Added Three more Authors to our upcoming dark anthology, Superstition, which is now 74% full.

We added three more stories to Superstition, bringing our anthology, which I’m anticipating will be about 100,000 words, to nearly three-quarters full now. Occasum (thank you!) made the graphic below, which I promptly screwed up, then fixed before adding it to this post where all of our Superstition author graphics are located thus far.

I accepted these stories a while ago, but things have been moving slowly because I managed to pick up a nasty strain of Covid and have been flat on my back for some days. There was some talk of hospitalization. Instead, the doctor offered me some antiviral drugs, which I eagerly accepted. Those seem to have done the trick and within about 36 hours I have enough (off and on) energy to be able to take care of some things so long as I don’t push it too much.

Anyway, enough of all that.

I particularly like this little trio of stories. “Don’t Look Back” by Sarah Sigfried is a southern Appalachian story about the wisdom of being prepared and not looking back at things you don’t want (or perhaps shouldn’t) see. There is a pretty long tradition of the wisdom in not looking back–Lot’s wife and Orpheus immediately come to mind–and I’m pleased to add Sarah’s fun tale to this longstanding tradition.

“The Art of Shui Feng” by Chris Hewitt tells the story of a man who learns and comes to term with a rather strange power that he stumbles upon during a breakup with his girlfriend. I found that the story darkly funny and I also liked Hewitt’s tale enough that I violated my rule of “no black cats” for the anthology. How could I object, after all, to the inclusion of the impish “Nothing” the cat?

Finally, Henry Herz’s “Guardians of the Grünwald” reads like a fractured, German fairy tale and tells the story of murderous huntsmen, a pillaged forest, and some unconventional guardians. Henry mentioned “Little Red Riding Hood” when he introduced me to his story, and I can see the parallels and the differences too, which I enjoyed in equal measure.

I’ll have more story announcements in the next few days and I hope to fill the anthology very soon and begin editing. Until then I hope everyone who reads this is well.

Superstition Anthology over half full now and reading continues …

Don, Occassum, and I have been keeping quite busy reading story submissions for our upcoming dark anthology, Superstition. As of today, August 23, 2022, we’ve turned the corner with the work we’ve accepted, and the book is now over half full. (Fifty-eight percent full to be precise.) We’re planning to release the book around Halloween and so far we’re on schedule for that.

Below are the graphics I’ve used for some of the stories to announce them on Facebook and Twitter. This is by no means all of the stories. I plan on making more graphics and announcements as my schedule permits.

The graphics below were posted to announce multiple works when things were moving very fast indeed. I do hope to make some individual graphics for some of these stories as well.

I’m planning on posting some more graphics as we accept more stories and (of course) when I have time to make them!

The Lost Librarian’s Grave now available at Spine Bookstore & Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri

The good folks at Spine Bookstore & Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri sent me this picture of The Lost Librarian’s Grave ensconced happily on their shelves. From the pictures I’ve seen on their website, Spine has a lot of interesting-looking books and a nice cafe menu, including a nip of the hard stuff if you are so inclined. So if you are in the area, drop in and say hello. Tell ’em Ann sent you!

As for our next, upcoming dark anthology, Superstition, things are moving quickly now and we are acquiring more stories every day. I’ve been announcing some of them on Twitter and Instagram, and I’ll be talking about some of them on the blog in a bit more depth soon.

In the meantime …

Writing Prompt #8: Cyclone Storms on North Pole of Jupiter!

The image below is a “composite image” collected by Nasa’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper, which is part of their Juno mission to Jupiter. There is an interesting article here if you’d like to know more about it.

When I saw this, I immediately thought this storm (or storms?) would make for a nice writing prompt. Cosmic Horror is the first thing that comes to mind for me, but I’m sure there are a lots of other possibilities.*

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

One idea for writing prompts I’ve been seeing a lot of lately (again, on Twitter mainly) is a six-word story prompt or some other number of words. Besides being fairly easy, I find such a prompt serves as a nice vehicle to explore possible story ideas or sketch out a broad theme. If I can’t think of something pithy that encapsulates a story with a beginning and end then perhaps something leading into a theme. This type of prompt could also serve as a entry point into a poem, either using the technique in a similar way as brainstorming for a story or perhaps coming up with a line that inspires a larger poem.

I could see this image-as-a-prompt working in other mediums, such as painting or drawing, music, or even making a quilt … pretty much anything.

Can you think of a six word story using the above image as an inspiration? If so, drop it in the comments.


* I originally saw this on Twitter, courtesy of Science Fiction writer Bert-Oliver Boehmer (@BOliverBoehmer).

Play Misty for Me (1971 Movie) Writing Prompt #7

We watched Play Misty for Me last night, which was a 1971 thriller directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Jessica Walter also starred and did a good job, I thought, playing the villain.

The book reminds me a bit of Stephen King’s Misery, which came out sixteen years later as well as of course the famous Hitchcock movie Psycho. Also, Misty later came out as a novel in 1982 by Paul J. Gillette.

We both thought the movie was pretty solid and enjoyed it.

After watching the film, I began thinking about using films as writing prompts for short fiction. There are a lot of directions one could go doing this. Here are a few ideas:

  • The film (and Walter of course) did a great job foreshadowing the insanity that would come later in the movie. I wonder how it might be to rewrite things so the villain is justified in feeling how she does and in her actions? Maybe take another character and change their perspective or circumstances so that the reader is encouraged to have a different take on the character than in the film.
  • Write a story along similar lines but with a completely different ending. There are tons of movies and books that are similar to this one; there is always room to take a common theme and make it into a story of your own.
  • Find a scene in the movie and write a totally original story using that scene as your mental springboard.
  • Pair a character and an object that are in the film but have little to do with each other and write a story based on that.
  • Write a similar story to the movie but in a different genre or perhaps mix multiple genres together. I wonder how Play Misty for Me would work as a romantic comedy (remember Serial Mom?) or maybe a steampunk western? How about on a malfunctioning space station under attack by a coalition of aliens and humans?

Finally, a couple of interesting facts from the Wiki page about the film:

  • In Keeping Up Appearances, Rose asks Emmett to “play Misty for me” while being dragged out of the church while under the influence of tranquilizers.
  • In Clint Eastwood’s film Dirty Harry, a cinema marquee that clearly shows the title of Play Misty for Me is visible at the very beginning of the film as Insp. Detective Harry Callahan is on his lunch break prior to the bank robbery which opens the movie.

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s poem, “When I Start Leaving These By The Tree That Grows In Front of Your House, You Will Wish You Never Met Me” will appear in the horror anthology, Superstition this fall.

Superstition—coming Fall, 2022.

We have cast the stones, made sure the portal horseshoe is nailed with the luck pointing up, mumbled fervent prayers, and made oblations to our gods and patrons of fortune for the success of our upcoming anthology, Superstition. I’m happy to say that our initial rituals have met with success: Don and I have accepted Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s dark poem (or “sonnet spell”), “When I Start Leaving These By The Tree That Grows In Front Of Your House, You Will Wish You Never Met Me.”

I enjoy Juleigh’s longer titles, which she uses for some of her poems. They seem like more than just an introduction but an integrated part of the body of the poem itself. Besides being interesting to me for its own sake, this also allows her to deviate from each line containing ten syllables as she does with this offering.

Juleigh is best known as a poet and her work has appeared in many publications including The Deadlands, Dreams & Nightmares, Eye to the Telescope, Polu Texni, 34 Orchard, Midnight Echo, Noir Nation, and of course The Lost Librarian’s Grave to name just a few. Her latest collection of “sonnet spells” is titled Curses, Black Spells and Hexes and published by Alien Buddha Press.

The Problem with the Bottling of Troublesome Spirits by Juleigh Howard-Hobson nominated for Rhysling Award

The Problem with the Bottling of Troublesome Spirits

by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Blue bottles hanging from a tree won’t hold
a ghost forever. Trees will die, branches
will break, blue bottles will fall. I’ve been told
that after a bottle shatters, what was
inside it is unrecognizable
as a ghost anymore, having been turned
into a cold mass of hate over all
that time stuck in that blue prison, concerned
with one thing and only one: revenge on
whoever hung those bottles. Ghosts can take
as long as they need to find a person,
and they always do, living or dead, makes
no difference. A ghost, once freed from its glass
will ruthlessly avenge its bottled past.

Juleigh’s poem has been nominated for the Rhysling Award, which is given out annually by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, which publishes and promotes genre-oriented verse. A big, well-deserved congratulations go out to Juleigh and all of the other nominees.

As far as I can tell, the only ones not happy about it are the ghosts, who are tired of looking at the world through cerulean-colored glass, perhaps.

“The Problem with the Bottling of Troublesome Spirits” first appeared in The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology this year (2021) along with verse by two other poets and almost 400 pages of lovely, dark short stories on subjects ranging from grave robbing to gargoyles, from the leech-people apocalypse to leprechauns … and so much more.


“The Problem with the Bottling of Troublesome Spirits” © 2021 Juleigh Howard-Hobson. Used with permission of the author.

The Lost Librarian’s Grave Ebook on Sale for $/£ 0.99 on Amazon!

I put The Lost Librarian’s Grave ebook on sale for $0.99 (or £0.99) on Amazon through their “Countdown Deal” the platform will let one periodically run. So if you’ve been thinking of picking up the ebook and haven’t yet, it’ll be almost 80% off until December 25th.*

Thus far, interest has been brisk, which pleases me, and I’m knocking around some ideas for the next book, which I’m going to get started with as soon as my husband’s holiday vacation ends in early January.

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season thus far and that the fun continues.


* If you have already read the anthology, I’d greatly appreciate a short review on Amazon if you have the inclination. “I liked it,” or “It wasn’t completely awful,” etc. would be lovely. 🙂

The Lost Librarian’s Grave Promotional Graphics

Some promotional graphics for The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology. If you are a reviewer or are otherwise spreading the word, please feel free to use and modify these graphics for your review or post.

E-Book Cover (500 x 800 pixels)

E-Book Cover (1600 x 2560 Pixels)

Paperback Front Cover (500 x 752 Pixels)

Paperback Back Cover (500 x 720 Pixels)

Book Graphic (666 x 1122 Pixels)

Received The Lost Librarian’s Grave Paperback Proof Copy Today

I received a proof copy of The Lost Librarian’s Grave from Amazon today with a matte cover. I’m happy with how it came out, though I do think I’m going to move the “Tales of Madness…” over to the left just a tad and the “Edited by” over a bit to the left as well, near that outside rusty talon.

I have a bunch of points on the credit card I use for Amazon, so I ordered a second copy, this time with a glossy cover. While, like I said, I’m pleased with this cover, the colors aren’t as vibrant as I expected. Amazon says that the glossy covers tend to have more vibrant colors, so we’ll see.

Also, I went with cream-colored paper instead of the white paper for the second copy, so I could see the difference. I probably wouldn’t have gone to all of this trouble if I didn’t have the points.

I’ll post again when I get the second copy and the paperback will go live soon after that. In the meantime, for those who prefer to read ebooks, the anthology can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited and of course can be all yours for $4.99, though I’ll probably be doing a sale soon.