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.
Do you ever think as humans we’re just afraid to get our hands dirty? That we’ve engineered our lives to be as perfect, pristine, and efficient as possible? And that maybe, if we aren’t perfect, then we’re failures?
I’m trying to abolish this idea from my creative life. The idea of perfection.
Read the full article here . . .
The hardest part about submitting your writing is battling imposter syndrome and self-rejection. It doesn’t matter how you track your submissions or how many submissions you make in a year. Every writer has a different process that works for them. But it does matter if you never try — and these two things can make you freeze up when it comes time to hit send on a submission. That's why I posted a new article over at Medium today on this very topic.
Read the whole post here . . .
I have a new post up at Medium that's a comprehensive guide to submitting literary short stories! Find out how to tier your submissions, keep track of them, what multiple and simultaneous submissions are, and more!
Read the full post here . . .
I have an essay up at Medium today, on the anniversary of Ursula K. Le Guin's death, about her famous short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." If you haven't read this powerful story, I suggest you get thee to a bookstore and pick up her short story collection, The Unreal and the Real. It will make you rethink your worldview.
Read the essay here...
This fall I'm hitting up a few book events in Texas. Here's where you can find me, pick up a copy of Glimmerglass Girl, and say hi!
Join Writespace and Spider Road Press as we celebrate the release of Glimmerglass Girl, the debut poetry chapbook written by dedicated Writespace volunteer Holly Lyn Walrath. The collection’s publisher, Finishing Line Press, describes the work as a “unique visual collection of speculative poetry [that] addresses femininity, feminism, and the intersection of womanhood and nature."
To celebrate Glimmerglass Girl, we are inviting women-identifying writers to share their own work alongside Holly at our Women’s Voices Reading and Open Mic. We are excited to hear work that examines all aspects of womanhood, and we especially welcome historically marginalized voices.
DATE: Friday, October 19th, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Writespace (2000 Edwards, Studio #208, Houston, TX 77007)
PRICE: Free to all! If you are interested in reading, please send an email to email@example.com.
Texas Book Festival - Tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books
DATE: Saturday & Sunday, October 27-28
LOCATION: Texas State Capitol
I'll be tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books at this year's Texas Book Festival! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl or one of the other awesome offerings from the Bountiful table!
Zine Fest Houston - Tabling
DATE: Saturday, November 17, 2018
LOCATION: Lawndale Art Center
PRICE: Free to all!
I'll be tabling at Zine Fest Houston this year with some new story zines! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl!
My tarot-inspired story "Tarot of the Animal Lords" is now available on Amazon in the Shards Noblebright anthology by Spring Song Press. This story is about a woman trying to find her way out of a dystopian future where a mysterious illness has devastated the countryside. Along the way, she reconnects with her wild roots and the boyfriend she left behind.
Get your copy today:
I'm excited to share that my story "Tarot of the Animal Lords" will appear in the Shards anthology edited by C.J. Brightley. This is a story that I worked very hard on and always hoped would get picked up for publication. It's got a unique structure based on tarot cards. I hope you pick up your copy!
Pre-order a copy on Amazon!
My story "After the First Comes the Last" is up at Daily Science Fiction today.
Read it here.
This piece was written in a flash fiction class by the queen of flash, Kathy Fish. I really would suggest anyone wanting to generate some new flash to take one of her online classes, which sell out very fast. (ba-dum-cha.) When I wrote this piece, I was playing with the prompt of "firsts and lasts". Somehow, that got to be the question of "What if a witch only had a limited amount of spells in her lifetime? How would she use them?" It's a personal story for me. Someone in the DSF Facebook page has already called it a #MeToo story, but I think if we think in terms of that it limits how we view the world. This isn't just a today story.
When I wrote it, I was thinking of Haruka Weiser, a freshman at UT who was raped, strangled, and killed, her body left in Waller Creek. I went to UT back in 2003-2007. The campus holds a very special place to me. It was one of the few places I felt safe and comfortable. I felt like the trees were my friends and that the other students were people I could talk to and relate to. I'd never had that experience in a school before. Waller Creek, for those of you that don't know, is a beautiful creek that runs below campus (Most of the paths are built above it.) For my Victorian lit class, we went down to Waller and looked at the footprints of dinosaurs that are preserved there, and wrote while sitting on the rocks. It's like a hidden world. So I was devastated to learn of a student's death and assault in that sacred place. I was even more devastated to learn that the person arrested was a homeless man with mental illness. There are no easy solutions to these problems. When I went to UT, the homeless population was everywhere. I never would have thought to be afraid, but I never walked the campus at night because I lived off-campus. Every so often when parent's weekend came, the police would round up the homeless population and get them off the streets for a while, for show. But they never seemed to care about finding a solution that worked in a human, caring way.
For me, we can make big choices and try to change things on a larger scale, but it all starts small. With tiny choices. Tiny actions that reverberate. We are humans living in this place together. How we help each other can mean more sometimes than the stalled work of congress. I really believe that by helping one person you can make a big difference.
Anywho, I've gotten off topic, but I hope you read my story and enjoy it.
Artist Lidia Tomashevskya approached me last month about doing another art collaboration and I could not resist her offer! So I've added a new story to my website for your reading and listening pleasure:
Confessions of a Tree Nymph
This story first appeared in 365 Tomorrows in June 2015. I hope you enjoy listening! Please let me know if you liked the audio version and remember that all my audio stories are available on Soundcloud, which has a lovely listening app for your car ride! I've been debating expanding to a podcast, but in the meantime it's fun making audio for you.
If you like what I'm doing and want to support more of my content, leave me a tip at Curious Fictions!
I have an article up at Cotton Xenomorph today which lists the six elements of flash fiction for me.
Writing advice is tricky. I struggled approaching this article because some part of me was adverse to the idea of the word "Manifesto." It seems so apart from what I understand flash fiction to be. So let me just say that this is just how I read and write flash fiction and not some grand set of rigid rules.
We are all humans and we write in our own ways. I know this especially from working as a freelancer. I work with authors and I have to come into their space of writing gently because everyone is different. Some writers wake early in the morning to write before taking their three kids to school. Some stay up late chatting with friends online while revising. We fit writing into our lives, but we rarely sit down and think: What am I really doing here? How does this fulfill me and how can I nurture that feeling? For me, this list is how I nurture my writing of flash fiction and how I understand the genre. But it's just my own experience and understanding.
The most important rule on this list to me is #1: Empathy. I think this also applies to our own work. I see so many emerging writers, marginalized writers, women writers, who are afraid to put their work out into the world. I wish I could say to all of you, your voice matters. Because putting your own vulnerabilities on the page creates empathy. We are humans who need to live in a shared world of experience.
I have a little short story in this anthology from Flame Tree Publishing! My story "Stardust" is about a sexbot with a heart of fire who finds her way out of a complicated relationship with a cop . . . all set in the future and with a 20s nostalgia feel.
Pre-order your copy from Amazon or from Flame Tree! Books ship in September/November.
So, lately I haven't been able to read as much because I've been so busy promoting my new chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl. But I was able to sneak in this little interview with local Houston author Patricia Flaherty Pagan on three books I love.
These are authors that I return to again and again because their work speaks to me. I highly suggest you start reading them if you like short fiction and experimental work!
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
I've got a new subscriber-only post at Curious Fictions about Tolkien, managing your career as a writer, and basically launching my new and exciting stuff for 2018! Read it here.
I'm now posting subscriber-only content and reprints of my pro-market stories at Curious Fictions.
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If you like what I'm doing and want to support me, this is your chance. Subscribe below for just $1 a month and receive exclusive content: reprinted stories and special blog posts.
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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