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🚨🚨BOOKLAUNCH!🚨🚨

Today we launch our first multi-author fiction anthology exploring three disturbing tales about the nature of man and the true nature of what lies inside of him.

The cost is only 2.99, so that’s one dollar a story and all of our writers are indie horror authors. Available on all major platforms.

Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature.

We start with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned!

Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in this anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults.

Available now at Google Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, and Amazon.

A three story horror short anthology by A.R. BraunMatt “Love-it or” Leavitt and Willy Martinez.

Getting Smarter
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Faceless – 100 Word Short Story

She had always wanted to be beautiful. She had read about the power of love and beauty in the nefarious dead-fairy tales of the underworld. This could never be her.

Yet, she never gave up. She read voraciously about the fiction of the nether world histories. Summoning a Djin from a rescued incantation, she used it to plan her return to the world of the living. The first step was to convert her vaporous body into something tangible.

Next, for her to be beautiful and with a face, she would need to devour a heavenly soul.

Artwork is by mrs_white_photoart on Instagram and titled “Caught in Your World.”

Transcending
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Henry James – Of Course I Was Under the Spell

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.” —THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Henry James, born on this day, April 15, 1843.

American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in the transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, as illustrated in such works as Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), and The Ambassadors (1903).

Although his work did not gain much recognition during his lifetime, Henry James now has a standing amongst the most significant writers of the nineteenth century realism. The Portrait of a Lady and Daisy Miller are his most widely read and best known works. Henry’s critique, short stories and novels are heavily influenced by European history and culture. His interest in Europe’s upper class and their formal traditions is evident in his writing. Henry’s engaging stories of Americans exploring the prim and proper lifestyle of the Europeans have gained him immense popularity. James has to his credit 22 novels, more than a hundred short stories, autobiographical works, several plays and critical essays.

Photo of Henry James, Horror writer. Used for mind on fire books.
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Enter Another Realm

The Ritual is our blog where we talk about books, art, film and occasionally, some pop-culture. Warm up your coffee, roll your medicine, kick up your feet, and elevate your thoughts as we cross through the threshold, and into the realm of the Uncertain.

Topics Include: 

The Ritual

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A Gothic Poem by Robert Maturin

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The limner’s art may trace the absent feature,
And give the eye of distant weeping faith
To view the form of its idolatry;
But oh! the scenes ‘mid which they met and parted;
The thoughts–the recollections sweet and bitter,–
Th’ Elysian dreams of lovers, when they loved,–
Who shall restore them?

By Robert Maturin

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Literary Terms: Gothic, Grotesque, and The Uncanny

Dark Night

Gothic Literature– Merriam-Webster defines Gothic as: adj., “of or relating to a style of writing that describes strange or frightening events that take place in mysterious places.” Gothic literature all started with with Horace Walpole’s novel Castle of Oronto in 1765, and the tradition was continued by writers such as Ann Radcliffe, and in classic horror stories like Frankenstein and Dracula. The genre itself was named after the architecture that inspired it: the medieval castles and ruins in which much of Gothic literature takes place, and which often play a vital role in the narrative’s plot. Gothic literature has evolved over the years to include subgenres such as Southern Gothic literature, which takes place in the American South and is associated with much-beloved authors Flannery O’Conner and William Faulkner, among others. The Gothic tradition continues today in the works of such writers as Joyce Carol Oates and Julia Elliott.
The Uncanny – What exactly is the uncanny? We can think of no one better to explain this slippery term and its history than Marjorie Sandor, who contributed an essay on the uncanny earlier this month. Read it here. A preview: “The sensation of uncanniness is, at its core, an anxiety about the stability of those persons, places, and things in which we have placed our deepest trust, and our own sense of identity and belonging. And what’s exciting about this for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, is that it invites us to practice uncertainty.”
The Grotesque – Nowadays, when people talk about “the grotesque,” their meaning is closer to its adjectival form: “very strange or ugly in a way that is not normal or natural.” The grotesque in literature focuses on the human body, and all the ways that it can be distorted or exaggerated: its aim is to simultaneously elicit our empathy and disgust. Very much like the uncanny, the grotesque draws its power from the combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar, or the familiar distorted. Gothic fiction often has elements of the grotesque, such as Mary Shelley’s monster in Frankenstein or the off-kilter characters in Flannery O’Conner’s stories. In its earlier iterations, the term “grotesque” was used in a way that overlapped more with “the uncanny,” referring to works that blurred the line between the real and the fantastic, such as Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” in which the human protagonist is transformed into an insect. It is interesting to see the ways in which these terms overlap, and it’s important to note that their exact “definitions” can be hard to nail down because of the way they have changed over time.
Terror and Horror – Terror and horror are often used interchangeably, but the two terms are actually quite different. Last year, Lincoln Michel contributed a brilliant essay on the difference between the two: “Terror is the feeling of dread and apprehension at the possibility of something frightening, while horror is the shock and repulsion of seeing the frightening thing. Terror is the sounds of unknown creatures scratching at the door; horror is seeing your roommate eaten alive by giant rats. Terror is the feeling a stranger may be hiding behind the door; horror is the squirt of blood as the stranger’s knife sinks in.”
What other terms do you use to talk about frightening fiction? Share in the comments.