As you folks know, I absolutely love Christmas. And while it's quite a few months until the next one rolls around, I've just contributed work to a very unique project that appeals to that yuletide spirit that dwells within me, as well as my passion for Southern folklore and ghost stories.
Micheal Knost and Mark Justice are putting together an anthology of Christmas ghost tales called Appalachian Holiday Hauntings. This collection will feature traditional ghost stories set in the Appalachian Mountain region. Just think Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with a rustic Appalachian backdrop. When I was invited to contribute to this anthology, I of course jumped at the chance. I have a passion for writing ghost stories (almost a forgotten resource in the horror genre today) and the Appalachian setting appealed to me as well. My story The Peddler's Journey takes place in the Tennessee Appalachians during the Great Depression. This will make the second full-fledged ghost story I've penned since my return to horror. The first was Cumberland Furnace, which just appeared in Shivers 5, now available from Cemetery Dance Publications. I'm not quite sure why my interest in writing old-fashioned tales of wandering spirits has resurfaced so strongly. I reckon it goes way back to all those deliciously spooky ghost stories that my grandmother used to tell me on her front porch when I was a young'un.
For those of you who might have a Christmas ghost story of your own in mind, Appalachian Holiday Hauntings is an open anthology. You may submit work through this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael and Mark are looking for stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words. They are asking for no explicit language or sexual content, since this project will be in regional school systems. Also, no tales that disrespect or alter the religious aspects of the holiday. The deadline for submissions is Sept.1, 2009.
Appalachian Holiday Hauntings will be released by Woodland Press in November of 2009. I'm really looking forward to seeing what tales of ghostly Christmases, past and present, the other authors in this anthology come up with.