Posted in Bibliography, Gargoyle, Morbidezza, My Bantam Black Fay, Spectral Realms, Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society, terza rima, Thalía, The Baleful Beldam, Vampire Vigil with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

A listing of my published works and appearances.


Thalía (poetry): Spectral Realms #9 [Hippocampus Press]


Morbidezza (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

Gargoyle (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

My Bantam Black Fay (poetry): Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society 2018

Vampire Vigil (prose poem): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

The Baleful Beldam (poetry): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

Night Hag (prose vignette): The Phantasmagorical Promenade [Planet X Publications]

The Fell Fête (tribute fiction): The Averoigne Legacy: Tribute Tales in the World of Clark Ashton Smith [Pickman’s Press]


Satanic Sonata (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

Kiss of Life (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

My Bantam Black Fay (poetry/revision): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

Hell-Flower (poetry): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

Moribond (poetry): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

The Baleful Beldam (poetry/reprint): Speculations II: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society 2019

The Hell of Mirrors (fiction): Penumbra #1 [Hippocampus Press]

Rosaire, Master of Wolves (tribute fiction): A Walk in a Darker Wood [Oxygen Man Books]

Ashley Dioses’ “The Withering”

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Jackanapes Press, Mutartis Boswell, The Withering (2020), Weird Poetry with tags , , , , on January 12, 2021 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I got my copy of The Withering, the latest collection by poetess Ashley Dioses from Jackanapes Press. It was signed by author John Shirley, who did the introduction and it was both signed and inscribed by Ms. Dioses. Since I pre-ordered it, my copy came with an extra pamphlet called Darkest Days and Haunted Ways featuring a sample of poems from her forthcoming collection. From the Jackanapes Press website:

In these poems, Ashley Dioses evokes an unrelenting sequence of raw, carnal images sure to delight all fans of the morbid and the macabre. Down frightful corridors both internal and external, the poetess leads us through the cobwebs of the natural world, through the entrance to a realm of sorcery, demons, and the undead. Emerging from this twilight Otherworld, harrowed by haunting sensations, we find ourselves questioning sanity as we stumble upon a surgical suite filled with delectable selections of bloody delights. Treat yourself to some cemetery necromancy, or sit back and enjoy a nice cloying sorbet with The Withering. With a foreword by horror/sci-fi/cyberpunk legend John Shirley, and featuring cover art and numerous interior illustrations by noted British weird artist Mutartis Boswell.

Cover art for the Withering by Mutartis Boswell

From what she says in her after word, Ms. Dioses explains that this collection features a selection of the best of her early poetic efforts. Although not as honed as her more recently efforts, these poems are creepy and inspired. The cover art and inner illustrations by Mutartis Boswell are wicked creepy. Over all it is quite a macabre, yet entertaining little book, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I knew this was going to be a good collection, so I ordered a copy for my little cousin for her 17th birthday, and she was suitably impressed with it. I figured as a fan of fantasy and poetry she might appreciate a book written by a young woman who (at the time of their original conception) wasn’t much older than she is now. She was very impressed by the exquisite art by Mr. Boswell, although it remains to be seen what she thinks about the poems themselves.

Illustration for All Hallow’s Awakening by Mutartis Boswell.

Update 1/04/2021: Posting issues

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2021 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I have been having issues with my posts either being blocked outright or partially (like tags not working etc.). Not sure what is going on, but I may not be posting much until I sort this out. Until then I wish you all a safe and Happy New Year.

Goodbye 2020…and Good riddance!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well, we are in the final days of 2020, which has been a shit show of a year and I, like most, will be glad to see it in my rearview mirror. That said, I have been fortunate to have kept my job during the lockdown, unlike many I know, and the COVID was for the most part a remote threat. I do know some folks who got it and a few who even perished from it, but no one in my immediate circle was affected by it, and for that I am very grateful.

I did get lost in dark ruminations at times which lead to panic attacks and much moping (more so than usual), but I also got some writing done, and even got some of it published! Eight pieces in all were published, mostly by Hippocampus Press. I had two prose poems and three poems published in Spectral Realms and a short story in the debut issue of Penumbra. I had a reprint in Speculations II, from the Weird Poets Society, and my second Averoigne tribute story finally saw the light of day (dark of night?) in the anthology A Walk in a Darker Wood from Oxygen Man Books. For a more detailed list see below:

Satanic Sonata (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

Kiss of Life (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

My Bantam Black Fay [revised] (poetry): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

Hell-Flower (poetry): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

Moribond (poetry): Spectral Realms #13 [Hippocampus Press]

The Baleful Beldam (poetry/reprint): Speculations II: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society 2019

The Hell of Mirrors (fiction): Penumbra #01 [Hippocampus Press]

Rosaire, Master of Wolves (tribute fiction) A Walk in a Darker Wood [Oxygen Man Books]

The most exciting news re: my writing is that I have made an agreement with my friend Graphic Designer Dan Sauer to put together an omnibus of my poetry and prose for his Jackanapes Press featuring my first two planned chapbooks, Morbidezza & Other Denizens of the Dark, and The Devil & All His Works, under the title of Book of Shadows. Mr. Sauer will be doing the cover and interior art, and fellow weird poet/author Scott J. Couturier has graciously agreed to do an introduction. The manuscript is done for the most part, although I have made some last minute tweaks here and there and even last night was considering the swapping of two poems. If all goes as planned, I am hopeful that it will see the light some time in late Winter or early Spring 2021. I will, of course keep you all apprised of any developments.

On a personal note, not much has changed for me. I still live in the same place, and I still work in the same office. Some would see this as a blessing in today’s topsy-turvy world, and I must concede despite my foiled pre-pandemic plans. I only hope that 2021 has better things to offer us all.

On a parting note, I have a new member in my household. Mr. Gilman, a blue betta fish. He was a gift from my cousin Lorraine, in an effort to mitigate my loneliness. I spent the remaining afternoon stressing about being responsible for another living creature, but after some reassuring messages and helpful hints from my fish-owning Facebook friends I calmed down and went to PetSmart and got a couple necessary items and set up his tank. He has survived the last couple days, so I assume he will be okay. He wasn’t eating at first but I was told this is normal as he gets accustomed to his new environment. I didn’t feed him today as he still had food floating in his tank last night so he should be fine for the time being. If he makes it through the remainder of 2020 I’ll be glad. If I make it through, I’ll be ecstatic.

Update 12/18/2020: A Walk in a Darker Wood on Amazon!

Posted in A Walk in a Darker Wood, Averoigne, Clark Ashton Smith, Folk-Horror, Oxygen Man Books, Rosaire, Sarah Walker, Spectral Realms with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I have recently been apprised of the release of the folk-horror anthology A Walk in a Darker Wood which features my werewolf tale Rosaire, Master of Wolves, set in Clark Ashton Smith‘s phantom haunted French province of Averoigne. It also has stories and poetry by many of my colleagues from Spectral Realms as well as many other genre luminaries. I have read a good many of these tales and poems and I can say without hesitation that there are some amazing pieces in here, even some startling selections by folks whom I do not personally know, but may have to look into now that I am aware of their talent. Artwork is by a few different artists including Sarah Walker, who did a really sweet illustration for my story, which I shared on here back in November.

Come, take a walk in a darker wood with us. Join us in a haunted place where Pan walks free, where the Dark Mother holds her shadow children close, and where the full moon rides high in the night, whispering secrets of a forgotten past into the wind. Come closer and listen to these tales of a darker nature from the minds of …•Manuel Arenas•Chelsea Arrington•Hayley Arrington•David Barker•Adam Bolivar•Phil Breach•Scott J. Couturier•Ashley Dioses• S. L. Edwards •Maxwell I. Gold•John Linwood Grant•Jill Hand•John H. Howard•Maquel Jacob•Shayne K. Keen•David Myers• K. A. Opperman •Duane Pesice•Rachel E. Robinson• A. P. Sessler •William Tea•Russell Smeaton•Michael Walker•Sarah Walker • Gordon B. White •Can Wiggins•Ivan ZoricWith a forward by Sarah Walker, Scott J. Couturier and Shayne Keen and artwork byDan Sauer, Sarah Walker, Alan Sessler and Kai Bryan, this book is sure to satisfy. Come walk with us…we are waiting for you….

Here is the link for the trade paperback: A Walk in a Darker Wood: An Anthology of Folk Horror: Walker, Sarah, Bolivar, Adam, Walker, Sarah T., Opperman, KA, Howard, John, Myers, David L, Barker, David, Pesice, Duane, White, Gordon, Sessler, A. P.: 9781732683976: Books

Witch’s Tit accepted for Spectral Realms #15!

Posted in S.T. Joshi, Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, Witchs Tit (poem) with tags , , , on December 17, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I have been wanting to come up with some new poetry to submit to Spectral Realms but had nothing in mind for new topics, so I once again returned to my folder of my early doggerel looking for something to clean up and beat into publishable shape. I found such a poem in Witch’s Tit, and old ditty I wrote about a skin tag on the back of my leg. I sent it to my friend Scott J. Couturier to see what he thought and he suggested a word swap and a comma. I made the recommended revisions and sent it out yesterday.

Surprisingly, I received my response today from S.T. Joshi, who called it a “delightfully creepy poem!” and said he’d be glad to enter it into SR #15. I am very happy to see yet another of my old chestnuts finally getting it’s day in the sun (or the moonlight?).

Update 12/11/2020: Santa comes in early to Manny’s home.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 11, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This past Saturday morning my buddy Zach stopped by to drop off an early Christmas gift. He gave me a Smart TV and helped set up the Blu-ray player that has been gathering dust for the past year or so, and I have been watching a lot of my videos that I bought when I had a functioning player before it shit the bed. He gave me a replacement (a still functioning hand-me-down from a relative) but the portal was too advanced for my ancient television and it wouldn’t hook up. Now, with the new TV, everything hooked up nicely and I was set to go. My only issue is trying not to get too caught up watching videos all day and not working on my writing!

The first of the three movies I have seen so far is The Evil of Dracula (1974), a Gothic Vampire film from Toho, the studio that introduced Kaiju to the Western world. It is the last installment of the Bloodthirsty Trilogy of director Michio Yamamoto, a trio of films styled after the Hammer Studios Gothics. They are surprisingly well done and mesh incorporate the Gothic look seamlessly within their Japanese locations. I don’t know if it was on purpose, but the vampires, mostly nubile young Japanese women in diaphanous dresses with flowing sable locks and heaving bosoms, save for the odd male vampire, who is usually the master vampire, have pale, vaguely bluish miens and their eyes are lined in red so when they go full vamp to attack, baring their teeth, they come across like a fiend from a kabuki play or the ghosts and demons from the from Yūrei-zu images of the 19th century.

Poster art for Evil of Dracula (1974).

The second film I watched was the Italian giallo film Paganini Horror (1989) featuring Daria Nicolodi, who also contributed to the script. Donald Pleasance has a bit part as a Mephistophelean broker who gets the male drummer of an otherwise all-female pop band to purchase an unpublished Paganini score to boost the fading star of the band. Unfortunately, the score is cursed and mayhem ensues when they go to film a video at a haunted chateau that the “Italian” composer (his nationality is continually mentioned any time the composer’s name is uttered) reputedly sojourned in once. Unfortunately, Pleasance’s distinct voice is dubbed over by another actor. The script went through many re-writes, and it shows. Basically, it is part pop music video, part Sci-Fi, and part giallo. That all said, I got a kick out of it.

The third movie I saw over the weekend was Exorcist III, which is basically the real sequel to the Exorcist. It is an adaptation of William Peter Blatty‘s novel, Legion. Blatty even directs this one. Nicol Williamson is wasted here, barely present until the climactic third act, but George C. Scott and Brad Dourif chew up the scenery in this supernatural murder mystery. I really enjoy this film and own a copy of the book, although I have yet to read it.

I have watched other films as well, but I shan’t bore you with anymore lists. Suffice it to say that I am making good use of my new toy.

Update 12/03/2020: Lame prequels and faulty proofs.

Posted in A Walk in a Darker Wood, David Barker, J-Horror, Oxygen Man Books, Ringu franchise, Sarah Walker, Scott J. Couturier with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I haven’t written in a bit so I thought I would check in. About a week or so ago I got a copy of the DVD for Ringu 0, the prequel to the J-Horror movie Ringu (The Ring). It purports to tell the story of how Sadako became an onryō (vengeful ghost). However, it does not quite follow the storyline from the original film (nor the book for that matter) nor does it ever address how the fateful videotape came into existence or how it became cursed; in fact, the fell video is never mentioned and victims just complain about strange dreams presaging their deaths. Worst of all, most of the film’s screen time was dedicated to a weak love triangle, and there is a plot twist in the third act that doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t pay off.

DVD for Ringu 0.

I am glad that I saw this, but I doubt I will bother to revisit it, nor will I ever recommend it for anyone but a completist.

I recently received a message from Scott J. Couturier that contained the uncorrected proof for A Walk in a Darker Wood. He got a copy from Sarah Walker over at Oxygen Man Books and he found several significant errors, so he sent it on to me to make sure that my entry was okay. Fortunately, my story was fine, although I did notice a typo in a the story by David Barker, and a few others, which I intend to point out to Sarah before they finalize the draft. I have been reading the other tales and poems in the book and there are some really great pieces in here and the illustrations (by Ms. Walker and assorted other artists) are really impressive! Hopefully, they will sort out the kinks and release it before the end of 2020.

Black Hymeneal accepted for Spectral Realms #15!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 26, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This morning I received a very Happy Thanksgiving message from S.T. Joshi confirming the acceptance of my poem Black Hymeneal for inclusion in Spectral Realms #15! He said that he liked it and thought that I had made substantial improvements on it. This news means a lot to me because I have always been fond of this poem and was really crushed when it was rejected, not once but twice. Now all my hard work feels validated.

Anyway, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Be smart and be safe in your celebrations.

Update 11/23/2020: Creepshow, French Forensics and 45 RPMs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

So this weekend began Friday night with me going to my buddy Zach’s after work. I had asked him to order a 45 for me of Blood Ceremony‘s Let It Come Down/Loving You (the latter being a rocking cover version of the song by Scottish heavy rock band Iron Claw.). It is a brilliant single and the artwork is appropriately weird and beautiful. I have been meaning to buy it for some time but have put it off until I recently noticed it was becoming scarce, so before it became completely unavailable or outpriced, I had him order a copy for me off of Amazon. I was please to see that my copy was purple vinyl.

Let it Come Down by Blood Ceremony (2014, Rise Above).

When I got there we ate some subs from Jersey Mikes and watched a few episodes of the ew Creepshow series, which were a lot of fun, in particular we enjoyed the segment The House of the Head from the first episode. Very creepy indeed.

Ad for Creepshow series

I spent most of the remaining weekend at home, watching a French television show, Balthazar, about a forensic scientist, a charming rogue who seems to be able to do just about anything it seems. According to his backstory, Raphaël Balthazar underwent a personal trauma several years before which causes him to have hallucinations where he talks to the shades of the decedents he autopsies, who give him insights into the cases he helps solve with the harried, but engaging, detective Hélène Bach. It’s a fun show, kind of like a continental take on Kathy ReichsBones. I am on season 2 already and am burning through the episodes at least 2 or 3 per viewing session.

I have been listening to some of the music from my childhood lately. A couple weeks ago I picked up used copies of recently remastered CD versions of the first two albums by PFM. I cannot believe the difference in the clarity of these CDs. I have some Japanese CDs of the same albums that I bought in the early 90s that have been on my play rotation for years but they never sounded this good. These new versions are also Japanese but only a couple years old so I guess sound reproduction technology has advanced a lot since then. LOL! I only wish this version had the La carozza di Hans/Impresssioni di settembre single tacked on at the end.

I also have pulled out my CD of the Camel compilation Lunar Sea. They have always been a second tier band for me, but they do have some great tunes on their first few albums. My favorite of the lot is Free Falling, followed by Rhayader. I always thought their sound lacked an edge but neither were they delicate or intricate enough in the softer spots. The vocals were their weakest point, which is probably why a good portion of their journeyman output is instrumental. That said, their 1974 album Snow Goose is a great example of their melodic instrumental work at its peak.

Update 11/18/2020: Krampus chapbook and kind words from a friend.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This has been a pretty good morning thus far. Yesterday my dear friend Shawna (daughter of my buddy Rand) shared a Facebook memory from a while back promoting the Greetings from Krampus chapbook my buddy Dick Kelly and I made. At the time, I didn’t sell a single copy, but gave a few away as presents for Christmas. She had mentioned in her post that copies were still available, so I decided to re-share my original post as well to remind my friends that they could still obtain this limited edition chapbook. Before I knew it, I sold two copies, and this morning I sold three more! I still have a box of them, so anyone interested can just say so in the comments and I will contact you about shipping. They are $5 per booklet and $3 for shipping.

Also awaiting me in my work email was this kind response from Scott J. Couturier regarding my Averoigne tribute tale, The Fell Fete with a nod to my poem Moribond.

Ah, ‘The Felle (sic) Fete!’ It has the sense of Smith’s Averoigne, but channeled through your own aesthetic sensibility…& a brilliant stroke, to focus on the fae. Also enjoy your syncretic worldbuilding, & the subtle references to other Smith & Lovecraft tales — &, of course, the final soul-harvesting denouement. I read it aloud to Shayne, who was struck especially by the appearance & description of your Black Piper. I really enjoyed this tale, & Anacleto’s fate is perhaps to be envied, achieving a thrill of the numinous amid the dread(!). Also cool to see Moribond in action, your poem of the same name being a highlight for me in Spectral Realms #13.

He also gave me some advice on my rewrite of Black Hymeneal, most of which I implemented. I hope to resubmit the poem to Spectral Realms soon, but I shall give it a day or two to review before sending it out again.

Update 11/19/2020:

I pulled out Black Hymeneal again this morning for a fresh look and found a line that was technically okay but didn’t feel right, so I rearranged some words and made a couple changes to set it right. I may send it to S.T. Joshi first to see if he’ll take it for Spectral Realms #15.