Night Time Logic June 12, 2019

Posted in Appearances, Readings on June 19, 2019 by bloodandstardust

On June 12, 2019 Jeff Ford was my guest at Night Time Logic a twice yearly reading and interview series I founded in 2015.

Please connect with our Facebook page or join our e mail list at ( weareforthedark at yahoo dot com ) to stay connected and be the first to learn of our next event and next guest! Thank you so much to everyone who helped promote the event by sharing on social media and word of mouth. I am a one man, small operation and all the help is vital, thank you. As always, thank you to KGB Bar for hosting us and supporting genre fiction !

Most of all, big thanks and much gratitude to Jeff Ford for sharing with us his stories behind the stories, his anti-intellectual approach, conversation about “the banal of the paranormal”, and his remarkable good cheer, immense talent, and one of a kind imagination. Thank you Jeff!

Jeff read from his short story “The Jeweled Wren” which is forthcoming in Echoes The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow. It was wonderful to have Ellen who has edited many of Jeff’s stories in attendance. A link to the book is below the photos.

One of the stories Jeff and I spoke about is called “Big Dark Hole” and it appeared in Conjunctions 71. I heard Jeff read it earlier in the week but I did not know where it appeared at the event. A link is below the photos.

The photos (that I did not snap are credited to) Barbara Kransnoff, Bill Shunn, David Rivera, Nick Kaufmann, and Karen Heuler.

We recorded the event and are looking for the best way to bring the audio (and some past NTL events) to you. Watch this space for news.

Thank you to the room full of Jeff’s fans, family, friends new and old, and collegages who packed KGB Bar. The room was so crowded we had a half dozen people sitting at the interview table with us. Everyone was delightful and spirits were high. Thanks for making it a great night all around !


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My first novel. Coming soon from Cemetery Dance.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2019 by bloodandstardust

Here’s a clip from my Facebook author page from May 6, 2019 on the subject:

I’ve been given the green light to announce that my first novel is coming very soon from Cemetery Dance Ebooks with print edition to follow from Cemetery Dance.

I have a lot of gratitude to share. Today it is directed towards editor Norman Prentiss. His guidance made the book a better book and taught me much about writing horror.

The title, cover reveal, and ordering information are coming soon.

Three years ago today, on May 6, 2019 , my first book The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales debuted with Cemetery Dance EBooks which was also acquired and edited by Norman. I will always be grateful to him, Richard Chizmar, Brian Freeman and the entire Cemetery Dance team.

Spirits Unwrapped Anthology

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2019 by bloodandstardust

Spirits Unwrapped is an anthology of mummy stories from around the world I edited for Lethe Press. It is coming October 1st 2019 but is now open for pre-orders.

This in-progress cover image shows the authors, ranging from talented new-comers to award winning veterans, that I had the good fortune to work with on this project. Thank you to Steve Berman publisher of Lethe Press and to all the talented authors.

Visit Lethe Press to pre-order. Visit the facebook page to stay connected with interviews, news and content coming in the weeks before the launch date.



Above the Buried City in Shivers 8

Posted in Anthology Publications, Blood and Stardust, My Fiction on May 2, 2019 by bloodandstardust

Cemetery Dance Publications has announced the eighth entry in their award-nominated and best-selling anthology series, Shivers VIII edited by Richard Chizmar.

My short story Above the Buried City appears alongside fiction from many of today’s most popular authors of horror and suspense including Stephen King, Laird Barron, Jack Ketchum, Jack Dann, Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss, and many other authors!

Of special note: “Squad D” by Stephen King, which was originally written in the 1970s for a famous anthology that was never published, and the story itself has been locked away in Stephen King’s office ever since. It appears for the first time ever in Shivers VIII!

Thanks and much gratitude to Richard Chizmar and his team at Cemetery Dance for including me in this special project !

The book is only available from Cemetery Dance Publications. In addition to the affordable trade paperback edition for general readers, available now, the volume will also be published as a signed Limited Edition hardcover and a signed and traycased Lettered Edition hardcover, both of which will signed by the editor for the collectors!

Meet a murdered socialite from New York’s art and culture scene. A dead prisoner convicted for the crime. A trader in black market antiquities from Central America. And the man driven to solve the mysteries in a crime and caper that is more than meets the eye in the short story Above the Buried City by Daniel Braum



Halloween 2018 Reading at Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council in Providence RI

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2018 by bloodandstardust

On Saturday October 27, 2018 I was one of the readers at the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council in Providence Rhode Island.

I read from my short story “The Fourth Bell” which appears in The Beauty of Death 2- Death by Water anthology.

Thank you to Neils, Farah, SJ and the entire LASC team. At the time of this posting only one copy of the Wish Mechanics remains in stock at the store. I hope to get more books their way. And I will be returning to providence for Necronomicon in August 2019.

Thanks to the excellent crowd who came out on a rainy almost Halloween evening with us !


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Conversation with Joanna Parypinksi-Part 1 of 2

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2018 by bloodandstardust

Happy October ! Today Joanna Parypinski and I talk about her short story “The Thing in the Trees” from the recently released Nightscript 4 anthology. Tomorrow on her site we will talk about “The Monkey Coat.” in part 2 of the conversation.


DB:        One of the things this story made me think about is how the choice of characters can affect story and theme. The narrator in “The Thing in the Trees” is a Female to Male transgender person who is married to a woman they married before the transition. Why did you choose this character?

JP:         This story really came about from the marriage of character and concept. I had heard a barely-remembered story (as in, a news story, not a fiction story) about this situation of a female-to-male transgender person married to a woman, and how they dealt with it (from what I recall, the wife in the real story was much more supportive than my character). It was a really intriguing situation that I hadn’t really seen before, in fiction or otherwise, and the depth of love and conflict there felt like something worth exploring. So I had this character in my mind, and what came next was the image of a pair of jeans hanging in a tree in the forest, and everything started fitting together from there.

I think if the story were told with a different narrator, it would simply be a different story. The conflict in the relationship is really based on identity and transformation, and those themes resonate in the story in other ways as well, so I think those issues are really integral to both the character and the story.

DB:      I found myself thinking about the “shapes” of stories after reading “The Thing in the Trees” and how structural decisions could push a story towards or away from “kinds” of horror that often overlap or exist side by side such as horror, literary horror, and weird fiction and strange tales.

The structure of a story where the narrator is told a scary story and then the scary story turns out to be true (to grossly oversimplify) could be said to be a traditional “horror” structure. I felt your choice of character added a layer of resonance to the story. Does choice of character and other decisions like choice of end point move a story closer towards or away from any given category?

My follow up thought to question two is that one of the things I enjoy greatly about “The Thing in the Trees” is that it is “shaped” like what we might think of as a traditional horror story. There is a ghost story told. The narrator has strange experiences that mirror the story. And then the ending point is a reveal. I find many traditional (traditional as in ones that are not necessarily interstitial) horror stories have a reveal as an end point. However the story in my opinion effectively uses hallmarks of weird fiction by not revealing the explanation of what is happening even in light of the revelation that what was thought to be fiction might be true.

JP:   That’s a really intriguing question. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I do think that there is a more traditional horror story laying the foundation of “The Thing in the Trees” with, perhaps, a more complex or slightly nontraditional layer above that having mostly to do with the unique situation and experiences of the characters. I appreciate that you felt this layer of resonance from the character!

I think both of those choices (character and endpoint) in some part help to categorize the shape of the story. Ending points are crucial in determining what kind of story it is, I think, because the place a story ends can impact what the reader is left with. This is kind of a random example, but just imagine, for instance, if The Graduate had ended before the bus ride.

“The Thing in the Trees” has a more abrupt ending than many of my stories because I typically include more of a denouement (perhaps this is my novelistic side bleeding over into my short fiction). But at one point I decided I wanted to end this story with a reveal. Frankly, I wrote this story after reading Brian Evenson’s A Collapse of Horses, and I think I was heavily influenced by some of his stories when crafting this one (many of his weird horror stories are supremely odd and end on a powerful reveal without fully explaining the mystery). I really enjoy the way that weird fiction and horror fiction can blur in a way that is both drawing from traditional horror while simultaneously building something new from it.

DB:       There is a wonderful reference to the Persephone myth in the story where the narrator at one point thinks to them self that they feel like they just drank pomegranate juice in hell. (For our readers in the Persephone myth Persephone is forced to spend six months of every year in the underworld as a settlement between Hades and Demeter (Mother Nature) for her actions of eating six pomegranate seeds while being courted by Hades.) There are other references of duality in the story such as the narrator referring to top half surgery and the narrator’s perception of their wife at the end of the story. What is your process when thinking about theme and resonance of a story and how did you approach it in this story?

JP:         Sometimes when I’m writing a story, I won’t really think about theme at all. If the character and plot are intriguing enough, then I may simply focus on those things and see where it takes me, and hopefully some themes will begin to emerge. I do feel that I put particular thought into theme and resonance with this story, in part because in writing from a narrator different from myself, I wanted to present a realistic, sympathetic, and non-stereotypical representation, but also because I wanted that representation to underlie the larger themes of the story—I wanted the choice of character to be integral to the story being told, rather than just having a unique character for the sake of being unique.

I’m not sure I can articulate concretely the way the theme emerged in this story. It’s difficult to pin down when an idea started bleeding through during the process of writing, perhaps because it felt very natural for this story, as if the theme were sort of emerging on its own without me having to try too hard to force it in. It just all made sense and came out very easily (which cannot be said for most of my work!).

DB:      At the point in the story where the events are at their most strange the narrator attempts to think of a rational reason as to what might be going on (why their wife would be up in the trees). Yet there is no objective reason given. There is only the logic of the story—the reader seeing that what they were told was fiction now appears to be reality (the events depicted in the ghost story have now come true). How important is it for any given story to provide explanations? Does the level of explanation affect how a story will be perceived or categorized?

JP:         This is something I’ve been struggling with—or, if not struggling, then trying to pin down, myself. I think I have a tendency to want to explain my mysteries, particularly in novels, but also, to a lesser extent, in short fiction. I’ve always had a pretty solidly logical left brain, so I think that part of me tends to try to answer lingering questions in my mind, which I then feel compelled to offer the reader.

For this story in particular, I made a deliberate decision to forgo an explanation and to try to keep some sense of weirdness or not full explanation through to the end, which I think relates to the choice of ending the story on a reveal of sorts, rather than following through to a denouement.

I think it’s not necessarily important for a story to provide explanations, provided there is a sense of internal logic to the story that doesn’t leave the reader flat-out confused as to what literally happened. I find those sorts of stories that are deliberately obscure mostly frustrating. But I’ve also found that the stories that tend to linger the most in my mind after reading are the ones that leave something to the imagination, whether that is a mystery not fully explained, or just a lingering sense of weirdness.

In that sense, I do think the level of explanation affects how a story is categorized. For instance, a story that offers a scientific explanation might veer towards sci-fi; a story that offers a magical explanation might be viewed as fantasy; a realistic explanation, and you have a mystery; a visceral or supernatural explanation would be categorized as horror; and a story that forgoes a full explanation might be put into the “weird fiction” category. At least, that’s how I see it, but I think this could definitely call for a larger discussion.


Joanna Parypinski is a writer of dark speculative fiction whose work has appeared in Nightmare MagazineThe Beauty of Death 2: Death By WaterHaunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton, The Burning Maiden Vol. 2Dark Moon Digest, and more. She holds an MFA from Chapman University. She currently lives in the L.A. area and teaches English at Glendale Community College. Visit her at


Nightscript 4 can be purchased direct from the publisher and at your favorite booksellers.


Tune in tomorrow to Joanna’s blog where Joanna and I will talk about the Monkey Coat from Nightscript 4.


Saint Vitus Halloween Flea. October 7th 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2018 by bloodandstardust