The Shed

“The Shed” was first published in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume III. ($2.99 for the ebook or $7.99 paperback.)

If you prefer to listen or want to read along, I really enjoyed Pete Mesling’s reading of “The Shed” on his show The Bare Knuckle Podcast! In this episode Pete reads a selection of several poems from this year’s Showcase. If you’re in a hurry, my poem starts at 16:50, but they’re all worth listening to. Listen above, read below — or both. Enjoy!

The Shed

The lawn lays wide
and bright with yellow
sunshine, spread flat
with no corners,

except the shed.

The shed’s paint is pale
but dull, as if the owners
who inherited it
thought the best
they could do was make it
“blend in.” And it does,
for a second

until your eyes catch
the black rectangle
of the haphazardly open doors
stuck in their tracks
gummed up with debris putrefied
to the same color of black,
jarring in all that wide bright.

And you try not to picture what lies in there
what things might collect and colonize in a structure
so low and squat,
but there you go picturing centipedes
and scorpions, spiders and weevils, snakes and rats,
and other, darker things that can’t be
– can’t possibly be in that shed – yet there
you go picturing them: tentacles from corners
and tall, pale men standing against the walls,
and chittering, creeping things that slide down off the ceiling and
open your doors  at night, when they can’t be seen,
but then, then, that’s not the most disturbing
part of that old shed.

The most disturbing part is how the structure itself seems sly and sentient with its thin metal walls propped like foldable gills, with its near-flat little roof peaking subtly like an eyebrow, how its rotted wood floors lie in panels, like they could all be rolled back like a tongue shoving food to the gullet, how that open rectangle of black at the doors sits still, patiently, waiting, and how eventually, when this moment of feverish imagination has regressed under the rightful armor of adulthood and you have nearly forgotten all about it (nearly),
you will have to go inside it.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2016.

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Listen to Hide at Pseudopod

I’m thrilled to share that my flash horror story “Hide” is now out in podcast at Pseudopod! “Hide” was first published in Black Static Issue 43 by TTA Press in November 2014. It was subsequently included in Ellen Datlow’s recommended list for Best Horror of the Year Volume 7. And now you can listen to it for free at Pseudopod. My story starts at 13:26 and is only five minutes long (but both of the other stories in this episode are well worth a listen).

A note: unlike my story “Jack and the Bad Man,” also podcast by Pseudopod, “Hide” is not family-friendly. Here’s what reviewers have to say about “Hide”:

from Des Lewis at Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews:

“This is what I call the perfect horror ‘short short’. To describe its plot would spoil it. It is powerful and surprising…”

from Gareth Jones at Dread Central:

“Annie Neugebauer’s ‘Hide’ is possibly the shortest entry that I’ve ever come across in the pages of Black Static, but it’s an enjoyable little slice of grim micro-fiction – twisting the jargon of the ‘pickup artist’ into something much more horrendous than it already is.”

I love what editor Shawn Garrett has to say about this flash story episode, too, which is focused on body horror. Listen to his intro for some really cool thoughts about Walt Whitman’s poem “I Sing the Body Electric.” A classical poetry reference to illustrate body horror? Yeah, I love Shawn even more now. 🙂

Thank you to readers Marc Bailey and Heather Welliver who both did a fabulous job narrating “Hide.” I couldn’t be happier.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to go listen to “Hide” at Pseudopod. Remember: it’s not for the faint of heart. 😉 Enjoy!

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Happy October! To kick off my seasonal blog fun, I’m reprinting one of my poems here.

“Fiend” was first published last year in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume II by the Horror Writers Association. I always enjoy the broad range of poetic styles and topics in these anthologies, and am honored to be included. I hope you enjoy!


When the dreams begin,
I slip in and crouch on your chest,
compressing relaxation
into something tighter, heavier.
The soft little moan of protest you give?
My cocktail.
I sip it from your lips
like fine brandy.
You try to shift; I settle in.
The slick dew that blooms
on your forehead tastes salty and sour –
an exquisite appetizer.
My darling,
you are one of my favorites.

Once the nightmare takes hold,
your eyeballs roam fiercely behind your lids.
I want to pluck them out
and pierce them with my teeth,
but I resist
for now.
I content myself with swallowing whole
your cry of fear.
The frantic beats of your heart,
my main course,
rising and rising, faster, faster,
heightened by those delicious shouts.
Your thrashing arm brushes my cheek,
and I nuzzle the fine hairs that stand on end there,
breathing in the aroma.
My dinner music:
the grinding of your teeth,
the convulsive rhythm of your swallow.

The longer I stay with you,
the further you descend
into the twisted world of sleep.
I could make a glutton of myself.
I could devour you and, perhaps,
finally feel satiated –
fill the chasm within –
for once, know what it is
to not be hollow.
But not this time, darling.
This time I will slip away
and give you time to recover,
for another night will come
when I will need you again.
Someday, though.
Someday I will take my fill.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2015

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Winners! Plus What’s To Come

We have winners!! Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway. The three names I drew at random are:

1. Carie Juettner
2. Lisa Bubert
3. Jay Lemming

I’ll be emailing you all, in order, to get your book selections and mailing addresses. Congrats, and I hope you enjoy the reads!

And if you didn’t win but wanted to read some of my latest, you can always buy your own! Purchase links are included in this list. 🙂

Now, what’s to come?

So far, 2016 has been a fantastic year for me. I’d like to take a moment today to share some of my acceptances and forthcoming releases so you know what to keep an eye out for.

I’m looking forward to the audio performance of my flash horror piece “Hide” at Pseudopod October 7 – just in time for Halloween. “Hide” was first published in Black Static and listed in Ellen Datlow’s recommended list for Best Horror of the Year Volume 7. (Speaking of Pseudopod and Halloween: to tide you over, why not listen to my Halloween story “Jack and the Bad Man” by Pseudopod 2 years ago?)

28627395On November 1 the Writer Unboxed team is coming out with our first book: Author-in-Progress, a nonfiction guide by Writers Digest Books, which includes my essay about getting the most out of critique. (You can pre-order that one now for $18.42!) Writer Unboxed mama Therese Walsh has worked so hard on this. I have no doubt it will become a must-have reference for writers, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I’m SO excited to have my personal dark fantasy/horror story “Dealing in Shadows” forthcoming in Suspended in Dusk 2. This anthology is edited by Simon Dewar, published by Books of the Dead Press. The table of contents is here; cover to come. I’m beyond honored to have taken one of the only two open spots on this one! Look for it sometime this fall/winter.

Killing It SoftlyI absolutely love when one of my previously-published stories is reprinted, especially if the first publication was expensive, limited, or otherwise difficult for people to get their hands on. So I’m really stoked that my homage to Poe, “The Call of the House of Usher,” will appear in Killing It Softly, an all-women horror anthology by Digital Fiction Publishing Corp. Pre-order now for $5.99 and get it on October 12.

In the realm of reprints, another story of mine, “Pièce de Résistance,” which was a bit on the pricey side in its first publication, will soon come out as an affordable stand-alone digital reprint, which is a fun new thing for me. Digital Fiction Publishing Corp. will be putting this out through their Digital Horror Fiction line sometime next year. (My very first solo) cover to come!

Memento MoriOne more reprint for the road! I’m delighted that my story “The Cottage of Curiosities” will appear in Digital Fiction Publishing Corp.’s horror anthology Memento Mori. This one first appeared in Strange Little Girls, which I absolutely love, but it’s always exciting to have a piece in more than one venue. Hopefully it will reach more people this way! Look for Memento Mori sometimes this fall/winter.

Last but certainly not least, my story “The Devil Take the Hindmost” will be published in Dark Hallows II by Scarlet Galleon Publications, edited by Mark Parker. I’m ecstatic to be included in this collection, and I can’t wait for you to read my story. It’s a period piece set in Scotland, involving the most research I’ve ever done for a short story. But I think it was worth it, and I hope you’ll agree. This anthology will be out in time for Halloween! Pre-order now for $8.99 and get it on October 25.

Those are all of the publications I’m looking forward to. (Well, I have one more anthology story that I can’t share yet.) I hope you’ll keep your eye out for them! Of course I’ll announce them each as they come out, some here (have you subscribed to my blog yet?), but also on Facebook and Twitter. PS- You can always visit my publications page to see what’s out, where to get it, and go to the bottom to see what’s coming soon. 🙂

Thanks, congrats to my winners, and have a great week!

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