Check it out! Support this awesome project!
We wrote and edited this entire anthology in a day. Seriously.
It usually takes about a year to produce an anthology. We decided to see what would happen if we tried to do it in a single day. Sanctuary is the result of that experiment.
All of the writers were given the theme “Sanctuary” in advance. They were allowed to come up with ideas, characters, plot elements, or anything else they wanted for planning purposes, based on this theme. But all the writing and editing was done in a single day, most of it over four hours in a marathon writing session at The Imperial Pub in downtown Toronto.
The cover is by Dominik Gutzeit (Hydraw-Art).
The paperback is available from Amazon here. Full disclosure: I make 8 cents per copy sold at this cover price.
If you want an eBook of Sanctuary, I’m happy to email you one for free. I’ve made a form for that here.
I would really like to get some positive reviews for this experimental anthology. So please, if you enjoy it, drop by the Amazon page and leave a review.
My story Hook and Grinder is now live in the February issue of The Horror Zine.
This horror poem was first published in The Literary Hatchet, issue #18, and is eligible for a 2018 Rhysling. An analysis of the poem can be found here.
The Rhysling awards nomination period is running from January 1 to February 15. I’ve got a few poems from the previous year that are eligible:
- “the morning star”, by David F. Shultz, a three line poem published in Grievous Angel, Nov 2017.
- “Goodnight”, by David F. Shultz, published in Polar Borealis, issue #4, July 2017
- “Skittering Bones”, by David F. Shultz, published in Polar Borealis, issue #4, July 2017
- “first date”, by David F. Shultz, published in The Literary Hatchet, issue #18, October 2017
Please consider my poems for nomination! Thanks very much!
Just found out my horror story Hook and Grinder will be published in the February 2018 issue of The Horror Zine!
My creepy short story ‘The Santas’ is going to be published in Polar Borealis! And just in time for Christmas, too!
I was very happy to find a good publisher for this story, and also to find that it’ll be published in time for the season.
Without too many spoilers, the premise of the story is that “Santa Claus” is just one of many “Santas”, magical beings who are summoned by using different rituals. Cookies and milk and stockings by the fireplace summon Santa Claus. But in ‘The Santas’, we meet some of the lesser known -and far creepier- Santas.
That story is coming in issue #5 of Polar Borealis, which will be free to download!
In this post I’ll talk about a creepy poem I wrote called ‘first date’. This poem was published in The Literary Hatchet, issue #18. The Literary Hatchet is available as pdf for free, so I recommend downloading a copy and/or buying a paperback issue for $14.00.
Anyway, I’ll show you the poem first, and then say some things about what I was trying to do when I wrote it:
by David F. Shultz
always an adventure
I can see
you’re a tad cold.
I’ve got shivers
in the spine
it’s a fine thing
that I’ve got
now where to begin
(that calls for analysis)
heart on your sleeve?
(or in the vicinity)
can I pick your brain?
(a little prodding will suffice)
there’s the meat
take the knife
I’ll find out all
I always do
on first dates
it just takes
This poem is disguised as a “first date”. Or rather, it is a “first date” in the mind of the demented speaker, who is performing on autopsy, an activity that he finds particularly thrilling.
The first stanza is meant to create a subtle awkward note. It’s supposed to give the impression of an overeager person on a date, perhaps off-putting, repeating and stumbling over their words, making awkward and cliche comments, variously either too probing or too self-centered.
You might notice already by this point the body-metaphors piling up, “thick skin” and “cold feet” and “shivers in the spine”. These body metaphors continue in the next stanza with “empty stomach” and so on. The speaker really has bodies on his mind.
The second stanza, besides piling on the body metaphors, is also meant to introduce a more clinical tone. It’s phrased as a procedural question-and-response, like checking items off a list. We also see the introduction of polysyllabic words capping off every second line -“analysis”, “vicinity”, “suffice”- in a poem that has mostly consisted of monosyllables. Each of those words contains an ‘s’ sound, which I hoped would create an insidious, snake-like edge.
In the final stanza the “meat/slab” arrives, which is really the body about to be autopsied. Humans being compared to meat is always unsettling (and maybe especially when there is a demented human standing over them with a knife).
I want to focus in particular on what I was trying to do with the final word of the poem: “precision”. The entire poem was building up to this word, and this moment in the poem. This is the moment that our demented speaker has been waiting for. I tried to do several things to make this word “pop”.
- content: “precision” is a strange word to cap off the speaker’s thought about what it takes to learn about someone, and this odd word choice might signal that something interesting is happening
- rhyme: the previous four lines established a rhyming structure that is broken “you/do” and “dates/takes”
- number of words per line: 2 or 3 words in the previous 4 lines, down to 1
- length of words: 1 or 2 syllable words in the previous 4 lines, up to 3
- echoing second stanza: “precision” echoes the clinical words used in the second stanza -“analysis”, “vicinity”, “suffice”- including the ‘s’ sound
The reason I tried so hard to make this word pop was because it is the central moment that the poem -and the speaker- has been building to: this is the scalpel making an incision. I hoped to convey this incision without mentioning it directly, by way of resemblance with “precision”, by drawing attention to the final line (in the various ways itemized above), and by talking about a knife and meat and carving carefully.
As to whether any of those techniques worked, that judgment has to be left to the reader, of course. But either way, I thought some people might be interested in what was going through my mind as I was building this poem.
I hope you liked the poem and that you found my thoughts on it interesting!
Also, please support the publisher of the poem, The Literary Hatchet, by checking out the website and downloading (free!) and/or purchasing a copy of issue #18, in which this poem appears.
Two of my horror poems -‘Goodnight’ and ‘Skittering Bones’- are in the current issue of Polar Borealis magazine, which is now available free to the public here, for anyone who is interested.
I’d like to hear what you think, especially about ‘Goodnight’ (I particularly like that one). Thanks for reading.
My short story “Ngu’Tinh” is now available as a standalone eBook.
In its first draft, the story was called “Hunter’s High”, because it featured a monster whose psychic-hunting abilities didn’t work on people who were high on heroin. Now it’s named after a mythological creature known as “Ngu’Tinh”.
The story is priced at .99USD, 1.33CDN, or free for Kindle Unlimited readers. It will also be free as a promotion this weekend (Friday June 2 through Sunday June 4) for all readers. If you download a copy, please give the story a review on Amazon; These are much more valuable for me than money.
Thanks for your support, and I hope you like the story.