Douglas Clegg

Finishing Mr. Darkness post #1.

July 24th, 2015

Mr. Darkness by Douglas CleggWell, as promised (to no one in particular), I’ll record my daily issues as I finish up the novel Mr. Darkness. First, my fears with this book all come from the challenges of it:

1. It is a very strange story. Very strange. Even for me.

2. It is whimsical and very dark. See: #1, above.

3. I’m tackling what I consider interstitial scenes, which are always the ones I never want to write but they must be written, because though they’re not the major moments of the novel, they are the major turning points of the character. Or at least, a few of them.

4. I’m mainly interested in as aspects of how memory becomes a series of movies in the dark, and how we live on the inside as much (or moreso) than on the outside.

5. And the goal of course is to convey all this externally, in the world, in the way the world exhibits itself to her (Mina Grigsby, my protagonist), not necessarily in the way the world exists without her..

6. I’ve never written anything this strange.

7. This may be the least commercial novel I’ve ever written, although it may also be the most interesting.

8. Memory and imagination meet and transform each other.

9. The idea of darkness is the idea of what’s behind the movie of memory.

And so at 1 p.m. on this sunny Friday afternoon in July, I go to tackle this and wrestle and rewrite and augment and amplify and illuminate.

Will write about it again either late tonight or tomorrow. If you’re uninterested, just “hide” these posts. I’ll understand!

DCSigydark

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7 Days to Mr. D

July 23rd, 2015

Sometimes work takes a long time.

I began a story years ago, under contract with Cemetery Dance publications. It was for a signed, hardcover, limited-run novelette line and the story was meant to be about 35-40 pages in length.

I worked on this over several months but had to throw most of it away because it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I wanted a living, breathing story, and sentences that vanished and put you inside the story itself.

I completely wrote it again, this time, a very different story from a kernel of the first. Over a year or so, this expanded. It became a novella, about 95 pages in length.

But it still wasn’t near what it needed to be.

Life interrupted, a bit.

Then, I returned to it, sure I couldn’t bring this character to life the way I wanted to. I wanted to break my own bones, in terms of writing, and reconstruct the way I looked at sentences. And other things that you may not be interested in here.

The story expanded again, approaching 180 pages, but still not there.

I hated facing it some days.

Other days, I sank into it and lived inside it and discovered aspects to its characters and wanted to know them and this one character, this child/girl/young woman named Mina, who she was, where she came from, why she did what she did, and I wanted to be both inside her mind and outside it.

I wanted to go into psychological darkness with her.

And the story grew. Right now it’s 250 pages, a novel. I’m about seven days from finishing. But part of me doesn’t want to face finishing this, so I’m posting about it now — and I’ll post every day for seven days, beginning today, once my writing day is done.

To keep me honest. To get this done and out, once and for all.

It is my bête noire. It is a story of love, family, mythologies, coelocanths, woolly mammoths, subways, New York, the twentieth century, memory, movie scenes, writing fiction, living fictitiously, and, like Orpheus, looking back at what’s falling away.

Scroll down for the two covers for it. The first is a stark one, intended for the original novelette. The second is for the ebook, which will come out after the signed, limited edition hardcover is published. It is not a monster story, it is not a horror story, it is about love and darkness — and what we find there.

Stay with me. Thank you.

DCSigydark

 

 
First, the Cemetery Dance Publications cover:

clegg09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the cover for the ebook, which will be published after the limited edition hardcover is out:

Mr. Darkness - Ebook

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Story Collection Recommendations

July 7th, 2015

When I’m in the midst of writing, I take breaks and read short fiction, primarily.

Douglas Clegg, delivering blog updates with a smile and a baseball cap.

Note: There is no particular order to this list. I’m jotting this down here in terms of what I look around and see, either on my e-reading device or next to my armchair.

Here goes:

 

1. Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser. I can’t get enough of this man’s fiction. His short stories are superb.

Also, for those new to his work, try The Knife-Thrower and Other Stories.

2. Nightmares & Dreamscapes by Stephen King. I’ve read many of these stories before, but there are a few I’ve missed, so I’m playing catch-up. I think King’s short fiction is constantly surprising and wonderful. But who doesn’t already know this? King is in a class of his own.

3. Steve Rasnic Tem. Any short story by Steve Rasnic Tem. Currently still sifting through and remaining enthralled with his stories collected in City Fishing by Steve Rasnic Tem.

4. Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen. I discovered her work by way of a beloved professor in college who lived and breathed Dinesen and transmuted that love into opening my eyes to this fiction. I love her stories. Re-reading “The Deluge at Norderney,” which I do at least once every couple of years.

5.  The Birds & Other Stories by Daphne DuMaurier. Another master of dark fiction, Daphne Du Maurier never ceases to surprise me. Her novels are wonderful and many are dark but with a mainstream sensibility (try Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel, which are absolutely twisted, if you want to start with her novels.) The short story “The Birds” is remarkable for many reasons and completely unrelated in most ways from the Hitchcock movie from which it was (presumably) drawn.

I hope you enjoy these recommendations. I read a little bit from each collection every day. Keeps me loving fiction to read the great stuff.

Best,

DCSigydark

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The July 2015 eBook

July 3rd, 2015
Get Bad Karma by Douglas Clegg, the first book of the Criminally Insane series -- for an insanely low price.

Click the cover to learn more.

 dark thriller, with a twist

Get Bad Karma on Amazon

In Bad Karma, fatal attraction meets a truly gone girl when lethal beauty Agnes Hatcher escapes a hospital for the criminally insane — and goes in search of her beloved, who shares her very, very bad karma.

Enjoy!

DCSigydark

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New in eBook: Funerary Rites by Douglas Clegg

June 12th, 2015

Funerary Rights, a novelette by Douglas Clegg - A New England village, foreigners, psychological dark fable.

When foreigners with odd customs move into the woods near the village, things begin to change…

My novelette, Funerary Rites — now in ebook — is a dark tale of village life and a strange foreign invasion, about 40 pages if in print.

If you love dark fiction, I think this one’s for you. You can find it here:  Kindle   Nook   Google Play   Kobo  Smashwords   Buy Direct

Who are they? What do they want?

Funerary Rites was originally published in Dark Discoveries magazine in the spring of 2014, and also can be found within the mega-collection, Lights Out.

I find it tough to classify some of my work — but Funerary Rites might be best classified as a dark fable, quiet horror, and psychological fiction.

I hope you enjoy it!

DCSigydark

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Doesn’t It Look Cool?

May 15th, 2015
Lucy approves of this message.

Lucy clicks through the new website.

Dear Reader,

DeenaWarnerDesign.com just created this beautiful new look for my website. I wanted to simplify the site a bit, for both you — and me. The Books page is flush with all the books (more upcoming, of course), and the subscribe box is now at the top of every page.

I’m planning on making this blog a bit more active in ways that I hope you’ll enjoy and value. I’ll be posting movie, book and other recommendations — and I’ll include anything in this, so if I find a great way to make a stained glass window, I’ll post about that, too.

I’ll also post some writing-related information, that I hope will be of interest to readers, and definitely snippets of books — both older titles and works-in-progress.

So please, bookmark this blog, come back often. Also, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, plus connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I would love to hear from you.

Douglas Clegg approves this graphic.

 

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Documentary Photograph 6 – Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters

July 18th, 2014

Documentary image 6 – restored by Caniglia – concerning the events of Bog Farm, 1890:

The goat in the living room, from Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg

A brief mention of the goat found in the living room and the scurrilous rumors surrounding it.

In the aftermath of the events of October 1890 at Bog Farm, and particularly what was found within Bog House itself, the talk of Black Masses and sacrifice spread throughout the local village and traveled quickly to the pages of the New York Tribune, the San Francisco Bulletin, the Chicago Herald — even the Beeville Bee — and every newspaper in between.

American readers could not get enough of the horrifying scenes of Dr. Windrow’s asylum.

The famous photograph depicted the goat wearing one of the many fur coats owned by Mrs. Windrow herself.

Three different furriers in Manhattan soon-after produced a replica of this coat for high society women who wanted that naughty “Windrow feeling,” although few sold.

Still, the always-shocking Newport heiress, Augusta “Gusty” Schermerhorn-Jones wore one of these Windrow furs to that pinnacle of society gatherings, the Patriarch Ball in February of 1892, igniting a scandal among the newly-rich and the gilded ancients — not two weeks after the sudden and mysterious death of her husband.

But who took this picture of the goat?

Upon later examination, it was thought that it would have been impossible for this photo to have come from the scene of the crime.

Had a savvy photographer — who knew the tricks of his trade — created this picture in order to feed into the public’s frenzy for all things dark and Windrow?

Or was this authentic?

There were unsavory stories about Bog Farm, even before the tragedy. The revels of witchcraft celebrated out along the bog had become part of local folklore.

What part did the Windrow girls play in such midnight games?

Perhaps, as The Illustrated Bog House of Horrors suggested, they weren’t girls at all, but creatures summoned by Dr. Windrow himself at the lonely bog while his hysterical minions danced around him.

Had Dr. Windrow himself — using the infamous Aunt Sapphronia’s power of mediumship — summoned terrible spirits to possess his own children?

Could the patients of the asylum be trusted as they spoke of winged harpies and the man with a thousand eyes and moonlit hummingbirds that whispered secrets of the dead?

The girls in 1890 were found within the house and whispered a few words before they stopped speaking altogether.

Their silence endured.

Until now.

Get your copy of Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters:
http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/clegg13

Check back daily for more documentary footage of Bog Farm and Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg. You are encouraged to share this with your friends or point them to it. Thank you.

Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters, a short novella by Douglas Clegg

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Murder, Fascination, Mystery – Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters

July 15th, 2014

Scandalous Murder + Public Fascination + Mystery = Legend

Lizzie Borden - wronged innocent or bloody guilty?A brief excerpt from Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters:

“New Englanders in particular protected such families, enclosing them within a secret garden of silence, away from the eyes of the world.

Lizzie Borden—who frequented the theater—ran a lively salon in Fall River. She contributed to animal charities. Those who lived in her hilltop neighborhood argued against the murdered parents themselves and the incestuous nature of wealthy families.

The aptly named Butcher Boy of Beacon Hill, at fifty, walked the streets of Boston after his imprisonment and even made a run for political office.

Edwin Mortimer of Crannock Bay continued to drop his lobster pots out among Maine’s islands, despite the strong possibility that he had tossed his wife and children from the edge of a cliff just six years earlier.

And then the Windrows, “the girls”—in their thirties at the time of my journey—protected by an interfering stranger on a train.

Twenty years earlier, the Windrow story set the nation on fire with tales of wealth and madness, horror and pity. A popular rhyme about the girls appeared in print soon after the discoveries. A frenetic dance called The Cannibal Rag became popular in the Dance Halls. Illustrated chapbooks and pulps detailed the exploits at The Bog House of Horrors. The newspapers—every year on the anniversary—mentioned the place and its events, but no one got close enough to speak to the Windrow sisters…”

Until now.

Get your copy of Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters:
http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/clegg13

Check back daily for more documentary footage of Bog Farm and Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg. You are encouraged to share this with your friends or point them to it. Thank you.

Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters, a short novella by Douglas Clegg

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Documentary Photograph 5 – Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters

July 13th, 2014

Documentary image 5 – restored by Caniglia – concerning the events of Bog Farm, 1890:

The Ouija board from Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg, image by Caniglia. The rules on Bog Farm, leading up to the terrible events, encouraged freedom among the patients of Dr. Windrow. 

This accounted for the animalistic nature of the two girls. They had been raised in this dangerous environment for too long. They’d reverted to savage and primitive behavior.

A rumor within the nearby village had begun long before the tragedy that Dr. Windrow and his wife led their children in rituals of witchcraft and unnatural vice. Stories circulated of moon-baths during which residents of Bright Colony would lie naked in the open fields after midnight; strange chanting; wild dances that went on at all hours; libertinism; unbridled nudity in the noonday sun.

And then there were the nearby tragedies blamed on the Windrows and their madmen — the sudden disappearance of cows at a neighboring farm, a blight on local crops, strange toads that emerged one spring and could be found in gardens in the village — and not three days since Dr. Windrow said that horrible thing about the villagers’ treatment of an escaped patient; the rough summer storms that occurred a few months before the horror began; those harsh words Mrs. Windrow said to Elizabeth Snow which sound like a foreign curse of some kind, soon after which Miss Snow began to experience skin rashes from head to toe.

The strange puppets that were discovered, strung from trees along the edge of the bog, the week before the events at Bog Farm began.

Yet no one in the village or among nearby farms would anticipate the terrors to come as October arrived with its shocking discoveries.

But twenty years have passed. The story of the Windrow sisters has been kept alive in pulp publishing, True Tales magazine, penny bestsellers like The Bog House of Horrors! and The Bloody Windrow Sisters and The New Hampshire Madhouse Orgy of Sin, as well as in more legitimate newspapers like the Times and the Post and the Press-Herald.

Annual pilgrimages are made by newspapermen, the curious, the thrill-seekers — and the twisted souls who have become obsessed with the sisters. Often, these visitors to Bog Farm return with dangerous tales of wild creatures roaming the bog, strange fires in the woods, ghostly figures at the windows of Bog House, and evidence of devil worship.

But none have so much as exchanged two words with the Windrows themselves.

As the fog of time has begun to obscure specifics of the deadly events, the truth at the heart of the Windrow story has become that no one has spoken to Lucy and Sally Windrow in the intervening years. They are virtual prisoners of the farm, it’s said. They live like hermits. They hold their secrets close.

There are those who still believe these two women kidnap children from their beds at night, or grab young workmen at knifepoint in nearby fields, that their hunger has never diminished.

But no one really knows. No one talks of them in the local village. No neighboring farmer can be paid enough by a newspaper or magazine to deliver details of the ladies in their natural environment.

Is this silence bought with threats of murder and terror — or with the legendary Windrow fortune?

Are the Windrow sisters truly monsters?

No one has spoken to them about the events of 1890 in nearly twenty years, or sat down at their table, or spent the night in Bog House.

Until now.

Get your copy of Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters:
http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/clegg13

Check back daily for more documentary footage of Bog Farm and Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg. You are encouraged to share this with your friends or point them to it. Thank you.

Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters, a short novella by Douglas Clegg

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Documentary Photograph 4 – Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters

July 12th, 2014

Documentary image 4 – restored by Caniglia – concerning the events of Bog Farm, 1890:

The Ouija board from Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg, image by Caniglia.A particular member of the Windrow household — who became part of the dark legend — was the woman known to the children as Aunt Sapphronia. 

Sapphronia Wilson had, in younger days, been an astrologer and  medium of note among the upper Hudson Valley of New York’s spiritualist elite. It was rumored she had once  been a member of the unholy circles in Paris which, at the time,  explored deviltry and debauchery.

This aunt arrived to the Windrow house primarily because Mrs. Windrow — the girls’ mother — sought her out. Mrs. Windrow had been raised in a home which included table-rapping parties, mediumship and the like. She had never given up on her belief that there were spirits wishing to contact her about some urgent matter.

Aunt Sapphronia conducted seances frequently at Bog House. Round the table might be Mrs. Windrow, Lucy and Sally, as well as their brothers, all taking part in these nocturnal games.

Dr. Windrow frowned upon such interests, but had written at least one paper on the psychological importance to certain susceptible individuals of exploring the irrational side through theatrical moments like the seance, the church service, the political campaign.

Aunt Sapphronia’s Ouija board itself was found among the rubble within Bog House.

Lucy — when taken into custody —  clutched the board, whispering to it.

“And what exactly,” the magistrate asked one particular officer of the law, “was Miss Windrow saying?”

“Well, your honor, she kept whispering, ‘take us with you, take us with you.'”

But no one really knew what Lucy and Sally Windrow did, how they managed it — and what had caused this sudden madness.

Until now.

Get your copy of Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters:
http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/clegg13

Check back daily for more documentary footage of Bog Farm and Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters by Douglas Clegg. You are encouraged to share this with your friends or point them to it. Thank you.

Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters, a short novella by Douglas Clegg

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