Giveaway: Catfish Lullaby

Catfish Lullaby CoverCatfish Lullaby is officially out in the world! I’m very pleased with my weird little story of swamps and monsters, found family, blood family, and fighting back against the darkness. It’s picked up a few nice reviews so far, including Publishers Weekly, where is got a starred review, The Miskatonic Review, which had very kind things to say, and Black Gate Magazine, among other places.

If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, here’s your chance to win one. All you have to do is tell me a story. Between now and Friday, September 13, 2019, drop a comment below telling me a about your favorite legend. It could be something specific to a certain region, like the Loch Ness Monster, or the Jersey Devil. It could be a new tale from the creepypasta age, like Slender Man. It could be a personal family story, like the time your grandmother saw a ghost, or something that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend, but you swear it’s true. Eerie voices, UFOs, cryptozoolgy, whatever you got, I want to hear it. Give me your odd tales passed around the campfire, your snippets and incidents that grow with retelling into a full-blown legend. (Note – you don’t necessarily have to tell me a full story. You could say your favorite legend is Bigfoot for their fabulous sense of style, and that’s good enough for me!)

At the end of the week, through the magic of random number generation, I’ll pick a winner and send off a signed copy. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

ETA: Thank you to everyone who played along and shared your favorite legends, inexplicable encounters, and creepy stories. The random number generator has declared Hailey the winner. Congratulations!

24 Comments

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24 Responses to Giveaway: Catfish Lullaby

  1. One winter, my dad looked out the back windows of his house, where there’s a couple acres of trees, and saw the sky glow orange. At first he thought it was a forest fire, but couldn’t see how since it was all snowy and wet out, plus he didn’t hear any sirens. The next day, he went on a walk and found, nestled in between tree roots, a Spider-Man kite. It was too clean to have fallen, he said, and looked someone had placed it there. But there weren’t any footprints in the snow besides his. That night he heard what sounded like a kid crying in the woods. He turned on the outside lights, but didn’t see anyone. In the morning, the kite was gone.
    We have no idea whether there’s a connection; it’s just a freaky thing that happened to him and we never learned what it was about. It’s never happened again.

  2. I was intrigued to learn about Batsquatch, a flying cryptid, sighted near Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Should be more Batsquatch stories!

  3. Kristi C

    I grew up in upstate NY, so Champ (from Lake Champlain) has always been fascinating to me, along with Nessie and all the other deep-lake-dwelling creatures. I was just in VT where they hold her dear!

    • I’ve always been fond of Champ/Nessie stories as well. There’s something that seems both plausible and deliciously creepy about the idea of something unknown lurking in deep water.

  4. bob golding

    it was one of those clear nights in late summer. the sky was clear and there was no moon. I was driving along minding my own business listening to the radio. there was a hiss from the radio and the car stopped. oh oh a 3rd encounter moment I thought. I have never been short of a vivid imagination. stood before me in the middle of the road was a woman from my dreams, yea that’s right from my dreams not of my dreams. they are different.” we have come to save you,” she said as I was still in the car with the doors and window closed she must have spoken straight into my head.

  5. bob golding

    what me personally? well no you are just a random sample of humanity. gee thanks I thought. as some of you may have worked out already you are in deep doo doo and could become extinct very soon if you don’t do something about it. we tried to communicate with your leaders but as we can only communicate via dream images this has proved difficult. all your leaders dont have anything in their heads except there own ego’s.

  6. bob golding

    we chose you just to see if you are all like this. I am glad to say you are not. but as your leaders are impossible to communicate we have decided you are too far gone to be worth saving, sorry about that. it was nice chatting to you and enjoy the last few days of your existence. wait a minute you shout i thought we had a few years, but she had gone. the lights came back on the radio came back on and I just sat there wondering if I had imagined it all. think I will start a doomsday cult.

  7. Loki

    This legend was told to me by my late father. He repeated it several times, but never claimed it as more than something he heard from a colleague.

    It is the account of a traveler driving on one of the highways across the prairie provinces of Canada sometime in the middle of the 20th century. I never heard the reason for the trip, like all good legends, it simply is assumed that people will travel, and it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters most.

    In this case, the man was pushing on late at night, with no one else on the highway. The headlights from his car was the only thing seeming to move along the highway as he drove. Late night driving all alone on a featureless road is the kind of thing that can inspire someone to ask for something, anything, to happen, just to break up the monotony.

    This is never a satisfying thing to wish for – most of the time, such wishes go thankfully unanswered and the boredom grows even more oppressive, it seems. Sometimes, though, the wish is granted. That’s far worse.

    In this case, what happened was that as the man was driving at highway speed he suddenly saw a large animal amble out onto the highway without the least care in the world. After all, who would be daft enough to bother a fully grown hippopotamus?

    In the event, the hippopotamus was not bothered even now. This is not to say that the driver avoided the hippopotamus, for he didn’t have time to do much more than curse before slamming into the side of the hippopotamus. The car was much the worse for wear after this collision. The hippopotamus, was much taken aback by the rudeness and decided that it had no desire to remain in such rude company and wandered onwards.

    Our driver is sitting in the wreck of his car, stunned but otherwise unhurt, and alone. A quick survey of the car makes it clear that the car is not going to be moving under its own power ever again. After setting out road flares, and tending to any cuts he may have had, the former driver had no choice but to sit down and await events. Well, he could think about what he was going to tell the Mounties when they eventually showed up.

    My father said that the driver had hours to sit in his wrecked car, wondering how on earth he was going to explain to the RCMP that he had run into a hippopotamus on the Canadian prairie, and it had since wandered off.

    As the shock from the accident wore off, the dread for how he was going to sound trying to tell that tale to anyone who hadn’t seen it grew and grew. He supposed he might simply be written off as drunk, but that wouldn’t explain the ruined car; if he claimed a moose collision that would at least fit with expected fauna for the region, but moose are relatively fragile, and a collision that left his car in such a mess would not have been easily survivable by a moose.

    But a hippopotamus? In Canada? Who would believe that? He was sure he was going to be in for some very unpleasant questioning.

    I’m tempted to end the story here. It’s the anticipation that makes this so deliciously nervy and disturbing, after all.

    But that wouldn’t be nice.

    In the end, when the Mounties showed up they were polite and listened very attentively while our driver pleaded with them to believe him that he’d hit a hippopotamus. The driver was not prepared for the rest of their reaction:

    “Oh, great! You’ve seen him! Did you mark which way he went from here?”

    It turns out that the local zoo had a hippopotamus, but lacked a hippopotamus-proof enclosure for the hippopotamus. And so, every so often the hippopotamus would decide that its enclosure was boring, and it was time for a bit of a walkabout.

    In the end it’s just an amusing legend. But I always think about the torment of that poor driver waiting to explain he’s not drunk, stoned, or crazy and he really did hit a hippopotamus in the middle of Saskatchewan. Even if it did walk off into the night.

  8. bob golding

    hope this is not too long.

  9. My favorite monster (one of my favorite monsters??) actually IS the Jersey Devil. I’m from New Jersey, not quite far enough south to have grown up in the Pine Barrens, but definitely went on like, a three day sleepover with the Girl Scouts at a campground that was (in addition to various other family recreations).

    I heard my Jersey Devil story at Girl Scout camp though. That it was “some lady” (Mother Leeds’) thirteen child, and she was so fed up with having kids that it was born a MONSTER that then like, destroyed the house and marauded the countryside but never bothered people who stayed in their tents (unless they just had to go to the bathroom in the night). I think my girl scout leaders were fed up by campfire time, just sayin’

    • I’m not sure I’d heard that particular origin. I think my first exposure to the Jersey Devil was the Weird NJ Magazine, which I think was maybe the original version of the Weird [Insert State] books they have now. Or at least used to have. Maybe those aren’t even a thing anymore!

      • Weird NJ DOES still publish! Their website used to be far more navigable (and maybe it is again, I gave up last time I tried) and used to have A LOT of material just there and available.

        I think the “real official” story is that the baby was born normal, transformed into a monster in front of the midwife’s eyes, and then flew up the chimney and intermittently marauded the countryside. Napoleon’s brother claimed to have shot a cannon at it! And I think Mother Leeds, at least, was a real person. The rest……I mean, the description is a little to ridiculous to not be a real monster right? The head of a collie dog but the face of a horse? And antlers? That’s a really busy cranium!

  10. Growing up, there was an abandoned house a few blocks away, and all the neighborhood kids (of all different ages) were convinced there was something going on with it. There were dozens of stories being passed around: it was haunted, a witch lived there, a murder had taken place there. I have no idea where the rumors actually started — I think, really, it was a group effort and everyone added their own version! My brother and I are six years apart, and we both passed the stories around with our friends. It was my first real experience with a “local legend” even though no one could really agree what that legend was.

  11. Kathryn

    Oh man, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. I guess in general, my favorite “monster” would be the ghost. My mom likes to tell the story about how when she was a young girl, she was bouncing a ball in my grandpa’s workshop (he was a farmer, so think lots of dangerous farm equipment) and she kept bouncing it higher and higher until it knocked a pitchfork off the wall or wherever it was hanging. The pitchfork came straight for her, but something knocked her out of the way and when she got up and looked around, nothing was there.

  12. Crystal

    So this is something I think about every now and then because it felt very real. Like a dream, the moment was more terrifying than anything I could put into words.

    My family used to live in a very old house. I was about 9 years old, and every morning my younger sister and I would be dropped off at the bus stop. Some days my dad would bring us, and on others it would be my mom.

    Without fail, I’d always turn around and wave to whoever stayed behind–my mom, or my dad. They’d always be standing at the same window.

    One morning, my dad was driving, so I turned around to wave to my mom. You always hear about how a person’s blood runs cold, or their heart stops beating. It’s a bit cliche, but that’s exactly what happened to me when I saw The Woman standing next to my mom. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

    She was blonde, and very pale. My mom was waving just as she usually did. She gave no indication that someone was beside her. I just remember that The Woman was waving, and smiling. It’s that smile that really stuck with me. It was gentle, and menacing, at the same time. She stood too close to the window, and it just looked wrong.

    I didn’t say anything, and I turned away. I had a hard time believing what I’d just seen. I was terrified of going home that day, but I did, and nothing happened. The next morning I waved without looking, but curiosity got the best of me, and I gathered all of my courage to look again the following morning. She wasn’t there, and a part of me was disappointed.

    Decades later, and I’ve never seen her again.

    That’s my story.

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