It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – 30 Days Until Halloween

October is here!  October is here!  pumpkin zombie

There’s a faint chill in the morning, and night is
coming earlier.  Bats are flying like mad in the evenings as the summer insects emerge and search for mates. Pumpkins are everywhere.  Flying skeletons and graveyard fences are showing up in neighborhood yards.  I’m late haunting our yard due to my writing conference and camping last weekend, but our holiday zombie has put on his trick-or-treating costume.

This is my first year participating in the Countdown to Halloween, and I’m excited to share this season with you.  I’ll be writing about where I get inspiration for my creepy stories and poetry, my many loves of autumn and Halloween, and other spooky things.  Much of my inspiration comes from remote areas, deep in the woods and marshes.  The muck is deep with layers of death and rebirth out there.

Florida is still having thunderstorms most evenings.  Everything is wet.  The ground is so saturated, it moves under your feet in the low areas.  When we camped, the puddles on the tarp drew dozens of planarians under our tent.  They were glorious little things to see, since they are usually hidden under wet leaves and logs.  And knowing they were squirming beneath us all night was delightfully unsettling.  What other creatures might’ve spent time there, but left before we broke camp?

So welcome, Halloween lovers and spooky kids, and the rest of you who are visiting.  Tell me what grisly details make you shiver in a story.  Or share what you imagine when you are writing a frightening scene.  The best stories happen around a campfire.

Prey – A Poem for Storms and Migraines

by Victoria Nations

The fluorescents warn me
Teasing with flickering no one else can see
Rushing sounds in my head
Hearing the ocean inside a shell
The vibrations push me
Threatening if I sway back and forth
To keep the seasick rhythm
I struggle to hold myself still
The air gets darker
Brightening the flashes
Sickening as a strobe
Somehow thudding
The weight presses
Squeezing air from my chest
Clamping down on my neck
Holding it at that awkward angle
I try to explain the claw points
Holding my fingers just so
Mixing up my words
I stop trying and wait for it to let go
My eyes squeezed shut
Hunched, one hand covering my head
The other fisted to my mouth
That will make it forget me and move on

Gloomy Morning

Why does a gloomy day feel like the perfect time to curl up and read?  Don’t you love a good story at any time?  Bright days sitting in the sun, nearly dozing off? Stuffed into trains and planes, reading with a bunch of travelers around?  A half-hour on a lunch break, sitting in a car outside the office, unable to break free until you get to the end of a good part?

A dark, wet day calls for staying cocooned in warm blankets, snacks and beverages close at hand. Mgloomy Tuesdayaybe you’ll doze off, maybe you’ll start tearing up or clutching the covers when the story takes you. You’ll be alone, undisturbed, and able to sink into to the story completely. That’s genuine surrender.

After the stormy night, the gloom settles over you from above like another layer of blankets. The wind drops and the clouds pile on heavier in the still air. Your blanket fort is dim, but the light diffusing though the wet air is just enough to read by. The rattle of the branches outside lulls you to into the dream of the story.