“Ocular,” by Nidheesh Samant watches for its chance in The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

Horror and Weird Fiction: coming October 1, 2021.

Today’s story for our upcoming debut anthology, The Lost Librarian’s Grave, is “Ocular” by Nidheesh Samant, who spins a tale where the walls have eyes, but as it often turns out in both life and fiction, not everything is even remotely as it appears….

The intrepid Suraj Thakur finds himself in the middle of a mystery when his friend, Alan Humes, doesn’t come back from a trip to a rural village. At the behest of Mrs. Humes, Thakur traces his friend’s footsteps, which lead to the sinister Kamath Lodge. From there, our protagonist is thrown into an unlikely and increasingly grotesque adventure where it seems as if everyone knows far more than he is saying….

Nidheesh is a marketing professional, a writer, and a collector of trivia, who believes the best thing in life is a good bowl of soup. He lives in Mumbai, India with his family, and you can find him online at @darthnid on Instagram or via his website.

“Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone,” by Amanda Cecelia Lang comes to life in The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

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

One thing that I am enjoying about editing our debut horror and weird fiction anthology is the chance it gives me to revisit some of the stories we accepted a couple of months ago.

This brings me to Amanda Cecelia Lang’s interesting and unique short story, “Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone.” Although I’m only getting to “Snake” just now, this was the first story we accepted for the anthology back in May so it holds a special place in The Lost Librarian’s Grave.*

As befits a tale like this one, Lang begins with her protagonist, Lilias Proctor, waking up from being long dead—she’s roused by the sounds of her sisters digging her up. We learn of the varied and harrowing torments Lilias endured before she was killed, and apparently coming back to life is no picnic either.

There are a number of interesting themes and ideas explored in “Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone,” including the cycle of life, death and rebirth and the idea of taking sins and evils into oneself as a scapegoat.** I also enjoyed how the author played with time in her story structure as well as the lyric quality of her prose—each time I re-read Lang’s tale I unearthed another nugget of poetry.

All of this is well and good and fun, but Lang succeeds in what I think is the most important element in a story: “Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone” was a fun read.

Amanda Cecelia Lang’s horror stories have appeared on The Other Stories podcast, Thirteen podcast, Creepy podcast, and in the anthologies Night Terrors, Mix Tape: 1986 and The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror.

Besides writing horror fiction, Amanda also has the worthy aspiration to become a recluse.*** She lives with her life partner and two ancient cats in Denver, Colorado (USA). You can follow Lang’s literary efforts by visiting her website at amandacecelialang.com, and in October you can check out her story in The Lost Librarian’s Grave.


* This is the first story, but the first piece of writing we accepted was Rhonda Parrish’s poem, “The Grotesque.”

** In the ritualistic or religious sense, and in lexical sense of the term.

*** I know the feeling sometimes.

“The Jump,” by Pauline Yates dives into the pages of The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology

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

Pauline Yates gives us a peek into the mind of a disturbed* individual, who has a pretty unique perspective on suicide prevention, with her fast-moving horror story, “The Jump.” I don’t want to give away too much, but I feel pretty safe in saying that Yates’ narrator is very much an “ends justify the means,” sort of person with an interesting set of useful skills. You know what they say—knowledge is power!

Yates enjoys exploring the complexities of human nature through horror and speculative fiction, and I found “The Jump” to be an interesting psychological piece where it is fun to consider the narrator’s thinking through the lens of what the author doesn’t tell us about her main character.** I also enjoyed the ending; she got me with that last line. When you read “The Jump,” don’t spoil it by skipping to the end!

Pauline is an Australian writer whose short stories have appeared in many venues, including Metaphorosis, Abyss & Apex, Aurealis, and in various publications through Black Hare Press.

Her short story, “The Best Medicine,” won best in category in the 2020 Australia Horror Writers Association Flash Fiction and Short Story Competition.

You can learn more about Pauline on her website, see what she is reading on Goodreads, and find some of her work through her Amazon Author Page. She can also be found on Twitter@midnightmuser1.


* By “disturbed” I mean insane.

** I enjoy monsters, supernatural terrors, etc. and there is a lot of that in The Lost Librarian’s Grave,” but I also very much dig stories where the dangers come from human beings with no special powers beyond what their intelligence, resources, skills, and circumstances can bring to bear.

Editing begins for The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology

We have finished acquiring stories for our first publication, The Lost Librarian’s Grave, and have begun the editing process. Our debut anthology of horror and weird fiction promises to be a somewhat weighty tome, so Don and I have a fair amount of work ahead of us.

I am also considering whether or not we should do a Patreon page and/or a Kickstarter for The Lost Librarian’s Grave. I’ve looked into those a little—most of my experience with those two platforms has been from the contributor end of things—but for now I’m going to stay focused on the editing process. Like I said, our first anthology is going to be a lot of book.

I’ll leave you with a section from a piece of black & white interior art we are considering using in the book. There is a lot more to this image than what you are seeing here. I clipped out the top right-hand bit with the two moons and the gargoyle-dragon-winged monstrosity-whatever-the-heck-it-is doing its thing.

This weekend we’ll be back again with another featured story about an odd person who has some disturbing ideas about suicide prevention. As it happens this is the very story we are currently working on editing.

Until then, keep reading.*

— Ann


* I’m curious to know what was the last book you read and what is one of the books you are currently reading now. Let us know in the comments and we’ll start it off ourselves.

Writing Prompt #4: Book you are reading paired with random text

Today’s writing prompt comes from your own reading, because what you read can fuel your own writing, either deep within the opaque corners of one’s mind and-or self-consciously, welling up to the surface of things.

First, consider the cover of whatever book you are currently reading as general inspiration. See where the artwork takes you in the quest to create something new. You can also work in the text too if that proves useful.

I’m currently reading Under Twin Suns, an anthology inspired by Robert W. Chambers work, edited by James Chambers and published by Hippocampus Press. Pretty nice cover!

Second, pick a book of any sort, go to a random page and pick one sentence, again at random. Work that sentence as an ingredient into the soup that is your new creation.

I picked a random book from my collection, closed my eyes, opened the volume and plunked my finger down on the page. I opened my eyes and read, “Behind these apocryphal tales is the visionary technique of rising in the Planes.”

You can simply work the sentence into your work in progress—with proper attribution of course—or unlike Mr. Nero the Cat, you can try and think out of the box.

Some ideas that quickly come to mind as I type this are:

  • Sprinkle all of the words in your sentence throughout your text. This is what I did for a bit of microfiction I wrote back in 2019 called “I Want My Blanket,” that appeared in Sloth, published by the good folks at Black Hare Press.
  • Write down each word on a separate scrap of paper. You can then manipulate the words in various ways for your project. For example, you can pick one piece at random, use the word in your project, pick another word, and so on. Another possibility is to allow the scraps to fall and only use the ones that are face up or are face down, etc. William S. Burroughs liked to perform various manipulations with words using methods like these as well as many others.
  • Instead of using the words from the sentence you picked, try and find synonyms, antonyms, or (if possible) homonyms for some of the words.

If you came up with something using prompt, please let me know in the comments. I’d like to read your masterpiece!

“The Binding of Chrysanthoula,” by Angeliki Radou, hexes The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology with a sweet, moonlit smile

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

Angeliki Radou graces our anthology with her satisfying, short horror story, “The Binding of Chrysanthoula.” Our tale opens with Katerina watching her beloved daughter—the eponymous Chrysanthoula—whither way.* She is losing weight fast, her hair is falling out, and no seems able to help her. Not even a string of big city doctors.

Katerina is not a woman to give up, certainly not on her daughter as she hovers on the brink of death. Will she solve the mystery of Chrysanthoula’s illness? Will the girl live? All will be revealed this October in the thrice-damned pages of The Lost Librarian’s Grave!

Angeliki was born in Greece. She studied Journalism and has published six books in Greek, including a young adult series, The Dark Stories of Young Poe.

She is a member of the nyctophili.gr writing team, and her latest book is entitled Ghost in the Snow: Spirits, Legends and Burial Customs in Japan, from Editions Momentum.

She currently resides in Athens with her husband and two children.

We are proud that “The Binding of Chrysanthoula” is Angeliki’s first published story to appear in English. A fine thing indeed to grace the blasted grave of our lost librarian!


* Angeliki’s Goodreads page defaults to Greek. If you are like me and it is all Greek to you, there are a couple of ways to switch the language. An easy way is to right-click, which will bring up a “translate” option.

Ancient Shark Attack Victim and Helen’s Nifty Graphic!

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

Things are moving along nicely with The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology. As of today we’ve signed contracts for twenty-nine short stories and four poems, and have another contract in progress, which hopefully will make an even thirty!

In the meantime, I saw this nifty promotional graphic on Twitter created by the talented Helen Power, whose work we’ll be announcing soon in this blog. I love the typewriter and many of the other details in the picture too. Thanks, Helen!

Brandon Barrows, author of the fine short story, “Among Stones and Stars,” shared this interesting article on Twitter from the Ancient Origins website entitled, “Oldest Shark Attack Victim Ever, Found in an Ancient Japanese Mound.” Pretty interesting stuff, though one feels sorry for the poor fellow so long ago.

We’ll be back in a day or two with our next short story announcement. Until then, keep reading!

“The Little People,” by Kurt Newton, journeys from a secret place into The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

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

Kurt Newton’s short story, “The Little People,” drops us into the middle of a dangerous situation with a young woman named Becca as she flees into a twilight wood of mystery, magic and misdirection. (From the proverbial frying pan into the fire?) The episode turns out to be the journey of Becca’s life in more ways than one.

I enjoyed how Kurt’s story reads like a fairy story, and how he judiciously uses repetition of certain words and phrases, which to my eye and ear enhances this effect. Despite being set in modern times rather than “Once Upon a Time,” I do think our author has penned a tale that is both fun and fulfills Professor Tolkien’s working definition of a fairy story.*

Kurt has authored two novels, The Wishnik and Powerlines, as well as over 400 poems and 250 short stories, published all over North America, Europe, and Australia. His work is usually set in the rural landscapes of New England, which isn’t surprising since he lives in the northeast corner of Connecticut.

Newton has received sixteen honorable mentions from the editors of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and has been nominated four times for the Rhysling Award for his poetry.

Look for his third collection of short stories, Bruises, which will appear later in 2021 from Lycan Valley Press, as well as, The Music of Murder, a collection of crime fiction from Unnerving Books.

A busy fellow indeed! You can find much of Kurt’s work on his Amazon author page, and of course, this October, ensconced in the profane pages of The Lost Librarian’s Grave.


* “A ‘fairy-story’ is one which touches on or uses Faerie, whatever its own main purpose may be: satire, adventure, morality, fantasy. Faerie itself may perhaps most nearly be translated by Magic—but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power, at the furthest pole from the vulgar devices of the laborious, scientific, magician. There is one proviso: if there is any satire present in the tale, one thing must not be made fun of, the magic itself. That must in that story be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away.”

Tolkien On Fairy-stories, edited by Flieger & Anderson, pp. 32-33.

Michelle Ann King’s short story, “The Glorious Protection of Angels,” wings its way into The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

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

Michelle Ann King begins her story, “The Glorious Protection of Angels,” on a poignant note with the funeral of a man whose partner and son quietly mourn his death. The boy, Drew, is very young and doesn’t quite understand and asks if his father is at work. Shaylie comforts him by saying that his father has “gone to Heaven,” and is going to be their guardian angel:

Drew’s eyes widen. "Has he gone to be an angel? Is that his job now?"

Shaylie squats beside him and pulls him close. "That’s right, honey. He’s gone to be an angel so that he can look after us from Heaven. And Daddy’s always been good at his job, hasn’t he? So you can bet he’s going to be the best angel there is."

I found Drew’s innocence in this scene quite touching, but this being The Lost Librarian’s Grave, I mentally buckled up the first time I read King’s story in the expectation of going into not just a sad but also a bizarre and possibly macabre place. I was not disappointed.

Michelle is a short story writer from Essex, England. She writes in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, crime and horror. Her work has appeared in over a hundred different publications, including Strange Horizons, Interzone, Black Static, and Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

You can learn more about Michelle and her work on her website and also on her Amazon author page, where her collected stories are available in both e-book and paperback.

“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.