Fictional Short Story About Anorexia

The Heart Fails Without Warning is a beautifully written story about a family’s struggle with anorexia.  It starts like this:

September: when she began to lose weight at first, her sister had said, I don’t mind; the less of her the better, she said. It was only when Morna grew hair – fine down on her face, in the hollow curve of her back – that Lola began to complain. I draw the line at hair, she said. This is a girls’ bedroom, not a dog kennel.

Visit the link above to read the entire story at  The Heart Fails Without Warning was written by award-winning author and novelist, Hilary Mantel.   Go here to see a list of Hilary Mantel’s books at

Supernatural Romance Free Online Fiction Series

Dionne Galace has yet another great fictional series going on at her blog Dionne Galace, It’s Not Chick PornIf you like supernatural romance, then you don’t want to miss this.  Here’s the premise:

After five years, Daisy Sawyer has finally come home. Not that she’s too happy about it. She had a great life in LA: rubbing elbows with celebrities, hopping from one exclusive bar to the other, and best of all, she didn’t have to answer to anyone. But when a drunken night of partying lands her in jail, the only person she can count on is her estranged brother, Alec, the leader of a powerful were-leopard clan. Forced to choose between a prison sentence or face the life she abandoned years ago, Daisy returns… but she doesn’t have to like it…

Christian LeBeau owes Alec Sawyer his life. He will do anything for the man, even babysit his bratty baby sister. But Christian never imagined that Daisy could grow up to be so beautiful… and forbidden in more ways than one. His mind tells him she is the one woman he can never have, but his body refuses to listen. All he has to do is take care of Daisy until Alec finds her a proper were-leopard to marry… then Chris could wash his hands off her and get on with his life…

Start with Chapter 1 then read the entire serial here.

Hamster Fiction — The Next Big Thing?

Time after time, people write to me and say, “Edie, where I can I go to find spectacularly written stories about hamsters?”  Okay, nobody has ever actually asked me that, but if they did, I would have to tell them:  Tooty Nolan.

Tooty Nolan is the pen name of the eccentric and exceedingly funny author of 4 separate series of wildly entertaining stories, all featuring a world where humans never evolved, but rodents did.  Chapter 1 of his Fanfare for the Common Hamster series, begins:

As a hamster Felicity Bugler wasn’t much of a looker. She was too short to begin with. And her buttocks just didn’t seem to have that tapering effect that so pleased a male hamster’s eye.

These stories take place at locations like “The Institute of Highly Important Studies” and are filled with whitty phrases like Who the fluff is that?” 

You can find all 4 of his series on Tooty Nolan’s blog The Bucktooth Times:

I could see these being published, and Nolan is currently looking into doing just that.  Be among the first to discover this author and read them now while they’re free.

(Edit:  Tooty has moved blogs and I’ve updated the links in this post to reflect that.  Also, these stories are now available for purchase, and you can read extracts on the blog.)

You can also find out more about Tooty Nolan on his About the Author Page which features various photos, across the decades, of his werewolf-like hairiness, including one of him with his (thankfully non-hairy) child.  (He’s actually kind of goodlooking underneath all that hair.)

Needle! Now! Broken!

Wow.  Needle! Now! Broken! by Brett Allen Smith is a short story written in a very different and very cool style.  Me like.  You read:

“He felt the absence immediately upon waking, so obvious that he fell out of his bed, tearing from his arms the tubes that had only the day before been preserving him. And as he fell, he felt the tubes tugging the length of his own tubes, the organic ones inside, and for an instant he knew with stabbing certainty that he would be torn inside out.

He was. Oh. He wasn’t at all, actually.

When he hit the ground, the plastic yielded to his weight and snapped, squirting streamers of blood upon release. He laughed with a blissful, forgiving kind of laugh which— oh—in retrospect—ah—seems sad (me already knowing the ending of the story).”

Visit the above link and read the entire story or go to Fringe for more stories, poetry, nonfiction, and other cool stuff.

Tonight I Read, Knuckle-Deep

This quote is from “Self-Made Man” by the wonderfully dark and talented writer, Poppy Z. Brite:

An artist who doesn’t read is no artist at all, he had scribbled in a notebook he once tried to keep, but abandoned after a few weeks, sick of his own thoughts. Books are the key to other minds, sure as bodies are the key to other souls. Reading a good book is a lot like sinking your fingers up to the second knuckle in someone’s brain. “

I just love that metaphor.  So true!  (And the irony is, I actually had this very quote in my own old journaling notebook…which I, too, had abandoned when I got sick of my own thoughts — and just now rediscovered).

Brite’s story and a bunch of others by an amazing array of writers is up online in an old collection called “The Barker,”  graciously posted at the way-cool Dark Carnival Bookstore.

I’m taking what little remains of the day off to read.  Cheers, people.

Guest blogger Michael A. Arnzen is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the flash fiction collection, 100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories, and the novel, Play Dead. His most recent project is a spoken word cd called Audiovile. A collection of his best fiction and poetry to date — called Proverbs for Monsters — is due soon from Dark Regions Press. You can find out more about him by subscribing to his award-winning newsletter at

Bram Stoker Award Winner to Guest-Blog at A Bunch of Wordz

Horror writer, Michael A. Arnzen, was born, appropriately enough, in Amityville, New York.  He won the Bram Stoker Award in 2005 (and 2003 and 1994), as well as awards from the International Horror Critics Guild and the Genre Writers Association.

I’m very pleased to announce that he will be guest-blogging here at A Bunch of Wordz for a week, starting tomorrow.  (I’ll still be around, too, posting as usual.)

I’m lucky to have snagged him from his busy schedule, so please consider taking a minute to comment on a post or two and make him feel welcome.  (It can be rather daunting to send your posts out into the vast nothingness of blogdom, not knowing how people are reacting to them.)

You can view his website at where you’ll find information on his latest novel (Play Dead), horror short story and poetry collection (Proverbs for Monsters), and CD (Audiovile), as well as lots of free stuff to read (trust me — you could spend all day there).

Welcome, Michael!

This is Now

Did you know that the BBC hosts an online magazine called Cult Vamp?  Well, it does.  Or at least it did.  They’ve stopped maintaining it, but you can still find lots of cool/scary/weird fiction, art, and video clips.

And speaking of cool/scary/weird fiction, the short story “This Is Now” by award-winning novelist, Michael Marshall Smith, is, I think, destined to be a classic.  Superbly well written with custom drawings to go with each page, the story starts:

“‘Okay,’ Henry said. ‘So now we’re here.

‘He was using his ‘So entertain me’ voice, and he was cold but trying not to show it. Pete and I were cold too. We were trying not to show it either. Being cold is not manly. You look at your condensing breath as if it’s a surprise to you, what with it being so balmy and all. Even when you’ve known each other for over thirty years, you do these things. Why? I don’t know.” 

The author had this to say about the vampire genre:

“I’ve written a few vampire stories before – if you work in the horror genre, you sort of have to – but they’ve always ended up quite oblique.

I personally think that the longevity and attraction of the vampire myth comes down not to the biting and the blood and the swishy capes, but rather to the stories’ underlying messages about what we feel about death, and also about our lives.” 

Read the entire story here or visit the main page of Cult Vamp here.

As If Death Was Contagious

“As If Death Was Contagious” is the first published literary short story by Rachel Maizes, and wow, is it good…

“At school, I went to chemistry and English and showed up for swim practice and competed in swim meets.  But even as I moved from the classroom to the locker room to the pool, I was aware that a part of me was missing, had stayed behind in the chapel with my father’s body, or was chasing his soul as it floated upward from the grill of the bus.  I watched my friends hanging out in the halls, eating chips and flirting, knowing that what they were feeling wouldn’t last, that death would interrupt their happiness sooner or later.  I felt that god had let me in on a secret that I would just as soon never have learned.”

To read the entire story, go here.  To visit Off Course, the online literary journal in which this story appears, go here.

cyberpunk…in the beginning

What is cyberpunk? defines it as “fast-paced science fiction involving futuristic computer-based societies.”  The term was coined by Bruce Bethke in his short story of the same name.  Here is an excerpt:

“Lisa is Rayno’s girl, or at least she hopes she is. I can see why: Rayno’s seventeen–two years older than the rest of us–he wears flash plastic and his hair in The Wedge (Dad blew a chip when I said I wanted my hair cut like that) and he’s so cool he won’t even touch her, even when she’s begging for it. She plunked down in her seat next to Rayno and he didn’t blink.”

Read the whole story and find out more about the cyberpunk genre from Bruce Bethke himself, here.

The Undreaming

“The Undreaming,” is a sort of dark love story, or perhaps it is about the absence of love.  Written by Monica Rana of Nepal, it is also a glimpse into another world, a perfumed and bejewled world of dark, beautiful women wrapped in bright, beautiful cloth, as well as a world of want, and hurt, and desire…

“She was his fourth wife and she had no title. She was no Maharani, she was not even Rani. She was his concubine and he had married her in a temple with a lone priest chanting the prayers, he had married her in a hurry and as soon as the chanting stopped, he snapped his fingers and the priest ran out of the temple tripping over his priest’s dress cloth on the monsoon-wet stairs, and she could still see the white shadow of the half-naked priest running with the fear of God through the dark rain while he pulled her to the ground.”

This piece is written in a very poetic way.  I really like this author’s style of writing and the dark feel of the story itself.  Go here to read the whole story which is featured in an online litearary magazine called Frodo’s Notebook (the name is incidental and the magazine is not related to Lord of the Rings).