A collection of seventeen tales that explore the passions, lusts and longings that ignite the fires that inflame and consume us, leaving behind phantoms to rise from their ashes. In Firbolg Publishing’s latest ghostly, gay-themed addition to the Enter at you Own Risk series, a diverse range of acclaimed authors tell haunting tales of scorned lovers with malevolent secrets and vengeful surprises; of fateful obsessions, unleashed impulses, doomed affairs and desire stronger than death; of love that remains ruinously unrequited and love that triumphs over bloodcurdling odds. With an outstanding introduction from Robert Dunbar, Phantoms and Fires sets free gothic visions that manipulate our emotions and penetrate the deepest, most forbidden corners of our psyches--
Enter… at your own Risk.
Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
When You Are Right by R.T. Anderson
Time For One More Show by B.E. Scully
He by H.P. Lovecraft
The Neglected Ones by Joshua Skye
In The End, He Dreamed by Michael Meeske
Country People by Richard Hall
Prickle the Ivories by Chad Stroup
Sing for Me, Baby by Catherine R. Smyka
A Decent Cup of Tea by Michele Cacano
The Eyes by Edith Wharton
Promises in the Dark, Whispers at Dawn by Vincent Waters
Murder by Any Other Name by Abella Rodriguez
Stage Whisper by Ted Cornwell
In Kropfsberg Keep by Ralph Adams Crams
Inheritance by Richard May
A New Heart That Tells A Tale by Andrew Wolter
Last Dance in the Rain by T. Fox Dunham
Edgar Allen Poe
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.
Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.
The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.
Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.
After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.
In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.
The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 -- the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.
HP Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction--three short novels and about sixty short stories--has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.
Michele Cacano is an avid fan of the supernatural in books, movies, and real life. She believes in Life as Art and Art as Life; enjoying painting, photography, dancing, foreign language study, and travel as well as writing and reading fantasy and horror. She lives happily in Seattle with her husband, her cats, and her ADD. Her primary career as a successful massage therapist allows her time for many interests and goals. She regularly hosts a local writer’s critique group and often teaches and volunteers in the arts. She recently began a new blog on her writing life, titled A Dream and a Scream. She also has a facebook page for her forthcoming comedy/ horror novel set in the zombie apocalypse.
Ted Cornwell is a freelance financial journalist living in one of New York City’s smallest apartments, in a building suitably old and storied enough for ghostly companions. His fiction has previously appeared in anthologies from Alyson Publications, Cleis Press, Arsenal Pulp Press, and Gay City Anthologies. Years ago, one of his first stories was published in The Ghost of Carmen Miranda and Other Spooky Gay and Lesbian Tales.
Robert Dunbar has written several critically praised novels, including The Shore and Willy. He is also the author of the queer-themed collection Martyrs & Monsters.
T. Fox Dunham resides outside of Philadelphia PA— author and historian. He’s published in over 150 international journals and anthologies. He’s a cancer survivor. When he’s not scribbling words, he’s out catching bass on a rooster-tail lure, thinking about writing as he fishes. His friends call him fox, being his totem animal, and his motto is: Wrecking civilization one story at a time.
Richard Hall was a novelist, an acclaimed short-story writer, and a widely produced playwright. He was book editor of The Advocate from 1976 to 1982 and the first openly gay critic to be elected to the National Book Critics Circle. His landmark essay, Gay Fiction Comes Home, was the front-page article in The New York Time Book Review in June 1988, and his reviews have also appeared in The New Republic, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Village Voice . Richard Hall died of AIDS-related complications in October 1992.
Michael Meeske writes across genres , including romance, mystery, suspense, horror and gothic fiction, a genre that blends horror and romance , and has its roots in some of the earliest novels ever written. Poe’s Mother is his latest release available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon.com.
From 2008 to 2010, he served as Vice President of Florida Romance Writers (FRW). He has been a member of FRW and the Romance Writers of America since 2002. He also was an active member of the Writers’ Room of Boston, a non-profit working space for novelists, poets and playwrights.
Michael’s writing credits include Frankenstein’s Daemon, a sequel to Frankenstein, offered through Usher Books. He also is the co-author of His Weekend Proposal, a tender category romance published in August 2009 by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name of Alexa Grayson (soon to be published in Greece); Zombieville, a short story included in a 2011 anthology by FRW writers, available at Amazon.com, and Tears, a short-story published in the Fall 2000 issue of Space & Time, a magazine of fantasy and science fiction. Usher Books will publish additional works by Michael in 2012 and 2013.
Some of his influences are Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. You can contact Michael at michaelmeeske@ live.com.
Abella Rodriguez is a Los Angeles native with close ties to Mexico. She often writes about being a lesbian within the framework of her blended cultures. This is her first venture into the world of horror.
B.E. Scully writes tales dark and strange, drinks red wine and murky beer, cooks, reads, studies, and believes in the golden key. She lives in a haunted red house that lacks a foundation in the misty woods of Oregon with a variety of human and animal companions. Her recently released short story collection The Knife and the Wound It Deals is currently available on Amazon and other fine venues along with her critically acclaimed gothic thriller Verland: the Transformation. She has published numerous short stories and poems in an eclectic assortment of genres, styles, and places. Published work, interviews, and other odd scribblings can be found at bescully.com . She can also be found posting pictures of cats on Facebook and Twitter.
Joshua Skye was born in Jamestown, New York but predominantly grew up in the Texas Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his partner Ray of sixteen years and their eight year old son, Syrian. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and periodicals. He is the author of The Singing Wind, Bareback: A Werewolf’s Tale, Midnight Rainbows, and the forthcoming The Angels of Autumn & The Grigori.
Catherine R. Smyka is a freelance writer, editor, and essayist currently living in Seattle, WA. She is the founder and Editor -in-chief of T( OUR) Magazine, a quarterly publication about experiences in the queer community. She writes for the books department at The Stranger and is an editor through elance.com. She also teaches non-fiction writing workshops around the city and performs with various local storytelling organizations. Prior to her West Coast move, Catherine had been a radio essayist with the Chicago NPR station, WBEZ. She has been published with This I Believe and The Q Review, and , over the next year, hopes to publish her first collection of non-fiction essays called The Rules of Being a Lesbian.
Chad Stroup is currently pursuing his MFA in Fiction at San Diego State University. His work has recently been featured in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Penduline, and Educe Journal. He also runs a blog called Subvertbia, which showcases some of his short fiction and poetry.
Vincent Waters is a San Francisco native and recent transplant to Los Angeles. He is a social activist and has worked feverishly in the battle against Proposition Eight. He often does guest blogs to discuss issues in the gay community. This is his first published story.
Andrew Wolter is the award-winning author of the books Seasons In His Abyss, Much of Madness, More of Sin and Nightfall. His short stories have appeared in several online and print publications. In addition to his fiction writing, Andrew has previously acted as a contributing columnist to X-Factor Magazine, in which he has over 85 published reviews and 15 published interviews. Being a strong advocate for human rights, he also freelances as a contributing columnist (under a pseudonym) for a nationwide LGBT publication. A resident of Seattle, Washington, Andrew is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and is currently working on his next novel.
About the Editor
Dr. Alex Scully is a historian of Irish Identity and the Victorian Era. Her research into the dusty tomes often intersects with the Gothic literature of the 1800s. There are dark secrets in the stories, poems, and novels of centuries past; secrets that have yet to be revealed to modern audiences. Yet the haunting charm and sinister fears that transcend time, so masterfully captured by the Gothic masters, live on in a new generation of writers. Our nightmares are not as far removed from the terrible undercurrents of Victorian society as we might want them to be. The past and present, side by side, are mirror images of the same ghastly face. All historians know one cannot forget the past. Nor can one ignore the present. Look them both in the eye and be afraid. Be very afraid.
Chad Stroup: Blog
Ted Cornwall: Blog
Richard May: Goodreads