Coffin Hop Day 3: A Sea of Horror….

And walkest on the foaming deep,

And calm amid the storm didst sleep;

O hear us when we cry to thee

For those in peril on the Sea…..


Ahab and all his boat’s crew seemed asleep but the Parsee; who crouching in the bow, sat watching the sharks, that spectrally played round the whale, and tapped the light cedar planks with their tails. A sound like the moaning in squadrons over Asphaltites of unforgiven ghosts of Gomorrah, ran shuddering through the air.

Started from his slumbers, Ahab, face to face, saw the Parsee; and hooped round by the gloom of the night they seemed the last men in a flooded world. “I have dreamed it again,” said he.

“Of the hearses? Have I not said, old man, that neither hearse nor coffin can be thine?”

“And who are hearsed that die on the sea?”

“But I said, old man, that ere thou couldst die on this voyage, two hearses must verily be seen by thee on the sea; the first not made by mortal hands; and the visible wood of the last one must be grown in America.”

“Aye, aye! a strange sight that, Parsee!- a hearse and its plumes floating over the ocean with the waves for the pall-bearers. Ha! Such a sight we shall not soon see.”

“Believe it or not, thou canst not die till it be seen, old man.”

“And what was that saying about thyself?”

“Though it come to the last, I shall still go before thee thy pilot.”

                                                                ~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick


It was a simple, rambling thing – a naive sailor’s effort at a post-facto diary – and strove to recall day by day that last awful voyage. I cannot attempt to transcribe it verbatim in all its cloudiness and redundance, but I will tell its gist enough to shew why the sound the water against the vessel’s sides became so unendurable to me that I stopped my ears with cotton.

Johansen, thank God, did not know quite all, even though he saw the city and the Thing, but I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.

                                                                                ~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

Hodgson Illustration by Philippe Druillet in 1971
Hodgson Illustration by Philippe Druillet in 1971

Strange as the glimmer of the ghastly light. That shines from some vast crest of wave at night.

                                                        ~William Hope Hodgson, The Ghost Pirates


I really don’t know why there isn’t more sea-based horror. Really.  From Melville’s Moby Dick to Hodgson’s The Ghost Pirates to Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulu, the sea offers myriad opportunities for scaring the living daylights out of us. In some aspects, it is that monsters lurk in the deep. In other aspects, it’s that we, ourselves, are the monsters that ply upon the waters. Wolf Larsen, the dark and brooding captain of The Ghost in Jack London’s The Sea Wolf, tortures his crew after a failed mutiny attempt. While London’s story is not specifically “horror,” the horror elements within it are inarguable. The same holds true for Moby Dick. Fedallah’s interpretation of Ahab’s dream of the hearses, the heart-wrenching sadness of Rachel lurching toward every shadow that might be the captain’s lost son, the madness of The Pequod’s captain that condemns his crew to death…  all of those may only be “horrific elements,” but I find myself arguing that Moby Dick is, truly, a horror novel.

But, post-World War II, there hasn’t been the sea horror there was in previous decades. I believe this is because we’ve become, fundamentally, separated from the sea. In earlier times, people would never have breathed a sigh of relief that a storm was “safely out at sea.” So tied were people to the sea that such a statement would have been anathema. Not so anymore, yet, there remains in us a fascination with “the Big Blue Wet Thing” (Muppet Treasure Island) and the mysteries that “lurk ceaselessly” within its depths. As Lovecraft intimated in The Call of Cthulhu, it is a primeval coupling that draws us to the watery depths. He says it much better than I say it, but I enjoy the old ways of writing about gelatinous ooze and many-tentacled beasts.

The Littlest Lovecraft

Call of Cthulhu

Contest! (For I have been remiss about contests the last two days) I have TWO prizes today from the good folks at The Littlest Lovecraft. First prize is a hardbound version of their upcoming children’s book The Call of Cthulhu! Second prize is an eBook version of the book. What to do, what to do … I have a question that needs answering: In all your reading experience, what is the ONE BOOK you think of that is not traditionally classified as “horror,” but works “horrifically” for you?

#CoffinHop Continues! There are so many great posts and contests and interviews out there this year! Keep Coffin Hopping!


Coffin Hop Countdown….! 5 Days To Go…!

Coffin Hop 2013a

It’s hard to believe it’s nearly “That Time of Year Again.” It’s our THIRD Annual Coffin Hop! First of all, Third, third, 3rd: however you write it, it may seem incredible that a blog hop has had the staying power to not only have a 3rd Anniversary, but GROWS  every year it’s hosted! This year, though, there’s some ADDED fun and mayhem… I’m not talking about the coffins full of candy prizes or the Steampunk-designed sarcophagi that are prizes, I’m talking about a more unique (wait — I hear you, “Steampunk-designed sarcophagi? What the buckets –?” Yeah, I said that. Keep reading (and make sure you keep checking back for those!) offering from the ghouls and boils of Coffin Hop. It’s … THIS:

Death By Drivein

I don’t think I’ve ever been more taken with a group of people. Yes, I have a story in this, but that’s only half the story. It’s a Charity Anthology. It benefits LitWorld. And, just what is LitWorld? It’s a 501(c)(3) with a 2014 goal of teaching ONE MILLION children how to read. Yeah. A charity that understands that children’s literacy is “the foundation for emotional and physical well-being, intellectual growth, and economic security. The right to read and write is a fundamental human right and belongs to all people.” I think I’m gonna cry. Okay, I’m tearing up, but, if you know me, you know that literacy in all forms is so near and dear to my heart that my tearing up over finding like-minded people doesn’t surprise you in the least. According to LitWorld’s data, there are 793 million illiterate people in the world. Most of these are women and children. While their goal to teach 1,000,000 to read by 2014, what is even more laudable is their goal that, by 2016, they will have equipped 10,000 “literacy leaders” to “effect change that will impact ten million children across the globe.”

So, there it is. There’s a blog hop coming. It’ll be happening here and on blogs around the world starting on Thursday, October 24th and running through Halloween. There will be horror and chaos and bedlam because ♫ “life’s no fun without a good scare.”♪ I’ve never been so pleased and proud to be associated with such a group of warm, funny (terrifying), caring people. Stick around here and check out Coffin Hop during the 24th-31st to hop around some of the best horror blogs out there. We’re 200 strong (this may take you awhile, but don’t give up!) and it’s your chance to meet some talented writers and win stuff … like Steampunk-designed sarcophagi…



Welcoming Wicked Women Writer Anastasia Marie Robinson!

Marie Robinson

Welcome Marie Robinson to A Diamond In The Dark! She is the author of Motherhood, one of the 13 Wicked Women Writers Podcasts available at Her challenge? Well, survive a bug-induced disaster at a circus with only a backpack for defense whilst caring for a small child. Let’s just say she took the bugs and circus vibe to the nth degree with her storytelling, and you’ll just CRINGE if either of those things even get to you a little bit! Go listen! But, first, find out about Marie here! And if you love her podcast, you’re going to love her other projects, too!

Amy: Welcome to A Diamond In The Dark, Marie! First, a background! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Marie: I’m from St. Louis, Missouri, 21 years old. I write my blog, Fascination With Fear and for a local horror website called Destroy the Brain. My most recent publication was in an anthology put together by Blysster Press for this year’s Crypticon convention.

Amy: Epic! I’m thinking Marie is one of the youngest of the Wicked Women Writers this year, but trust me, she’s uber-creepy with her bug vibe, and, as I read her story, I wondered … Marie … how do you feel about bugs? I mean … really…

Marie: I like to think that I’m not afraid of bugs–I don’t scream when I see them but, well… they’re unpleasant. We have this disgusting specimen in my home state called the Missouri Cave Spider. Look it up if you don’t want to sleep tonight.

Amy: O__O Oookay … This kind of leads me to my next question: from where do you like to draw your inspiration?

Marie: I draw my inspiration heavily from folklore; it is a passion and obsession of mine. I love urban legends, ghost stories… for this reason one of my most beloved authors is Ambrose Bierce as he spins his yarns in such a way that it feels like someone is relating a personal experience of theirs to you. I love that.

Amy: Oooo, epic! I’m right there with you! Was this your first foray into podcasting? What did you think of it?

Marie: This was my first time in podcasting but I don’t at all think it will be my last. I love horror stories in audio form, for much of the same reason I mentioned above. It feels personal, it feels like someone is talking directly to you. Storytelling at its truest form.

Amy: I liked that feel to it, too. What are you working on now? Please feel free to shamelessly plug anything and everything!

Marie: I’m always writing. My blog is the most constant source of my writing you can get, although it isn’t fiction–it’s reviews and original columns. My next fiction piece will be released by Dark Hall Press in a forthcoming ghost story themed anthology–my favorite! You can get information on the release date and such by following my blog.

Amy: Here’s where I shamelessly plug Marie’s blog. Ready? Find it here: . And now, probably the most important question you’ll answer this month: what is your favorite cookie?

Marie: It’s cruel of you to make me choose just one but I think I will have to settle with Thin Mints. The other day I had this Thin Mint/Crunch Bar hybrid… I’ve since ascended to a higher plane of existence.

Isn’t she AWESOME? Make sure you check out her blog and her podcast! Listen to all 13 Wicked Women Writers and then VOTE for your favorite from now until October 7th. Who will survive? Who will win? (you get to decide that last bit!)