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Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries (1899-1909) features thirteen of Vera Van Slyke’s supernatural investigations. Guilty secrets are revealed as Vera and her assistant, Lida, probe each haunting. And the two ghost hunters have secrets of their own! This book is temporarily out-of-print. However, I’m posting each of the investigations chronologically on a monthly basis on my Complimentary Haunting page and will do so even after the book is available again. If all goes to plan, it will be re-released in paperback and ebook in early 2018.
“An Unanchored Man,” which appears in Help for the Haunted, is also in Occult Detective Monster Hunter: A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests, from Emby Press. A sea captain’s cottage is being victimized by nocturnal, invisible “marauders.” To stop the attacks, Vera must uncover a terrible secret about the captain’s past. The first of two volumes is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon in the U.S., and Amazon in the U.K.
ANTHOLOGIES EDITED AND/OR INTRODUCED
Those Who Haunt Ghosts: A Century of Ghost Hunter Fiction is an anthology showcasing a sub-genre of ghost story. Here, a character not personally haunted investigates a house, a room, or some other site reported to be visited by a ghost. The 28 short stories and novellas — from the 1820s to the 1920s — were written by such renowned authors as Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Henry James, Charlotte Riddell, Ambrose Bierce, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Algernon Blackwood, Rudyard Kipling, Sax Rohmer, and H.P. Lovecraft. It is available in paperback at Barnes & Noble, Amazon in the U.S., and Amazon in the U.K.
Giving Up the Ghosts: Short-Lived Occult Detective Series by Six Renowned Authors is an anthology spotlighting early occult detectives who appear in two, three, or four short stories. Fitz-James O’Brien’s Harry Escott, Gelett Burgess’s Enoch Garrish, Algernon Blackwood’s Jim Shorthouse, L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace’s Diana Marburg, A.M. Burrage’s Derek Scarpe, and Conrad Richter’s Matson Bell solve dark mysteries in a total of sixteen short stories. I edited the book, providing a general introduction, introductions to each author and detective, and several footnotes along the way. It is available in paperback at Barnes & Noble, Amazon in the U.S., and Amazon in the U.K.
The Dyson Chronicles is published by Coachwhip Publications. The first and only complete collection of Arthur Machen’s tales featuring occult detective Mr. Dyson, the anthology includes the short stories “The Inmost Light,” “The Shining Pyramid,” and “The Red Hand,” along with the novel The Three Impostors. I wrote the introduction. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon in the U.S. and Amazon in the U.K.
A Master of Mysteries, The Brotherhood of Seven Kings and The Dead Hand is published by TiLu Press. The volume features works by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace. Occult debunker John Bell is spotlighted, and there’s an appearance by Diana Marburg, who relies on palm-reading to solve crimes. I wrote the introduction. This Kindle ebook is at Amazon.
Marvellous Boxes is an anthology of six audio dramas I wrote that were produced by Toronto’s award-winning Decoder Ring Theatre. The stories range from magical realism and science fiction to mockumentary and alternate history, but each one involves a box — and a marvel.
Click on the titles to access each production.
“A Demon Once Removed” — Don McElroy’s mother passed away a day ago. The representative of the funeral home offers him a device — a box with a button — that will let him have a final conversation with his mother. Given Don’s habit of placing blame, should he press that button?
“Frozen Words Thawed” — The Flannery Recording, a wax cylinder recording alleged to feature an argument between Cro-Magnon men, leads to an argument between scholarly men.
“Facing Cydonia” — At a remote laboratory in northern Canada, team members keep disappearing. One of the reasons why they’re there, however, is to study how isolation affects stress, information to be used during missions to Mars. Are the disappearances a calculated part of a test?
“Plotting for Perfection” — Brent is a photographer who wonders if accelerating light itself could make it pass backward in time. He sets out photo paper and waits for images and messages from the future to arrive. They do! This play is my adaptation of a short story I wrote ten years earlier, one that was published in Outer Darkness. SSFaudio granted me the opportunity to record myself reading the earlier version, and you can listen to that.
“Remembering the Martians” — Sometimes, we forget that our modern modes of city-to-city transportation and space exploration — along with many of the images found in popular science fiction — come from the Martians who landed, lived, and died on Earth during the first half of the 20th century. The interviews in this program help us to remember this important yet sad part of our global history.
“Aliens Are Like Mirages” — Divinity student Pam Doree is made responsible for a box that appears to have been sent to Earth by evangelicals from outer space. The miraculous box offers humanity a means to make the world a more unified place. Of course, such things don’t come without some kind of sacrifice.
Earlier Audio Drama
“Thinking in Ternary” — Four attempts to create artificial intelligence ended in “self-deletion.” Dr. Louise Ruzicka tries ternary computer code instead of binary. This allows the artificial intelligence to go beyond the “what I am” and “what I am not” binary to also imagine “what I might become.” It succeeds! But what becomes of a computer with an imagination?
“The Crasher” — A writer with a history of substance abuse tries to get his life together by moving to a quiet town. Behind his rental house, though, there is an unquiet graveyard — and a fence with a history of its own. “The Crasher” was also performed as part of the Post-Meridian Radio Players’ 2012 Halloween stage show, Tomes of Terror: New Arrivals. (See Stage Plays below.) I was asked to change the gender of the main character, so Nicolas Ross became Nicole Ross. You can purchase an .mp3 recording of that curiously different version at CD Baby.
“The Magic of the Movies” — In the 1940s, a tipsy patron of a Hollywood bar recognizes former movie star Stewart Carey. She asks why he stopped making motion pictures, and he reveals a dark secret about how movies “come to life.”
“The Interrogation of Richard Mansfield, Actor (Based on an Actual Letter),” performed at Heller Theater’s The Dog 8 My Shorts, Nightingale Theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on September 8, 9, and 10, 2017. Director: Robert Reynolds. Actors: Joe Maselli, Andy Axewell, and Garrett Coats. Second-Place for the “Best in Show” Award.
“Historical Recreation” (from the full-length play Depot People), performed at the Stillwater Shorts Play Festival, Sheerar Museum Auditorium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on November 14 and 15, 2015. Director: Charissa Lee. Actors: Dawn Cawthon Behrens and Caleb Branam.
“Meds: A Mini-Musical” (from the full-length Depot People), performed at the Judith Karmen Hospice Short Play Festival, Sheerar Museum Auditorium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on March 29 and 30, 2014. Director: Charissa Lee. Actors: Bob Montgomery, Valerie Thrasher, and Kim Cox.
“Genie in a Depot” (from the full-length play Depot People), performed at the Judith Karmen Hospice Short Play Festival, Sheerar Museum Auditorium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on March 3, 2013. Director: Jeri Seefeldt. Actors: Valerie Thrasher and John Thomas.
“The Crasher,” performed at the Post-Meridian Radio Players’ Tomes of Terror: New Arrivals, Unity Somerville in Somerville, Massachusetts, on October 19th through 27th, 2012. Director: Michael McAfee. Actors: Mare Freed, Cynthia Alex, Masha Sten-Clanton, Joev Dubach, Jeffrey “Q” Quinlan, Lori-Anne Cohen, Ari Herbstman, Jay Sekora, and Stephanie Karol.