Category Archives: classic horror stories

The Haunted House in the Square, for Halloween

The Empty House  by Algernon Blackwood  (1906)

October’s Short Story for Halloween,  October 21, 2021

 

What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.

Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.

One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.

The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk.  Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.

 

We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost.  The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear  and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.

 

The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.

 

Read it here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14471/14471-h/14471-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:

 

More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:

Blackwood, Algernon  Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013

Blackwood, Algernon  Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014

Blackwood, Algernon  House of the Past, November 9, 2015

Blackwood, Algernon  The Glamour of Snow,  March 1, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1,  June 28, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon  The Willows, October 16, 2018

 

Have a Happy Halloween!

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 by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 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

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, James Herbert, April 19

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   April 19

James Herbert

(Novels and Short Stories, Supernatural, Ghost Stories, Horror)

 

 

“I’m never going to win the Booker and I have no great literary pretensions, but I know how to write well. I do it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper and I know my spelling and grammar.”

“I have a dread of sounding pretentious and try not to talk too much about what I do. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to point it out: I’m not just in it for the gore.”

“To be haunted is to glimpse a truth that might best be hidden.”

“I’ve actually seen a ghost, so I know what they are really about.”

 

James Herbert (1943 – 2013) was an English author of the supernatural and popular for his horror fiction. He sold 54 million books that were translated into 34 languages. His best known novels are The Fog, The Survivor, and The Dark. Also the Ghosts of Sleath, The Secret of Crickley Hall , The Dark. Some of his novels were adapted for film, television, and radio. Herbert’s final novel Ash imagines Princess Diana and her secret son as well as Lord Lucan, Colonel Gaddafi and Robert Maxwell living together in a Scottish castle. Stephen King said of Herbert’s stories, “His work has a raw urgency.”

 

Interview by Terry Wogan with James Herbert. True horror fans will love this!

 

BBC interviews James Herbert on his experiences with ghosts.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/19463081

 

James Herbert Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/James-Herbert/e/B000AP90NS

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! And 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.

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Ghost at the Threshold

Sir Edmund Orne  by Henry James (1891)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story for Halloween   October 27, 2020

Reading a ghost story during Halloween week is always a good idea. Sometimes it’s fascinating to go back to the classic authors who are so different from, and I dare say refreshing, our modern ghost writers. And who better to read than author Henry James. He’s known for his psychological realism and emotionally powerful ghost stories. Reading his novels and short stories is often an experience as in the famous Turn of the Screw. In 1903, James gave advice on how to read his work. He suggested you read a few pages a day and not break the thread  “The thread is really stretched quite scientifically tight. Keep along with it step by step — & the full charm will come out.”

There is literary magic in his stories. Reading his work slowly so the imagination can peak and run is a worthwhile effort.

In Sir Edmund Orne, we have a lovely coquette named Charlotte Marden and her mysterious mother Mrs. Marden who has “intuitions.” The story opens on a quiet sunny Sunday in Brighton, is full of romance, intrigue, and of course a ghost on a mission. The story is more quiet mystery than horror but unsettling and holds the suspense all the way through.

From our determined and charming narrator …

“I felt beneath my feet the threshold of the strange door, in my life, which had suddenly been thrown open and out of which unspeakable vibrations played up through me like a fountain. I had heard all my days of apparitions, but it was a different thing to have seen one and to know that I should in all probability see it familiarly, as it were, again.”

 

Read the story at East of the Web:

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/EdmuOrme.shtml

Listen to audio at Librivox Recordings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43FaG7G5Rj0

 

Henry James was an American novelist and critic.  He wrote 20 novels, 112 tales, and 12 plays  and volumes of travel writing and criticism.  He is best remembered for his The Portrait of a Lady (1881) and the novella The Turn of the Screw (1898).

 

 

The Haunting of Bly Manor, a Netflix anthology series is a twist on Turn of the Screw. 

 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

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, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine  

Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Mr. Moundshroud and A Thousand Pumpkins

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury  (1967)

Tuesday’s Tale for Halloween    September 29, 2020

Halloween is one month away. If you’ve not read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, it’s a MUST READ for Halloween fans. This is an adventure story about a group of boys on Halloween night. Tom and his mates must search the Halloween world to find their missing friend Pip, who has been abducted into the Land of the Dead.

 

At some 160 pages, longer than a typical short story but not quite a novella, you can settle in for a spooky and nostalgic ride. What is so wonderful about this story, aside from all the little horrors along the way, is that we discover some of the oldest Halloween traditions from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mexico, Irish Druids, and much more about the Land of the Dead. Here’s a peek as the boys come upon a haunted house.

“Then the darkness within the house inhaled. A wind sucked through the gaping door. It pulled at the boys, dragging them across the porch. They had to lean back so as not to be snatched into the deep dark hall. They struggled, shouted, clutched the porch rails. But then the wind ceased. Darkness moved within darkness. Inside the house, a long way off, someone was walking toward the door. Whoever it was must have been dressed all in black for they could see nothing but a pale white face drifting on the air.”

 

At this house they come upon the Halloween Tree …

The pumpkins on the Tree were not mere pumpkins. Each had a face sliced in it. Each face was different. Every eye was a stranger eye. Every nose was a weirder nose. Every mouth smiled hideously in some new way. There must have been a thousand pumpkins on this tree, hung high and on every branch. A thousand smiles. A thousand grimaces. And twice-times-a thousand glares and winks and blinks and leerings of fresh-cut eyes. And as the boys watched, a new thing happened. The pumpkins began to come alive.

 

Ray Bradbury at his best! Rich language, vivid imagery, and so eerie on our most famous dark autumn night of the year. I loved the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud.

Read the story free at the EnglishOnlineClub.com (Illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini):

http://englishonlineclub.com/pdf/Ray%20Bradbury%20-%20The%20Halloween%20Tree%20%5BEnglishOnlineClub.com%5D.pdf

 

Listen to the audio by Ray Bradbury on YouTube.com

 

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, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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Mary Shelley Anniversary Birth Date, August 30, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley

Celebrating Mary Shelley’s Birth Date,  August 30, 1797

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos …”  Mary Shelley

Every year, the most ardent Mary Shelley fans remember this author on August 30. Frankenstein is still one of the most popular and enduring novels since its publication in 1818. We spend time reading her short stories and browsing her biographies, maybe  discovering a new fact about her life and writing.

Did you know Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare? In the preface of the third edition of the novel, Mary says that Frankenstein came to her in a dream. During a sleepless night in her dark room, behind closed shutters “with the moonlight struggling to get through … I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life …”

In 2018, The New Yorker Magazine published a stunning piece The Strange and Twisted Life of Frankenstein by Jill Lapore, a history professor at Harvard. Lapore writes …

‘Like the creature pieced together from cadavers collected by Victor Frankenstein, her name was an assemblage of parts: the name of her mother, the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, stitched to that of her father, the philosopher William Godwin, grafted onto that of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as if Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley were the sum of her relations, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, if not the milk of her mother’s milk, since her mother had died eleven days after giving birth to her, mainly too sick to give suck—Awoke and found no mother.’

You can read more of this fascinating piece at this link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-strange-and-twisted-life-of-frankenstein 

 

The novel, as most of you know, is about Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. For Mary, the Frankenstein name was an inspiration from Castle Frankenstein in Germany. Some biographers note that alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel lived at Castle Frankenstein and was likely the inspiration behind Doctor Frankenstein.

 

As an additional bonus in remembering Mary Shelley on this anniversary, I am offering my short story, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, as a Kindle Single FREE on Amazon (also FREE via Smashwords online for ibooks, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, PDF, epub, and more).

Beyond Castle Frankenstein was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Here is a recent review of Beyond Castle Frankenstein:

“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations.  Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.

 

Download for FREE here on Amazon.com

 

Download for FREE here on Smashwords.com

Do leave a comment here if you read the story. I have just reprinted it June of this year for Kindle Single and in need of reader response. I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s home in Italy.

On this blog, in the above INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES, you will find five short stories by Mary Shelley, and her famous essay of 1824 On Ghosts.

 

Watch the film Mary Shelley by IFC Films staring Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Jack Hickey, Joanna Froggatt, Ben Hardy, and Stephen Dillane. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.

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, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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Beyond Castle Frankenstein, a Ghost Story of Mary Shelley

 

July 6, 2020   Beyond Castle Frankenstein by Paula Cappa

Inside the ruins of Castle Frankenstein in Darmstadt, Germany, a ghost resides.  This is no ordinary ghost. It is a ghost of the unfinished.  The saddest thing about ghosts is that they have no home. They exist in a kind of blue dementia where most of us are afraid to enter. If a time ever comes to you when you are tempted to enter that blue dementia, I encourage you to open the door.  This short story, a fiction both historical and biographical, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, is what happened to Mary Shelley when she opened that door and passed over threshold.

This story was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.  I have reprinted it on Amazon as a Kindle single and in ebook format on Smashwords.

 

Mary Shelley is haunted. Haunted beyond cemeteries and tombstones. Love and madness rattle her every day. Scandal and drama steal her sleep. And finally it is the stab of her own impending death that drives her to conjure the dead.

 

Those who have been following this blog and read my supernatural mysteries, you may be familiar with this story as I have posted about it and Mary Shelley a few times. As well, I have several of her short stories in the INDEX above for your reading pleasure.  Beyond Castle Frankenstein is my favorite because it relates factual information about one of our most enduring and talented authors in literature. I felt honored to discover this story in my writing world and present it to so many readers both via Pleasant Storm Entertainment publisher and now as a reprint.

Castle Frankenstein still stands today in Darmstadt, Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As does the Casa Magni in Italy where Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley lived for short period of time.

 

The image below is a shocking portrait of the body of Percy Bysshe Shelley being cremated.

 

Some early reviews of Beyond Castle Frankenstein

“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations.  Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.

“Paula Cappa’s Beyond Castle Frankenstein is just the kind of supernatural story I most enjoy: A touch of antiquarianism (reminiscent of M.R. James), the involvement of real people and places (presented accurately), imaginative, atmospheric, and with just the right frisson of horror at the end. It is a well-conceived story well told, and a welcome addition to the world of supernatural fiction. I am looking forward to reading more of Paula Cappa’s work.” Andrew M. Seddon, author of What Darkness Remains, In Death Survive, Tales from the Brackenwood Ghost Club.
Did you know that Mary Shelley …
 … Said she made up the name “Frankenstein.” In German, Frankenstein  means Stone of the Franks. Historians report that the Shelleys visited Castle Frankenstein on a journey up the Rhine River.

… Said that she wrote Frankenstein from a waking dream: “I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think.”

“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideious phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life. … He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains and looking on him with yellow watery, but speculative eyes.” Preface from the London Edition of Frankenstein, 1831.

 Buy on Amazon.com  .99 cents

 

 

On Smashwords.com for ibooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1028313

 

Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, editor Terry M. West, Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

 

Thank you to all my readers and followers on this Reading Fiction Blog!

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A Thin Woman With a White Face

The Lady’s Maid’s Bell   by Edith Wharton (1902)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story,  April 14, 2020

 

Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places said, “We tell stories of the dead as a way of making a sense of the living … Ghost stories reveal the contours of our anxieties, the nature of our collective fears and desires, the things we can’t talk about in any other way.”  For me ghost stories are the dark whispers and inside those whispers are elements of truth. So, if you love a good ghost story, you’ve come to the right place.

Today’s ghost story, The Lady’s Maid’s Bell  has undertones of personal prisons, infidelity, and jealously. Add a loveless marriage, a spinster maid, and kindred spirits. The Lady’s Maid’s Bell is told by Alice Hartley, a lady’s maid, endearing and charming, who takes a position in the country estate at Brympton Place. Upon arriving on her first day, Alice meets the ghost.

“… a thin woman with a white face, and a dark gown and apron; the woman does not speak.”

The mistress of Brympton Place, Mrs. Brympton, never rings the bell for her new maid Alice. Yet the bell does ring. This story is tense with dark thresholds and doors, and the color red for juicy symbolism. You will find that the impact of the narrative does not just come from the appearances of the ghost, but from the relationships of the characters. This is a puzzle for the reader, fraught with secrets and mysterious events.

 

This was Wharton’s first attempt at a writing a ghost story. Her artistry in this story creates a text that is like a warning flash for women of her day, failed marriages, and society’s complacency of the times. A wonderful spooky little yarn that you will not be able to stop reading until Alice Hartley brings you to the very end.

Edith Wharton became a published writer at age 16.  She published her first novel at the age of 40 in 1902, a non-fiction work, The Decoration of Houses. Her breakthrough came in 1905 with The House of Mirth, then Ethan Frome in 1911 and The Age of Innocence in 1920, which won her the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Read the short story here at Online-Literature

http://www.online-literature.com/wharton/2920/

Listen to the audio here on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX__-esn_28

 

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.

Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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Baba-Yaga and Vasilisa: Creative Fires

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Russian folktale (1860s)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale      January 14, 2020

 

Baba-Yaga lives in a hut made of chicken legs with a fence of skulls on sticks.  Magical words can make the hut turn. There are variations of this fairy tale over the years (Vasilisa the Wise, Vasilisa the Brave, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Vasilisa the Fair), but  in most versions Baba-Yaga is known to eat people, especially children who smell of Russian flesh.  Some versions have Baba-Yaga as benevolent, in others, she is wicked. This is a story about fear, strength in adversity, wit, wisdom, and what we commonly define as witches. The word baba refers to babushka, or grandmother.

Vasilisa is a child who lives with her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. The ugly stepsisters send Vasilisa to the visit the witch Baba-Yaga, so she can fetch her magical fire and bring it back to light their house. But the sisters are hoping Baba-Yaga will devour Vasilisa the beautiful.

The frightened little girl spends days walking through the dark woods to Baba-Yaga’s hut.

 

Once Vasilisa meets Baba-Yaga, she discovers this crone is a wild and untamed woman. She is cruel to Vasilisa and forces her to perform unending tasks every day, promising no firelight to bring home. In desperation, Vasilisa calls upon her secret doll that her mother had given her before she died.

“Please help me. Baba-Yaga has given me an impossible task to do and if I fail she will eat me.”

What happens? Vasilisa defeats her opponent with truth, integrity, and a secret power.

This story is actually a reflection of maternal wisdom and feminine intuition, full of symbolism of light, darkness, and the feminine face of power. One might call it a dark goddess story because it identifies the blessings of all mothers (including Baba-Yaga archetypes) who came before us to achieve our strength, liberation, and independence. Sophia Wisdom is here too. We fear aging and death. The interaction of Sophia Wisdom (within Vasilisa) with Baba-Yaga is a force that assists Vasilisa in confronting her highest fear, death.

 

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés interprets the story of Baba-Yaga in her seminal work on fairy-tales, Women who Run with the Wolves. Estés writes:

“To my mind, the old Russian tale “Vasalisa” is a woman’s initiation story with few essential bones astray. It is about the realization that most things are not as they seem. As women we call upon our intuition and instincts in order to sniff things out. We use all our senses to wring the truth from things, to extract nourishment from our own ideas, to see what there is to see to know what there is to know, to be the keepers of our own creative fires, and to have intimate knowing about the Life/Death/ Life cycles of all nature – that is an initiated woman.”

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.  The Wild Woman is both magic and medicine.  Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.”

From Caitlin Matthews author of Sophia Goddess of Wisdom,  “Sophia, Holy Wisdom, came into the Russian soul never to leave it. She is deeply associated with the native images of Vasilisa and others.”

If you are tempted to read this 10-minute story, take the path through the woods with the little girl Vasilisa and meet Baba-Yaga. Read it here at SurLaLunefairytales.com :

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/babayaga/index.html

 

Another version is here: Listen to the YouTube.com audio of A Story of Baba-Yaga

 

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.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Happy New Year, 2020, Let’s Read! Becoming Supernatural

Happy New Year, 2020!

What is your passion? Mine is books, reading, writing, discovering new authors and new stories. And, to dive into the imagination of good fiction.

 

 

Author Charles Lamb said that “books think for me.”

If you are an avid reader, you’ll likely find books that prove this true.

 

 

 

 

 

Goethe believed that “every reader reads himself into the book and amalgamates his thoughts with those of the author.”  Sometimes, yes, I can agree with that.

 

 

 

 

 

You might like what Emerson thought about reading:

“One must be an inventor to read well.”

This is absolutely true if you read fiction.

 

 

Fiction is not just amusement to disengage us from ourselves for a short escape. Reading fiction can illuminate life experiences. We all need to clarify the life’s mysteries and challenges in a dramatic way. Sometimes fiction can be transcendent. If you delight in the study of human nature and all the relationships, you will delight in the reading of novels, mysteries, literary, fantasy, and detective fiction at the top of your list.

This is one of the reasons I love to read and write about the supernatural—to enter that world beyond our mortal and earthly limits.  There is a wisdom in the supernatural that is not sourced from human intelligence or science.  The supernatural has magical realities, spiritual forces, and even mystical religion can bring us beyond our earthly limits.  How is it that the presence of a vase of bright flowers can bring a moment of beauty in just a glance? Why does a sunset streaking gold and purple create a feelings of awe and warmth?  At dawn, a hot pink sunrise is powerful to draw us to the window to encourage our day ahead. Conversely, have you ever seen a shapely fog arise to streak through the streets, and for some reason you can’t take your eyes off the path it’s making? Or a bird land at your feet and look at you for the longest moment as if it’s speaking to you. Little hauntings like these happen all the time. Why? Because we are instinctively drawn to the supernatural, to the language of the heart and soul, to the mysteries, secrets, and messages. So, let’s read the supernatural.

Here are a few classic supernatural novels you might want to read:

The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) by Anne Radcliffe. The quintessential Gothic romance.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Split personalities, science gone wrong, an inquisitive friend, and a trampled young woman.

Frankenstein; Or, The ModernPrometheus (1818) by Mary Shelley. This is the standard for the Romantic genre in science fiction.

The Shining by Stephen King. A classic winter ghost story that chills us from the other side.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This timeless haunted house story will bring you into the world of spirits and desire.

Ghost Stories by M.R. James. One of the best writers of ghost stories in our literature.

The Woman in Black, a Ghost Story by Susan Hill. A chilling tale about a menacing spectre haunting a small English town.

If I may, I’d like to remind readers and followers here at Reading Fiction Blog of my own supernatural mysteries:

The Dazzling Darkness. A haunted cemetery, a little boy missing, and the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord, Massachusetts. Discover the dazzling faces inside the darkened air of Old Willow Cemetery. BRONZE MEDAL WINNER, Readers’ Favorite International Book Award, 2014.

Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural. A firehawk invades the dreams of artist Kip Livingston on Horn Island, where she finds romance with a priest struggling with his own demons. An Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner, 2015.

Greylock. Do you believe in music phantoms? Composer Alexei Georg is haunted by a music phantom who pursues him from Boston, to Russia, to Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts. Classical music, whale songs, and the mysterious power of  nature make this a “romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns.” U.S. Review of Books. Chanticleer Book Award Winner 2015 and a Best Book Award Finalist 2017, American Book Fest. 

You can click on the tabs above for more information on each title (reviews too) or click the book covers in the right column on this page to  link to Amazon.com.

Many here know I have had several short stories published in literary magazines and journals over the years. These shorts are also available in the right column book covers, on this page, linked to Amazon.com. I will have four more short stories to come on Amazon in 2020.

Meantime, thank you all for reading my blog, commenting, and clicking LIKE. I hope you will continue to be a friend here at Reading Fiction Blog and keep this page as one of your literary hubs.

I will leave you with the thoughts of poet Rainer Maria Rilke (who is the subject in my next supernatural mystery that I am writing now. More on this in 2020!)

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

I wish you all a happy and successful 2020 and many reading adventures.

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“A Terrible Beauty” Published at Unfading Daydream

Unfading Daydream Literary Magazine

A Terrible Beauty by Paula Cappa,  Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dear Readers:

I am happy to announce that my newest short story, A Terrible Beauty is now published at Unfading Daydream, a literary magazine  founded by LL Lemke and Adelei Wade. They have been successfully publishing speculative fiction since 2017.

 

The October 2019 issue’s theme is possession.  Twelve short stories in this edition bring you into worlds of ghosts, ouija board, psychic phenomenon, enchanting princess, and more.

In A Terrible Beauty, you will discover the power of quartz crystals, a young man Charlie Crowe, an entity known as Datan, and the endearing Li’l Clare.

Here is a peek.

The trap opened at sundown. Inside of a great, clear crystal swirled the presence of a bat. No; I call it a bat, but this was no flying rodent in any earthly sense. It only appeared bat-like. What I immediately learned was that this odd presence claimed she could eat men like air.

Being an ordinary man, I shuddered.

I say she, although I was not at all certain of the gender, because something about the curves and cleaves, the quivering grooves of the grim shape, reminded me of a woman. My experiences with women were quite limited in my rather over-protected twenty-one years of life, but I remained an admirer of the starlet Marilyn Monroe, and who could better exemplify a model for feminine cleaves and curves?

When I asked this presence how she could do this—eat men, that is—she released these thoughts into my head:

“I tap the temples, neatly plucking a section of brain matter, seizing the shafts of lightning therein, and absorbing the essence of the man like a sponge into my crystal. Then I plant the human head into an ice gulch and let it vegetate like a cabbage.”

I recalled pulling my cap lower around my ears as her thought—actually a thought-noose—nearly made me cry out.

 

Speculative fiction is a genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world but in very important ways. These stories explore the human condition. The term was coined by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in 1948.  This genre includes unproven theories, ‘what if …?’ scenarios, fantastic elements, action hinged to the realm of science fiction and to horror. It’s for readers who want to believe in the impossible and the unknown. In these stories, the sky is not the limit.

Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall is probably one of the most popular speculative fiction short stories. And of course the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

What I love about speculative fiction is that you are in the real world but you are not in the real world.   A Terrible Beauty brings you into that space between reality and unreality. As a writer, this can be really challenging because the story, characters, action must be totally convincing and carry a deep sense of suspense.  This is a story about what could be, not what is. My readers here of Greylock, A Dazzling Darkness, and Night Sea Journey, as well as my other short stories, are familiar with such imaginary realms of the supernatural.

 

You can purchase the magazine here on Amazon.com Unfading Daydream Issue Possession October:

 

Are you a speculative fiction fan? What are your favorite authors or stories? Please post a comment! And if you do read A Terrible Beauty, I’d love to hear your feedback.

 

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.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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