My story “Spinollio” was just published in the anthology Machinations and Mesmerism: Tales Inspired by E. T. A. Hoffman. For those who don’t know, E. T. A. Hoffman was a writer, artist, and musician who is probably best known for writing The Nutcracker and Mouse King. He also wrote the first detective story and some consider him to have started the Romantic movement. My favorite stories of his are “The Sandman” (a creepy horror story featuring an automaton and eyeballs) and “New Year’s Eve” (featuring a man without a reflection meeting a man without a shadow). He wrote romance, horror, and humor and wrote for both adults and children.
“Spinollio” is a pastiche I did of various Hoffman stories. I included some of his humor and some of his horror. I tried my best to write it in his voice, although I’ve only read his work in translation, so I guess I’m imitating the translator’s style and word choice as much as Hoffman’s. Like Hoffman’s stories, it takes place in a time where men always wore swords at their side, women regularly used snuff, and things like wigs, duels, and fainting were all the rage. Be sure to check it out!
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders focuses on the grief Abraham Lincoln felt when his favorite son William died. He was so grief-stricken that he visited Willie’s tomb and held his body on multiple occasions. Making the death even more unbearable, it happened during the first year of the Civil War. Continue reading
I don’t usually read Young Adult, but I really liked this one. (As an aside, I’ve often wondered what makes a particular book YA and I’ve come across many different answers over the years. Some people would say that what distinguishes YA from other genres is that there’s less swearing, sex, and violence, however I don’t think this is it since many YA stories actually contain above-average swearing, sex, and violence. Some say the only thing that makes a story YA is if the main character is a young adult, but many sections of the Game of Thrones series are told from a young adult perspective and it’s not considered YA. Also, the Hobbit and other stories are considered YA even though they’re not told from a young adult’s perspective. Continue reading
The good thing about having a subscription to a print magazine is it encourages me to actually read it. I always mean to read internet-based magazines, but I often never get around to them. The problem with podcasts is I’m always falling behind the most recent episode. It’s especially hard to keep up to date with podcasts that have extensive back catalogs. I have a greater incentive to read a print magazine, though, because I’ve already paid for it, so not reading it would be wasting money.
“They were half-pinned under an SUV that was burning brightly, sending black puffs of smoke into the air like an old West smoke signal, like it was humanity’s last chance to ask for help.”
At the beginning of this series, almost half of the world’s population suddenly turn into zombies and start killing the other half, so there’s lots of gore. In fact, this is likely the most gruesome book I’ve ever read. Right off the bat, we smell “the pungent odor of bowels that had been purged in fear and death” and see a zombie “kneeling over a young girl, yanking loops of entrails out of her stomach.” Despite all the gore, the author is initially squeamish when it comes to swear words, although the cussing does increase as the series goes on. Continue reading
My story “Suckling Reflex” was just published in The Literary Hatchet Issue #23 which you can read for free online (it will also be available on Amazon in a few days). Don’t you just love the cover? I think it has a kind of Alice in Wonder feel to it. Anyway, since this is a flash fiction story, saying almost anything about it would get into spoiler territory, but I’ll just say that it’s about a mother with a newborn baby who’s a bit unusual in some way. Feel free to let me know what you think of the story in the comments.