Ha(r)py Holidays, one and all; also, some HorrorLite flash fiction

Well, it’s been a while. Your bated-breath waiting is NO LONGER! Here’s a(nother)

Meeping Angel
Not my brilliant image. Look on the Internetz!

twisted flash fiction story, or perhaps it should be more aptly described as slash fiction (for those of you who hate horror, light or otherwise, you may of course skip it . . . this is light on the horror Scoville scale, I must say). Probably sums up this crappy orange Nehi year pretty well, however.

I will (I think) return to this blog in January as I get back on my literary feet—unstressed, I hope!—and share some books I’ve been reading and am longer overdue talking about, from friends and strangers alike, some personal travelogues, maybe some Leigh’s Un-Wisdom, too.

In the meantime, stay curious, stay strong, and, most importantly, stay weird.


Ohmigod, Tannenbaum! A Hallow-istmas story

by Leigh Ward-Smith

They wouldn’t have to walk much farther than a quarter- or half-mile to find a good tree at Old Man Kettler’s farm. Many pines were finished out, as Kettler himself liked to say, in the weeks before Halloween.

So, it couldn’t hurt to check out the stock early, in effect staking out a prize tree before everybody and his brother got to it. Could it?

Brie Cardone didn’t think so, and she’d convinced a couple friends without too much prodding. Adam and Sarah were up for the challenge. In that spirit, ideas were floated, texts were sent, and plans were set.

Dead-set. Continue reading

Day 4 of Thrilling Fiction: The Tilted Trope

A little bit of slipstream, I guess you’d say, here on Day 4 of Thrilling Fiction. Perhaps a touch cosmic and Lovecraftian here, a bit “bad women” trope-y there, and yet eine kleine science fiction-y over there. But you be the judge. I put most of this story together today from a cutting room-floor scrap, on the fly as it were (ha!), so do let me know if you think this skirts too close to any of the boring old tropes.

The Wrong Half-Halictid

Julian was ecstatic.

Katie, his hot, honey-pot of a study-group partner for Women’s Studies class, had finally shared her number with him. Specifically, it was a “well, I suppose so” when he’d asked, but he would take that for an affirmative.

As far as the class, he’d only admit he was in it if forced to—such as, for a strategic advantage. It’s a bae-magnet class, he’d gladly brag to the bros he knew if he thought it would elevate him in their opinions.

They’d exchanged a few texts before he’d formally asked her to hang out, mostly of the “hi, watcha up to today?” variety. She texted she enjoyed reading mysteries and thrillers, volleyball, Sudoku, chemistry, and Romantic poetry by Keats and Shelley. She said she might pursue a degree in microbiology. Never having heard of the Romantics, Julian fibbed: “Luv me sum rmntk poems! Roses r rd, IM blue, I think ur sugar and I need u.” She thought that perhaps he was being satirical in a side-wink, in-the-know kind of way. Being curious about human nature, she said yes to the first date.

He was meeting her Tuesday afternoon outside the university garden entrance, where a stone worthy of Sisyphus’ struggles was tattooed by seventy-odd years of frat-fiti exhorting a pledge to this group or that. Then he figured they’d stroll over to the Eagle Grille and let the evening swell from there.

The die was cast.


Continue reading

The horror, the horror!

Thorny issue

Those thorny writer types!

Yes, my (writing) roots are showing AND I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (I know, I tote that one out a lot).

That is to say, I’ve been crafting a lot of horror or otherwise dark short stories lately (read on to learn about a writing competition now in the judging phase). I’m working on a science fiction one now with a lesbian couple and involving ants, as well as a fan fiction horror short inspired by Halloween. That’s all my internal editor will permit me to speak of just yet.

On another riff, I love this time of year. I’m not going to mention pumpkin lattes, because I’m not even hip enough to be a hipster at this point (and I’ve certainly no desire to be one). I will, however, mention Dairy Queen’s pumpkin blizzards. Or ginger snaps in something pumpkin-y. I will mention the glorious sea change, a seasonal shimmy of leaves, chemically induced, especially along the lovely mountainsides here in the Northern hemisphere. Cuddling with your special someone, even if it’s bound tightly within a cover and consists of sharp-edged pages.

Indeed, it was in the 40s here overnight and is slated to be in the 60s today. Autumn has sprung!

Finally, I will direct you to a horror writing contest that is going on now. I might or might not have a story or two entered. It will be held the ENTIRE month of October, if I understand the rules correctly, with 2 groups of stories (first round) released every other day, so Oct. 1, Oct. 3, Oct. 5, and so on. I dedicated my long morning to reading both groups, and geez, Louise. I can promise you one thing: you will enjoy, if not adore, at least one of these stories and discover an author (right now, an anonymous one) to follow. The stories are classified as horror, though some fit that only marginally, and so are friendly to those fond of speculative fiction as a widespread, wickedly pointing, fleshy bits hanging off the end umbrella (I’m thinking Sylvester McGory, fellow DW fans).

So, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thriller, true crime, horror, applelutely fabulousand, hell, even romance readers . . . come one, come all: The PseudoPod flash fiction writing contest is live, now (I believe you’ll want to navigate, with your new log-in, to the forum called The Arcade; the contest is called Flash Fiction Contest IV – Pseudopod). You’ll have to set up a free account if you wish to vote, however; voting for each set of two groups (18 groups total) will last only 7 days each time and you can vote for up to 3 stories per group.

Anyway, enjoy your week—wherever you are in the world right now, whomever with—and make it applelutely fabulous (couldn’t resist a terrible parting pun, sorry)!