Tag Archives: WiHM

Believing in Ghosts

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Women In Horror Month, 2016

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   February 23, 2016 (WIHM)

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Who is the best ghost story writer of all the women writers out there? One could name the memorable oldies Edith Wharton, Shirley Jackson, Elizabeth Bowen, Amelia Edwards, Mary Elizabeth Braddon. A contemporary that I’d like to name for this final week of Women In Horror Month is Sarah Waters. If you haven’t read The Little Stranger, this Gothic ghost story is a treat in old-fashioned British style. This novel was a Finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

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Hundreds Hall, is an 18th-century Georgian estate in rural Warwickshire, England. The Ayers family is struggling to keep up the dilapidated estate. Dr. Faraday is a country physician and called to attend a patient at Hundreds Hall. He becomes enchanted with the daughter Caroline Ayers. Supernatural events, decay, loss, deaths, a suicide drive the story to a shocking ending.

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Faraday’s voice in this story is highly compelling. And Waters writes the malevolent action into a pulsation and with atmospheric spells that heighten the mystery. You will find some flavors of Poe, Dickens, and Henry James here.

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Read The Little Stranger via your library (WorldCat.org).

 

 

 

 

 

 

SarahWatersunnamedSarah Waters was named as one of Granta’s 20 Best of Young British Writers in January 2003. The same year, she received the South Bank Award for Literature. She was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards. In both 2006 and 2009 she won “Writer of the Year” at the annual Stonewall Awards. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2009. Visit her website at SarahWaters.com.

 

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The Misletoe Bride, a short story by Kate Mosse is my free read to you this week. Read it at OnebookLane.com. Kate Mosse, is an English novelist, non-fiction and short story writer and broadcaster. She is best known for her 2005 novel Labyrinth. Surely a worthy Women In Horror Month author to explore. Visit her website at KateMosse.com.

 

 

 

 

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If you are interested in a list of authors who write ghost stories and supernatural mysteries, I wrote a guest post for WIHM at the Horror Society, “Dead Authors Can Still Thrill Readers.” The article was published on February 5, 2014 and you can view it at HorrorSociety.com. 

I hope you have enjoyed my Women In Horror Month posts for February here. There are some who feel this promotion that calls attention to women writers every February is unnecessary and even perhaps contributes to the gender disparity in Literature. I value WIHM because it spotlights appreciation for talented and crafty writers in this genre who are not men. But to be clear, we are not looking for special treatment; we are looking for equal treatment. We live in a world where it’s common to think or say ‘women writers,’ the gender describing the writer. We almost never say ‘men writers.’ Of course we prefer to be honored as writers first, and women second. In an online chat recently, a male reader referred to Anne Rice as a ‘girl’ writer. How many of us refer to Stephen King as a ‘boy’ writer? So, here’s the point for me: gender inequality still exists in our society in thought and action and certainly still exists in Literature. I look forward to a day when we can make the month of February “Writers In Horror Month” for all.

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 week! 

Comments are welcome.

 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

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Walking in Lovecraft’s Shadow

Lovecraft Unbound, Editor Ellen Datlow

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 16, 2016  Women In Horror Month (WIHM)

In the Spotlight, author Caitlin R. Kiernan, House Under The Sea.

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If you’re an H.P. Lovecraft fan and looking to discover some new writers in this genre for Women In Horror Month reading, Lovecraft Unbound, is an anthology of Lovecraftian stories, edited by the award-winning (Hugo Award) anthologist Ellen Datlow. One of the authors you’ll find here is Caitlan R. Kiernan, her short story House Under the Sea.

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In House Under the Sea, we are not in Lovecraft’s famous Innsmouth, Massachusetts; we are in modern day California. Our narrator tells us about Jacova Angevine, former Berkeley professor, who led a cult of worshippers to their death into the sea. I found this story a bit choppy and fractured for my tastes but was glad I stayed with it to the end. This is a tragic love story mixed with weird and dreadful themes, and well plotted.

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Kiernan is the author of several novels, including World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson award-nominated The Red Tree and the Nebula and Bram Stoker award-nominated The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. She is a very prolific short-story author. Kiernan was recently proclaimed “One of our essential dark fantasy authors” by the New York Times. She has been named H.P Lovecraft’s spiritual granddaughter.

 

You can read House Under the Sea online at Nightmare Magazine.

Stop by Kiernan’s journal website for more insights to this author.

Visit Bookslut.com for an interview with Kiernan.

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There are plenty of modern women authors to choose from in this anthology of Lovecraft Unbound, and most of the stories are pretty amazing.  I especially enjoyed The Crevasse by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud (although not women writers, this story is compelling, remarkably atmospheric, and brilliantly written).

 

 

 

 

For a few more women writers in the Lovecraftian style, go to LovecraftEzine.com, and you’ll find a post of their Top Five Women Lovecraftian Authors.

 

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H.P. Lovecraft  (1890-1937.) is considered the world’s greatest horror and sci-fi writers. He is most famous for his The Call of Cthulhu and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. He coined the literary terms, “cosmicism” or “cosmic horror.”  You can watch a short bio on YouTube.com.

 

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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 week!

Comments are welcome.

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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

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Mary Shelley, Queen of the Gothic Thriller (WIHM)

The Last Man  by Mary Shelley   Women In Horror Month (WIHM)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 9, 2016

 

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Mary Shelley is the first name that comes to mind when we think of women who write horror and Gothic fiction. Did you know that when her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley was cremated, his heart would not burn? Some say it was because of a health condition; others say it was because of Mary’s deep love for him. Percy’s friend Edward Trelawny snatched it from the cremation fires. Legend has it that Mary kept the dried up remains in her desk. I wrote about this in my short story Beyond Castle Frankenstein, a historical ghost story.

 And while I’m fascinated by Mary Shelley as a writer and her fictional worlds, I am also still discovering her work, and this week honoring her for Woman In Horror Month. You can read three of her short stories here, free, at Tales of Terror:

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The Invisible Girl

The Mortal Immortal

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One of her novels not so popular and these days overlooked if not completely forgotten is The Last Man. This is a bleak portrayal of the fall of mankind (isolation, loss, a plague); the title gives away the ending. Published in 1826 (written after her husband’s death), it received terrible reviews, but was Mary’s favorite novel (semi-autobiographical). It was republished in 1965 to far more critically acclaimed praises.

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Readers who love apocalyptic stories–future time around 2100—might love it, but it is indeed a dense read (the book doesn’t get really hit until about page 200). Frankenstein is clearly the better novel.

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The Introduction to the novel states that in the winter of 1818, the author visited Naples, Italy. With a friend, she toured the Elysian Fields and Avernus and entered a dark and rocky cave. “The passage, which at first scarcely admitted us, quickly grew narrower and lower; we were almost bent double; yet still we persisted in making our way through it.”

They arrived at an ascent and then another and scrambled through it until they reached an arched roof. The only sign that life had been there was a “perfect snow-white skeleton of a goat …”

Shelley says, “At length my friend, who had taken up some of the leaves strewed about, exclaimed, “This is the Sibyl’s cave; these are Sibylline leaves.”

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Entrance to the cave of Sibyl.

“On examination, we found that all the leaves, bark, and other substances, were traced with written characters.” The characters were writings in various languages: ancient Chaldee, Egyptian hieroglyphics, some in modern dialects, English and Italian. “We could make out little by the dim light, but they seemed to contain ancient written prophecies.”

Shelley states that she translated, adapted, and edited these writings on the leaves into the first-person narrative of a man, Lionel Verney, living during the last years of the 21st century. Here are the opening lines:

“I AM the native of a sea-surrounded nook, a cloud-enshadowed land, which, when the surface of the globe, with its shoreless ocean and trackless continents, presents itself to my mind, appears only as an inconsiderable speck in the immense whole; and yet, when balanced in the scale of mental power, far outweighed countries of larger extent and more numerous population. So true it is, that man’s mind alone was the creator of all that was good or great to man, and that Nature herself was only his first minister.”

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[Image by Andy  Factor]

Read The Last Man at RomanticCirclesUniversityofMaryland.edu

Listen to the audio book at YouTube.com.

 

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“What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only

describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.” –Mary Shelley

 [Portrait by artist Esao Andrew. Visit Esao Andrew blog and website. ]

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Want to check out more blogs and events for  Women in Horror Month?  WomenInHorrorMonth.com 

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 week!

Comments are welcome.

 

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

 

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Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

The Chill Hand of Death

The Lifted Veil   by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)  (1859)

Classic Tales of Terror From Women In Horror

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 24, 2015  WIHM

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Author George Eliot will not be appearing on anybody’s Women In Horror Month posts. Most horror and supernatural readers don’t read her work. But did you know that Eliot wrote one story that qualifies as supernatural? I’m featuring her this month because I look for authors who reach beyond their  fictional category and dabble in supernatural. The Lifted Veil  is nothing like Eliot’s traditional style of portraying provincial life in her popular novel and literary masterpiece Middlemarch. Henry James reviewed The Lifted Veil as “woefully somber.” Eliot herself described it as a “dismal story.”

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This Gothic tale, a dash more science fiction than horror, is about extrasensory perception, fate, telepathy, reviving the dead, and the unmasking of illusions. How frightening is it to foresee your own murder on a specific date: September 20 at 10 pm? Our narrator Latimer is a rather overwrought young man who has a vision of his own death; he sees his last moments as he gasps, his heart contracting. Fear, alienation, guilt, doubt, and false hope all play into this plot. And it’s not without a vaulting love story as Latimer falls for the lovely Bertha, a “slim willowy figure with luxuriant blonde hair,” but she possesses far more than just beauty. Evil is present.

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Watch how cleverly Eliot uses a portrait of the infamous Lucrezia Borgia as an omen to warn Latimer of his opponent. Poetic passion at its finest.

“In the same instant a strange intoxicating numbness passed over me, like the continuance or climax of the sensation I was still feeling from the gaze of Lucrezia Borgia.”

 

 

 

I especially like how Eliot uses supernatural devices to illustrate the cynicism of human nature. She hits on the misestimates we all make during the dark places in relationships and the unknown presences that direct and redirect our lives.

What veils are we willing or unwilling to lift to see the harsh reality?

 

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Read the short story (not quite the length of a novella)

at Gutenberg.org

 

Listen to the audio version of The Lifted Veil at Librivox.org

 

 

 

 

If you are a Goodreads member, check out this review of The Lifted Veil  by Werner Lind:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/70703171

 

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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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Devils Club

The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly  by Rosa Mulholland (1891)

Classic Tales From Women in Horror , WIHM

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 17, 2015

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We are in the midst of a wild thunderstorm in the village of Hurly Burly. July roses hang their blossoms under the torrents. A great house sits a mile from the local shops. In the vast drawing room, Mistress and Master Hurly rest with a hot tea urn and muffins when a visitor arrives—and on such a dreadful night. Lisa, a small lovely creature claims she’s arrived to play music for them on their beautiful organ. The Hurlys’ are perplexed. Lisa tells them that their son has sent her.

“Our son—“ began Mistress Hurly, but her mouth twitched, her voice broke, and she looked piteously towards her husband.

 “Our son,” says Master Hurly, making an effort to conquer the quavering in his voice, “our son is long dead.”

 

imagesSo begins this haunted tale of supernatural music and evil power of the Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly. I am especially interested in supernatural music and working on a novel of how music can possess  and exhibit evil powers. E.T.A. Hoffman believed that music could lead into the “dark abysses of the soul.” What do you think? Have you ever had a mysterious experience while listening to music?

Try this haunted organ music at YouTube: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach

 

 

 

imgresWIHM author Rosa Mulholland is an Irish poet and novelist (1841-1921). The Princess Grace Library lists over fifty novels, novellas, and short stories of this forgotten author. So many of her stories are out of print now, it’s no wonder. She was highly favored by Charles Dickens who encouraged her to write. Dickens, in fact, published a good deal of Mulholland’s stories in his All the Year Round in the 1860s. Some of her best known titles were The Wild Birds of Killeevy, Banshee Castle, Mystery of Hall-In-The-Wood, The Wicked Woods of Toobereevil, Spirit and Dust (poems).

 

 

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You can read the Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly at SearchEngine.org.UK/ebooks/PDF.

Listen to the audio version on YouTube. Nicely done!

I expect you are more likely to find Mulholland’s stories in libraries than on Amazon, although there are a few available here.

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[Sketch above by Sam McKim of Ken Anderson’s original sketch (Shipley-Lydecker House, Baltimore, Maryland]

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http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

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

 ARE YOU INTERESTED IN GOTHIC POETRY? CHECK THIS OUT ON GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2198596-tale-of-terror-a-study-of-the-gothic-romance-by-edith-birkhead

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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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, horror, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Where is Death?

Death and the Woman   by Gertrude Atherton  (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 25, 2014    Women In Horror Month

220px-MortDeath as persona is a classic technique in horror stories. Today, I thought I’d try something different: instead of creating an introduction of the story, I’d string a few lines from the text to tempt you to read this author, Gertrude Atherton. She wrote some 40 novels and five volumes of short stories as well as nonfiction. Her fiction was quite modern for the American woman seeking emancipation at the turn of the century. A woman writing about women, their inner conflicts and struggles in society, politics, and sexuality, and in this story, Death and the Woman, a wife facing the terror of her husband’s death.

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If you’ve ever stood at the bedside of a dying relative or friend, this story will certainly punctuate that experience of awe and fear. If you’ve never witnessed death enter, well, this story will give you a foreboding peek into the final moments of life.

Where was Death?

She had heard of the power of the corpse to drive brave men to frenzy, and had wondered …

She knew that it was Death who was coming to her through the silent deserted house; knew that it was the sensitive ear of her intelligence that heard him, not the dull, coarse-grained ear of the body.

The dying man took no notice of her, and she opened his gown and put her cheek to his heart, calling him again.

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Read Death and the Woman at American Literature.    https://americanliterature.com/author/gertrude-atherton/short-story/death-and-the-woman

Listen (by candlelight as flickering shadows will add a thrilling atmosphere to the fine prose) to the audio at Librivox 

Read more short stories by Gertrude Atherton at  American Literature  https://americanliterature.com/author/gertrude-atherton 

1796515_10152579730360558_1087184371_nWomen In Horror Month (WiHM). One of the most prolific authors in gothic and dark literature in our modern day is without question Joyce Carol Oates. Who doesn’t know this author’s reputation for her visceral and surreal twisted stories and psychological horrors. Many know her work in this genre from Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque. You won’t find a ghost haunting a house so much as you’ll find the inner hauntings of the self and these are often times more horrific than any mere ghost.

Oates says in Reflections on the Grotesque … “…This is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo—that 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.”

Where Are You going, Where Have You Been? (1996) is about a teenage girl and a sinister stalker. This is not a typical horror story, but a powerful and chilling tale with high tension writing. Do read it slowly and thoughtfully to get full potency. If you’ve ever felt yourself alone and vulnerable, this tale will get into your head and under your skin. Some find the ending powerful; others find it too subtle. You decide.

Read Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? at University of San Francisco

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Joyce Carol Oates

http://www.usfca.edu/jco/

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

WiHM Contemporary Horror Short Stories at Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer

Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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The First Scream

The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen  (1941)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,  February 18, 2014    Women In Horror Month

‘Mrs. Drover’s mouth hung open for some seconds before she could issue her first scream.’

3302893Dark imagery with a foreboding mood, supernatural events, sinister moments, and what lies beneath the surface of a haunted mind are all elements in this atmospheric ghost story. Some readers might find this more of a psychological thriller, but how would you judge the situation when a letter, with no post except the current date, suddenly appears on a hall table inside your locked and unattended house?

Mrs. Kathleen Drover returns to her closed London house to gather a few things before returning to her husband and children in the countryside when she discovers this odd letter addressed to her. She soon realizes this letter is from a former lover of many years ago who has died. Impossible for such a letter to exist, but there it is in black and white with the current date. Is there some power from the beyond happening? Or is she going just a little mad? She reads the letter:

Dear Kathleen: You will not have forgotten that today is our anniversary, and the day we said. The years have gone by at once slowly and fast. In view of the fact that nothing has changed, I shall rely upon you to keep your promise. I was sorry to see you leave London, but was satisfied that you would be back in time. You may expect me, therefore, at the hour arranged. Until then .      K. 

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Promises made in the heat of the moment when young and full of desire have their own brutish powers, at least they do for Kathleen.

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Author Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) often wrote about secrets and betrayal in her fiction, and a character’s psychological balance played enormously in all her work. Her most famous novel is The Heat of the Day and several collections of short stories.

Read The Demon Lover here at BiblioKlept.com.

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For this week’s contemporary Women in Horror, take a read of Lucy Taylor’s Walled published at Nightmare Magazine. Do you like haunting and horrific cat stories?

‘She lay there, mesmerized by the sound, which wrenched at her guilt-filled heart with notes as keen and piercing as a shard of bone. “Forgive me,” she whispered, praying it might be Colleen who cried out to her in the darkness. But no, not a child at all. A cat . . .   inside the wall.’

Read Lucy Taylor’s Walled here at Nightmare Magazine.

Lucy Taylor’s stories have appeared in The Best of Cemetery Dance, Twentieth Century Gothic, Danse Macabre, Exotic Gothic 5, and many more magazines and anthologies. Taylor is author of seven novels and a short story collection Fatal Journeys due out in 2014. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lucy-Taylor-Author

http://www.lucytaylor.us/

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Women In Horror Month at  Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

The Fussy Librarian

HorrorSociety.com 

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Filed under classic horror stories, demons, fiction, ghost stories, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror, Women in Horror Month