Happy Halloween!

Happy All Hallow’s Eve Everyone! :) What are you guys up to? Hope you’re having fun!

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Note: This is a scheduled post. This season’s pretty sacred for my family so we’ll all be hanging out in our departed loved ones’ mausoleum… praying and lighting candles and eating and catching up and watching wholesome movies with the projector on top of our ancestors’ sarcophagus (not necessarily in that order). ;)

Anyway, awesome news: Writer, photographer, artist and award winning jeweler Isadora De La Vega interviewed me! Visit her blog to read the Q&A. http://insidethemindofisadora.com/2014/10/29/eclectic-eccentric/

She asked me about 100 Nightmares, Bones III, and my thoughts on writing, publishing, and the horror genre.

Thank you, Isadora, for the lovely conversation. <3

xox

100 Nightmares featured in the ABSOLUTE Magazine!

Just got the most perfect news for this season! 100 Nightmares is featured in the ABSOLUTE Magazine!

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“Thanks to her masterful phrasing and wonderfully chilling imagination, 100 Nightmares will delight any fan of horror and the supernatural.” – Amanda Ferris, the ABSOLUTE Mag

You can read the full article through this link: http://theabsolutemag.com/18913/books/get-your-scare-on-with-k-z-moranos-100-nightmares/

Considered as tastemakers, the folks at the ABSOLUTE uncover rare and interesting finds from across the web… stuff that “doesn’t suck”. :) The contributors are honest and passionate about the things that they recommend so be sure to check out the site. You’ll find everything there– music, art, books, games… things that are cool and original.

Thank you so much! :)

Happy Halloween! <3

The Price of Youth – A 100-word story

The Price of Youth
by K.Z. Morano

I was a rotting fruit… fattening flies… waiting to be harvested by death.

I stared at the mirror as the maggots of old age consumed me. Skin, sinew, skeleton, soul…

Then the peddler came, with his potion and persuasive tongue.

It seemed like a fair price at the time.

After all, what need have I for toes…

Or posterior teeth…

Or ovaries…

They’re easily concealed.

Three wealthy husbands later, he returned.

“Fear not, Madame,” he chitchatted as he severed my leg. “Long skirts are fashionable these days.”

I opened my mouth to scream… and silence exploded within the tongueless cavity.

boo! happy almost Halloween, everyone! xox ;)

boo! happy almost Halloween, everyone! xox ;)

Throwback Tales: The Other Child

The Other Child
By K.Z. Morano

My name is Lila. Not that I expect anyone to recognize my name. I am after all, just the “other child”. But I do have a story to tell. And though it may not seem as magical as the candy-colored versions they tell about my brother and sister, it is nonetheless the truth.

I was ten when Hans and Greta came into our lives. They were no more than suckling infants, children of Mr. Higgs whose wife had died of childbirth. I pitied the woman; the babies’— if you could call them that— enormous heads must’ve ripped her apart. Her single reprieve was that she did not live long enough to see what they looked like.

Ugly creatures they were, with limbs gnarled like the branches of an ancient tree and pink eyes that poked out from their massive skulls. Shameful scandals of nature. To have brought them into this world was a sin in itself.

Still, there could be no greater love than that of a mother’s. And it was for my recently widowed mother’s love for me and my baby brother that she had agreed to nurse them. Money was money, after all. And I’d like to think that it was for Mama’s love for us that she had agreed to share Mr. Higgs’ bed as well.

Since they were always suckled first, the creatures grew stout and strong while my little brother grew thin and sickly on whatever that was left. I shall never forget that one afternoon when I came home from the forest with my palms full of berries. I saw Mama staring out the window, a twin’s mouth latched on each of her nipples. They wriggled in horrific delight as they greedily sucked the life from her. Their plump cheeks and snub-noses were smeared with crimson that dripped towards the floor in a rhythmic tap, tap, tap…

“Mama!” She started and looked down at her bloody breasts.

“Goodness,” she murmured absently. “They must’ve been very hungry.”

It baffled me how they were already able to grow a complete set of teeth— they were yellow and needle-like— while my brother still hadn’t any. But then they were always different. The boy’s reddish gaze followed me everywhere while the girl’s stare seemed frighteningly intelligent, as though she had an understanding of the hatred and fear that her presence stirred from within me and enjoyed it immensely.

Great was my relief when Mama declared that she’ll stop feeding them. But the news soon eclipsed my happiness. Mr. Higgs, now impoverished, was to live with us in our tiny cottage. It was hardly surprising. Famine was upon us and Mama was a woman with conscience. What did surprise us all was the sudden death of Mr. Higgs. He was found in the thickets— dismembered, disemboweled and drained of blood.

Mama was inconsolable. It didn’t help that we grew hungrier and poorer with each passing day. Left with nothing but a few crumbs of stale bread, I finally convinced Mama to get rid of the twins. Fewer mouths to feed, I said. And they were always insatiable. And so one night, we took them deep into the woods. The wind stabbed at flesh like icy knives and the barren trees reared like frozen giants. They didn’t cry. The twins simply sagged against the tree like a pair of hideous puppets, holding hands, framed against the background of silver mist.

Whatever Mama did, she did out of love for me and my brother. Not that it helped him much. My brother died anyway, consumed by a sickness. It was too late to save him; the monstrous twins had already stolen what they could from him. It wasn’t long before Mama’s guilt caught up her with her and slowly, she began to lose her grasp on reality…

For me, it was years of struggling with famine, years of caring for my ailing Mama… People were afraid to venture into the woods for fear of the strange beast that lurked there. Though it had never been caught or seen, it always left a trail of blood, bones and bowels.

So grave were my troubles that I was close to forgetting that the twins ever existed. But then they came back, as Mama said they would. We pay for the sins we commit, she said. One day, the tangle of bushes parted and out they came, five years older but no less repulsive. Mama begged me to let them stay. She said we could afford to feed them now and she wanted their forgiveness.

The twins never spoke a word. I suppose there had been no one in the woods to teach them. The fact that they had managed to survive on their own was disturbingly peculiar. Then I looked at them and thought: How utterly silly; they’re so tiny.

Then one afternoon when I came home from the market, a delicious aroma wafted from the kitchen, insinuating its way into my nostrils.

“Surprise…” said a voice, soft and spidery. It was the first time that I heard Greta speak.

Something hissed and crackled in the oven.

“Where’s Mama?” I asked.

When Hans spoke, his voice was deep and hoarse. “Yummy . Yummy.” He rubbed his bloated belly and pointed into the rustling inferno. “Tummy. Tummy.”

It was then that I saw the blood-stained pieces of Mama’s clothing on the floor.

I think I went mad then.

I ran out of the cottage screaming and went as far away as I could, never to return again. News from the old village would still reach me as troubadours sang their versions of the tale, adding candy and gingerbread— distorting the story, syllable by syllable, until the truth lies buried beneath the fantastical lies.

Mama said we pay for the sins we commit. But I think we pay more dearly for the sins we fail to commit. I look at my infant step-daughter, her unfamiliar eyes dark and beady, and I place the pillow on her face.

Copyright: © 2013 K.Z. Morano

Note: First appeared in UGLY BABIES: the Anthology, JWK Fiction, October 2013
Reprinted in BLOOD REIGN LIT MAGAZINE, December 2013
and Republished The Sirens Call – Issue #13 – Women in Horror (Second Annual Edition), February 2014

:) Thanks for reading. The Other Child may not be my best but it’s certainly special to me. It was my first ever horror story! Well, flash fiction, since it’s exactly 1,000 words… ^^ It was published in Ugly Babies exactly one year ago. My, my… how time flies. So I guess this is Happy Horror Anniversary to me. :)
Five days until Halloween… xox

BONES III

Perfect. Just in time for Halloween! :) the Kindle version of Bones III is now available on Amazon!! I have a story in this collection entitled “Hitchhiker.”
Do you remember that micro-fiction piece, “Hitchhiker” that I wrote for FF? Well, I decided to expand the story and you can now read the longer version in this anthology. :)

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There are bones of the dead everywhere, and they’re sharp. Under your feet as you walk across your yard, in the cement of buildings, under the foundation of your home, in the coffee you drink, in the food you eat. Science estimates 100 billion human beings have lived and died. There are bones everywhere. There are skeletons everywhere, from universities to unnamed places we really don’t want to know about. We love skeletons as we are walking skeletons. There’s an old phrase about skeletons in the closet. What if the skeleton in your closet is real? When we look at strangers, friends and family we fail to see the skull behind the face. And the eyes of skulls are dark and deep. These works of art, poetry and short stories cut deep. To the bone.

Featuring the works of

James S. Dorr
Mary Genevieve Fortier
Robert Edward Petras
C. Rowe
Brian Barnett
Mathias Jansson
Judith Roney
DJ Tyrer
Patricia Anabel
Jerry Langdon
Lemmy Rushmore
Richard King Perkins II
Judith Skillman
Jane Blanchard
Alex S. Johnson
David Slater
David S. Pointer
Lemmy Rushmore
DJ Tyrer
Michael Tugendhat

Tonya L. De Marco
Rachel Anding
R.T.Sirk
Matthew Wilson
Essel Pratt
Alessandro Manzetti
Magenta Nero
Russ Bickerstaff

Scáth Beorh
T Maxim Simmler
Steve Foreman
Phil Sloman
John Ledger
Alexander Sawyer-Irish
Dona Fox
David Schütz II
K.Z. Morano
Sheldon Woodbury
Kerry E.B. Black
Michael Kellar
Josh Pritchett
John W. Dennehy
Barry Rosenberg
Roger Cowin
Lesa Pascavis Smith
Doug Rinaldi
Michael Faun
Mike Jansen

edited by James Ward Kirk

cover art and illustrations by Jerry Langdon

Cover Art

100 nightmares x900

The cover art for my book, 100 Nightmares, was created by Dan Verkys where he made use of photographic manipulation. The model on the photo is Silvia Alessandrini. The work is entitled “An Ugliness Within.” I look at it and see every imaginable horror that exists– the sick, the possessed, the anguished soul, the undead, the predator turned prey.

These old photos also seem to have cover art potential, depending on the genre.

for a book of reflections, perhaps?

for a book of reflections, perhaps?

a love story

a love story

a scary shark story! :)

a scary shark story! :)

an eerie story that i'm calling "the replacement wives"

an eerie story that i’m calling “the replacement wives”… no?

AND THIS IS WHY I DON’T DO MY OWN COVER ART! ;)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/cover-art/