Who is the Night Animal Control Officer? Flash Fiction story 3rd Place Winner- Molotov Cocktail Lit. #KillerFlash

Happy to have my story entry “Animal Control” (click for link) finish in third place in the Molotov Cocktail Literary Zine’s May #KillerFlash contest. The themed contest asked for stories dealing in some way with death. Of course, death is often feared and certainly hated, but is also omnipresent and unfortunately necessary. Avoidance is not an option, denial is foolish, struggle is futile. It controls everything, but best we not let it control us until it is time. Like a bad, but frustratingly competent co-worker, can we work with it side by side, deal with its inconveniences, obscenities, and poor manners? Can we ignore the throbbing thing in the oozing black paper bag in the office refrigerator, or, when noontime suddenly turns to night?

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Click to read story

Thanks to the Molotov Cocktail (Josh, Mary, and all the other fine folks at MC) for hosting these contests (there’s one every quarter and a dark poetry contest once a year for those who want in on the fun). Love the illustration they made of the hate-’em-but-can’t-live-without-’em main character. Also, thanks to Sylvia Mann for reading an early draft and providing some necessary insight instrumental in focusing my chaos!

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Click to see the entire Killer Flash issue!
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Hinnom Magazine 006 – Author Interview and Short Story Published

Hinnom Magazine Issue 006 <click link> is now live. Available in digital and print, it includes my short story “O’ Babylon” as well as stories by Ed Kurtz, George Taylor, Ashley Dioses, Kevin M Folliard, P.L McMillian, and Brianna Zigler. Also reviews, articles, and an interview of Bram Stoker nominated author S.P. Miskowski.

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Author Spotlight: and interview with S.E. Casey

I also was interviewed by Gehenna & Hinnom Book’s founder C.P. Dunphey in an author spotlight <click link>. We discussed my motivations for writing, influences, philosophy, and the background on my story. Hear me shamelessly talk about myself and butcher a Dostoyevsky title.

Thanks go out to Gehenna & Hinnom, and especially C.P.  Dunphey. It was a great experience being published by Hinnom Magazine, the communication and the support they showed me was great. Please support this press, this is truly a publisher who has a great respect for the horror, sci-fi, and weird genres and is dedicated to helping indie authors. Here is a recent interview of C.P. Dunphey from Horror Tree <click link> for more info on Gehenna & Hinnom.

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Hinnom Magazine 006 available at Amazon, digital and print

 

 

The Hunger House – Story in The Sirens Call Magazine #38

My story “The Hunger House” has been published in The Sirens Call Ezine #38 (free to download). My story is part of my “Red Girls” mythos that I am slowly releasing across various publications. This issue is 184 pages(!), stories, drabbles, poems etc by some familiar names, Christopher Stanley, Maura Yzmore, David B. Harrington, Brian Bogart, Kevin Holton, and Myk Pilgrim to name a few.

2018_april_ezine_coverThe seeds of this story came last summer when I was trying to come up with a 500 word maximum horror submission call. One of my ideas sprung from a house that I pass most everyday at sunset. In wring the first draft, I went way past the 500 word limit and knew it would be impossible to chop down without making it incoherent. Hating to leave any story half-finished, recently I filled in the missing details, edited, and polished it. Seeing a submission call for general horror stories by The Siren’s Call, I decided to kick it out of the house and put it to work.

 

See below for a picture of the actual house. It sits on the shores of Buzzard’s Bay and has a catwalk that rings a dual white chimney. Of course, the house in my story is larger, more historic, with a shorter chimney, etc. Basic writer trickery to fit around the story. Its not a historic house, but, as a side note, a famous person did live there for a number of years.

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The Hunger House

 

Here is the original drabble I wrote introducing the Red Girls mythos:

THE RED GIRLS

He left the door unlocked.

All doors were locked the nights the Red Girls visited.

Colonel Emerick Aldrich sipped his cognac. However, he couldn’t taste it. There wasn’t much he could enjoy anymore. Even the heat from the roaring fire felt dull.

He heard the door handle rattle behind him, a pattering of little feet on the hardwood.

They stood him up like a marionette. The old man smiled, he would get to see the Red Girls, a fitting finale to his life. But they didn’t turn him around, forcing him to take one step after another toward the fire.

Also, see the link for a follow-up Red Girls 300 word story, “Courtship of the Sewer King”.

Thanks to The Sirens Call: Julianne, Nina, and Lee for publication. Check out the other projects/magazine issues/submission calls from The Sirens Call here ⇒ (click for link).

S.E. Casey

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Killer Flash results

Thrilled to have finished third in Molotov Cocktail Lit Zine’s #KillerFlash contest. My 1,000 word story “Animal Control” will be posted on Friday (5/4). Find out who is the Night Animal Control Officer in my soporific tale.

The Molotov Cocktail

Apparently, you folks are a little morbid. We were thrilled to see so many unique angles taken on this contest’s death theme. Although, with such a strong turnout and such compelling writing, that made for cutthroat competition.

We saw entries pour in from 40 states here in the U.S. (get your act together, Wyoming, et al.) as well as from writers living in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Wales.

With such fierce competition, just making the shortlist required clearing quite a few hurdles. The following writers had stories that made it through several rounds of cuts, but didn’t quite squeak into the Top 10.

Close-but-no-cigar shout-outs go to:

Christopher Allen
Kristopher Armstrong
K.B. Carle
Spencer Chou
Nathan Coley
Joan Cooper
John Cornelius
Dwight Curtis
Tracy Davidson
Alex Ebel
Myles Ehrlich
Jeremy Goun
Ann…

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O’ Babylon – Hinnom Magazine Pre-Order

I am happy to announce my modern cosmic horror short story O’ Babylon has been accepted to be published by Hinnom Magazine. It will be a part of issue 006 along with stories by Brianna Zigler, George Taylor, Ed Kurtz, P.L McMillan, Ashley Dioses, and Kevin M. Folliard. Also, there will be an interview of the always great (and very nice) S.P Miskowski along with reviews of her latest two books. The magazine will be released on May 1, and can be pre-ordered here.

 

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O’ Babylon 

 

I will have more notes on the actual story after the magazine has been released. But I want to thank C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom Books. Anyone starting a press is a brave soul as it is a lot of work and risk. Here is a publishing house dealing in the weird and strange genre that produces regular high quality releases and is a paying market. I’ve submitted twice, (one rejection) and the process each time was great: professional and positive. For any of my writer friends, it’s a great market to submit—no games, good response times, and plenty of communication. Please support G&H. I am rooting for them and look for great things in the future.

-S.E. Casey

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O’ Babylon artwork by David Dawkins at Gehenna and Hinnom Books

“As Thou Wilt (Ms. Self-Destruct)”- short story released in the Strange Behaviors Anthology

My story AS THOU WILT (MS. SELF DESTRUCT) is included in the recently released anthology Strange Behaviors: An Anthology of Absolute Luridity published by Nihilism Revised. This anthology contains 30+ stories and 420 pages of the weird, bizarre, mad, and just plain revolting, as the title and artwork suggests. So snuggle up in your favorite reading nook and keep those support peacocks close if you dare to order, intrepid readers!

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My story was conceived and written a few years ago as an unchecked ego, downhill, destructive, stream of conscious, one-act play. The dating scene, ocean waves, gossipy waterfalls, cubist kingdoms, and tigers whizz by quickly, but, like all failed relationships, it all makes sense in the end. Although an older story of mine, I didn’t submit it to many places thinking it needed the right platform to have its desired effect. I think I’ve found a proper home for my grotesquerie to invade the world. Enjoy.

Thanks to S.C. Burke editor! Amazon link here if you missed it : Strange Behaviors

Product Description: In the land of the lurid, the weird are wonderful, and the behaviors on display are at their strangest. Welcome to Strange Behaviors! An anthology of literature’s freshest and loudest voices, a new-new wave of dangerous writers – letting their words run wild with madness. The stories that melt from their minds are emotionally charged, surreal, nihilistic, grotesque, horrific, depraved, often humorous, and always with a depth that just keeps getting deeper and deeper. This is literature for the misfit minds of rebellious readers. Join us… Featuring: Sam Richard. Theresa Braun. Jordan Krall. M.P. Johnson. Nicholas Day. Donald Armfield. Austin James. Alex Karl Johnson. Charles Austin Muir. Joseph Bouthiette Jr. Michael Faun. Zak A. Ferguson. Jason Morton. Mark Zirbel. S.C. Burke. Eileen Mayhew. D.B. Spitzer. Howard Carlyle. Christopher Lesko. Ben Arzate. Rob Easton. Catfish McDaris. Dav Crabes. Dani Brown. Nicholaus Patnaude. S.E. Casey. Ross Peterson. Brendan Vidito. Justin A. Mank. Benjamin Clarke Younker. John Claude Smith. Shaun Avery. Kyle Rader. Calvin Demmer. Evelyn Joyce. Gomez Aggonia. Gentry M. Calhoun

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Year End 2017 Writing Wrap Up and Resentments

In 2017, I did some research on the psychology of resentment according to Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Orwell, and others. Certainly, resentment has driven the political climate in the 20th century to great ruin, but it is also present in shaping our own identity and behavior. It’s a powerful and universal emotion (it’s no coincidence that the second bible story—Cain and Abel— is all about it) and I’ve been honest in recognizing when it rears up in me.

Before we delve into the resentments, the good things first. My two favorite books of 2017 were THE SECRET OF VENTRILOQUISM by Jon Padgett and CREEPING WAVES by Matthew M Bartlett. These two weird horror books were a joy to read, masterfully capturing the spirit of the genre and stoking my imagination. I prefer stories based on philosophy, and the ontological underpinnings of degradation and rot were front and center in both books. Click the titles for my full ‘existential’ reviews.

One of my regrets (not quite a resentment) is that I didn’t do more reading. I have discovered many authors and books that I am excited to dive into, but I need the time and patience to actually sit down and read. Reading is a necessary step to make anyone a better writer, and this is where I need to put in the road work. Currently, I am reading the short story collections ALECTRYMANCER by Christopher Slatsky and BEHOLD THE VOID by Philip Fracassi with OCCULTATION by Laird Barron on deck. I read a great story by Livia Llewellyn this year online (she conjured such a creepy atmosphere which was so dead-on perfect that it really fired up my resentment meter) and must get something by her soon.

Onto the resentments! For psychologist Carl Jung, the pathway to higher wisdom is only accessible through your ‘shadow’ self, which is the really dark and nasty parts of us we don’t like to admit. Most people deny their resentments, but repressing what is an essential part of us can lead to anxiety, depression, and worse. Think of the metaphoric warning of the intractable horror of the over-civilized Dr. Jekyll and the animalistic Mr. Hyde. Jung argued that we should shine a light on resentments to bring them into our whole, a much healthier condition than Jekyll/Hyde. He didn’t stop short of just naming the darkness, but encouraged a celebration of our rascalarity.

So have I been conscious of any resentments that well up in me. Generally, there are two kinds. We resent when we are truly wronged, or, and this is far more common, we resent when projecting our own failings onto others. Both inform us of the obstacles either external or internal that we need to overcome and which require action to resolve.

My main goal for the year was to become a better writer. Reading other’s work, writing as much as I can (anything including blog posts), and asking for feedback with other writers/readers was the plan. I’ve admitted my failure in the reading department and I could have written much more. Saying I didn’t have ‘the time’ would be a lie—frivolous distractions, laziness, and flagging motivation were the main culprits. However, on the last front, I did trade several stories with other authors. Seeing my stories through another’s eye was a little scary, but proved to be a revelation. More than helping to better the individual story, the general feedback provided me some vital clues of my weaknesses and blind spots as well as some of my writerly strengths which were equally hidden to me. Thanks to everyone who has read for me this year and have been candid with the comments!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of flash fiction and short stories published over the last year. However, nothing was pro-paying or widely read. This is probably a garden variety resentment among writers—why did I get rejected to market X, or, why did so-and-so’s story get accepted over mine, etc. Truth is, I didn’t submit to many high profile markets in the first place, not wanting to waste my time with the inevitable rejection I assumed I would get. Also, I had a goal of publishing a short story collection of Christmas horror stories which never happened. I wrote all the first drafts in 2016 and figured I would edit them during the year and publish. However, I never felt the editing was done, and dragged my feet on commissioning a cover for it anyway. I felt a great weight off my shoulders when I decided to shelve it until 2018. Despite my protestations of a lack of time, deep down I know I am capable of improving the stories if I honestly put in the work to become a better writer.

The greatest resentment over a specific story of mine was a short story I disguised as an am-writing blog post titled: Self-editing Tips and the Doorway to Enlightenment. The ultimate purpose was the fiction element, an existential descent into embracing the ‘shadow’ self. The actual writing tips I used were only meant to be misdirection to the unfolding horor. However, the comments I received were about the usefulness of the writing tips which were either because no one really read it, or my story set-up and execution was too obtuse. The shame of a mockumentary taken literally.

Also on the resentments reel in 2017 was Facebook. Gaining exposure is difficult so I joined up this year fearful I was missing out on a batch of readers just pining for my stuff. However, it’s never that easy. I admit to anxiety and some measure of dread when receiving messages or anything posted to my timeline as I am oblivious to proper social media etiquette to respond as well as paranoid of other’s ulterior motives. Facebook is probably not that hard or sinister. My resentment is probably me dragging my feet in learning it functions and using it more. It may help too if I don’t view every person who attempts to interact with me so cynically as if they are some wild dog set loose in my house.

Of course, there are many more resentments, too many to list, some amazingly petty, others pointless, but accepting my shadow hopefully will help me to become a better and more productive writer. Owning up to my fears, indignations, and jealousies, the right path is becoming clear, as opposed to the idealistic one we all like to believe exists where short-cuts and tricks can get you by.

Thanks to everyone who stuck it out to the end of this post. I’ll leave with a link to a free story I posted late in the year which may be my unconscious way to sum up my 2017 in writing. My working title for this was ‘The House of Flame’; however, I figured out why I was compelled to write it, made some changes, and retitled it the fitting, RAINBOWS AND RESENTMENT.

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-S.E. Casey