The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Frosting by Sonora Taylor
Theresa licked the frosting from her thumb. Vanilla: Scott’s favorite. The cake beneath the frosting was her favorite: red velvet. Both together, just like she and Scott would be for the rest of their lives.
Three layers of cake sat beneath a vintage topper that Scott bought for them as a joke. “I just knew you’d love the Precious Moments vibe,” he’d said with a smirk as Theresa groaned at the porcelain angel and noble mare.
“Yeah,” Theresa agreed. “Maybe Precious Moments from Hell.”
Theresa smiled at both the memory and the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla coating her teeth. She saw a bit of red upon the cake.
Her smile fell. “Scott!” she called.
Scott looked up from across the banquet hall. Their guests lay in pieces on the floor between them. Scott held the maid of honor…
Kaitlyn didn’t believe in ghosts—not until one killed her boyfriend and her best friend. Now she must stop the spirit haunting the Devil’s Tree, or she could be next. Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn wants to escape her drunk mama and her trailer park home life to enjoy a Saturday night off work. Instead, her boyfriend, Hunter, convinces her to go with him and their best friends, Dylan and Keisha, to photograph a desolate tree with an evil past. A terrifying presence chases them from the tree, killing Hunter and Keisha. Left alive with Dylan, Kaitlyn must struggle with her unexpected romantic feelings for him, come to terms with her loss, and face being trapped in a dead-end town. Kaitlyn is desperate to put the past to rest, but when their friends’ spirits begin haunting them, she and Dylan have no choice but to seek help from a Catholic priest and attempt to set the trapped spirits free.
I was a fan of McCauley’s story, “The Cask,” in Quoth the Raven; and I’m sure readers of The Devil’s Tree are in for a real treat.
My summer was busy. There were a few personal upheavals, and writing projects seemed to begin and end in a constant infinity loop. Fall is fast approaching, and with it is a desire to calm down a little. Let’s just hope my life gets the memo!
Most of the summer has been spent working on my next novel and putting the finishing touches on Little Paranoias: Stories. The latter seems to finally be done on my end, at least in terms of pre-release prep. Review copies are out, and I’ve made all the final corrections and gotten them back from Doug.
Ahead of the release, though, you’ll see ARCs (advance review copies) in the wild on social media. I’ve been loving pictures of reviewers taking selfies with the book and its amazing skull illustration. I’ve shared several on my own Instagram page (I’d embed them directly here, but WordPress isn’t reading the embed code correctly, boo).
With pre-release prep out of the way, I’m turning my focus back to Seeing Things, my third novel. As with any new writing project, I’m having to force myself to sit down and work on it, which has been hard given how hard this past summer has been. Since the end of August, though, I’ve been feeling a slow sense of calming down in the air and in my soul. While I’m hoping that extends to my sense of well-being in general, I also hope it will give me the patience to see this new story through.
The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Lock the Cellar Door by Sonora Taylor
“Hurry Sandi! Get downstairs!”
Sandi rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and in the resulting blur, she saw her mother standing panicked in the doorway. “What is it, Mama?” she asked.
“Get downstairs, honey. It’s a big one this time. I can hear the wind.” Her mother ran into Sandi’s room and pulled at her arm. “Come on, move!”
“I’m coming!” But Sandi had already been yanked from the bed. She ran behind her mother, through the hall and towards the front door. They had to cross the yard to get to the storm cellar – a design that Sandi didn’t quite understand, but one she didn’t question.
“It’s coming,” her mother said as she opened the door. Sandi followed behind, then skidded to a stop behind her mother, who stood and stared at the field…
I’m honored and proud to be the featured author in this month’s issue of Sirens Call Publications’ The Sirens Call, “Summer Nightscares!” In Issue 46, you’ll find an essay from yours truly called “Fear, Sadness, and the Horror of Pain;” along with the first two chapters of Without Condition. I also have two other pieces in the issue: “Petal, Page, Piel,” a flash story; and “I Walked Beneath a Shining Moon,” a poem. Check out the issue for FREE below! Thanks for reading.
Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce the release of the latest issue of
The Sirens Call
The 46th issue of The Sirens Call eZine features one hundred and five pieces of dark fiction and horror prose from seventy two different authors and poets. It also features an interview with, and dark imagery by artist, Jessica F Holt. This month’s featured author, Sonora Taylor, talks to us about ‘Fear, Sadness and the Horror of Pain’ and also offers an excerpt from her novel, Without Condition!
Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?
Little Paranoias: Stories features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.
Little Paranoias features 20 short stories, flash pieces, and poems. It will be out October 22, just in time for Halloween.
I was never assigned Toni Morrison in school (a damn shame, in my mind), but her works were listed as optional reading in AP Literature. I made a mental note of her work and, when I started college, I checked out my first Morrison novel from the vast rows of stacks at NC State: Song of Solomon. I was struck by the beauty of her prose amidst the sadness and darkness of her story.
Afterward, I read what would become my favorite Morrison novel: The Bluest Eye. My heart broke for the young girl who longed for blue eyes in the hopes of being accepted by everyone around her. It ached the most at the end, when she thought the staring at her pregnant belly was everyone’s awe at her eyes, at last, having changed.
I read many more of her books, including Beloved and Sula. In 2015, I was fortunate enough to see her speak at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, in promotion of her latest book, God Help the Child. She spoke about her books, but what I remember most was when she spoke about the recent, tragic murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Md. She spoke with disdain about the media giving their usual spin and asking their usual, fruitless questions. She answered their spin and their questions with a simple, powerful statement that she shared with an astonished voice: “A child is dead.”
Morrison’s voice will live on in her work. Still, I am saddened that she has left us. I will mourn and remember her. Rest in peace.