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(For those who long to be home this Christmastime. A poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, 18501894)

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seamen scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But ‘twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So’s we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every ‘long-shore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
“All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate Jackson, cried.
…”It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

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Surfacing briefly to announce that I have a new story out. That Ain’t Right: Historical Accounts of the Miskatonic Valley (Mad Scientist Journal) containing my story, “The Crumbling of Old Walls” is now available for your digital devices and in good old fashioned paper. The trade paperback edition looks like this:

That-Aint-Right---paperback

Lovecraft fans will recognize the name Miskatonic Valley as a setting for many of his stories. Each contributor has written a first person account set somewhere in the valley. The book contains, “…eighteen tales of people who have either lived in this strange corner of New England or had the misfortune of visiting. Mixed in with nods to classic Lovecraft icons are stories that bring a new eye to the genre. Tales of horse drawn carriages share space with orbital shuttles, alternate worlds, and football.”

Thanks to editors Jeremy Zimmerman and Dawn Vogel for including me. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s work.

The publisher reports you can purchase the physical book at Amazon and possibly via special order at Barnes & Noble or Powell’s.

The ebook is available via Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Versent, Inktera, Scribd, and Kobo.

Oh, and the cover art by Shannon Legler is gorgeous.

Enjoy.

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shroud11_smallTo celebrate mid-summer and make sure you don’t run out of chilly reading material, Tim Deal at Shroud Publishing has announced that all titles in their catalog (except those subject to existing special offers) are on sale at 30% off. If you are interested in my work and don’t own the Shroud titles that contain them, now’s your chance to snatch them up.

Shroud Magazine #11 contains “Side Retired.”

Shroud Magazine #8 contains “Discounted.”

Northern Haunts – 100 Terrifying New England Tales contains “Broken Chain”

You can (and should) of course also take a look at all of the other goodies Shroud Publishing has to offer. Visit www.shroudmagazine.com and use the coupon code “30offjuly” at checkout. Enjoy!

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Available now:

Innder Demons Out Front CoverMy story, “Unknown Caller” is available in Anthology Year Two: Inner Demons Out, edited by jOhnny Morse and published by Four Horsemen. The book is stuffed with stories, poems, and art created by attendees of the second AnthoCon conference. Most of us call New England home, but not all. Writers and artists come from across the US, Canada, and Richard Wright came all the way from India in 2012.

Contributors to Inner Demons Out include Michael Bailey, Tracy L. Carbone, Scott Christian Carr, Stacey Longo, Kevin Lucia, Bracken MacLeod, Holly Newstein, K. Allen Wood, Richard Wright, and many, many more.

Available from Amazon.

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MiseryLoves - Small CoverMeanwhile, I have released an eBook edition of my comic/contemporary fantasy story “Misery Loves” through Whistling Kettle Press. The story was first published in Aeon Speculative Fiction and received some kind words.

“Patton makes his fantasy world glimmer…A well-told, unaffected tale…”
– The Fix

You can purchase the eBook edition from these online retailers:

amazon

01_nooklogo_thumb

kobo-logo

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MiseryLoves - Small CoverI’m pleased to announce that the second release from Whistling Kettle Press is an eBook edition of my story, “Misery Loves.” When Misery’s roof is damaged by a storm she is forced to seek help from her unusual neighbors. Honesty advises her to approach the person she understands the least – Love.

“Patton makes his fantasy world glimmer…A well-told, unaffected tale…” – The Fix

“Misery Loves” is available for most reading devices. You can purchase it on Amazon or directly from Whistling Kettle Press via PayPal. More locations coming soon.

A bit of background. The story was originally published in Aeon Speculative Fiction #13 and is one of my personal favorites. It’s funny (sez me). It’s quirky (sez me). It’s quite different from most of my work. It was also a pure spontaneous joy to write.

I think most stories are labors of love with the emphasis on labor. Writers write because we must  and sometimes the work is painful and slow. But every once in a while a story comes along that reminds the writer that they are merely a conduit, a vessel, a voice for something greater and only partly understood. The story pours through them and out into our world. So it was for me with this tale. As I wrote in the introduction:

This story surprised me first by ambushing me, the first lines popping into my head from wherever they had been before. I had an immediate image of what Misery looked and sounded like. The fun, and the surprise, came from going along with her as she sought help from her unusual neighbors.

I’m delighted to have had the chance to work with Bridget McKenna at Zone1Design on this edition. She did great work designing the cover and interior art, formatting the layout, producing the final files and, most importantly, listening to my many comments, questions, and ideas. She cared about the story and how the final product served it. I would happily work with her again.

I hope you enjoy the eBook edition of “Misery Loves.”

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Supernatural Tales 23While working on something related to an announcement I’ll be making soon, I stumbled across a positive review that Australian author M. R. Cosby wrote about Supernatural Tales #23. He  had nice things to say about Supernatural Tales in general and, along the way, wrote the following about my contribution.

Last Testament by Craig D.B. Patton is an enigmatic tale concerning both ghosts and misunderstanding. The secrets of the protagonist’s brother-in-law, a recently-deceased artist, are gradually revealed through other-worldly connections with his computer. Long-standing deceptions and conflict, both in art and in life, have to be confronted … head on.

“…an enigmatic tale…” I’ll take that. You can purchase electronic and POD copies of Supernatural Tales #23 at Lulu.

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( Look! Another blog post! This time within weeks instead of months! Next up: within days. But, for now, another announcement. )

Shroud Magazine 1 CoverTim Deal recently announced that Shroud Publishing is having a special sale. Tim has pulled out an archived box of Shroud #1 and is selling copies for $5. Contributors to the premier issue include Tom Piccirilli, Michael Laimo, Stephen Mark Rainey, and Tim Waggoner. There’s also an interview with Brian Keene. Fans of dark fiction, especially those who like to get their hands on limited edition magazines and books for their collections take note.

But wait, there’s more.

The goal of the sale? Shroud is building up their finances to complete, “… our most ambitious effort yet, a fully illustrated dark poetry collection that has been two years in the making.”

Miskatonic_Falls_DraftThat would be The Terror at Miskatonic Falls. I was ecstatic to read those words because I’ve wanted to buy and read this book since I first read the submission guidelines. Followers of this blog know that it includes a triptych of my poems, but I would still be excited even if the book did not include my work because it’s an interesting, unusual project. Part poetry, part police procedural, part graphic novel. Spoon River Anthology infused with Lovecraft and illustrated by…well, illustrated by Danny Evarts. And, really, I’m particularly excited for Danny because he has put so much of his time and talents into this book.

So if you like the idea of scooping up the premiere copy of Shroud before all the copies are gone or you are intrigued by The Terror at Miskatonic Falls and want to help send it to print sooner rather than later, please consider purchasing Shroud #1.

Plus, it’s late October. You should be buying lots of dark fiction in late October, so what’s $5 more? Go on.

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