Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Wave of Whispers, Truman Capote Style

Miriam by Truman Capote (1945)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,  December 29, 2015

Let’s bring in the New Year with a ghost story. Or is this really a ghost story?

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Mrs. H.T. Miller lives alone, a routine and dull life since her husband passed away. She’s gray-haired and friendless, smokes occasionally, and has a pet canary named Tommy. One night, with nothing to do she goes to the movies. There, Mrs. Miller meets a little girl named Miriam.

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Mrs. Miller offered a peppermint. “What’s your name, dear?”

 “Miriam,” she said, as though, in some curious way, it were information already familiar.

 “Why, isn’t that funny—my name’s Miriam, too. And it’s not a terribly common name either. Now, don’t tell me your last name’s Miller!”

 “Just Miriam.”

 “But isn’t that funny?”

 “Moderately,” said Miriam, and rolled a peppermint on her tongue.

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It snows all week. Mrs. Miller loses track of time in her empty days, until one night the doorbell rings persistently and sends Mrs. Miller into a panic. She opens the door.

“Hello,” says Miriam. “I’ve waited so long, you could at least let me in.”

No sugar ‘n spice here. Try sinister n’ saucy.  There are roses and almonds and a beautiful French doll. And a child who won’t go away.

Author Truman Capote is well-known for his darker tales; most readers know his most famous book In Cold Blood. While some readers might read Miriam as a ghost story, others will find it dreamy with psychological aspects: grief and abandonment themes or self-reflection and disappointment struggles … or a woman gone mad. Once you read this very short story, and enter Capote’s uncertain and eerie world of Mrs. Miller … you’ll know.

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Miriam won an O.Henry Award in 1946, and was one of Capote’s first short stories. He was known as the “tiny terror” and a childhood friend of author Harper Lee.

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[Truman at 23 years old. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, Reproduction number LC-USZ62-118429 DLC. WikiCommons.]

 

Read the short story Miriam at LiteraryFictions.com.

Watch the 12-minute film (posted by YeseniaBaygorriaH). Produced by Rowena Riley and Lilianna Greenfield-Sanders.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/b9Z7xMQPKmM“>

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 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.

Happy New Year to all my blog followers here!

This blog was viewed 15,000 times in 2015, spanning visitors from 118 countries,

with over 200 followers.

All time views since 2012 is just shy of 40,000. Thank you!

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A Boy Named Claus: The Adventure

 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus  by L. Frank Baum  (1902)

Tuesday’s Holiday Tale, December 22, 2015

 

thumb_christmas_Bells_bell_icnI’m ringing the holiday bells early this year. Snuggle up. Grab the popcorn, mug of hot spiced cider, and imagine the snow sprinkling down soft and slow. Outside your window, the green hills shine white.  All is silent for this night …

 

Of all the Christmas classics you’ve read over the years, as a child or a teen, or to your children, L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is probably one you could not forget.  Some of us missed reading this story in our childhood. If, like me, you missed this magical adventure, today you can travel into the exciting world of a boy named Claus.

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We are in the enchanted Forest of Burzee, a mighty forest with queer gnarled trees, mosses, and sunlit meadows. There is a Master Woodsman of the World here, named Ak.  Ak is all wise, sees everything, and lives in a castle in Burzee with his queen.

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[Ak, Master of the World in the Forest of Burzee.]

The inhabitants of the forest are all immortals: fairies, Knooks, Ryls, and Nymphs. One very special wood nymph is Necile.  One day she finds a mortal baby starving and abandoned in the woods. Nearby is a lioness, intent on devouring the infant … until Ak commands the lioness Shiegra to give her milk to the infant.

Necile cannot resist the beautiful babe and takes him to the castle and raises him as her son. She names him Claus. The boy grows up and then moves to the Laughing Valley to live among the sweet-natured Knooks—creatures who speak no words.

But then the wicked creatures, the Awgwas, descend.

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[The Awgwas]

There’s a war. Claus is attacked. Who will save this young man from the evil forest creatures? Will he die? He’s mortal so surely he will. Ak to the rescue! Saved from evil powers, Claus becomes known as generous and kind man in the Laughing Valley, living alone with his cat Blinkie and whittling toys for the children he finds in the  woods and valleys.

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[Claus carrying a lost child back to the mother.]

Do you know the first toy that Claus ever made? Do you know how and why he made the first dolly? Who did he fashion it after? We all know the rest of this Christmas Eve story, Claus flying over rooftops and slipping down chimneys to bestow toys upon beloved children. But Claus’ trusty reindeer were not Dasher and Dancer. Come meet Flossie and Glossie, Racer and Pacer, Reckless and Speckless, Fearless and Peerless, and Ready and Steady.

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What is the destiny of such a good mortal man with a heart as big as the world? Old age and death? What can save him now so Claus can continue to work his magic for children?

 

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[Grim Reaper at Claus’ bedside]

 

Honor your imagination this holiday season and experience the power. Come back to your own childhood story time. Feel the joy and light! And the love in this dreamy Christmas adventure.

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The illustrated edition featured here is out of print (although you can buy it on AbeBooks.com), published by Henry Holt and Company in 2003. The illustrations are by the renowned Michael Hague (The Wizard of Oz and The Velveteen Rabbit.) All images here are photographed from the book for commentary and review purposes only.

You can read the story, free online at PageByPageBooks.com.

 

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Listen to the audio by Librivox.org.

Or, you can likely find this illustrated edition in your library, as I did. Try WorldCat.org to locate a library near you. ISBN 0805038221 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, Illustrated by Michael Hague. 2003.

 

 

 

For more Christmas short stories (ghostly ones!) this blog has several you might also enjoy.

Click the title for a free read.

The Water Ghost by John Kendricks Bangs

The Festival by Lovecraft for Christmas

The Ghost of Dr. Harris by Nathaniel Hawthorne for Christmas Eve

The Legend of the Fir Tree, A Christmas story

Markeim by Robert Louis Stevenson, a Devil of a Christmas Murder

Wishing you all happy holidays

and happy reading!

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vtpipkVWZiQ“>

 

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Announcement: Greylock No. 3 on Amazon Kindle Best Seller List

This is to say THANK YOU to all here who said yes to ‘journey into the supernatural music’ with Alexei Georg. To those who supported and encouraged me for GREYLOCK and helped with my marketing and book promotions to spread the word out there about GREYLOCK, I am ever grateful. 

No. 3 on Amazon.com Kindle in supernatural/occult genre.  But truly, this is a murder mystery at its core! More ‘supernatural suspense’ than occult. 

This launch promotion has made Alexei Georg very happy; I am enormously humbled.

GreylockAmazonSShotBestSEller3

 

 

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$2.99

Buy at Amazon.com

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Thriller of the Day at Kindle Nation Daily: Night Sea Journey

Thriller of the Day

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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NIGHT SEA JOURNEY, A TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL

Do dreams have the power to live beyond nightscapes? Night Sea Journey ia a fast-paced read with the mystery of angels and demons, psychological and spiritual twists, romance, and murder.

An Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner, 2015  

Night Sea Journey on KND:   http://kindlenationdaily.com/2015/12/157588/

Paula Cappa on BookGorilla.com: http://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B009P2HZ7A/paula-cappa

 

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U.S. REVIEW OF BOOKS “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read.”

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ ” Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.” 

★★★★★ Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer. “A talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.”

 

Trade paperback published by Crispin Books, Milwaukee, WI.

Amazon.com

Amazon UK 

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Christmas Eve’s Phantom

Between the Lights  by E.F. Benson  (1912)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 15, 2015

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Christmas ghost stories are a worldwide tradition. This story by E.F. Benson takes place on December 24, Christmas Eve. A story within a story, if you will, and striking a dark tone.  Between the Lights is perfect for a read aloud, guests sitting round the hearth, glasses of nog in hands, fire spitting, candlelight throwing shadows against the dark windows.

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Outside, wind drives the snow and only the sounds of the scurry of snowflakes and the voice of our narrator prevail. He reports about another Christmas Eve’s event at this same house as he sat in his chair.

“It was nearly dark, but a little light came in from the door opposite to me, which seemed to lead into a passage that communicated with the exterior of the place …  there now burned a dim firelight, and my eyes were drawn there. Shapes were gathered round it; what they were I could not at first see.”

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But our narrator does see what materializes between the lights and it’s not just shadows or faded light. “It haunted me; for months, I think, it was never quite out of my mind, but lingered somewhere in the dusk of consciousness …”

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 What does he see between the lights that Christmas Eve night? What happens to the dusk of his consciousness in the clear light of day? Phantom of the mind … or real?

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Read Between the Lights at Gutenberg.net.au (Australia). Scroll to the Table of Contents and select the title (4th story).

Listen to the Podcast. No. 11 on the itunes list at Corvidae.co.UK. Narrated by Richard Crowest.

Edward Frederic Benson (known as Fred) was an English author of over 50 novels and various collections of short stories. He is famous for his scandalous novel Dodo in 1893 and Mapp and Lucia (Lucia series, 1920s), which explore Edwardian society (not quite Downton Abbey but certainly full of English snobbery, small town rivalry, and British high society). He has had a cult following for decades because of the Lucia series. Many of his readers remember him for his ghost stories. More info on this author  and his novels at the EF Benson Society.

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[Images from WikiCommons.]

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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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Becoming Death

The Death of Olivier Becaille by Émile François Zola (late 1800s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 8, 2015

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Her kisses were the last. Olivier Becaille is dead. His wife Marguerite drops to her knees beside his bed and covers his hands with kisses. “Olivier, answer me. Oh, my God, he is dead, dead!”

But Olivier thinks, no, death is not complete annihilation. He could still hear and think, but could not move a single muscle or utter a single sound. Olivier desires to say to Marguerite, “No, my darling I was only asleep. You see I am alive and I love you.” 

A doctor arrives and confirms it. The man is indeed dead and funeral and burial preparations are made.

 I wanted to cry out that I was not dead! My last hope vanished. If I did not wake before eleven on the morrow I should be buried alive. The coffin had been dragged into the center of the room.

 

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What is more terrifying than being buried alive? This story by Émile Zola is truly a tale of terror. You might recall another famous story by Poe The Premature Burial, another somewhat gruesome tale on this literary theme (catalepsy, a physical condition that mimicks death). This story, I promise you, has high emotional suspense. The ending is heart-breaking; I dare you not to gasp.

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Paul Cezanne reading to Émile Zola

Émile Zola, a Nobel Prize nominee in 1901 and 1902 was a writer who exemplified 19th century literary realism, known as naturalism (everyday reality as opposed to Surrealism or Romanticism). One of Zola’s more famous quotes: “I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don’t care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity.”

You can read The Death of Olivier Becaille at Gutenberg.org.

 

imgresFor the ultimate appreciation of this author (and since there is no audio version of The Death of Olivier Becaille) I found an audio by Librivox of Zola’s Jean Gourdon’s Four Days. This is an exquisite short story of four singular days, in spring, summer, autumn, winter, in Jean’s life and his love of Babet. Tender romance, war, tragedy, family trials, and the famously wild Durance River. The pastoral descriptions are vivid, the prose evocative by a writer who clearly is a master of naturalism literature. I absolutely loved this story for its deep expression and the arc of one man’s life told in a space of four days. Please sit back and have a listen to what is probably Zola’s finest piece of fiction.

Listen to Jean Gourdon’s Four Days by Librivox (1.75 hours), at YouTube.com.

Read Jean Gourdon’s Four Days (1880) at OnlineLiterature.com  (novella length, about 80 pages)

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If you’d like to actually see the famous Durance River and have a heart-stopping visual of this river in France, visit this YouTube video link for a 4-minute ride on its rapids. La Durance

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6wWUDZQ9BPc“>

 

Do leave a comment!

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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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Filed under classic horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, horror blogs, literary horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Amazon Reviewer Gives 5 Stars to Greylock

John J. Staughton, leading Amazon Reviewer, gives 5 stars to GREYLOCK.

“This is a rare and beautiful piece of writing by an author with an unpredictable and exceptional command of language and mood. To create a dark masterpiece such as this one, not only must you look into the darkness, but also fish out the corners of your own soul, delving into dangerous narrative waters to create such a powerful tone. The combination of musical knowledge, history, dramatic storytelling, and a world-spanning tale made this impossible to put down, and the Faustian brilliance of the plot was a true pleasure to read. I can’t tell you the last time I so enjoyed a story about musicians – perhaps because this one was about so much more – but I look forward to reading more by Cappa. This was a symphony in itself, a powerful statement to follow up the Dazzling Darkness. I couldn’t be more impressed or pleased, and look forward to the rest.”
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November 5, 2015.
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John J. Staughton has over 400 reviews on Amazon.com and is ranked among the top Amazon reviewers. Visit his Amazon Book Review Page.  Visit his post on Guardians of Time, Mysterious Sculptures.
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Many thanks to John for his thoughtful and insightful review.

 

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