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Congratulations to Theodric, who won the first Halloween-friendly book giveaway. Now it's time for another one!

To enter, you need to be 1) over the age of eighteen, 2) not me (or my doppleganger, Mirror Universe self, alternate universe self, evil twin, or future ghost), and 3) living somewhere on the planet Earth (because shipping costs to the International Space Station are outrageous).

The winner gets to choose one of these vintage paperbacks (both in great condition, tight binding and clean text, from a smoke-free home), and I will ship it immediately.

Option 1: Fear Itself edited by Jeff Gelb (1995)

Official Description: "America's masters of horror confess their most secret terrors in 21 blood-chilling stories. This collection concerns the fears that prey on ordinary people every day: plane crashes, intruders, spiders, snakes, etc. Fear Itself features works by Nancy A. Collins, Rex Miller, Thomas F. Monteleone, Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Hautala, Graham Masterson, Max Allan Collins, and others."

Option 2: Young Blood edited by Mike Baker (1994)

Official Description: "Youthful vision is the theme of this chilling anthology in which every story was written before the author's thirty-first birthday...

* A decaying bayou mansion hides a gruesome secret
* The dead rise from their tombs to form their own street gang
* A bookstore deals in rare and dangerous books
* You've heard of the tooth fairy - now meet the eye fairy

"Enter these darkly imaginative realms of terror. Whether the classic youthful gems of master writers, or the original tales of talented newcomers, they may just scare you into an early grave. This collection includes stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, and more."

The giveaway is open now and ends on Friday, October 21.

Here it is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a Discussion Question for you: What's the scariest tale you've ever read? (Intentionally scary, that is: I'm not counting badly written/poorly edited stuff.) In other words, what's your most creeptastic book or story recommendation?

"It was a cold, desolate night, the kind that wouldn't just turn its back on terrible goings-on, but would stand by and watch."
- A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2016 12:44 pm (UTC)
re: Halloween Countdown Day 16
I entered the contest--I like the sound of the 2nd book!

"The Upper Berth" by F. Marion Crawford is my rec--scared me as a kid and it's still creepy all these yrs later!
Oct. 16th, 2016 02:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was scared by that story when I was young, and I still am as an adult.
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:39 pm (UTC)
Great to hear that!
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
Might I friend you?
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds great! We've had some good discussions here and elsewhere. Mind you, my LJ is all over the map as far as interests go. :)
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:36 pm (UTC)
So is mine!
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:40 pm (UTC)
:) I've friended you! Please be sure that you glance at my profile.
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and done!
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Halloween Countdown Day 16

That is a terrific choice. Geraint Wyn Davies recorded a reading of it that's really stayed with me because of the chills it gave me.
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Halloween Countdown Day 16

Yay for Nick Knight! Where may I find this recording?
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Halloween Countdown Day 16
Yay indeed! I heard it in an audio collection (all narrated by GWD) called Great American Suspense. I have the CD, but I just checked, and it looks like Audible has an e-download.
Oct. 17th, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Halloween Countdown Day 16
Awesome! Thanks for the info. :)
Oct. 16th, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC)
admittedly, I don't read a lot of horror (finding real life stranger and more horrible than most fiction), but I did read Saki when a young person and liked his stories quite a lot. Sredni Vashtar comes to mind as a good one.

These stories of Saki's: horror, yes, but with that odd Brit wit, that at once both gives you a comfort zone and ......makes you question the parameter of same. For myself, Poe (for example) always frightened me *beyond* the story he was telling. Somehow, through the 'airwaves' of words, I am convinced that he was not sane. And I always felt badly for him.

In film, I found "The Other" (1972)very frightening. And last night, I saw "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr. Wonderfully good. Scary.

Here is a little Halloween offering of my own:

Once Upon a Mattress or The Patty Melt-Down



there was a bit of
mushroomed grey-white

upon the tap of her shoe,

like the very
booger of death,

little fleck-reds
caught in the valley
of the arch.....

Odd that no matter

she washed....
still it was


No choice,

but the in-sin-er-a-tor.

It smelt of leaves and meat-rinds.

once the shoes went in.

And he.

He *saw*,
she saw.....



Up and down.



adhered (like the little brain-bit on her shoe)
to but one thought:

she must be protected
she must be perfect,

she must.....
catch him

while he

The fire is lovely,
(though not as dragon-ish as she might like)
his screams


Everyone knows, now:

she is protected.

She is.......


Oct. 16th, 2016 02:31 pm (UTC)
I was introduced to Saki at c12, and have enjoyed him ever since (except for The Westminster Alice).
Oct. 16th, 2016 03:17 pm (UTC)
We probably 'met' Master Munro about the same time, then. I did an English paper on him freshman year high school.

a blogger describes his writing as 'icy comedy' and..... 'His stories are cut-glass beauties, pitiless and hard-edged and constantly poking fun at the pretensions of the middle and upper classes. (she goes on to write that his mother had been killed by a cow (something I didn't know, but would not be surpirsed that such nurtured a writer of horror with an icily comedic twist).

Glad to meet a fellow Saki-ite (and Tolkienista)!
Oct. 18th, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC)

Might I friend you?
Oct. 18th, 2016 07:00 pm (UTC)
sure, you can friend me, but i must say that my LJ was brought into existence so I could edit poems with my collaborator, Mechtild. It really was never used for anything else. I think there is only one post there. It's a 'way station' basically.


If you are interested in my poetry, you can find that at

we don't unfortunately post much any more (RL has bashed us both about a lot the last few years), but there's a trove of poetry and Mechtild's lovely intros and art. (I know she'd love to hear any comments you should like to make, as would I!)

I also recently published a book through Oloris. If you are interested in that, you can hear a snippet of the poetry (read by the gent who did the illos, John Cockshaw) here: https://vimeo.com/145031224

I'm also on face book, but you know what a zoo that is!

Might I friend you, though?

Edited at 2016-10-18 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2016 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and by all means!
Oct. 18th, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
lovely! it shall be so~
Oct. 16th, 2016 03:42 pm (UTC)
ooops, i meant to add that this is written to the film "The Bad Seed" which starred Patty McCormack
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:13 pm (UTC)
You know, you did such an amazing job with this, evoking the film, that my brain had already conjured The Bad Seed by this point:

"No choice,

but the in-sin-er-a-tor."


You are awesome!
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:29 pm (UTC)
*blushing*. Thank you!
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:10 pm (UTC)
I agree with you that real life has plenty of horrors. I tend to think of horror literature/film or the Gothic as a way to understand and deal with the horrors of real life -- which is why I strongly support young readers' horror fiction, which gets demonized in certain circles.

I just recently saw The Innocents for the first time myself! Isn't is wonderful! Soooo spooky!

And your Halloween offering couldn't be more delicious! Talk about delivering the chills!

I love the rhythm of
"He *saw*,
she saw.....



Up and down.



And this is so shudder-inducingly perfect:
adhered (like the little brain-bit on her shoe)"

And those last lines! WOW!

I can't thank you enough. I'm going to be rereading this one often!

::massive hugs::
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
you are right: we read and write horror to deal with that which horrid in the world....

(I guess an interesting question would be: do the people who experience the *most* horror in their lives read/write horror, or are we dilettantes at The Monster's Ball? There's a thesis there, i think, in that question....)

Gosh, I'm thrilled you like the poem so much. I'm always a little conflicted about those odd rhythms, and I meant to write the piece from Roda's pov, but this seemed more powerful and....somehow, still resonant with her voice.

I do think I need a hug today, so thank you. And many hugs back!
Oct. 16th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
I think I might have to pick Dracula. Its literary technique is often crude, but it had me feeling a genuine inner tension that more sophisticated works have not.
Oct. 17th, 2016 01:14 pm (UTC)
Wonderful choice! "Genuine inner tension" is a great description of what the novel accomplishes.
Oct. 19th, 2016 10:51 am (UTC)
Dracula is an interesting novel to me. I used it as one of my examples in my recent book on converting material from a published source to GURPS, and in the course of that I reread it. And what I think I saw was that Stoker's theme is redemption. Jonathan is saved from his captivity in Castle Dracula; Lucy is freed of her vampirism, and Mina of her vampiric infection; Renfield dies fighting to protect Mina and is ennobled by it; and at the end, even Dracula is given a moment of peace before he dies. It's almost like the last lines of Faust, "Whoever strives with all his power/We are allowed to save." I don't know what Stoker's religious beliefs were, but I think I'm seeing a clear religious theme in the novel now.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 19th, 2016 05:36 pm (UTC)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )