Category Archives: horror blogs

Backwoods Murder

A Good Man is Hard to Find    by Flannery O’Connor  (1955)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 14, 2017

 

Dark fiction is known to be a broad category, but most agree it is the literary expressions of disturbing human nature. The stories are sometimes graphically violent. This story is not–it does have a dark truth and a riveting suspense.

 

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We are in the 1950s. Grandma and her family are on a road trip from Georgia to Florida.  Grandma’s son, Bailey, his ‘cabbage-faced wife,’ and their children—a bratty girl and boy—and a cat named Pitty Sing are headed through the deep South.  Family dynamics here are intense as you might expect on a long car trip.

Bailey, the dad: “All right!” he shouted and drew the car to a stop at the side of the road. “Will you all shut up? Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don’t shut up, we won’t go anywhere.”

And then an accident happens.  That silly snarly cat. They tumbled into a ditch. And as it happens, an escaped convict, a killer named “The Misfit” is on the loose  in the deep South.

“Behind the ditch they were sitting in there were more woods, tall and dark and deep. In a few minutes they saw a car some distance away on top of a hill, coming slowly as if the occupants were watching them. The grandmother stood up and waved both arms dramatically to attract their attention. The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile. There were three men in it.”

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The story isn’t horror but it will horrify the reader. Tightly crafted, it’s a superb tale of literal and figurative turning points. What struck me was the presence of the bird ghost, “bright blue parrots”  threaded in. Chilling effect.

 

 

This is bizarre Southern literature by an awe-inspiring writer, a master of form, Flannery O’Connor. She was an American fiction author and essayist, wrote novels and thirty-two short stories, and won a National Book Award and three O. Henry Awards. The famous  Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction  just celebrated its 30th anniversary at The University of Georgia Press. The award was established to encourage gifted young writers by bringing their work to the attention of readers and reviewers.

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place

and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.”  Flannery O’Connor

O’Connor loved birds. As a child, she sewed clothes for her pet chickens. Peacocks were her favorite. She kept near 40 peacocks on her property. Visit her website: http://www.flanneryoconnor.org/

 

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Read A Good Man is Hard to Find (Finalist for the 1956 National Book Award in Fictionat Xroads.Virginia.Edu.

 

Listen and read along to the story (read by Flannery O’Connor) at Genius.com.

 

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of nearly 200 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, and horror. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

  Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

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Filed under crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror

Never Poison a Witch

Catskin  by Kelly Link   (2012)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 31, 2017

 

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When we think of witches, we don’t think of soft round women, scented and powdered, wearing pink tufted slippers, and living in cute houses. They are more like women with twisted hearts that beat fierce blood into powerful spells over their victims. Kelly Link writes in odd directions and this story, Catskin,  is a world where you can totally lose yourself. Are you up for a horrific fairy tale? Here’s a warning: Never poison a witch.

The witch, up in her bedroom, was dying.

Now, since witches cannot have children in the usual way—their wombs are full of straw or bricks or stones, and when they give birth, they give birth to rabbits, kittens, tadpoles, houses, silk dresses, and yet even witches must have heirs, even witches wish to be mothers—the witch had acquired her children by other means: She had stolen or bought them.

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Do you like creepy cats? When I think of old cats, I conjure up lazy ones on a quilted bedspread, eyes slit closed and their soft minds dreaming in the shadows—a little bit like Poe said in The Raven: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” Truly, I do.

 

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Cats trotted and slunk and leapt and crouched. They were busy. Their movements were catlike, or perhaps clockwork. Their tails twitched like hairy pendulums. They paid no attention to the witch’s children.

 

Witches and cats … a winning combination for a short story.

 

 

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Ancient Proverb: You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.”

 

Read Catskin at LightspeedMagazine.com  

 

kelly-linkKelly Link’s  debut collection, Stranger Things Happen, was a Firecracker nominee, a Village Voice Favorite Book and a Salon Book of the Year — Salon called the collection “…an alchemical mixture of Borges, Raymond Chandler, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Stories from the collection have won the Nebula, the James Tiptree Jr., and the World Fantasy Awards. Her second collection, Magic for Beginners, was chosen as one of the best books of the decade by Salon and The Onion.  Kelly has taught at Smith College, Columbia University, UMass Amherst, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Clarion, Clarion West, and Clarion South in Brisbane, Australia, and the Imagination Workshop at Cleveland State University.

 

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Read more of Kelly Link’s work like Catskin in her Magic for Beginners.

 

 

Check out BuzzFeed’s Cat Stories.

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of nearly 200 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, ghost stories, and horror. Join me in reading one short story every other week!

Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

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Filed under dark fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, witches, Women In Horror

Greylock, Review at Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

‘Greylock’: Thriller With Local Ties

For my Massachusetts fans, in case you missed this in the Berkshire Eagle. I just discovered this review this week. I’m planning a trip to Pittsfield, MA for a book reading and signing in June 2017.  This review by Colin Harrington, The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass.

 

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‘Greylock’: Thriller with local ties perfect for Halloween reading

By Colin Harrington, Special to The Eagle, October 2016.

Suspense, romance, classical music, and the supernatural all converge at the summit of Mount Greylock in Paula Cappa’s thrilling new novel of murder and the occult, “Greylock.”

In 2007, Alexei Georg as sonar technician aboard the USS Los Angeles submarine, pinged beluga whales in the White Sea off Russia and was transported in time and space through their whale song from half a world away. Returning to Boston and his life as a concert pianist, he receives a mysterious newspaper clipping about the same whales gathering and singing seven years earlier on the same date, Sept. 9.

It becomes the perfect, even destined theme for writing a symphony, a whale symphony. His career had already risen to notice when he performed his October sonata, a piece he claimed to have written, when in fact he had discovered it, albeit unsigned, in the sea chest of his Russian father, Aleksandr Georg.

The story had always been hazy but the music of the October sonata was sensational and he was frequently asked to perform it at major venues. Encouraged by his mentor, Dr. Leed Mensah of Wheatley College, Alexei becomes a candidate for a prestigious and lucrative Essex Institute Endowment award to write his whale symphony at the Greylock Music Hall at the top of Mount Greylock. Alexei manages to get back to the White Sea by Sept. 9, 2014, to commune again with his whales from aboard the Belyy Ved’ma with the shadowy but intuitive captain Gleb and the powerful shaman/translator Shemiossa. Alexei has his most intense telepathic encounter with the Beluga whales this time and is more determined than ever to write his symphony on Greylock. Trouble brews however, when his wife, Carole Ann, whom he has just left because she does not support his composing dreams, is murdered, and he becomes the prime suspect for her murder and three other related “slasher” murders. He soon realizes too that the October sonata is cursed and he finds that he cannot rid himself of the Russian river demon, Varlok, who demands a terrible payment for ownership of the music.

Pursued relentlessly by Boston Homicide’s Detective Violet Rufft, Alexei is by turns supported and betrayed by his friends and his cousin, Josef, with whom he grew up in Plymouth, and with whom he has a bitter rivalry in the concert hall.

Strengthened by his love for TV meteorologist Lia Marrs, and wizened to the soul-shattering seductions of great music, Alexei confronts Varlok in mortal combat on Mount Greylock after a visitation from Shemiossa on the trails that lead him to musical triumph. When he believes he is freed of evil, Alexei composes the greatest music of his life, by his own talent.

This novel is terrific and a perfect book to curl up with on Halloween.

Colin Harrington is the Events Manager at The Bookstore* and Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox, Mass. 

 

Read the review at the Berkshire Eagle News, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

 

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Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015

 
 “I’ve not seen anything like it since Hitchcock and duMaurier

gave us The Birds. Greylock is a stunning masterpiece.”

Five Stars from Veteran Book Reviewer Don Sloan.

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Print editions available at the following:

Bascom Lodge, Summit of Mt. Greylock, Lanesboro, MA

The Bookstore,* Lenox, MA

Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Stockbridge, MA

The BookLoft, Great Barrington, MA

Ebook and trade paperback:  Amazon.com    Barnes&Noble.com  itunes.apple.com

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, murder mystery, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Gaiman’s Black Cave Truth in a Mountain

 The Truth is a Black Cave in a Mountain  by Neil Gaiman (2014)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 17, 2017

 

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Are you a dark fantasy or speculative fiction fan? Dark fantasy is not horror, not ghostly, but explores dark emotions, the psychological, and often paranormal worlds and creatures.  Fantasy is the language of dreams. It has become a popular frontier in storytelling these days. Game of Thrones comes to mind, right? And of course, The Odyssey full of mythical creatures, sirens, and witches.  Today, prepare yourself to shift into another realm in this short story The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains.

Mountains hold silence, silver skies and green earth. What a vast splendor. To stand on a mountain is to stand apart from all men and be inside the heart of nature. I felt that way when I climbed Mt. Greylock to research my novel.  As if I could climb skyward on the ladder of clouds, I wanted to feel its power.  John Muir says “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” But there can be darkness too, spiky-edged shadows and brooding whispers. And unawakened eyes.

 

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Two men embark on a journey in what appears to be the Scottish terrain. There are secrets here. And magic. And a skull. Come into the dark fantasy world of Neil Gaiman.

The truth is a cave in the black mountains.  And maybe gold is hidden here too. There is one way there, and that way is treacherous, and if you choose the wrong path you will die alone on the mountainside.

The two walked on and into the Misty Isle. The mountains were black and grey against the white of the sky. Eagles circled.

“I see death in your past and death in your future.”

“Death waits in all our futures,” I said.

Something was there. Something was waiting.

 

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The part fable and part fairy tale brings you shadows,  regret, vengeance, and, ultimately love.

 

Read the FREE short story here at FiftyTwoStories.com

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Neil Gaiman  is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods (2001), Anansi Boys (2005), and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), as well as the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors (1998) and Fragile Things (2006).  His The Graveyard Book  won the UK’s Booktrust Prize for Teenage Fiction, the Newbery Medal, and the Hugo Best Novel Prize.

His first collection of short fiction, Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, was nominated for the UK’s MacMillan Silver Pen Awards as the best short story collection of the year.

 

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.”  Neil Gaiman.

 

 

 

MORE TALES OF TERROR

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of nearly 200 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

 

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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, ghost story blogs, Greylock, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, psychological horror, short stories, short story blogs, skulls, supernatural, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror

Review of Greylock – Five Stars from Don Sloan

Five Stars from Veteran Book Reviewer Don Sloan:

“I’ve not seen anything like it since Hitchcock and duMaurier gave us The Birds. Greylock is a stunning masterpiece of innovative horror. Award-winning author Paula Cappa delivers a virtuoso performance in fiction, with characters you’ll care deeply about and sinister evil that will trouble your sleep for a long time to come.

Composer and classical concert pianist Alexei Georg has a dream: to put the music of the beluga whales off Russia’s coast into a musical composition for piano and symphony orchestra. Only two things are stopping him: a shrewish wife and a black apparition that haunts his recent performances. His lover, radio meteorologist Lia Marrs, wants very much to believe that Alexei will be successful in his bid to divorce the diabolical Carole Anne, but his soon-to-be ex-wife has a secret she’s holding over his head — the revelation that his signature composition “October” was, in fact, written over a hundred years earlier by someone else.

He travels to the icy waters where the whales are known to sing their eerie songs, and encounters a female Russian shaman who alternately intrigues him and terrifies him with her enigmatic interpretations.Then, Carole Anne’s murder throws things into turmoil as Alexei, suspected of the crime, flees to remote Mount Greylock, still pursued by the dark phantom.

This inspired story of the creative process, and the lengths to which a composer might go to realize his dream, is at once cautionary and revealing. Who can say what dark muses we all might entreat to achieve our artistic aims and aspirations?

Five well-earned stars to Greylock.”

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Print Edition published by Crispin Books.  

Kindle and print editions available on Amazon.com.

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, Greylock, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, paranormal, short story blogs, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Ghost Story Aficionados

The Haunted House  by Pliny the Younger  (1000 AD)

An Ancient Ghost Story,   Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 3, 2017

Ghosts are and have been a permanent feature in our human history, whether you believe in them or not.

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‘And this, my friend, may be conceived to be that heavy, weighty, earthy element of sight by which such a soul is depressed and dragged down again into the visible world, because she is afraid of the invisible and of the world below-prowling about tombs and sepulchers, in the neighborhood of which, as they tell us, are seen certain ghostly apparitions of souls which have not departed pure, but are cloyed with sight and therefore visible.  -Plato’s Phaedo

 

Portrait of Plato. Luni marble. Roman copy after a Greek original of Silanion. Inv. No. MC 1377. Rome, Capitoline Museums, Museum Montemartini.

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Are we in good company with Plato? I think so. Let’s take a moment in this new year, apply a bit of philosophy, and believe in ghosts. Let’s go back to ancient Roman times. You may have heard of this gentleman Pliny the Younger (Pliny the Elder was his uncle). Pliny the Younger (in Latin Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) was a Roman author of 9 books of letters, which described ancient Roman life. He was a lawyer, philosopher, financial wizard, famous orator, and a Roman Senator.

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If you pride yourself on being a ghost story aficionado, you must read this one; it’s probably the very first ghost story ever written.  The Haunted House is from Pliny’s correspondence and begins …

“There was at Athens a mansion, spacious and large, but of evil repute and dangerous to health. In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains…”

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Come read the story of Athenodoros and the haunted house from the turn of the second century AD, in a letter from Pliny the Younger to his friend Sura.

 

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Read The Haunted House by Pliny at Gutenberg.org.

Scroll down to LXXXIII — To SURA (9-minute read)

 

Listen to the audio at TheVoiceBeforeTheVoid.net  (7 minutes)

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

The Kill Zone

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WISHING YOU HAPPY  READING IN 2017!

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, haunted houses, Hauntings, horror blogs, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror

Ghostly Chambers for Christmas

A Strange Christmas Game  by J.H. Riddell  (1863)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     December 20, 2016

 

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There’s nothing more satisfying than reading ghost stories at Christmastime. Even when we read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol over and over again, we are still delighted.  A Strange Christmas Game by J.H. Riddell is a mysterious little ghost story that you’ve probably not read at all, since Charlotte Riddell is one of those forgotten authors, but a popular one in her day.

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John Lester and his sister Clare inherit a gloomy old estate in Bedfordshire. Family history here is not a long one, except for the fact that former owners of the estate Jeremy Lester went missing on Christmas Eve and was never found for 41 years. Until John and Clare stay at the dark castle on Christmas Eve. Do you like to visit haunted chambers? Try this 30-minute read for an old fashioned Christmas Eve tale.

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J.H. Riddell (Charlotte Riddell) was born in England in 1832. Her spouse was Joseph Hadley Riddell. She wrote over 50 novels and short stories, and was well known as a prominent ghost story author. Charlotte was part owner and editor of the St. James’s Magazine, one of the most prestigious literary magazines of the 1860s.

 

 

 

 

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Read this ghost story A Strange Christmas Game at Vault of Ghastly Tales.

 

Listen to the audio, narrated by Michael Whitehouse at Vault of Ghastly Tales via YouTube

 

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Wishing you all a merry merry season! 

On a personal note, as I’ve been recovering from hip replacement surgery (doing well). I have been MIA with much of my writing and blog posting. Book sales for my supernatural novels Greylock, Night Sea Journey, and The Dazzling Darkness are climbing. Right now The Dazzling Darkness is #10 on Amazon Kindle Best Seller List for occult/supernatural genre since Dec. 6. Here’s hoping the novel will finish out the year as a Kindle Best Seller.

Hope to be back at full activity very soon to work on my next novel and continue to discover and post more supernatural mystery short stories  by the famous authors we love to read.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

6 Comments

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror