Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest post - Tales to Terrify

Tales to Terrify is a weekly horror-themed podcast hosted by award-winning horror writer, Lawrence Santoro. Tales... is produced by Tony C. Smith, the owner-host of the Hugo Award winning StarShipSofa.

What Turns People into Lovers of Horror?
by Lawrence Santoro

What is it turns perfectly ordinary people into those who hug the dark?

Let me begin at the beginning. Puggy—who was me, aged 4—hated Sunday, hated church, hated being readied and tightly dressed.

This was Sunday. I was scrubbed and suited in prickly tweed and razor sharp white collar and smelling of soap. I was in the bathroom with Nanna who muscled down my cowlick with spit and a glower.  She raked the comb through my knots with a Sunday litany: “good-ness gra-cious, how do-you-let, your-hair get-so kno-tty, good-ness sake Pug-gy don’t be so shush-lich.” ‘Shushlich’ being her Pennsylvania Dutch word for fidgety.

Mother and father were late and lazy in their room getting ready slowly. Downstairs, Pop-pop listened to the war news. Gabriel Heater reporting. I heard it, distant. All as usual.

Nanna took a final of pull on my hair, cocked her head as to disavow the work and grabbed my hand. “Come on, Puggy. Stop your dawdling.”

Onto the stairs. Down, one. Two. Three.

Nanna stopped. Mid-descent. Her hand squeezed mine. Then again. And again. Hard. Loose. Hard-hard. Loose. As though sending a message in the dark.

Then, of all things, she sat. On the steps. Suddenly. Halfway from top to bottom she sat and shouted a wavy moaning Halloween call. “Oh. Ohh. Ohh, Puggy.” I can’t hear. Can’t see.

Her head began banging against the wall. Her hand squeezing, sending, sending. Saying something.

Well, this was just too much. Nanna? She was a hard one, a stern eye for things wrong, not clean, not orderly, not one to smile or be silly, Nanna. So naturally, I thought this was the finest, funniest moment of my life, and so began to laugh. Laugh loudly. Nanna is funny. She is finally funny. I pulled away. I ran down the steps to tell Pop-pop.

Who by now had heard the calls and the thumping of Nanna’s head against the wall.

Mother, whose mother this was, and my father came from their room. Pop-pop shoved me aside and up the stairs he went.

And I was left at the bottom, looking up, laughing, watching, hearing three familiar voices calling out her various names, “mother,” “Carrie,” “Carrie.”

And when she died and everything became quiet and solemn in the house and everywhere we went, and when she was buried Pop-pop looked at me and said, “Nanna was dying and you? You were laughing.” He said it in a way that was different from any way he had ever before spoken. And, of course I knew that it had been my fault. Nanna’s death.

As I look at what I’ve written, I realize it might seem as though I were saying, “having killed my Nanna when I was 4 turned me into a reader, writer of horror and things dark.” No. There are those who came far closer to death in their small years. Something did seep through the skin, through the Sunday tweed and starch and turned me. The sound of Nanna’s head. The singing moan of my childhood name. “Ohhh, Puggy!” The misunderstanding, Nanna was funny, finally funny as life slipped away. My grandfather’s face as he looked at me. “Nanna was dying and you were laughing.” Something in all of that has remained and is still part of me.

I hope you’re the sort that will come and visit in the Nook, every week as Tales to Terrify tells you tales from the dark side of the universe. I hope you’ll take a look at “Tales to Terrify, Volume 1” when it hits the market this Halloween.

LAWRENCE SANTOROAward-winning writer and narrator, Lawrence Santoro began writing dark tales at age five.
In 2001 his novella “God Screamed and Screamed, Then I Ate Him” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. In 2002, his adaptation and audio production of Gene Wolfe’s “The Tree Is My Hat,” was also Stoker nominated. In 2003, his Stoker-recommended “Catching” received Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s 17th Annual “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror” anthology. In 2004, “So Many Tiny Mouths” was cited in the anthology’s 18th edition. In the 20th, his novella, “At Angels Sixteen,” from the anthology A DARK AND DEADLY VALLEY, was similarly honored.
Larry’s first novel, “Just North of Nowhere,” was published in 2007. A collection of his short fiction, DRINK FOR THE THIRST TO COME, was published in 2011. He lives in Chicago and is working on two new novels, “Griffon and the Sky Warriors,” and “A Mississippi Traveler, or Sam Clemens Tries the Water”.
Stop by Larry’s blog, At Home in Bluffton (http://blufftoninthedriftless.blogspot.com/), and his audio website, Santoro Reads (http://www.santororeads.com/Home.html), you can friend him on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/lawrence.santoro).

TALES TO TERRIFY, VOLUME 1This Halloween, October 31, 2012, fans of the chilly dark and terrifying will have yet another reason to cower beneath the sheets as the stories that are voiced weekly on the internet’s scariest horror spinning site rise up to haunt the pages of “Tales to Terrify, Volume One.” “Volume One” is the Parsec-nominated, horror podcast, “Tales to Terrify” in book form.
At a generous 284 pages, “Volume One” gathers the best of the best--both titans of horror and fresh blood—and features 23 blood-curdling, nightmare-fueled tales. The book features work by Joe R. Lansdale, Gene Wolfe, John Shirley, Weston Ochse, Gary McMahon, Kaaron Warren, Margo Lanagan, Felicity Dowker, Angela Slatter and Christopher Fowler.
“Tales to Terrify, Volume One” will have readers on the edge of their sheets as the candles burn low.
Does the dark make you sweat a tad more than normal?  Do you ever wonder if that stranger on the street might be carrying a knife, all the better to carve you with?  Does the thought of the dead rising raise goosebumps on you?  If so, “Tales to Terrify, Volume One” will feed those fears and suggest there’s more to come.

Table of Contents:
“Jumbo Portions” by Christopher Fowler
“Wet Dog Perfume” by Michael Penkas
“Seen Through Flame” by Gary McMahon
“Just Around the Corner” by Alexei  Collier
“In A Country Churchyard” by Bev Vincent
 “God of the Razor” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Bread and Circuses” by Felicity Dowker
“Chair” by Martin Mundt
“Grandmother’s Road Trip” by Cat Rambo
“In The Dust” by Tim Lebbon
“The Last Few Days in a Life of Frost” by Joe Pulver   
“Green Apples, Red Nails” by John Everson
“Just a Suggestion” by John Shirley
“Working for the God of the Love of Money” by Kaaron Warren
“Rat Time in the Hall of Pain” by Lawrence Santoro
“The Short Go: A Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett
“The Goosle” by Margo Lanagan
“Lost and Found” by Mark Morris
“An Eye for An Eye” by 2001 Nancy Kilpatrick  
“All I Needed to Know I Learned in Piggy Class” by Nicole Cushing
“Big Rock Candy Mountain” by Weston Ochse
“Bluebeard” by Angela Slatter
“The Tree is My Hat” by Gene Wolfe

 Forget the Ouija board, “Tales to Terrify, Volume One” is a direct link to the world beyond.  Do you have what it takes to be scared on the scariest day of the year?
“Tales to Terrify, Volume One” will appear in several formats including:
Hardback book £16.99
Paperback book £10.99
e-Book: £3.99
You can buy your copy at the Tales to Terrify podcast website (http://talestoterrify.com/) and our own website dedicated to the book “Tales to Terrify, Volume One” (http://talestoterrify.com/volume-1/). The volume will go on sale on October 31st.

GAME: You can be one of the lucky 10 people to win a PDF copy of our anthology. All you have to do is find us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TalesToTerrify?ref=hl) or Twitter (@TalestoTerrify) and answer the following question: What scares you most? The most creative responses will receive the coveted PDF copy and will be featured in our second November show.
The game will end on October 31st, the book's official launch date. A like and a follow will be appreciated, but are not a prerequisite to enter the competition.

You can follow the blog tour on the following dates and sites:

October, 22nd: Innsmouth Free Press (http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/)
October, 23rd: Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews (http://darkwolfsfantasyreviews.blogspot.com/)
October, 24th: Kaaron Warren (http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/)
October, 25th: Sci fi & Fantasy Lovin' News and Reviews (http://sqt-fantasy-sci-fi-girl.blogspot.com/)
October, 26th: Fantasy Book Critic (http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/)
October, 29th: Wag the Fox (http://waggingthefox.blogspot.com/)
October, 30th: Angela Slatter (http://www.angelaslatter.com/)
October, 31st: Graeme's Fantasy Book Review (http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/)

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