begins today and ends Friday, October 31st.
Enter to win one of three copies available!
|the spider box|
Our Goodreads Giveaway for Darkness Ad Infinitum
begins today and ends Friday, October 31st.
Enter to win one of three copies available!
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Darkness Ad Infinitum
by Shawna L. Bernard
Giveaway ends October 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Horror in a Hundred— "Mastodon"
Read it on Hellnotes here.
Damn. The day my first cancer-inspired drabble is posted, the world grows ever darker.
Tragically, Graham Joyce has passed.
I'm going to keep this short--I'm still speechless, and simply can't begin to imagine how his family and close friends feel right now. The league of readers he inspired and captivated with his fiction . . . his colleagues, students, peers, teammates, publishers . . . the list goes on and on. How many lives does a man like Graham touch? Too many to count, certainly.
Now that I'm a member of the "club", it naturally strikes a nerve deeper inside me than I care to admit each time someone dies from this disease.
Listen to Graham discuss the language surrounding cancer and the people it affects, and how he doesn't want his death from lymphoma to be worded in the following clip:
BBC Radio 4 Word of Mouth: Talking About Cancer
Graham also recently wrote a beautiful blog post called
"A Perfect Day and the Shocking Clarity of Cancer".
Be sure to read it--and if you haven't read his award-winning fiction, you should.
"Brave and ultimately heartbreaking . . . A classic in the making."
Graham's Amazon Author Page
And maybe our job here on earth can be simply to inspire each other. We just need to get better at it.
Rest in Peace, Graham. And thanks for sharing all you did with us . . . both with your words and with your heart.
And send me some dragonflies. I'll be listening.
Thanks for reading,
Making Room for Monsters
I know some of you are waiting for an update from me, and I'm pretty sure that the kind thoughts and positive energy you're all sending are starting to manifest into physical form.
This morning, there was a lovely young black cat sitting on my back porch—nice touch!—and later, when I opened the door to let Holden out, a beautiful dragonfly landed on my leg.
Then when I got up to come outside for some fresh air since there was a woodpecker PECKING ON MY HOUSE, a broad-winged hawk did a nosedive past my chair.
Real subtle, guys—I get it!
So in a nutshell, the best way for me to explain how I feel about my diagnosis is that I have a new monster in my closet. It's an ugly one, and boy, does he give me nightmares.
But—BUT—I'm not going to let him lurk there, causing me fear and anxiety in waking life. I'm not going to allow him to prevent me from embracing life, being present, or living in the moment. I'm not going to let him stop me from kicking ass and taking names and continuing to work as hard as I do every day to create, and to breathe in and appreciate the creativity of others . . . to succeed and revel in the success of others . . . to leave a meaningful legacy behind me when I leave this earthly plane, whenever that may be.
What I am going to do is this.
I'm going to strap a leash on that hideous beast and make him work for me. Carry my shit for me. Pour me my morning coffee. Hell, maybe even do a load of laundry or two. Do you think he cooks? Does windows?
The truth is, I am lucky. I might walk away from this with little more than a nasty scar or two, which may or may not be turned into a tattoo one day. Right, Carl?
And I might not.
Either way, I realize I have to be grateful for how fortunate I am. It pains me to think of the struggles people face with this disease every single day—children and adults alike, as it does not discriminate. The things I see at the cancer center and here online and on the news remind me of how blessed I am . . . but then again, I always was . . . and I always will be, no matter what.
Because let's face it. Who has friends that send them daisies (because daisies make everyone feel better) and bring them hot coffee from home in a mug? And drive it over without spilling a drop? And are in general just too awesome to even describe?
See? I'm blessed. But the pendulum swings both ways, and you have to be prepared to lose your equilibrium every now and then. Sometimes more.
A recent post by Mike Davis of The Lovecraft eZine on what it's like to live with Fibromyalgia was so spot on and articulate that it made me want to cry. I've lived with Fibromyalgia for so many years I've lost count . . . along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Myofascial Pain, insomnia, and debilitating migraines. (Yes, I know, I'm a wreck!) A terrible fall in 2011 that some of you know about cost me my career, exacerbated my symptoms, catapulted me into a deep, dark hole that I've only recently come out of, and stole years from my life.
But that's a story for another time, I suppose. (Just remind me to tell you if you haven't heard it and would like to . . . it's a doozy.)
And just like the picture my friend Gretchen gave me to serve as my emblem for this recent battle, the picture a student of mine drew for me in his "Get Well" card (one of over a hundred my seventh graders sent after it happened) was what got me through the darkest days and, strangely enough, is the strongest visual association I make with the accident today. It's not the scar inside my mouth from the emergency oral surgery, or the lump on my chin from where all the muscle detached from the bone. It's not dollar signs representing the three figure medical bills and years of lost wages. It's not the contents of my classroom taking up most of my basement.
It's . . . it's this.
And I was wearing pants--really, I was! Not like that drunk teacher in Oklahoma. And it wasn't a chair I was standing on, it was a table. And I promise you, I DO have hands. I'm using them now.
But all else aside, I'll be damned if this hasn't made me smile, no matter how gravely unfunny the situation really was. And still is, by the way. My disability trial is scheduled for this month, almost four full years after the accident.
But there's a time to grieve, and a time to heal. It's so easy to get stuck in the grief . . . so incredibly easy. Letting go of the anger, resentment, and negativity to begin the journey of healing is hard.
But it's beautiful, and it's a gift we can't squander if given the opportunity. For instance, I just looked up to see Holden following a white butterfly around the yard. Every now and then it lands on him, and he just stands still until it flies away and he tags along. Pretty symbolic, if you believe in that sort of thing. And if not, that's okay. I'll just point out that that it's something I would have missed if I wasn't living in the moment.
The point is . . . what is the point?
Oh, yes. The point is that I had cancer, and while they think they removed it all during my recent surgery, I was told so with the following caveats:
The point is that I'm going to have to work hard at reducing stress in my life so I don't wear myself out fighting all of my battles at once. I have to learn my limits and respect them. I have to take care of myself and prioritize. I have to stop pretending I can juggle so many projects that all it does is make me crazy and exhausted and sick. I have to tell people that I have boundaries and restrictions. I might even have to learn to say no. I just can't do everything . . . after all, I'm only human.
Like Ragin' Cajun says, I have to learn to let go and let love. And with you guys behind me, I think I've got that covered.
It'll be a balancing act, for sure. But with the right amount of self-care, and the love, support, and encouragement of family and friends, I just might learn to manage all the monsters in my closet.
My only question is, how is there even room for monsters with so many skeletons in there?
Peace out . . . oh, and fuck cancer.
Definitely fuck cancer.
Thanks for reading,
Are you a horror fan? A reader? A future cannibal or wack-a-doo? A horror fiction lover? Do you like anthologies? Art? Books with an extremely high production value? Masterfully crafted tales that chill, unsettle, and linger? Skeletonsburiedinyourgarbagedisposal?
If you fall under any of these categories, this book comes highly recommended. And it's on sale now . . . but only for a limited time.
Grab a paperback copy while it's almost half off the original list price, and see what all the fuss is about!
Original list price: $19.19
Sale price: $11.87
Savings = You do the math.
Go on . . . embrace the darkness. You know you want to!
Buy it here.
And if you'd like Holden to sign your copy, just let me know.
Here are some of the things readers and reviewers had to say about Villipede Publications' first horror and dark speculative fiction anthology.
“The best horror anthology I've read in 2014 thus far”
“DARKNESS AD INFINITUM is one hell of an anthology”
“horror and dark speculative fiction of the highest caliber”
“Darkness Ad Infinitum is a true work of art”
“On a purely physical level, DAI is a pleasure to behold”
“a finely balanced blend of horror fiction, poetry, and art”
“compelling, well-written, and utterly unique”
“diverse in style”
“A masterful mix of prose, poetry and artwork”
“Lovecraftian strains pair well with surrealistic nightmares”
“The interior design is elegant and unnerving, a true compliment to the stories themselves.”
“the cover art is courtesy of Wednesday Wolf, and it is nothing short of terrifying...it strikes a primal nerve within the brain that has the same power as a punch to the throat.”
“the love for the art form fairly exudes from each page...”
“Keep your eye on Villipede Publications.”
“The well-suited pictures accompanying each story are impressive in their detail.”
“The horror between these pages is predominantly of the insidious, creeping variety, its encroachment gradual but eventually all-encompassing.”
“flat out weird”
“the essence of classic horror”
“the artwork, by too many contributors to mention here, elevated the fearful feeling of this collection...”
“This is a book to buy in print and to hold onto for stormy nights, to read by candlelight when the power is out.”
“Most of the contributions were brilliant...”
“From eldritch lobsters lurking in seas of acid to a darker interpretation of foie gras, every reader is sure to keep their eyes glued to the shadows long after they’ve tucked themselves in for the night.”
“Villipede has done a fantastic job assembling this team of writers...”
“The title is apt and the thrills plural”
“Not your average anthology”
“A marvelous melange of horror and downright creepiness”
“Buy this anthology now.”
We are humble. We are dedicated. We are Villipede.
Welcome to the Sanitarium.
"I want to stare out of your eyes