As part of the SPFBO (details here) all the bloggers taking part have been assigned 30 books. By the end of a six month period the aim is to choose one book to put forward into the next stage. So, I’m aiming to check out 5 books a month. My list first appears here and I’ve picked and […]
Reminder: Find my free audio horror story “Talebones” at the Thrills & Mystery podcast! Narrated by Xina Marie Uhl.
“The bones do not lie.” The oracle’s strong voice belied her many years. “They are the purest parts of us, the strongest. When our voices have been silenced, only our bones can speak for us.” The oracle had spoken these words many times and had mastered the technique of projecting her voice so it sounded like it was issuing from the scattered bones themselves. It never failed to impress the crowds, except for Meela who knew the secret to such petty tricks herself.
Check out more of my creepy gruesome work on Amazon Kindle. You’ll be scared…uh…glad you did! (5 star reviews!)
“Finger bones and toe bones rattled inside the oracle’s shaking fist, clacking and clinking as if the bones themselves were angry. When she opened her hand, the pieces fell from between her fingers like heavy raindrops in a thunderstorm.”
Click below to listen Xina Marie Uhl narrate my horror short story “Talebones” and learn if Meela can win justice for her murdered mother….
And then visit Amazon Kindle for more stories:
On this week’s Thrills and Mystery podcast, my horror story “Talebones” http://bit.ly/1ScjQQq Give it a listen for free! And let the dread seep through your own bones. Then go buy my ‘Skin and Bones’ story collection on Amazon Kindle (where you’ll find the written version of “Talebones”)
On the heels of my first ever review (5 stars!)(Thanks Rue37!) on Amazon Kindle, I have released an updated, third edition of “Skin and Bones.” It now includes six additional stories, three of which previously comprised the shorter “Mother’s Day” collection: Wishing Well, Blood on the Scarecrow, and Babies in the Backyard. These stories continue my gruesome take on the horror genre (and motherhood, in their case).
It was after reading Wishing Well and The Wedding Tree (already included in Skin and Bones) that friend and fellow writer Xina Marie Uhl said “your imagination is a dark and scary place to visit; and apparently it hates marriage and babies.”
The three other stories offer something completely different and had originally been excluded because I didn’t feel they fit the collection’s genre theme. But, as any horror author or reader can tell you, horror takes many, many forms. It doesn’t need monsters, zombies, gruesome deaths, skeletons, bloody knives (although that helps), and strange or mysterious settings. It only needs darkness (literal or figurative) and dread.
So “Red Rover, Red Rover” – inspired by my own experiences with childhood bullying – gives you the not-so-friendly world of kids’ games…and that quiet man who lives on the corner.
“Dolls on Walls” was inspired by an episode of Animal Planet’s Animal Cops: Detroit (which ran from 2002-2006). In it, the humane society’s investigators walk into the home of yet another hoarder and are greeted by a bunch of dolls stuck to the walls. As they stare in wonder at the visage highlighted in their flashlight beams, they have a conversation that goes something like “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before” and “This is worse than all the others” and “What could have made this person do this? cover the walls with dolls?” I thought to myself…what could have made somebody do that?
“The Promise of Driftwood” was inspired by, you guessed it, a piece of driftwood. Of all things, it was a piece of driftwood in the campy horror classic “Lake Placid”….but don’t hold that against me…or do (if you consider that one of your favorite guilty pleasures). But my story has nothing to do with giant alligators, cranky sheriffs, or Betty White. Its horrors are more common – the fear of drowning; and more subtle – a family so disengaged they are virtual strangers.
Like most of the horror authors I read, I never had the chance to meet him, but other authors (Brian Keene, Jeff Strand, et al) have remarked on what a kind, generous man he was. He was especially known for his encouragement of new writers and for his breadth of work. While he started out in horror, he branched out into dark fantasy, crime dramas, mysteries, and even westerns – sometimes mixing genres (always with dark themes). He won the Bram Stoker award four times.
Piccirilli’s list of works is extensive, but so far I’ve only read four: November Mourns, Headstone City, The Dead Letters, and A Choir of Ill Children. The latter is cited as a classic example of southern gothic horror and is my favorite. Like much of his work, it relies heavily on themes of loss, family, and secrets. Some readers may find his depiction of severely physically-deformed individuals disturbing, but Piccirilli uses such imagery to reveal the ugliness of the human soul. I once read in an interview that Piccirilli himself did not quite understand why he often featured children who did not fit society’s definition of “normal.”
I first encountered Piccirilli in a book review section of “Talebones” – a quarterly horror/dark fantasy magazine that ran for several years in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. If my memory is correct it was a review of A Choir of Ill Children. So I’d like to thank “Talebones” editor Patrick Swenson for introducing me to him and his work. While there will be no new works forthcoming, I look forward to catching up on Piccirilli’s other works.
Condolences to his wife, Michelle.