I'm honored that my short story "Crash" has been published by Still: The Journal. Here's a link to the story: "Crash."
Still: The Journal was co-founded by author Silas House and poet Marianne Worthington. The journal's mission is to publish the "finest in contemporary literary writing of Central Appalachia, or the Mountain South."
Also from the website: "Our emphasis is on the literature of the Southern Appalachian region, and we are committed to publishing excellent writing that does not rely on clichés and stereotypes. We want to feature writing that exemplifies the many layers and complexities of the region or that is written by an author with a connection to the region."
I have a well-worn copy of The Secret History on my bookshelf. It’s written by Donna Tartt and, as far as I’m concerned, is far superior to her recent novel The Goldfinch.
From the book’s jacket: “Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.”
That description makes it sound like a cheap thriller, but really it’s a thoughtful, philosophical work of literature.
The Secret History is an intriguing study of otherness, narrated by a young man looking from the outside in. The narrator is Richard Papen, an aimless college student who has escaped his lower-class life in California and becomes enamored of his wealthy classmates.
I think one of the reasons I like this book is that I identify with Richard’s background. I was raised in the mountain coalfields of Appalachia by poor parents. Many of my fellow students at the University of Virginia were wealthy—some were filthy rich—and the lives they led confounded me. My college years were marked by a distinct feeling of being out of place.
Richard spends most of the novel watching his classmates without investing his true self in his relationships with them. I understand that as well. Often I felt as if I needed to be someone else in order to be accepted. Certainly that’s a feeling a lot of college students have, but I think those who “grow up hard” experience it with such intensity that they struggle throughout their undergraduate journey.
Here’s an excerpt from The Secret History.
I'm honored to have a short story accepted by Still: The Journal, a literary site founded and edited by Silas House and Marianne Worthington.
I'm not sure when it will be published. February, maybe.
Authors I Love: Ron Rash.
I'm in awe of this writer. His poetry is wonderful and his novels stay with you.
One Foot in Eden is my favorite of his works. I've read it three times. In fact, I once read it aloud to a person who told me he didn't like to read.
My story "Once You've Been a Fox" appears in Quail Bell Magazine. Read it here.
"Quail Bell Magazine is a multimedia publication that explores the imaginary, the nostalgic, and the otherworldly through the highest quality creative and journalistic content. This includes culture, commentary, original literature, and many oddities."
I'm pleased to announce that one of my flash fiction stories has been published by Pif Magazine. Read "Remodel" here.
An excerpt from “Bobby Boyd’s Bad Eyes.” Inwood Indiana: Reaping (August 2016).
I had to apologize to Izzy for doubting him. Sure enough, that pony could play.
His name was Molasses and that’s what color he was, although his mane was as black as Bobby’s eyes. He stood just outside the back of the house with his head poking through an open window. We sat at a round table pushed up against the wall. When it was Molasses’ turn to play, Bobby would hold the cards up to him and he would nuzzle one to throw down. Every so often Bobby would feed him an apple slice or a baby carrot from a bowl under the table.
Now, a poker-playing pony is an amazing sight, but one that wins the game? I have to say, it was a little humbling. I’d never been a great poker player anyway, so I took it all in stride. Cal, on the other hand, got really mad. He had laid out a full house, sure that he had the winning hand. When Bobby showed the table Molasses’ straight flush, Cal turned as pink as a cat’s tongue. He cussed and shoved his chips across the table. One bounced up and hit the pony on the muzzle.
Bobby came across the table at Cal. The man would have gotten an ass-shining for sure if Izzy and Dennis hadn’t pulled Bobby off him. That kind of put a damper on the whole proceeding, so Dennis and Cal struck out for home. Izzy made as if to go too, but I hung back.
“I’ll bring her home,” Bobby told him.
I could see Izzy wasn’t comfortable leaving me there but I didn’t care. I grinned and waggled my fingers at him. Hit the road, Cuz!
I watched the jeep’s taillights disappear into the darkness, then stood on the porch listening to the crickets. The sound washed over me, followed by a tidal wave of despair. For a moment, I felt the urge to run up the long, rocky driveway. I changed my mind, Izzy, I wanted to shout.
Anyone who knows me knows that October is my favorite month. I'm a Halloween fiend!
In honor of All Hallows' Eve, I present to you a list of scary books I recommend for the season (in no particular order):
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
2. The Shining by Stephen King
3. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
4. Dark Companions by Ramsey Campbell
5. Salem's Lot by Stephen King
6. The Other by Thomas Tryon
7. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Also try the collected works of Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft.
Check out The Year's Best Horror Stories edited by Karl Edward Wagner (1980-1994).
Shotgun Honey has published my flash fiction piece "Bomb Diggity."
It's a little different from my usual work. Warning: If you're easily offended, this is not for you. If you enjoy quirky fiction, proceed.
Shotgun Honey publishes very short crime stories and calls itself Fiction with a Kick.
I'm kinda over the moon right now!
I just learned that one of my short stories will be published in a magazine that has featured the work of STEPHEN KING and RAMSEY CAMPBELL, my two favorite horror authors.
This award-winning magazine, which has been around since the sixties, has published other well-known horror and fantasy heavy hitters I admire. :)
I believe the publication date will be October, but don't have any other details to share right now.
Thank you to The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature for publishing my short story “Sparks and Vinegar.” You can read the entire story here.
The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature started publishing fine literature more than two decades ago. In its earliest incarnation it was known as the Eastern North Carolina Literary Journal. Today The Dead Mule is owned and operated by Robert and Valerie MacEwan.
Origin of its name: No good Southern fiction is complete without a dead mule. This phrase was inspired by comments from Harley Dartt and Jerry Mills.
“You are a beautiful tragedy. My grievous angel. Here, hold my eye.”
That's the first line of THICKER THAN WATER, my short story that appears on the Fried Chicken and Coffee blogazine.
You can read the entire story by clicking here.
I'm pleased to announce that my short story "Bobby Boyd's Bad Eyes" is published online and in print at Inwood Indiana Press.
The print version is still at press, but the online version is live: http://inwoodindiana.com/bobby-boyds-bad-eyes-neva-bryan/
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