Category Archives: suspense

The Houseboat, Anaïs Nin’s Phantoms of Truth

“Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.”

 —Anaïs Nin

Today, February 21, is the anniversary birth date of the legendary and visionary writer Anaïs Nin.

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I became acquainted with Anaïs Nin’s work many years ago when I read her  fiction, essays, and her inspiring diaries. While I researched and wrote my novel Greylock, Anaïs Nin made sudden appearances in one of my characters Lia Marrs. The above quote refers to what happens in Greylock, not only to Lia Marrs, but to the main character Alexei Georg—in a metaphysical sense. Anaïs Nin became a thread in the novel as I developed my metaphysical mystery.

Because I’ve always been fascinated by the mind, writings, and creativity of Anaïs Nin, I am proud and happy to celebrate Anaïs’s 114th birthday anniversary , February 21st, and bring you this great writer and her fiction. She’s been accused by the elite of society of narcissism and sexual perversion; she’s been highly praised by her readership for her skills, bravery, and ruthlessly honest writings. What began as a failed writing career, nearly homeless and broke, she soared to success as a feminist icon in the 1960s with  Spy In The House of Love and her 7 volumes of diaries published by Harcourt Brace. She died at the height of her fame in 1977. Her short story The Houseboat  is considered a  short story about her “voyage within.”

The Houseboat by Anaïs Nin (1930s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 21, 2017

This story is more like a memoir, a reminiscence, about people existing outside of normal life: the dispossessed. Those who have “walked and slept in counter-rhythm to the world.”

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Our narrator is living in this beat up houseboat on the Seine in France. She is alone with her books, her diaries,  her family photos, and her soul.

“Once inside the houseboat, all the voyages began. Even at night with its shutters closed, no smoke coming out of its chimney, asleep and secret, it had an air of mysteriously sailing somewhere … On the table lay a revolver. No harm could come to me on the water but someone had laid a revolver there believing I might need it. “

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“But I was so averse to killing that even shooting into the water I felt uneasy, as if I might kill the Unknown Woman of the Seine again—the woman who had drowned herself here years ago and who was so beautiful that at the Morgue they had taken a plaster cast of her face.”

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This prose is quintessential Nin—eloquent, deep, and a labyrinth into the mind. The haunting images will leave you wanting more of this author.

Read The Houseboat by Anaïs Nin at  OhioSwallow.com (scroll down to story title)

Listen to the audio of The Houseboat (24 minutes)

Interview by Studs Terkel in 1972 (10-minute excerpt only)

 

 

imgresVisit the Anaïs Nin blog site at SkyBluePress.com.

Listen to the podcast for her 114th anniversary at A Cafe in Space. Subject is Nin’s published diaries: http://skybluepress.com/podcasts/podcast24

View the  Anais Nin Amazon Page.

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) was born in Paris.  She wrote The House of Incest, a prose-poem (1936), The Winter of Artifice (1939),  and short stories collected in Under a Glass Bell (1944). Most of her diaries were published and are still popular today.  Her most commercially successful books were her erotica published as Delta of Venus (1977) and Little Birds (1979).

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“Before Lena Dunham, there was Anaïs Nin – now patron saint of social media,” Read more at

 The Guardian. 

And at Brain Pickings “Anaïs Nin on How Reading Awakens Us.”

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

Comments are welcome.

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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 fiction, literature, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense

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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Genius.com

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/

8 Comments

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

How to Write Short Stories & Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell

How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career

by James Scott Bell

Book Review and Commentary   November 15, 2016

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“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”

Edgar Allan Poe

I love short stories and have been reading at least one a week for the past 4 years for this blog and for years before that. A short story is a great lunch companion, especially if you are reading some of the great flash fiction that’s out there these days. Did you ever wonder who wrote the first short story? Scheherazade and The Canterbury Tales come to mind, right? I suppose some might say the Bible were the first stories. Others claim Sir Walter Scott’s  The Two Drovers published in Chronicles of the Canongate in 1827 was the official  first short story published.

But what are the elements of a good short story?  I’ve been writing short stories and novels for some 20 years, and creatively speaking they demand the same skills and practice for storytelling and characterization.  A short story traditionally focuses on one incident,  a single plot, a single setting, often limited to a few characters, and proceeds over a short period of time. At its core, it produces a single narrative effect and that’s why it works so well with an afternoon pot of  tea and a tuna sandwich.

For readers,  we want drama, suspense, a unified impression, vivid sensations, action, climax, thrilling characters, and a satisfactory resolution. And we want it in one sitting and in less than 6000 words. This is not a small achievement! How does a writer do it? Lots of hard work and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.

Author Kurt Vonnegut offers eight essential tips on how to write a short story:

  • Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  • Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  • Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  • Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  • Start as close to the end as possible.
  • Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  • Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  • Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

But this really doesn’t give you enough if you are a  new to writing short fiction or struggling to be a successful short story writer out there in the highly competitive publishing market.  And I can tell you from experience, becoming a short story writer has just as many challenges and obstacles as becoming a novelist. These days, writing the story is one side of the work; then there’s the “getting it published” or marketing it yourself.

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Fortunately, James Scott Bell has written a book that addresses both writing and marketing. This book will grow your writing skills on voice and POV, give you the keys to make your reader feel the characters in your story, and the discover the best structure for short fiction.  How do you find your story? Need a road map? Bell has got it for you. And once you get your story written, Bell gives you tips on getting it edited, into a professional electronic format, with book cover. And he identifies publications submission options as well as advice on getting it up on Amazon.com if you choose to self-publish. The beauty of this book is that it gives you the full distance, from start-up to writing down the bones and to getting it to readers.

Bell uses examples from the best writers (Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, John Cheever, Stephen King, and many others) and gives you 5 excellent short stories to read to set the bar for you. One big disappointment, though, in this book is that Bell didn’t spot a single female author in all his examples and writing samples.  Our literary world is loaded with talented and smart women writers. Why was there no mention of Shirley Jackson, Elizabeth Bowen, Ruth Rendell, Daphne du Maurier,  Joyce Carol Oates, Kate Chopin, Kelly Link, Mary Shelley, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf (some of whose short stories can be found here on this blog site via the index).

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James Scott Bell is an award-winning (Christy Award) best-selling author of seven thrillers, and several writing craft books: Voice, the Power of Great Writing; Super Structure; Just Write; The Mental Game of Writing; and more.

 

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My Recommended List of the Best Writing Books I’ve Read.

Creating Characters, The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction, by the Editors of Writer’s Digest
(book review here) 
Dialogue, The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, & Screen, by Robert McKee  (book review here)
The Annotated Dracula (Bram Stoker), Annotated by Mort Castle (book review here) (Also The Annotated Jane        Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) Annotated by K.M. Weiland)
How to Write Like Chekhov, Advice and Inspiration,
Editor Piero Brunello and Lena Lencek  (book review here)

Steering the Craft, A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, Ursula K. Le Guin (book review here)
Writing Wild, Tina Welling (book review here)
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg (book review here)
Method Writing, Jack Grapes (book review here)
Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury (book review here)
On Writing, A Memoir, Stephen King (book review here)

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.
Story, Robert McKee
Story Trumps StructureSteven James
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)
Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern
The Art of Character, David Corbett
Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins
The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande
The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
Elements of Style, Strunk & White

Best Editing Books for Writers:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman
The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas
Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein
Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Second Edition, Ernest Gowers
Chicago Manual of Style
Words Into Type, Third Edition, Skillin & Gay

Comments are welcome, please!

9 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, fiction, Fiction Writing, horror blogs, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror, writing craft books

The Magic of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of The Copper Beeches  by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 20, 2016

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There is a magic in Sherlock Holmes stories, the atmospheric London fog, hansom cabs clacking over cobbled streets, the famous parlor at 221-B Baker Street with Holmes and Watson sitting before a cozy fire and a steaming teapot—or refreshing themselves with glasses of claret as in the The Adventure of the Dying Detective.

Today’s short story is The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Violet Hunter is our heroine, curious and independent, but in need of Mr. Holmes’ advice when she takes a governess position at the country estate called Copper Beeches, near Winchester. Mr. Rucastle is an odd sort with a wife who carries a secret sorrow, and their savage boy who adores capturing little birds and bugs.

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“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

The story unfolds like the tick-tock of a clock, so I won’t say another word. Although Holmes doesn’t exactly solve the crime, the adventure is suspenseful, with a touch of romance. Enjoy this 20-minute read.

Read the short story at EastoftheWeb.com 

Listen to the audio, read by Mark Smith on YouTube.com 

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The Science of Deduction by Sherlock Holmes: Forum, Hidden Messages, Case Files:

 http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/

The Sherlock Holmes Official Website.

The Blog of Dr. John Watson Official Website.

Need a cup of tea with this story? Settle back and enjoy this story along with a pot of “Sherlock Holmes” blend of tea (lapsang souchong, assam melody, oriental spice), which is ‘exotic and mysterious and perhaps a little bit insane, with a lingering hint of smoke’ at Adagio Tea Company. See Comment #1 below for link.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 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

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

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

 

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Filed under crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, suspense, tales of terror

Greylock’s Sexy Chicken Tabaca Scene

Hello Greylock Readers and Fans,

I’ve been receiving lovely emails from readers of Greylock who have been asking about the “Chicken Tabaca” sexy scene and if I have a recipe. I do and I cook this dish a lot. Here’s a peek of that scene and the recipe.

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Here’s the scene set up: Alexei Georg and Lia Marrs are spending the weekend together on the summit of Mt. Greylock in the residence section of the Greylock Music Hall. They are totally alone on the mountain. After a few rocky weeks in their relationship, Alexei wants to reestablish himself with Lia, but she is not so sure she can trust him. It’s autumn, at sunset, and they are both absorbing the views from the mountaintop, anticipating their evening ahead. They are discussing time-travel. Alexei has his reservations about such an adventure … but little does he know that time travel will be his only answer to save his destiny.

 

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In the residence, Lia snuggled up on the cozy sofa. The rich greens and tans of the furnishings embraced her and she relaxed next to the wide glass doors overlooking banks of massy woods. Brown and red leaves blew over crags and ridges. Alexei was right about the sunset—the entire sky pooled with rose and purples, slim cloud-flakes, fragments of grey misted at the glass. “Love the view here. Halls of mists, Earl of wind, Master of light. You feel like God on top of this mountain or what?” Lia called out to Alexei in the kitchen as his Chicken Tabaca sizzled in a black frying pan. She opened Priestley’s Man & Time and flipped the pages.

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Alexei came over with two tumblers of whiskey and water. “I am the mighty mountain,” he sang deeply and handed her a glass. “Actually this mountain makes me feel quite small if you want to know the truth.”

“Hmmm. Look at this.” She pointed to a photo of Einstein. “Do you understand his theory of time-dilation?”

He sat next to her, picked up her hand and kissed it. “I like your hands. They remind me of wings. Time-dilation?”

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“I do think time-travel might be possible in our lifetime. The laws of physics favor it. The past are particles and the present are waves. Who said that? Where did I read that? I can’t recall now.” She said.

“Physics. What a blur that stuff is. I’ll never get it.” Alexei said.

drinkunnamedLia poked her index finger into her drink and swirled it around. “Watch. Pretend this liquid is empty space. My finger is a circulating laser light beam. Einstein said space and time are connected. Three dimensions for space, one for time equals a fourth dimension. If we can twist space, we can twist time, open it, and access it. I’ve simplified it shamefully. Boston Globe did a story on it last year: loops in time, ring lasers. I just love that stuff.” She sipped her drink. “Mmmmm, very smooth.”

 “Old Forester. If you could time-travel, Lia, where would you go back to?”

 “That’s easy. I’d go back to 1898 and meet Madame Curie. She had an astonishing intuition. You know if you could time-travel, you can’t act. You can’t change what time has already set in motion. It’s strictly for observation only. How about you?”

“Less lofty ambitions. Don’t laugh, but I’d go back to 1982 and observe my mother. I’d really like to see her in the house on Orange Street, hear her voice, see her on the front porch swing.” He cocked his head to listen. “Oh! The Chicken Tabaca,” he said, dashing to the smoking stove.

Had he not rushed off, she would have stolen a kiss. Was she falling in love with this man? No, no. Don’t do that.

 

Sunset faded into the night. A dome of stars slashed bits of light through the bedroom windows. Lia climbed on Alexei’s lap and read him passages from Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus, reinventing the text with her own desires and words. “…riding naked on my horse, the heat of the stallion’s hide burning my thighs and palpitating my ….”

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The rest of this scene I really cannot post on a public blog. But here’s the Chicken Tabaca!

 

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Alexei Georg’s Chicken Tabaca on Mt. Greylock

Ingredients:
Two breasts of chicken (with skin and bones)
¼ cup of olive oil
Sprinkles of garlic salt, smoky paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper

Let the breast of chicken come up to room temperature (20 minutes). On the underside, break the breast bone in three places with a meat hammer so the breasts lie open and flat (you can slice out the center and bone if you prefer). Pound slightly to flatten out so the breasts are spread even. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, garlic salt, smoky paprika, and very lightly with chili powder.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add ¼ cup of olive oil into skillet. Place chicken skin side down in hot oil . Weight chicken down with either another cast iron skillet or a brick covered with tin foil. Brown thoroughly until a deep golden color. Turn over and cook on underside. Cook 10 minutes or so. Turn again if needed, until chicken is crispy and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes total. (meat will register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).

Serve immediately with a beet salad, a really smooth Pinot Noir, and a side of much kissing. Enjoy!

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“Cappa’s latest is nothing less than a mind-boggling mystery … always keeping an elusive edge to her characters’ personas—a plot replete with all the wonderful trappings of a romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns.”  U.S. Review of Books

 “A dark masterpiece. Rare and beautiful piece of writing by an author with an unpredictable and exceptional command of language and mood.” John J. Staughton, Amazon TOP Reviewer, FIVE stars.

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Filed under fiction, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, murder mystery, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, suspense

The Last Night of the World, A Ray Bradbury Story

Last Night of the World  by Ray Bradbury, published in Esquire, 1951

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    August 23, 2016

 

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What would you do if you knew that this night was the last night of the world? Would you meet it with grace? Bravery? A last indulgence? Panic? Would you examine yourself for a good or bad life?

A married couple are sitting at the dinner table talking.

She asks …  “And when will it stop? The world, I mean.”

He replies … “Sometime during the night for us, and then, as the night goes on around the world, those advancing portions will go, too. It’ll take twenty-four hours for it all to go.”

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In this sci-fi story (I’m not a sci-fi fan but I really liked this story because it provoked deep thinking), people have the same dream on the same date in February about the end of the world. If you were the characters in this story, would you  believe the end was really coming? Or maybe, just maybe you might think it’s the beginning of a time loop … like in a parallel world?  Or maybe it was true that death will strike soon after closing your eyes this night.  What if?

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Reading time on this story is 5 minutes. Got 5 minutes and cup o’ joe? Wow, this is a compelling dive into everyone’s greatest fear of knowing you will be the last conscious beings when the world ends on a cold night on February 30. Yes, February 30!

 

Read the short story here at Esquire.com.

Listen to the audio drama at Behance.net.

Watch the Ray Bradbury Theater on You Tube

 

FOR THE WRITERS HERE: Lit Reactor.com has Five Ray Bradbury stories that will tell you everything you need to know about writing.

 

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Ray Bradbury, termed the “poet of the pulps,” said in an interview in the Paris Review, The Art of Fiction (2010) that he was “completely library educated. I’ve never been to college … I discovered me in the library.” He died in 2012 at the age of 91. 

Book Review: Zen and the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury.

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

Follow my blog and join me in reading a short story every other week!

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under fiction, horror blogs, mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror

House of the Dead Hand

The House of the Dead Hand by Edith Wharton  (1902)

Tales of Terror  August 9, 2016

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We all know the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde as the most famous story about a painting that has supernatural powers. In Edith Wharton’s The House of the Dead Hand, we have a Leonardo masterpiece owned by a possessive doctor named Lombard and his daughter Sybilla who live in Sienna Italy. A young man Mr. Wyant comes to their home to view the painting. Of course, there’s much more than just observing a work of art going on here. The painting is a mesmerizing beauty, but we all know that beauty without spirituality is an empty vessel.

This story sneaks up on you, is psychological and supernatural, and has a twisty ending. Edith Wharton was known as a skillful social commentator especially in her fiction. In this short story, we find a mystery of a young woman trapped by her father, a forbidden romance, and the atmosphere full of dark descriptions and subtle spirituality.

The House of the Dead Hand

The name comes from an antique hand of marble which for many hundred years has been above the door … The hand was a woman’s — a dead drooping hand, which hung there convulsed and helpless, as though it had been thrust forth in denunciation of some evil mystery within the house, and had sunk struggling into death.

The mystery here is written in classic Wharton style. Her stories are realistic of her times and culture. This story is a bleak message about a father-daughter relationship and typical male dominance of the early 1900s. While Edith Wharton was known as the dark prophetess, she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize—in 1921 for Age of Innocence.

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Read the short story at EastOfTheWeb.com.

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOUNT, LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS

Recently I toured Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts. At The Mount, there are reported ghosts who float the passages, linger in the bathroom, and occupy chairs. The house is magnificent but I didn’t sense any ghosts as I toured the rooms, no footsteps or chills, no desperate whispers at my back. Because the reality of ghosts fails logic and reason, some of us believe in them because we sense them emotionally. The house has a quiet imperious air and reflects the stately Wharton as I imagine her.  Here are a few images of my moments with Edith Wharton on a Friday afternoon in Lenox.

 

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My view as I sipped iced tea on Edith’s stone and marble veranda.

Lush green everywhere.

 

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No ghosts lurking but the shadows at the window had shapely images of distorted heads looking in from the green boughs at the glass.

WhartonMountWindowchair

Edith’s window lounge. Can’t you just see her reclined with a book in her hand? An unidentified flower-scent hovered in the air.

Read more about the ghosts at The Mount.

My favorite image for The Age of Innocence by Victor Gabriel Gilbert,

“An Elegant Sioree”

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The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts (1900s)

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free short stories and ghost tales. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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