Reblog: Unspoken Horror, by Mary Parker, Author of The Endless Hallway | #DarkFiction #Horror #Book @Sirens_Call

Reblogged from: Spreading the Writer’s Word

Unspoken Horror: Postpartum Depression

by Mary Parker

As a lifelong horror fan, I’m used to seeing all kinds of horrors, be it monsters, violence, or otherworldly. Even psychological horrors run amuck (one of my personal favorites). I also find horror therapeutic. After watching a horror film or reading a horror book or story, I feel a sense of release. When I went into recovery for postpartum depression and anxiety, I looked for horror films and fiction that identified with that pain. There weren’t many to be found.

Sure, there’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” But that was written in the late 1800s. I couldn’t find anything more modern. There are lots of horror films that feature mothers in peril or evil babies, or evil/murderous mothers, but that wasn’t quite was I was looking for either. I wanted something that identified the horrors of a new mother’s own mind and showed her triumphant. It seemed that there was an unspoken horror in the genre – and culture at large.

Postpartum depression is not widely talked about, despite being one of the most common birth complications. Recent studies show that between 15-20% of mothers will experience postpartum depression. If left untreated, the condition can worsen, leading to postpartum psychosis. This is, unfortunately, where most media about postpartum depression can be found: true crime. The effects of the illness can be devastating. Research has suggested that there is approximately a 5% suicide rate and a 4% infanticide rate associated with the illness.

As a young mother, I knew plenty of women around my age who had children. I was, seemingly, the only one who had these feelings. So, I set out to write down my story. I would embellish the more horrific moments, of course, but the heart of the story is my truth. The heart of the story is my experience with postpartum depression. We need truth in our fiction. I wanted to show how the best, most rewarding experience of your life can also be the most challenging. I wanted to show the very real, dark thoughts a mother can have. I wanted readers to experience how deeply depraved a mother’s brain can get. I also wanted to show the depths she can bring herself up from. I wanted to show that a mother’s love can conquer all.

We need to speak about these things; we need to break the stigma around them so women can have better access to help and resources.

I have more friends and acquaintances that are mothers than I can count. Yet only one of them was open with her struggles with postpartum depression. When I finished writing The Endless Hallway, I asked her to read the draft. She told me that she was making her husband read it because the story exemplified all the horrible things she felt – and how she rallied against them to stay alive for her family.

That’s all I really want for The Endless Hallway. I want the novella to be a light and a safe space for mothers who live in the darkness. I want mothers who have overcome their demons to see themselves truthfully represented in horror fiction. But most of all, I want the world at large to experience the very real horrors life has to offer.

If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, help is available. Go to postpartum.net or text HELP to 800-944-4773

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The Endless Hallway, by Mary Parker

Molly has it all: a good job, a handsome husband, and a beautiful new baby. Her life is everything she once hoped it would be. But something sinister lurks within the walls of her tiny townhouse.

A strange voice echoes from the darkness as Molly rocks her infant to sleep. Lights that were left on suddenly turn off. In the middle of the night, a thin, pale arm reaches over the rails of the crib to grasp for the baby with fierce, jagged claws.

Are the visions that haunt Molly a subconscious warning or something far more vicious?

The Endless Hallway is currently available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | The Netherlands | Japan | Canada | Australia

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Mary Parker is a horror author and journalist from Southern Illinois. She has worked for examiner.com and horrornews.net. A collection of short stories, Predilection, was published in 2009. Her work can also be found in the anthologies Vampires Aren’t Pretty and Slaughter House: The Serial Killer Edition, Vol. 2. Her story, Sweet Nightmares, placed in the top 100 of Wattpad’s Horror Contest sponsored by TNT. She is a proud contributor to, supporter of, ans past ambassador of Women in Horror Month. Visit her Amazon Author Page at: Mary Parker.

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‘Fictionalized Reality’ by Mary Parker, #author of The Endless Hallway | #horror #DarkFiction #Book #GuestEssay @Sirens_Call

Fictionalized Reality

by Mary Parker

The Endless Hallway is a novella about a young mother’s struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety (PPDA). It is my story.

Well, a fictionalized version of my reality.

While in therapy to recover from PPDA, I spoke with my therapist about the story I was writing. I tend to start everything as a short story – that keeps the pressure off. I was dealing with so much internal pressure already; I didn’t want to add lofty ambitions like novella or novel. We brainstormed and troubleshot the ideas I had. I was stuck on the ending – or, rather, I didn’t know where the story should go. At the time, I wanted Molly to conquer the monster because I desperately needed to conquer my own mental illnesses.

“What would be the benefits of having this monster captive?” my therapist asked me.

I had no answer. I was wrapped up in putting my life on the page, to purge the darkness from my psyche. I desperately wanted life to imitate the art I was creating. But that’s not how life works. I got stuck. Writer’s block for months. My PPDA relapsed.

As I started back up the mountain of recovery, the ending of The Endless Hallway revealed itself to me. I decided to document the two weeks of my life over holiday break in my notes app. I would make little observations of what happened each day and weave the monster into those days.

It was not difficult to toe the line between reality and fiction. In a lot of ways, I am Molly, but not totally. For example, I never felt the urge to harm my daughter. My husband is not Cory (he is much more active in my life than the character is in the story – this is because Molly feels completely isolated). I tried to keep the most intimate details of our life private, but the darkness of PPDA stains the pages of my life and the novella.

In all, I was in recovery for nine months, from the time my daughter was six months old. I wrote the novella during that time, over my lunch breaks at work. I poured my heart into this book. Every dark thought, every depraved dream, I bled onto the page. I also let my love and devotion for my husband and daughter flood the pages. They are, without a doubt, the best things that ever happened to me. They are my everything.

I think that writers put a piece of themselves into everything they write. I think you must to be able to create – there is a truthful base for everything. But for this novella, there was no other way than to put my life, my thoughts, my sickness, into words. Thankfully, my husband approved everything I wrote. It helped him understand what I was going through, like I hope this novella will help the public better understand PPDA. We can create our own destinies, like I created the perfect world to house my monsters.

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The Endless Hallway
Mary Parker

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Molly has it all: a good job, a handsome husband, and a beautiful new baby. Her life is everything she once hoped it would be. But something sinister lurks within the walls of her tiny townhouse.
.
A strange voice echoes from the darkness as Molly rocks her infant to sleep. Lights that were left on suddenly turn off. In the middle of the night, a thin, pale arm reaches over the rails of the crib to grasp for the baby with fierce, jagged claws.
.
Are the visions that haunt Molly a subconscious warning or something far more vicious?
.

The Endless Hallway is currently available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | The Netherlands | Japan | Canada | Australia

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Mary Parker is a horror author and journalist from Southern Illinois. She has worked for examiner.com and horrornews.net. A collection of short stories, Predilection, was published in 2009. Her work can also be found in the anthologies Vampires Aren’t Pretty and Slaughter House: The Serial Killer Edition, Vol. 2. Her story, Sweet Nightmares, placed in the top 100 of Wattpad’s Horror Contest sponsored by TNT. She is a proud contributor to, supporter of, ans past ambassador of Women in Horror Month. Visit her Amazon Author Page at: Mary Parker.

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RELEASE: The Endless Hallway, by Mary Parker | #Horror #DarkFiction #Book #BookRelease @Sirens_Call

The Endless Hallway
Mary Parker

MaryParker_TheEndlessHallway_Cover

Molly has it all: a good job, a handsome husband, and a beautiful new baby. Her life is everything she once hoped it would be. But something sinister lurks within the walls of her tiny townhouse.
.
A strange voice echoes from the darkness as Molly rocks her infant to sleep. Lights that were left on suddenly turn off. In the middle of the night, a thin, pale arm reaches over the rails of the crib to grasp for the baby with fierce, jagged claws.
.
Are the visions that haunt Molly a subconscious warning or something far more vicious?

The Endless Hallway is currently available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | The Netherlands | Japan | Canada | Australia

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Mary Parker is a horror author and journalist from Southern Illinois. She has worked for examiner.com and horrornews.net. A collection of short stories, Predilection, was published in 2009. Her work can also be found in the anthologies Vampires Aren’t Pretty and Slaughter House: The Serial Killer Edition, Vol. 2. Her story, Sweet Nightmares, placed in the top 100 of Wattpad’s Horror Contest sponsored by TNT. She is a proud contributor to, supporter of, ans past ambassador of Women in Horror Month. Visit her Amazon Author Page at: Mary Parker.

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OPEN Call for SUBMISSIONS: The Sirens Call – Halloween 2022 – issue 59 | #Horror #DarkFiction #eZine #OpenCall #Reprints #fiction #stories #flash #poetry @Sirens_Call

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Halloween 2022

The most wonderful time of the year is approaching – Halloween!

For the fifty-ninth issue of The Sirens Call Zine, we’re looking for horrifying and well-constructed tales of horror and dark fiction. This issue also has a sub-theme of all things Halloween; the scary stuff, anyway.

We’ll be accepting short stories, flash fiction, drabbles, and poetry that fit within the horror/dark fiction genre. We welcome reprints as long as you hold the copyright to the piece.

The basic rules:

  • Write the piece well.
  • It must be horror/dark fiction oriented.
  • No pieces containing coronavirus/COVID-19 references will be accepted.
  • Don’t break our set-in-stone taboos – NO pedophilia, NO bestiality, and NO descriptive rape scenarios.

Be creative, be morbid, be vicious, be clever, and, most of all, write something you want the world to read! If your piece fits our criteria, we’ll offer it up to our readership of approximately 35,000.


REPRINTS ARE WELCOME!

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2022

Circulation: Approximately 35,000

Short story word count: 1,000 – 2,500 (limit of one submission per author)
Flash fiction word count: 500 – 999 (limit of one submission per author)
Short flash fiction word count: 101 – 499 (limit of three submissions per author)
Micro fiction word count: 50 – 99 (limit of three submissions per author)
Drabbles: 100 word prose (limit of five submissions per author)
Poem length: 10 – 50 lines (limit of five subs per author)

Reprints are welcome as long as you currently hold the copyright.

All story, flash, and poem submissions MUST be submitted to:
Submissions@SirensCallPublications.com for consideration.

Full page ads are available at $10 per ad.
Please contact Nina@SirensCallPublications.com for advertising information.

Please visit our web site for further details and guidelines: www.SirensCallPub.com

RELEASE: The Sirens Call Issue #58 Summer 2022 | #Horror #DarkFic #FREE #eZine @Sirens_Call

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The Sirens Call Zine, issue 58 – Summer 2022

The 58th issue of The Sirens Call comes in at whopping 239 pages containing 166 pieces of dark fiction and horror in the form of short stories, flash fiction, micro fiction, and dark poetry with an optional sub-theme of summer horror! This issue also features a new addition – Mike Lera’s Corridor of Horror – which will be an on-going column spotlighting those in the film industry.

Our features this month include artist Jeanette Andromeda who has shared 11 pieces of her artwork along with her beautifully crafted tale, Alice and the Toy Maker; a spotlight feature for the charity anthology, Dancing in the Shadows: A tribute to Anne Rice, which focuses on the team behind the project; we’ve also been given the opportunity to showcase Rebecca Rowland as our featured author who discusses The Question of Gender in Horror, and also offers us a peek into her newly released book, Shagging the Boss.

Please, grab a copy of the Zine for free, and don’t be shy about sharing it around!  

Visit us at SirensCallPub.com to download your free copy!

‘Fairy Tales with Teeth’ by E.F. Schraeder, #author of As Fast as She Can | #horror #DarkFiction #Book @Sirens_Call

Fairy Tales with Teeth

by E.F. Schraeder

Strange parents that a child doesn’t quite trust. A peaceful but isolated setting. A neat-as-a-pin little cottage tucked into the trees where things aren’t quite what they appear to be. A hidden truth that someone must face, even as it slices through their most basic assumptions. As a coming of age tale of transformation, there’s a familiar, fairy tale feeling about some of those starting points, but to me Ginger’s story isn’t exactly a fairy tale.

The backdrop of Ginger’s story begins with a blunt edge of violence in the aftermath of a rampage— the rampage of a girl who felt betrayed by those she thought she could trust. Not all stories hint at optimistic, happy ever afters, but the main sleeping giant in As Fast as She Can is the fury that gets unlocked when Ginger realizes how powerful she really is.

When Ginger turns to her best friend for support, neither of them has a clear grasp on what they are capable of or what kind of damage their dormant rage will produce once awakened. Fairy tales often involve worlds where the impossible becomes possible. Ginger’s tale tests friendships and loyalties, and her story is partly one of unbecoming. Perhaps Ginger’s story moves more like a fairy tale in reverse, where the challenge isn’t discovering how to make a perfect ending, but how to embrace life’s most brutal imperfections.

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As Fast as She Can
E.F. Schraeder

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Living in a quiet house on the outskirts of town, Ginger isn’t like the other girls.

When she wakes up and discovers the unthinkable about her adoptive parents, she runs away and goes on a rampage straight to the only friend she has. Can she control what they both become?

With a violent, growing hunger and more questions than answers, Ginger has nowhere to turn.

As Fast as She Can is currently available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — The author of Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021) and other works, E.F. Schraeder usually writes about not quite real worlds.  Schraeder is also an avid gardener and hot pepper enthusiast who believes in ghosts, magic, and dogs. Say hello online at efschraeder.com.

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RELEASE: As Fast as She Can, by E.F. Schraeder | #author #horror #darkfiction #book @Sirens_Call

As Fast as She Can
E.F. Schraeder

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Living in a quiet house on the outskirts of town, Ginger isn’t like the other girls.

When she wakes up and discovers the unthinkable about her adoptive parents, she runs away and goes on a rampage straight to the only friend she has. Can she control what they both become?

With a violent, growing hunger and more questions than answers, Ginger has nowhere to turn.

As Fast as She Can is currently available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — The author of Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021) and other works, E.F. Schraeder usually writes about not quite real worlds.  Schraeder is also an avid gardener and hot pepper enthusiast who believes in ghosts, magic, and dogs. Say hello online at efschraeder.com.

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RELEASE: The Sirens Call Issue #56 Winter 2021 | #Horror #DarkFic #FREE #eZine @Sirens_Call

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The Sirens Call Zine, issue 56 – Winter 2021

The 56th issue of The Sirens Call weighs in at 190 pages containing 139 pieces of dark fiction and horror in the form of short stories, flash fiction, and dark poetry! This issue also features artist Dave Dick who has shared 12 pieces of his artwork with us, including Sky Monster, which is featured on the cover. This issue also spotlights our first glimpse from cartoonist D.S. Ullery, his article A Cartoon Saved My Life, and 12 of his satirical and humorous Goulash panels. Our featured author, Mike Salt, has a bit of advice for budding or struggling authors, and has graciously offered an excerpt from his novella, The House on Harlan.

Visit us at SirensCallPub.com to download your free copy!

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED: The Sirens Call – Winter 2021 – issue 56 #Submissions #Closed @Sirens_Call

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Submissions for the eZine are currently closed. Please check back in January when we open the call for Spring 2022 issue!

See ya then!

Please visit our web site for further details and guidelines: www.SirensCallPub.com

RELEASE: The Sirens Call Issue #55 Halloween 2021 | #Horror #DarkFic #FREE #eZine @Sirens_Call

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The Sirens Call Zine, issue 55 – Halloween 2021

The 55th issue of The Sirens Call is 184 pages containing 143 pieces of dark fiction and horror in the form of short stories, flash fiction, and dark poetry! This issue also features artist Victor Hugo Palacios Mendez who has shared 12 pieces of artwork with us; a glimpse at Cult of the Box and why you want to join; featured filmmaker Mike Lera with three short films – Frames, The Shell, and The Imaginist; and featured author Angela Yuriko Smith who offers us a glimpse into her Stoker nominated book, Bitter Suites.

Visit us at SirensCallPub.com to download your free copy!