Tag Archives: Women in horror

Horror Story

Horror Story by Carmen Maria Machado  (2018)

Tuesday’s Tale of Horror  July 17, 2018


Carmen Maria Machado is an author of stories published in New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Guernica, Electric Literature, AGNI,  Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, Year’s Best Weird Fiction. She has just published her first collection of short stories Her Body and Other Parties: Stories (finalist for the 2017 National Book Award and finalist for the Kirkus Prize). If you are ready to discover a modern writer of ghost stories and horror, vivid and surreal, this is your gal. She likes to write about the spaces between the fantastic and reality. This writer goes deep.

In this week’s story, Machado writes about a haunted house. Not at all what you might expect.

‘It started so small: a mysteriously clogged drain; a crack in the bedroom window. We’d just moved into the place, but the drain had been working and the glass had been intact, and then one morning they weren’t. My wife tapped her fingernail lightly on the crack in the pane and it sounded like something was knocking, asking to be let in.’


At 1300 words, this is a quick 15-minute read. This story was originally published in Granta.

Read the short story at Nightmare Magazine:




“When you enter into horror, you’re entering into your own mind, your own anxiety,

your own fear, your own darkest spaces.”

Carmen Maria Machado.


Visit Carmen Maria Machado at her website: https://carmenmariamachado.com/fiction/


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 two short stories 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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

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

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Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, fiction, fiction bloggers, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, haunted houses, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, occult, paranormal, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural, supernatural fiction, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, Women In Horror

Women In Horror Month, February 2016, Gothic, Music, Supernatural

Women in Horror Month, February 2016

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 2, 2016

We are celebrating Women in Horror all this month. But not just horror. We all recognize the names Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, and Mary Shelley, among lots more women who write horror but also supernatural mysteries, dark fantasy, and ghost stories.  Have you experienced the stories of Elizabeth Hand? Winterlong launched her career in 1990.  Today I call your attention to Wylding Hall.

61vn59gbvvLWylding Hall is her dark fantasy/horror novel. When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. “Wylding Hall is a true surreal phantasmagoria, with music and all the accoutrements of the world of rock-and-roll set off by a wonderful admixture of the gothic supernatural. Treat it like the most exciting getaway in a truly enchanting setting.”  —Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of Hôtel Transylvania.


[If you enjoyed my novel Greylock about classical pianist Alexei Georg’s supernatural adventures on Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts, you will likely enjoy Hand’s Wylding Hall.]




Here are two free short stories by Hand:

Hungerford Bridge, published at Conjunctions

The Bacchae, published at Nightmare Magazine

Don’t miss this interview with Hand at Maine Crime Writers.




220px-Elizabeth_Hand_Finncon2007_croppedLiz Hand is the author of many novels, including Winterlong, Waking the Moon, Glimmering, Mortal Love, Illyria, and Radiant Days, as well as three collections of stories, including the recent Saffron and Brimstone. Her fiction has received the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopeoic, Tiptree, and International Horror Guild Awards, and her novels have been chosen as notable books by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. She has also been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship. A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, she lives with her family on the coast of Maine. Visit the author’s Website at ElizabethHand.com. Visit her Goodreads Page.  [Photo by Creative Commons License Attributions-Share Alike]

Watch for her new book Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel to be released in April 2016.





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 Book Reviews, fiction, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

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


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).





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.


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



 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.


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

Mason’s Road Literary Journal: Interview with Paula Cappa

I’m happy to announce that Mason’s Road Literary Journal at Fairfield University, Connecticut (Issue 10) is featuring my latest interview about my creative writing, especially The Dazzling Darkness, my supernatural mystery or “quiet horror.” I encourage you to read through this extraordinary journal for insights on craft, drama, poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction. And just in time for Women in Horror Month beginning February 1st.




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Filed under fiction, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, Night Sea Journey, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, The Dazzling Darkness, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

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. 


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.


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.


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.



Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Women In Horror Month at  Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

The Fussy Librarian


 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



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

WiHM at Sirens Call Publications

This is the second week of Women in Horror Month (WiHM). This movement has really taken off and Sirens Call Publications is getting lots of applause for their Issue 13. Lots of FREE short stories, flash fiction, poetry, editorials, and some amazing photography all by women artists.  From Australia to Oregon to California to Massachusetts to Holland to Singapore to England, if you want to discover some new and rising authors (over 50 to choose from, including a reprint of my own flash fiction Abasteron House), Sirens Call is the place to start looking.

Download the FREE PDF at the link below and enjoy this month’s exciting explosion of horror.

Sirens Call EZine: http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/

On FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/SCPSirens



Filed under fiction, horror, literary horror, Night Sea Journey, short stories, tales of terror, Women in Horror Month

Shapes That Haunt the Dusk

 Perdita  by Hildegarde Hawthorne  (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,  February 11, 2014     Women In Horror Month

9f6fe56daf585786370676941674331414f6744Hildegarde Hawthorne (1871-1952) probably isn’t a name that comes quickly to mind to most fiction readers. Even if you are an avid classic reader, this author has been long forgotten and overlooked. Of course, you might guess she was related to the most famous Hawthorne. Hildegarde was the granddaughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, daughter of Julian. She was a short story writer, poet, essayist, biographer, and reviewer—author of some 23 books.

Her short story featured here, Perdita, was originally published in Harper’s New Monthly and in the anthology Shapes That Haunt the Dusk in 1907. She is probably most famous for her biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Romantic Rebel in 1936.  If you enjoy Perdita, you might also like The Faded Garden, which is a collection of all her ghost stories.


I can’t call Perdita a horror story. Even “quiet horror” is a stretch. This is a ghostly love story. Picture the beauty of the prairie, rolling alfalfa fields and big sky. You are sitting on a veranda with vines of roses and sweeping clean air.  But there is a morbid quietness. There is … a young married couple, fresh from their honeymoon. There is sweet Aunt Agnes … There is … the power from beyond.

Read Perdita at Gutenberg.org (scroll down to the title)

Contemporary Women In Horror1796515_10152579730360558_1087184371_n

Have you experienced the award-winning work of Caitlin Kiernan? Kiernan is known more as a dark fantasy author than horror author, although that dividing line is pretty blurry to me. She’s written novels, comic books, novellas, and over 100 short stories. Here’s one from Subterranean Press, The Belated Burial. Yeah, you guessed it … a tale of being buried alive. But nothing is predictable in the dark realms of Caitlin Kiernan.


Visit CaitlinKiernan Web site

The Belated Burial is short enough for a lunchtime read. I read it with a rare roast beef sandwich, tomato juice, and rich black Espresso coffee.  We are in vampire land, after all.

I would certainly be interested in seeing some comments on this story. Did you find Kiernan’s The Belated Burial kindred to Poe’s The Premature Burial? (read story here) What did you think of Kiernan’s ending? If you have any thoughts, please post.

Read The Belated Burial at Subterranean Press

Listen to the audio at PodCastle  Number 127

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace


 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


Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, Hawthorne, short stories, weird tales, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Necromantic Adventures in Genoa

Transformation  by Mary Shelley  (1831)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   February 4, 2014   Women in Horror Month (WiHM)

If any author could successfully mix romance with fiendish pride and the power of evil, it’s Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is not considered supernatural, but Transformation certainly is a necromantic adventure.


For never was a story of more woe than Juliet and her Guido (if I may borrow the line from Shakespeare).  We are not in  Romeo and Juliet’s fair Verona; we are in Genoa. Juliet and Guido have been in love since childhood and have pledged to marry. She is angel-faced and loyal. He is rich, handsome, and worldly. Because Guido squanders his wealth, falls into the trap of vanity, and engages in violence, the authorities ban him from Genoa on pain of death.

Mad with loneliness, guilt, and struggling with regret, he wanders the seaside during the darkest of storms. Here he meets a mysterious dwarf  …


‘The voice of the wretch was screeching and horrid, and his contortions as he spoke were frightful to behold. Yet he did gain a kind of influence over me, which I could not master, and I told him my tale. When it was ended, he laughed long and loud: the rocks echoed back the sound: hell seemed yelling around me. …

His supernatural powers made him an oracle in my eyes; yet a strange unearthly thrill quivered through my frame as I said, “Speak!–teach me–what act do you advise?”’

This hideous dwarf (a cousin of Lucifer?) makes our poor Guido an offer he cannot refuse.

Read Transformation at Columbia.Edu

Listen to the short story at Librivox (scroll down to Number 10)


1796515_10152579730360558_1087184371_nMany of you know February is Women in Horror Month (WiHM). Each Tuesday I will be featuring all women authors from the 19th century and posting a recommendation of a contemporary author as well. Women are under-represented in this genre and the goal of WiHM is to encourage reading, recognition, and support of women horror authors. So I encourage you to read women authors this month, buy their short stories, their novels, and recognize the talents of so many women writers that have been overlooked and underrated.

To that aim, I’d like to recommend award-winning author Susan Hill. Hill is a British author of novels and short stories. The Woman in Black is a dark atmospheric novel, a winner of a ghost story, historical, and a cunning mystery. You might also like these ghost stories: Printer’s Devil Court (short story), The Small Hand, The Man in the Picture, Dolly, Hunger (short story), Man in the Mist.

Visit Susan Hill’s Web site in the UK.   82px-93,370,0,276-Susanhill-007

Check out what Julienne Snow has to say about WiHM at Dark Media.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace


 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


Filed under fiction, horror, literary horror, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, Women in Horror Month

Literary Ladies of Haunted Mountain. Who are they?

You are invited to my first Guest Blog at Monster Librarian!

“Literary Ladies of Haunted Mountain” complements my Women In Horror month for October’s Tales of Terror. Please  click below on Monster Librarian.  Monster Librarian has  information on current mainstream horror and various lists  of older books, reviews, and resources.  This site has no other agenda than encouraging people to read and supporting readers of the horror genre.

Come back and leave me a comment!

Monster Librarian, Literary Ladies of Haunted Mountain by Paula Cappa


Image from FromOldbooks.org

Artist Arthur Rackham

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Filed under classic horror stories, Halloween, horror, horror blogs, tales of terror, Women In Horror

What Lurks in Gowrie Castle’s Secret Chamber?

 The Secret Chamber  by Margaret Oliphant  (1876)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 1, 2013

What is it like to be truly haunted? Haunted by another’s thoughts, haunted by mesmeric eyes watching your every step, haunted by sinister laughter that only you can hear.

It’s October 1st, the Horror Month. Begin here as Tales of Terror takes you through a month of Women in Horror. Have you read the works of Scottish born Margaret Oliphant? She produced over 90 novels and 200 stories. To her contemporaries, she was a literary giant and a pioneer in supernatural fiction. Today, she is unaccountably neglected.


A haunted Scottish castle, what could be better than to curl up with The Secret Chamber. Spend an hour here, maybe with a cup of hot Scottish tea or a glass of peaty Scotch over ice. Whatever your pleasure, come and listen to the tower bells chime as the moonlight strikes full at Gowrie Castle.

Scottishcastle-veve-celles-q75-356x500 The Gowrie Castle stands with grey clustered turrets, labyrinths of hidden staircases, vaulted chambers, rich lawns and foliage, and a Scots family history fraught with rebellions and revenges.  John Randolph (Lord Gowrie), his wife Lady Gowrie, and their son Lindores are endearing characters that you won’t easily forget. Young Lindores is man of Oxford education, ambitious,  generous, and quiet charming. On the night of Lindores’ birthday celebration, when the festivities have finished and all guests have retired, Lindores’ father wakes him. Lindores opens his eyes to his bedroom gleaming with candles, bottle of wine, and an ominous silence.

“Get up, my boy,” said Lord Gowrie, “and dress as quickly as you can; it is full time. I have lighted your candles, and your things are all ready.” Lord Gowrie went to the table and poured out a glass of wine from a bottle which stood there, — a rich, golden-coloured, perfumy wine, which sent its scent through the room. “You will want all your strength,” he said; “take this before you go.”

Lindores is shocked and puzzled. Before he goes? Where?

ScottishSteps-at-Powis-Castle-q75-375x500 “You are going to encounter the greatest trial of your life,” he said, his countenance full of dreary pain, shaking with emotion, great beads of moisture upon his forehead.

Lord Gowrie brings his son into the secret chamber. A rite of passage? Lindores bade his nerves be steel to all vulgar horrors.

What would you expect to reside in a secret chamber in a castle? Skeletons of murdered guests? Ghosts of family traitors? A phantom?  Here’s a peek for you.

How there looked him in the face,
An angel beautiful and bright,
And how he knew it was a fiend

 Are fiends the fancy of mortal men or …?


Read The Secret Chamber online at Gaslight

Need more Oliphant stories? Try The Library Window at Gaslight

or the novella The Beleaguered City at Gutenberg.org

 Images are from FromOldBooks.Org

This being the Halloween month, and this being my own “Woman in Horror month,” for Tales of Terror, please drop a line or two in the comment box. What did you think of Margaret Oliphant’s The Secret Chamber? Do you have an author or title you’d like to suggest for our reading this month? Thanks!

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad   The Story Reading Ape Blog   Interesting Literature    Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com    Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror   Monster Librarian

Tales to Terrify    Rob Around Books     Books on the Nightstand     GoodKindles.net 

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Hauntings, horror, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror