What’s the Weirdest Thing You’ve Ever Dug Up?

In celebration of the release of Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming Buried or Not!, Things in the Well publishing is running a fun competition to uncover the weirdest thing you’ve ever dug up.

It could be a bizarre relic, a dastardly family secret, or a creepy fact you came upon while researching a story. 

The competition will be posted on the Trickster’s Treats Facebook page on the 16th of October and run for two weeks.

To enter, simply reply to the post, describing your strange discoveries, and share any photos.

The competition will close on the 30th of October and the winner will be announced in time for Halloween! The winner will receive e-book copies of each of the four fabulous Trickter’s Treats anthologies:

Trickster’s Treats #1: Tales from the Pumpkin Patch (Ed. Steve Dillon)

Trickster’s Treats #2: More Tales from the Pumpkin Patch (Ed. Steve Dillon)

Trickster’s Treats #3: The Seven Deadly Sins (Eds. Lee Murray & Marie O’Regan)

Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! (Eds. Louise Zedda-Sampson & Geneve Flynn)

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 3

Ghosts, Bog Bodies, and Ghouls

Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! is a charity anthology which raises funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The horror anthology is published by Things in the Well and was unleashed on the 26th of September this year. 

I co-edited the anthology with the lovely Louise Zedda-Sampson and we were thrilled to compile a table of contents filled with plenty of monsters—some tried and true, some wildly inventive and scary. 

In the final of three weekly creature-feature posts, let’s have a look at some of the wicked beasties that fill the pages of the anthology.

Ghosts

Ghosts are thought to be the souls of the dead which the living are able to sense or see. They can haunt places, objects or people. 

Hungry ghosts are common in many Asian cultures. They are often described as a combination of rage and insatiable want, with swollen bellies and tiny, useless throats that don’t allow them to eat. They’re endlessly tormented by unfulfilled desires, forever ravenous in their search for the specific obsessions that plagued them when they were alive.

Stories and poems in Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature ghosts:

“Digging up the Past” by Chris Mason

“There is No Such Thing as Dead” by Lucy Ann Fiorini

“Sleeping with the Dead” by Alicia Hilton

Bog Bodies

A bog body is a human corpse that has been mummified in a peat bog. The acidity in peat preserves the keratin in the body, keeping skin, hair, nails, and sometimes clothing in almost perfect condition. This preservation, however, reveals the often sinister circumstances of the victim’s death. Many bog bodies have shown evidence of human sacrifice.

Stories and poems in Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature bog bodies and folks who have been buried but refuse to stay buried: 

“In A Cave Wall” by Dominick Cancilla

“Requiem Aeternam” by Rebecca Pyne

“Bury My Heart, Somewhere Deep” by Ian Bain

“The Toddling” by Kurt Newton

“A Light from the Grave” by Aristo Couvaris

Ghouls

Arising from Arabic mythology, ghouls are thought to be a wicked class of jinn which haunt burial grounds and other abandoned places. They feed on dead bodies and children.

To kill a ghoul, strike it only once. Striking it again will revive it.

Stories in Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! which feature ghouls:

“The Box Born Wraith” by Kevin David Anderson 

If you’ve enjoyed this creature-feature post, you can read more about the monsters in the Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! anthology in the previous blog posts:

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 1 (Zombies, Death Incarnate, and Worms)

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 2 (Strigoi, Witches, and Crows)

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 2

Strigoi, Witches, and Crows

Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! is a charity anthology which raises funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The horror anthology is published by Things in the Well and was unleashed on the 26th of September this year. 

I co-edited the anthology with the lovely Louise Zedda-Sampson and we were thrilled to compile a table of contents filled with plenty of monsters—some tried and true, some wildly inventive and scary. 

In the second of three weekly creature-feature posts, let’s have a look at some of the wicked beasties that fill the pages of the anthology. 

Strigoi

Strigoi are evil dead which return from the grave to haunt their relatives. According to Romanian mythology, those who have lived an immoral life can become strigoi. If an animal jumps over your grave, or you were born with a tail or with hair, or as the seventh child, there’s a chance you too, could become one of the undead. 

In 2003 in south-west Romania, the body of Petre Toma was exhumed and desecrated on suspicion that he had returned as a strigoi and was feeding on his family members. His heart was cut out, burned, and family members present dissolved the ashes in water and drank. They believed this would protect them against the vampire. 

Stories in Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature strigoi: 

“Digging up the Dead” by Ed Ahern

Witches

Early witches were thought to be doing the work of the devil; however, most were healers and “wise women.” Malleus Maleficarum, or the Hammer of Witches, was published in 1486 and became the guidebook for identifying, trying, and executing witches.

One of the most famous prosecutions of witches in history was during the Salem witch trials in 1692.

Stories and poems in Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature witches:

“To Leaven His Bones” by Amanda Crum

“The Witch Tree” by Alyson Faye

Crows

Crows are often associated with bad omens, but can also be considered divine messengers. 

When a crow dies, other crows will gather around the body in an effort to deduce what killed it. The group of crows, called a murder, will then mob predators, chasing them away. 

Stories and poems Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature crows: 

“Burying the Well on the Wings of a Crow” by Herb Kauderer

“The Crows of Las Cruces” by Kurt Newton

“The Raving” by Sheri Vandermolen

Click here to last week’s Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 1 if you’d like to read about zombies, death incarnate and parasitic worms.

Or stay tuned next week for the third and final creature feature post on ghosts, bog bodies, and ghouls.

Trickster’s Treats – Creature Feature Part 1

Zombies, Death Incarnate, and Worms

Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! is a charity anthology which raises funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The horror anthology is published by Things in the Well and was unleashed on the 26th of September this year. 

I co-edited the anthology with the lovely Louise Zedda-Sampson and we were thrilled to compile a table of contents filled with plenty of monsters—some tried and true, some wildly inventive and scary. 

In the first of three weekly creature-feature posts, let’s have a look at some of the wicked beasties that fill the pages of the anthology. 

Zombies

Zombies are undead creatures which may have roots in the Haitian religion, Vodou. Original zombies were thought to be living people who were heavily drugged and made to do the bidding of their controllers. George Romero heralded the birth of the modern zombie with films such as Night of the Living Dead.  

To free a zombie, feed it salt.  

Stories from Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature zombies:

“Drowning” by Liam Hogan

“Playlist” by Stephanie Ellis

“A Streetcar Named Lugosi” by Mike Sheedy

Death Incarnate

The Grim Reaper, the banshee, Thanatos, Santa Muerte, Yama and Marzanna are representations of death from around the world. In personifying death, we hope to somehow know the unknowable, and to put a face to our greatest fears. 

Death personified can represent either a reaper, which collects a person’s soul, or a psychopomp, which guides the deceased to the afterlife.

Stories from Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature Death Incarnate:

“Shaft” by Kev Harrison

Worms (and other parasitic creatures)

Parasitic worms, or helminths, have the ability to manipulate their host’s immune response in order to survive for many years inside the body. Females lay thousands of eggs at a time; these eggs have a tough shell, meaning they can survive in various environments until they hatch and infect a new host. 

Massospora cicadina, a type of fungus, floods its host with hallucinogenic chemicals. Part of the host cicada’s abdomen falls off and the hapless insect then wiggles to death, effectively dispersing the fungal spores. 

Stories in Trickster’s Treats#4: Coming, Buried of Not! which feature these incredible beasties:

“Frostfire” by Aline Boucher Kaplan 

Stay tuned for the next two weekly creature-feature posts:

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 2: Strigoi, Witches and Crows.

Trickster’s Treats Creature Feature Part 3: Ghosts, Bog Bodies, and Ghouls

CoNZealand – different but same

WorldCon 2020 was hosted in New Zealand amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of pivoting from a real life convention to the first ever virtual World Science Fiction Convention, the organisers managed to deliver a terrific experience. Through the use of Discord and Zoom, the sense of community and fandom was alive and well. Yes, there were some technical hitches and a sharp learning curve for many attendees, but it was still freakin’ fabulous to be able to take part in so many thought-provoking panels and meet so many like-minded folks.

I had the privilege of being a panelist and moderator for these three sessions:

Asian Women of Horror: The Experience of Perpetual “Otherness” Through the Lens of Dark Fiction

Asian women of horror dissect their experiences of “otherness.” Whether in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world, how does dark fiction let us explore their very real experience?

Moderator: Geneve Flynn

Panelists: Lee Murray, Prema Arasu, Umiyuri Katsuyama

How to Work with Editors

There are all kinds of editors: those that edit novels, short fiction, journalism, and so forth. We can’t forget acquisitions editors, developmental editors, or the copy editors, of course. How does each kind of editor work with writers? How should you, the writer, best work with them?

Moderator: Joshua Bilmes

Panelists: Liz Gorinsky, Aidan Doyle, Katrina Archer, Geneve Flynn

Horror from Elsewhere

We’re very familiar with US/UK horror…but what about horror from elsewhere.  A look at horror from around the world.

Moderator: Geneve Flynn

Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Kat Clay, Chikodili Emelumadu, Dr. Octavia Cade

It was great to chat with everyone on the panels and I came away with a teetering to-be-read pile.

There were many fascinating topics throughout the five days of programming and I was exhilarated and exhausted by the final day.

Along with the programming at conventions, it’s the moments in between that I love. It’s in those moments where you make unexpected friendships, bump into that creator you’ve always admired, or launch a project with a new connection. Despite the lack of face-to-face contact, CoNZealand delivered all of that and more.

Thanks a million to the organisers, volunteers, and participants who made it all possible. Here’s to next year’s WorldCon.

P.S. Brisbane, Australia has a bid in for WorldCon 2025. I’m ridiculously excited. Have a look here if you’d like to learn more or get involved.

Follow that path: part II

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Stories don’t emerge, pure and utterly original from the mind. Instead, they’re stitched together like Frankenstein’s creature, shaped from found treasures and past experiences. And one of the most profound past experiences for a writer is the stuff they’ve read and fallen in love with.

Two weeks ago, I posted a link to Flame Tree Publishing’s blog about the inspirations behind some of the stories in their latest Gothic anthology, Lost Souls. 

This week, the authors (myself included) were asked to share some of our favourite stories from the genre. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to give a shout out to some fabulous Australian authors, such as Lisa L. Hannett, Rue Karney, Matthew J. Morrison and of course, Deborah Sheldon. Check them out. If you haven’t read much Australian horror, you’re in for a treat.

You can read the latest blog from Flame Tree Publishing here.

Follow that path.

secret-3120483_1920Why do you write the things you do? Where do the ideas come from? These are two of my favourite questions to ask authors. I like to discover the winding path to the page almost as much as I like to read the actual story itself. My short story, ‘The Pontianak’s Doll’ will be published in Lost Souls, a Gothic Fantasy anthology this September. If you’re curious about how some of the stories in this gorgeous collection emerged, head over to Flame Tree Publishing’s blog.

lost souls

 

That new book smell…

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Contributor’s copies are fabulous. It’s a great feeling to hold a physical copy of your story, wrapped in the pages of a beautifully made book. Enter the Rebirth looks good, feels good and has that new book smell. It also happens to contain ‘The Zoo of All Things’, my post-apocalyptic story about a guy with epilepsy surviving his first day at work. Check it out here on Amazon or at TANSTAAFL Press.

Hey, wanna hear something cool?

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My horror short story, ‘The Fledgling’ will feature in the Tales to Terrify podcast on the 18th of May this year. That’s just one week away, so if you like to hear your horror instead of reading it, head over to the site and check it out. You’ll find podcasts of stories by fabulous authors such as Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren and Alan Baxter.

Oh, and Stephen King. Excuse me while I run around in mad circles like a toddler let loose after birthday cake.

‘The Fledgling’ explores a mother’s unease with the private school system. If crows give you the creeps, you might want to close your ears.

If you liked ‘The Fledgling’, have a look at some of my other published short stories.

Happy listening!

 

A New Home for a Lost Soul

lost souls

My short story, ‘The Pontianak’s Doll’ will be republished in the Lost Souls Gothic Fantasy short story anthology in September this year. The anthology will be brought out by Flame Tree Publishing and will feature many new writers as well as classic masters of the Gothic tale such as M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Here’s a link to the blog post from Flame Tree Publishing if you’d like to learn more.