I am pleased and honored to have this interview at Teri Polen’s BAD MOON RISING at her blog Books and Such. It is always a treat to be featured at Halloween time for my supernatural fiction. Teri writes a weekly blog, introducing authors and new writers to readers, featuring some of the best books and talent in the industry.
You can read my interview about my fiction at Bad Moon Rising,
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Sarah, her debut novel, was named a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
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.
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.
(Scholar and Novelist: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Mythology, Paranormal, Supernatural)
“I definitely see my historical work as a process of detection. Historians fit pieces of evidence together and hope that they eventually form a coherent picture. Often, a historian’s most compelling questions—and the most difficult to answer—concern personal motivations and why something happened the way it did. These are questions we have in common with detectives.”
“Fiction is more like alchemy, though. You take a little of this, a little of that, combine it, and hope that something wonderful occurs so that your creation is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”
“We make our own monsters.”
“I’m a storyteller, and I have really good material to work with: I’ve been studying magic and the occult since about 1983.”
“A lot of our assumptions of the world are fairly cynical, fairly negative, and assume the worst. What our reading tastes show – in this rush to fantasy, romance, whatever – is that we actually still want to believe in a world of possibility, in a world of mystery.”
Deborah Harkness is an American scholar and novelist. She is best known as the author of best selling novels A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. Before becoming a best selling author, she spent more than a quarter of a century as a student and scholar of history, with degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. She has researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. Harkness’s scholarly work can be found in John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center.
Interview with Deborah Harkness, AuthorMagazine.org (10 minutes):
“A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People Magazine).
“Romantic, erudite, suspenseful.” (The Oprah Magazine)
Trailer for original series Discovery of Witches, Season One:
“I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Telling stories, making up tales, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualising scenes and staging sequences of events, images, words and sounds that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile or a tear, and a little of your time and attention.”
“Sometimes people ask me what piece of advice I would give to an aspiring author. I’d tell them that you should only become a writer if the possibility of not becoming one would kill you. Otherwise, you’d be better off doing something else. I became a writer, a teller of tales, because otherwise I would have died, or worse.”
“I have written for young readers, for the movies, for so-called adults; but mostly for people who like to read and to plunge into a good story. I do not write for myself, but for other people. Real people. For you.”
“I thank the Gods of Literature for I believe that when you pick up something I’ve written and pay for it, both in terms of your money and something much more valuable, your time, you are entitled to get the best I can produce.”
“Books are mirrors. You only see in them what you already have inside you.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (1964 – 2020) Spanish author of six novels, including the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, published in 42 countries. Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the best-selling Barcelona-based books that began with The Shadow of the Wind. His work has been published in more than forty different languages, and honored with numerous international awards, including the Silver Premio Euzkadi in 2008, the Barry Award for Best First Novel in 2005, and the Best Foreign Book in France in 2004.
Marina is a supernatural mystery. The supernatural mystery genre combines fantasy, paranormal, and mystery. Some other authors in this genre are Charlaine Harris, Peter Straub, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, and (forgive me) yours truly, Paula Cappa. I love to write ghostly stories that get their power from the invisible world beyond us. The idea of the supernatural in literature is often based on death existing before birth, making death a beginning.
Night Sea Journey Wins Silver Medal at Global Book Awards
September 20, 2021
I am pleased and honored to receive the Silver Medal for Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural at Global Book Awards.
Book awards benefit the entire reading community and promote the appreciation of literature. Thank you to the literary judges for their recognition and support. Night Sea Journey has been out for several years and is still selling. From U.S. Review of Books, their review: “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read, Night Sea Journey is one book that is hard to put down!”
In 2015, Night Sea Journey won an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Their review: “This romantic fantasy is propelled by gorgeous language and imagery…angels and demons…The grime of inner city Chicago, the tranquility of the Rhode Island coastline, and the depths of a phantasmagoric ocean are the stages for this conflict.”
SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ posts “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”
Thank you to my readers who have consistently read my mysteries and short stories!
(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)
“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”
“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”
“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”
Dan Simmons (Born 1948) is a multi-award winning American author. His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels. Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:“Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”
The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly
In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart, has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.
(Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Weird Fiction, Novels and Short Stories, Literary Critic, Editor, Publisher)
“Imbuing fiction with a life that extends beyond the last word is in some ways the goal: the ending that goes beyond the ending in the reader’s mind, so invested are they in the story.”
“A dream inspiring a story is different than placing a description of a dream in a story. When you describe a character’s dream, it has to be sharper than reality in some way, and more meaningful. It has to somehow speak to plot, character, and all the rest. If you’re writing something fantastical, it can be a really deadly choice because your story already has elements that can seem dreamlike.”
“Trust your imagination. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise.”
“It is the nature of the writer to question the validity of his world and yet rely on his senses to describe it. From what other tension can great literature be born?”
“Fiction is in constant conversation with itself.”
Jeff VanderMeer (born 1968) is an American author, NYT bestselling writer, called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. He also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. Among VanderMeer’s novels are Shriek: An Afterword and Borne. He has also edited with his wife Ann VanderMeer such influential and award-winning anthologies as The New Weird, The Weird, and The Big Book of Science Fiction. His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.com.
Interview with Jeff VanderMeeer (7 minutes):
The Fictive Imagination in the Dusk of the Anthropocene. Sonic Arts Festival:
Detective John Finch is about to come face-to-face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever. Why does one of the victims most resemble a man thought to have been dead for a hundred years? What is the murders’ connection to an attempted genocide nearly six hundred years ago? And just what is the secret purpose of the occupiers’ tower? A three-book series.
“I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own.”
“Ever since I was a child and read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, I have loved that delicious thrill you can only get from reading scary stories. I do believe there is more to this world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel. Scientists have already proved the existence of many more senses and dimensions than we thought we had a few decades ago.”
[Note: The ghost story has persisted in literature for a long time. Maybe they are reflections of who we really are? Maybe we just love the illusions and the power of the supernatural? Whatever, if you love ghost stories, you must try Catherine Cavendish novels.]
Catherine Cavendish is author of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels and novellas. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which was featured in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys rambling around stately homes, circles of standing stones and travelling to favourite haunts such as Vienna and Orkney. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black cat in a 260 year old haunted apartment in North Wales.
Interview with Catherine Cavendish with Brian Kirk:
Catherine speaks about Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
“Catherine Cavendish delivers a clever, accomplished book that entirely normalises the ghost narrative and the timeslip aspects of the story, making it perfectly easy to suspend disbelief and imagine myself on one of Hannah’s tours, seeing and experiencing things that jump straight into the realm of the supernatural.” (Crime Review )
“Superb writing […] Cavendish’s writing is spot on, building wonderful characters and weaving a spell on us unsuspecting readers.” (Final Guys )
“Cavendish sets the scene exceptionally well and the book is atmospheric and spooky throughout.” (The British Fantasy Society )
(Short Stories and Novels: Crime, Horror, Science Fiction Writer)
“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.”
“Horror is the removal of masks.”
“There’s a great desire to communicate, I think, on the part of all of us. And if we are in situations where the communication is difficult due to difficult circumstances or shyness or an introversion, this is a wonderful outlet. And a direct one.”
Robert Albert Bloch (1917 — 1994) was a prolific American writer. Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories, over twenty novels of crime and science fiction, but was most famous for his horror fiction Psycho.
Bloch was one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle, a contributor to pulp magazines such as Weird Tales in his early career. He received a Hugo Award for That Hell-Bound Train, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award. A good friend of the science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum, Bloch wrote three stories for Star Trek.
Listen to Bloch’s Psycho, an audio preview of the novel (15 minutes):
Interested in the backstory, the inspiration for Psycho? Read it here at Galaxy Press about the Butcher of Plainfield:
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.
Springtime is hardly known as the season of witches, but if you are a lover of supernatural stories—and like me you are fascinated by the myths, history, and fiction about witchcraft—every month is the season for witches. Also, since my birth date is on Halloween, I have both a fear and an attraction to witches. And while witches (associated with the word wicked) are traditionally thought to possess evil powers who communicate with spirits and underworld realms, acting out their powers of womanhood, I am wondering if there is much more to discover about witches than just their dark arts.
Today we are exploring the Titaness deity known as Hekate, or Hecate (pronounced Heck-ah-teh), an ancient witch-priestess. You may have seen images of this well-known witch, deemed the queen of witchcraft, black magick sorcerer, as a three-headed figure (she sees in all directions), standing at crossroads, holding torches or keys, with a black dog at her feet. She is revered as the goddess of magick of the night and the underworld, the moon, ghosts, and necromancy. Pretty hot babe, wouldn’t you say? She is among other dark goddesses like Kali, Morrigan, Brigid, Hel, Baba Yaga, Aradia, Isis, Persephone.
In the story for this month’s reading, The Abduction of Persephone, Hekate makes a brief appearance in this tale of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of the earth) who have lost their daughter Persephone. Hades has abducted the girl. Hekate hears her screams from the Underworld. When Persephone eats the food of the dead, Zeus and Demeter must make a deal with Hades to get their daughter back.
This is an enchanting flash fiction (10-minute read), totally enjoyable, which symbolizes our shifting earth seasons, grief and loss, and brings meaning to mother/daughter love relationships. Reading myths can answer timeless questions about the value and insights of life, love, trust, good and evil. In the art of storytelling, these human experiences are everything.
Hekate has a much more powerful and impressive role in TheGolden Ass by Lucius Apuleius (Chapter 47). In this myth, Hekate speaks to us and identifies her qualities. When the narrator Lucius is turned into an ass, it is Hekate who shows him how to return to his human shape.
In my research about Hekate (for a short story I’m writing and my upcoming supernatural novel Draakensky) I found a mix of good and evil in her mythical history. Hekate knows she has powers to both destroy and create and uses that power wisely. Many believe her to be an intuitive goddess, soul-knowing, who holds both darkness and light within her powers. Hekate favors the color black, lavender, and the Yew tree. She is said to be the Dark Mother. I can’t help align her with Mother Nature who brings us fruit, grain, herbs, flowers, the beauty of sunrise and sunset, but also brings us hurricanes, drought, poisonous plants, pestilence and disease.
Other reports of Hekate are less flattering. She is said to be the high witch of the underworld Hades, her rituals and rites associated with death and secrecy, and she can banish or produce a ghost or ghosts infestations. She holds the ultimate skeleton key to unlock the gates to all realms, including Hades. Does she cast spells? Probably. Does she invoke the devil? Some say yes, some say no. There is a clear uncertainty about Hekate. But truth is like the sun, it eventually shines.
If you are in the season of the Crone, on the wise woman’s journey to deeper self-discovery, or curious to experience the cave of feminine power, Hekate is a woman you might like to explore. The archetype of “the witch” is a seeker and bringer of ancient secrets if not deeper knowledge. Witch, goddess, priestess, queen, crone, healer, medicine woman, warrior, shaman, leader, mentor, whatever you call her, feminine power is on the rise in our society.
For more on Hekate, stop by Keeping Her Keys website by Dr. Cyndi Brannen, a psychologist, author, and teacher who writes from the crossroads of psychology, spirituality, and traditional wisdom merging ancient knowledge with modern practices.
Do you think the patriarchy is losing power? These days the Divine Feminine is becoming stronger and more visible every day. There are legendary stories inside all of us. What is yours at this challenging time in our world? Is there a warrior woman inside of you?
Please feel free to add your thoughts to this page. I would love to hear from you!
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.