Curious Blue Press

          We're a bit off-center.

A Fond Farewell to Curious Blue Press Curious

(From December Tales II)

Blue Press has, from conception, been a labor of love,  beginning as the COVID passion project of one man and his Chihuahua and ending with the volume you are now reading. As a boy, I was a bit of a Pugsley Addams, in both nature and appearance, and I’ve always loved tales of the supernatural.  

My birthday falls in December, and in 2021 I decided to give myself the gift of an anthology of new and classic ghost stories that I could share with readers everywhere. I got commitments from ghost story greats, such as Reggie Oliver,  Ramsey Campbell, and Lisa Morton, and then I panicked and decided I needed a trial run first. 

This first go at publishing became Good Southern Witches, and what started as an afterthought ended up as my favorite Curious Blue Press publication. I’m extremely proud of the collections (Good Southern Witches, The Little Book of Horrors, December Tales, and now, December Tales II) Curious Blue Press has brought out. One of Curious Blue’s original ghost stories, Glen Hirshberg’s “Jetty Sara,” even earned a place in Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Volume 3 (Pyr, 2022). 

I hope you’ll enjoy reading December Tales II. I’ve tried to include something for everyone, all while attempting to maintain an atmosphere and create a natural flow from story to story (and sprinkling in a few surprises here and there). If one story doesn’t grab you, December Tales II offers you thirty-six more to sample. Happy reading, and thanks for coming along on the ride.

J. D. Horn, 2023

Good Southern Witches

"Like any successful conjuring brew, GOOD SOUTHERN WITCHES is that precise mélange of carefully-curated anthology ingredients: powerful tales, enduring voices, and enchantments of the darkest desires. Stir and serve freely upon devotees of macabre imagination."

—Eric J. Guignard, award-winning author and editor, including That Which Grows Wild and Doorways to the Deadeye

"Who knew there was so much old magic buried in the red dirt of America's South? If you like spellbinding tales of powerful women and dark witchery, then this brew's for you."

—Lisa Morton, author of Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances

The most accessible of supernatural entities, arguably even more so than ghosts, the witch is a wildflower, ready to thrive anywhere she chooses to take root.

She might be a force of nature, a mother, a maiden, a crone. Or she might not be a she at all, manifesting instead as a non-binary person, or a young boy looking to understand how he fits in in a man’s world.

She is the knowing outsider, the cunning killer, the healing center, the avenger of the disenfranchised, and patriarchy’s perennial scapegoat.

Sometimes she acts as a window on other realities. Sometimes she stands as the dam holding these alien realities back.

In this volume, she’s dug her roots deep into the soil of the American Southeast. Here, you’ll find Baba Yaga reimagined as a Southern socialite, Kentucky granny witches, Texas water witches, Tennessee tricksters, North Carolina guardians, Georgia killers, Mississippi virgins, and Louisiana whores.

The Little Book of Horrors

Ghosts, Devils, Vampires, Vengeful Deities, and the Terror of the Void

Boundaries crossed. Taboos broken. Old crimes echoing through the years. Enticing new sins shimmering just beyond reach.  And always, a price to be paid.

New translations of eight classic French tales of horror by Prosper Mérimée, Charles Rabou, Auguste Villiers de L’Isle Adam, Guy de Maupassant, Erckmann-Chatrian, Charles Nodier, Théophile Gautier, and Jean Lorrain.

December Tales

Features twelve brand-new eerie tales by award-winning and best-selling authors, as well as eleven chilling classics.

From the Foreword by Colin Dickey

The end of December is different. Dead dark, bleak and without remorse. The wind that had a pleasant briskness to it just a few weeks ago now has a knife’s edge. The sun sits on the edge of the horizon, distant and unmoved, gone almost as quickly as it appears. The skeletal trees have no comfort left to offer us. One doesn’t go outside so much as venture out, bundled up, for necessary provisions before returning to the safety of home. The world has become unforgiving. There is no room for error here. Winter is a time for closing ranks, a time for settling in for the long months. A time when the weather becomes eerie, when the once comforting has become strange. At Halloween the veil between worlds grows thin, but in winter it’s ripped clean open, and in the unrelenting cold we see straight through to the other side. And the other side sees straight into us.

It is not a time for revelry. It is a time for ghost stories.