Saturday, December 24, 2011


Today is Christmas Eve and the mid-way point of Hanukkah, and the New Year looms. So I wanted to take a moment to ruminate on the holidays and to offer some thoughts and a message.
I celebrate the holiday in pretty typical fashion, with family, Christmas cookies, and gifts under the tree. I make it a point to enjoy Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” every year, in either written or movie form. I overindulge in shopping and snacking on holiday treats, as most of the world does. And I stop to remember Christmases of old (well, of my own old, anyway). Memories of beloved grandparents no longer with me, and a father who has passed on some ten years ago. Memories of favorite gifts – both given and received. Memories of working the busy season alongside friends and coworkers, providing good food and cheer to those who hired us to provide them a holiday party. Memories of snow and of favorite holiday decorations. Memories of the smells of the holidays: seasonal treats baking, turkey roasting, the heady scent of pine boughs and the mustiness of ornaments retrieved from storage. 

I stopped decorating my own home many years ago, as being alone it seemed so much work just for me. But I still enjoy putting up the tree with my mother at her house, and going through all of our yearly traditions of decorating and baking. In my childhood we spent Christmas Eve at my mother’s parent’s home, exchanging gifts with them and the extended family and feasting on holiday snacks and then lasagna late in the evening after gifts were open. Christmas morning was Christmas at home with mom and dad and my brother, and then the afternoon and evening was spent at my father’s parent’s home, opening gifts from them and having the traditional turkey dinner. My parents divorced and my paternal grandparents moved to Florida when I was in grade school, so the family schedule changed, and Christmas Eve was split between my dad’s house and then the maternal grandparents’, and Christmas day was spent wholly at home. Today the grandparents and dad are all gone, so the holidays are much smaller and quieter: I spend Christmas Eve with mom, preparing for Christmas dinner and eating Chinese food, and then my brother and his family come the next morning for Christmas breakfast and to exchange gifts before heading to his wife’s family’s celebration. Mom and I spend the rest of Christmas day together, have a quiet dinner and watching a movie. While I miss those who have gone – especially this time of the year – and the shrinking of the holiday celebrations, I truly love the time and traditions we share.

I know that I often present myself as a gloomy, unhappy soul, especially here and elsewhere on-line, but truly I am not. Those who truly know me know that I'm warm and loving, gregarious, very funny with a quick wit and sharp tongue, and loyal to a fault. I am blessed with a good life, a beautiful home, and a small but loyal and loving band of friends and family. This past year has been trying on the job front, and it has beaten me down a number of times, but I manage to pick myself up and be happy that I have the people and things I have in my life, and that I have been able to make it through, despite the lack of employment and financial squeeze. Somehow or other all of the bills still get paid, there’s food in the kitchen and gas in my car, so I guess I’m okay. Certainly I hope that the new year brings a resolution to this employment problem, and I’m remaining hopeful that something good is headed my way.

So, in uncharacteristically mushiness, I’d like to wish the very, very best to everyone at this joyous season, and for the coming year. And some special thanks and cyberhugs go to an assortment of folks, in no particular order: my brother and his wife and daughter, Amanda – my little bird who has somehow grown into a young college woman (when the hell did THAT happen?)! My mom who is my strength and support and my anchor. My best and oldest pal, Kevin, who is like a brother. My other two Brothers of Darkness, Fred and Gary (Gary we missed you this year at the Gathering Darkness). My friends and students of the word, Tom and Oscar over at Miskatonic River Press. My dearest friend, my angel of light, Terri whom I owe a bunch of lunches! My friend and writing partner, Ted, whose thoughts and style mesh so well with mine that I think we share a brain! Dr. D. who keeps me grounded and moving in the right direction. Cognac and Holly, my feline companions and “children”. The B-52s, my all-time favorite band, who I was delighted to see live this summer (just blocks from my house!) and who I was thrilled to correspond with throughout the autumn! And to anyone I overlooked, my sincerest apologies.

As we move into the New Year I wish incalculable good wishes and prosperity for everyone, myself included (come on, good job, come on!!!). I face 2012 with a schedule full of stories promised to various editors and markets and numerous publications forthcoming. I’m helping an up-and-coming author assemble his first fiction collection, and am thrilled to be in on the ground floor of what I know is going to be a NAME in the industry. I have projects in the works for at least one publisher, with feelers and queries out for others. And I’m actually waiting to hear on a couple possible employment opportunities. So I think the coming year is going to be good, and that certain unfortunate aspects of 2011 are going to soon turn around.  So I raise a glass to bid farewell to 2011 and anxiously await all the good things coming in 2012. Happy Holidays!

Until next time from the House of Secrets,
And to all a good night…. 

 (Well, I had to include SOMETHING creepy! Happy Holidays!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Werewolves of London (and Other Places, Too!)


I've just sold a new anthology pitch, and here's the prospectus to get a jump-start on. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your enzymes!

New Legends of the Werewolf
Edited by Scott David Aniolowski

Author and Editor Scott David Aniolowski is now accepting submissions for MARK OF THE BEAST; New Legends of the Werewolf, an anthology of werewolf tales to be published in late 2012 by Chaosium, Inc.

Werewolves have recently become very big in pop culture, thanks to the popularity of certain young adult novels and their movie adaptations. Unfortunately, our lycanthropic friends are now being portrayed as pouty, angsty, shirtless hunky teens, instead of savage, bestial figures from folklore and nightmares. It is my goal to assemble stories that put the horror back into the werewolf.

There are countless variations on the werewolf legend from around the world and throughout history. The more common causes for lycanthropy include being bitten by a wolf or werewolf, cursed by a Gypsy or witch, a family curse, donning an enchanted pelt, imbibing potions or poisons, selling your soul to the devil, falling from religious grace, etc. Some werewolves change from human to giant wolf – some to hybrid wolf-men. And the infliction strikes at various times, depending upon the legend: during a full moon, while under great emotional stress, when the pelt is worn or potion drank – or even at will – etc. Some werewolves are aware of their condition and remember everything when they change – others have no knowledge whatsoever, or experience memories as “nightmares”. Some are solitary – others live in packs. Silver kills some werewolves but not all. Clinical Lycanthropy is a real mental disorder wherein the sufferer believes he or she is a werewolf. And so on….

I want authors to explore different legends and aspects of the werewolf stories, and just about any genre is acceptable (Gothic horror, quiet horror, sci-fi, cyberpunk, splatter, psychological, Victorian London, the old west, folklore/urban legend, etc. -- NO HUMOR -- SERIOUS HORROR STORIES ONLY!) as long as the underlying theme is HORROR! Pop culture has turned the werewolf into dreamy poster boys and romance novel figures (don’t believe me? Browse and see for yourself how many werewolf romance novels there are!). I want to give the werewolf his balls back! I want to make him a figure of terror and nightmares again.   

HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART: Send submissions in MS Word doc. or rtf. files. Basic formatting: single spaced, aligned left, no tabs (a space between paragraphs ONLY), no page numbering, no headers or footers, etc. Considering short-shorts/flash fiction up to 8,000ish words. Poetry is okay, as well. Reprints will be considered only if they have previously appeared in very limited run publications (indicate previous publication along with date and approximate circulation). Payment is 3 cents a word for new works (possibly less for reprints), and 3 contributor copies of the published book. Publication will be in trade paperback format with an estimated release of late 2012. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2012. DO NOT SEND ME RUN-OF-THE-MILL, STANDARD OR TYPICAL WEREWOLF STORIES. I WANT TO SEE SOMETHING NEW AND FRESH AND EXCITING!

Until next time from the House of Secrets,

Good Writing!