September 1st is Gloria Estefan’s birthday. (All hail the Conga Queen!) It’s also the publication date for Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors (Books & Boos Press), edited by my friend, and grammar guru, Stacey Longo.
Coincidence? Well, yeah, actually—but I’m sure you’ll pardon me if I assert my right to think otherwise.
This anthology is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. First, it marks my fiction debut. (Two of my short stories, “Just Cause” and “Blood Relations,” are featured in the collection.) Second, it places me in the honorable company of some of my very best writing pals: Stacey, Melissa Crandall, Terry George (aka Ryanne Strong), and Dan Foley, as well as Kristi Petersen Schoonover, G. Elmer Munson, and Rob Watts. And third, it means that I get to see my name in print along with Connecticut luminaries Harriet Beecher Stowe, John G.C. Brainard, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and … Mark Twain. (Seriously, how cool is that?)
From the publisher:
Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors showcases scary stories from famous past Nutmeggers Mark Twain, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John G. C. Brainard. Contemporary Connecticut authors include Stacey Longo, Melissa Crandall, G. Elmer Munson, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Dan Foley, John Valeri, and Ryanne Strong. The collection was edited by Longo, who pursued the project “to celebrate our state’s rich literary heritage, and to pay homage to New England’s ghostly history.” Each story comfortably fits in the genre of dark fiction. “Readers may be surprised to find that Twain, Stowe, and Perkins, for example, had ghost stories among their past published tales,” said Longo. The collection will be released on September 1 “just in time for the change in season.”
Some brief background on my stories …
“Just Cause” is, in part, a nod to my childhood hero and adulthood friend, Marcia Clark, who infamously prosecuted O.J. Simpson—and who now writes brilliant crime fiction. “Blood Relations” pays homage to Wes Craven’s Scream, which inspired my love of all things horror—and particularly small town stories in which the sins of the past come back to wreak havoc on the present. That I love Halloween more than is probably healthy, and have been a Nutmegger all my life, is simply the icing on this literary cake.
See? That was brief. (I wouldn’t lie to you.)
Also, an admission: I somehow managed to use the name Amanda prominently in both stories—and didn’t even realize it until I saw a PDF proof a few weeks ago. Then, a print proof arrived on Tuesday, and my wife discovered that I also made a passing reference to the judge as … The Honorable Amanda Chew. For a grand total of three Amandas in two short stories! (This may change by the time the book reaches your hands, but I am not above debasing myself for your entertainment.) Just goes to show that, no matter how many times you—or others—lay eyes on something, there are things that escape your attention.
While the book’s not out for another five days, there is now a video trailer for you to enjoy. I hope that it piques your curiosity enough to consider adding Tricks and Treats to your fall reading. I’d hate to have to call on my friends to … convince you. They’re a scary bunch. See for yourself …