I Am Held in the Hands of God Who Is Named Walter Potter; or, from the Case of ‘The Death and Burial of Cock Robin’ out now on FlashBack Fiction

One of the strangest—perhaps the strangest—stories I have ever written has been unleashed into the great wide world today. “I Am Held in the Hands of God Who Is Named Walter Potter; or, from the Case of ‘The Death and Burial of Cock Robin’” is a little flash fiction from the perspective of a taxidermy owl, and I love it very, very much. (I told you it was strange.)

I have a little interview coming out later this week about this piece so I won’t say too much about it here, but it’s something I’ve wanted to write for quite a long time.

If you would like to read it, or listen to me reading it, you can do so here.

As is customary, here is a little snippet:

In his tableau, I am named Gravedigger, I am named Owl; we are one in the same. In this glass case, we are a still-image, a burial ourselves, performing another. God has named us The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, see him there in his small coffin. See how we mourn. Yes, child. Yes. Press your button nose against the glass. See how plush our feathers. See how solemn we carry him.

— ELOU CARROLL, “I AM HELD IN THE HANDS OF GOD WHO IS NAMED WALTER POTTER; OR, FROM THE CASE OF ‘THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF COCK ROBIN’”, FLASHBACK FICTION

Pre-order CloisterFox Zine Issue Two, featuring In Which Our Lovers Surely Drown

This is one of my favourite forthcoming publications for several reasons. Firstly, CloisterFox is a British publication. It always feels really special when my work is picked up in the UK—and my parents, wonderful and supportive as they are, like to purchase copies of my work, so it’s nice to save them a bit on shipping.

Secondly, CloisterFox is gorgeous. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of issue one, and it’s one of the single most stunning publications I’ve seen. I cannot wait to see what the interior of issue two looks like. If the cover is anything to go by, I am going to fall deeply in love.

Finally, this short story has one of my favourite titles. I love a good title, and this one has been haunting me for a while before its story emerged. “In Which Our Lovers Surely Drown” was slow to reveal itself, but once it did it became a story that I just couldn’t stop writing. I really hope you enjoy it.

You can expect:

🌊an abandoned yacht
🌊a journalism student
🌊mysterious wet footprints
🌊an uneaten banquet
🌊poor mobile phone signal

If you want a beautifully designed selection of spooky, watery tales, you can pre-order a copy here.

Priya casts a glance at the darkening sky. There are no clouds and, with the sun now hidden away beneath the horizon, there is no colour either. Just a flat sheet of grey. The emptiness is oppressive. Somewhere along the coast, the beam of a lighthouse rounds into being, but Priya, Masud and the broken boats are too far away for the lighthouse keeper to see them. 

We’re going to be out here all night.

—ELOU CARROLL, “IN WHICH OUR LOVERS SURELY DROWN”, CLOISTERFOX ZINE ISSUE TWO

Here We Go Round the Hardy Tree forthcoming in They Came From the Closet (pre-orders now live!)

It’s been a while. Hello, ghosts and ghouls. How have you been? I have been all kinds of hazy, which has been an experience, but I have also been avidly scribbling away (like I do). I’m so happy to be making this post. Today, I received a wonderful acceptance for one of my favourite stories—this one had a hard time finding a home, but I am so happy with the home it ended up haunting.

And so, without further ado, I have a story forthcoming in the Prismatica Magazine hallow-zine, They Came From the Closet.

My story, “Here We Go Round the Hardy Tree”, features

🍃the Hardy Tree, which is my favourite real-life tree and you should look it up
🪦St. Pancras Gardens, home of the aforementioned tree
👻a lot of ghosts, including the ghost of a walrus (the walrus is real too, or was, anyway)
👧and a girl who is definitely not afraid of the dark and absolutely does not believe in ghosts

If that sounds like your jam and you like spooky LGBTIQA+ stories, poems, essays and art, as well as spooky stories, poems, essays and art by LGBTIQA+ writers and artists… you can preorder it here.

As is customary, here is a little snippet to whet your whistle:

Pilarie Johnson is not afraid of the dark and that, she tells herself, is why she hasn’t turned on her flashlight. It is not because she doesn’t want to see the photons scatter when they meet the dead and go from a beam to a hazy glow, making the apparitions solid, just like headlights on fog, like she learnt in Science class—because ghosts do not exist and Pilarie Johnson does not believe in them anyway.

— ELOU CARROLL, “HERE WE GO ROUND THE HARDY TREE”, THEY CAME FROM THE CLOSET

Additionally, the wonderful Their Ghoulish Reputation is available right now, and you can purchase it from the Dark Lake Publishing website! 

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

Houses of Usher, out now!

Hello, my darkest darlings. It seemed about time that I had an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired story out in the world, what with who I am as a person and everything; and so, I am thrilled to announce that Love Letters to Poe Volume II: Houses of Usher is now available to purchase. This purple dreamboat is the second in a series of anthologies inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and contains thirty pieces of gothic delight.

My story, “Good and Kind and Gone, All Gone”, features:

🏚️a good, kind man
🏚️a tortured brother
🏚️a dead sister
🏚️alliterative sibling names

Houses of Usher is available in hardback, paperback, ebook and large print.

If you’d like something to wet your whistle, here is the opening line of “Good and Kind and Gone, All Gone” for your delectation and delight.

The night the house split in two, Lucine was already dead.

You Hope, Through Shivers and Sweat now live in Haven Speculative issue five!

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

Pre-orders for Their Ghoulish Reputation (featuring Foxmother) are now live!

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!

Their Ghoulish Reputation comes out in October but you can pre-order it right now from the Dark Lake Publishing website! (You might get some fun freebies if you order it direct.)

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.

Holy Water Makes My Wicked Throat Smooth published in The Crow’s Quill

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!

A haunting in Parentheses, issue 13

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?

Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Tatterdemalion appears in Luna Station Quarterly’s 50th issue

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!

I have included a little tiny snippet below for your enjoyment. If you like it, you can read the rest here for free! Alternatively, LSQ is available in print and ebook.

I can’t wait to dig into the rest of the issue.

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.

Happy reading!

Drabbledark II Table of Contents announced!

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.