Category Archives: fiction bloggers

Within the Monastery of Mountains: Melville’s The Piazza

Tuesday’s Tale    July 30 and August 1, 2019

MELVILLE AT 200

 

August 1st is the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth date, born in 1819 (click to visit Arrowhead website). Hence, the celebration this week of Herman Melvillle’s fiction. I am featuring one of his short stories The Piazza because it reflects his homestead, Arrowhead, at the foot of Mt. Greylock in Pittsfield, MA.

My readers here know how precious Mt. Greylock is to my creative writing, and many who have read my supernatural mystery Greylock, will appreciate this post today. Melville began writing his most famous Moby Dick in 1850 during the snowy month of February at Arrowhead, the farmhouse built in 1780. The novel, as we all know, is a story of the unrelenting Captain Ahab who is driven to pursue the white whale who ends up destroying him. Melville would sit at his desk in the upstairs study, his window in full view of Mt. Greylock.

 

The piazza, after which the story and the book “The Piazza Tales” were named, is a porch Melville added to the north side of Arrowhead’s farmhouse shortly after he purchased the farm.

(Arrowhead, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the piazza on the back side of the farmhouse.)

When I visited Arrowhead Homestead Museum in Pittsfield and gave a reading of Greylock there in 2017, I toured Melville’s home, walked through his study and ran my finger along his desk as if I could touch the dead author. For a long moment I soaked in the view of Mt. Greylock, one of the most ghostly and mysterious mountains in Northeast America. As a writer of ghosts stories, I sometimes think we can connect to the dead through our own thoughts and by reading their words; this moment was a deep one for me.

 

 

 

 

Here you can see Melville’s exact view out his study window of Mt. Greylock. Look closely and you’ll see it resembles a great humped whale in the sea of sky. How inspiring is that! Visitors to Arrowhead can  stand on that piazza and soak in the same view Melville did when he spent hours there in his rocking chair.

The works Melville wrote at Arrowhead included Moby Dick, Pierre, The Confidence-Man, Israel Potter, a collection entitled The Piazza Tales, and such short stories as I and My Chimney, Benito Cereno, Bartleby the Scrivener, and The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids. Melville became known as one of the Dark Romantic writers, much like Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia Peabody, Mary Shelley, and Poe.

This short story, The Piazza, takes place at Arrowhead—a view from the piazza—and the narrator makes a magical journey to the mountain he calls “old Greylock, like a Sinai.” Sitting on this piazza, our narrator absorbs all of nature on the mountain—the far forest, hill and valley, flower and berry bush, and the woozy air. Light, shadows, dreamy thoughts from this mountain play hide-and-seek before his eyes and mind.  At one point yellow birds appear on a darkened path. Then, little footprints form among the ferns. He follows the footprints to a cottage, thinking he is entering a fairy land, a place where blond fairies dance.

Melville brings us beyond Mt. Greylock, into a place between two azure worlds. Can you smell the moss? Hear the yellow birds? Can you hear Marianna’s dusky voice? Listen with your highest awareness to truly enjoy this adventure with Melville. Celebrate one of our greatest American writers at 200 years.

 

Read the short story here:

https://americanliterature.com/author/herman-melville/short-story/the-piazza

 

Listen to the audio on You Tube by Librivox Recordings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x266a5alws4

 

 

 

View my original blog post from my book signing at Arrowhead at the foot of  Mt. Greylock: https://paulacappa.wordpress.com/2017/06/

THE PIAZZA TALES BY HERMAN MELVILLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Piazza Tales include 6 short stories: The Piazza, Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, The Lightning-Rod Man, The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles, The Bell-Tower.  You can read all these tales FREE at Gutenberg.org: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15859

The Melville Society: https://melvillesociety.org/

Melville at 200: https://melvillesociety.org/calendar/eventdetail/9/-/melville-s-birthday

Please comment below if you are a Melville fan

or an admirer of Mt. Greylock!

 

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under dark fantasy, fantasy, fiction, fiction bloggers, free short stories, free short stories online, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Hawthorne, historical fiction, historical ghost stories, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, mysteries, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural fiction

Between the Darkness and the Dawn, a short story

Tuesday’s Summer Ghost Story,  July 16, 2019

 

While October remains the most popular month for reading ghost stories conjuring images  of rusty pumpkin fields and soaring black crows under dark skies, I am here today to give you a ghost story for July. A summer ghost, if you will.

What lies between the darkness and the dawn? Maybe a gap in time or space where a ghost might slip into our earthly world? How about a summer read of a ghost, a famous literary figure, a ghost hunter, and a dash of historical elements? Between the Darkness and the Dawn is my own short story, originally published at Whistling Shade Literary Journal.

Come to the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, to the home of author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It seems appropriate to read about Hawthorne this month: his birthday is July 4, 1804. And to read a ghost story set in Concord, one of the most haunted locations in America with the ghosts of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau and others reported to still be present in this historic town.

 

You can download this short story (40-minute read) FREE on Amazon.com:

 

REVIEWS

“Concord, Massachusetts–a town that appears very much today as it did hundreds of years ago–is the perfect setting for a tale of the mingling of time periods. Cappa’s “Between Darkness and Dawn” is as nuanced and atmospheric as the stories of Hawthorne himself. Mesmerizing.” —Erika Robuck, author of House of Hawthorne: A Novel.

“This is a mind-bending tale from a very accomplished author. It takes a healthy dose of historical fiction to go with the supernatural. What appealed to me most was the sense of atmosphere. The author captured the Gothic, Poe~like feeling.” —V.M. Sawh, author of Cinders, Hontas, and Anatasia.

Visit the Old Manse Website:

http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/metro-west/old-manse.html

News about the Old Manse:  https://concord.wickedlocal.com/article/20150130/news/150139951

More on Hawthorne here at Reading Fiction Blog: https://paulacappa.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/ghost-by-moonlight-anniversary-of-nathaniel-hawthornes-death/

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Wandering the Sky Naked

The Daughters of the Moon  by Italo Calvino

 Tuesday’s Tale of Magical Realism,  June 25, 2019

Nude women, New York City, and the moon. If you love magical realism that holds deep edges of fantasy folk tales, this is your story. Author Italo Calvino asks the question, can the moon die? What if the moon orbited  close to Earth? What if the moon was full of eyes and shimmering colors? This 1968 short story is unusual and unforgettable. Calvino was a passionate believer that art could unite the self and heal. His writing just explodes in this rather vigorous and imaginative ride.

“The moon is old, Qfwfq agreed, pitted with holes, worn out. Rolling naked through the skies, it erodes and loses its flesh like a bone that’s been gnawed. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened. I remember moons that were even older and more battered than this one; I’ve seen loads of these moons, seen them being born and running across the sky and dying out, one punctured by hail from shooting stars, another exploding from all its craters, and yet another oozing drops of topaz-colored sweat that evaporated immediately, then being covered by greenish clouds and reduced to a dried-up, spongy shell.”

 

 

The ending, what happens in time, will grab and hold a long time. A beauty!

 

Read the story at the New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/02/23/the-daughters-of-the-moon

Listen to the audio here: https://www.wnyc.org/story/adee7d1df5ac724bab592aa2/

 

 

Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy, the Cosmicomics collection of short stories, and the novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter’s night a traveler.

“It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.”

 

 

 

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Barely Breathing Into the Afterworld

Last Night  by James Salter (2002) and author’s anniversary month.

Tuesday’s Tale,  June 11, 2019

Poet Walt Whitman said that “nothing can happen more beautiful than death.” Several poets—Rainer Maria Rilke included—believe death to be “our friend.” So a short story about choosing to die, when and how, already has a mysterious power going for it.

Meet Walter, a translator of Russian and German poetry, and his wife Marit who is seriously ill. This is the Last Night of her life, as she and Walter have planned it.

This story is masterful and highly polished. A beguiling tale full of emotional shadows. It takes a great deal of talent and skill to construct a short story that is fulfilling and reaches deep into the heart, and author James Salter (born June 10, 1925, yesterday the anniversary of his birth) wrote this with insight and empathy. Salter is not as famous as authors Roth or Updike, and you might not have heard of him. He’s often referred to as the forgotten hero of American Literature. He’s a stylist and a purist.

Honestly,  if you love great writing and great stories, you have got to experience Salter’s Last Night.

Read Last Night here at the New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/11/18/last-night-2

Salter died June 15, 2015 in Sag Harbor, NY.

James Salter, born in New Jersey, grew up in New York City, was an American fiction writer and screenwriter whose work is characterized by a careful, economical use of language and by themes that often involve the passage of time and the losses experienced along the way.

Meet James Salter on YouTube.com (3 minutes)

 

 

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under fiction, fiction bloggers, free short stories, free short stories online, literature, mysteries, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs

Dashiell Hammett’s Brave Earl Parish

An Inch And a Half of Glory  by Dashiell Hammett

 Tuesday’s Mystery Tale    May 28, 2019

Mystery writer Dashiell Hammett said “What I try to do is to write a story about a detective rather than a detective story.”

Oh that Dashiell, he’s a a good one. This week, May 27 is the anniversary date of Hammett’s birth. He is most famous for The Thin Man and Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, so let’s remember this talented writer by reading his An Inch and a Half of Glory.

Hammett wrote a good number of short stories; this is the only one I could find free to read online. Not a detective story, but certainly a suspenseful psychological yarn about a man named Earl Parish who saves a little boy from an apparent house fire. What is really intriguing is the personality portrait of Earl and the sense of irony in the story. Good suspense and a fascinating quick read.

Read the short story here at the New Yorker magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/06/10/an-inch-and-a-half-of-glory

 

 

Did you know that Hammett spent his early twenties as a detective in San Francisco? His first story was published in a society magazine The Smart Set. But everyone knows he got his real literary start in the magazine Black Mask when they published his crime story Arson Plus. He wrote five novels, but many remember him as a devoted left-wing activist. In his later years he settled in Katonah, NY, in a small rural cottage, before passing away in New York City. He remains one of the most influential writers of our time. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

 

And didn’t we all romanticize his 30-year love affair with Lillian Hellman (in the 1977  film Julia with Jason Robards and Jane Fonda).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Filed under crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, fiction bloggers, flash fiction, free short stories, free short stories online, horror blogs, mysteries, noir mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs

A Kingdom of Spirits

Napoleon and the Spectre by Charlotte Brontë (written in 1833, published in 1925)

[From the manuscript the “Green Dwarf”]

 

Tuesday’s Tale   April 30 2019

“Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits; that world is round us, for it is everywhere.”  From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Did you know that a fragment of Napoleon’s coffin was given to  author Charlotte Brontë?

[Napoleon’s coffin aboard La Belle Poule. The coffin was covered by a black velvet drape decorated with golden bees, eagles, and silver cross. At 8am on Sunday 18 October la Belle Poule set sail.]

Lots of legends are out there about Napoleon’s ghost haunting people. The Museum of The Black Watch has a letter describing a British soldier’s encounter with Napoleon’s ghost during the removal of Napoleon’s remains from St. Helena to France in 1840. Napoleon was said to be highly superstitious: lucky starts, omens, lucky dates, and he frequently saw a phantom he called the Red Man who appeared at the Battle of the Pyraminds, at Wagram, at his coronation, and on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.

Perhaps because Charlotte possessed a part of Napoleon’s coffin, she was inspired to write a short story about Napoleon, not as a gallant emperor, but as a haunted emperor.

The story opens with Napoleon ready for sleep when …

A deep groan burst from a kind of closet in one corner of the apartment.

“Who’s there?” cried the Emperor, seizing his pistols. “Speak, or I’ll blow your brains out.”

This threat produced no other effect than a short, sharp laugh, and a dead silence followed.’

 

This ghost story has a bit of verbal irony, ghostly setting and mood, and the atmospherics are amusing. Not Charlotte’s best work but an enjoyable 10-minute read by one of our most beloved authors. If you are a Charlotte Brontë fan, you really must read this one.

Read the short story (10 minutes) at Gutenberg Australia

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602171h.html

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com (8 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuJ6QCdTwtQ

 

Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters Emily and Anne. Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. She began writing poems and ghost stories at the age of twelve. Raised in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire, the sisters were dreamy if not lonely children. Their brother Branwell made up stories of an unreal world, writing them in tiny handwriting on small sheets of paper, which they stitched together to look like real books. The image below is by Branwell, with himself painted out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronte Parsonage Museum

 

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

4 Comments

Filed under fiction, fiction bloggers, flash fiction, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, supernatural fiction

Don’t Go Into the Forest: The Third Bear

The Third Bear  by Jeff Vandermeer

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    April 16, 2019

2007 SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD NOMINEE, 2007 WSFA SMALL PRESS AWARD NOMINEE

I dare you to stop reading this story. The Third Bear is a horror story, not the ‘quiet horror’  I prefer but it’s done well so I was good with it.  A ravenous bear on a killing spree, a banished witch-woman in the woods, a mysterious door hidden among the dark woods, and a town’s desperate passion to survive. But more than all this, we have a story of good old-fashioned fear with an ending sure to strike.

 

The door. In the middle of the forest. It was made of old oak and overgrown with moss and mushrooms, and yet it seemed to flicker like glass. A kind of light or brightness hurtled through the ground, through the dead leaves and worms and beetles, around the door  …

 

Read the short story here at ClarkesworldMagazine:

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/vandermeer_04_07/

 

 

I want to add for all the fiction writers who follow my blog, this story is a supreme example of well-written suspense, characterization, plot, and theme.  And the descriptions! Here is the author Jeff Vandermeer’s Eight Writing Tips. I found these tips to go beyond the same ol’ advice you’ve likely read before. Vandermeer has new thoughts, absolutely refreshing and inspiring. He believes  “in letting the things about writing that should be organic remain organic, but also working in targeted ways on those things that can be improved mechanically. (It may be six months to a year before I begin to write a novel).”

I also like the fact that Vandermeer honors an author’s “time spent thinking about what you are going to write.”  He speaks to the ecstatic vision about a scene or character. Lots more here:

https://chireviewofbooks.com/2018/03/05/8-writing-tips-from-jeff-vandermeer/

Jeff VanderMeer is an American author. He is an editor and literary critic. He established his fame in the New Weird literary genre and became known as ‘the weird Thoreau’ by the New Yorker Magazine. His bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy brought him into mainstream fiction and the book hit some 30 Best Lists in 2014. He is winner of numerous World Fantasy Awards, Hugo Award, and Nebula Award. He won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel for Annihilation. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

 

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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

3 Comments

Filed under dark fantasy, fantasy, fiction, fiction bloggers, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales