Progress Report: A First Draft of “Little Paranoias” is Complete!

We have a first draft! We have a first draft! *throws confetti*

“Little Paranoias: Stories” is my next short story collection. It’s not like my previous short story collections, though; which are both very short — four stories apiece. “Little Paranoias” will have twenty pieces: five short stories, twelve flash fiction stories, and three poems.

“Little Paranoias” is also unique in that I came up with the title long before I knew which stories I wanted to write and collect for the book. I didn’t even have a story called “Little Paranoias.” The title came to me and wouldn’t go away. It ended up becoming a small, four-line poem that will open the collection.

The collection will feature a mix of both new, never-before-published stories; and pieces previously published in ezines and anthologies — including my work that has appeared in The Sirens Call, and “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,'” my short story featured in Camden Park Press’ “Quoth the Raven.”

Right now, I anticipate publishing the collection in early December. In the meantime, the book is already listed on Goodreads — please add it to your shelves!

I can’t wait to share this next collection with you. Watch this space for more updates, including the cover and a final table of contents.

New Poem: “As Quick as Poison” [reblog]

As a bonus for World Poetry Day, I have a poem of my own up on Spreading the Writer’s Word. Check out my latest piece in the Ladies of Horror Flash Picture Prompt Challenge, “As Quick as Poison.”

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

As Quick As Poison
by Sonora Taylor

In the darkness, liquid pooled
Upon a table in the wood.
A bottle lay inside her hand
And seeped its poison in the land.
She’d thought a drink would calm her nerves,
That one last sip would stop the stirs
Of voices crawling in her mind
Which fed her thoughts and dreams unkind.
But when she drank that fatal cup
And took a moment to look up,
She fell to earth. Her time had passed
As quick as poison through a glass.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor

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More from Sonora Taylor:

Without Condition

Cara Vineyard lives a quiet life in rural North Carolina. She works for an emerging brewery, drives her truck late at night, and lives with her mother on a former pumpkin farm. Her mother is proud of her and keeps a wall displaying all of Cara’s…

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A Dash of Horror for World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day! Some of my earliest writing was poetry. I mean very early — elementary school, middle school, etc. I have notebooks at my parent’s house with all of my emotions in verse. Some are good. Most aren’t. But poetry was always a nice way for me to write out anything weird or crazy I was feeling, in a way that was less concrete than an essay or a diary entry. Other times, it was a way for me to capture a sight, moment, or memory in a different way.

I don’t write as much poetry as I used to, but when I do, it’s more of the snapshots of memories, or something altogether made up — a short story in verse. I still think my strength is in prose, but sometimes, the best way to tell the story I want to tell is in metered verse.

Sadly, I don’t read as much poetry as I could. I read quickly, and as such, it’s hard for me to slow down and really absorb the gravitas of the verses. Other times, the poems are so over my head that, while they sound nice, I don’t really get them. Most of the time, I admire a poem more than I feel it.

Then I discovered horror poetry.

I didn’t discover horror poetry until late — as in, last year. I’d read bleak poetry and dark poetry before, but never a collection marketed as poems meant to scare you. I’m glad I found it, though, because I found myself connecting with horror poetry in ways I hadn’t connected with other poems before.

While some deal with monsters, many still focus on the terrifying things we feel or experience in real life. I think I connect with this more than other forms of verse because I’m drawn to extremes, especially when describing experiences. My own struggles with anxiety fuel both my work and what I like to read or watch. While non-horror poems cover that, the horror poetry I’ve read cover it with a harshness, a viscerality (I hope that’s a word), and a sense of fright that I haven’t encountered elsewhere — but one I find myself able to connect with deeply, even if that connection is a shared feeling of fear.

I also enjoy horror poetry that tells stories, be they fiction or nonfiction. I like seeing the unique way that poetry can tell a classic horror tale, in ways that give anything from serial killers to demonic possession to vampires a refreshing twist.

For World Poetry Day, I highly recommend you check out some of the horror poetry collections below:

Breathe. Breathe. — a collection of poetry and short stories from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi.

The Devil’s Dreamland — a series of poems that chronicle the life, death, and murders of H.H. Holmes; from Sara Tantlinger.

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend — another blend of poems and short stories, interspersed with one another; by Linda Addison.

What are some of your favorite horror poetry collections?

New Poem: “They Trapped My Thoughts Inside My Head” [reblog]

I have a new piece up on “Spreading the Writer’s Word” — this time, a poem! I hope you enjoy “They Trapped My Thoughts Inside My Head.”

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

They Trapped My Thoughts Inside My Head
by Sonora Taylor

He trapped my thoughts inside my head
Afraid of what they’d bring.
He worried that the pain they caused
Would find its way to him.
He held me down and tied a cord
Around my tattered mind.
He smiled as he saw that all
My words were in a bind.
But in his swiftness to ensure
My thoughts were tightly bound,
The cord was stretched too tightly
And he heard an awful sound.
I soon cried out! My thoughts burst through!
Their darkness and their tones
Lay scattered on the floor
Along with all his broken bones.
I smiled at the knowledge of
Just what my thoughts could do.
Be careful, for the pain they caused
Could find its way to you.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Sonora Taylor:

WITHER…

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Verse: Winter Has Come Through Again

The solstice is upon us. I usually like winter for about one month. I enjoy a few snowstorms and the look of bare branches. But then, around the middle of January, I start to be over it.

Unfortunately, winter lasts well into March around here.

Today was a bleak day that was too warm for snow. The first two lines of the poem below went through my head. I came up with the rest just now. Happy Solstice, everyone — even if the weather’s a bit bleak.

***

Winter Has Come Through Again

Looks like snow
But feels like rain
Winter has
Come through again

Sleet on concrete
Blackened branch
A piercing gust
That makes you blanche

Streetlamps glow
Beneath the cold
The weather seeps
Into your soul

Skin is tired
Bones are drained
Winter has
Come through again

12.20.18

October Reads: Time for (More) Darkness

It’s October, the time of year when most people dust off their horror novels and horror movies. I, for one, like engaging with dark fiction all year long. But I do feel an extra pull to the darker corners of literature in October. There’s a chill in the air and an excited energy to immerse oneself in the macabre, the shocking, and the unexplained.

While my month is filled with writing projects — including two new releases, some short stories in progress, and making revisions to Without Condition — I’m still reading every day. I have a few dark novels on my “To Read” list, including Destroyer by Victor LaValle and Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott. If you have any recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!

I also have a few recommendations for you, if you are looking for something new to read this October.

I recently finished Breathe, Breathe by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. It is a short collection of dark poetry and short stories. The short stories were good overall — my favorite was “The Madness of the Woodpecker” — but I was most impressed by the poetry. I have a hard time engaging with collections of poetry because I read too quickly to really absorb the meaning of the verse (my fault, not the fault of any poem or poet). Al-Mehairi’s poems stuck with me and chilled me as I read them. Some tell stories, others describe chaotic emotions, but all are terrifying.

I also recommend Sacrificial Lambs and Others by Sheri White. The collection contains several flash pieces as well as longer short stories. Flash fiction, like poetry, also has a hard time sticking with me because of how fast I read. White’s stories still find themselves in my head, though, even though I read the collection months ago. My personal favorites were “Ashes to Ashes” and “First Day of School.”

You may remember that last month, I interviewed author Loren Rhoads. I was excited to read her memoir, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. I’ve now read it, and I highly recommend it if you’d like to read some macabre nonfiction — namely, if you’re interested in travel essays (I want to note that Rhoads did not ask me to review the book as part of our interview — I purchased the book, read it, and am now reviewing it all on my own accord). Her writing gives the reader a wonderful sense of place in cemeteries around the globe. I’ve now added several new destinations to my list, including Bela Lugosi’s grave and the skeleton-filled catacombs of Paris.

I hope you find some excellent eerie reads for October — and, I hope you’ll consider adding both Wither and Other Stories and Quoth the Raven to your reading list!

A Halloween Poem

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I favor the macabre most days out of the year, but Halloween is when we can go all out (and when it’s acceptable for me to wear my skeleton jewelry to the office). Last year, I wrote a very short poem to commemorate my favorite holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful day, however you celebrate it.

**

A Halloween Poem

At last, it’s here!
The time of year
When all we fear
Is held so dear.

10.31.16

Psst — don’t forget that The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is on sale for $1 — but only until midnight tonight!