Tag Archives: short stories

Do You Believe in the Mysterious?

‘It’s night.

It has been night for a long time. Hours pass— yet it’s the same hour. I can’t sleep.

My mind is fractured like broken glass. Or a broken mirror, shards reflecting shards. I am incapable of thinking but only of receiving, like a fine-meshed net strung tight, mere glimmerings of thought. Teasing fragments of “memory”—or is it “invented memory”?—rise and turn and fall and sift and scatter and rearrange themselves into arabesques of patterns on the verge of becoming coherent, yet do not become coherent.’

Want to read more? This is from Joyce Carol Oates’ blog Celestial Timepiece.

https://celestialtimepiece.com/2017/04/09/the-collector-of-hearts-new-tales-of-the-grotesque/

 

This is her latest collection of short stories. Twenty-five Gothic horror tales.

 

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“We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have.

Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”  

Henry James.  This quote hangs above Oates’ writing desk.

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Virginia Woolf’s Suicide Letter. Anniversary of Her Death, March 28.

March 28 (1941) is the anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, the day she drowned herself in the River Ouse.

“Dearest,

I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

 

You can read more about this suicide letter at Brainpickings.org.

Do you think there’s a relationship between loneliness and creativity? Read about it at Brainspickings.org.

 

If you’d like to read one of her short stories, a ghost story, “The Haunted House,” enjoy this lovely but spooky very short read in her memory today. Listen to the audio (6 minutes) at Librivox.com.

 

Columbine surrounds the bust of Virginia Woolf, sculpted by Stephen Tomlin. Beneath are buried the ashes of Virginia Woolf.

 

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Dark and Deep. Joyce Carole Oates’ Big Momma

Big Momma  by Joyce Carole Oates  (2016)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 14, 2016

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Have you met Violet? A thirteen year old who weighs just 90 pounds and is desperate for love and attention. Aren’t all teens? But Violet is especially vulnerable. In the neighborhood where she lives, children are disappearing. Gobbled up by God-knows-who would do such a thing. This frightens Violet’s mom who warns her to be extra careful but leaves her home alone with mac ‘n cheese in the fridge one too many times. One day, when walking home from school, Violet takes a ride from a friend’s dad and he brings her home to meet Big Momma.

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Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? I won’t say another word.

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Joyce Carole Oates, a literary powerhouse of an American writer, 5-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, nominated for the Nobel Prize, National Book Award and Pen/Malamud Award winner, and too many more to list here has written over 100 books and over 30 collections of short stories. Few modern authors have her prolific and acclaimed reputation.

Oates believes that “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”  Yeah, her stories go very deep and into inner worlds that leave a reader haunted.

 

 

Big Momma, part of The Doll-Master collection, is a story of evil, a subject that Oates writes about frequently. What does she really think of evil? “Evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.”

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Read the short story at CelestialTimepiece.com.

 

Other titles by Oates …

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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

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A Wave of Whispers, Truman Capote Style

Miriam by Truman Capote (1945)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,  December 29, 2015

Let’s bring in the New Year with a ghost story. Or is this really a ghost story?

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Mrs. H.T. Miller lives alone, a routine and dull life since her husband passed away. She’s gray-haired and friendless, smokes occasionally, and has a pet canary named Tommy. One night, with nothing to do she goes to the movies. There, Mrs. Miller meets a little girl named Miriam.

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Mrs. Miller offered a peppermint. “What’s your name, dear?”

 “Miriam,” she said, as though, in some curious way, it were information already familiar.

 “Why, isn’t that funny—my name’s Miriam, too. And it’s not a terribly common name either. Now, don’t tell me your last name’s Miller!”

 “Just Miriam.”

 “But isn’t that funny?”

 “Moderately,” said Miriam, and rolled a peppermint on her tongue.

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It snows all week. Mrs. Miller loses track of time in her empty days, until one night the doorbell rings persistently and sends Mrs. Miller into a panic. She opens the door.

“Hello,” says Miriam. “I’ve waited so long, you could at least let me in.”

No sugar ‘n spice here. Try sinister n’ saucy.  There are roses and almonds and a beautiful French doll. And a child who won’t go away.

Author Truman Capote is well-known for his darker tales; most readers know his most famous book In Cold Blood. While some readers might read Miriam as a ghost story, others will find it dreamy with psychological aspects: grief and abandonment themes or self-reflection and disappointment struggles … or a woman gone mad. Once you read this very short story, and enter Capote’s uncertain and eerie world of Mrs. Miller … you’ll know.

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Miriam won an O.Henry Award in 1946, and was one of Capote’s first short stories. He was known as the “tiny terror” and a childhood friend of author Harper Lee.

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[Truman at 23 years old. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, Reproduction number LC-USZ62-118429 DLC. WikiCommons.]

 

Read the short story Miriam at LiteraryFictions.com.

Watch the 12-minute film (posted by YeseniaBaygorriaH). Produced by Rowena Riley and Lilianna Greenfield-Sanders.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/b9Z7xMQPKmM“>

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     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

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

Happy New Year to all my blog followers here!

This blog was viewed 15,000 times in 2015, spanning visitors from 118 countries,

with over 200 followers.

All time views since 2012 is just shy of 40,000. Thank you!

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Blood and Thunder Tales

A Long and Fatal Love Chase by A.M. Barnard (published in 1995)

The Mysterious Key  by L.M. Alcott (1866)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    June 23, 2015

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If you are not familiar with the term “blood and thunder tales,” it famously refers to Louisa May Alcott’s thriller short stories, which she wrote under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard. Most Concord literary fans are acquainted with Alcott’s darker side of fiction, sensational adventures that were published in magazines to support her family’s income. The historical value, of course, is one of the attractions, but these stories are quite entertaining (with vintage melodrama) and crisply written.

Louisa May Alcott bedroom and study, Concord, MA Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott bedroom and study, Concord, MA Orchard House

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It’s well known that Alcott wrote with both left and right hands—perhaps an insight to the two sides of her creativity. Not only was this American literary icon skilled in writing about domestic  adventures in Little Women, but she wasn’t shy about psychological suspense and Gothic mystery.

The Mysterious Key is family intrigue. A locked room that is thought to be haunted, a sudden death, romance, a blind girl, and secrets.

Read The Mysterious Key here at Gutenberg.org.

 

You can read more of Alcott’s blood and thunder tales and other short stories at Gutenberg.org.  Pauline’s Passion and Punishment; The Abbot’s Ghost; Behind A Mask or A Woman’s Power.

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A Long and Fatal Love Chase begins with this line “I often feel as if I’d gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom.”  Murder, a deal with the devil, an obsessive lover, and a Catholic priest.  Published in 1996.  Available on Amazon.

 

 

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A Whisper in the Dark. Published in 2015. Available on Amazon.

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Here is what Boston publisher James T. Fields said to Louisa May Alcott in 1853. “Stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott. You can’t write.”

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In 1855 her first published book was Flower Fables. Little Women was published in 1868 and became an instant best seller followed by Little Men in 1871. She wrote over fifty works of short stories, novels, and plays.

Alcott died at the age of 55, just two days after her father died in 1888.

 

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Beyond Victorian Vampirism

Good Lady Ducayne   by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1896)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 9, 2015    Classic Tales from Women In Horror 

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This is the second week of celebrating Women in Horror Month. Are you ready to explore the short stories of Mary Elizabeth Braddon?

 

They were dreamers—and they dreamt themselves into the cemetery.

Young and healthy Bella Rolleston takes a job as a companion with Old Lady Ducayne. Bella quickly learns that Ducayne’s previous two companions became ill and died while caring for her. Mosquito bites? Or something more sinister? When Bella begins to show the same symptoms, dreams of whirring of wheels, sinking into an abyss, and struggling to regain consciousness, she is too innocent to see the truth of her employer and the local physician Dr. Parravicini.

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What is curious in this story is how the author Mary Elizabeth Braddon uses science and medicine instead of the supernatural to build a chilling story of suspense. Aging and vanity vs. youth and beauty are the hallmarks of this story not to mention poverty vs. money. The subtext runs a lovely quiet horror tone that is smoothly written by a master writer.

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Mary-Elizabeth-Braddon-horse-228x300Mary Elizabeth Braddon, born in London in 1835, wrote some ninety books, short stories, essays, and plays and was revered for her ‘sensation novels.’ She was rated alongside Wilkie Collins and admired by Charles Dickens and Henry James. Lady Audley’s Secret was her most popular novel. She introduced one of the first female detectives Eleanor Vane in Eleanor’s Victory (1863) and then again in 1864 created sleuth Margaret Wilmot in Henry Dunbar. At Chrighton Abbey, Dead Love Has Chains, and The Doctor’s Wife are worthy of rediscovery.

 

 

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You can read Good Lady Ducayne online at Gutenberg.net.au. Scroll down to the title.

Listen to audio versions of Braddon’s short stories (Sorry, Lady Ducayne is not among them but other short stories here are quite good) at Librivox.org Library.

 

I can highly recommend Braddon’s At Chrighton Abbey. This is Downton Abbey with a ghost. Sarah Chrighton returns to her homestead Chrighton Abbey, to the wintery “fairy forests and snow wreathed trees.” The abbey  is a stately grey stone, ivy- and moss-covered estate. Carriage rides, drawing room firesides,  hunts and hounds, a servant’s ball, and of course the Butler Truefold and Housekeeper  Mrs. Marjurum make this short story a snuggle-up read. Not to mention the family curse coupled with shadowy presences that only Sarah can see. I found this story to be one of Braddon’s most gracefully written ghost stories ever. Read it here at Gutenberg.net.au.

 

 

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http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

 Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Into the Darkest Valley

Valley of the Spiders   By H. G. Wells (1903)

Tuesday’s Tale of  Terror    January 27, 2015

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Into the darkest valley. Shadows go before them through the trails of the mountain path. Three men are on an adventure in the wilderness: a gaunt man with a scarred lip, a man riding a silver bridle, a dreamy little man on a white horse. They are pursuing a girl with a bleeding foot. They ride for four days, with a shortage of water, and finally come upon a wild dog. This is the first sign. Not long after, they come upon ragged floating globes, cobwebbey, that begin to descend across the valley.

 

imagesWhat do you do when you see a spider in your bathtub? Are you apt to kill it or scoop it up and send it to the outside world where it belongs? Next time you see a spider, wish on it and gently blow it away. They are cute little buggers, right? Not according to H.G Wells.

 

 

imgresWells’ descriptions of gigantic spiders have the makings of a real nightmare. There’s no scooping these guys away. Wells crafts a classic drama about cowardice and pride and the power of nature.  He is considered a visionary and the most prolific writer in science fiction–he wrote over fifty short stories. It is said that all were written quickly and virtually at a single sitting each. He said of his short stories “I found that taking almost anything as a starting-point and letting my thoughts play about it, there would presently come out of the darkness, in a manner quite inexplicable, some absurd or vivid little incident more or less relevant to that initial nucleus. Little men in canoes upon sunlit oceans would come floating out of nothingness, incubating the eggs of prehistoric monsters unaware; violent conflicts would break out amidst the flower-beds of suburban gardens; I would discover I was peering into remote and mysterious worlds ruled by an order logical indeed but other than our common sanity.”

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Read Valley of the Spiders at Online-Literature

Listen to the audio version on YouTube.com

 

 

Next Month, February, is Women in Horror Month!

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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