Table of Contents for The Collection

DownloadedFileThe Collection and Other Dark Tales, is comprised of reprints and new stories by Tracy L. Carbone, and will be available from Shadowridge Press the end of March 2013. Though some of these have been previously made available on Kindle, many have never been in print and several are brand-new, written specifically for this book. Each of the stories contains an intro by the author, with a note as to its inspiration. This eclectic grouping has tales of romance, love, horror, human frailty, and plenty of ghosts.

Cover image coming soon!

Below is the table of contents for The Collection and Other Dark Tales. 

Rent Control

The Agreement

The Truth About Snow Angels

The Tattooed Woman

The Folks


Pretty Pig Let Me In

Stone Man

Scent of Lilacs

Waste Not Want Not

The Relocation of Susan

It’s Always Now

The Attic

An Old Man and His Dog

The Collection

One Minute

The Jacuzzi

The Elephant Graveyard

Stepping Down as Co-Chair of NEHW

logo_nehw_185The other day, I made the decision that it was time for me to step down as the Co-Chair of the New England Horror Writers /NEHW formerly known as HWA-NE.

I’m not sure when I joined the Board exactly. I think it’s been about four years. I remember though the first time I ever attended an NEHW event. It was called HWA-New England back then and was an offshoot of the HWA. It was in 2003. It was a a pub in New Hampshire. I don’t recall all the players but do know Rick Hautula and Holly Newstein were there as well as John McIlveen, Lauran Soares, Mike Arruda, John Harvey and Jack Haringa. I’d only just met everyone a few months before at my first NECon (my first conference at all for that matter).

Over dinner, where we discussed horror movies and the correct way to use commas,  good and bad writers and paying markets, Rick Hautala told me about a message board called Shocklines.  “Everyone you need to meet is there. You should sign up.” I did.  Almost all the friends I have now I met at NECon, on Shocklines or as spinoffs from one of those places. I’m grateful to the Booth family, namely Bob Booth for creating NECon, a haven for writers who arrive as strangers and leave as kindred spirits. To Matt Schwartz who created Shocklines which kept me in touch with so many, and granted me new friendships. And to whoever actually started the HWA-NE/NEHW. I think it was Mike Arruda and John Harvey and hopefully they will confirm.

After several years of attending sporadic NEHW meetings, someone asked me to join as the Events Coordinator. I agreed. Back then we only met a handful of times a year so it was an easy post.

When Lauran Soares opted to step down as Co-Chair (serving with Dan Keohone). Dan asked me if I wanted to be Co-Chair. I agreed. The Board then consisted of Tim Deal (Shroud Magazine), TJ May, Dan, Michael Todd and me. Small group. We often talked about doing an anthology but it was hard to get it off the ground.

It seems within a matter of months or so though, everything changed. Michael Todd, our newsletter guy, left and we asked Jason Harris to step in. Then I saw Danny Evarts at Writers’ Event. Till then I only knew him online but he was so filled with energy and exuberance I asked him on the spot to join. We soon after voted him in.

We had our first meeting with all the new staff in the basement of a pub in Portsmouth, NH. Stacey Longo Harris tagged along with Jason, and suggested someone take notes so I said, “Hey, want to be our secretary?” We had a quorum so boom, she was voted in.

To say the time that followed was dizzying and intense would be an understatement. We suddenly had a group of folks who were really high energy. At that meeting, in March 2011 we decided we were going to publish an anthology to release at AnthoCon’s debut on 11-11-11. It was a crazy time. We had no money or bank account or plan. But we were going to do it.

As you know, we succeeded. We opened a bank account, assigned a treasurer, Dan Keohane. He changed positions and so we voted Stacey as my Co-Chair. We sold t-shirts to raise money, and held raffles. We got a new website, published the book, Epitaphs, in time, paid our authors, got a Stoker nomination for it and came out ahead financially. Not way ahead but we had a bank balance.

There’s been some Board member turnaround since then, as it’s damn hard to maintain that level of energy. Some great people have left but new ones have joined.

Jason has graduated us from a once a month newsletter, to adding almost daily updates on the NEHW blog.  We’ve got a busy Facebook NEHW page with over 200 members, and a Twitter Account. The NEHW members are up to over 300. We have group signing/selling events almost monthly, and now started the process for our next anthology. And we just released the new t-shirt designed by Jesse Young.

And so now it’s time for me to step down and take a much needed break. I’ve paid my dues and leave the smoothly running NEHW in very good hands.

Kudos to the Board for all their past and future hard work. I know the new anthology will be spectacular!



Why AnthoCon is the Next Big Con

Maybe the best thing about AnthoCon is that it’s not a big conference. This is the second year that Shroud Publishing and the Four Horsemen: Tim Deal, Mark Wholley, Danny Evarts and Johnny Morse have hosted this event in Portsmouth, NH and it was wonderful. I don’t know the final tally of attendees but I’d guess about a 100.

I’ve been to a lot of conferences over the years: NECon, Thrillerfest, ReaderCon, World Fantasy, World Horror, CrimeBake, Love is Murder, and probably some others I’m not thinking of. They each have their great and bad points and most are genre specific.

 The first year Thrillerfest ran, they hosted it in Arizona and it was amazing. It was reasonably priced, they had great panels and guests, workshops for writers, the rooms were inexpensive and luxurious. There were a lot of attendees but it was small enough so people could get to know each other.

But the next year they moved it to NYC which drove up the room cost, and food cost for nonsponsored meals. In addition they split off the Con to add CraftFest, for writers, from ThrillerFest-supposedly a reader/fan conference. So you had to pick one or the other or spend an insane amount of money and 6-7 days. And many of the “big guests” were sequestered behind tables. They signed books but did not hang out after hours. It was a fancy, dress up con and if you were an aspiring writer you’d make great connections. But it was expensive and exhausting, for me at least, to be that dressed up and to schmooze for four days. It has its merits, as there’s a lot of talent all under one roof, including pitch sessions with agents and publishers. But in all the years I went, I never once could relax.

On the flip side there’s NECon which I will always hold dear in my heart. It’s a small con, capped at 200 people.  One low price and everything is included for the weekend: room, board, panels, games.You don’t go to NECon to make connections or pitch ideas; you go to hang out and meet people like yourself. You make lasting friends. And somewhere in the midst of that you make “connections” but it’s not about finding a publisher. It’s the place award-winning published writers can go and not be hounded by fans, and a place where new writers can meet them as people, not as icons. You don’t dress up. You just get to escape and relax for four days.

What AnthoCon has done, and I love them for it, is to make an autumn-weekend-in-New England Con with multi-genres, that is a perfect mix of other cons. It was informal yet also had a business aspect with pitch sessions and people breaking off in groups to talk to publishers and make deals. Last year the sponsor was a man from the Lucid Absinthe company. This year is was Sam Adams. Very cool.

Someone referred to AnthoCon as NECon-lite and they were correct. Many of the local New England Horror writers attended, but there were also dozens who write in different genres from all over the world. I can say “world” because Richard Wright comes all the way from India for this. AnthoCon has brought us all together.

This year marked their first anthology, stories and poems selected from last year’s members and called Anthology. It has a stunning cover and a brilliant and touching collection of works.  There will be another Anthology  next year which is also incentive for new people to join. You can’t submit if you haven’t attended.

The con will no doubt grow as word spreads about all they have to offer: low admission price and vendor table cost, cheap but classy hotel, easily accessible location, concurrent and well-thought out panels, art and book dealer rooms, and a large amount of really cool but humble people. As this conference increases its numbers, I have a sense the mood and comfy intimacy level will stay the same.

I eagerly look forward to AnthoCon 2013. Hope to see you there.

Check out my new thriller, Restitution on Amazon, which made its debut this year at AnthoCon.

Countdown to Restitution

My first mainstream adult novel will be formally released at this year’s Anthology Conference the weekend of November 9-11, 2012. It’s called Restitution and I am excited this book is coming to fruition.

This is a novel I wrote for the NANOWRIMO competition two years ago. It was written in a whirl of creativity and sleeplessness with the help of a full bottle of Black Bush and my trusty Mac computer. 30 solid days of writing. By the end my hands were sore, my eyes were blood-red and I had an overwritten story that I forced to 50,000 words to finish.

Almost two years later I opened it up, read and thought, WOW! Except for those last 5,000 words that turned to story into a miasma of crap. Easy fix. Deleted the words I didn’t need-which should always be a major step. I rewrote, renamed some characters and then edited it about four more times. Then some folks read it so I edited it again. And again. And then one fine day, it was done. Well except for that very last edit.

Throughout the month I will be posting more information but for tonight a quote and the synopsis.

A blurb from one of  my early readers, Kristi Petersen Schoonover: 

“Restitution is a tension-filled ride…a fast-paced twister of a mystery that will fill readers with dark glee and leave them breathless.”
— Kristi Petersen Schoonover, author of Bad Apple and Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole: Tales from Haunted Disney World

So what’s it all about? Here’s the synopsis:

Destiny intervenes for Tucker Millis, a delusional writer who needs a purpose in life and a plot for his new novel. When he discovers his new phone number once belonged to a man on the verge of turning himself in for a twenty-five year old murder, it’s a dream come true. Tucker uses the messages and calls intended for the murderer to manipulate lives and to craft his story. But he’s propelled back to reality when he can no longer escape the full horror and dire consequences of the world he’s created.

In upcoming posts I’ll reveal my inspiration for the book, the writing process, and how it is to work with my new publisher.

Can’t wait till the book comes out to read my fiction? Check out some short stories to hold you over. CLICK HERE.

-Thanks and happy writing


Free Epitaphs

Get your free copy of Epitaphs on Kindle for the first time since its publication in November 2011.

Click on the picture for your FREE copy.

The New England Horror Writers Association, in partnership with Shroud Publishing, are proud to debut its inaugural anthology, Epitaphs The anthology is a compilation of some of the best dark fiction from both best-selling authors and up-and-coming writers throughout New England.

Contributors include Christopher Golden, Rick Hautala, Holly Newstein & Glenn Chadbourne, LL Soares, Trisha Wooldridge, K. Allen Wood, Kurt Newton, and more. The anthology features 26 stories and poems from the delightfully scary to the deeply macabre.

Epitaphs, edited by author Tracy L. Carbone, includes an introduction by award-winning author and publisher Peter Crowther, as well as a cover by Danny Evarts.

GoDaddy vs.WordPress My New Website

Welcome to my new website, formerly known as my Tracy blog.

A whole bunch of years ago, I bought a domain from Go Daddy. Okay, I bought 6., .net and .org and the same for tracycarbone. I also used Go Daddy for hosting  because everyone recommended them, they were cheap, and they have great customer service. Over the years I’ve used quite a few different types of Web Design software. I’ve never been crazy about any of them. I’m technically challenged and get frustrated whenever I have to update anything.

I’ve been using iWeb, which came with my Mac. That’s worked fine and is pretty easy, even for me. I also opened a WordPress account so I could write blogs. The iWeb software has the option for blogs but you have to use their hosting if people want to leave comments, and I refuse to abandon Go Daddy.

Up until about a week ago, I didn’t realize there were appearance options within WordPress. Actually, on the left side of the dashboard there were tons of options. All this time I’ve been using the blue and white standard template when I could have made it much more professional and attractive. I started playing around with my blog and was able to make it look a lot like my real website.

So I started wondering, why not just combine them?

I went on Go Daddy today and wondered how hard it would be. I’d known people to do this before but they’re web specialists or IT guys. Surprisingly, all I had to do was click on my main domain, and click “forward.” It said “Do you want to mask it?” Cool! Masking means instead of the address bar in my blog reading tracycarbone.wordpress it will read  When I read up how to do this from the WordPress side last week I was utterly confused and got the impression I’d have to pay. But from the Go Daddy side it’s a snap.

All my other domains were already forwarded to the main one so they just, well double forward for lack of knowing what it’s called. It took about 6 hours or so before it was fully functioning due to what the friendly Go Daddy tech called “Propagation.” I will continue to pay for the hosting at GoDaddy because my webmail is attached to it and because I’m paid up for quite a while.

I am really excited to have everything in one place. I’m still working the kinks out of the sites so it will take it a little while to get it just right. I will be posting and updating a lot more often so stay tuned!


Please visit Tracy’s AMAZON PAGE to see all her works currently for sale.

2011-What a Time it Was

I haven’t updated this page in ages, but since it’s the time of year to reflect on the prior year’s successes and failures, I’m resolving to resume updating my life and writing here in this blog. 2011 was a big year for me, too busy and too many changes, but it was also a year of listening and of learning.

Where to begin? A year ago my first book was released. It was through a small press, not one of the big hitters. And it wasn’t big book either, not the type my Thriller Genre friends put out, or even my Horror Writer friends. But The Man of Mystery Hill was a long time coming, a YA based loosely on true heartbreaking events with some sci-fi and local paranormal sites tossed in. I wrote the book to give the real life events a happy ending, a sort of do over. I threw myself into promoting it wholeheartedly even though the book had some problems from the get go. I didn’t care, I was rushing ahead. For a number of reasons I won’t go into, it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

I was dating a man a year ago who seemed nice enough and relatively compatible. He had a toddler, and I thought it would be  fun for my teen daughter and I to have  a little one around.  The baby was delightful but the relationship between us grown ups was…well, too much like other ones that had crumbled in the past. The patterns were there early on but I didn’t care; I was rushing ahead. As with the publishing venture though, eventually reality caught up with me and it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

After his departure, I decided last summer I was DONE with relationships. Done making the same mistakes and choosing the same types of men and yes, watching them all end the same way, in utter frustration. In so many aspects of my life in 2011, I found myself walking down familiar shaky roads, then arriving in unsavory and familiar situations.

As 2012 draws near,  the biggest thing I have learned, above all else, is that sometimes Do Overs are really just recycled failures. Things fail for a reason. You can’t go back and simply redo what you did (Changing the players) or it will come out just like the first time.

On this New Year’s Eve, I am sitting contentedly in my home, looking at the cover of The Soul Collector. I heeded the critiques of The Man of Mystery Hill, and there were many. And this time, I cared. I changed the age of the character, tightened up the writing, changed the cover, the title, and yes, the publisher. It’s not a do over; I wrote it as a person who learned from her mistakes.

I’m co-chair of the New England Horror Writers, which now boasts almost 300 members. This was a successful year for us. We revamped and moved our website, increased membership by leaps and bounds, created an NEHW Facebook page and released our first anthology on 11-11-11 at AnthoCon. Epitaphs is an impressive collection. 2012 is going to be an even bigger year for us with several writing events already planned for the members.

I started a new blog last July, when I was militantly single, called Rebound Dogs. I wrote it anonymously as Carly G and recorded my bitterness and jaded attitude toward dating. For once I was brutally honest, publicly and to myself,  about what an utter fool I’d been too many times. I owned up to my own mistakes and  saw in startling clarity for the first time, men as they had been, not how I envisioned them. I even got a new puppy, Lily G, to keep me occupied, keep me from falling in love again.

But alas, as I was changing and growing, a man in CA was reading my blog, and enjoying it, not  horrified by how resistant I was. We began chatting on Facebook, comparing notes on the inherent downfalls of falling in love. We were kindred spirits in our mutual reluctance to trust anyone again. And certainly, having a male friend 3000 miles away was about as safe as I could get. No chance it could turn into anything…

Except it did of course, and now I am unexpectedly happy and content and settled. Yes he lives far away but we are alike in so many ways, so close, and such good friends, that the distance is manageable. It’s a different kind of relationship than I’ve had before. I guess I’m a different person than I was so that’s at least half of it.

I’m rolling into 2012 a changed woman. I’m neither bitter nor naive just sort of placid for the first time. I don’t have the usual list of resolutions for the upcoming year. I like how things are going. I look forward to focusing a lot more on writing this year though, and marketing what I’ve already written. It should prove to be an exciting and rewarding 2012.

I wish everyone a peaceful new year. I’ll end with a You Tube video of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences


The Soul Collector and Epitaphs are available on Amazon.

Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

I admit it, I can’t resist a new kitchen gadget.  Last week I had the happy fortune of discovering The Babycakes brand Cake Pop Maker. I was in Kohl’s (one my favorite places) and in the Housewares section they had unveiled a display of all new fun cooking machines. I was carrying with me a coveted 30% off coupon so was quite excited. In addition to this machine they  had also displayed other Babycakes items:  a mini Donut maker, a Whoopie Pie Maker, and a Cupcake maker. On the other side of the display they also had a retro Cotton Candy maker and a Snow Cone machine, from a different manufacturer.

I picked up the Cake Pop Maker and knew this was the one for me. Think of it like a Foreman Grill but with half circle indentations on the top and bottom that cook doughnut holes, or what they like to call Cake Pops, in 4-6 minutes. As if that wasn’t draw enough, it also comes with a special fork to remove the treats, a bag of lollipop sticks and a holder to cool the pops. An injector for jelly or filling was also in the book as well as a book of recipes.

I held the Maker for awhile then realized if I just waited one more day I could also use my Kohl’s Cash ($10) so I could get this regularly marked item of $29.99 for about $4.00 (after 30% and my $10 coupon). I put it back.

Sadly, the next day I went back to Kohl’s and they had none left. Nor did the other four locations I tried. I looked online and Kohl’s only offers the other machines. Undaunted, I went back two days later and figured I’d settle for the mini Donut machine. But as luck would have it, that particular Kohl’s had a floor model which they agreed to sell me after I begged.

Friday night, I decided to make the chocolate Cake Pops. I followed the recipe which had all the standard ingredients people would have in a home: oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda and powder, plus buttermilk. The recipe indicated that if I didn’t have buttermilk I could have just used real milk and vinegar but I opted for the real buttermilk, albeit fat free. I had hoped there would be an option to use a box cake mix but there wasn’t.

I mixed up the ingredients, sprayed the inside of the machine with cooking spray and plugged it in. In a few minutes the green light came on. I poured in a little less than a tablespoon of batter into each hole then closed the lid. Sure enough, 6 minutes later, the pops were done (they look like Munchkins) and were easy to retrieve from the Maker.

I cooled them in the holder that resembled a plastic egg carton. About a half hour later I put a half bag of chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds with a little butter. I then added some milk since it was too thick.

I stuck a lollipop stick in one and then dipped it into the chocolate mix until it was coated. I then dried it on the same plastic egg container tray, which has holes for just that purpose.

I immediately sprinkled them with jimmies.

Once they cooled in the fridge, I tried one (okay I ate one hot and melty too) and they were delicious, and FUN.

I saved some that I didn’t coat in chocolate and tried the injector which was like a big gauge syringe. I filled it with caramel and …FAIL. It oozed all over the cake pop. I next dug a whole with a skewer but it was still a sticky mess.

So while the injector really didn’t work, the machine is an awful lot of fun and if you can get your hands on one of these machines I highly recommend it. I discovered since I bought the machine that Starbucks now offers these treats individually for sale. All the more reason to get one of these machines, I say.

I picked up some candy melts to coat the next batch and plan to make the Vanilla next time.

Tracy L. Carbone is a New England fiction writer. Please visit her WEBSITE to learn move about her cooking tips and writing life.

Canning Pickled Beets-Refrigerated

Most of the time when I’m not working, I’m writing fiction. But once in a while I also like to make jams and bread and butter pickles. This is a relatively new skill so now and then I try something new. In The Christmas Tree Shop I picked up a package of Mrs. Wages Pickled Beets.

The recipe sounded like a much spicier version than the plain boiled beets I occasionally eat, and I hoped they’d be a bit tastier and crunchier than beets in a metal can. I’m happy to report they’re delicious. Below is a step by step guide, with photos of the process. I honestly forgot to read the ingredients on the package so don’t know what’s in that spice package but the link is here so you can buy your own. I highly recommend it.

To start, buy 4 1/2 lbs of beets. Since beets are sold with the greens attached I had a tough time weighing them. I ended up buying seven bunches which contained three beets each.

Next, cut off the greens and scrub the beets. I used a potato brush. Immerse the beets in boiling water and then simmer for 25 minutes till tender. The water will turn blood red which, as a horror writer, I thought was a nice visual perq.

Once they’re done (you can stick a fork in one to make sure) drain them.

For the next step, wear gloves unless you want your hands dyed red for days.

Peel the beats. The skin will slide off in your gloved hands once you start to remove the peel. Soon you’ll have a bowl full of bright red shiny beets. Rinse off in a colander to remove all the skins.

 Next cut the beets into 1/2 inch slices and place in a large pot.

Meanwhile, sterilize your jars and keep your lids in a bowl of boiled then simmering water.

To the sliced beets, add: package of mix, 1/2 cup horseradish, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup white vinegar. Mix together and heat to boiling. Then simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from stove. Add one sliced onion. The recipe calls for one or two but I just added one.

Ladle the mix into hot jars. Fill with liquid to leave 1/2 inch of headspace. If you don’t have enough liquid (I didn’t) then mix vinegar and water 3:1 ratio and use that to fill. Top the jars with lids and seal.

Cool to room temperature and then keep refrigerated. They are ready to eat after 24 hours.


Tracy Carbone is a fiction writer and canning hobbyist. Please visit her website for a list of blogs, recipes and all things literary and scary.