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

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


“Scarytale” or “Tomorrows’ End”

Once upon one of too many minutes spent puttering around online, I happened across the following Tweet:

Bree Ogden Tweet

#Flashfiction #writing #contest?, I thought. (What, you mean not everyone thinks in #hashtags?) After checking out the link and the rules and the swiftly approaching deadline, I replied in classic Danielle E. Shipley, Author style.

Bree Ogden Tweet, my reply

For this, the first in a series of #31DaysofHalloween flash fiction contests hosted on her blog (This Literary Life), Bree Ogden provided an image to inspire…

Ghostly Dancers, via Bree Ogden

a song to write by, and a word to include any way entrants saw fit: “Hoard”.

Skipping ahead to the end of this little episode, the bad news is that I didn’t end up winning the contest. (I WAS ROBBED! Lol, whatever; you win some, you lose the rest.) But there was good news, too: Win or lose, I now had an eerie little story to share with all of you guys!

So here it is – my quick trick with words, served up as a Halloween treat for you. ‘Cause this fairytale author isn’t so light that she can’t pull the occasional scarytale out of her darkened soul. Presenting… “Tomorrows’ End”.


“Will you dance with us tonight, Taylor?”

The young woman hadn’t known she slept until the whisper woke her. Her eyes opened to the shape crouched on her windowsill, an unmoving silhouette behind white curtains fluttering in a breeze that didn’t blow. To think that, as lately as one year ago, she did not believe in such beings as these.

“Tomorrow,” she answered, as always. Her quiet voice grated hoarse, but she didn’t dare clear her throat. The night her daughter’s sudden cry startled the crouching creature had been the baby’s last. A coincidence, some might say. She did not believe any such thing. “Not tonight. Ask tomorrow.”

The creature’s eyes burned black against the window’s shroud of snowy linen. “How many tomorrows do you think you have left?”

As many as I can hoard, Taylor thought. She would put off a decision as long as she could. As long as the creature allowed, or until she could find a way to stop the invitations coming. If she could last just one more week, she’d be on a train speeding far away from this accursed house. Surely that would end it. Surely she would be given a chance to start again. She tried to believe she would.

“Please,” she begged softly. “Tomorrow.”

“Tonight.” The word stilled the curtains; for half a beat, stilled Taylor’s heart. “Tonight, or never.” The silhouette vanished, only an echo of its words left behind. “You have until the sunrise. We will not ask again.”

No longer a request. A command. Her time was up, too soon. It was dance or die. Or so some would say. She did not believe in the “or”.

“Shades and Shadows” plus Journal Giveaway Winners!

Posting two pieces of business, today: A new book review (meaning a new review of a book that is also new), and the giveaway prize announcement we’ve all be waiting for (“we all” being… me plus some other people, I can only hope)! Jumping right into the action…

The Book: “Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology” edited by Terri Wagner and Jessica Shen, through Xchyler Publishing.

Genre: Paranormal Anthology.

Blurb: (Goodreads description)

In the dead of night, you sense something . . . other . . . beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there.

Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head.

Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed.

Shades and Shadows cover pic

(Amazon summary)

The Music Man (Eric White): Peter Hold must face his personal bogeyman and right a terrible wrong . . . and find the key to laying his childhood demon to rest.

China Doll (Ginger C. Mann): Kris discovers deep secrets about her family as she pays the price to repair her beloved china doll.

Split Ends (Scott William Taylor): Frank and Bets open up a whole new realm of possibility when they test the boundaries of their platonic friendship.

Child of the Underworld (Marian Rosarum): Lara escapes her mother’s bleak realm but must decide which she more craves: food for her belly or love for her soul.

Cost of Custody (R.M. Ridley): Jonathan Alvey helps estranged parents create magic to rescue their daughter from a terrible fate.

Tombstone (Scott E. Tarbet): A stubborn old farmer defies the oilmen, his family, and the odds to save his homestead from the ravages of progress.

Ghost Townies (E. Branden Hart): The ghost apocalypse send Dean and Jimbo on the run, armed with only their flashlights, their wits, and dumb luck.

Crossroads (Neve Talbot): Rob Daniels must choose the direction of his life. Can his dead brother keep him on the straight and narrow?

The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells (J. Aurel Guay): Tormented by his tragic past, this young medical resident finds the inner strength to save London from a rash of gruesome murders.

My Thoughts: I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. (A fair trade, said I.) A reader who tends to favor novel-length works over short stories, I always wonder when cracking open a new anthology whether I’ll find anything among the collection that appeals to me, and how the book’s hits and misses will stack up against one another by the end. In the case of “Shades and Shadows”, my overall impression is: The hits win.

Pretty much all of the stories managed to elicit the ol’ “feels” in one part of me or another. While, as expected, some pieces didn’t grab me as others did, especial favorites included Scott E. Tarbet’s “Tombstone” (loved the old farmer’s narrative voice), R.M. Ridley’s “Cost of Custody” (a P.I. adventure that had my adrenaline going), and Neve Talbot’s “Crossroads” (which I started out thinking I’d dislike, due to the protagonist’s attitude about his family, but ended up absolutely sucked in).

Tossing in a couple more shout-outs, “Ghost Townies” was good for its intended chuckle, and just when I was thinking “The Music Man” wasn’t going to do it for me, the story cruised on past my expectations and went to a place that had me going, “Now we’re talkin’!” Meanwhile, “The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells” read like it could have been the pilot for a cool, uncanny drama on TV.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): All told, I’d say it’s worth the read, particularly if you’re craving a ghost story to be enjoyed in a few quick bites.

The anthology’s launch party is coming to Facebook on Thursday – aka, through no coincidence, Halloween. I intend to join in the celebration, congratulate the authors on their projects’ release, maybe try my luck at winning a prize or two… We’d all love to see you over there, so drop by if you get the chance!

And speaking of prizes, it’s time to announce the winners of my “Inspired” Journal Giveaway!” Listed in the order of which of the seven journals they won (1 gets Journal #One, 2 gets Journal #2, etc.), the winners are:

1 = Marissa Halvorson!

2 = Kim Matura!

3 = Laure Estep!

4 = Miranda McNeff!

5 = Aisazia!

6 = Kimberly Kay!

7 = Tyler-Rose Counts!

Huzzah to all of you! I’ll be in touch to make sure I get your shipping information so you can each receive your journal and signed “Inspired” bookmark. Thanks for playing along, and try not to explode with impatience – only a few more months ‘til the novel’s release!


Does everybody know what today is?! That’s ri-ight! – only one day shy of Allhallowmas, ya-a-ay!

            …Not that people tend to call November 1st “Allhallowmas”, nowadays. I’ve heard it called All Saints’ Day, but I don’t know that it’s celebrated much either way, anymore. But if you look at the word “Allhallowmas”, it’s easy to see how October 31st got its name. What is a “-mas” day, after all, without its “eve” to precede it? (I wave down the calendar at another lovely “-mas”. Looking forward to you, 12/25, as always!) “Allhallowmas” to “All Hallows”, “All Hallows’ Even” to “Hallowe’en”. Why we tend to drop the apostrophe, I’ve no idea; the word looks so much cooler with it.

            Some people adore Halloween. Some people despise it. I’ve always been largely indifferent. To me, October on the wane meant my birthday was drawing near, and I guess I’m just self-absorbed enough to think I matter a wee bit more than a holiday my family doesn’t celebrate. (Mom’s one of the people who despises the day; the demonic overtones, don’t you know.) This isn’t to say that celebrating me didn’t tend to involve a lot of paper ghosts, synthetic spider webs, and other creepy touches, because it did – whichever restaurants we went to for my traditional birthday dinner saw to that. For my sister, who wasted several of her childhood years being afraid of everything, leaving the house anytime between September and November was kind of a nightmare.

            That’s the point of Halloween, many declare: Scaring people. Because apparently, being scared is fun. Up to a point, I’ll agree with this. A tiny dose of the willies can be enjoyable; some of my favorite songs, stories, and movies, growing up, were my favorites precisely because they vaguely crept me out. But I’ve never liked being very scared. My first reading of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” kept me up and fretting all night long. My first viewing of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” will likely be my last, because not only was I up and fretting, I was throwing-up. (The “Van Helsing” movie made me throw-up, too, but it was so awesome and full of Hugh Jackman that I extended forgiveness.) For the sake of the amusing antics of the Winchester brothers, I put up with a couple seasons of the CW series “Supernatural”, but every episode was as good as hardcore Halloween on that show, so I eventually had to either quit cold turkey or kiss non-fretful nights goodbye; I chose the former.

            Others feel that Halloween is less about the spookiness and more about the candy. No complaints from me, there; huzzah for my favorite candies going on sale, say I. Still others prefer to focus on the dress-up factor. My lack of complaint continues; going around in costume is fabulous (particularly, I contend, if one is at a Renaissance Faire). And when both elements unite in trick-or-treating, it’s no wonder kids (both small and less-than-small) are inclined to get excited.

            So, those of you who are planning to mark the day: First of all, a timely tune, to be found here, that’s been stuck in my head since word one of this post. And finally, I wish you a safe, non-demonic, fun and happy All Hallows’ Even!

            …But don’t any of you come knocking on my door dressed up as a typo. No candy for those who cost me a fret-free night’s sleep.