Crowdsourcing the beginning of a ghost story

Note: Below is a draft page from a ghost story I’m working on. I have resisted posting stories until I felt they were in final form, but I’m tired of second guessing myself on how to start this one, so I thought we’d try a little crowdsourcing. Help me out, Dear Readers. Let me know what you think. I don’t care if you take a macro or micro view of this. Let it rip. Would you read a story that started this way?

1930sgroup2Everything was off that morning, but I didn’t think much about it at the time. It was late summer—one of those evangelical days that starts as hard and hot as it ends, and every living creature just tries to stay out of its way. The cats acted skittish and hissed as I poured them some thin milk over the last of the cornbread. When I opened the coop to gather the eggs the hens were in such a frantic, squawking hurry to get out, I suspected a black snake but didn’t find anything.

On my way back to the house for my own breakfast, I saw the mares pressed up against the fence across the road. Better to feed them early, I thought, while the morning was still bearable. I took the gator to the barn across the road and put a half bale in the back.

While loading the hay and a scoop of corn for each worthless horse, I remember shaking my head at the effort such small chores required of me. There had been a day when I could have carried a full bale bucked up on my thigh from the house to the horse pasture and thought nothing of it. Not any more. Sweat was running down my legs into my rubber boots and hauling their half bale from the gator to the feed box seemed to ask more from my muscles than they were willing to give. Continue reading


“Blood Kin” by Steve Rasnic Tem channels old school American gothic / “Blood Kin” de Steve Rasnic Tem canaliza la novela gótica estadounidense tradicional

blood-kin-9781781081976_hrLooking for an old school American horror story? Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem, published by Solaris Books/Rebellion Publishing Ltd., may scratch that itch if you’re willing to return to greater Appalachia and the well trod world of inbred families, screaming preachers and the vagaries of nature. I don’t often pick up American gothic novels, not because I don’t appreciate them, but because I overdosed on them as a teenager, and I thought I was done with that type of story.

But maybe not. Continue reading