Category Archives: short stories

Mary Shelley Anniversary Birth Date, August 30, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Here is a recent review of Beyond Castle Frankenstein:

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

 

Download for FREE here on Amazon.com

 

Download for FREE here on Smashwords.com

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

 

Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s home in Italy.

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

 

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

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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

 

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Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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An Inky Unfathomable Space

Her Letters by Kate Chopin  (1895)

Tuesday’s Tale of Drama   July 14, 2020

Her Letters is a mysterious little drama and one of Kate Chopin’s most powerful fiction. The story opens with a woman sitting before a generous fire that illuminates her apartment while a steady rain falls from a leaden sky.  A thick bundle of letters is on a table.

A ponderous scene for sure. Are the envelopes love letters? A confession maybe?

 

 

Have you ever in your lifetime left something to chance? Taking risks is the theme here in this story of love, marriage, and passion. When death is eminent, letting go of the past and the secrets it holds become an issue of trust vs. desire vs. opportunity.

The ending here carries a shadowy flavor that surprised me. Sometimes to solve the mystery, one must listen to the beyond. A fascinating read!

 

 

 

Read Her Letters here at KateChopin.org

https://www.katechopin.org/pdfs/Kate%20Chopin%2C%20Her%20Letters.pdf

Listen to the audio here at You Tube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InPV7eFQJhY

 

Kate Chopin (1850–1904) was an American author who is considered a pioneer of early feminist literature. She is best known for her novel The Awakening, a depiction of a woman’s struggle for selfhood that was immensely controversial during Chopin’s lifetime. Chopin wrote in a naturalistic style and cited the influence of French writer Guy de Maupassant. She died at the age of fifty-four.

“To succeed, the artist much possess the courageous soul

the brave soul.

The soul that dares and defies.”

A bust of Kate Chopin at the Writers’ Corner in St. Louis, Central West End Association, dedicated on March 11, 2012.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Beyond Castle Frankenstein, a Ghost Story of Mary Shelley

 

July 6, 2020   Beyond Castle Frankenstein by Paula Cappa

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

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

 

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

 

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

Castle Frankenstein still stands today in Darmstadt, Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Some early reviews of Beyond Castle Frankenstein

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

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

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

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

 Buy on Amazon.com  .99 cents

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Dawn Wind in the Hawthorne

The Witch’s Headstone  by Neil Gaiman  (2008)

Tuesday’s Tale  of  Ghost Fantasy,  June 16, 2020

 

Who doesn’t remember the green-tinted witch in the film The Wizard of Oz? Deep inside our psyches, we are all ten years old when it comes to witches. And maybe deep inside you, there’s a little bit of a witch stirring around. Have you buried her? Author Neil Gaiman writes a story about not just ghosts in a graveyard, but a buried witch. I urge you to dig up your witch’s psyche and read what Gaiman has to tell us about traveling into the world of the dead.

A boy named Bod.  A witch. A graveyard. And of course, ghosts.  Bod is a charming young fellow who visits a graveyard and is fascinated by the residing ghosts. He meets the witch from Potter’s Field, and his adventures with an ancient Indigo man and the frightening Sleer create even higher dangers in the real world. An exciting little story that is entertaining for adults as well as for a YA audience (55% of YA readers are adults who love coming of age stories).  I felt like I was brought back to my own childhood with Bod exploring a graveyard and finding a mission to please the dead. As modern fairy tales go, this one is a charmer.

(Witch’s Headstone, illustration)

 

Read the short story here at Epdf.pub:

https://epdf.pub/the-witchs-headstone.html

 

The Witch’s Headstone was published as a short story in the Gaiman anthology M Is for Magic and in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy. This story is an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. If you enjoyed Bod’s adventures, you’ll likely want to read The Graveyard Book.

 

Neil Gaiman

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month.

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

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Murder Is a Messy Business

I’ll Be Waiting  by Raymond Chandler (1939)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Crime Mystery   May 19, 2020

 

A sexy red-headed lady, foxy hotel detective, and bad boys with guns in the L.A. underworld. You’ll love this sleek little noir with its evocative language by Raymond Chandler.

Here is our femme fatale, Eve Cressy lounging on a sofa listening to the radio:

“She was all curled up with her feet under her on a davenport which seemed to contain most of the cushions in the room. She was tucked among them carefully, like a corsage in the florist’s tissue paper.”

 

Tony Reseck, hotel dick, is a slick guy with a bad history:

“He smiled his toy smile. His quiet sea-gray eyes seemed almost to be smoothing the long waves of her hair.”

The art of description, right? Nobody writes like Raymond Chandler, the way he plays the reader with his sassy style and wit. Every line has a bang to it: richness of texture, intriguing subtext in the dialogue, and  hard prose. I love this writer. I fell in love with his novels The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, Farewell My Lovely when I was researching my mystery Greylock. My main character Alexei Georg had an obsession with Philip Marlowe—and so did I.

 

In today’s short story, we are at the Windemere Hotel in Los Angeles at one a.m. Tony Reseck finds a woman in the Radio Room. Eve Cressy has been waiting for her man for 5 days, stashed inside her hotel room with a balcony. Her man was just let out of prison.  Tonight she ventures out to the lobby to listen to Benny Goodman music. No sunset, no deep kisses, but boy is this story hot. And, there’s $25,000 and others waiting for “her man” too. Murder is a messy business.

“You like Goodman, Miss Cressy?” Reseck asked.

“Not to cry over.  This jitterbug music gives me the backdrop of a beer flat. I like something with roses in it.”

 

 

Read the short story at AE Library:

http://www.ae-lib.org.ua/texts-c/chandler__ill_be_waiting__en.htm

 

Watch the short film, a steamy one directed by Tom Hanks, starring Bruno Kirby, Marg Helgenberger, Dan Hedaya on YouTube: 30 minutes and it’s wonderful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_SonDdkG10

 

 

Raymond Chandler was an American author of detective fiction, the creator of the private detective  Philip Marlowe, characterized as a poor but honest upholder of ideals in an opportunistic and sometimes brutal society in Los Angeles.

“The most durable thing in writing is style.”

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

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

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

 

 

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A Thin Woman With a White Face

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

Tuesday’s Ghost Story,  April 14, 2020

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Read the short story here at Online-Literature

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

Listen to the audio here on YouTube:

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

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

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

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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ParABnormal Magazine Publishes “Wild Darkness”

Wild Darkness by Paula Cappa

March 24, 2020

Why do we read short stories?  Because we can explore a variety of different authors and  experience a wide range of genres without the full-time commitment of a novel. Short fiction is a way to bring back daily or weekly reading time in small bites of pleasure. And with flash fiction, you can read a full story in the time it takes to eat your lunch. This blog has been devoted to short fiction for over seven years with over 250 stories by over 100 contemporary and classic authors.

Today I am proud to announce that ParABnormal Magazine has published my short fiction Wild Darkness.

Here’s a peek …

The ghost beneath the hickory trees is a women. She appears as a shivering presence among the leaves drowning in the summer sun. Her name is Falling Water.

Why do we love ghost stories? I read them because there is usually a truth creeping inside the story, an other-worldly element that suggests we are more than what we see or hear.  Or maybe because ghost stories cannot be absolutely proven and who doesn’t love a mystery? Or, maybe ghosts have something important to tell us.

Come meet Falling Water at Hickory House in the deep woods.

 

From Editor H. Blalock,  ParAbnormal Magazine

“The world is filled with strange and wondrous things; things beyond explanation, beyond imagination. Step into the world of the strange, the mystic, and the Beyond in parABnormal Magazine and find that which shouldn’t exist, but lurks just outside of that we can see.

“As the editor of the magazine, I believe it contains work from some of the most talented writers and artists. I recommend their work to anyone interested in paranormal fiction, non-fiction, and art.”

You can purchase a copy of ParAbnormal Magazine on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/parABnormal-March-2020-David-Blalock/dp/1951384253

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

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

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

5 Comments

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Becoming a Woman

March 10, 2020

Girl by Jamaica Kincaid (1978)

Let’s go video today.  Girl by Jamaica Kincaid is an unusual story with two characters in a conversation, a mother and a daughter. While most moms are ready and able to give their daughters advice about becoming a woman, this mother in the story focuses on the practical side of life. And then some. The ending has a zinger, and I dare you not to smile. Listen to the author read her story here at Chicago Humanities Festival. This is a 5-minute story (flash fiction at its finest), extraordinary writing, with a theme that is meaty for debate. I loved it!

 

 

 

The short story is available at The New Yorker but not all can access it online as a free read:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1978/06/26/girl

Jamaica Kincaid is an Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener. Born in St John’s, Antigua, she lives in North Bennington, Vermont during the summers and is Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University during the academic year. At the Bottom of the River was her first collection of short stories and reflections. Her novels See Now Then (2013) chronicles the late-life dissolution of a marriage by way of the jilted wife’s acerbic ruminations.

If you have any thoughts or comments about this story, do post your opinion.

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

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

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

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

2 Comments

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Read an E-Book Week, March 2 to March 7, 2020

March 2, 2020

If you are reading this post, you are fond of books and love to spend your time reading. This is National Read an E-Book Week, an annual celebration of reading e-books. Thousands of readers and authors join this literary event to load up their Kindles, download ebooks from their local library, and support reading events, friends, authors, storytellers, and indie publishers.

All my short stories at the right margin are in ebook format,  free on Amazon for Kindle, on Smashwords (Apple ibooks, Kobo, and more).

Between the Darkness and the Dawn   Does the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne stalk the front parlor of the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts? Historical ghost story.

 Magic of the Loons   What mysteries can you imagine reside in loon magic? Jackson has a secret rendezvous with Kai, his Loon Woman. A short story of passion, mystery, and the power of love.

 The Haunting of Jezebeth   When Deborah goes home to her family farm house by the Dunwich River, she confronts ghostly powers who demand her surrender. Witchcraft is not the only power.

Hildie at the Ghost ShorHildie the lace maker, Mistress of Runecraft, knows the secret spells of the runes from the wind-god Odin in a land of Loki the trickster and flame-eyed ravens. Who will survive beyond the ghost shore? Historical fiction.

I have four more stories published in magazines that will be available in ebook format this year. Coming soon!

 

Where is your most comfortable place to read? In bed? Cozy chair? Park bench? Coffee shop? Mine is at the kitchen table in the mornings and also to snuggle into my sofa at night.

 

Got a favorite quote? Please post in the comments.

 

Happy Reading to All!

 

2 Comments

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Baba-Yaga and Vasilisa: Creative Fires

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Russian folktale (1860s)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale      January 14, 2020

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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