Fiction

A Letter to a Lover Parting Ways

It was the two of them, together. It always had been. I’d seen it and not let myself believe it, because I thought so little of her as a person. Because I saw her as pretentious, shallow, snide even, because I saw through her, and had seen him as a hero. But then why shouldn’t she be snide, he’d chosen her, after all, to be his new girl. They would have five kids together, and it would make her even more unbearably smug. When you truly love someone, you wish them well, even if that happiness doesn’t include you. I wanted to be angry, to hate her. But I don’t. I wish them well. I really do.

I went to this party once, always the same party, where I didn’t fit in. The party where I am ever on the edge of belonging, quietly hoping for a rescue that I’ve realized, perhaps, I don’t quite believe in. Always the same party where he chooses her, whoever he is, whoever she is, she wears colors I won’t, or can’t bring myself to anymore because I’ve lost the ability to be unchanged by the experiences of my existence, she can still bat her eyelashes in a way I never could manage and perhaps envied in some regard while also finding it to be reprehensible, she is the one who can still muster the moxie to say she likes all the things I don’t, whether it’s true or not, … and I say… Oh well… and I… wish them well. I go my way, decide to quit standing around holding the building up, waiting for the mythological hero to make the first move, to notice me, to see what he hasn’t seen. Because it took so many years to learn the pleasure of waiting for a man to ask me to dance, instead of crossing the room headlong and asking him in some brazen way, impatient and not knowing any better. I leave the party. I rescue myself. I’ve gotten quite good at it over the years but I do admit that sometimes now I shudder at wondering if I will always be able to. Which is to say I am uncertain as to whether my resilience is resilience, or merely a product of my youth, now fading in degrees. I rescue myself, at least, emotionally. Somehow, that makes me infinitely more interesting than I was when I was waiting, if only for a time.

What good is any of that? I wish them well.

 

TS

 

 

 

I was getting a little out of practice with the flash fiction.

Baudelaire, Metamorphosis of the Vampire

 

Metamorphosis of the Vampire, 1857
Charles Baudelaire
Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Meanwhile from her red mouth the woman, in husky tones,
Twisting her body like a serpent upon hot stones
And straining her white breasts from their imprisonment,
Let fall these words, as potent as a heavy scent:
“My lips are moist and yielding, and I know the way
To keep the antique demon of remorse at bay.
All sorrows die upon my bosom. I can make
Old men laugh happily as children for make.
For him who sees me naked in my tresses, I
Replace the sun, the moon, and all the stars of the sky!
Believe me, learned sir, I am so deeply skilled
That when I wind a lover in my soft arms, and yield
My breasts like two ripe fruits for his devouring — both
Shy and voluptuous, insatiable and loath —
Upon this bed that groans and sighs luxuriously
Even the impotent angels would be damned for me!”

When she had drained me of my very marrow, and cold
And weak, I turned to give her one more kiss — behold,
There at my side was nothing but a hideous
Putrescent thing, ail faceless and exuding pus.
I closed my eyes and mercifully swooned till day:

And when I looked at morning for that beast of prey
Who seemed to have replenished her arteries from my own,
The wan, disjointed fragments of a skeleton
Wagged up and down in a lewd posture where she had lain,
Rattling with each convulsion like a weathervane
Or an old sign that creaks upon its bracket, right
Mournfully in the wind upon a winter’s night.

 

Le Vampire, 1857
Charles Baudelaire
Translated by Atti Viragh

You who, keen as a carving blade,
Into my plaintive heart has plunged,
You who, strong as a wild array
Of crazed and costumed cacodaemons,

Storming into my helpless soul
To make your bed and your domain;
— Tainted jade to whom I’m joined
Like a convict to his chain,

Like a gambler to his game,
Like a drunkard to his bottle,
Like maggot-worms to their cadaver,
Damn you, oh damn you I say!

I pleaded with the speedy sword
To win me back my liberty;
And finally, a desperate coward,
I turned to poison’s perfidy.

Alas, but poison and the sword
Had only scorn to offer me:
“You’re not worthy to be free
Of your wretched slavery,

You imbecile! — For if our means
Should release you from her reign,
You with your kisses would only breathe
New life into the vampire slain!”

 

You may read other translations of Baudelaire’s poems here, Les Fleurs du Mal.

 

Les Fleus du Mal, 1857, Charles Baudelaire, is the book of poetry I am secretly always looking for a vastly under priced first edition/early edition copy of, one with a beautifully embossed cover, in every scouring of every thrift or antique shop I enter. I have a paperback copy, Penguin Classics, containing the original verses in French, in addition to the English translations. I don’t know quite what it is about these verses that fascinates me so, as their lines do not seem to stay with me long after reading them, at least, not that I’m aware of. They are beautiful, horrible, poems. Influenced by the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Baudelaire was convicted on obscenity charges, for which he, the printer, and the publisher, were fined. Quite the interesting literary character, credited with coining the term “modernity,” about whom I am still educating myself. Interesting to me in this moment, however, as I am writing about vampires, are these two poems composed by Baudelaire about a vampire, that I’d read before however had not realized were written forty years prior to the publication of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” in 1897. Forty years is a lifetime when you consider that Baudelaire himself did not live beyond age forty-six… that we know of.

This has led me to a poem by Lord Byron, The Giaour, 1813, these lines are known as “The Vampire Passage”, said to be the first reference to vampire lore in English literature ( I’m learning some things) according to that site/link. ( I found a pdf copy of the complete poem, it’s fifty-one pages long. Later for that, eventually.)

“But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.”

 

Quite frankly, I’m reminded of my own first scribbled poem (along with several other of my poems and not at all to compare myself to Lord Byron other than talking subject matter) when I’d no idea whatsoever who Lord Byron was, or knew anything at all about writing poems. I thought poems had to rhyme and when pressed to produce one for a school assignment, I figured all poems were depressing or had to be “lofty” somehow. (Yes, this is well covered territory.)

“A flower starts out very small,
Then it will grow to be very tall,
then it will reach down and die,
Upon the ground, there it lies.”

It wasn’t fifty-one pages, but it got the job done, got an “A” for that in 1977. I had no emotion about that poem whatsoever other than wanting to be finished with the thing and being glad that I was. Looking at it now, that third line is strange to me, as though a flower were not wilting, as though it were tired of all that stretching upward toward the light. It rhymed. However, in some way, perhaps everything was right there in that first poem, these recurring themes in my own work. Perhaps it was always going this way, writing about vampires, and such.

I used a quote from Lord Byron’s poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, in The Slick Furies to begin Part Two of the book, “Among them, not of them, in a shroud.” Not because I was, or am, terribly familiar with that poem, but because I remembered that line, that quote as being something somewhat paraphrased or nearly so, from a scripture, “In the world, but not of it.”

I think, perhaps, what is of interest to me is the willingness of these writers to write such dark things at all. What is the light without the contrast? I feel at home with these discoveries, new to me.  I am fascinated. The work continues.

TS

 

 

Les Metomorphoses du Vampire
Charles Baudelaire

La femme cependant de sa bouche de fraise,
En se tordant ainsi qu’un serpent sur la braise,
Et pétrissant ses seins sur le fer de son buse,
Laissait couler ces mots tout imprégnés de musc:
— “Moi, j’ai la lèvre humide, et je sais la science
De perdre au fond d’un lit l’antique conscience.
Je sèche tous les pleurs sur mes seins triomphants
Et fais rire les vieux du rire des enfants.
Je remplace, pour qui me voit nue et sans voiles,
Le lune, le soleil, le ciel et les étoiles!
Je suis, mon cher savant, si docte aux voluptés,
Lorsque j’étouffe un homme en mes bras veloutés,
Ou lorsque j’abandonne aux morsures mon buste,
Timide et libertine, et fragile et robuste,
Que sur ces matelas qui se pâment d’émoi
Les Anges impuissants se damneraient pour moi!”

Quand elle eut de mes os sucé toute la moelle,
Et que languissamrnent je me tournai vers elle
Pour lui rendre un baiser d’amour, je ne vis plus
Qu’une outre aux flancs gluants, toute pleine de pus.’

Je fermai les deux yeux dans ma. froide épouvante,
Et, quand que les rouvris à la clarté vivante,
A mes côtés, au lieu du mannequin puissant
Qui semblait avoir fait provision de sang,
Tremblaient confusément des débris de squelette,
Qui d’eux-mmes rendaient le cri d’une girouette
Ou d’une enseiga’, au bout d’une tringle de fer,
Que balance le vent pendant les nuits d’hiver.

 

The Zombies, She’s Not There

If you’re looking for me on facebook, I am not there.

I took my leave of it a couple of days ago. I will say this, it’s a kind of odd… feeling? I was a participant on facebook for seven years, that’s quite a chunk of time to be engaged in such timesuckage. I won’t discuss precisely what my habit was in terms of my social media usage, however, as with any habit, when you give it up “cold turkey” there’s something of an empty space where the habit was. There was a little bit of a feeling of free-falling for half a day, however, it passed quickly enough. Suffice it to say, it was the right decision for me. I do not regret deleting my facebook page. It is highly unlikely I will return to that particular social network. I will also say that if you use facebook and you are enjoying your use of it, well then good for you. I mean that sincerely. I figure we’re all finding our own way around in this here world, to each their own.

In other happenings, the editing/correcting of previous work continues. Let that be a lesson to me to proofread better. (It isn’t terribly exciting as a topic of conversation either but, there again, let that be a lesson to me to proofread better.) I’ve decided I will no longer publish poetry collections on Kindle. The formatting of poetry is different from novels/stories. I don’t like the way it looks on Kindle no matter how I’ve adjusted it. Editing poetry is particularly tedious as is. I gave it the old college try, as they say. I prefer to publish the poetry in paperback form. So shall it be. I will continue to publish my fiction, novels, novellas, stories, etc., in both paperback and on Kindle.

Something has changed. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t know that I’d explain it if I could. I find myself wanting to say something about the things that make us happy, the ways in which we all find our ways of being in the world, but it seems to me in this moment, better not to break the spell of any such thing with too much deciphering. Perhaps that is some of it, that with eyes wide open, or “woke,” if you prefer, one realizes that awareness is a personal matter of which there may be no such thing as “fully aware” in that isn’t there always something somewhere one doesn’t know or isn’t aware of? Certainly. So it seems to the open eyes that the demystification of the world, is, in some regard, overrated. On the contrary, however, one may then engage in the making of at least marginally informed choices. One might make the comparison between drinking ( intoxicants) because one doesn’t know any better, and drinking because one does. ( I remain sober.) Or, if one were to wear “rose-colored glasses” as a matter of choice, rather than unaware oblivion, or naiveté, or frivolity. (Not that I just woke up, not hardly.) As I said, I can’t quite put my finger on it.

So pleased, excited, to have so many stories, books, to write, so much to do. On I go.

TS

Undone

The other day, in promoting my vampire novel, I posted links to chapter excerpts. In reading through those excerpts again myself, I noticed places where the sentences could use tightening. I noticed places where I want to replace commas with periods. In reading one of my own stories earlier today, I found an instance where I’d changed the name of a character and missed one of the corrections of that name. These are some of the perils of doing everything myself. I am writer, editor, proofreader. I am a one woman show. Is that an excuse for mistakes? No. There are books on my bookshelf by big time authors published by big publishing houses, that have mistakes in them. Is that an excuse for me? No. The truth of the matter is that I’ve needed to slow my roll, as it were, for a while. There’s a balance between letting go of perfection so that the work gets out there at all, and doing the best job I can do. This is also why it is important to let the work sit (rest) for long enough that you can look at it with “new eyes.” So, while I am working on re-writing a novella, I’m not going to publish anything else until I make some of these corrections to previous work. The good news is, there isn’t anything overwhelming in that, the stories are good, ( I say humbly) I like them, and for the most part, pretty clean. But, I want them to be better. I can do that. Was a time when I was far more ruthless about editing my work. I’d go through a piece removing every “and”, for starters, as a way of determining if I needed to use it. I need to get back to those editing habits. Like I said, I’ve needed to slow down some things for a while. I’ve known that. I’ve learned so much in the last few years about the creative part of writing. I’ve written things I never would have attempted before. Creatively, it’s been a wildly expansive time, one that I am grateful and thankful for. Now it’s time to really try to put all that learning together. I’m thinking of it as taking some time to hone my editing skills. Writing is a learn as you go endeavor. Always be learning.

Giving up Pinterest and tumblr has been a good thing. I’ve been tempted to get back on both of those sites but they are a distraction. ( I’m still on the tumblr. Eh. but I have deleted facebook forever.) I realized, I’ve always been trying to do too many things at once because there’s just so much I want to do. I have so much writing work to do, so many things I want to accomplish. Every minute on Pinterest or tumblr is time away from writing, or reading ( my tbr list is endless), or editing, or a multitude of other more productive things. I have, however, come up with a plan for marketing at least the vampire novel, kind of a fun one. Every time I see a post on social media to do with vampires, I’m going to take as a cue to remind me to be about the business of selling the books too and promote the vampire novel along with one other book. (I can tell you here that Season 11, Episode 10, of The X-Files, spoke to many of my concerns regarding modern technology.)

This brings me to the subject of Marilyn Munster. What started this train of thought was Joan Jett. In the early eighties, Joan Jett couldn’t get a record deal. She had twenty-three major label rejections. So, she formed Blackheart Records with producer/songwriter Kenny Laguna, and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history. “We didn’t start the label on purpose. We started it because we couldn’t find a record deal.” ~ Kenny Laguna.  Can you imagine rock and roll without Joan Jett? It’s an incredibly powerful and empowering, inspiring story. I was thinking about that, how she wouldn’t be stopped from making her music her way. I had a novella that I wanted to see out in the world and it was getting rejected, so I published it myself. What does that have to do with Marilyn Munster?

I was thinking about what we deem to be rebellious, or “different,” or a misfit or an outcast. Who would argue that Joan Jett is a rebel? Was she an outcast? Different? A metaphorical “black sheep” or “lone wolf”, and etc. ad-infinitum? Do you think that was easy, back in the day? But if everyone was, say, a “punk rocker,” if the vast majority of people were “punk rockers,” then being “preppy” could be seen as being rebellious. If you’re from a family of hippies and you go conservative, that could be viewed as rebelling, and vice versa. I was thinking about how Marilyn Munster is the oddball, in a family of monster Munsters, she’s “normal,” and that is seen as being abnormal. Which reminds me of a line from the film “Smokey and the Bandit.”  “When you tell someone something, it depends on what part of the country you’re standing in, as to just how dumb you are.” There are a multitude of variations in perspective as to what is normal, what is rebellious, and so on, depending on who you are, and where you are at. When I first started publishing my work traditionally, I had no idea what I was doing. Without rehashing it, or whatever circumstances were at the time, (years ago now), I felt like no matter what I was doing or how I was doing it, the message was that I was doing it wrong. As for my end of that, I didn’t have it together. I do now.( I hope, I think, maybe, anyway, anyway…) Whatever the case, however it went, at some point I made up my mind not to quit. I made up my mind to teach myself whatever I could, to learn whatever I could, whatever I can. Ultimately, for a variety or reasons, I made up my mind to go my own way. But what I realized is, I was always going my own way. Sometimes, I was doing it wrong. Sometimes, I was just doing it my way because that’s what I wanted to do or thought was best, including things like writing a serial novella on my webpage one chapter at a time and letting people read it for free, along with some stories, poems, etc.  Sometimes, yes, I so wish it had all gone differently, that I’d had it together, made tons of real-true friends, been everyone’s darling, landed the big mainstream book deal, and, hey, life isn’t over. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a cheerleader too. But, things went this other way. I realized, it’s always kind of worked out like that. It has occurred to me that perhaps there is more room in that, more freedom. I’ve decided that I’m no longer sad about it.

The Munsters

One of the definitions of the word “rebellion” is simply the process or action of resisting control, tradition, authority, or convention. “Conventionality belongs to yesterday.” (from Grease by Frankie Valli) Sitting calmly, can be an act of rebellion. These days I tend to think of it (rebellion) in terms of, thinking for myself. My sobriety is an act or rebellion.  What does all that have to do with anything? It has to do with not giving up on your dreams, whether you’re Joan Jett, or Marilyn Munster, not fitting in however, wherever. It has to do with pressing onward despite rejections, mistakes ( we all make those), nay-sayers, and all else. I’m not starting a publishing company, just dealing with my own work is quite enough work, all I can manage, but if I were, I’d call it “Undone Hem,” in reference to something that Joan Didion wrote as she observed a woman who was out of sorts, her hem coming unsewn. To me, that represents everywhere that I was when I set out to do this in 2011. I was a woman out of sorts, out and about with an undone hem. It means something to me. It’s something that I don’t want to forget. I also think that until you’re finished, well, you’re not done. “Undone Hem” is my “Blackheart Records.” I wanted to share that. Find your inspirations where you can. Keep on keeping on.

It is my sincere hope that I’ve many more books to write, to publish, that I am just getting started.

TS

 

“Do not cringe and make yourself small if you are called the black sheep, the maverick, the lone wolf. Those with slow seeing say a nonconformist is a blight on society. But it has been proven over the centuries, that being different means standing at the edge, means one is practically guaranteed to make an original contribution, a useful and stunning contribution to her culture. When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessings, cajole them, but do not follow their advice. If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, rebellious, you’re on the right track. Wild Woman is close by. If you have never been called these things, there is yet time. Practice your Wild Woman.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Maybelline Raven and The Wolf.

The year is 1762.
Maybelline Raven is waiting patiently along the banks of the Mississippi River for the return of her husband so they may venture north, with their children. When the people of the village begin to perish after Maybelline is attacked, it is feared that a wolf is in their midst. As Maybelline takes flight, rumors of witchcraft swirl around her, and the horrors of their past threaten to obtrude upon the present. Will she be able to get her family to safety? Or will they succumb to the dangers of the waters further south and the Atchafalaya?

 

Now available on Amazon Kindle.

Paperback coming soon!

Fairy Wails

Coming soon…

Fairy Wails

Where is this hero

Who is so oft spoke of?

Where it this mythological man,

Who saves the day,

Who mends the heart

And lights the way?

Where is the hero

Who wasn’t fucked up

by his mother?

Who melts the bitterness of betrayal?

Who elevates all men

By the virtue of his stature,

And the stature of his virtue?

Who is truly decent?

Whose mistakes are honest?

Whose motives are care and concern and

LOVE?

Is he real?

 

They show us all those films in our girlhood,

They give us Barbie dolls,

That we can never look like,

And read us fairy tales…

If life is bad,

If there are wicked people,

And, or, relations,

If you are too beautiful for words,

Loved by dwarfs and forest animals,

Trapped in a tower,

Got hold of a bad apple,

Or slept for a thousand years – without aging-

Have they got a man for you!

Just dial 1-555-bulshit.

Press 1 for English,

2 for Princess, and 3,

For peasant girl who can’t get a break,

And listen closely,

As his options may have changed.

 

Would he arrive in an orange Corvette?

With a solo Manolo,

That no mortal woman could ever afford the mate to?

I’m not bitter,

I just wonder,

If any of it is real,

At all,

The fairy tales,

The propaganda films that prime us

For disaster.

And is that disappointment

The ultimate control?

Leaving us too devastated

To kiss another toad,

Attend another dance,

Or even manage to get out of bed?

Is that why she slept so long?

She didn’t think he was coming?

 

Who is Prince Charming?

What did he say?

Stay alive, no matter what,

With your Jay Googly Goo Expectations –

And I will find you —

And compare thee to horrible fictional women,

Who had the full benefit of knowing,

Exactly what the hell was going on,

I will harass thee and insult thee,

Oh, my darling,

For a change of pace,

And call thee a whore,

Because that’s never been done before.

That Prince Charming?

Stay awake for him?

 

Why does a woman have to wait?

Why is the woman made to guess?

Why is the woman left to watch the movie again,

And rely on her dreams,

For hope,

For Love?

Why didn’t the Women’s Libbers

Burn all of the Prince Charming stories

With their bras?

That is the true crime,

That is the beginning of the brainwashing.

When they first convince us

That Snow White

Is really a porno flick?

They begin trying

To take it away

So soon,

The dream,

Of some clean romance,

Of being swept off one’s feet,

Before the deed.

 

They never say

That Romeo will come

Then go,

And lie to us,

To lie with us.

They never say that he will not be

Forthright in his dealings,

Or explain himself at all.

Doesn’t he know that a thousand years of sleep,

Leaves a modern chic with a low tolerance

For sadism?

Why does the woman always have to figure everything out?

Put the puzzle back together,

With half the pieces missing and a box of silly putty?

Why is the woman held accountable,

For wanting the very thing

They promised her in Technicolor cartoon animal musical numbers,

Since her birth?

 

It’s a sad day in the kingdom,

When Cinderella has to save herself,

Or starve to death waiting,

Is it for her own good?

Or just the kind of line

They give

When they don’t intend to make good

On their end of things —

“We know you signed up for the deluxe rescue package,

But in today’s economy,

We’ve cut funding to peasant girl bail outs.”

 

With no formal education,

No decoder ring,

A gal can’t make out the fine print.

The old days were better,

When all a girl had to do,

Was drop that shoe.

 

And the right thing?

Well that’s what every girl is waiting for.

How much faith is a woman required to have?

For how long?

How many betrayals does it take,

To get to the chewy center

Of a true believer?

And the truth?

Can a woman tell a truth she doesn’t know?

All the cloak and dagger get out of the dance by midnight shit—

Has worn thin.

After a thousand years,

Who would blame Sleeping Beauty,

If she was afraid that Prince Charming

We’re only another hoax?

Everyone.

That’s who would blame her,

Everyone.

Call Leonard Nimoy, call Muldar and Scully,

Call Kolchak, Kojack and Huggy Bear,

Put out an APB,

Re-Examine the Zapruder film,

And that clip of Sasquatch looking over her shoulder,

Find the man who fits the description given by women the world over…

“I saw something, I’m just not sure what it was.”

 

Extra, extra, read all about it,

Cinderella, The Dumb Blonde,

Remains devastating,

Despite having been,

Left baffled,

By unidentified mythological man-like creature,

Alias, “Prince Charming”,

And a wicked bout with PMS.

She was missing a shoe,

Had cold feet,

She got her PhD. In Philosophy,

Online,

While barefoot,

And decided, who needs this bullshit anyway?

Her singles ad says,

She hates propaganda films.

 

 

 

from Gold Mine, copyright 2009, Teri Skultety, all rights reserved

( Written for someone close to me who was going through a bitter divorce. Writers are not always everything they write. Latitude. )

The Slick Furies

Have you got your copy of the THE SLICK FURIES? It’s the most kickass, badass, amazing, vampire novel that ever lived. I don’t think you should wait for Christmas. This is the perfect novel for all the rainy days left of spring, and, especially, for all your summer vacation reading. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, well, probably. You’ll be chomping at the bit for the sequel!

You can get your copy of THE SLICK FURIES on Amazon today, available on Kindle or in fine, paperback form!

 

Grain, Available Now!

Nineteen Stories

1. DRIVE  ~  Trying to get home

2. The Fine Art of Being Human ~ infidelity, the delicate workings of forgiveness

3. HUSH ~ a robbery gone wrong and a doctor trying to quit

4. THE NEED ~ a desperate love

5. Antares Lariat ~ lassoing stars to try to pay the bills

6. Personal Assistant ~ a temptation

7. THE WIDOW SMITH ~ a woman seeks a reckoning

8. SEVEN ~ a working-girl trying to find true love

9. The Hunter ~ an inter-dimensional time traveler on a chase

10. DONE BONES ~ a buried body

11. Don’t Let Go ~ a love affair

12. Tick Talk ~ the malaise of a ticking clock

13. Teenager ~ a teenager trying to survive being a teenager

14. Strange Comfort ~ the beginning of healing

15. Scorpio Moon ~ a monster in the moonlight

16. Roll Me Away ~ the grass isn’t always greener

17. An Embarrassment of Riches ~ a betrayal

18. It Takes So Long to Get Ready ~ a ghost story

19. All The Long Way Home ~ a chain of convenience stores that are really a gateway to the places of the past

         The stories of GRAIN weave a soliloquy or haunted dreams, presented in emotionally intimate vignettes and moments glimpsed of the before and after of certain life changing events, the frailty of being human, of love, hope, and longing, of trying to escape monsters, and get home, in one piece.

GRAIN, available now on Kindle at Amazon.

Also available in paperback!

2016 In Books

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These are the books that I read this year, though I am still reading from the Carson McCullers and the Delia Sherman book at random, I’m just about finished with them both.65179-12308646_943269849098749_3838291769538950591_n I’d previously read “Mornings in Mexico” and finished “Etruscan Places” over the summer. “Cheyenne Madonna” was what I was reading back in January, here’s my review. I read “Mongrels” in the spring, everyone’s favorite werewolf novel. I’ve got slightly more than a handful of Jones’s work on my shelf, I’d recommend any of his books that I’ve read. “The Painted Drum”, by Louise Erdrich, is a deeply moving story that I’m still absorbing. I’ve become a fan of Louise Erdrich these last few years, wonderful writing and stories. Shawn Colvin’s memoir, “Diamond in the Rough“, is poignantly honest and funny, while she tells of serious battles with depression and overcoming alcoholism, and looking for a place to call home after a life on the road. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Currently reading Laird Barron’s “Occultation and Other Stories” and I’m finding it to be surprisingly funny in places while being completely scary. I’ve also been randomly reading poems from Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s book of poetry, “Streaming”, and finding it to be stunningly beautiful, inspiring, and haunting.

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I’ll finish reading “Occultation“, and the other story collections, before the year is out. I’ve started thumbing through “Vuckovic’s Horror Miscellany”, which has some interesting items in it, and I’ve begun reading at random from “The Portable Dorothy Parker”,  a book that I’ve had for years now and I’m glad to finally be getting into the thick of.  Quite a few more books than I read last year, still not quite as much as I hope to read next year, but, there wasn’t a bad book in the bunch.

Teri Skultety