Tag Archives: horror

The Monday Book: THE DARK SIDE OF THE WOODS by Willie Dalton

darksidecoverMany thanks to Wendy for inviting me to guest blog and promote myself, well, my new book that is. I’ve been working on this book for about a year and a half, which seems crazy since I wrote my first book in three months
“The Dark Side of the Woods”, takes me a little step closer to writing the genre nearest to my heart, horror. I’ve always loved creepy books, much more so than creepy movies and at some point it might be the majority of the stories I tell. This book isn’t too scary, just enough to keep you wondering what’s coming next. Perfect for this time of year!
The inspiration came when my husband and I were hiking in Cumberland Gap, Tn. We walked by an unusual stretch of path that was a bright and sunny meadow on one side and a dark forest on the other with great rocks peeking through the trees. My imagination immediately jumped to shadows hiding behind the rocks and running through the woods. I knew the story I wanted to tell and even kept the setting in Cumberland Gap.
The story centers around a young woman named Sadie and her love interest, Rob. The closer they get, the more mysterious things start happening in town. Meanwhile, a small stretch of road that Sadie has always walked by becomes dark and menacing. No sunlight touches the dark side of the woods, no animals will pass through it and nothing that goes in there, comes back out.  Sadie learns she and Rob are both tied to the events going on through long forgotten family secrets that date back to the settlement of the town. It’s up to them to make things right, but that means going into the dark woods. 22281604_906572242823586_7535788090923277310_n
It was such a fun book to write and so far all the feedback I’ve gotten has been great. “The Dark Side of the Woods” is available in all the usual places (like that online company we don’t mention in front of Wendy)–or even better: request it in your local bookstore!
To keep up with my work you can follow me on Facebook or through my website.

And yes, I do love tattoos. Why do you ask?

authorwilliedalton.com
facebook.com/threewitchesinasmalltown

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing, YA fiction

The Monday Book: WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson

WeHaveAlwaysLivedInTheCastle“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.” –Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The problem with being a big reader in school is that by the time you get to classes where the teacher is passing out big books (or even big concept stories) you’ve seen that theme/archetype/trope/chestnut already in something else.

Our high school English teacher made us read “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, for Halloween. Lame. And old hat. Ursula LeGuin in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” or even Tam Lin and the sacrifice to Hell were better deals.

So when I picked up Jackson’s Castle, I wasn’t expecting much.

That’s how the best things happen.

Aside from first learning of the wonderful name MerriCat for Mary Katherine, this is the book that teaches many writers about untrustworthy narrators. The story is basically two sisters, MerriCat and Constance, living alone in an old house, young girls, and slowly but surely you come to find out why. And then everything goes to Hell on the point of a knife, but it’s a good ride. Here’s another quote, just to give you an idea:

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”

Yeah, she’s a beaut, that Merricat. Jackson’s writing style is so cheerfully prosaic as she pushes out lines of such blood-curdling creepiness, you think, “Who WRITES like this?” For instance, when MerriCat idly comments: “I wonder if I could eat a child if I had the chance.’ ‘I doubt if I could cook one,’ said Constance.”

If you want a post-Halloween scare, read this atmospheric, quirky, Poe-as-a-woman-with-a-semblance-of-feminine-understanding masterpiece.

If you read it before bed, you might want to leave the light on. And stop taking sugar in your tea.

Why this book this week: I read this book years ago, and picked it up again when some bookseller friends and I were discussing online what we were currently reading.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, book reviews, Downton Abbey, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing

Small Town Writer Tribes

The bookstore, like every small town shop, rejoices in several networks and tribal affiliations. The tribe of writers is just one of these. Today I present three members who have recently published their own work–resulting in some very diverse stories, now available on-line.

Joann Lee

Joann’s mom is the lady my friend Elizabeth and I bought our goats from. (Welcome to the networking hotbed of rural living!) Joann lives where people tend to believe her lifestyle is not okay and theirs to comment on; she balances daily between being herself and flying below the radar. It comes out in her work, a romance about two women from very different backgrounds spending the summer at the beach.

Broken Star is available from jms-books.com.

Sheila Mayes

Sheila is from Pennington Gap and has written a novel based on real events, the story of a young girl from Afghanistan who struggles to get an education in America. In her words, the book “was important, but not a priority. As I was writing, Malala, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot in the head on the way home from school by the Taliban. My writing hit fast forward, the book became a priority and I completed it in March 2013. I am only one person, but I knew I had to do something to help end the violence against women all over the world.”

Sheila is donating a  portion of her e-book’s sales to the Malala Fund to help educate and end violence toward women. Sheila is on Facebook.

Michael Samerdyke

Michael is the writing group coordinator at our bookstore; if you’ve read Little Bookstore, he’s the one who started the group and has nurtured it these past five years. He writes lovely, strange short stories that range from hearts-ripped-out-of-bodies horror, to ripping through your heart with empathy at his nuanced portrayals of how people interact. His snowmen dance, his cat people long for more than blood. http://www.lulu or Barnes & Noble on-line carry Mike’s e-books, both collections of short stories linked by a framing story.

In Featured Creatures: a Phantasmagoria, space invaders, experiments run amok, rampaging dinosaurs and other horrors parade across the Star-Lite Drive-In’s screen for the greatest summer film fest ever. In The Dream Cabinet of Dr. Kino, the mysterious doc travels from town to town showing visions of mad scientists and monsters, vampires and werewolves, and other horrors in his cabinet.

Enjoy!

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Filed under book reviews, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized

Season of Horror has Begun

Lock your doors. Turn up the lights. Don’t answer that knock. The season of terror has come.

The garden produce is ready.

As Halloween approaches and the publishing industry flings its fall line of vampires into the reading metropolises of the world, we small towners know the difference between urban fantasy fear and the truly terrifying realities of rural life.

The gardeners–those quiet neighbors with the unnatural interest in what’s in the ground behind their house–are walking the Earth at night. Nobody knows them very well, but they’re easy to spot in straw hats that hide their glowing red eyes. Like zombies of the apocalypse, they stagger along sidewalks, dripping red tomato blood from shopping bags hung on door handles, leaving butternut squash the size of baseball bats in unlocked cars, pushing piles of pickling cucumbers through a broken shed window.

Unlike zombies, the gardeners can run fast. Sea water won’t melt them, silver bullets can’t bring them down. Stake a tomato and it grows faster. This is the Unstoppable Invasion that horror fans have secretly feared for so long.

True terror is this: Soylent Green is zucchini.

So lock your doors. Don’t go out at night. The bad harvest moon is rising, tugging at the blood of every home-grown vegetable to rise and incite the sinking of fangs–or dentures, or whatever–into its flesh. Resistance is futile.

(Caption Contest V closes tomorrow! Visit August 14 to leave entry and view others.)

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Filed under folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized

“Of Course You Are”

As it is sometimes wont to do, our phone died at the bookshop. We jiggled some wires and then called The Phone Company. They dispatched someone. He arrived 37 hours after they promised he would.

A nice guy, “Steve” smiled at us, jiggled something, went outside, came back and jiggled something again, then said, “Fixed.”

And it was. Steve asked to wash his hands (whatever he’d jiggled was dusty) and be pointed to Peter Straub.

“You like horror?” asked my husband, leading him through the maze that used to be our kitchen, and is now an intricate system of one-way tunnels walled by books.

“I am the author of a horror novel,” said Steve, hauling a card from his shirt pocket and handing it to Jack. “Self-published my first this month! It’s 99 cents on Amazon this weekend if you download it to Kindle.” He then bought four Straubs.

So now we have several spaces in our horror shelf inventory, someone to lead this October’s adult scary stories night, and a phone that works. Hey ho, just another day in the bookshop.

Don’t forget to enter Caption Contest V! You can see the picture by scrolling down to yesterday’s blog; leave your caption entry under “Comments.” First prize is a free copy of ‘The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.’

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized