 women to death as witches in Salem, Massachusetts. He was famous for riding out to Gallows Hill to watch the hangings. One of the witches, before her death, put a curse on the Hawthorne family. Nathaniel is said to have carried the guilt of this family curse his whole life. Did it influence his writing? Certainly. Did that make him susceptible to believing in ghosts? Seems so.

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During Hawthorne’s years in Boston, he frequented the Boston Atheneaum, a reading room, on Pearl Street. It is here that Nathaniel encounters his first ghost. He writes about this experience in Tales & Sketches, The complete writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1856). 

images-1I love Hawthorne’s clarity of voice and how real this ghost is presented while still creating a dreamy atmosphere. What is more impressive is that it was not just a fleeting ghostly moment. There is a subtext of communication here that reaches deep.

Hawthorne does not express much fear in this story, but it leaves a lasting impression. What a perfect ghostly tale to read while sitting by a fire, Christmas tree, with a cup o’ hot spiced cider. I can tell you that the prose works magnificently as a read aloud.

 

 

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Dr. Thaddeus Mason Harris

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Read The Ghost of Dr. Harris as a PDF at Anibalan Files.wordpress.com

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Or, you can read this published account in the original Tales & Sketches,  The complete writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1856) In Google Books page 244.

 

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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.

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Lovecraft for Christmas

The Festival   by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 2, 2014

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No one but Lovecraft could bring you to the dark and dreary yuletide of the season. Come to Kingsport, an old fishing town in Massachusetts. Willow trees. Graveyards. Crooked streets … “antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars.” There are black gravestones in Kingsport that stick up “through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse.”

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Not exactly glistening angels and the merry sparkles of Christmas trees. Charles Dickens’ gave us cranky old Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but Lovecraft brings us  into subterranean rituals. Are you ready for the opposite of merry, merry? Gloomy, gloomy. Our narrator tells us that four witches were hung in Kingsport in 1692. Lonely and far from home, he is looking for his relatives for the merry season. He finds his relative’s home on Green Street. A man answers the door, a man with a face like wax and eyes that do not move. Invited in, our narrator enters the house. No one speaks. All he can hear is the “whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning” before the fireplace.

He participates in a procession through the streets to the Festival, led by voiceless guides to a church and yard. When he looks back, he finds there are no footprints in the snow of these night marchers … nor his own. What does this festival bring? And how does he survive it?

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imagesThe power of Lovecraft’s language here touches deeply into fear, not an emotion we associate with holiday time. Fear, loneliness, displaced from home can harbor its own madness. As Lovecraft tells us in Latin at the beginning of his story: Demons have the ability to cause people to see things that do not exist as if they did exist.

 

 

 

 

Creature Sketch Art by Jason Thompson: MockMan.com

 

Read the full text at H.P. Lovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube with visuals. Turn out the lights and listen to this one!

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjcM_sIDfUs Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ICpQs9aac Part 2.

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5 STARS for Night Sea Journey from Readers’ Favorite

Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural

Readers’ Favorite gives 5-Star Review,  by Jack Magnus

“Reading Paula Cappa’s metaphysical mythological fantasy, Night Sea Journey: A Tale of the Supernatural, was a profound, vibrant and intensely moving experience for me. I was, quite literally, caught up in the spell Cappa weaves as her characters navigate their ways through mysteries and dreams manifested in the real world. Raymond, Garcia and the artist Kip Livingston are marvelous characters, especially Livingston whose world is recorded in her paintings; the paints she will use in her works instantly determined as she faces the horrors and turbulent landscapes of her dream-states. Cappa masterfully evokes the wild and natural world where the exiled Raymond finds himself — you can see the waves breaking over the rocky shoreline, smell the salty, humid sea air and hear the cranes and shorebirds as they fly in formation overhead. Night Sea Journey is lovely, atmospheric and, oh, so very, very good. It’s most highly recommended.

Wow…so marvelous. A monumental achievement. Brava!

Night Sea Journey: A Tale of the Supernatural is a metaphysical literary fantasy by Paula Cappa. Father Raymond Kera is having doubts about his calling; if he ever had indeed been called. His friend and fellow priest, Garcia, lives a different life than Raymond does. He’s sworn off the clerical collar he refers to as a noose, and he’s been secretly married by a compassionate superior to his beloved, with whom he has a child. Garcia is an at-large priest who preaches in the inner city, sponsors needle exchanges and is considered by some to be a prophet. Raymond is less flashy, and his superior has frequently called him to task for his uninspired sermons and generally lackluster performance. Raymond has petitioned the Vatican for laicization, release from his vows, which was not granted him. Instead, he is sent to a remote island off the Rhode Island coast where his dubious skills as a carpenter will be used to complete construction of the St. Gregory of Nyssa Church.”

 

On Amazon.com

On Barnes&Noble.com

5star-shiny-webCappaNightSeaJourneySept

 

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