So it turns out, I could have written three blog entries this week. If you follow me on the big blue bird app, you will have seen a small flurry of news over the last few days. I’m going to savour it, though, and post about another exciting thing next week. Lovely. Now, onto our (ir)regularly scheduled update: I have some new writing out today!
This is a special one. I know I say that about all of them (and I believe it too), but Corvid Queen holds a special place in my heart. Ever since I started sending my work out into the world like tiny little ducklings with tinier, pleading eyes, I’ve been reading Corvid Queen. I love Corvid Queen. As soon as I discovered them, I knew I wanted to write something specifically for them.
“Doewife” is that story, and I really hope you love it as much as I do.
Hello. It’s been a while. This is going to be a two-blog week for me. Watch this space. The first update—this one—is one that I’ve been itching to share for a little while now. Itching, I tell you! My short story, “Dirt and Blood and Silence”, will be appearing in The First Five Minutes of the Apocalypse.
I took this title a little bit literally. “Dirt and Blood and Silence” is a raw little slice of a story, and it hurts my heart. I love it a lot. More on this nearer the publication date…
Funny story—when I received this acceptance, I panicked. I panicked so much that I threw my phone across the room in shock. It is my favourite reaction to any acceptance that I have ever had. The acceptance was unexpected, and so too was the reaction. Fitting, really. Why did I react so violently? Well, The Deadlands is a dream publication. From the moment they opened their skeletal hands, I wanted to give them a hug.
This is my hug.
“You Row and You Burn” is a little story that features a gondola chase. Yep, you read that right. A gondola chase. You should read it, and you can do so here.
The Ferrymen are hunting you now. You have broken the rules.
Rule one: Everything dies, no exceptions.
Rule two: Pay the Ferryman.
Rule three: When you cross the Ocean Between, keep your extremities in the boat at all times. Do not—repeat, do not—leave the gondola.
Rule four: No one goes back.
— ELOU CARROLL, “YOU ROW AND YOU BURN”, THE DEADLANDS, ISSUE 22
Greetings, wondercats. How are we all? I am currently in the process of shifting my entire book collection into a cupboard so that we can move our furniture ready for the fitting of new carpets. With the upper body strength of a newborn lamb, this is a trial. It is lovely, however, to comb through them all. I have good taste, if I do say so myself.
Do you know who else has good taste? (Do you see what I did there? Ahem.) That’s right—JW Stebner, the might behind the glory that is Hexagon. Am I biased because JW has chosen my work not once but twice? Potentially. But just look at the contents list of Issue 12. Wonderful. This is such an exciting issue and I am so pleased to be a part of it.
Issue 12 features my eco-horror, “They Come to Return Home”. This story, or rather a selection of images from this story, haunted me for months before any words made it onto the page. I’m giddy that it’s finally out in the wild.
Should you wish to read it—and I really hope you do—you can expect:
The sea turtle squalls in the sand and, when she tries to edge away, it whispers, “They come.”
Marcelline’s head knifes up until her gaze meets the horizon. Dread, like sweat, soaks her collar and balls in her throat. There, in the distance—spreading like ink on wet paper—is a gargantuan figure, hip deep in the ocean. It is joined by another, and another, each one taller than the next. The sea turtle rolls its great head into her lap and looks up at her with a glassy eye. “They come. They come to return home.”
— ELOU CARROLL, “THEY COME TO RETURN HOME”, HEXAGON SPECULATIVE FICTION MAGAZINE, ISSUE 12
Two posts in as many days—who am I and what have I done with Elou? Fear not, I am still the same word-fueled goblin child. Only now, I have another publication to share, which is always my favourite thing to share. If There’s Anyone Left, Volume 3, is now available in both ebook and print and I am so very excited! I’ve been looking forward to this one, not only because I adore my dark fairy tale flash fiction, but because I am sharing this table of contents with one of my favourite writers—and people—Taylor Rae, whose story, “The Light Will Leave You Warmer”, is one of the most beautiful pieces of flash fiction you will ever read.
My own story, “Pearlskin, or the Oysterman’s Wife”, is a dark fairy tale about an oysterman who dredges a bride from the bottom of the ocean and I love it a lot.
November and December are always manic in the day job so, naturally, I completely forgot to post about the fab little interview I did with the wonderful beings behind FlashBack Fiction to support the publication of “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’”. I love little interviews.
If you wondered where the inspiration came from or what historical flash fiction I would recommend you read, do check it out!
As is customary, here is an out-of-context snippet to pique your interest:
My partner would like me to answer this one with: we are both deceased.
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.
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
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
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
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
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