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 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.
Stella, Stella, Stella! Oh, oops, wait, that’s from a movie. Never mind. Back to the paella. Spain is a great country for paella. If you like paella, that is. I have to confess I’m not a huge fan, especially since the ones I encountered were mostly seafood versions. And, no, I don’t like seafood…unless it’s in a Japanese restaurant in the form of sushi.
So I had high hopes for this dish, a homemade vegetarian paella, served up by our hosts at La Casa Magica in Villatuerta. While I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, the dish was certainly flavorful, the veggies fresh, and it was quite filling. I selectively dug out the rice and veggies I like most and made a meal out of that, along with the ubiquitous bread that was everywhere with every meal (or so it seemed).
The most enjoyable part of the dinner, as with most evenings, was the company that we enjoyed surrounded by citizens of a variety of nations from as close as France and as far away as Asia. There was Henry and Alba, originally from Venezuela but now residing in Canada, Amy from South Korea, Essa from Finland (Essa seemed to be rather fond of Amy, but it didn’t seem she was reciprocating), and the trio from Killarney in Ireland, among others.
We had already met “Ireland” (as we called them) along the trail thanks to the decorative ribbons on my backpack. Being that I travel most frequently with Lindblad Expeditions, I have a multitude of their blue and yellow ribbons (which they provide to better identify your luggage during group airport transfers) and are – I’m told – based on the flag of Sweden where Lars Eric Lindblad (Sven Olaf’s father) was born. It turns out they’re also the colors of Killarney, Ireland, and “Ireland” wondered if perhaps I hailed from their hometown. Alas, I do not, although I am of Irish descent. (My mother’s family immigrated to the U.S. during the great potato famine in the mid-1800s). While one of her relatives has done a genealogy, I don’t remember most of the details so I can’t say whether we might actually be from Killarney. Too bad I’m not, for the young-ish male third of “Ireland” was quite handsome.
Yes, we really did refer to people by their country (or town). it was easier to remember. And, being a horror writer, it reminded me of the movie “Zombieland” where the characters referred to each other by their hometowns (like Columbus and Tallahassee) lest they become too familiar with and attached to one another. Not that I was expecting the zombie apocalypse to occur while we were on the Camino, but I certainly had ample opportunity to let my mind wander while walking, concocting all sorts of scenarios for future horror stories. Like, what if that paella dish – easily two feet across – had been a zombie’s dream: brain paella. Hmm Hmm Good.
They are called “garroticos” but if you ask for them in English that’s okay. You’ll still receive the best little chocolate croissants you’ve ever had…delighting your taste buds the second you pop them into your mouth.
Don’t bite down into the croissant over a clean pair of white or beige pants. That still-warm, gooey, chocolate oozes out everywhere. Better yet, don’t let it escape! Hold your other hand beneath the croissant-holding hand to catch it. (I sniffled as I watched a gorgeous clump of chocolate plop itself on the sidewalk…ever lost to the city pigeons. I may never recover from that tragedy.)
Where do you find these little pieces of heaven? At Beatriz, a tiny bakery near the historic bull ring in Hemingway’s old stomping grounds. My friend and traveling companion, Xina Uhl, had read about Beatriz somewhere so it was one of our first stops in the city. Of course, it was siesta time so it was closed. But no worries, there were plenty of bars and cafes nearby that remained open where we could enjoy a meal. And, as soon as Beatriz opened its doors again, there we were – first in line for our dessert! (Oh, did I mention the lines? We hear Beatriz is famous for having lines out the door – so get there as quick as you can.)