• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

The 7 Evil Dwarves are back with a new Swamp! #7EDs

On the tail end of our journey through the writing workshops over the last month, I wanted to see if you all have checked out the reswampped home of the 7 Evil Dwarves (www.7evildwarves.com)? We’ve added some new stops.

Since I spent most of June doing writer marketing stuff, release stuff, and setting things into place for the second PSY-IV Team book, I also threw in remodeling my site, which in turn bled over into reswammping the 7ED site. We’ve let the mud creep up over the last few months. Some of the dwarves have huddled inside their shacks refusing to venture out into the common areas, so we as a group decided it was time to get ourselves back in shape. (Okay, yes, maybe I pushed…a little…with a bulldozer…but the results are worth it, right?)

To ensure we stay on track, we set up a new blog schedule. Every day a dwarf will post. Doesn’t matter how long or short, they will post so our visitors know we aren’t a ghost swamp.

We added a page listing all our author interviews (in alpha order, because my CDO kicked in). These interviews are us asking writers we admire questions, so check out the list and feel free to spend some time in the Swamp Guest Archives tab.

You’ll notice we number a bit more than 7, but we have a couple of dwarves who hold honorary positions, so we’re not kicking them out. We each have a page, so take the time to give the hairy eyeball to each one.

There’s a tab–Writings of the Dwarves–this is a must see. Here you will find all our literary accomplishments, along with links to access them. Our goal, to add a few more names and titles by this time next year.

You’ll notice there’s a tab titled, SWAMP TALES. This requires constant checking because we have gathered around the campfire and began a story–just for you readers. Each of us takes a piece in round robin format. Of course, at the time of writing this post, it’s a bit snarly, but I’m sure we’ll find our way out…soon…or else!

Then there’s another page for all those writers out there who are looking for some helpful sites and communities. Doesn’t matter your genre, feel free to click and play.

Take your time, mosey around my place (www.jamigray.com) and check out the first chapter of each book, sign up for my newsletter. (So far, I’ve only sent out one and I’ll probably send one more out later this year, which means, that’s what? Two a year. Shouldn’t crowd your in-box too much.) Then check out the nooks and crannies at the Swamp.

Let us know what’s working, what isn’t, and what you might expect but didn’t find.

 

Welcome Home, Anna Conda

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Greetings and Salutations honorable readers of the blog,

I hope you didn’t miss last week’s blog, Robert Louis Stevenson came for a visit to discuss The Body Snatcher, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jeckyll And Mr. Hyde. It seems that doctors in fiction are much maligned. There was Dr. Moreau;  from The Island of Dr. Moreau, by H.G.Wells; Dr. Frankenstein; from Mary Shelly’s, Frankenstein; Dr. Herbert West; from H.P. Lovecraft’s, Herbert West Reanimator; and who could forget Dr. Hannibal Lecter, from The Silence of The Lambs, by Thomas Harris. These are but a few of the more renown doctors of horror. There are countless tales of doctors whose experiments have ended badly for people. Sometimes the balance of the world is at stake. That is not to say literature presents all doctors in a negative light, but in the realm of horror when a doctor enters the scene, it’s time to duck and cover. 

Speaking of doctors, please welcome one of the Swamps more celebrated residents Dr. Anna Conda. Anna has starred in such films as Anaconda, Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid, Anaconda 3: The Offspring, and a myriad of National Geographic’s specials. Harvard Law has just bestowed her with an honorary degree for her contribution to maintaining the reputations of snakes everywhere.

“Hey Anna, welcome home. Will you be staying a while or do you have to jet off to another thrilling film location?”

“Thanks for that warm welcome everyone. No Eerie, I won’t be leaving for a while. I’m taking some time off to recuperate.”

“Great, it will be a pleasure having your smiling face around the place for a change. What can you tell us about this honorary degree?”

“I don’t know that much really. My agent called and said something about Harvard Law’s alumni working in Washington D.C. as politicians and lobbyists. Then something about me being a famous snake. The next thing I know, I’m staying in a beautiful suite at The Charles Hotel in Boston.”

“So this had something to do with politicians, lobbyists, and snakes. I see the connection now. Will you be called on to perform any public speaking engagements?”

“My agent said anything of that nature would be negotiated by him. Have you met my agent King Cobra?”

“I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure.”

“Well King, made sure I was treated like royalty during my stay in Boston. They gave the cutest little hat with a tassel and everything.”0511-0703-2014-1738.jpg

“I’m very happy for you. What are you plans for your stay at home?”

“I thought I’d catch up on my water colors. I can never find the time to paint when I travel.”

“I heard they’re having a welcome home party for you over at The Slice Your Own Deli tonight.”

“Yes, I’m very excited to see everyone. I’ve missed you all so much.”

Mischievous Raven appears in a noisy rustle of ebony feathers. “Hey Anna, How you doin‘?” Mischievous tries to arch his eyebrows. (Which is comical if you’ve ever seen a raven be seductive.)

“Hi Mischievous,”Anna, all but purrs, (can a snake purr?) “Are you coming to my party tonight?”

“Wouldn’t miss it, Baby. Maybe you and I can get a little alone time later.”

Anna moves close and wraps around Mischievous. “I’d like that Sugar.”

“Not to tight baby.” Mischievous squirms.

“Sorry Sugar, sometimes my passion gets away from me.”

“Save it for later. I heard Maggot Brain is performing tonight in honor of your return.”

“That’s wonderful. I love their song I”m infected for you? It’s a real mood setter.” Anna puts another wrap on Mischievous.

“I know the one.” Mischievous does a little grind.

“Hey hey, this is a family show, You two ought to get a room.” I use my hat to conceal my eyes.

“I’d better go shed my skin so I’m ready for tonight.” Anna, slithers off.

“Whew, she’s hot.” Mischievous shakes out his rumpled feathers. “I better go.”

“I thought you were going to tell our guests about your visit to the Left Coast?”

“Later, I got things to go, places to see, and people to do, my man. Later.”

Sorry folks, it’ looks like it’s that time again. As is our custom, I leave you with Prince.

“There’s a dark side to everything.”
Prince

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf Aka Dave Benneman

Haunted By Literary Ghosts of Horror

Greetings and Salutations noble readers of the blog,

Tonight we are in the unconsecrated graveyard of the old Catholic Church. If you’ve accompanied me to this location before, you know you are in for a special treat. Tonight’s guest is not specifically known as a horror writer. His vast body of work includes, travel logs, poetry, historical observations, letters, novels and short stories. His best known work is Treasure Island. With no further ado, please give it up for, Robert Louis Stevenson.

“Welcome Robert, please make yourself comfortable.”

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Our guest Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson's Grave on Mt. Vaea Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Grave on Mt. Vaea Samoa

 

“Thank you so much for having me. My impression was you wanted to talk about my more fanciful work.”

“That’s true, but I can’t begin without first telling you what an impact Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Black Arrow had on me as a boy. I’ve fancied myself a ‘Young Jim Hawkins’ on more than one occasion. Hiding in the apple barrel, or keeping a weather eye out for a seafaring man with one leg.”

“It’s kind of you to say sir.”

“To your point, we here are most interested in your tales as they relate to the unexplained. The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde for example.”

“A most interesting tale of a good man, who in the name of science, commits atrocities.”

“The doctor over reaching is certainly a recurring theme in literature. Mary Shelly’s Dr. Frankenstein is possibly the most well-known.”

“Quite, Mary’s concept of man subjugating the Creator has always been one of my favorites. How I would have relished a summer on Lake Geneva with the likes of Percy and Mary Shelly, Lord Byron, Dr. Pollidori.”

“The good Doctor Jekyll creates an elixir that separates good from evil in a man. Is this a discourse on the dual nature of man?”

“Exactly, it illustrates how our good, tempers our bad, by showing what our natures are like when isolated.”

“Some will point to this story as an example of an individual suffering from mental illness. Dissociative Identity Disorder, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and Psychosis are the most closely related diagnosis. Did you know someone who suffered from any of these illnesses?”

“Of course, we all encounter people in our lives who suffer from disorders of the brain. The earliest physicians recognized that there are illnesses that they could label, but not treat.”

“Speaking of doctors.  Dr. Jekyll is not the only antagonist doctor you’ve written about. Of course I’m thinking of Dr. Toddy Macfarlane. The Body Snatcher is one of my favorite short stories. One I often read  when the I’m moved to scare someone.”

“I too, am quite fond of that tale.” His broad smile reaches past his eyes lighting up the night. “‘Did you think me dead? We are not so easily shut of our acquaintance.'”

“Very nice Robert, I don’t suppose you’ve memorized every line of every thing you’ve written.”

“Hardly sir, but at least one telling line from all the fiction to be sure. And much of the poetry. It seems in my current state my faculties have remained sharp. Oh, but if I could only write something from grave, the stories I could tell.”

“What keeps you from it?”

His countenance darkens at my question. “There are powers to be reckoned with. Formal Federations that must be abided. They do not take kindly to one who would disregard their authority.”

“We had a visitor who simply walked away from here into the world of the living. That must be against the rules.”

“Yes, quite, to remark that the regime was distressed by that act of indifference would be to understate the obvious.”

“I’m getting the wrap it sign Robert. Can you stay a while after my guests have gone?”

“I’ll stay until I get the hook as they say on the stage.”

“Wonderful, give me a moment.”

“Folks I suggest you make your way from the cemetery while the spirits are protecting us. Mr. Stevenson has agreed to hang around a while for those who are willing to risk it.”

Next week I expect Mischievous Raven will be back from his business meetings on the left coast. in the interim be safe.

As is our custom, I leave you with this quote.

“hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”
― Van Morrison

Writ On,

Eerie Dwarf, AKA Dave Benneman

P.S.

Mr. Stevenson kept us through the night until dawn broke telling tails of his life on Samoa and sailing the South Pacific. I say this as an explanation as to why this did not get posted last night. My apologies for any inconvenience.

E.D.

 

 

The Monastery of The Werewolf Monks

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Greetings and salutations distinguished readers of the blog,

Please keep your voices down some of the intrepid visitors who joined us last week for our adventure into the Impenetrable Forest are still recovering. Sadly some did not complete the trip, but that’s what we call acceptable losses. If everyone made it through it wouldn’t really be dangerous.

last remains of one of our followers after the piranha hummingbird attack.

last remains of one of our followers after the piranha hummingbird attack.

This is the famous monastery of the monastic order of The Werewolf Monks. They have made us feel very welcome. As to the reason we’re visiting, to be honest, they weren’t as much help as I’d hoped. They won’t help with the horde of hungry, shambling, zombies. (I know too many adjectives, but every once in a while you have to cut loose.)So rather than go home to a bunch of angry neighbors, I thought we’d hang out here for a while. Brother Lawrence has agreed to give us a tour.

“Grrrreetings folks and welcome to the monastery, if you’ll all follow me. I hope you don’t mind stairs we have many of them. We’ll start with one of Eerie’s favorite places.”

At the top of the stairs Brother Lawerence opens a narrow wooden door banded with iron straps. Once inside the guests are treated to the stunning three-story library.

“We have books, manuscripts and scrolls that date back to 1,200 years BC. This room for example contains the renaissance period. A most prolific time for men to put their ideas down on paper. For instance we have the largest collection of Leonardo Da Vinci’s work including diagrams of machines that wouldn’t be built for two more centuries. Through that doorway is Eerie’s favorite room of study. It contains writings about vampires, witches, fairies, dragons, trolls, leprechauns, elves, dwarves, and all the creatures that are today thought to be mythological.” 

10404508_814719525212964_1708668224599247983_n“Excuse me Brother Lawrence, but shouldn’t you share these precious works with the rest of the world,” a guest asked.

“Grrrrrrrr, the rest of the world does not deserve these works. Nor would they take them seriously. You would do well to remember you are a guest here.” Brother Lawrence salivates.

I move quickly insinuating myself between my visitor and Brother Lawrence whose nails have already begun grow. “Sorry Brother Lawrence, they mean no harm they are only human. Allowances must be extended.”

“Of course you right, Eerie, but it’s been a while since I’ve fed, and I have no patience for such impudence!”

“Why don’t I finish showing them around?”

“Very well, keep them out of the basement. We’re pressing a fresh crop for the new wines.”

“Yes of course. No basement.”

“Bother Lawrence comes from a long line of Werewolves, his family name is Talbot.”

Folks if you’ll follow me, I show you to the chapel. Down that corridor are the monks sleeping quarters and the room where they take their repast. Silence once we enter the chapel. I’ll answer any questions you have when we leave.” The smell of incense is strong when we enter the chapel. The light passing through the stained glass windows is diffused into rainbows. The altar is simple and dominated by a stone carved into a large table with a depression designed to drain fluids to the end where a collection barrel sits.

“I hope you got a good look at the windows. Each one depicts the many stages of the moon throughout the year. Of course the best known panel is the Blood Moon that dominates the chapel at the center of the altar. The stain glass work dates back to the 12th century.”

“What was that table for on the altar?”

“That is where they prepare the Eucharist.”

“Which is what exactly?”

“You would have to make an application to become a monk and go through years of training before you will learn the secrets of the Holy Sacraments.”

“It looks like–“

“Like we’re almost out of time. This way. Come along. No stragglers please. This is the complimentary wine tasting area and gift shop. Please sample some wines and browse as long as you like. You can purchase any of the wines to take home with you. I’ll see you all next week.”

Whew, I thought that guy would never shut up. It’s been a long day, I think we better wrap it up and I have a wrap it up quote ready for you.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.” H. P. Lovecraft

Write On,

Errie Dwarf  AKA Dave Benneman

 

 

 

 

 

The Impenetrable Forest

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Greetings and Salutations Insightful readers of the blog,

Sorry about the interruption last week. I hope the zombies didn’t eat too many of you as you made your way here. The muses only rounded up 20 of our missing zombies last week. Mischievous is meeting with the producers of The Walking Dead today. He will try to appease them after we shorted the order by 5 zombies. The muses got distracted when they were searching around Dreamer Dwarf’s cottage. It seems the pretty flowers she grows do more than provide a colorful backdrop. Some of them can be ingested for medicinal purposes. The muses aren’t sick mind you, unless using Dreamer’s flowers for recreational use is an illness. In short, last weeks search was abandoned by the muses for more nefarious motives.

Today we will be embarking on a dangerous excursion through the Impenetrable Forest to seek the assistance of the Werewolf Monks. They live in the monastery on the other side of the forest. I hope their extensive library and knowledge can help us with the zombies. Who currently have The Swamp surrounded. They’re scaring away visitors and eating everything in sight.

While in the forest keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. In the event we lose cabin pressure a mask will drop down from the overhead compartment, place the mask over your nose and mouth and… sorry wrong script.

15 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST TURN BACK NOW

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Pay no attention to that sign. it’s there to scare you away.

10 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST YOU ARE IN IMMINENT DANGER

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Stay close together now. If you get separated from the group blow the whistle that I handed out earlier.

5 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST YOUR DEATH AWAITS

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Stay alert it is mating season for the Piranha Hummingbirds, they are especially hungry during this time of year. When the Piranha Hummingbirds attack the only way to identify your remains is through dental records. They pick your skeleton completely clean.

WELCOME TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR BRIEF VISIT

HAVE A NICE DAY

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It is most important to be silent as we venture in. The Killer Koalas are vicious, but slow. We will stay in a tight formation. Hold hands with your neighbor. Don’t scream under any circumstances. Human screams drive the Giant Vampire Tarantulas crazy. Does everyone have a partner? Good.

Any questions? Listen up people, the question is, what happens if Killer Koalas attack? If you’re attacked by Killer Koalas, trip the person next to you and run like hell. Don’t Scream.

Next. Don’t worry about The Piranha Hummingbirds. They are to busy finding mates, they shouldn’t be a problem.

All right one more, then we’ve got to go before it’s gets dark. What if someone screams?  Good question. Get down on the forest floor, tuck your head between your legs, and kiss your butt goodbye. If your remains are ever found, a dry husk will be all that’s left. Giant Vampire Tarantulas drain every last drop of moisture from you. Then they use your dried carcass to build there nests. Nothing gets wasted in nature.

Let’s review the rules. Don’t scream. Stay together. Don’t scream. Watch for Piranha Hummingbirds . Don’t scream.

Let’s go I’ll see you all on the other side.

One last thing, this weeks quote, it may be the last.

This one come from Tom Waits. The song Mr. Siegal

“Where they live hard, die young
And have a good lookin’ corpse every time”

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

 

 

Make ’em Bleed

Unlike Eerie dwarf, I only read horror when it is a bright sunny day, and I’m surrounded by other dwarves in my swamp. But as a writer I have realize the importance of suspense and conflict in all genres. From emotional tension within a scene, to inner character turmoil, suspense and conflict make the mundane fascinating and keep those pages flying.

One book I highly recommend on this topic is Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell. It goes from the larger concepts such as conflict in your books theme, to the minuscule ideas such as using grammar to stretch tension. It has exercises for characters and editing which can help with your current manuscript. Mine is dog-eared and marked up as I have already gone back to it several times as I am editing my current novel.

I like to see my characters bleed whether physically or emotionally. And if you care enough about a character, people will want to see the outcome. It’s those stale moments that make me drop a book and sometimes fail to pick it up again. So to all those writers out there, keep the stakes high and make ‘em bleed.

Free Range Organic Zombies Abound

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Greetings and Salutations most reputable readers of the blog,

(deep, intimidating voice of announcer) Eerie’s message has been preempted for this important announcement from Dave Benneman.

If you are a returning visitor to The 7 Evil Dwarves blog site you are accustomed to the chaos the reigns supreme here. We are a critique group from various backgrounds and experiences. We started our joint blog several years ago on a whim. The idea is to keep fresh content up 7 days a week. The fly in the soup is of course that we have no rules. So on any given week you find discussions about honing the craft, or someone sharing a recent experience at a conference, or it may not be related to writing at all. Our content is as diverse as our group. I say this here to encourage you to keep coming back because I’m certain you will find something for you.

My day is Friday. On Fridays you will join Eerie Dwarf and his ragtag band of misfits on a variety of adventures. This is always written off the cuff with much tongue in cheek, strictly for entertainment. Friday is about getting in touch with the my creative brain and your inner child. I hope you get a an opportunity to laugh out loud at Eerie’s antics. It is all in fun.

Sunday is the day we update Swamp Tales, which is a round robin style story where each writer picks up where the last writer left off. It is total chaos with 7 different styles and voices all steering the story for a few paragraphs. Sometimes we will feature guests who want to toss in their two cents. To check it out, click on the Swamp Tales tab.

Because we are writers and insecure by nature please click like if something tickles you. If you’re really moved leave a comment. When you find yourself dumbstruck, tell your friends. If any of these things happens regularly you might want to become a follower. This is the only way we can learn what you like.

(Announcer, a little less intimidating this time) Now returning to the regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.

“I’m coming as fast as I can Mischievous, not all of us were born with wings you know.”

“Not only do you not have wings, you were short-changed in the leg department too. If I were you I’d hire C.Rock Adile to sue for Legligence.” Mischievous flies into a tree he’s laughing so hard. “Ouch, that smarts.”

“It serves you right for making fun of my stature.” Eerie looks up to see his guests have finally arrived. “Oh hello folks. Give us a few minutes there seems to problem with our herd of zombies.”

“Hurry, you can see the corral from here.” Mischievous hops up and down pointing.

Eerie stops in his tracks. “What happened here? Where are the Zombies?”

“I don’t know. They were here last night. This morning I found the gate unlocked.”

“This is terrible.”

“I know I have an order to ship tomorrow for The Walking Dead. Where am I going to get 25 Free Range Organic Zombies (registered Trademark) in time to ship tomorrow.”

“I think your missing the bigger picture. When did you feed them last?”

“Yesterday, why?”

“So we have how many hungry Zombies wandering around.”

“There were 97  yesterday.”

RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED

RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED

“This is bad. This really bad. Go check that new Zombie restaurant that opened last week. If they’re hungry, maybe we’ll catch them there.”

“And what do you propose I do if I find them. Now that they’ve tasted freedom, so to speak, I don’t think they’ll come back because I ask them nicely.”

“You keep an eye on them. I’ll gather the muses. If anyone can get them back in the cages it’s them. Now go. What are you waiting for.”

“Your not getting HER too, are you?” Mischievous’ voice shakes.

“Of course, if Wicked can spare her. Don’t worry, she was kidding about needing a new feather pillow.”

“Maybe the zombies will get the best of her, then I won’t have worry at all. Although I bet she’s too tough for our Free Range Organic Zombies taste.”

“Stop stalling, the sooner we get them back where they belong the better.” Mischievous alights in a rustle of ebony. “As you can see folks we’re kind of busy today. I’ll issue you all free passes to return next week. In the mean time, be careful on your way home. Zombies abound.”

As is our custom on Friday, I leave you with a quote. (some weeks it may be the only thing worth showing up for).

“Let’s do what you fear most
. That from which you recoil
, but which still makes your eyes moist”  Lou Reed

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Swamp

Greetings and Salutations Discerning Readers of the blog,

My sidekick Mischievous Raven said he would join today , but alas, he is either late or not coming. Not unlike his moniker, which he comes by honestly, I’m sure he’s up to no good wherever he is. I thought we’d take a moment and meet some of the other colorful residents of The Swamp. On the right where all the packing boxes are stacked up is the shack of Wicked Dwarf, (whispers conspiratorially) she moves often. I wouldn’t mention it to her though she’s sensitive about her gypsy blood. When she’s not packing or unpacking, she’s chasing down the Prankster Duo, keeping the Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor in check, or writing.

As Jami Gray her Kyn Chronicles will take you behind the curtain where you will discover your sharing the planet with some pretty foreboding creatures. And you thought it was all fairy tales. Shifters, Witches, Fey, and yes, even Demons are walking amongst us. (Even Demons, that’s kind of catchy. But I digress.) Not all of them are good sharers, and that’s where the trouble begins. Within this unsavory group there is an elite squad of Wraiths who police the Kyn community and keep us barely drooling humans safe. When her muse comes calling we generally clear out of the neighborhood. Mischievous is especially frightened of her.

A sudden rustle of wind and a flash of ebony. “Did I hear my name mentioned.”

Ahh, Mischievous, good of you to join us. We’re just doing a little tour.

“Is Her Deadliness here?” He points one quaking wing at Wicked’s door.

No, I don’t think so. Wicked is taking a short break. I’m sure her muse is off sharpening her knives and swords.

“Oh yes, one must keep the tools of the trade sharp, even if that trade is killing things.”

I’m sure you exaggerate.

“I think not, do you remember when she commented on what a lovely black feather boa I would make. Or that time on Troll mountain when she suggested raven stew for dinner.”

She’s probably teasing.

“Uh huh. and the pope wears a spinner beanie. When she teases you about making you less of a man, with that gleam in her eye, while she slides her finger along a shiny blade and then licks blood from the cut, (Mischievous takes a deep breath) Call me. I want to be there.”

Okay I get it. Relax. Say hi to our visitors.

“Hi, have any of you seen a cranky crocodile moping around?” Turning his head 180 degrees he looks back.

What have you done to C.Rock Adile, now?

“Someone had to shut him up. I was at the Slice your own Deli for breakfast and he was going on about how important he is, having worked for the crown and all that. You know what a blowhard he is.”

Yes, but you can’t expect the whole world to be quiet because you were hung over.

“It wasn’t even noon yet. Something had to done, so I slipped a laxative in his Swamp Juice. He suddenly had to go, and go, and go. Hahaha.”

I hope he doesn’t figure out what happened, for your sake.

“He’s always grouching at someone. Speaking of the Deli, today’s dinner special is Toad Tacos.”

We best go then you know how crowded it gets. I guess we’ll continue the tour nest week. Your welcome to join us at the deli for dinner. The Toad Tacos are one of their specialties.

If you’re looking for something to read this summer Check out www.Jami Gray.com

Shadows Edge Cover Shadows Moon CoverShadows Soul Cover

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If you have slogged through all this, may I direct your attention to the SWAMP TALES tab above. Each of the Evil 7 writes a piece of a story picking up where someone else left off.

This weeks quote comes from Jungleland, By Bruce Sringsteen

“And the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be”

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

Friday The Thirteenth

Greetings and Salutations distinguished readers of the blog,

Welcome to the Swamp. Your humble servant Eerie Dwarf here to help guide you through another Friday the Thirteenth. This is not just any Friday the Thirteenth however. On this Thirteenth day of June 2014, we will also experience a full moon. Now a full Moon has its own qualities that will cause a prudent person to take special precautions.

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For instance during a full moon one should steer clear of altercations as they will leave lasting effects, especially with family and neighbors. The sick must not look directly  on the full moon or their illness will be long-lasting. Never sleep under a full moon because this will bring sickness and even death. The moon seen over the right shoulder brings good luck, however if viewed over the left shoulder bad luck will abound.

This alone is reason enough to hide in a cave today. Factor in the additional hazards of a Friday, which has been considered unlucky since the fourteenth century and the number Thirteen, and you have the hat trick of bad luck lurking over your shoulder.

Let’s begin with the basics. You should not change your bed on this day because it brings bad dreams. If you pass a funeral procession on this day some one will die on the following day. If you cut your hair a family member will die. Trim your nails and bad luck will surely follow. Never start a journey, a business, set sail, or consult an astrologer on this day. If you were unlucky enough to have been born on Friday the Thirteenth you should pick yourself out a nice cardboard box and live under a bridge.

friday-13th-superstitions

While we are exorcising caution, I must also warn the more common faux pas are multiplied ten fold on this day. For example if you break a mirror forget seven years, you’re in for seventy years of bad luck. See a pin, you best pick it up. Always leave through the door you enter from. For the knitters out there, you should not leave a project unfinished or the intended recipient will have bad luck. I could go on here, but you have your own superstitions and I will let you wrestle with those as best you can.

elevator buttons

If you are of the camp scoffers, allow me to run some numbers by you.

More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
Many airports skip the 13th gate.
Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day.

If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck. Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo and David Benneman all have 13 letters in their names. I ask you, is this all coincidence? I fear not.

So while you are merrily reading this post I will be safely hunkered down in a cave, inside a circle of salt, sleeping with my head to the north, clutching a rabbit’s foot. My clothes will be worn inside out to keep evil spirits at bay. I will abstain from using any and all technology on that day. Cars, computers, phones, and the internet are certain paths to the destruction of your soul. Even two cans and a string can lead the forces of evil to your door on Friday the Thirteen with a full moon. I’m risking a fire in the cave, but rest assured I’ll be knocking three times on each piece of wood I sacrifice to the gods of warmth and light.

I advise you to take heed, unless you are the seventh son of a seventh son, today will test you.

Next Friday we’ll visit my neighbors in the Swamp so that you can get to know them. My trusty sidekick Mischievous Raven has promised to make himself available as well. By the way the old crone who lives with us in the Swamp is having a sale on charms and spells for the holiday. I bought this warthog tusk from her. It may not be pretty, but she guaranteed it will keep me safe.

Todays Quote comes from the blues song Born Under A Bad Sign, lyrics penned by William Bell.

“Born under a bad sign, been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”

Thanks for dropping by. If I missed any of your favorite superstitions please leave them in comments.

Good Luck

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

 

valentines day

Greetings and Salutations,

I was going to do something like, my top 20 love songs or some other weepy crap. But then it occurred to me, it is my job to bring some horror into your life. This is the first story I ever read by Edgar Allen Poe. It was fifth grade, so I must have been ten years old. It made quite an impression on me. And so, with no further ado I present;th

The Tell-Tale Heart

 

Edgar Allan Poe


TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded — with what caution — with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly, very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then when my head was well in the room I undid the lantern cautiously — oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights, every night just at midnight, but I found the eye always closed, and so it was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who vexed me but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed , to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers, of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was opening the door little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea, and perhaps he heard me, for he moved on the bed suddenly as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back — but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened through fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening , and the old man sprang up in the bed, crying out, “Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening; just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief — oh, no! It was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself, “It is nothing but the wind in the chimney, it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or, “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes he has been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions ; but he had found all in vain. ALL IN VAIN, because Death in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard, to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time very patiently without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little — a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it — you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily — until at length a single dim ray like the thread of the spider shot out from the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye.

It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness — all a dull blue with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones, but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct precisely upon the damned spot.

And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses? now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder, every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! — do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me — the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once — once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence.

I took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his — could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out — no stain of any kind — no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that.

When I had made an end of these labours, it was four o’clock — still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, — for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, — for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search — search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My MANNER had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness — until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.

No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND — MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly, more vehemently but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why WOULD they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what COULD I do? I foamed — I raved — I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! — no, no? They heard! — they suspected! — they KNEW! — they were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! — and now — again — hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! —

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

Write on,

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

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