To the Wail and Beyond

What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.

It’s the final day of the blog tour for “Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”! – the latest anthology from Xchyler Publishing, featuring my own “Date Due”, my bestie for life’s “Of Mice and Monsters”, and the works of a whopping ten other word-slinging types.

As one of the authors included in the collection, I’ve not bothered to write up a review of my own. But my main character in “Date Due” gave a running commentary of the book for the Halloween-y “Fortnight of Fright” blog hop, and our reading tastes may share some overlap here and there. Check it out at your leisure!

Here and now, however, the spotlight’s on fellow author F.M. Longo, the man behind the anthology’s “Shrine of Mirrors”. One quick Q&A with F.M., comin’ atcha!

Beyond the Wail, Banner

What is your preferred writing genre?

Mystery – because everything I write turns into one. Actually, you can create a mystery in any other genre – paranormal mysteries, romantic mysteries, historical mysteries.

How does writing impact other parts of your life?

It’s the other parts of my life that impacts my writing. I have a solid hour between 4am and 5am every morning to write. After that, I may get 5-10 minutes a couple times a day to add a few lines to my work in progress.

What are some of your other published works?

My earliest published works date to the mid-1980s, and were computer science topics such as “Generating Square-Roots using Newton’s Method,” “Approximating PI with a Buffon’s Needle Simulation,” and “Principles of Parsing Computer Languages”. After that, most of my articles were on photography and music, and then, in the early 2000s, about 100 articles on the history of food.

What is your advice to writers?

Find your own voice. If your writing sounds like you speak, then you’re there. If it sounds like someone else is speaking, go back and rewrite it. Don’t change your voice because it’s more marketable, or closer to what a specific market is looking for; find the market that matches your voice.

What’s up next for you?

I began a new short story series, this time set in contemporary Tokyo. It falls into paranormal territory and, yes, they’re mysteries. There’s two stories so far, and I haven’t gotten around to polishing them up for submission yet. Soon.

Beyond the Wail, The Authors

About F.M. Longo:

F.M. Longo grew up surrounded by books. He started his own personal book collection at the age of seven, filling his shelves with The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. It wasn’t long before he read his way through the entire works of Christie, Queen, Sayers, Gardner, and Wolfe. He started working in commercial kitchens from the age of fifteen, but he traded his whites for a blue pin-striped suit when he started working in Lower Manhattan, developing financial and communications software for banks, brokerages and other Wall Street companies. He later went back to the kitchen, working as the banquet chef for a large resort, and later, as the executive chef and general manager at a fine-dining restaurant. He is also an accomplished jazz drummer, playing professionally for many years. Now retired, he advises non-profit groups in his area on publicity and advertising. Originally from Stratford, CT, where his four children and seven grandchildren still reside, he currently lives in Woodbury, CT.

Facebook ~ Twitter

Beyond the Wail, Availability



If you haven’t already (or if, what the hey, you wanna do it again), grab an e-book or paperback today! Also, it’s the last day to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and potentially win awesome stuff. So go get ‘em, tiger!

If you’ve missed the other stops on the tour, worry not: I’ve got your schedule hookup below. Peruse as you will. And to any and all who have thus far read “Beyond the Wail”, THAAAAANK YOU. Double thanks if you drop a review somewhere! ^_^


Saturday, Oct. 10 = Danielle E. Shipley (that’s me!)


Sunday, Oct. 11 = Alex McGilvery


Monday, Oct. 12 = T.N. Payne


Tuesday, Oct. 13 = Ginger C. Mann

Beyond the Wail prizes 2

More prizes!


Wednesday, Oct. 14 = L.K. McIntosh


Thursday, Oct. 15 = Jay Barnson


Friday, Oct. 16 = A. F. Stewart


Saturday, Oct. 17 = Amanda Banker


Sunday, Oct. 18 = Julie Barnson


Monday, Oct. 19 = Sebastian Bendix

Beyond the Wail prizes 3

Ever more prizes!


Tuesday, Oct. 20 = Tirzah Duncan


Wednesday, Oct. 21 = F.M. Longo (you are here!)

Beyond the Wail prizes 4


Graphic Paranormal

So, how ‘bout that time “Beyond the Wail” launched and fellow anthology author A. F. Stewart made a heck-ton of amazing graphics? At least one awesome pic per each of the “12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”. Gaze with me…


OF MICE AND MONSTERS by Tirzah Duncan: Troubled by ghosts within and without, Benjamin struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.

Of Mice and Monsters

[To the tune of “Space Ghost”]: Ghooooooost wiiiiiiiiind!

(Relevant: That time the Stranger Than Truth club reviewed “Of Mice and Monsters” in their, uh, inimitable style.)


GO GENTLE by Julie Barnson: After the death of her boyfriend, a young musician uses her talents and a fabled violin to stop the fatal accidents at a dead man’s curve.

Go Gentle

Cool colors reminiscent of a ghost’s chill presence.


DEAD WATER by Amanda Banker: A stalled truck, an abandoned graveyard, and a town not found on any map take two brothers on a detour they’ll never forget.

Dead Water

Don’t follow that road, boys!!!


COLD SPOT by Jay Barnson: When a laptop is stolen from their computer security company, two high school buddies go to extremes to investigate. But, will they manage to return?

Cold Spot

Love how it moves from a tech-ish image into a total fade-out. Quite story appropriate.


THE WEEPING LADY by A. F. Stewart: Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

When it’s the artist’s own story up at the bat, it’s no surprise if the muse goes wild. Check out these three variations.

The Weeping Lady

The Weeping Lady 2

The Weeping Lady 3

(Not sure I can pick a favorite. Can you?)


THE POLTERGEIST AND AUNT BETTY by Ginger C. Mann: Aunt Betty is eccentric, but how much is ghost, how much is medication, and how much is just plain crazy?

The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty

If it isn’t the old Hammond Organ!

(Relevant: That time everyone’s favorite Crazy Aunt Betty hit the stage for Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.)


THE ‘GRIM’ REAPER by L. K. McIntosh: When a soul reaper loses the source of their power, they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.

The 'Grim' Reaper

Ahhh, the fateful antiques shop… *nods knowingly*


SHRINE OF MIRRORS by F. M. Longo: A spy on a mission becomes a believer in the supernatural when the theft of three ancient relics threaten to bring down the empire.

Shrine of Mirrors

Lovely aesthetic. Seems a view Saga Naoki and company would enjoy, no?


DEAD MAN HOCKING by T.N. Payne: A world-weary zombie learns to beware what you wish for, and not all sure bets are worth the gamble.

Dead Man Hocking

I don’t care if it is only Kyle: If a zombie comes walking out of that fog, I’m completely done.


SAINT PETER’S FISH by Alex McGilvery: Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?

Saint Peter's Fish

Sure, the water’s calm now… *waits for the oceanic life to monsoon down* Also, I really like what’s going on with the colors in the second row of text.


THE DIORAMA by Sebastian Bendix: A play set turns life around for Martin Taper, but things take a turn for the worse when he neglects it and the lonely child obsessed with it.

The Diorama

That’s just a straight-up cool little photograph, man. *remembers associated story* *is crept out*


And then there’s MINE!

DATE DUE by Danielle E. Shipley: A magic library’s guardian determines to protect her treasured books, whether their authors elect to do things the easy way … or the fatal one.

Date Due graphic

She used the same image in a warmer shade, too, which I also liked, but this library reads as spookier, and I just tend to lean toward bluer tones in general – in life – so this is the one that gets the coveted blog post spot.

(Relevant: That time Ginger C. Mann went on a character walk with my crazy book lady.)

(See also: That other time, when A. F. Stewart’s Richard Dale had a fireside chat with my Elizabeth Young.)


What do you think, Ever On Wordians? Pretty darn sweet, or nah?

Thanks for the great graphics, A. F.!

(Relevant: The “Beyond the Wail” blog tour is still going, along with its Rafflecopter giveaway. If you haven’t entered yet, get a move on!)

Judging By the Cover…

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

Story's End Cover, gallery size

It’s LAUNCH DAY for “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”! Grab your e-copy (Kindle or Nook) or paperback (Amazon or CreateSpace), and join me for the first day of the fairytale novella series’ last hurrah – the Launch/Farewell Party happening NOW on Facebook. An event of story snippets and songs! An event of games and prizes! Most of all, an event for the readers and characters who came together beneath the boughs of Wilderhark Forest.

Once upon a time, the magical journey began. Now comes the Ever After.

…Also coming now, our regularly scheduled blog post.


Y’ever see a book cover that made your brain go, “Okay, I want to read you. …So wait, what are you about?” I’ve come across a few like that, in recent times. Shallow of me? Mayhap a little. But hey, if it leads me to a good story, how is that a bad thing?

Book #1: “Dreamstrider” by Lindsay Smith


Thoughts on the Cover: [Sur]really awesome.

Description from Goodreads: A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject’s body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

Thoughts on That: Not sure how I’ll feel about the political angle, but everything else sounds potentially cool.


Book #2: “Rook” by Sharon Cameron


Thoughts on the Cover: Me likey the grayscale with a pop of red. Also the feathers. And whatever happened to Paris.

Description from Goodreads: History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Thoughts on That: A vigilante tale? One has high hopes. ^^

P.S.: Between this post’s drafting and its going live, I’ve actually read the book! Review to eventually follow.


Book #3: “Child of a Hidden Sea” by A.M. Dellamonica

Child of a Hidden Sea

Thoughts on the Cover: A dynamically-angled illustration of a dude and a child on a ship with…are those runes on the sails? What. Is not. To love?

Description from Goodreads: One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile.

Thoughts on That: From San Francisco to some magical realm in the bat of an eye? Somebody hand me this book!


Book #4: “Some Kind of Happiness” by Claire Legrand

Some Kind of Happiness

Thoughts on the Cover: FOREST! Forest with a center crown, meaning… fairytale stuff? Hoping so, since the only thing better than a forest is a forest full of extra magic!

• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

Reality and fantasy collide in this powerful, heartfelt novel about family, depression, and the power of imagination, for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia.

Thoughts on That: Yesssss, magic forest! Also depression, which is less fun, but… those blue days. I know them. So yeah, between the Everwood and the probable relatability, I could feasibly end up loving this.


Book #5: “Shadowshaper” by Daniel José Older


Thoughts on the Cover: Dem colors. And dat hair.

Description from Goodreads: Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

Thoughts on That: A little leery at the mention of zombies, but connection with spirits via art? I like the sound of that. This one could weird me out in a good way.

Such are my opinions. Got any of your own? – or some book covers that have caught your eye? Share in the comments!

Wintry with a High Chance of a Teaser

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 4 of “The Soul Shepherdessnow live on Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.


Only 2 weeks and a day (can you believe it?!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”. To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Aquinore, color final, gallery size

That chill in the air isn’t just October breathing down our necks. It’s Aquinore, Wind of the North, standing proud on one of three new bookmark designs made just for “Story’s End” – which you can bet will feature in a giveaway during the online Launch Party, coming soon to Facebook. (Drop in! Invite your friends! We’ll party like it’s #WilderharkTales7, up in here!)

Just what role will the Sky’s icy wind have to play in the Wilderhark Tales’ final chapter? That, I’m hardly about to tell you. But if we’re talking of chapters, how’s this for a tease: A peek at the lineup of chapter titles for “The Story’s End”!


~ A Ballad of Life and Death ~

~ Winter and Spring ~

~ Gant Expectations ~

~ Sky on Earth, Earth in Sky ~

~ The Silencing of Song ~

~ A Lost Lullaby ~

~ The Bard and His Boy ~

~ No Kind of Home ~

~ Whispers in the Night ~

~ Tales of Time Gone By ~

~ Old Friends with New Faces ~

~ The Gant Commission ~

~ The Dark Divide ~

~ Spinning a Long-Ago Spell ~

~ Last Light of the Moon ~

~ The Way through the Window ~

~ A Gathering Storm ~

~ Song’s Finale ~

~ Epilogue: …All the Rest of Their Days ~


Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

A Pair’s Portrait, and Part of the Sky

Only 3 weeks (WHAT? GAH! HOW IS SEPTEMBER ALMOST GONE?!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”. To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Allyn, color final, gallery size

That’s right, it’s one of three new bookmark designs made just for “Story’s End” – which you can bet will feature in a giveaway during the online Launch Party, coming soon to Facebook. If that young man by the fire looks familiar to frequenters of this blog, there’s a solid reason for that. ;D And of course we all know Gant-o’-the-Lute – up in a tree again, just like in his personal bookmark for Book Four.

What’s he thinking about, up there? The same wish he’s held in his heart from the start of things, as glimpsed in “The Song Caster” and laid bare in “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”. Attune your ear and listen. Hear the music? It’s not “Part of Your World” – a fair guess, given the identical melody and lyric structure, but no. This is not the song of a Disney mermaid longing for land, but that of a Wilderhark minstrel who craves higher still…


Look at this trick. Isn’t it neat?

Wouldn’t you think that my talent’s complete?

You’d think of me, wouldn’t you, that I can do anything?


Look at me now. Don’t I astound?

Watch me be a wonder while you wonder how.

One hour around me, and now you’re sure I can do anything.


I can top all your top virtuosos –

Any instrument, and any score;

Best you at your best game with my eyes closed.

But so what? Not enough. I want more.

Sky Child, cropped

I want to leave where the people are.

I want to see where no man’s yet ventured.

Land’s been done into the ground.

Try the sea, you say? …Ha. Cute.


But even a ship only sails so far.

Higher’s required for my adventure!

Impossible? Ah, you’re forgetting:

I’m Gant-o’-the-Lute.

Rays of Songlight - Copy

You’re free to walk. You’re free to run.

I mean to make my way to the sun,

And hang gravity! I long to be

Part of the sky.


What would I give if I could live up where the winds race?

What would I pay to spend a day there ere I die?

What won’t I try? Won’t be denied. Though I spend all my life in the chase,

I’m not quitting. Sick of sitting. Ready to fly!

On Music's Wings

I’m ready to know where the sunset goes!

Follow it westward, and rise come morning!

Dance over stars that your eyes only spy from below!


When can I go? Wouldn’t I love,

Love to explore and soar up above?

The sky’s part of me. And someday I’ll be

Part of the sky.


Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

Extreme Makeover: Wilderhark Edition

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 3 of “The Soul Shepherdess” now live on Young Solwen is moving ever closer to her minstrel destiny – and naturally, she’s singing all-new, original songs about it. Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

Also, there’s a Wilderhark extravaganza coming, and you (*points to absolutely everyone*) are officially invited. Check it out!

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.


Once upon a time, an author loved the covers of her fairytale novella series very much.

But then she decided that she could love them more.

For you see, this author was something of a perfectionist, her eye ever open to ways things could be made better. In the case of her books’ covers, they were beautiful to behold. …Up close. But from a distance – or, y’know, a thumbnail image – they didn’t read as well. Moreover, the spines were too plain. Too dull. She wanted to fancy them up a bit, so they better held their own among a whole shelf full of titles.

Fortunately for our author, this series of hers was self-published, so making the changes she desired was as simple (and as frustrating/wearying/time-consuming) as making those changes herself. Thus did she roll up her sleeves, send up prayers for strength, patience, and technological cooperation, and buckle down to get ‘er done.

And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.

And since I was at it, I went ahead and swept the pages again (both paper and electronic) for persistent typos and formatting stuff that bugged me, so now the books’ insides and outsides are better than ever! Although Books 1 and 2 still don’t include pronunciation guides, because… *squints at past self* What was your reasoning, exactly?

Past Me: *shrugs*

Ohhh-kay. For, um, mysterious reasons unknown, then. But those who want reassurance that they’re saying “Harrold Babbit” correctly can always pop onto the Wilderhark Tales page on my website.

In any case: Look ye now upon the before-and-afters of the old and NEW ‘N’ IMPROVED, full-spread covers for Wilderhark Tales One through Six!

Swan Prince Cover, E-book


Swan Prince Cover, full spread update

…and after!

Stone Kingdom Cover, front


Stone Kingdom Cover, full spread update

…and after!

Seventh Spell Cover, front


Seventh Spell Cover, full spread update

…and after!

Song Caster Cover, front


Song Caster Cover, full spread update

…and after!

Sun's Rival Cover, front


Sun's Rival Cover, full spread udpate

…and after!

Surrogate Sea cover, front


Surrogate Sea Cover, full spread update

…and after!

Ta-daaaaaa! You collector types who simply must have every version of everything Wilderhark that you can get your hands on, terribly sorry, but it looks like I’ve given you something new at which to throw your money. And for those of you who’ve been dragging your feet about getting your copies of the Wilderhark Tales, now seems like a shiny time to get your collection going, dontcha think? ^^ Just in time for the series’ end, too

Holler in the comments: What do you think of the makeovers??

Wilderhark Cover Updates 01

Wilderhark Cover Updates 02

Wilderhark Cover Updates 03

A Delightfully Grave Announcement

Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted rogues! It is with great pleasure and no small amount of authorial pride that I present to you the first look at my latest anthology project with Xchyler Publishing.

Aaaand cue the vid!


Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”, featuring me – not to mention my best friend, Tirzah Duncan. First soul sisters, now anthology sisters, too. It’s a Christmas miracle! …Or, given the book’s release date of October 10th, nearer to a Halloween miracle.

In celebration of the book’s cover reveal, I’m likewise revealing the related Pinterest board that I’ve been assembling since before I even knew for sure that my own uncanny short story had made the cut. So here – have a little library magic, courtesy of “Date Due”.

Also! It’s only a matter of time until we start sending out advance reader e-copies of the book. If you – yes, YOU, sir/madam/your rogue-ship – would like an early read of “Beyond the Wail” for the low, low price of an honest review, give me a spine-chilling shriek of woe! I’ll die of fright. Or hook you up. One of those. ;D