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I started a creative writing club at my school this year. Pleased to report the club was a success! We met throughout the year to critique/discuss stories and poems the students had written.In the fall, John Langan and Laird Barron visited the school and met with the club. Suitably inspired by the visit of large, hairy, horror writers, for our end of the year collaborative project, we wrote LOST PAGES FROM THE BLACK GUIDE. The Black Guide makes an appearance in a number of Barron stories, most notably his “Mysterium Tremendum.” The students were to take one page from the guide and have at it, with the spirit of John’s and Laird’s stories in mind. Below are those pages from the students and one from me. Click on each for the full-size version of the page(s). Enjoy!

The Black Guide’s Cover:


From Edgar Escobar, grade 10


From Jackson McKeigue, grade 8



From Chris Kelly, grade 11


From Dan Fulham, grade 11


From James Elcock, grade 8


From Thomas Hovsepian, grade 8


From Nikhil “aka Randy” Basavappa, grade 12


From John Bartlett, grade 11


From Paul Tremblay, grade 19


From Jack Glynn, grade 9



From Joey Cerra, grade 10


From George Price, grade 12



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Irene hiatus

Will be without power all this week. Next week we’ll be back with double the monster goodness.

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Michael Kelly is the author of Scratching the Surface, and Undertow and Other Laments. His short fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best New Horror, Dark Arts, Nemonymous, PostScripts, Space & Time, Supernatural Tales, and Tesseracts 13. Michael edited the anthologies Apparitions (for which he was a Shirley Jackson Award finalist), and Chilling Tales. He also runs Undertow Publications, and its flagship publication, Shadows & Tall Trees.

What was the first monster that scared/moved you?

It was Kali, a Ray Harryhausen creation, from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Kali had 6 arms, and a wielded a wicked sword in each. Kali’s movements were hypnotic and deadly. Scary stuff to a 10-year-old.

Does a great monster have to evoke pity as well as fear?

Yes, I believe it does. Frankenstein is the perfect example. King Kong, as well. Once you empathize with the beast, once you’ve made that connection, that sense that ‘Hey, it isn’t so different than me,’ then its ultimate fate is shocking, sad, and moving.

If you could be a monster, which one would you choose and why?

Does the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters count? No? Cookie monster?

Okay, I’d love to be one of those Flying Monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.

King Kong, or Godzilla?

Godzilla! Oh, wait, he didn’t get the girl, did he?

What are the challenges of writing about a monster, as opposed to showing it on film?

Much of the monster’s appeal deals with its physical traits. When writing monsters you have to be exacting in your detail. Film can show minute facial and body movements. When writing, you still have to “Show don’t tell,” so, as with most descriptive writing, you just have to be as precise as possible. Put your humanity into the monster.

Who are the new monsters of the 21st century? Recommend a monster story/book/movie from the past ten years.

“The Pale Man” from Pan’s Labyrinth is truly scary. And, because the most frightening monsters are often human, the three masked strangers from the film “The Strangers” are completely unnerving.

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With Creatures! due to be released September 27, we’re all very excited, and this blog space, starting next Monday, August 15th, will keep the following schedule:

Monday: Wildcard day. Anything monstrous may and will happen.

Tuesday:  Monsters in the news

Wednesday/Thursday: Author interviews with assorted contributors to the anthology

Friday: Monster recommendations from the co-editors!

Stay tuned!

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Click here for a bigger look…



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Creatures! TOC announced

We’re very excited to announce the Table of Contents for Creatures! Thirty Years of Monster Stories. 26 tales in all, 150,000 words of monster fiction, coming in November 2011. (to be published by Prime Books, trade paperback, $14.95)


“Godzilla’s Twelve-Step Program,” Joe R. Lansdale

“The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” Jim Shepard

“After Moreau,” Jeffrey Ford

“Among Their Bright Eyes,” Alaya Dawn Johnson

“Under Cover of Night,” Christopher Golden

“The Kraken,” Michael Kelly

“Underneath Me, Steady Air,” Carrie Laben


“Rawhead Rex,” Clive Barker

“Wishbones,” Cherie Priest

“The Hollow Man,” Norm Partridge

“Not from Around Here,” David J. Schow

“The Ropy Thing,” Al Sarrantonio

“The Third Bear,” Jeff Vandermeer


“Monster,” Kelly Link

“Keep Calm and Carillon,” Genevieve Valentine

“The Deep End,” Robert R. McCammon

“The Serpent and the Hatchet Gang,” F. Brett Cox

“Blood Makes Noise,” Gemma Files

“The Machine Is Perfect, the Engineer Is Nobody,” Brett Alexander Savory

“Proboscis,” Laird Barron


“Familiar,” China Miéville

“Replacements,” Lisa Tuttle

“Little Monsters,” Stephen Graham Jones

“The Changeling,” Sarah Langan

“The Monsters of Heaven,” Nathan Ballingrud

“Absolute Zero,” Nadia Bulkin

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