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
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 SANTORO: Award-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”.
TALES TO TERRIFY, VOLUME 1: This 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:
Portions” by Christopher
Dog Perfume” by Michael Penkas
Through Flame” by Gary McMahon
Around the Corner” by Alexei Collier
A Country Churchyard” by Bev Vincent
“God of the Razor” by Joe R. Lansdale
and Circuses” by Felicity Dowker
Road Trip” by Cat
The Dust” by Tim Lebbon
Last Few Days in a Life of Frost” by Joe Pulver
“Green Apples, Red Nails” by John Everson
“Just a Suggestion” by John Shirley
for the God of the Love of Money” by Kaaron Warren
“Rat Time in the Hall of Pain” by Lawrence
Short Go: A Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett
Goosle” by Margo Lanagan
and Found” by Mark
“An Eye for An Eye” by 2001 Nancy Kilpatrick
“All I Needed to Know I Learned in Piggy Class”
by Nicole Cushing
Rock Candy Mountain” by Weston Ochse
“The Tree is My Hat” by Gene Wolfe
“Bluebeard” by Angela Slatter
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:
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
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
31st: Graeme's Fantasy Book Review (http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/)