Monthly Archives: January 2022

Dabbled in Blood, the Masked Figure

Tuesday’s Short Story, January 25, 2022

The Masque of the Red Death  by Edgar Allan Poe (1842)



This month of January is the anniversary of  Edgar Allan Poe (birth January 19, 1809). What better time to mark our appreciation of this great writer than to read one of his stories?

The Masque of the Red Death is fast 20-minute read for readers who love supernatural and mystery. I think this story has a timeliness during this Covid pandemic when we are all wearing masks and where many of us wish we could run away to our private abbeys to stay safe.

“The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”

Prince Prospero summons his dominions to his castle, an abbey in the far hills. Here the ‘gay society’ is safe to enjoy themselves in the seven rooms of different colors—which have its own mystery. We are at a masked ball with music and dancing, but who arrives? An uninvited mysterious figure. In the seventh room that is draped in black velvet with blood red window panes, our tale goes deep with supernatural, psychological, and horrific elements in grand Poe style. This is soooooo Gothic!

Read the short story at


Listen to the audio read by Sir Christopher Lee:


Watch the film created at the University of Technology, Sydney for Media Arts and Production (15 minutes). Sweeping, baroque, and spooky.



Poe wrote in many genres. He was the first to include deep psychological and intuitive horror in his stories. His tales often reflect that the true monster of evil is within each person and what happens when that evil is acted upon. His most famous work is The Raven.





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


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 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

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Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!


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Jasper Peacock, A Short Story, New Release


January 10, 2022

I am happy to announce my new release!


Welcome art lovers, to the Art of Darkness. 

Fans of The Twilight Zone will enjoy JASPER PEACOCK, a short story flavored with Rod Serling’s Night Gallery themes. You might even hear Serling’s voice-over on the last page.

“You’re traveling through another dimension—a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind.”

Jasper Peacock is an accused murderer. Ben Samm is a struggling art journalist who doesn’t believe in ghosts, haunted dimensions, or supernatural powers in art—until he meets the famous painter Jasper Peacock. Ben is desperate to get a revealing interview about this genius’s award-winning portrait Rabbles, a horrific devilish-pointed figure—the reported living muse who inspires the artist.

Rabbles resides inside Peacock’s isolated Hampshire estate in the country where Ben conducts the interview. When the meeting goes awry, Peacock coerces Ben into his attic studio. Here the supernatural dimensions of Jasper Peacock’s artistic creations not only threaten to seize Ben’s mind, body, and soul, but reveal Rabble’s dark menacing powers.

This is not your ordinary painting on a canvass; this is a mystery of light and shadow that needs cracking. Does Ben have the courage to resist the force of the almighty Rabbles?

“Jasper Peacock” was originally published by Coffin Bell Literary Magazine, 2019.

Some early reviews:

“Is Horror ever Magical?” Don’t the two neutralize each other’s possibilities? And yet … ‘The invisible becoming visible and then invisible.’ Paula Cappa writes with a supernatural cadence, not just an inexplicable rhythm: she writes in a way that makes the unseen real (and logical) … in a way that the merely physical world could never approach. And her paranormal mysteries do induce—relentless—horror.  —Rob Dunbar, author of The Pines and The Streets.

“This marvelously dark, immersive tale draws you in with icy fingers until you’re enveloped in horror by the end. You’ll never look at art the same way again.”  —Teri Polen, scifi, horror, and fantasy author of Subject A36,  The Gemini Connection, and Sarah.

“Like so many of her stories, author and multiple award winner Paula Cappa has mightily captured an understanding of the world between reality and the paranormal. Jasper Peacock is a tale of the supernatural and mysterious underpinnings. It is also astounding in its imagery. The evil antagonist in this stellar tale is clearly visible through Ms. Cappa’s words. His unbearable behavior is evident from the start, but is he or is he not the murderer of his wife, Cassandra? Paula Cappa is at the top of her craft with this tale. She captured the supernatural and exposes the world of the unexplored. Jasper Peacock is an exhilarating read.”  —Linda Spear, mystery author of corporate thriller The Ice Man Checks Out, and I Know You By Heart. Also, When It Hurts, Inside a Pain Management Doctor’s Office by Sabrina Shue, M.D. and Linda Spear (release date February 2022).

Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Gives Paula Cappa 5 Stars: “A talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.”

You can find this new release on, a Kindle Single.

Also available on Smashwords:


While many of you know my novels and short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog, this story JASPER PEACOCK became an exploration in writing a chilling narrative that would take the reader into another dimension of mind, mystery, and imagination. What powers reside inside this country estate in Hampshire? Only the key to your imagination will unlock the mystery.



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Author of the Week, Rod Serling, January 3, 2022

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  January 3, Monday

Rod Serling

(Screenwriter, Playwrite, Television Producer, Narrator of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror)



“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”

“I find that, within the framework of the science fiction or fantasy genres, the use of travelling back in time is a very effective way of producing contrasts, of  producing contrasts, of producing a kind of free-wheeling storytelling device.”

“I take off and write out of a sense of desperate compulsion.”

“The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act. The physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence.”

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man … a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

Rod Serling  (1924 to 1975) was one of the most talented storytellers of our modern times. Well known for his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone, he won a 1955 Emmy Award for his script Patterns, a 1957 Emmy for his script Requiem for a Heavyweight, and a 1959 Emmy for The Twilight Zone. He was also co-author of The Planet of the Apes. Serling taught dramatic writing at Ithaca College in New York.

In his youth he enlisted in the U.S. Army the morning after his high school graduation, fought in World War II, and earned the  Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Rod Serling died at age 50 after heart surgery.


Interview with Rod Serling, University of Kansas, by James Gunn














Rod Serling’s Author Page on Amazon:


Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Keep the holiday season joy and peace into the entire new year, 2022!


Filed under Author of the Week, crime thrillers, dark fantasy, dark literature, Dreams, fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, Hauntings, horror blogs, literature, Magic, paranormal, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, science fiction, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, soft horror, speculative fiction, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, supernatural tales, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror