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Posts Tagged ‘ghost stories’

In writing, as in any other field, it’s fun to tally up “firsts.” First published story. First published poem. First story in an anthology, in a magazine, in a webzine. First international sale. Etc. I’ve been at this long enough and fortunate enough to have all of those happen. Now comes a new one. Aghast-Cover-small

I’m pleased to announce that my story, “Appearances”, is included in the premiere issue of Aghast: A Journal of the Darkly Fantastic. The magazine is edited and illustrated by George Cotronis and published by Kraken Press. It’s the first time I’ve been part of the launch of a new publication.

George’s tastes in horror are, not surprisingly, similar to mine. When launching the Kickstarter campaign that provided the funding for this project, he wrote:

Somewhere along the way, my tastes had changed. I’m not really into violent media any more, serial killers don’t work for me as boogeymen and graphic descriptions of murder might just make me ditch a book.  On the other hand, my dislike for fantasy fiction has abated once I discovered things other than Tolkien pastiches.

He lists Graham Joyce, Norman Partridge, Holly Black, and Lucius Shepard as some of his favorite authors and likes Guillermo del Toro for his films, particularly The Devil’s Backbone. He cites Shimmer and the (regrettably departed) Shadows & Tall Trees as publications similar to what he wants Aghast to be. Given all that, I’d be happily signing up for the reading alone. Now I have a story that’s part of the maiden voyage alongside work by Tim Waggoner, Gemma Files, Jeff Strand, and others.

“Appearances” is another of my ghostly tales. It’s about family and grief and love and was inspired by a strange phenomenon in the 200 year old manse I currently live in with my family. Saying more would be saying too much.

Aghast: A Journal of the Darkly Fantastic is currently available on Amazon for Kindle devices and reader apps. It will be available in a glorious print edition very soon. I’ll post details here when I have them. A hearty thank you to George Cotronis for including me in the premiere of his labor of love. May Aghast have a long, wonderful run and always bring more joy than heartache to its creator. Aghast - interiors

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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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I don’t know who the other authors are yet,  but The Unsettled Foundation teased a bit about the lineup for The Electronic Voice Phenomenon. A look at the neighborhood in progress.

EVP tweet

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Unsettled Foundation - EVPA bit of news after all the silence on this blog. My story, “Resident Population” has been accepted for publication by The Unsettled Foundation for their forthcoming podcast, The Electronic Voice Phenomenon. The Unsettled Foundation is based out of Minneapolis and has been doing live readings in their neck of the woods. As they state on their website, “In the interest of expanding our icy grip beyond Minneapolis, the podcast will feature interviews, fiction, audio drama, and other concerns of the dark and dreary.” They plan to publish three episodes per year and I’m happy to be included in the evolving lineup.

“Resident Population” is a flash fiction story and is among my favorites. It’s also one of the stories that has had quite a few, “we love it, but not enough to take it because (fill in blank)” rejection letters. Sometimes without the blank actually being filled in. It’s about an aging widow who deeply misses her husband and feels a bit isolated in the world. And it’s about the birdhouse her husband built, which is possibly haunted.

More news as I receive it. Promise.

Photo by Jon Wiley. Used by permission under a NonCommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode) No changes were made to the photo.

Photo by Jon Wiley. Used by permission under a NonCommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode) No changes were made to the photo.

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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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Supernatural Tales 23I’m pleased to announce that Supernatural Tales #23, which includes my story, “Last Testament” is now available for you to purchase and enjoy. You can buy a digital flavor for your reading device of choice. You can also buy a print flavor. Both taste shadowy and pleasingly strange and will linger long after you brush your teeth, but you wont mind. (And if you are a fan of supernatural horror of the ghost and weird tale variety, consider buying a subscription.)

“Last Testament” is about a family awash in grief. It is also about secrets that cannot, despite all efforts, be kept hidden. And it’s about grappling with how to reconcile belief in God with a mounting belief in supernatural phenomena. There’s even a graphic novel hidden in the middle with no pictures except the ones you’ll see in your mind.

I’ll let the Marketing Department of Supernatural Tales tell the full story of what you’ll find inside #23. (I’ve shamelessly copied and pasted the below from here and hope the Legal Department of Supernatural Tales won’t sue.)

Supernatural Tales #23

Edited by David Longhorn

‘The Singing’ – Iain Rowan
A mysterious stranger who can’t – or won’t – speak is washed ashore on an island of fishermen and farmers. When he is taken to church, he reveals an extraordinary, wonderful, and – for some – disturbing gift.

‘Ilona’ – Tina Rath
An East European worker is mopping floors in an NHS hospital. She is an ‘illegal’, on a sub-minimum wage. What could be more mundane? But behind closed doors, an ancient evil lurks…

‘A Moment of Your Time’ – Katherine Haynes
Have you ever been waylaid by one of those people who ask you to complete a survey in the street? Or are they, in fact, people at all?

‘Screech’ – Gemma Farrow
When a couple are expecting their first child, it’s only natural for them to be possessed by irrational fears. Unfortunately, in some cases those fears are rather well-founded.

‘Last Testament’ – Craig D.B. Patton
An artist dies, and his relatives try to make sense of his strange legacy. Modern technology becomes the medium of supernatural revelation.

‘The Second Wish’ – James Everington
When a man returns to England to deal with the estate of his deceased parents, he finds himself sleeping in his old room, and reading a familiar book of eerie tales.

‘The Tempest Glass’ – Daniel Mills

‘Or, How Love Deserted the Reverend Danforth’. Set during the early part of the last century, this period piece riffs on the classic idea of a mysterious artefact with strange powers.

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A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas BooksSo begins A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, which was published on this date in 1843. It is one of my all time favorites. A book I return to each December, reading a chapter a night for five nights. Tonight I’ll read Stave One – Marley’s Ghost.

One of the many reasons I love this story is that it mixes dark and light so well, with laughter and love winning out in the end. We need tales like this in our lives, particularly here in Connecticut in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown. It’s very easy to feel helpless and scared. It’s very easy to get cynical about our capacity to change.

But people do change. Cultures and societies do change. Laughter and love can win in the end.

In returning to this story at this particular time, I’m struck by one aspect. Ebenezer Scrooge is an isolated, socially awkward man living alone in a very large house. Disconnected from family. No friends. No faith community. He exists apart with his loneliness and pain, in denial about both, and lashing out at the world. While he doesn’t pick up a gun, he does harm others on a daily basis.

In learning about shooter Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy, it appears that they lived similarly isolated lives. By all available evidence, Adam was a deeply disturbed individual and needed more help than he received. Nancy Lanza was trying her best to raise him on her own. But, for quite some time leading up to the horrific tragedy on Friday, it was just the two of them in a big house out in the woods. Family? Broken, disconnected. Friends? No real ones have surfaced. Faith community? None identified. Other support communities? None identified.

Ebenezer Scrooge’s life changes when someone intervenes in it. In his case, it is his dead partner, Jacob Marley, who procures one last chance for Ebenezer to avoid a terrible afterlife.

Amid all of the heated debate about our gun control regulations in America and the head bobbing about how little we understand (and do for) people with mental illnesses, I hope we embrace a more fundamental point: We need to take better care of each other.

We need to look around, beyond our daily lives and our circles of family and friends.

We need to notice those who are isolated, existing apart from any clear community.

We need to reach out to them, make ourselves available, and reconnect them if we can.

In Ebenezer’s case, he gains redemption and everyone around him – family, employees, strangers – benefits from the changes in him. In the case of Adam and Nancy Lanza, it might have saved over two dozen lives.

Let us not leave the work of the living to the dead.

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