Nothing like a publication day to make feeling like death a little bit more bearable. As I’m feeling like death, this will only be a little update. It is apt then, I suppose, that today’s new story is a ghost story. Sort of. “You Hope, Through Shivers and Sweat” is a second-person, eerie sideshow of a story and I hope you love it as much as I do. I also love Haven Speculative, and I am so glad this story found a home there. The entire issue is excellent and just look at that cover. Stunning.
You follow dumbly. You want to rip your fingers away from his, experience be damned. You would apologise to your mother later, or pretend you stayed, pretend you witnessed wonderful things. But you can’t, you can’t even try, such is his power—his voice may be a door, but his grasp is the lock, and it is rusted shut. When you think to pull away, your hand only tightens around his, unbidden.
He pulls you to the next curtain and you hope, through shivers and sweat, that this one will be different.
— ELOU CARROLL, “YOU HOPE, THROUGH SHIVERS AND SWEAT”, HAVEN SPECULATIVE, ISSUE FIVE
Greetings, wondercats. Recently, I have fallen in love with Folk Horror. Reading it, absolutely, but more deeply, writing it. Specifically, the story that will be appearing in Dark Lake Publishing’s stunning anthology Their Ghoulish Reputation. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I needed to try to weasel my way in—and weasel I did. Over a mad couple of weeks, I wrote “Foxmother”.
This story is close to my heart for several reasons. Firstly, it is the longest story of mine currently out in the wild—or rather, currently accepted for publication—at a lovely 7,500 words, give or take. Secondly, it features a fat main character, whose fatness is not the source of her troubles (though, like most people, she has hang-ups). Thirdly, our main character lives with excoriation disorder—something I live with myself but never see represented in fiction. Until 2020, I didn’t know excoriation disorder was a thing, despite having been struggling with it for more than half of my life. It feels really important to give that a voice in fiction—it also feels terrifying. (Wish me luck.)
And finally: this story has been haunting me for a while. It will be wonderful to finally see it out in print!
This book looks like it’s going to be stunning, if the social media graphics and digital booklet are anything to go by. Check out the booklet if you want to know more about the other eerie tales and authors.
It’s the first day of a new month and I have a new story out in the wild! This story would not exist without this magazine, this theme and Damon Barrett Roe, one of the CQ editors, who tweeted about it at exactly the right time. I was supposed to be writing something else, but this strange little story sank its stone teeth into my skull and wouldn’t let me continue writing the other story until I’d given it words to eat.
“Holy Water Makes My Wicked Throat Smooth” is now live in The Crow’s Quill issue 12. In this story, terrible people who make terrible decisions are met with terrible consequences. It begins thus,
I am terrible, and because I am terrible, I have become stone.
If you like that and would like to read more, click here!
This is this is so exciting. I know I say this about everything, but I am both very excitable and everything is very exciting. (At least, everything I post about.) But now I am rambling. Ahem. To the point! My 2021 story, “Become a Flute, Become a Spyglass, Become a Knife” from Quill & Crow’s delightfully dark anthology Grimm & Dread has made the top 10 in the first ever Ladies of Horror Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards. As I say a lot these days: I am giddy.
It’s a busy week. Alongside “Tatterdemalion, or of Apple Bough and Straw”, LSQ were lovely enough to interview me about my sad, strange little fairy tale, as well as all things writing. I love getting the chance to talk about words and putting them in a pretty order, so, naturally, I was thrilled.
Here’s a little taster on the making of the wiswoad:
‘Wis’ is from ‘wish’ and ‘woad’ is from both ‘wode’ (an archaic word for mad or wild) and ‘toad’. The wiswoad was originally more green and toadish, but then it grew a long nose and a purple hat and became something quite different. I wanted a name which you could imagine a crow saying too.
(Did I try to caw it when coming up with the name? Absolutely. Have I done it again just now? Also, yes.)
If you liked that and want to read the rest of the interview, click here!
I love it when a publication date sneaks up on me, and this one did just that. I knew Parentheses issue 13 was due out but I wasn’t sure when. Well, it turns out when is actually another word for today.
I don’t often submit poetry so it always feels a little bit miraculous when one gets accepted for publication. This particular poem, “A haunting”, had been haunting (see what I did there?) my poetry folder for a while, and I wasn’t sure I would even submit it anywhere.
I am so glad that I did.
You can read “A haunting” by clicking here, or, if you feel so inclined, you can purchase a print copy and see that gorgeous cover artwork in the flesh—or, rather, the page?
Hello, hello, hello. I am so pleased to be writing this post. When I first started seriously submitting my stories, I found Luna Station Quarterly and I fell in love. I watched them talk on some online panels and decided I wanted to see if I could sneak a little story through their door. I didn’t realise when I submitted that, if successful, I would end up in such a special issue!
“Tatterdemalion” is a story that started its life as a round one NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge entry and I was unsure it would ever find a home, though I love it dearly. Luckily, Jen and the team at LSQ loved it too!
Not so long ago, a cruel wind swept through the little village, up the little hill and in through the door of the farmhouse—which had always been swinging to and fro with villagers and their children, farm cats and their kittens, and the odd strange little visitor from the woods nearby. It brought with it a fever and, before it went, scooped her husband up and carried him far away.
She buried him beneath the apple tree.
— ELOU CARROLL, “TATTERDEMALION, OR OF APPLE BOUGH AND STRAW” LUNA STATION QUARTERLY, ISSUE 050
In other news, Drabbledark Volume II is now available for purchase! If you like tiny stories, Drabbledark has 100 all-new 100-word stories for your enjoyment.
There is something incredibly exciting about seeing the contents list of a publication for the first time—for so long, you’re a house on a hill, far away from civilisation and then, suddenly, you’re in the middle of a village, and it’s real. It’s always wonderful to learn that you’re surrounded by friends. When Shacklebound Books revealed the contents list for Drabbledark – An Anthology of Dark Drabbles: Volume II this weekend, I recognised so many of the names listed that it felt a little bit like coming home.
That’s a dramatic thing to say, but I stand by it.
My tiny story, “Beside a Cemetery, a Stone Wall, a Skeletal Tree”, will be appearing alongside work by Taylor Rae, Tea Riffo, Ai Jiang, Antony Frost, Emma Louise Gill, Patrick Barb, Vanessa Jae, Chelsea Pumpkins, TJ Price, Carson Winter, Stephanie Parent, and so many other writers that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the brilliant writing community (and horror community) on Twitter and elsewhere. It’s the first time I’ve been acquainted with a solid chunk of my co-contributors and, I can’t lie to you, it feels really good.
Drabbledark – An Anthology of Dark Drabbles: Volume II is going to be an excellent book for dipping in and out of—each story is its own little mouthful—and I cannot wait to read it.
Set for release on June 1st, you can preorder the anthology on Kindle by clicking here. If paper is more your style, you will be able to order the anthology in print when it’s released.
Today is an exciting day. Today is the first time I have had two publications drop at the same time. My insides are fizzing, I’m so excited. I’m like a shaken bottle of Pepsi, open me and I will explode. (In place of my organs, you will find only glitter and ghosts.)
Writing this post makes me so incredibly happy. Ever since I received the acceptance email in October 2021, I have wanted to hold this book. Not only did I know that it would be beautiful, having already purchased some Air and Nothingness Press titles previously, but it’s so completely my kind of book that I’ve been itching to dive in. I was lucky enough to have a PDF ARC so that I could crow about it on social media during the Kickstarter campaign but I wanted to leave the bulk of the stories until I had a print copy—there’s nothing quite like reading a book on paper. (My Kindle is, sadly, all too aware of this opinion.)
My story, “Girl in Glass, Brightly” (which you can read a tiny snippet of in the image below), is a story of unrequited love (and how you absolutely should not deal with it), ghosts and glassblowing, and I’m so happy that it’s finally out in the world. I love this dark, raw little story, and I hope you will too.
Spirit Machine has been printed on a limited run, so if you’d like one get in there quick! You can order directly from Air and Nothingness Press by clicking here. I would also recommend picking up more of their titles while you’re at it! Upon a Twice Time is my particular favourite.