Once upon a time, there was a very different ghost. His name was Klaus and he lived in Halloween Village. He knew he was different from the beginning, but he tried to fit in with everyone else. So, when Halloween came, he put on his scariest best: a bright red suit, chains with loud bells, and a big, red floppy hat, and his blackest, shiniest boots.
He brushed his white beard out until it filled the air like a cloud and painted red circles on his cheeks. When he was done, he looked at himself and decided no other ghost could look scarier, so he went to the meeting place where all ghosts gathered for the Night of Haunting.
Klaus stood proudly in line with the other ghosts waiting for the Queen of Halloween to inspect each of one. The smallest ghosts were first in line and the Queen patted each on their head, if they had one. Each ghost she patted jumped in the air with a blood-curdling scream and flew into the night to begin their work.
Even though the other ghosts pointed at Klaus and snickered behind their hands, if they had them, he stood proud and straight, ignoring them and waiting for the Queen. He was one of the last ghost because he was one of the biggest.
Finally, he stood in front of the Queen. She looked Klaus up and down with her six eyes, her snake fingers gingerly touched Klaus’ beard and plucked at the bells around his large waist.
“You certainly are the most unique ghost I’ve seen this year,” the Queen said in a scratchy, screechy voice. “But you don’t look quite scary enough. You are big and the red is a nice contrast from the usual black and gray, but I like my red a little runnier. Let’s hear your scream.”
Klaus took a big breath and with everything in him let out a loud, “HO-HO-HO!!!”
The Queen stepped back as if she had been hit and her face twisted with pain, her mouth contorted into a wide circle. The other ghosts moved away, they’d never seen her like this. Finally, she burped a strange sound that no one had ever heard her make and her mouth settled into a grimace.
“You made me laugh, you made me happy. What kind of sound is that for a ghost? GET OUT, GET OUT NOW!! Leave our presence and never come back!” The Queen turned away, covering her face with a rotting shroud. The other ghosts turned their backs to Klaus.
Klaus walked away with his head down, back to his house. He gathered the things he made in his spare time in a large bag and threw them into the back of his old sled. He hooked his pet, Rudy, to the front of the sled and took off into the night to find a new place to live.
Everywhere he went, the air was filled with ghosts. By now, the word was out about him, and each ghost turned their back to him. Klaus went to the end of the earth, the place where no one lived, the North Pole. There, he found an old, deserted cottage to live in. He curled up on the dirt floor, and went to sleep to try to forget about his failure.
Finally, Rudy woke him by licking his face. Klaus knew he had slept a long time, because Rudy was much bigger and apparently had made friends, because there were others of his kind gathered around the cottage.
Klaus decided to take a ride a see if the other ghosts had changed their minds about him. He took his bag of things, hooked up Rudy and his friends to the sled and took off into the night.
The air was quiet. There were no ghosts, anywhere. Klaus thought maybe they hiding in the homes of the humans, so he crept down the chimneys, tip-toeing through their homes while they slept, but there were no ghosts. Here and there, he got hungry, and would take a cookie or a piece of cake. He didn’t want to steal, so he left one of the things he made in place of the eaten food.
Finally, after checking each town, he ended up back at Halloween Village. The gate was locked and all the houses were dark. Obviously, he was too late or too early for the Night of Haunting. He shook the gate, but it wouldn’t open. Then he saw the sign that said, “Keep out—that means you, Klaus!”
With sadness in his heart, he climbed into the sled and went back to his cottage at the North Pole. Each year after that Klaus rode his sled to give out the things he made in his spare time and eat the food humans left for him. It was his way of dealing with rejection.
Meghan: Hello, Linda. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Linda D. Addison: I’m the second oldest of 10 children, been making up fables since I can remember. Currently, I have over 350 poems, stories and articles in print. I write what sings in me, so I’ve created work that’s been labeled horror, fantasy, science-fiction. I’ve worked most of my life as a software developer, but now retired to write full-time.
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
Linda D. Addison: Ok, here we go:
I’m a character in the Star Trek Wiki (“Linda Addison was a Human female who served in the Federation Starfleet in the 24th century.”).
I took belly dancing lessons years ago and had one public performance (at Necon).
In 11th grade, I won a scholarship to travel to western Europe with the World Youth Forum, which completely changed my life.
I’ve been practicing tai chi for more than 20 years.
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Linda D. Addison: I read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving in the early 1990’s and put me on the road to reading Irving. That book’s story and main character were so entirely different than anything I had been reading.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
Linda D. Addison: My mother was a magnificent storyteller. I grew up believing everyone made up stories, so my imagination was always engaged, an overlay to reality like The Matrix. I had no choice but to write, it was the natural outcome for me as soon as I learned to put words to paper. My earliest memory of a story I wrote was a take off of Alice in Wonderland in elementary school.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Linda D. Addison: I like to write in my very comfy chair in living room where I can see the mountains. In a day I’ve been know to move to the dining room where I can see my courtyard; my office, even my bedroom has a writing corner. When I’m not home I can write anywhere as long as I have music on earphones.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Linda D. Addison: I don’t have something I always do, but when I’m home I like to write either with silence, or music without vocals (like Miles Davis) or depending on what I’m writing, movies running with sound off (Star Wars, Alien, etc.).
Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Linda D. Addison: Hmmm, just having enough time to get it down each day, it’s a balancing act between writing my stuff and being involved with other projects with other people.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?
Linda D. Addison: The last thing I’ve completed, a poetry collection, The Place of Broken Things, released July 2019 written with Alessandro Manzetti. It was easy, fun and uplifting, we each wrote a third of the poems separately & a third together. Our voices/approaches were different enough to inspire each of us to create some weirdly, wonderful work.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Linda D. Addison: This is the hardest questions to answer. I could write a book of lists. In elementary school I read every book of fables in our classrooms (Yellow, etc), Aesop’s Fables, filling my head with talking magical animals. Junior High, High School I read the science-fiction section of the library, A through Z, fantasy with dragons; non-genre authors like: Shakespeare, Poe, Kafka, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes. The pattern of reading widely continues to this day, more than anything I struggle to find time to read and write.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Linda D. Addison: I’m a big character person—I can follow a story many places if you hook me into the character.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Linda D. Addison: I love characters who have levels of personality, willing to pay the price for what they want/need, whether they are perceived as good or bad, I like characters that have a bit of both, like real people. I try to do the same when I create my characters.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Linda D. Addison: I can’t think of one particular character who is most like me, there’s a little bit of me in many of my stories, some emotion/reaction/memory of mine.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Linda D. Addison: A bad cover is not good for anyone. I’ve read work with covers that weren’t as professional as they could be, so it won’t stop me, but I know it turns off others. I’m very happy with the covers of my books; they have been published by small/medium presses and I’ve had input, final sign off on them. They are each special in a different way. The cover to How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend by Jill Bauman always attracts people when I do signings.
The cover of The Place of Broken Things, was created by Adrian Borda, an artist bought to my attention by Alessandro Manzetti (co-creator of book) and we decided together which piece of art to use. I’m absolutely delighted with the cover art, it’s a great representation of the title: that broken place, that broken character.
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
Linda D. Addison: Each book teaches me something different. There’s are many steps that go into going from the first sentence/poem line to a finished manuscript. I’m constantly looking to increase my technique and editing abilities. The main things: write my first draft as wild as I want; re-write/edit like a warrior; get someone with edit skills for a final read. When looking for a market/publisher spend time checking for a good fit. Good production is important (including covers). Marketing/Sales, I”m always learning something new about using social media to help get the word out.
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Linda D. Addison: The poem “Philly’s Little Boy” in the book The Place of Broken Things was very emotional because I read how children were treated in American slavery to incorporate real details.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Linda D. Addison: It’s difficult to step outside my writing but I’ve been told my poetry is accessible because of the emotion it invokes and my genre fiction reflects real human situations.
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?
Linda D. Addison: Book titles are very important, they set the mood for the reader, draw them in. It’s been easy for me to select titles since they come to the surface as the book is written. For collections that include poetry, the book title is often the title of a poem. I even have a document full of possible titles, like lines of poems. Alessandro and I had a title for our collection before we even started writing; the first poem we wrote was The Place of Broken Things. The words in the title set the open tone for what we wrote from then on.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Linda D. Addison: I started writing poetry mostly and it was very easy, like listening to a song. Writing short stories sometimes took more work (outlining, editing, etc). The last couple of years even writing fiction has also become very organic. Now I’m completing my first novel (well, the first I would let anyone read) and to my delight it’s been flowing very nicely.
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
Linda D. Addison: Most of my books are considered horror, which is more psychological than graphic. My science-fiction is mostly about characters than things. I don’t know what my target audience would be but I hope readers are touched/inspired/entertained.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
Linda D. Addison: I have lots of poems that were taken out of collections because they didn’t work, and bits and pieces of stories that haven’t been finished. These are things that might be useful in the future so they’re never thrown away for good.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
Linda D. Addison: There are stories I’ve published that I want to expand into longer pieces (ex. “Whispers During Still Moments”, my vampire story in the Dark Thirst anthology).
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Linda D. Addison: I’m very excited about having a poem in the next issue of Weird Tales Magazine #364. Look for a story of mine in “New Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark” anthology (HarperCollins, 2020), which was a blast writing.
Movies have always been inspiring for me so I’m beyond thrilled about Mourning Meal, a film inspired by my poem of the same title, being released in 2020 by award winning producer, screenwriter Jamal Hodge. My poem, with the fantastic actor Rüya Koman, is the first episode of a 2020 web series called “Poetry & Death” also by Jamal Hodge.
Who doesn’t need to know How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend? From the first African-American to receive the HWA Bram Stoker award, this collection of both horror and science fiction short stories and poetry reveals demons in the most likely people (like a jealous ghost across the street) or in unlikely places (like the dimension-shifting dreams of an American Indian). Recognition is the first step, what you do with your friends/demons after that is up to you.
Bram Stoker Award® winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure.
They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).
Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.