"The horrifying webs we weave..."
B.E. Scully, author of the critically acclaimed Gothic thriller Verland, the Transformation, as well as The Eye That Blinds from DarkFuse Publishing and The Tower of Together from Eldritch Press said:
Every now and then a story comes along that catches people’s attention, not only because it’s well written, but because it takes a familiar subject and turns it over and under and sideways, revealing all of the hidden, seething life forms underneath.
Plenty of stories feature spiders, the creeping, crawling symbols of our own skittering human psyches and the webs we weave, but what makes “Baby’s Breath” unique is the way Leigh uses the familiar critter to explore one of humankind’s more profound and life-changing events—childbirth, and, even more terrifying, its consequences.
Birth forms the literal narrative framework, but it’s also the metaphorical set-up for the many potentially dangerous, secret things gestating in the darkness of our fears, insecurities, and suspicions.
Leigh is particularly effective at conveying how our fragile, carefully woven concepts of both ourselves and the people we love and make a life with can tear apart as quickly and profoundly as any spider’s web…with horrifying results.
This story first appeared in the anthology Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl, which is also recommended for readers interested in more creepy insect tales across a range of genres. This special edition of Baby’s Breath will make a fine addition to any collector’s shelf.
Leigh really puts it all out there, making for a story that is equal parts heartbreaking and horrifying. Great voice, great story.
Just read Baby's Breath by @thespiderbox. About as terrifying a final line as I've read...
"Baby's Breath" is a story I wrote without thinking what effect it would have on readers. It was something I lost myself in and just wrote. But as I've mentioned before, it is a very personal story, and I hope it leaves a mark.
I've also mentioned that it actually started off as a drabble, which is a hundred word micro-fiction piece--that was called "Transference," and it was first published on Hellnotes here. Later, it was podcast on The Wicked Library as part of an episode which featured three of my stories. You can find Episode 503: Three Tales from Sydney Leigh here. Host Nelson W. Pyles read "Corpus Delectable" and "Lust for Life," but had his wife read "Transference," which later became the first paragraph of "Baby's Breath," to give it a more powerful effect.
It worked. I just got word that "Transference" is a Finalist in the Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama Long Form Category of the Parsec Awards. The gala ceremony will be held at DragonCon over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta.
Many thanks to Nelson and Maddie Von Stark for featuring my work on their podcast! And congratulations to them for having their show recognized.
I think that whoever reads--or listens to--our work, we hope for the same result: that our words make a difference. Strike nerves. Touch places that resonate on deep levels. Grab hold and not let go.
One of my favorite reader reviews of "Baby's Breath" was this one:
This "gut punch" will continue to remain with me as much as Richard Matheson's Born Of Man And Woman. I can't recommend it enough.
Anyway, speaking of terrifying...this is my first solo endeavor, and I am grateful for all the positive feedback I have received from readers, other writers, and reviewers I respect in our community. I'm looking forward to the story getting into the hands of more readers and seeing what they have to say, as well.
I also hope readers will pick up a copy of the anthology in which it first appeared, Bugs: Tales that Slither, Creep, and Crawl. There are so many stories in there worth reading. I owe Phillip Perron of Great Old Ones Publishing a world of gratitude for accepting "Baby's Breath," seeing something special in it, sending it to Simon Rumley, and allowing Villipede Publications to reprint it in this chapbook format when it was nominated for a Stoker award.
Three signed copies are available to anyone in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia...giveaway ends October 30th.