Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Bout of Books 12!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Unfortunately, I won’t truly be able to “call in sick” with my “bout of books.” I came down with a bout of head cold last week that hindered my writing productivity. Also, I have a bunch of impending, time-sensitive web mistress duties. But the readathon goes on!

No Goal! I’m a slow reader; I never liked ’em anyway! I do want to participate in a few challenges and at least one Twitter party–I’ll start building my energy reserves now.


Read 400 pages, which isn’t my best readathon number ever, but it’s more than average. Had fun with a few challenges, made it to a twitter chat, added a some new bloggers to my RSS feed. What more can I ask for? Not much, I tell you. Until May, Bout-of-Books-ers!

What Am I Reading?


  • Finish Raylan by Elmore Leonard
  • Short story: “Midnight Emissions” by F.X. Toole (More like a novella.)
  • Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, Sandra Blakeslee
  • Maybe I’ll get toThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Updates & Challenges

Continue reading “Bout of Books 12!”

Posted in Female Author, Short Story

Deal Me In Lunar Extra ~ “The Specialist’s Hat”

Deal Me In Lunar Extra!

I was very indecisive when picking my Deal Me in Stories, so I added an extra “Lunar” twist.
For each full moon, I’ll be reading a horror story written by a woman.

“The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link

Card picked: An eight

From: Available at Kelly Link’s website

Thoughts: “The Specialist’s Hat” is the short tale of twins Claire and Samantha. The twins are generally ignored by their father (their mother is dead) and they’re left to explore and make up games on their own. Their favorite? The Dead game–when you’re Dead you always tell the truth (unless you don’t want to) and you’re never afraid.

They live in Eight Chimneys a two hundred year old house which once belonged to Charles Cheatham Rash, the subject of their father’s research. Rash was a mediocre gothic poet and author of one novel, The One Who Is Watching Me Through the Window. Bits of Rash’s poetry is sprinkled throughout the story along with a myth he learned at sea, that of the Specialist’s Hat. The Specialist’s hat can imitate any sound.

Something is creeping up the stairs,
Something is standing outside the door,
Something is sobbing, sobbing in the dark;
Something is sighing across the floor.

Rash learned about the Specialist’s Hat from a magician who died on board one of the ships he sailed on.

“Their father says that the other sailors wanted to throw the magician’s chest overboard, but Rash persuaded them to let him keep it”

This reminds me of Descartes mechanical daughter, an automaton that Descartes constructed to prove that something could seem alive and ensouled, yet not be. Story goes that the doll was convincing enough that a particularly superstitious ship’s captain believed it to be of the devil and threw it overboard.Β  With themes of “death” and imitation running throughout this story, I assume the reference was intended.

I didn’t realize that this story would be a suitable read for the Gothic Challenge. With a grand house, surrounded by dark woods, and admonishments not to go into the locked attic, I’m not sure you could hit more Gothic beats in a 5000 words story. It’s a tense and creepy gem.

About the Author: I don’t think I’m overstating when I say that Kelly Link is one of the best and most lauded speculative fiction writers of the last 15 years. If you’ve made a point to read some of the Nebula or Hugo short fiction nominees lately, you’ve read her. Most recently, I enjoyed “Two Houses” from the Bradbury tribute Shadow Show and I’ll be reading her again later in the year for Deal Me In.

I came to this story through Paula Cappa’s Women of Horror for Halloween.