Nightmare #367: Millipedes

 (Male, West Virginia)  Millipedes disgust me.  They should disgust everyone.  The name comes from the root for million. I know they don’t have millions of legs, but who could ever be comfortable with something so ambulatory and unpredictable?

People keep telling me they are slow creatures, harmless creatures, that they eat only dead and decaying plants, not living and breathing humans. But it isn’t a fear of being eaten by millipedes I have. No. It is the fear of those legs. Segments upon segments of legs, crawling ad infinitum along my face and arms. Slick exoskeletons sliding into my mouth, my nose, my ears.  No orifice is safe.

 

Ugh.

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Nightmare #366: Hunting

(Male, Massachusetts) In the dream, I’m on a hunting trip with three friends: Roy, Liam, and Paul. In waking life, I’ve never actually been hunting, unless plinking a squirrel’s hindquarters with my slingshot as a kid counts. But in the dream, it feels vaguely familiar..?

Roy has brought us to a decommissioned quarry deep in the woods. We’re staying in an old cabin that seems to have served as an office for the mining company that was based here. Out of the way.

Maybe the second morning of the trip, Liam and Paul head out early. Roy and I are gearing up to head out in a different direction when Paul comes running back, out of breath and screaming that something came up out of the quarry and grabbed Liam. Something big, he says.

Roy insists that Paul take us to where he last saw Liam, but Paul flat-out refuses. “I’m not going back! We have to leave!”

Just then, we hear a cracking noise, like rocks smashing. Paul looks over his shoulder, then at us, and says something that rhymes with “no fit.”

It comes up the side of the quarry, and freezes when it sees us. It’s insectile in a way that makes me think of scorpions, spiders, and maybe crabs…with the key difference being that this thing is at least 10 feet high and half as long as a city bus. It reminds me of some creature-double-feature horror movie monster I saw as a kid – something warped by radiation or a toxic spill.

Roy stands his ground and fires while Paul and I start backpedaling. Roy’s hunting rifle is no use, though – bullets ricochet off the thing’s armor with the kind of twang I’ve previously only heard in movies. He might as well be shooting at solid rock. When it starts moving toward us, and we all turn and run.

Paul and I make it to the cabin only to realize we lost Roy: he’s gone for the Jeep instead. He’s already inside and backing down the overgrown path. Paul and I are cursing him for leaving us…but then the creature lands on the Jeep and starts peeling the sheet metal apart with giant lobster-like claws. It tears the roof off with roughly the effort it would take to open a can of Pringles. Once you pop, you just can’t—

Never mind.

The creature can’t pull wedged Roy out. So it pulls out parts of him instead. He screams and screams, and it eats him in mincing, tidy bites.

Paul and I hunker down and fortify the cabin as best we can. We take stock of our supplies. We push furniture against the windows and doors when the roof groans. The creature is finally done with Roy and has moved on for us. We keep as quiet as possible, hoping it will leave. The creaking and groaning noises eventually stop, but we’re convinced it’s still up there, waiting.

We pass a restless night, whispering escape plans back and forth. None of our ideas are very good. For every idea either of us has, the other quickly points out how it’ll get us killed. We quickly remember it was Roy who brought us here, and Roy who got the Jeep destroyed. Having someone else to blame settles us down.

Stupid, selfish, eaten Roy.

Early the next morning, I feel Paul shaking me. It’s gone, he’s saying. It has to be. It hasn’t made a noise in hours.

He wants to make a run for it. He thinks if we can make it down the trail as far as the tree-line, the creature won’t be able to follow. I think this is a stupid idea, but Paul doesn’t listen. As I’m still disentangling myself from my sleeping bag, he cracks the door, and I realize he’s not waiting around. He turns one last time, urges “Come on!”, and then he’s gone.

I expect the thing on the roof to leap down and grab him, but nothing moves up there, and I realize Paul was right. It’s gone. I’m on the threshold, about to follow, when the creature appears out of the quarry. Paul never gets to test his theory about the tree-line. He doesn’t get nearly that far.

As I slam the door, the roof groans and there is a rumble as something enormous leaps down from it: the first creature never left.

I’m numbed by the realization that there are two of these things. I understand that I’m never going to make it out of here alive. I start searching the cabin frantically, upending furniture, prying at floorboards, convinced there has to be some sort of hidden access point, an underground tunnel leading to safety. Unrealistic, but I keep looking anyway, and I’m still looking when the alarm pulls me out of that cabin.

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Nightmare #365: Spider

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(Male, 30’s) On a normal night, one where you wouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, I am sitting in my living room, in my favorite spot on the faded couch, when I notice a large spider in the corner. Not only does its appearance frighten me — it has markings unlike a natural spider, with bright red rings around its body and fangs that seem to drip with venom, although I dare not draw nearer to make sure — but I can sense a malevolent aura coming from it. Its strange eyes transfix my own, and I feel myself trying to discern its desire. For it is clear that this spider wants something from me, something bad, but I wake up before I can find out what.

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Nightmare #364: Ruined Vacation

isolated island

(Female, 40s) I was spending Christmas vacation on a tropical island, maybe Hawaii or Tahiti. It was really lovely.But I wandered off to another island and came upon some criminals who were holding 2 people hostage. And so they kept me hostage too.

But I had tickets home for a high school reunion, and rather than expose their plot, the criminals let me go to the reunion. They made me promise to come back or they would kill the other hostages.

The reunion was a a big university library. I saw friends I hadn’t see in years. But I was torn about what I should do about the island hostage situation. Was I supposed to keep it a secret or should I get help?

I decided to tell some of the teachers in charge. At first they were not that interested. They thought I was making up the story or that I was crazy. They didn’t really seem to care at all– until I mentioned the stolen property that the criminals had: some maker-bot 3-d printers and a big yellow robot — 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The teachers had only the empty boxes the stuff came in. Seems those things had gone missing so my story might be true after all.

Then I was back as a hostage in the house on the island. The criminals came and they had me hold their gun on one of the other hostages while they tied them back up again. They wanted to make us afraid of each other too. I pointed the gun at the other criminal however and pulled the trigger. I was going to shoot him, but there were no bullets in the gun.

So we hostages decided to escape. Trying to get out of the house, I ran into a man I knew. I asked for help, but it became apparent that he was on the other side. His eyes glowed like LEDs. He’d been brainwashed or taken over; he was going to hurt me, strangle me. So I had to kill him. We fought and wrestled. I was sitting on top of him, finally, and I had to drive a chisel through his neck. It was hard work and bloody, but he was dead. Then there were more people I ran into as I tried to flee the house– a lawyer, an actor, my husband. They all had to be killed in specific ways– with knifes or saws or chisels — through their necks or cutting off their heads. They were possessed and would kill me if I didn’t kill them. I didn’t want to fight them but I had no choice. I just wanted to go home.

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1xRun.com offers classy affordable art

Hail Zombo

Hail Zombo

It’s time to take down that ratty Sisters of Mercy poster, the one you taped to your dorm room wall, the one that’s followed you into this so-called adult life that you’re leading. I understand why you cling to this relic. It reminds you of when you were with-it, when you were relevant. I agree. You need better things to hang on your walls than the soul-less, mass market crap from Kmart. But face it, there’s not a lot left of the paycheck for home decorating. Let me tell you about 1xrun.com.

Every single day, 1xrun.com features a different hip, reasonably priced art print. For a few bucks more, they’ll frame it using archival materials and ship it to you so well packaged and cradled it’s almost like they are home delivering babies or something. The runs are limited editions, signed and numbered and the images are from some of the freshest contemporary artists. I have a whole wall full of pieces by John Dunivant, the crazy genius behind Theatre Bizarre and they’re all from 1xrun. Other folks of interest to DailyNightmare readers are Glen Barr, Mimi Yoon, Chet Zar, Sarah Joncas… seriously, lots of great images. From time to time, 1xrun.com also offers the original art associated with the print run for more serious collectors with deeper pockets. Subscribe to the mailing list at least to slap something interesting in your face on a daily basis.

"The Twins" by John Dunivant from 1xrun.com

“The Twins” by John Dunivant from 1xrun.com


From time to time, 1xrun.com has “Archive Sales” where they sell the final few pieces from some of their recent runs. This is the gold mine, the last-train-to-Clarkesville chance for missed opportunity. For instace, I was able to pick up Dunivant’s “The Twins” from a run printed long before I was hip to 1xrun. If you can keep a secret, there’s another Archive Sale happening this weekend and when I just checked, one of Dunivant’s “Illusionist’s Ball” prints was available, that cool poster from the last Theatre Bizarre but printed on metal.

"The Illusionist's Ball" by John Dunivant from 1xrun.com

“The Illusionist’s Ball” by John Dunivant from 1xrun.com

You took an art history class, didn’t you? You have a taste for the better things, cooler things. 1xrun will hook you up.

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Escalator to HELL

The Doktor filmed this video on our recent visit to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the World Horror Convention. It’s 1:46 seconds of a slow, steep ride down an escalator which appears to be lit a light green for added eerie effects. Although I do not suffer from escalaphobia or acrophobia (I rather enjoy both escalators and heights), my grip on the handrail was steady and tight the entire time. I may have held my breath as well!

Take a trip with us to the underworld on the escalator to hell, or at least, the bowels of the MARTA system!

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Nightmare #363: Trapped in the Sinking Car

Sinking Car

(Michiganian, 30’s) I’m at my old job, and my co-worker and I are driving somewhere in her car. She’s always pretty nervous and anxious, but today she’s even more nervous than usual. I wonder if someone said something that freaked her out? Or maybe she’s just nervous that I am in the car with her. I have no idea where we’re going.

It’s winter, the roads are a little snowy. We drive over a bridge. Are we crossing a river? a lake? I don’t know. The bridge is very low, very close to the water, and it is very narrow, very much like a pier, actually.

She drives the car off the pier/road into the icy lake, and the car crashes through the ice into the frigid waters beneath. She’s hit her head on the steering wheel, she’s lost consciousness.

I suddenly remember an episode of Mythbusters where they talked about what to do if you are in a sinking car. The water pressure on the outside of the car makes it very difficult to open the doors and get out. So you have to open the windows (ideally before the car has sunk under the waters surface), and let the car fill with water. The pressure equalizes, and you can open the door and swim out. They did their mythbusting in a swimming pool in California, not an icy Michigan lake. I’m not excited about sitting in a car placidly as it fills with icy water, but that may be my only chance to survive if i don’t die of hypothermia first. I try to open the window. The car has power windows, and the system must have shorted out because when I press the button nothing happens.

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DailyNightmare PODCAST – Nicole Cushing Interview

Several works by Nicole Cushing

Several works by Nicole Cushing


The World Horror Convention is a great opportunity to meet authors, publishers and agents from around the world… and from around the corner. I was able to talk with Nicole Cushing, one of my favorite up and coming authors of darkly weird fiction who just happens to live in Indiana. I had only read her novellas, Children of No One (DarkFuse 2013) and I am the New God (DarkFuse 2014) when I interviewed her, but I am currently working through her first collection of short stories, The Mirrors (Cicatrix Press, 2015) which I picked up at World Horror Convention 2015. I also grabbed her Bizarro work, “How to Eat Fried Furries“(Eraserhead Press, 2010). Her novel, Mr Suicide, will be released this July and is already getting some stellar press from folks whose opinion counts.

I am also a member of the Nicole Cushing postcard club which we discuss in the podcast and which is, frankly, a hoot and a half. A selection of these monthly missives can be seen in the photo above.

Nicole’s business card bills her as a “freelance nihilist” which suggests the dark wit that I find so compelling, both in her fiction and in person. I thank her for being so generous with her time for this interview.

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DailyNightmare PODCAST – World Horror Convention 2015

Doktor Leech and Elsa L reminisce about the World Horror Convention 2015 held in Atlanta.

Highlights include:

Lucy Snyder wins as Michael Knost and Michael Arnzen grovel in awe.

Lucy Snyder wins as Michael Knost and Michael Arnzen grovel in awe.


Midwest Shoutout to Lucy Synder who won TWO Bram Stoker Award®
Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide
Soft Apocalypses (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Linda Addison reading poetry

Linda Addison reading poetry

Dark Poetry Readings
— Linda Addison (Being Full of Light, Insubstantial)
— Mary Turzillo
— James Dorr
— Sydney Leigh
— Stephanie Wytovich (Mourning Jewelry)
— Marge Simon
— Bruce Boston
— Michael Arnzen

Balogun Ojetade, Jeff Carroll, Gerald Coleman and John Edward Lawson

Balogun Ojetade, Jeff Carroll, Gerald Coleman and John Edward Lawson


The “World Horror” programming track

— John Edward Lawson
— Usman T. Malik
— Toni Morrison’s Beloved which came up as a topic on several panels.

Southern Vampires
Charlaine Harris

Good Greens at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

Good Greens at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails


Good Greens
Sweet Auburn Curb Market
White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

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Tempest Bradford told me I WILL DIE

I'll likely DIE before I finish reading books like THESE!

I’ll likely DIE before I finish reading books like THESE!

I already own more books than I could possibly read in my lifetime–not that this fact slows the rate at which I buy more books, mind you. Perhaps part of my mind is blissfully unaware of my eventual mortality. Perhaps some scrap of my psyche buried since adolescence thinks I *will* be able to read everything. Thanks a LOT, Tempest Bradford, for reminding me that I’m going to die with most of my books unread.

Seriously, that’s the most controversial, click-bait-y spin I can put on the challenge made last February by K. Tempest Bradford. Read it, why don’t you? Some of the dust has settled… or maybe it’s just been eclipsed by other, more pointless controversies. I blog about as slowly as I read, so I’m only getting around to boosting this idea now.

Don't be DECEIVED by that smile! Tempest Bradford makes White Men CRY! (pictured here with Chesya Burke, Mary SanGiovanni and Lucy Snyder at MoCon X)

Don’t be DECEIVED by that smile! Tempest Bradford makes White Men CRY! (pictured here with Chesya Burke, Mary SanGiovanni and Lucy Snyder at MoCon X)

TL:DR? To paraphrase, Tempest proposes that readers might construct a self-directed reading list that looks beyond white, straight, cis-gendered male writers. Try it for a year, even if you happen to be non-white, non-straight, non-cis-gendered, non-male yourself. You might learn something.

But I take a different approach to what is, basically, the same point. I know my own experience… and it bores me. I read to extend that experience, to visit the universe next door, to sample what it might be like to be someone else. Reading allows me to bolt on enhancements to my factory-standard life without sutures, scar tissue or electrodes on my neck. I suspect most folks who are drawn to speculative fiction are particularly familiar with this interest in literary transcendence, so to speak. The mainstream world confuses it with “escape.” I prefer to view it as a choice to live more fully and deeply.

And I am particularly susceptible to challenges. (Perhaps the less said about that character trait the better… unless proof surfaces on Youtube.)

After I read her article, I scanned my disheveled shelves and scooped up a tall pile of books that I already own which would satisfy the challenge. Some of these works I had wanted to read for years. Worse, some of these works I had *pretended* to have read. Egad, in at least one case, these authors are my friends. Clearly, following the challenge would allow me to stop this madness, assuage some guilt, in addition to gratifying that weird predilection I have to peer pressure.

This mound of books (only a small portion of which is depicted in the photo above) was far taller than I could realistically read in a year at my current rate of consumption so I made further subdivisions. One stack of “non-male,” another stack of “non-white.” I only balked at the non-cis-gendered category for some really egg-headed theory-licious reasons that I won’t delve into here. The piles were still too high, especially when I factored in the new books that I know are coming out this year that would qualify. So I made another set of subdivisions that are relevant to this blog: I focused on works that were any combination of Midwest + Snob + Horror. Such sub-divisions, I believe, would be cool with Tempest.

Note: these are mostly books I’ve already decided I want to read. I’m just going to, y’know, actually READ them.
Note further: I still plan to BUY books by straight white dudes this year. Woe be to one who tries to stand between me and my occasional retail therapy.

I met Tempest Bradford this weekend at MoCon X and we chatted a bit, once I steeled my courage with alcohol. She’s rather charming in person, despite her big bad reputation for making white men cry.

And even if her post, y’know, reared the dark foreboding of the Grim Reaper over my library, one bony finger pointing to my waiting grave.

Wanna know the specific titles I’ve been reading or the ones that are on my shelf? Stay tuned.

Elsa and I make similar points, though with far fewer words and in a largely caffeine-deprived state in this Podcast.

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DailyNightmare PODCAST: Bradford Challenge

Elsa and the Leech Doktor discuss the challenge issued by K. Tempest Bradford to plan a year of reading focused on expanding one’s experience. Why not take the Bradford Challenge yourself?

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DailyNightmare PODCAST: Penguicon 2015

Doktor Leech and Elsa L. mention some darker highlights from Penguicon 2015, the annual convention that celebrates open source culture. (http://2015.penguicon.org/)

Topics include:

• gelatin prosthetics for costumes. Shout out to Jeannie Arquette of ArtificeFX who makes silicone prosthetics and airbrush stencils (http://www.jeanniearquette.com);

• speculative poetry. Shout out to Matt Betts, novelist and dark poet (http://www.mattbetts.com/) ;

• Michigan cryptids . Shout out to Shetan Noir, paranormal expert (https://www.facebook.com/shetan.noir)

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Gothic/Romance in Nerve’s “The Heights”

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A view from “The Heights”

I’d intended to follow Nelly, to watch her reactions even when the focal action was elsewhere but I lost my way, so to speak, on the urban moors of Nerve’s production of “The Heights.”

Such decisions are encouraged during immersively staged “consensual theatre” which is Nerve’s stock and trade. Audience members mingle around the action and are free to follow their hearts. Going into this production, based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, I was oh-so-certain that Nelly would be the linchpin. She tells the tale, after all, this questionable narrator. Marisa Dluge, a Nerve regular, vividly conveyed this mesh of verbiage, modulating between narration and mimickry. My initial hypothesis was that Nelly would present the tale like she was playing with mental dolls, that every detail would be clearest through her perspective. The playbill even asked “Should we do what is right… or real?” and that seemed to be the kind of question that would vex Nelly, that ever vigilant, proper servant.

Nerve’s gritty, visceral production, thankfully, problematized my easy pre-interpretation.

First Obstacle: I found it impossible to ignore Catherine’s very embodied ghost. Just as Rachael Harbert was a revelation as the Red Queen in Nerve’s Alice, her portrayal here was eloquently gestural. Though Catherine never speaks a word during the performance, she and Nelly engage in a near constant dialogue, with Harbert providing physical response and counterpoint to Dluge’s accounts of the story. (If I were smarter, better read and only slightly more pretentious, I might launch some observation involving Sedgwick’s notion of homosociality, that Nelly and Catherine both use Heathcliff as an object of gratification, a token of exchange. But fuck the footnotes, OK?) My favorite moments of “The Heights” involve Harbert’s Catherine. For instance, her unabashed welcome of the returning Heathcliff, played by the handsome and talented Steve Xander Carson, where she fused herself to his body like a tattooed glyph, brought tears to my eyes. In another scene, she struggled palpably beneath the figure of Edgar, who is literally no more than a stuffed shirt, so painfully evocative of the weight of her ill-considered marriage. Her portrayal of that pivotal scene made sense of an enigma I found in the story. Catherine, too, broods on the question of rightness and realness, which honestly, I missed in my quick perusal of Brontë’s novel.

A second obstacle to my facile pre-reading was the evocatively creepy stage design. Full disclosure: I helped build some of the pieces but the way my scant contributions were woven into the complete design was quite remarkable. I particularly liked how the weird assemblages of Book/Trees cast textural shadows around the room. Lines from the text were written in large letters across the floor, some of which were only legible from the balcony. That raised alcove offered other treats for the curious. The set was interesting before the performance but was even more intriguing after the actors had their way with it. While audience members filed out, I wandered the set again, taking in the family grave site that had been erected in one corner during the performance, and in another corner, the site where Heathcliff (nearly) exhumed Catherine’s corpse. It felt appropriate that “The Heights” was staged in Gallery 17, an art gallery in the Russell Industrial Center since the set evolved in respond to the actions of the play, becoming an art installation all its own. In fact, before the final performance this Saturday, Nerve is allowing patrons to tour this installation (3:00 – 4:00 PM, Saturday April 25)

I could quibble about certain infelicities. The echoe-y cement walls swallowed some of the dialogue. Before the show, we were warned about proper behavior, which gave a sense of undue delicacy to this rather rough and tumble ballet. And the audience clumped together at times like they’d been given assigned seats. No matter, the production roared to life subsuming all impediments.

Spring is the time for lovers, and Nelly’s stormy tale of Heathcliff and Catherine is indeed a timeless affair. In proper fairy tales, love ends in happy ever afters, a happiness which apparently relies on rightness and propriety. “The Heights,” however, is no such comforting bedtime story. If you’re fortunate enough to score tickets, this production portrays other passions, ones that leave us breathless, ruined, quite unfit for Heaven, yet darkly fulfilled.

Right or Real? Nerve leaves the choice to you.

Check here for ticket availability.

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“The Heights” — Nerve’s invitation to Wander the Moors

10978521_1571869419721918_1248196256115469464_nExpect to get your hands dirty if you were lucky enough to score tickets to “The Heights,” the latest production by Nerve, the Detroit based performance company. Nerve productions typically immerse audience members inside the playing space, and their adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is no exception. Ticket numbers are limited to allow participants space to roam the “urban moors” that Nerve has constructed at Gallery 17 in the Russell Industrial Complex. The run is extremely limited as well, just four performances, April 17 and 18, 24 and 25. (Tickets might still be available here.)

Any reader of the DailyNightmare really should be familiar with Brontë’s tale of stormy gothic passions, of sex and death and ghosts… though I confess I wasn’t. To prepare for the show, I listened to the free audio version available from Librivox.org. I am also prepared, however, to have a unique experience apart from a “traditional” reading of the text. Nerve has pared the tale down to its most vital spine to sharpen the essential question “…should we do the right thing or the real thing?” The drama is enacted by Steven Xander Carson, Rachael Harbert, and Marisa Dluge.

If you are wondering what to expect from the performance, Nerve’s mission statement provides some hints: “We define success as sensation. We take space and use it. We make consensual art. Our audience is everywhere.” From attendance at previous productions, we know Nerve’s “consensual art” invites but does not require the audience’s participation, yet the magic of the performance is enriched by the attendees’ willingness to play. The final alchemy of the event is more easily experienced in person than explained in abstract.

Nerve is (in)famous for its puppets, and I’m told several constructed actors will appear in this production as well. I’m curious how they will fit into this production– and the only way to find out for sure is to be there, but here are some previews:

Fair warning: all tickets must be purchased in advance, so if you want to wander these urban moors this spring, you’ll need to plan ahead. In fact, act right now.

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Nightmares about Bugs!

bug-47069_1280
If you are looking for bug-related nightmares to inspire 100-word stories, follow the links below. Keep in mind that we’re defining the category broadly, so topics can include insects and arachnids, worms and slugs, ants, bees and creepy crawlies as well as diseases, biological, mental and spiritual.

The March 30 deadline approaches quickly! Submission details can be found here.

Nightmare #249: House Consumed by Bugs and Rats

Nightmare #222: Water Bugs

Nightmare #182: Bugs Everywhere

Nightmare #339: The Needle and the Conqueror Worm

Nightmare #336: Pick on Someone your own size

Nightmare #225: Smothering Humidity and Heat

Nightmare #310: Larval Goddess

Nightmare #75: Snakes and Straw

Nightmare #71: Snakes and Chain Fence

Nightmare #143: The Dark Carnival

Nightmare #84: Bees and Spiders… and Nazis?

Nightmare #26: Monstrous Bees

Nightmare #360: House of 1000 Copses

Nightmare #358: Child Vampire

And to be sure, there are many MORE nightmares about bugs among the collection that would prove suitable for a 100-word prose poem for the Quick Shivers about Bugs anthology. We invite you to explore, to experiment, and frankly to shake up the editors’ mailbox. Be clever, horrific, reflective, playful and wise in your word choice. 100 words allows no time for fillers, dull words, or repetition. Are you ready to try? Good!

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Le Marche du Nain Rouge 2015, Detroit

According to legend, le Nain Rouge, a feisty local demon, cursed Père Cadillac over 300 years ago as he tried to found the city of Detroit. This “red dwarf” has continued to plot Detroit’s demise ever since… until Detroit took action.

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Every year, on the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox, the Nain Rouge re-appears in Midtown to heap scorn and sow discord in the the Motor City. And every year since 2010, Detroit has united to march the troublemaker out of town in grand style.

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Called the “Mardi Gras of the Midwest,” the annual Marche du Nain Rouge is a glorious expression of community pride. Equal parts Carnivale-type floats, home-town parade, semi-pagan rite of spring and old-fashioned Motown party, the Marche has steadily grown in attendance.

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Participants are encouraged to wear costumes so that the vindictive Nain Rouge doesn’t seek retribution. Creative folks live in southeast Michigan, as these photos attest.

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The predominant color is red, fitting both to the Nain Rouge and to local hockey team, the Red Wings.

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The Nain Rouge perched atop a mechanical cockroach that spewed smoke and dour music…

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But the revelers included the Detroit Party Marching band who countered his gloom with butt-shaking jams.
IMG_5668This year, attendees paraded the mean-spirited Dwarf down Second Street, starting by Traffic Jams and ending at the Masonic Theatre, where he was successfully banished for another year.
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A dance party ensued in the sumptuous Fountain Ballroom in the basement of Masonic. If tradition holds, that cantankerous dwarf will return next Spring so why not plan to join the resistance and take your place in the next Marche du Nain Rouge in downtown Detroit, Michigan?

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Long Distance Bromance: Ken MacGregor on Collaboration

I first met Ken MacGregor when his film “The Quirk and the Dead” was under consideration for the 2013 Impy Award. (Watch it on YouTube.) Ken wrote, directed and acted in that short, oddly sweet zombie movie, based on one of his short stories. But I really got know Ken by carpooling to monthly meetings of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. Ken’s relentless drive to keep writing and keep submitting is a source of great personal encouragement. Though he started writing professionally only a couple years ago, Ken’s work has appeared in over 50 publications. His first collection of creepy tales, An Aberrant Mind, came out last year on Siren’s Call Press. I grin whenever I even *think* of his character Gavin the werewolf. I asked Ken to write a bit about the experience of writing a series of novels with Kerry Lipp, a collaboration that was productive long before the two met face to face.
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Long Distance Bromance
Ken MacGregor

Writing has been called one of the loneliest jobs in the world. Sometimes, it really is. But, once in a while, if you find the right person, it can kinda be a party.

I write a lot of horror, among other things, and I’ve been picked up by several anthologies. Some of the same names come up over and over in the tables of contents and you start to get to know people. This one writer, Kerry Lipp (middle initials G.S. for Giant Squid – you’ll have to ask him why) wrote in a style I found very entertaining. His characters were people I could imagine drinking beer with. His sense of humor was remarkably similar to mine. His story-telling resonated with me.

So, around the end of 2012, I shot him a note asking if he wanted to try something together. He asked if I had anything in mind. I did.

I sent Kerry the opening to a short story I had started in which a man wakes up one morning physically dead, but still mentally sharp. He liked it, picked up where I left off and sent it back. We went back and forth like that until we had over 4,000 words and a complete story. It was called “Stiffed” and appears in an anthology called “Life of the Dead.” (This is a shameless plug.)

We had so much fun writing together, I asked if he wanted to do it again.

“Sure,” he said, cheerfully (at least, I assume so. It’s hard to tell tone in a Facebook message). So, I sent him another beginning I had. He liked this one, too, and we did the Ping-Pong thing with the words.
Somehow, though, this one got away from us. The story just kept going. Before we know what was happening, we had written a novel.

How cool is that?

So, from a chance meeting of two writers who liked each other’s work came the first of what will likely prove to be a series of books (we’re already 9,000 words into the sequel and have written a 4,000-word origin story of one of the characters).

Kerry and I have become pretty good friends through this process, which is great. The weird thing, though is that I’ve only ever met him once, at ConText in Columbus, Ohio.

I’ll tell you one thing, however: if we manage to sell this novel, we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other. In the meantime, we’ll keep writing, making each other laugh, leaving our characters in the lurch for the other one to deal with and having a hell of a good time doing it.

We’ll keep our long-distance bromance going as long as it keeps working. Though, to tell you the truth, I have been thinking about seeing other writers…

Posted in Fiction, Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers | 1 Comment

Daily Nightmare Interviewed by Little Red Reviewer

We were delighted to meet the Little Red Reviewer at Context this past fall and excited to be interviewed recently by her. You can read all the details on her blog here. We both had a great time answering her questions.

For an impressive 10 years, the Little Red Reviewer has blogged about books, authors, and reading. Her record as reviewer shows serious commitment. If you are looking for reading recommendations, check out her site!

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TREMENDOUS e-book deal — Subterranean Press Humble Bundle

Humbe Bundle Sub PressSubterranean Press publishes gorgeous editions of speculative fiction, and they’re based right here in the Midwest which makes them a special delight to the Midwest Horror Snobs here at the DailyNightmare. To celebrate 20 years of publishing, Subterranean Press is teaming up with the Humble Bundle and WorldBuilders with a great promotion. Hurry over to Humble Books to pickup some choice ebooks at very reasonable prices. BUT HURRY because the offer is only good until March 3rd.

Humble Bundle is a nifty operation which offers bundles of books, games and comics, and splits the proceeds with a charity. For the Subterranean Press promotion, pay WHATEVER you want and you get seven ebooks, DRM-free — (including The Ape’s Wife and other Stories, a collection of dark weird fiction by Caitlin Kiernan who is one the Doktor’s favorite authors.) Pay more than the average price (currently about $13 bucks) to unlock a FULL DOZEN more titles (including Clive Barker‘s Tortured Souls and The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein by Thomas Ligotti) or pay more than $15 to unlock the whole kit and kaboodle.

One slick feature of the Humble Bundle is a set of sliders that allow you the purchaser to decide how much of your contribution goes to Subterranean Press or a charity, in this case WorldBuilders. All, none, little, some, you get to decide. Worldbuilders deserves a plug all on its own. Formed as a registered charity by fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear) Worldbuilders rewards folks who donate to Heifer International. Heifer International is non-profit charity that seems to me is based on the traditional wisdom, “Give someone a fish, feed for a day; teach someone to fish, feed for a lifetime.” Heifer International gives folks the means to change the conditions of poverty and hunger. But if it’s not your jam, you can choose to divert your payments to Subterranean Press or Humble Bundle itself.

At least check out the deal before it closes on March 3rd. And if ebooks aren’t your thing, check out Subterranean Press for gorgeous hardbound editions of speculative fictions.

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Til Death Do Us Part– Films from Three Corpse Circus

Til Death at Corner

If you are among those who need a good mouthful of horror to get rid of the saccharine-sweet taste of Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to attend the Three Corpse Circus‘ upcoming evening of short horror films at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI. “Til Death do us part” will bring together a collection of films about love and relationships, but don’t expect all flowers and hearts– at least, not beating hearts. The show runs from 8 – 11pm on Tuesday, February 10, promising an evening of horror, love and beer.

The promo poster features a still from “Dead Hearts” which played at the Three Corpse Circus in October 2014, a movie that incidentally stole my heart. The ending of the film filled my nose with sniffles and eyes with tears– and who would have expected that from a film that included a first kiss in a mortuary, a blind karate expert, and Little Red Riding Hood taking on a werewolf gang? I cannot wait to watch it again.

Also on the docket is “‘Til Death“, a short black comedy from Hands Off Productions, the team behind the fantastic short film “I Owe You,” which won the 2014 Impy Award.

It’s always delightful to see what the Three Corpses provide for an event– and this theme and time of year is rife with possibilities. I’m looking forward to having my heart broken, played with, torn up, and stabbed. It’s Valentine’s Day; who’d want anything less from the movies?

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