Creepy books and lumberjacks

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned any of my own publications, but I’m delighted to have stories appearing in two wonderful magazines this month.

First, “The Book in Dutch” is at Three-Lobed Burning Eye. It’s a creepy story about a strange book that may have more influence over the life of a book collector than he realizes.

Besides enjoying the chance to write a little bit light horror, this one allowed me to name-drop a number of odd little (and big) books from throughout history. One of my favorites that gets mentioned in passing is Thomas De Quincey’s sarcastic and ghoulishly funny “On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts”. It’s really an essay rather than a book, but it’s appropriate reading for Halloween.

Second, “Fearsome Critters and Friendly Giants” is now at The Red Penny Papers. As you might guess from the title, this is a lumberjack tale. It combines actual lumberjack lore (like the axehandle hound and the terrible hidebehind) with some more modern bits of dressing.

Take Paul Bunyan, who is a secondary character in the story. In all likelihood, actual lumberjacks of the 1880s wouldn’t have recognized the Paul Bunyan we know today. In fact, there’s a good chance they may never have even heard of him. It wasn’t until 1910 that advertising campaigns and magazine stories — not campfire stories in the North Woods — made the character popular.

To be honest, I’ve jumbled up historical facts, legitimate lore, and pure stereotypes so badly in this one that I’d hesitate to let it be published if there were still any actual 1880s lumberjacks alive to take offense at it. One day I hope to write a more accurate lumberjack tale with no Paul Bunyan at all to make up for it.


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