I stand here today holding the hands of the dead.
How I was given voice I cannot say. The unborn chose me to speak because I alone among us, the unbirthed, have grown. Untamed by the shackles of statuary and gravestones, my spirit roamed free above the Hudson River for the first sixteen years of my unlife. Truly unwanted, as they say, my parents did not get to bury me...
Read the full story at Write Wild . . .
It's that time of the year again! I'm here to update you with all the things I published last year. It's been a fruitful year despite all the chaos, and I am supremely grateful as always for the editors who read and enjoy my work. Thank you to all the publications on this list!
This year I have several Rhysling-eligible poems for SFPA members to consider for nomination. "Yes, Antimatter is Real" is eligible for the Dwarf Stars Award. My short story "The Red Shoes" in the Coppice and Brake Anthology from Crone Girls Press is eligible for the HWA Bram Stoker Awards in the anthology category. (If you'd like a copy of the anthology to review, send me an email at hlwalrath at gmail dot com.)
Download a PDF of all my 2020 poems here
There are many ways to play this game. In the forest of secrets, the past is always the first card drawn. To interpret the cards, one must keep in mind the divinatory and symbolic meaning of every single card. This works best in partners—an oracle and a querient. If a card appears upside down, its meaning changes, suggesting the opposite. These other meanings may be seen as yin and yang, black and white, dark and light, but the best oracles learn how to read between the lines...
Read the full story at Curious Fictions . . .
We all have a little darkness inside. Except mine is real. I see it when I look in the mirror. I turn my head to reach for a towel after showering; the mirror is white with fog and from the corner of my eye my shadow moves—like it’s got a mind of its own. Like it’s waving hello. It’s not there when Benny comes to stay. I’ve been asking her over a lot more...
Read the full story at Curious Fictions . . .
Thanks to J.A. Sullivan for reading the Coppice & Brake Anthology from Crone Girls Press, and this lovely review of my story "The Red Shoes."
One of the stories I enjoyed most, “The Red Shoes” by Holly Lyn Walrath, is a perfect example of unexpected twists. Walrath gives us a story of a lonely old witch in a deserted forest. You would expect that when the witch finds a lost girl (“A lovely redheaded thing curled in the litter of the forest floor like a fairy in bracken”), she would immediately make a meal of her, as the witch had done with so many other helpless children through the years. Yet she doesn’t. Obsessed with the past when trolls, werewolves, and other sorcerers called the woods home, the old woman casts a spell on a pair of red shoes for the girl. But magic rarely brings us the things we most desire, especially not without a hefty price. This was a beautifully written story with sharp images, and it reminded me of being a child, listening to Grimms’ Fairy Tales for the first time.
Read the full review here . . .
Featuring My Retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson tale, The Red Shoes
By all rights she should have died years ago. A clever child should have come and burnt her up to a crisp, the right way to go, the decent way. But no such child ever came. Or at least if they did, it was her that did the burning. A woodsman should have done it — yes, with a big shining axe like thunder, snapping her neck. Or a knight on a horse as pale as moon rings, banishing her away to the farthest depths of the kingdom. Instead, the depths of the kingdom crept up on her in the night.
— The Red Shoes by Holly Lyn Walrath
I have a new short story forthcoming in the Coppice & Brake anthology from Crone Girls Press! This is one of the oldest stories in my bag, so I was really thrilled to see it accepted by this amazing small press.
This story looks at the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairytale “The Red Shoes” — except from the perspective of the crone. I was interested in looking at how the older women in fairytales are treated. It’s a dark, creepy, and strange story, so I hope you consider reading!
The stories in this anthology are the glimpses of the dark places between the forest and a dream. They are the shadows seeking the last notes of a dying violin. They invite the reader into a world where a condemned man faces his fate over and over and over again. Coppice & Brake is an anthology of dark fiction, featuring tales from the borderlands of horror, speculative fiction, and the nightmare fears that linger even after you turn on the lights.
Pre-order your copy today on Amazon!
About Crone Girls Press
Crone Girls Press originally began as a Facebook Group for fans of speculative fiction, hosted by speculative fiction author and writing coach Rachel A. Brune. As the idea took hold to publish an anthology of horror fiction in honor of her favorite fall holiday, Rachel began soliciting stories of dread, despair, and doom, all of which made for some uplifting reading. Upon receiving some truly terrifying–and excellent–material, she decided to go for broke and start working on an anthology series that would feature work by established and debut authors … from the darker side of speculative fiction. Follow us on Twitter, or visit on the web at https://www.cronegirlspress.com
Want a review copy? Leave me a note with your email and I’ll send you one.
I have a new article up at Medium today on the economics of short fiction, how commercialism is changing what writers write, & a bit of advice from Shirley Jackson.
“The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were.” — Shirley Jackson (“Memory and Delusion,” Published in Let Me Tell You.)
Read the entire article here . . .
I have a reprint up at Flash Fiction Online this month of my little boney, witchy story "knick knack, knick knack." This little story has seen a lot of love since it first appeared in Fireside last February 2018! It also appeared as part of a local art exhibit, Color:Story. The above artwork is the piece that Houston artist Marlo Saucedo made after reading this story.
What I love about this story is that so many people have different interpretations of it. I first wrote it inspired by the kodama in Japanese film Princess Mononoke, and also the idea of wanting to tell a mother/daughter story about aging. Marlo interpreted the story as following the tradition of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. The idea of skull spirits is not central to one culture, but many. We put a lot of weight in the dead as humans, and I've always been fascinated by the different myths we create about the spirits who guide us. So I'm grateful that people continue to enjoy this little flash story.
Read the story at Flash Fiction Online . . .
About the Author
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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