The Halloween Tree

I’m happy to reveal that my original short story “The Halloween Tree,” will be in Volume Four of Halloween Carnival, an anthology edited by Brian Freeman for Hydra/Random House. One of my Necon friends made the connection between the story title and a blog post from a year ago and, yes, the story was inspired by a real tree—although events have been greatly fictionalized and expanded.

Halloween Carnival will be released in five eBook installments during October, one per week, with each section containing five stories. Some of them are reprints and some are originals. The full anthology is then to be printed subsequently, I believe.

How’s this for a list of who’s who in horror: Robert McCammon, Lisa Morton, John R. Little, Keven Lucia, Mark Allan Gunnels (Volume 1, October 3); Glen Hirshberg, Lee Thomas, Holly Newstein, Del James, Al Sarrantonio ( Volume 2, October 10); Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant, Greg Chapman (Volume 3, October 17); Ray Garton, Kealan Patrick Burke, C.A. Suleiman, Paul Melniczek and me (Volume 4, October 24) and Richard Chizmar, Lisa Tuttle, Norman Prentiss, Kevin Quigley and Peter Straub (Volume 5, October 31).

I finished the first draft of another short story this week, the one that I got up and wrote notes for several days ago. I’m very pleased by how it turned out. I finished it at the same table at the bar at the local Mexican restaurant as the previous tale, so I gotta think those margaritas are tax deductible. I dictated the story into Word, patched up all the transcription errors and gave it a full edit pass before setting it aside to percolate for a few days before I look at it again.

I’m three episodes into a cool Flemish crime series called Hotel Beau Séjour on Netflix. In the opening moments, a teenager wakes up in a strange hotel room, realizes something is odd, wanders into the bathroom and finds her own bloody corpse in the bathtub. It takes her a little while to conclude that she is really dead. However, a handful of people in town can still see her, talk to her, interact with her—but no one else. Her body is removed from the tub and turns up again later, having been dumped in the reservoir. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the people who can see her: her town-drunk father, her step-sister, her ex-boyfriend’s father, a total stranger. And the rules of her ghost-hood are fascinating, too. She can interact with things, but no one else can tell. She can make phone calls that ring, but the person who answers can’t hear anyone. She gets on a motorbike and rides away, but the motorcycle is still where it was originally. People bump into her and she feels it, but they don’t. She sleeps, has nightmares, drinks coffee. The plot has lots of small town secrets to be revealed, of course. It has a touch of The Returned feel to it, but Kato is the only walking dead person in the story…so far at least.

I can’t wait for the episode of The Americans where Stan finds out who his neighbors have been all this time. I can’t wait.

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