Thank you for your patronage

My Patreon page is now live.

hell note

This is a simple way for you to pledge a small amount of money in exchange for original short stories, extra content and new projects like choose-your-own-adventure stories!

Please visit and pledge at https://www.patreon.com/jeffccarter.

Thank you for your support!

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Something is brewing, and about to begin…

mary-poppins

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May 29, 2015 · 7:23 pm

Nosferatunes – 13 Vampire Songs

The children of the night…what music they make!

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Here’s another 13 songs for your next Halloween party. This isn’t a definitive list, just a few hand-picked tunes that will enthrall a crowd with different…tastes.

This list starts off moody, like a newly risen, angst ridden revenant and grows stronger and stranger until it becomes a naughty vampire god. Pop your cape, sharpen your fangs, and dig up these tunes…

Marceline_go_with_me

1. Moon Over Bourbon Street

Sting

As a horror-starved kid I was thrilled to find a main stream song about a vampire.

2. After Dark

Tito & Tarantula, Dusk ‘Til Dawn Soundtrack

This entire album has a lot of great songs to set the mood for your party, especially if it’s ‘that kind of party’.

3. Dracula Moon

Joan Osborne

I love the honky tonk sounds in this one.

4. Closer

Kings of Leon

I’ll admit, this is a new one to me but I dig it.

5. Night of the Vampire

Roky Erickson

This is the least bizarre of Roky Erickson’s songs, but a good place to start getting weird.

6. Dracula’s Lament

Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall Soundtrack

I chose the short version from the soundtrack because I like the mood and piano, but there are longer versions on youtube.

7. Blacula (Stalk Walk)

Gene Page, Blacula Soundtrack

This song is deadlier than Dracula.

8. Black Dracula

Killa Sha featuring Foul Monday

This song popped up randomly on a Wu-Tang station but it’s different enough to make the cut.

9. Dracula’s Wedding

Outkast

Wonderfully playful.

10. Oh Sookie

Snoop Dogg, True Blood Soundtrack

There’s often a song on these lists I refuse to apologize for, and this is that song.  The greatest song to come from True Blood since ‘Bad Thing’ and better than the last 3 seasons combined.

11. Dracula Perfect Selection – Beginning

I don’t even know what’s going on with this one.  Konami released a rap album? With music from Castlevania?

12. Soul Dracula

Hot Blood

This song should be played at every party, regardless of the holiday.

13. Fright Night

J. Geils Band

This video is pure, un-cut madness straight from the 80’s.

As a bonus, here is the intro to a great odd cartoon I used to love: Count Duckula

 

Don’t forget to check out previous lists of handpicked Halloween songs from other years here, here and here.  Do you know of a song that should have made the list?  Let me know in the comments.

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The Dark – August 2014 Issue 5

The Dark is a quarterly magazine of dark fantasy and science fiction.  The August 2014 issue features original short stories from Stephen Graham Jones, Octavia Cade, Emily B. Cataneo, and Darja Malcolm-Clarke.

The first thing that struck me about this issue was the stunning cover, Stygian Darkness by artist Timothy Lantz.

Stygian Darkness by Timothy Lantz The Dark issue 5

The image of a ferryman crossing a strange river to guide us into unknown territory was a perfect metaphor for this collection of stories.  I was pleased to find tales that did not flow straight down any well charted river of horror, fantasy or science fiction.  These short stories kept me guessing, with intriguing sights and surprises around every bend.

When Swords Had Names by Stephen Graham Jones continued the thrust of the cover art, taking the reader on a tour of the twilight edge between history and myth, civilization and nature.  This unpredictable story had its hooks in me from the first paragraph.

Tommy Flowers and the Glass Bells of Bletchley by Octavia Cade was another dizzying blend, injecting magical realism and emotion into the desperate scientific struggle of World War 2.

Not the Grand Duke’s Dancer by Emily B. Cataneo pirouettes through the industrial age and the dawn of spiritualism into a richly imagined and original fantasy.  The push and pull of a love that defies death provides a beautiful calm inside this whirlwind of tale.

A Fairy Tale Life by Darja Malcolm-Clarke brings the promise and peril of fairy tales into the near future.  Old wounds and new technology combine in surprising ways to force the main character to come to grips with his own story.

Co-editors Jack Fisher and Sean Wallace did a fine job curating this issue, and I look forward to seeing what unknown borders they will guide us through next time.

You can sign up for a four issue trial subscription, get this issue and find back issues for a wide variety of e-readers here.

Find them on Facebook here.

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Lovecraft in Ireland

My story ‘The Hound of K’n-yan’ will appear in A MYTHOS GRIMMLY, an anthology featuring mash ups of folklore and the H.P. Lovecraft mythos.

I have long been fascinated with Cúchulainn, the Irish hero from the Ulster Cycle. Cúchulainn was infamous for his ríastrad, a battle frenzy that would transform his body into a hideous fleshy mass that was invincible.  With that as my folk lore, I knew I had a tale ripe for the Mythos.

Cu Chulainn gets his first nickname by slaying the Hound.

Cu Chulainn gets his first nickname by slaying the Hound.

One of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories is ‘The Mound’, and as I researched Irish mythology I was stunned at how the two worlds overlapped. The original term for the faery, aos sí means ‘people of the mounds’!

A foundational book of Irish mythology is Lebor Gabála Érenn, ‘The Book of Invasions’. It describes the different waves of beings that settled Ireland, starting with the Titan-like Fomorians. They ruled until the Tuatha Dé Danann arrived in a dark cloud. They battled the Fomorians, intermarried, and eventually relocated in the bowels of the earth. Their new home was Ildathach, ‘the multi-colored place’; a perfect match for Lovecraft’s ‘blue-lit K’n-yan’.

mound

Of course, beneath K’n-yan there is red Yoth, and deeper still lay blackest N’kai. In the lightless cavern of N’kai the formless spawn of Tsathoggua dwell.   The elder races were known to conduct twisted biological experiments, grafting strange flesh onto their slaves.

Cúchulainn was no Disney character. He slew hundreds of men and women, friend and foe alike. He murdered his father-in-law and killed his son. He was literally a one man army, Rambo without the fine-tuned moral compass.

His nickname was siabartha, ‘the distorted one’. In the heat of battle he would hulk out by imploding and turning inside out. In this terrifying state, no edged weapon or spear point could harm him.

Total_recall_1990_funny_death

Was he really a champion of Ireland, or a killing machine sent by an elder race?

 

Check out the full story in A MYTHOS GRIMMLY from Wanderer’s Haven Press this December.  With 25 original works by Joseph S. Pulver, William Meikle, Peter Rawlik and yours truly.

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Deck the Halls with Boughs of Horror

My creepy Christmas story ‘With Their Eyes All Aglow’ was recently singled out in a review on Shocktotem, so I thought I’d share a little research that went into the tale.

O Little Town of Deathlehem, edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves

O Little Town of Deathlehem, edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves

Last Christmas time I heard a disturbing factoid reported on the radio: Each Christmas tree brings up to 25,000 bugs into your house.

Okay, tiny mites are icky, but it’s hard to beat spiders for pure terror. I looked at the lights shining on my tree and imagined a cluster of luminescent arachnids. Do glow-in-the-dark spiders even exist?

The glowing spider has only been spotted once, in the deepest jungle of Myanmar in 1923 by Barnum Brown, the curator for the American Museum of Natural History.

“Darkness came on swiftly and my pony began to stumble. Somewhere we had missed the trail…Presently, a few feet away, I saw a ball of light as large as a man’s thumb.

Tying the horse, I advanced as carefully as possible toward the object, which was surrounded by thorny bushes…I struck a match. There in full view was a spider, his large oval abdomen grayish with darker markings. Still he did not move, and as the match flame died out, his abdomen again glowed to full power, a completely oval light, similar in quality to that of the fireflies.

Remembering native tales of poisonous insects and spiders, I wrapped a handkerchief around one hand, parted the brush with the other, and when close enough, made a quick grab. Alas! The handkerchief caught on a stick before I could encircle him and my treasure scurried away. I followed as quickly as possible, but the light soon disappeared under stones, brush, or in some burrow, for I never saw it again.”

I had my spider and my setting. To make things more interesting, I made my glowing spiders more sociable.

Giant spider web forming in Texasbig web 2

Social spiders cooperate like ants or bees. Colonies can spin much larger webs and then swarm to take down prey as large as birds and bats.

(I was going to insert some photos of bats in webs, but I couldn’t find any that were not being feasted upon by giant spiders.  You’re welcome.)

My wife suggested the title for this story be, ‘Spiders get all up in yo’ bidness and then ruin Christmas.’ Yes, these spiders may ruin Christmas for a few unlucky people, but don’t let that stop you from checking out the anthology O Little Town of Deathlehem. You can buy the book at Amazon, and all profits from the anthology will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

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Gods Gonna Cut You Down

Many country western songs, especially those favored by Johnny Cash, seem to exist in a bleak Weird West haunted by wailing winds and ruled by Old Testament justice.  Listen to ‘Ain’t No Grave’, ‘The Man Comes Around’, or ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ and you’ll see what I mean.

The song ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ has always painted vivid pictures in my mind.  In the song God tells John to let five sinners (the long tongued liar, the midnight rider, the rambler, the gambler and the back biter) know that they’re marked for judgment.  I wondered who these colorful characters were, and how they had ended up on the wrong side of God’s Law.  Who was John, the chosen messenger and avenger of the almighty?

Inspired, I decided to write my first story in the weird western genre.  Happily, my piece found the perfect home in SONG STORIES : BLAZE OF GLORY.  This is the second anthology from Song Stories Press featuring tales created from music.

Song Stories Blaze of Glory cover

In order to ground the ‘Weird’ I  wanted to make the historical details of my ‘West’ as accurate as I could.  Here are a few notes about the WEIRD.

MEET THE GANG:

The Long Tongued Liar

orochimaru

I chose the Long Tongued Liar to head up my band of outlaws.  The name conjured up Orochimaru, the scheming master of serpents and my favorite villain from the manga Naruto.  With God as long arm of the law, however, I knew my outlaws should be hell-spawn.  I searched the tomes of demonology for an appropriate counterpart and found Jezebeth, the Demoness of Falsehoods.  It’s hard to track down reliable information about her, but what else would you expect?

The Midnight Rider

ghost_riders

I have always wanted to write a weird western tale about the song ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’.

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies

With that character already in mind, I had my Midnight Rider.

The Rambler

medicinewagon

How to make rambling seem villainous?  I had a choice between a character that moved around a lot or one that talked too much.  I chose that latter and created Giovanni Mountebank, the loquacious showman behind “Dr. Giovanni Mountebank’s Medicine Show & Traveling Dime Museum.”

plague-doctor

A clue to Giovanni’s origins is the sinister bird mask that hangs above his clockwork wagon.  He was born in the Dark Ages, where he began his dubious career in medicine as a Plague Doctor.  While no medical training or experience was necessary, Plague Doctors had the special authority not only to record the Last Will and Testament of their patients, but to perform their autopsies as well.  Imagine the possibilities for corruption and you get an idea of Giovanni’s path to the dark side.

The Gambler

Navajo god 2

Every weird western needs a Skinwalker, and Nayenezgani Biwosi is mine.  His first name comes from the monster slaying hero of Navajo mythology.  Tucked into the background of all my demon outlaws is the story of righteous men corrupted by Jezebeth.  The name Biwosi comes from Hastiin Biwosi, the first Navajo killed in the witch purge of 1878.

In the gambling halls of the badlands, however, he is known as ‘The Suicide King’.  His favorite game is ‘Russian Roulette’ (although the term hadn’t been invented yet).  A skinwalker can assume the form of any hide or fur he is wearing.  The Gambler keeps a coyote pelt draped over his fancy clothes, but he plays for the skin of his victims.

The Backbiter

NosferatuShadow

I wanted to round out my rogues’ gallery with a vampire.  I needed to find a different angle on it as well as a way for a vampire to move around in the harsh sun baked southwest.  My solution was twofold: conjoined twins, one living, one undead.

siamese twins skeleton

John

civil war soldier

The grim avenger in this story is a mysterious man known only as John.  He hides scars beneath his deerskin gloves, carries thirty pieces of silver and wields an antiquated blunderbuss pistol loaded with crucifixion nails.  He once walked a very different path, but Jezebeth destroyed everything he knew.  Check out the story to find out more.

Pistol_Bayonet

Song Stories: Blaze of Glory on Amazon Paperback and Kindle

Song Story Press

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