Tag Archives: Mystery and Horror LLC

The Strangely Funny World of Publishing

Last year, my very first short story, “Bedroom Bureau,” made its debut in Strangely Funny II. Ever since then, I’ve done everything I can to promote publisher Mystery and Horror, LLC. After all, finding an editor to take a chance on a previously untested author isn’t something that happens every day.

Strangely Funny 2.5For their latest project, which is a follow-up to Strangely Funny II–the aptly titled Strangely Funny 2 1/2–Mystery and Horror, LLC is featuring a whole new batch of authors, all of whom are adding their own bizarre spin on the nexus of comedy and speculative fiction.

Here’s a quick blurb about the anthology:

Because one book wasn’t enough to contain the insanity. A collection of humorous paranormal short stories. See what happens when the new kid in school is the Antichrist. Aliens get fang marks from their newest abductee. Plus, we put a new wrinkle on the term ‘ghost writer’. Featuring stories from Rosalind Barden, Chantal Boudreau, and David Neilsen.

For this week, you can get a Kindle copy of Strangely Funny 2 1/2 for only 99 cents! Seriously, what’s your excuse now? That’s what I thought. And if the above teaser isn’t enough, then check out this table of contents, which includes everything from selkies and skeletons to troll dolls and the fountain of youth.

Table of Contents

“Knewscast” By Kevin Quirt – Reporting the news before it happens can still leave one prey to the unexpected.

“The New Kid” By Tim McDaniel – What happens when the new kid in school is the Antichrist?

“The Pillow” By Fred McGavran – The fountain of youth can also give you a magnetic personality.

“Inheritance” By Kristina R. Mosley – Every family has its skeletons.

“The Snout” By Matthew Pegg – Jon Darkness meets The Gnawer at the Threshold.

“Alien Dust” By Chelsea Nolen – The latest alien abductee isn’t getting probed.

“Outsourcing” By Gary Piserchio & Frank Tagader – If you can code in your sleep, these guys still have you beat.

“The Demon of City Hall” By Rosalind Barden – A troll doll is the first victim of demonic activity in an unimportant government office.

“Sadie’s Selkie” By C.A. Rowland – A selkie’s kiss can be dangerous, given some allergies.

“Getting A Head” By Joette Rozanski – Troll weddings have unusual party favors.

“Folkesmuir” By John Grey – The village’s first director of tourism gives his all to bring in visitors.

“Hell’s Working Girl” By Dan Foley – A succubus walks into a bar…

“Unimpressed” By David Neilsen – Summoning eldritch creatures as party entertainment proves ill-advised.

“Stephen, the Well-Adjusted Vampire” By Katrina Nicholson – How can a nice vampire find love, when all the girls prefer his bad-boy brother?

“Beehives of the Dead” By Elizabeth Allen – A woman is buried with the wrong hairdo and takes exception.

“The Other Half” By A. Steven Clark – A doctor has a sure-fire vaccine to prevent zombism.

“Dead to Write” By Chantal Boudreau – The alternative to ghost writers.

For even more crazy good times, be sure to check out Strangely Funny and Strangely Funny II. There’s plenty of speculative tomfoolery to go around!

Happy reading!

In Dracula’s Defense: Breathing New Life Into the Undead

Vampires. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re everywhere. And despite what the Twi-hards might tell you, there’s nothing new about the phenomenon. The truth is vampires have been a staple of literature for hundreds of years.

If you want to get all technical, you can go way back to the start of the horror genre to find the first true vampire story. During a few particularly fateful months in 1816 (AKA the Year Without a Summer), Lord Byron—weirdo extraordinaire and, er, creepy collector—invited a group of artistic friends to hang on his sprawling estate. Because what else do you do with your sprawling estate but show it off to your less wealthy pals? To pass the time, which was appropriately dark and stormy thanks to the summer’s oddball weather, the group told scary stories. It was during this time that none other than Ms. Mary Shelley created a little story called Frankenstein. Meanwhile, another guest named John William Polidori contributed the lesser known but still landmark tale, “The Vampyre.” And thus horror as we know it was born. Take-home message: the next time there’s bad weather on your vacation, take a note from the Byron Brigade, and invent a whole new genre. Easy as that.

Okay, so besides giving you a horror history lesson, what do vampires have to do with today’s blog? Well, for all their ubiquity, those beloved bloodsuckers are a blast to write about. And this little writer is not immune to their charms.

Of Blood and MenEarlier this month, the latest issue of After the Pause featured my vampire story, “Relationship Status.” It’s a lighthearted romp about a man debating how to deal with his divorce from his vampire wife. Spoiler alert: social media isn’t kind to him.

But “Relationship Status” wasn’t my first foray into the undead. That distinction belongs to “Of Blood and Men,” my Dust Bowl yarn that debuted in Mystery and Horror, LLC’s History and Horror, Oh My! last fall. And as you can guess from the title (and the nearby image which references its namesake’s original cover), this is an ode to the Joads. Yes, I just made a Steinbeck joke. A really corny one too. It’s my blog, and I can pun if I want to.

Besides the vampire angle, “Relationship Status” and “Of Blood and Men” are complete opposites. The former’s the closest I’ve come to romantic comedy; the latter’s a somber meditation on isolation and otherness. “Relationship Status” is firmly rooted in the real world if only the real world boasted exes with pointy teeth and fake Transylvania accents. Though it pays homage to real-life places and times—Oklahoma in the 1930s—“Of Blood and Men” posits an existence that’s dire for the living but ideal for the dead. From a writer’s (and reader’s) perspective, that’s the great thing about vampires: they’re completely malleable. Sunlight and garlic notwithstanding, no two vampires have to be alike.

Some say the sanguine trope is overdone and old. In fact, like epistolary horror, there are many publishers that shun the creatures of the night altogether. Send them a vampire story and earn an automatic rejection. That’s their opinion, and it’s absolutely as valid as mine (probably more valid if you’re a writer submitting to the big, scary publishing world). But what I’d like to add to the conversation is that anything can be reimagined. My two stories are neither the first nor the last to use the vampire myth to examine the human condition, and that’s what makes the Draculas and Angels and Count Orloks so enduring (and let’s face it, endearing too). In all their debonair youth and bottomless charms, vampires capture readers’ fascination unlike almost any other horror monster. Thus, it’s probably fitting that Polidori’s bloodsucker in “The Vampyre” was based on his host, Lord Byron. Nothing like a man once dubbed “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” to launch a genre legend.

Happy reading!

Interview with Author Kristin Roahrig

As the second installment of my Women in Horror author spotlight, I once again had some help from editor Sarah Glenn. She introduced me to the versatile Kristin Roahrig.

Ms. Roahrig’s latest story, “Sputter from the Flames,” appears in Mystery and Horror, LLC’s newly released History and Mystery, Oh My! Based in ancient Rome, Roahrig’s tale follows a woman searching for answers in the death of her niece. Was it indeed a suicide by wolf’s bane? Or was there something–or someone–else to blame? The beautiful setting belies a truly timeless quest for the truth after the loss of a loved one.

Kristin RoahrigIn addition to History and Mystery, Oh My!, Kristin Roahrig’s poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications, including The Horror Zine and Indiana Horror Review. She is also the author of several plays. A current resident of Indiana, Ms. Roahrig is most definitely a horror and mystery writer to keep your eye on.

Sarah shared this interview she recently did with Kristin as the two discussed writing and upcoming projects.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

As long as I knew how to write I’ve always written, whether it was  plays, poems, or stories. I never considered writing as a possible profession, it was only something I enjoyed.  It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realized that I would actually like to be a writer and be a part of that field.

History and Mystery, Oh My!You write mysteries. Does your inspiration begin with the crime, the detective, the setting, or some other place?

My inspirations can be found in all sorts of places, sometimes they have even come from footnotes in nonfiction books. For the story “Sputter From the Flames”, the first concept I had for the story was the setting and time period.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a young adult novel that takes place during the Salem Witch Trials. The novel was originally inspired by an ancestor’s involvement with the trials through the jury.

You can read Ms. Roahrig’s story, “Sputter from the Flames,” along with nineteen other mysterious tales in History and Mystery, Oh My! The book is available now at Amazon and Smashwords.

Interview with Author Rosalind Barden

If you haven’t already caught my other recent articles, then I am quite excited to inform you that February is Women in Horror Month. This auspicious occasion is a perfect opportunity to discover new female horror writers.

So for my dose of great fiction, I turned to Sarah Glenn from Mystery and Horror, LLC. She and her partner Gwen Mayo (another Gwen! serendipitous, right?) have just released History and Mystery, Oh My!  This is the companion piece to History and Horror, Oh My!, and both anthologies focus on historical genre fiction.

Sarah shared with me an interview she recently did with Rosalind Barden, which appears below.

Rosalind BardenBut first off, who is Rosalind Barden? A very successful writer, that’s who! Her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, webzines, and competitions, including Shriekfest Film Festival. Also a talented artist, she wrote and illustrated the children’s book, TV Monster. Prolific and diverse, Barden’s darkly humorous novel, American Witch, is available now at Amazon. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

So on to the interview!

How did you come up with the idea for your story in History and Mystery, Oh My?

I’ve always been drawn to Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, though it was only later that I learned its sad history. The place is like a vanished dream. I would have loved living there. “The Monkey’s Ghost” grew out of my haunted feelings about what has been forever lost.  But not to worry–the story still has plenty of funny bits!

What are you working on now?

I’m tinkering with drabbles, short stories of exactly 100 words.  This January 13, Specklit.com posted my drabble, “The Human Dynamo Theory,” and will post my “Flight of the Guinea Pig” on February 16.  Specklit.com posts a drabble every other day.  I enjoy seeing how other writers craft full blown stories of only 100 words.  It’s fascinating.  And coming up is my short story– much longer than 100 words–“The Demon of City Hall” in Mystery and Horror, LLC’s anthology, “Strangely Funny 2 1/2.”  I love writing satire, and this story is a city hall full of satire!

Okay, so you’re an author. What do you enjoy reading?

History and Mystery, Oh My!I have so many favorites and I am always reading.  Short stories are the perfect bedtime “treat” for me, and Mystery and Horror, LLC provides plenty of satisfying short story anthologies for my noshing.  I am a P.G. Wodehouse fan and enjoy his humorous mystery short stories in “Wodehouse on Crime.”  I read book-length stories too, fiction, non-fiction–whatever catches my curiosity.  Most recently, when I was in Santa Fe, I picked up “The Harvey Girls,” and learned about the adventurous young women who worked out West in the Harvey House railroad hotels.  Sounds like my kind of job!  The Harvey Houses are another vanished world, like Bunker Hill, so I suppose my dreamy thoughts pull me toward the hopelessly gone.  (Still waiting for Vaudeville’s return!)   Fortunately, Santa Fe’s beautiful La Fonda is a surviving Harvey House.  I endured the bout of freezing weather during my visit, snug by the lobby’s fireplace, wineglass at the ready, writing away, while the friendly staff made sure I stayed comfy.  Can’t get better than that!

You can read Ms. Barden’s story, “The Monkey’s Ghost,” along with nineteen other mysterious tales in History and Mystery, Oh My!  The book is available now at Amazon and Smashwords.

The Release of Strangely Funny II

I am thrilled to announced the release of Mystery and Horror LLC’s Strangely Funny II. My short story, “Bedroom Bureau,” is among the twenty-one tales included in this humorous paranormal anthology.

The e-book for Strangely Funny II is now available on Amazon, and the print book will be in stock soon as well. You can also check out the Good Reads page for the anthology.

For the entire month of August, I will be posting author interviews and further updates about Strangely Funny II, so check back soon! In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful cover reveal!

Strangely Funny II