Category: Guest Post

Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?

If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?

by: S. R. Cronin

Speculative fiction writers love to make things up. It’s one of the many reasons we do what we do. Yet, most creations are twists on things that already exist. For instance, I made up eight new holidays in the Seven Troublesome Sisters books, along with a complete calendar system, but it all relates to seasons of the year and resembles Wiccan and Druid holidays in our world.

When I saw this question about creating a new holiday, however, I smiled. An original holiday may be my only original creation and it had nothing to do with writing speculative fiction. It had to do with writing poetry.
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Deep in the Mines of Folklore and Urban Legend

Deep in the Mines of Folklore and Urban Legend

By

Robert P. Ottone

 

“Legends die hard. They survive as truth rarely does.” It’s hard to top the First Lady of the American Theater, Helen Hayes, but there you have it. The magic of legends, whether urban or folkloric, lies in the blending of truth and obfuscation of reality. As someone who likes to mine a region’s folklore and urban legends for material, there’s a thrill in playing with tradition while putting one’s own spin on a classic tale.

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Magick and Mayhem!

Magick and Mayhem!

By

Teel James Glenn

 

Magick and Mayhem! It conjures up images (yes, its a pun) of cataclysmic tableaus of explosive bursts of light and earth-shaking forces in a battle between warlocks and warriors. But what governs these forces? How is it different from the wave of a wand to make a flower grow or levitate a table? And must they all be grand cataclysmic events, or can simple levitation count?

Drama is, after all, ultimately conflict. It follows then, that as fantasy is a form of drama, it must ultimately involve some sort of fantastic conflict. Like all good drama, however, it must have grounded in characters and principles that a reader can identify with or you lose the connection to the audience and everything becomes just gibberish. 

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How William Lindsay Gresham’s Life Delivered Us Nightmare Alley

Noir has not always been confined to rain-swept streets or roadside diners or gangsters on the lam.  The carnival, with its seedy operators who prey on a public desperately wanting to believe the big top clairvoyants can communicate with the dead, has also featured in noir novels.  The most famous of these was Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).  But in actuality, Bradbury’s novel is more horror than noir and violates one of the cardinal rules of noir, in that the novel has a happy ending.  Good triumphs over evil.

The best example of noir under the big top is, in fact, William Lindsay Gresham’s Nightmare Alley (1946).  The novel is uber-noir in that, for sheer bleakness and greed, very few noir novels can touch it.  Good doesn’t triumph over evil, and the lasting impression from the book is that the desperate will continue to be fleeced by the amoral grifters.
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Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Knocking on Heaven’s Door

by Greg Herren

(reprinted from Queer and Loathing in America, December 12, 2021)

I woke up this morning to the news that Anne Rice died last night.

She was an enormous influence on me and my life, for any number of reasons. It was her book The Witching Hour that made me realize that I needed to come to New Orleans, that awakened my connection to the city that was maybe always there in my head yet was dormant; I cannot precisely place what it was about that book that opened the connection necessary in my head to know that New Orleans was where I belonged. There was just something about that book, the way she wrote about the city and its magic, that drew me here. The weekend of my thirty-third birthday I came to New Orleans, and it was the first time I ever felt connected to a place, that I had finally found the place where I belonged, where–if and when I were to move there–all of my dreams would come true. Her love of the city where she was born and grew up comes through so powerfully in The Witching Hour, and the book remains one of my favorites to this day. The friend I stayed with that weekend–knowing how much I loved the book–took me on a drive around the city and through the Garden District, and pulled up the house at the corner of First and Chestnut. “This,” he said with a big smile, “is where she lives. Do you recognize the house?”
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Co-Authoring Is Where Magic Happens

CO-AUTHORING IS WHERE MAGIC HAPPENS

By Lindy Ryan

 

(in advance of Throw Me to the Wolves, Black Spot Books, May 24, 2022)

 

Relationships are tricky, and anyone who might tell you that co-authoring isn’t a relationship would be dead wrong. Like any other partnership, finding the right co-author can be akin to finding a writing soulmate—two people who share the same passions and ideas, and have the skills, drive, and desire to put in the work to reach a shared vision together
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8 of the Scariest Horror Books Ever Written

8 of the Scariest Horror Books Ever Written

 

Horror is a popular genre in literature, film, and television. It can be defined as a genre intended to scare, shock, or terrorize its readers or viewers.

 

Some of the most famous horror books ever written include Stephen King‘s The Shining, Anne Rice‘s Interview with the Vampire, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. These novels have all been made into successful movies and have helped to shape the modern horror genre.

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Guest Post: Memento Mori

Memento Mori

By Kelly Florence

You never know how tragedy will affect your life or what gifts may come out of it. This was the case for me when I simultaneously lost my husband but met my best friend during one summer.

I was twenty-three years old, spending three months in the intensive care unit of a hospital next to my twenty-four-year-old husband. He was diagnosed with lupus only two years prior. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own tissues. In the case of my husband, he had a stroke, and his lungs and other organs were failing. Treatment after treatment took place over that summer and it was a lot for a couple so young to go through. I would often be mistaken for his “girlfriend” due to our young age. Only family members were allowed to visit. I would have to assure the staff that I was, indeed, his wife and we had been married for four years already. Day after day, the only escape I would have from the monotony of the beeping monitors and the horrific sound of the life support system that was keeping him alive was a trip downstairs to the cafeteria or restaurant.

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