About Ann

Greetings, traveler, from Ann Wycoff, who lives near Santa Cruz, California where feline eyes glitter in dark places between monstrous red trees, where occult apes lurk with unseen tread and unclean purpose, where sacrifices to forgotten devils lie drowned, profaned, forgotten in stygian waters. Do you like me pine for steaming jungles within the island kingdom of the imagination, where where beats the heart of savage drums, and there live philosophic yet murderous crustaceans, shattered robots, buried sacrifices to forgotten devils, and dark countries yet unfounded? If so then hail and well met, fellow traveler!

“Devil’s Oak” by Mary Leoson haunts The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology like a spectre of cruelty

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

Mary Leoson’s fine short story, “Devil’s Oak,” is a tale of loss, return and hope for Marguerite, a young woman whose family was “southern royalty” but is nowsome years after the American Civil Warruined after their patriarch died of tuberculosis. The ancestral plantation is now in the hands of the wealthy Haber family.

Marguerite’s mother dreams her daughter will marry the eldest Haber boy and restore both their prominence and family fortune. The young woman is certainly amendable to the idea with the eponymous oak as a “sigil” of hope “burning in her mind”:

"It was a tree for stories, for late lunches on hot summer days, for secrets and first kisses. It held all these memories for her family—at least that’s what her Mama said. She’d see for herself one day, maybe take her own beau there. Walk in the footsteps of their long-gone matriarch, Grandmére Marie, lady of the plantation."

Yet this is The Lost Librarian’s Grave, so I don’t think I’m giving too much away by saying that events don’t unfold in quite the way Marguerite or her mama had planned. “Devil’s Oak” is a story of hope but it is also a story of fear, the phantoms of a cruel legacy, and certain vanitiesin more than one sense of the word.

Mary teaches teaches English composition, literature, film, creative writing, and psychology in the Cleveland, Ohio area and online. She holds an MFA in Fiction, an MA in English, and an MS in Psychology.

She wrote “Devil’s Oak” after being “inspired by an emotional visit to the Whitney Planation in Louisiana, where the lives of enslaved people are honored and remembered.”

You can learn more about Mary, including links to some of her previous published work, by visiting her website at www.maryleoson.com.

Kathy Kingston’s “Three Bad Things” will buzz and wriggle into The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

That’s one of the problems with the ‘Three bad things,’ theory. Exactly where does it start and where does it stop?

— Kathy Kingston

Don and I are pleased to announce that Kathy’s Kingston’s classic short story, “Three Bad Things,” will appear in The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology.

A late bloomer, Kathy Kingston became a published writer at the age of 66 in a Sisters in Crime LA anthology.

She has always been an avid reader and her experience as a grocery store cashier, bank teller, wholesale plant salesman and a New York fashion model gave her lots of raw material to work with.

She now resides in Venice, California and is an award winning landscape contractor specializing in drought tolerant landscapes. Short stories are her first love, but she is currently working on a novel.

Kingston’s tale opens with her narrator in a tough spot:

"I lift my head up from the rock and let it drop with a resounding thump. I close my eyes and savor the pain as I would a piece of expensive Peruvian dark chocolate melting slowly in my mouth. I lift my head a little higher, and drop it again. The pain emanates in waves and I am grateful."

Our protagonist is a woman with a vivid imagination, a theory, and perhaps just a touch of entomophobia.*

Kingston takes us down a twisted road where we learn, and have the pleasure of reliving with our narrator, the odd chain of events that led to the opening lines above. Buckle up and enjoy a wild ride along the borders of fate and chance circumstance fueled by dreams, a touch of madness, culminating in a final, mind-shattering horror!

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

* Well, maybe more than a touch.

Writing Prompt #3: Doggo

Today’s prompt comes courtesy of Storybot on Twitter, where I follow them. Their app is also available in the Google Play store.

“Write the first line that’s inspired by this photo.”

When this prompt come up in my Twitter feed, I wrote, “The first thing I noticed after the wizard turned me into a dog was that he smelled like food,” for my first line.

What is the first line that comes to mind when you see this image of a piebald doggo? Write it below in the comments. (I’m particularly burning to know what John of Varnish comes up with!)

Paul L. Bates’ short story, “Medusa’s Mirror,” casts its evil reflection from The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

Paul L. Bates weaves a unique, mystic tale of magic, addiction, mystery, and death in “Medusa’s Mirror.” The narrator recounts his adventures when Enoch, an old college acquaintance who is one part magician and one part “facilitator of forbidden desires,” slithers back into his life, seemingly out of nowhere. Enoch seems to have a strange hold over our narrator, despite past abominations and the promise of future horrors to come:

"Have you ever felt as if your skin were about to erupt into an independent crawling horde? That your body was inhabited by—or composed of—countless squirming maggots or mites scrambling about on tiny legs, living just below the surface, busily transmogrifying all that was not them into more of them? Such was the sensation I experienced every time Enoch insisted I accompany him on one of his outings, as he called them—excursions into the darkness within and without."

“Medusa’s Mirror” is a wild ride and Bates certainly delivers “the darkness within and without,” giving us both physical and psychological horror, a nice taste of allegory, and a satisfying ending. Don and I are proud to offer this fine story in the pages of The Lost Librarian’s Grave.

Paul is the author of the novels Imprint and Dreamer. He has a degree in Architectural Design, and is happily retired from a career in construction management. He lives on the shore of a small private lake with his lady love, swims for distance, and writes when the muse comes to call, which is good for us when she does!

Check out some of Paul’s other writings on his Amazon author page.

The Lucid Dream of Brandon Barrows’ “Among Stones and Stars” shimmers into The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

Today we journey with the mysterious Brandon Barrows as he guides us through the strange country of his fine piece of weird fiction, “Among Stones and Stars.”

Follow the aging ex-soldier, photojournalist and adventurer, Reese Cook, through mountains haunted by History, down fey valleys to a lonely necropolis of bare memories. If there are ghosts, they are the afterimages of a Hellenistic dream. What draws Reece and his companions is a motivation as timeless as the mountains themselvesgreed fueled by tales of ancient treasure.

Brandon has published over seventy stories, some of which have been collected in The Altar in the Hills and The Castle-Town Tragedy. He is an active member of the Private Eye Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. He lives in Vermont by a big lake with a patient wife and two impatient cats.

Check out Brandon’s website at brandonbarrowscomics.com.

Writing Prompt #2: Arrows and Forest Squash

Use this prompt as a jumping off point for your own short story, poem, narrative, fragment, etc. and see where you goperhaps the picture or the text taken separately or mashed together somehow will lead you somewhere useful or fun…

Suggestion: Create something new that somehow brings both pictures into your work.

Bonus points if you can work in the picture from prompt #1

If nothing gels using both pictures, try using just one. As usual, bring other elements such as music, visual art, and so on into your brainstorming session. Use whatever techniques serve your end goal to create something new!

If this prompt leads someplace interesting, leave a link leading toward your new creation wherever that may be. Of course you can also post your masterpiece, if it is short, directly in the comments.

Closed to Submissions

Redwood Press is closed to submissions for The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology as of June 6, 2021. If you have already sent us a manuscript we will still consider your submission and get back to you no later than July 1st. Please feel free to contact us if we haven’t responded to your submission within 30 days. There will be some inevitable delays because Don and I are swamped with over 2,000 stories!

If we have asked for revisions, please do send them to us within the time frame we have requested or as soon as possible if we haven’t discussed timing.

If you missed this submission call, we will be announcing other projects in the months to come so please keep an eye on our website or subscribe to receive updates.

Thank you to everyone. Don and I grateful you have given us a chance to look at your work, and we hope you’ll take a look at The Lost Librarian’s Grave when it comes out in October.

Write on!

— Ann Wycoff

Ken Hueler unearths his short story, “Infinity of Worse” for The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

Today brings us Ken Hueler’s “Infinity of Worse,” the story of a late Victorian era odd couple, the brutish Lowell and smooth-talking Paul, who ply their charming trade of digging up the dead for the local medical and dissection trade. Seems a particularly apt tale for The Lost Librarian’s Grave, wouldn’t you say?

We think Ken really brought the late 19th Century alive in his chronicle of Lowell’s and Paul’s adventure where things go from bad to worse to very strange indeed! As the title suggests, I wouldn’t bet good brass on a happy ending this time.

Ken writes in a number of genres, choosing what works best for his current project or whatever interests him at the time. Fortunately for us, Ken’s tastes often run to horror and dark fantasy.

Ken teaches kung fu in the San Francisco Bay Area, where with fellow members of the Horror Writers Association’s local chapter he gets up to all sorts of adventures. His work has appeared in Weirdbook, The Sirens Call, Space & Time, Weekly Mystery Magazine, and the charity anthology Tales for the Camp Fire.

Visit Ken’s website at kenhueler.wordpress.com.

“The Ocean’s Misfortune,” a short story by Alison McBain, rolls like an unclean tide into The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

The Lost Librarian’s Grave—coming October 1, 2021.

Wednesday brings more good news from The Lost Librarian’s Grave: Alison McBain’s short story, “The Ocean’s Misfortune,” rolls into the anthology like an unclean tide, redolent with dead eels and even deader eyes. The oceans bring lifethe oceans are lifebut sometimes what a fisherman brings back is something not exactly Life, nor is it Death, but a fate worse than either.

Alison has nearly a hundred short publication credits over a wide range of genres including literary, romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy, historical, and adventure.

Her debut novel, The Rose Queen, received the Gold Award in the Young Adult Fantasy category of the 2019 Literary Classics International Book Awards. During the same year, she released Enchantress of Books, a collection of her short, fantasy stories.

Alison was born in Canada, raised in California, and currently resides in the beautiful state of Connecticut, where she chose to raise her family. Her personal mantra is, “Do something creative every day,” so between her writing and drawing she always has irons in the creative fire.

You can learn more about Alison on her blog, www.alisonmcbain.com.

Writing Prompt #1: Stacks of Railroad Ties and “here’s the thing” …

Use this prompt as a jumping off point for your own short story, poem, narrative, fragment, etc. and see where you goperhaps the picture or the text taken separately or mashed together somehow will lead you somewhere useful or fun…

Visual Prompt:

Text Prompt:

We had no intention of choosing sides until we were sure who was going to win, but here’s the thing…

You can also bring in other elements, more pictures, other words, music, memories, anything that helps you create whether that be a novel, an exercise in free writing for, say, one minute or something in-between.

If this prompt leads to something interesting, leave a link leading toward your new creation wherever that may be. Of course you can also post your masterpiece, if it is short, directly in the comments.