Monthly Archives: June 2020

Dawn Wind in the Hawthorne

The Witch’s Headstone  by Neil Gaiman  (2008)

Tuesday’s Tale  of  Ghost Fantasy,  June 16, 2020


Who doesn’t remember the green-tinted witch in the film The Wizard of Oz? Deep inside our psyches, we are all ten years old when it comes to witches. And maybe deep inside you, there’s a little bit of a witch stirring around. Have you buried her? Author Neil Gaiman writes a story about not just ghosts in a graveyard, but a buried witch. I urge you to dig up your witch’s psyche and read what Gaiman has to tell us about traveling into the world of the dead.

A boy named Bod.  A witch. A graveyard. And of course, ghosts.  Bod is a charming young fellow who visits a graveyard and is fascinated by the residing ghosts. He meets the witch from Potter’s Field, and his adventures with an ancient Indigo man and the frightening Sleer create even higher dangers in the real world. An exciting little story that is entertaining for adults as well as for a YA audience (55% of YA readers are adults who love coming of age stories).  I felt like I was brought back to my own childhood with Bod exploring a graveyard and finding a mission to please the dead. As modern fairy tales go, this one is a charmer.

(Witch’s Headstone, illustration)


Read the short story here at


The Witch’s Headstone was published as a short story in the Gaiman anthology M Is for Magic and in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy. This story is an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. If you enjoyed Bod’s adventures, you’ll likely want to read The Graveyard Book.


Neil Gaiman

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.


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Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

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Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

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Book Review, Anatomy of Prose by Sacha Black

June 10, 2020   Book Review and Commentary, the Craft of Writing


The craft of writing is an ongoing exploration for me. My post Reviews of Writing Craft Books on this blog has reviews with a long list of the best books on writing and my recommendations. Here is a review of Sacha Black’s newest release Anatomy of Prose, 12 Steps to Sensational Sentences.


This book is going to go down as one of the MUST READs for any writer, beginner or seasoned. While John Truby, Ray Bradbury, and Sol Stein are at the top of that list, I will add Sacha Black to the list of Top Ten Books to Read on Novel Writing. She covers everything you need to know, in depth, about writing fiction. I have over 30 writing books on my shelf and they all instruct on how to improve a writer’s prose. Of course, Black goes beyond just the prose, she gives you direction on story structure, pace, characters, emotional intelligence, brilliant show vs. tell insights, and the value of great sentences compared to average sentences. She identifies the literary devices that will make your prose more powerful and memorable. I especially liked her advice on writing descriptive prose.

For new writers, this book will provide a major leap to improving your writing skills. For the seasoned writer (with every novel, we continue to keep learning this craft), Black explores so many fascinating tools and precise techniques that I felt all my writing skills sharpened and crystalized to another level. She does have a potty mouth, which would normally turn me off, but the writing is so endearing, so witty, I didn’t mind at all. Highly recommended.


Sacha  Black writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.





For more book reviews and recommendations on the craft of writing, click HERE.

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