Category Archives: horror blogs

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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Believe in Fairies? Yes!

The Faery Handbag  by Kelly Link

Tuesday’s Tale of Fairies   November 26, 2019

 

Today, let’s believe in fairies.  Flower fairies, fish fairies, tree fairies, beach fairies to name a few. We should believe in everything until it’s disproved, right? And no one has disproved that fairies exist. Nightmares and dreams are not part of our waking daily activities yet they exist in everyone’s night life. So, let’s believe in fairies.

Fairy stories always bring me back to my childhood, but this one by Kelly Link brings me beyond my childhood. The Faery Handbag opens with Genevieve and her friends shopping in the Garment Center. She is in search of her Grandmother Zofia’s faery handbag—who are said to live inside it. Here is how Genevieve describes it.

“The faery handbag: It’s huge and black and kind of hairy. Even when your eyes are closed, it feels black. As black as black ever gets, like if you touch it, your hand might get stuck in it, like tar or black quicksand or when you stretch out your hand at night, to turn on a light, but all you feel is darkness.”

A chilling moment, yes? This story is mostly about Grandma Zofia who claims to be over 200 years old.  Do you know the difference between a horrible liar and a wonderful liar? What fun, and because this little adventure is so well written, I’m sure you will not be able to stop reading. The story won Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards, and was originally published in the anthology Faery Reel: Tales From The Twilight Realm, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It is also in Kelly Link‘s second short story collection, Magic for Beginners.

You can read the short story by Kelly Link here at SmallBeerPress.com

https://smallbeerpress.com/free-stuff-to-read/2005/07/01/the-faery-handbag-by-kelly-link/

Kelly Link is an American author who writes magic realism, fantasy and horror. She has won several awards for her short stories, including the World Fantasy Award in 1999 for “The Specialist’s Hat”, and the Nebula Award both in 2001 and 2005 for “Louise’s Ghost” and “Magic for Beginners.” Link  is the founder of independent publishing company, Small Beer Press, along with her husband, Gavin Grant.

 

On the same subject of fairy tales but from a classic perspective, if you’ve never read The Tale of Tales, Giambattisa Basile’s 17th-century book of fairy stories, you might enjoy these very odd and magical tales that are more for adults than children. On Amazon:

 

The FaeryReel by Ellen Datlow has a variety of short stories by such authors as  Charles de Lint, Delia Sherman, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, and Hiromi Goto, and more. On Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142404063

 

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

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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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.”

Leave a comment

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Frankenstein and Beyond for Halloween

Beyond Castle Frankenstein

Short story by Paula Cappa

published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, anthology edited by Terry M. West

October 31, Halloween, 2019

 

Journals of Horror, an anthology with 29 stories, is written by some of the hottest talent in the supernatural, ghost, and horror genre.  I am proud to be among them with my story Beyond Castle Frankenstein.

If you’ve not read Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, you can take advantage of the Halloween sale going on at Ereader News Today at .99 cents. This sale will run until November 2nd.

Click  to purchase at .99 cents via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MTB67GY?tag=enttodaysdls-20

Review of Journals of Horror from Tracy Crockett at Halloweenforevermore.com “Easily in my top 5 best anthologies in the horror genre. This anthology has a little bit of everything going on …  amazingly well-written and the stories are very vivid. The aspect of this read that impressed me the most was that it was as if all of the stories seemed to be conjoined yet were their own little devilish tales. I highly recommend this work to any horror reader. It’s top notch.”

My followers and readers here know that sometimes my supernatural short stories are historical (Between the Darkness and the Dawn takes place at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Old Manse; Hildie at the Ghost Shore is the Mistress of Runecraft in Old Belgium.) Beyond Castle Frankenstein is about Mary Shelley and the secret inside Castle Frankenstein, which is a ‘rough-hewn rock mansion of turrets and towers perched on a craggy hilltop over the Rhine in Darmstadt, Germany.’

 

The secret I speak of  is in a letter that Mary Shelley hid behind an oil painting, entitled Casa Magni, that was housed inside the chapel adjacent to Castle Frankenstein. Below is the Shelley’s home Casa Magni in Lerici, Italy.

Casa Magni, the Shelleys’ home in Lerici

Read about Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley and their home Casa Magni:

https://wordsworth.org.uk/blog/2016/05/27/the-shelleys-in-italy/

 

Know this: there are such things as phantoms of paintings. Art is a powerful entity. Paintings can often possess a spirituality that lingers in our world wherever they have taken residence. Beyond Castle Frankenstein is such a story.

Mary Shelley was an extraordinary writer and her novel Frankenstein will never die. We remember Mary Shelley  now because every Halloween Frankenstein comes alive again.

 

 

 

Listen to the audio of Frankenstein at YouTube.com 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL MY FELLOW GHOST STORY LOVERS!

 

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

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Leave a comment

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Black Cat

The Price by Neil Gaiman

 READING FICTION BLOG  Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 24, 2019

 

 

Is quiet horror in your reading genre? The Price by Neil Gaiman is a fast read at 2400 words and is the kind of mysterious soft horror that I love. This is a story about a man who takes in a stray black cat. As with so much of Gaiman’s work, this story has high suspense and a mesmerizing effect.

As legends go, cats are said to be magical, ghostly, sinister, mystical, bewitching, and known to haunt Ireland and Scotland. Calico cats are considered to be lucky. In the Middle Ages black cats were thought to be the cause of the black death.  Or my favorite, cats are living urns of human souls.

Whatever your fascination is with cats, especially black cats (I had black cat with a white patch like an X under his chin who we called Jazzbow), The Price is a cat story that’ll become your favorite. The read is great in itself, but the animatic with Gaiman narrating is chilling. This is a dark glossy cat story that does more than haunt.

Read the short story here at Bitchwick: http://www.bitchwick.com/amacker/bean/price.html

Watch the animatic by Silver Fish Creative on YouTube (16 minutes), available for only a short time:

 

 

Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, and comic books and more. His works include the comic book series The Sandman, novels Stardust, American Gods, and The Graveyard Book. He is the recipient of the Hugo Award, the Nebula, Bram Stoker Award, the Newbery and Carnegie medals.

 

“Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over.”

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

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

6 Comments

Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, dark literature, fiction, fiction bloggers, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, ghost story blogs, Halloween, Halloween stories, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, occult, paranormal, pulp fiction, quiet horror, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural tales, tales of terror

Jasper Peacock, Mystery of the Unknowable

Jasper Peacock by Paula Cappa

READING FICTION BLOG

Published at Coffin Bell Literary Journal of Dark Literature

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery    September 3, 2019

 

 

What is the mystery of the unknowable? Is it the inner realm of consciousness? And might there be a ghost residing there?

Come meet Jasper Peacock, a famous artist, who knows how to make the darkness conscious.

 

 

Click on this link at Coffin Bell   https://coffinbell.com/jasper-peacock/

to read my newest short story online. If you love dark fiction, I encourage you to read the other shorts published in this literary journal as well.  And don’t be shy about LIKING or SHARING! Thanks to everyone who reads this blog regularly, reads my novels and short stories, and supports my work!

 

Coffin Bell is a new quarterly online journal of dark literature, which reaches readers in 104 countries.

Editor-in-Chief Tamara Burross Grisanti is a writer, editor, and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in New World WritingEunoia Review, Chicago Literati, Former Cactus, Corvus Review, Pussy Magic, The New Mexico Review, and The Literary Hatchet. She lives in Buffalo, New York, where she spends her summers dreading the winters.

“Coffin Bell publishes new and emerging voices alongside established writers. I’m a believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s assertion that “fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. We [at Coffin Bell] nominate for the Pushcart Prize, the Best Small Fictions, and the Best of the Net Awards.”  —Tamara Burross Grisanti

 

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

Leave a comment

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