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
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.
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.
I did something scary last week: I recorded my first ever podcast interview with the lovely Antony Frost of TERRIFY ME! With Antony Frost. I’ve really been enjoying TERRIFY ME! since its launch earlier this year and it very much has a spot on my regular rotation. It’s a great little podcast if you’re interested in all things spooky and folkloric, which, naturally, I am.
Having never been very good at public speaking, I’d day-dreamed about potential spoken interviews, and how they would go and what I would say, while being almost entirely certain they would never happen—who hasn’t pretended they were part of an interview while standing under a steaming shower head? No? Just me?
Well, sometimes you surprise yourself. Not only was I thrilled to be invited but I was excited to take part, even if I was nervous! (And I was very nervous.)
The episode is now live, ready and waiting to be streamed. Antony and I chat about all things ghostly, gothic and Crow & Cross Keys—there may be some sneaky submission tips tucked in there too. I have included the episode below for your delectation and delight. TERRIFY ME! With Antony Frost is available on Anchor FM, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. (Antony has also interviewed the brilliant Alex Woodroe in a previous episode, which is well worth the listen!)
We cannot guarantee that episode 8 is not haunted. I hope you love it!
This post makes me giddy. Giddy, I tell you. (I have been using this word everywhere today and I regret nothing.) I have been sitting on this for about a week, which doesn’t sound like long in the grand publishing scheme of things but it felt like a long time. When I submitted to Alternative Stories & Fake Realities’ new audio fiction anthology, Ghostlore—edited by Lyndsey Croal—I tried to convince myself that I didn’t mind if it wasn’t accepted. That was a complete lie. I really wanted this acceptance and luckily for me Lyndsey and the Alternative Stories team loved my little story just as much as I do.
For the first time in my publishing journey, my writing is going to be featured on a podcast—complete with background effects—and I absolutely cannot contain my excitement. I’ve never heard my writing professionally produced and I can’t wait.
“We Cower in a Ruined Castle and Hope Not to Hear a Ghost” is a story about superstition and one of the ghosts that loiters around Dudley castle. It will be featured in Ghostlore Episode 2, Hauntings (trailer and release date to come).
There are several familiar names that I’m thrilled to be sharing a contents list with, the complete line-up sounds incredible. Not to mention that episode 1 features an author whose book is sitting on my shelf right now. A book I adore. (Do I have to keep telling myself to Be Cool, Elou? Yes. Yes, I do.) I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit starstruck.
I can’t wait to share more as and when I can!
The second bit of incredibly exciting news I have to share is that Spirit Machine: Tales of Séance Ficton is fully funded and has been sent off to the printers! Air and Nothingness Press books are always so beautifully produced—and I will say this every time I mention them for the rest of forever. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands.