(Oh, this doggerel is VERY SILLY, ma belle amie–but it was so fun to play!)
Swordfleur Skullybed Rose at her heart Crypt at her head Long black rapier gleaming bright Crept to her love On a brine-drowned night
Demoiselle La Tombstonetree Saddled her mare And galloped the sea Churned those breakers white as lace Challenged her love To a game of chase
"Tree!" cried Fleur
"Oh, must thou fly?
Thine old gray mare is fleeing high
Had I an arrow to my name
I'd bolt her down
And end thy game!"
"Fleur, my sapskull!"
"The game is this: I run and hide
And you, like brigand in full roar
Come run me down
Swordfleur Skullybed Seized with despair (And seeing red) Wrapped her cloak around a breeze And flew like a bat To the place she pleased
(Where the crypt and the rose and the quiet reigned
Where the rain fell soft, and the glass bells rang
Where the demoiselles, all shanks and sharps
With eyes like pits and teeth like sharks
Were yet more kindly to their Fleur
Than Tombstonetree had been to her)
Demoiselle La Tombstonetree
Wild as a wager
And flying free
Waved farewell and galloped on
Forgot the hour
Forgot the dawn
(Forgot that the touch of the sun meant death
Would stop up her heart and rob her of breath
Would turn her to pearls, all luster and gloss
As pale as her lace, as gray as her horse
A tumble of pearls which would wash up on shore
To be gathered for garlands by faithful Fleur)
Loved by ladies
Long since dead
Gave all her garlands of pearls away
To any demoiselle
In which my darling Carlos quizzes himself on @gracikim’s THE LAST FALLEN STAR, and adorns himself with FLASH TATTOOS.
(Hot dang! I love a handsome man in flash tattoos!)
Hey friends! Graci Kim is the latest Rick Riordan Presents author, and to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, Read Riordan has posted a quiz to help you figure out which of the many magical clans you would belong to, based on your personality! Check out my results in the video below! You can take the quiz yourself here!
Upon her rooftop in her raven wig The actress plays for pigeons and a dream Of one day strutting stately, in full rig Onstage, performing live but not livestream But meantime, every kettle is her cauldron A-bubble with the witchcraft of her work A neon feather boa for her pauldron Her corset, shield; stiletto heel, her dirk And though no one is watching, how she hones Her craft, as though her lips drop gems and gold How every kitchen chair becomes a throne And solitude a canvas for the bold O lady! Though these days have worn you fine Just know: you put the "diva" in "divine"
Join the creators of GHOUL vol. II—an art zine with campy-horror vibes—for a reading of poetry, short stories, & an artists’ process talk!
About this Event
Join the contributors of Ghoul vol. II for a night of reading campy stories and poetry, talking process (both the artistic process and the business of zine-making), and showing off some really amazing art.
Meet Brett Masse, editor, artist, and designer of Ghoul II, as well as Aaron Byrd (writer), Crystal Hartman (artist), Skull Mouth (artist, cartoonist), Arista Slater-Sandoval (photographer), Patty Templeton (writer), and yours truly, C. S. E. Cooney (poet)! Hear us chat and ask us your questions!
After you register, you’ll be getting emails from us about the upcoming event.
On the day of the event, you’ll get a Zoom link and a password!
We are looking forward to seeing you there!
C. S. E. Cooney
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHORS!
Mike Allen is a two-time World Fantasy Award finalist. He edits and publishes the Mythic Delirium Books imprint. His short stories have been gathered in three collections: Unseaming, The Spider Tapestries and newly-released Aftermath of an Industrial Accident. His novella “The Comforter,” a sequel to his Nebula Award-nominated horror story “The Button Bin,” has just appeared in an anthology of four dark long-form tales, A Sinister Quartet. He’s also a three-time winner of the Rhysling Award for poetry.
“An incredible read. This collection of horror and dark fantasy poetry and short fiction needs to be on the shelf of any horror reader.”
— Cemetery Dance
A Korean War veteran must rely on wits, improvised weapons, and words from the dread Necronomicon to escape the lair of a deranged cult. A ghost cannot communicate how she died, no matter how desperately she tries, while an unconventional ghost hunter incurs the venomous wrath of the Queen of Night. Murderous conspiracies reveal themselves in online video clips, a saint blasphemes as a serial killer prays for mercy, and corrupt families in ancient kingdoms trade blood and souls for leverage over foes. Enduring nightmares for a living can lead to a fate worse than burnout. A gruesome invasion from outside space and time tests courage—and corporate loyalty—past all rational limits.
In these twenty-three stories and poems, two-time World Fantasy Award nominee Mike Allen spins twisted narratives, some wound through the fabric of our world, some set in imagined pasts or futures, all plumbing the depths of human darkness.
“The consistency, here, is simply excellence,” writes Bram Stoker Award finalist and Punktown creator Jeffrey Thomas in his introduction. “You are holding in your hands an overflowing cornucopia of monstrous goodness. Mike Allen may be the premier poet of this era of weird horror and surrealist fantasy. His work is completely fearless. He takes no genre boundaries as sacred.”
EMMA J. GIBBON
Emma J. Gibbon is a horror writer, speculative poet and librarian. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies, Including Wicked Weird and Wicked Haunted, and on the Toasted Cake podcast.
In 2020, she was nominated twice for the Rhysling Award for her poems “Fune-RL” (Strange Horizons) and “Consumption” (Eye to the Telescope). Her poetry has also been published in Liminality, Kaleidotrope and Pedestal Magazine.
Emma is originally from Yorkshire and now lives in Maine in a spooky little house in the woods with her husband, Steve, and three exceptional animals: Odin, Mothra, and M. Bison (also known as Grim).
Dark Blood Comes from the Feet is a strange and eclectic collection of seventeen stories from horror author and speculative poet Emma J. Gibbon.
Within its pages, you will meet secret societies who contract deadly diseases on purpose, dancers helping each other avoid “below,” monstrous children who must be loved before they return to the sea, a taxidermy-obsessed mother, small blue devils in the Maine woods, a black cat that retrieves the dying, the last witch in Florida, and “a huge fucking dog of potentially supernatural origin.”
Visit haunted houses, a Hollywood nightclub, limbo, Whitechapel, and other stops on a death tour, and a childhood hangout that spells destruction for kids and dogs alike. Listen to a punk rock sermon in a post-apocalyptic matriarchal society, witness crustaceans that have trouble staying dead, a cannibalistic romance, a gothic love story to tuberculosis and a downtrodden wife’s transformation.
“Careful, or you might cut yourself on these stories—little gems with sharp edges which deserve to be treasured alongside the jewels of Shirley Jackson and Sylvia Townsend Warner—in the tradition of the illuminating dark.”
—M. Rickert, World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Award-winning, author of You Have Never Been Here
Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer, and former scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Their work can be found in places like Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. Their first original novella, Hammers on Bone, was a British Fantasy award and Locus award finalist, and their forthcoming novella, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, will be published by Nightfire in September 2021.
“This is a glorious poem, a slow-motion collapse leading to the inevitable haunting. It is beautiful and it isbrutal and it is heartbroken. Absolutely recommended.”
— Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Every Heart a Doorway
Imagine chucking The House on Haunted Hill, Japanese folklore, Clive Barker, and Kathy Acker into aliterary blender. Nothing But Blackened Teeth reads like the ghost-punk noir you never knew you needed.It’s sharp, playful, and nasty as hell.”
— Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song
GORDON B. WHITE
Gordon B. White is the author of the collection As Summer’s Mask Slips and Other Disruptions, as well as the forthcoming novellas ROOKFIELD and And In Her Smile, the World (with Rebecca J. Allred).
A graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, Gordon’s short stories, reviews, and interviews have appeared in dozens of venues, including The Best Horror of the Year Vol. 12. You can find him online at www.gordonbwhite.com
“White’s grisly, tantalizing debut story collection is a love letter to the horror genre… White conveys visceral terror through gorgeous, evocative prose … juxtaposing the macabre with the sublime for a truly pleasurable read.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With his debut collection, Gordon B. White establishes himself as one of the major new voices of speculative fiction. A quiet creeping dread that never lets up, As Summer’s Mask Slips and Other Disruptions explores pain, loneliness, and horror through a deeply personal lens of family and outsiders. These unforgettable short stories are not to be missed.”
— Gwendolyn Kiste, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author of The Rust Maidens
“Tapping into the atmosphere, authority, and history of Southern Gothic fiction, Gordon B. White’s collection of horror stories is haunting, lyrical, and unsettling. There is a primal fear that lurks in us all: a worry that just beyond the end of the flashlight beam waits unimaginable horror—and this cornucopia of dark tales proves that point.”
— Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration and the Thriller Award-nominated Breaker
ZIN E. ROCKLYN
Zin E. Rocklyn is a contributor to Bram Stoker-nominated and This is Horror Award-winning Nox Pareidolia, KaijuRising II: Reign ofMonsters, Brigands: A Blackguards Anthology, and Forever Vacancy anthologies and Weird Luck Tales No. 7 zine.
Their story “Summer Skin” in the Bram Stoker-nominated anthology Sycorax’s Daughters received an honorable mention for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten.
Zin contributed the nonfiction essay “My Genre Makes a Monster of Me” to Uncanny Magazine’s Hugo Award-winning Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction.
Their short story “The Night Sun” and flash fiction “teatime” were published on Tor.com. Zin is a 2017 VONA and 2018 Viable Paradise graduate as well as a 2022 Clarion West candidate.
This “dark, dazzling debut novella from Zin E. Rocklyn that reads like Rosemary’s Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler,” will be published by Tor.com in Fall 2021.
Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.
Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.
Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut novella is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.
ZIN E. ROCKLYN
Daniel Braum is the author of the short story collections The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales from Cemetery Dance eBooks in 2016; The Wish Mechanics: Stories of the Strange and Fantastic from Independent Legions in 2017; and the chapbook Yeti Tiger Dragon from Dim Shores in 2016.
Underworld Dreams is his third collection and was released from Lethe Press in September 2020 and is out now as an Audio Book. The Serpent’s Shadow, his first novella, was released from Cemetery Dance eBooks in July 2019.
He is the editor of the Spirits Unwrapped anthology. His work has appeared in publications ranging from Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet to the Shivers 8 anthology. His most recent story appears in the Best Horror of the Year Volume 12 edited by Ellen Datlow.
He is the host of the Night Time Logic series. And the annual New York Ghost Story Festival.
Underworld Dreams is Daniel Braum’s third short story collection of genre transcending, strange stories full of tension between the supernatural and psychological.
Within the pages Braum’s multi-dimensional characters face dark underworlds and strange experiences that illuminate the human condition and world (we think) we know.
Appearing in the volume for the first time is the original story “Between Our Earth and Their Moon” and the original novella, the title story, “Underworld Dreams (Sogni del Mundo Sotteraneo)” along with an introduction and story notes by the author.
in my dreams, the elevators have no doors they're merry-go-rounds, roller coasters too many buttons, none of them work they move like trains through cities
we're roller coasters, merry-go-rounds
we cross the street when we see each other
half-empty trains moving through cities
it's no longer polite to hold the elevator door
we cross the street when we see each other like in dreams, our pacing's off touch nothing, rush to close the elevator door cover your masked mouth to cough
our pacing's off, like in dreams time feels like flying, or quicksand, or static cover your masked mouth to cough murmuring not "Excuse me," but "Not Covid!"
time feels static, or like quicksand, or falling
boundary-less, kaleidoscopic free-range
no excuses--but the ubiquitous corvid
perched on my fire escape, inked like a headline
"boundary-less, kaleidoscopic free-range" is how I dress these days, pajamas and ball gowns nail polish chipped like my fire escape, ink for eyeliner a door closes between me and the household voices
"I love your ball gown!" shouts the stranger in pajamas
we wait for the elevator, she with laundry, me with groceries
one goes first, one waits; a door closes between us
in my dreams, the elevators have no doors
This story originally appeared in Leading Edge Magazine in 2008
“Has anyone explained the anatomical details to you yet?” the surgeon said, as the two gowned and masked assistants shaved and disinfected my entire body. Turning my head to my right, I could see her through the reinforced glass, but her mouth was open to the water on the other side of the glass and her lips weren’t moving. Instead, her voice—or rather a synthesized approximation—came from the teletransponder mounted over the glass. She was floating in a vertical position, her perfunctory white coat billowing with each rush of exhaled water. Because I was lying on my back and looking to my right, my whole perspective was tilted by ninety degrees, and her voice seemed to come from the transponder mounted to her left. The effect was disorienting.
Carlos and I met at Readercon in 2014 and became friendly Internet acquaintances. Then, in January 2015, Carlos accepted my Facebook challenge to collaborate on a short story.
We wrote “Book of May” over a series of VERY early mornings, and lo! Mike and Anita Allen at Mythic Delirium published it in Clockwork Phoenix 5.
Shortly after this, dear Reader, I married Carlos. (Well, relatively shortly after. Other stuff happened first. But this is where it all began.)
And now, six years later, “The Book of May” is live at Podcastle.org! This is the first time it exists in audio form, and Carlos and I do the narrations.
Fun Fact I: Setsu Uzume mentions This Is How You Lose the Time War in their “Book of May” outro. At the time I was first becoming friends with Carlos, exchanging letters with him and collaborating on this story, my dear friend Amal El-Mohtar was also first becoming friends with Max Gladstone… with whom she later wrote This is How You Lose the Time War. She and I would write letters to each other about our new correspondents/collaborators/friends.
Fun Fact II: Carlos and I were chatting about how we’d love for “Book of May” to have a second life in reprints somehow. I proposed us sending it to Podcastle, even though it is a leeetle long for their guidelines. But their guidelines also say to query in that case. So I did. Funnily enough, the editor Jen Albert had recently been given our story to read by mutual friend, poet and essayist Dominik Parisien. She was just about to write to us about it!
If you loved listening to Carlos read “Book of May” for Podcastle, I gotta tell you about the Story Seeds Podcast. Carlos collaborated with two young writers (Zarana and Siri, age 10) to create a new story together. Hear him narrate their “The Paintbrush of Doom” here!
Last summer (2020), he also did this great “Volcanic Writing” vlog as a creative writing exercise for kids! (And the rest of us.)
Don’t forget, if you want to hear another WONDERFUL Carlos Hernandez short story narrated by a LEGENDARY narrator, Levar Burton narrates “Fantaisie Impromptu No. 4 in C#min, Op. 66” for Levar Burton Reads.