Guest Post: Sara Tantlinger

Check out my essay on Writing What You Don’t Know over on author Erik Hofstatter’s website today!

Erik Hofstatter ~ cimmerian WRITINGS

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Dark poet and the enigmatic author behind Love For Slaughter, Sara Tantlinger, is my latest guest with her eye-opening essay on the age-old advice of writing what we know. Sara touches on key points of expanding our horizons, embracing diversity, and emphasizes the importance of learning and challenging ourselves by writing what we, in fact, don’t know.

Love For Slaughter is a blood diamond amongst poetry collections. Sara’s talent is undeniable and the sheer force of her verses devastates.

Over to you, Sara.

Writing What You Don’t Know
By Sara Tantlinger

“Write what you know” is a phrase that has been following me since I started studying creative writing during my undergraduate years. This phrase would be echoed to death while I pursued my MFA, and don’t get me wrong, it’s great advice, but it’s also the mostobvious advice you could give someone. Of course we have to…

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Five Ways Poetry Can Strengthen Your Prose by Sara Tantlinger

Check out my guest article on how poetry can help strengthen prose writing! Happy National Poetry Month!

Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

In celebration of National Poetry Month this April, I’m doing a small series featuring poets/poetry. Yesterday, Christina Sng stopped by and shared three of her fabulous poems! Today, Sara Tantlinger is here to discuss how poetry can help strengthen your prose writing.

I really appreciate her offering this piece, because I can’t believe how often I tell other writers that poetry, if not read for enjoyment, at the least, can be a great asset in blossoming lengthier writing. It brings me great pleasure to know that other poets out there feel the same and that she, as well, plays with words and poetry to assist with things such as character development. I’ve only met Sara online this year, but she’s a wonderful and talented human being and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her. I am super excited for her next release later this year, which is a collection of poems…

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Book review: Love For Slaughter – Sara Tantlinger

Check out this bloody good review of LOVE FOR SLAUGHTER!

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I like my poetry like I like my steak….bloody. Sara Tantlinger’s Love For Slaughter certainly isn’t for the prude, nor is it for those who are put off by a little gore and guts in their verse. I had a really hard time putting this collection down and its clever mixture of shorter and longer poems really struck a chord with me. There is a smouldering, dark, sexy vibe to this collection that I really enjoyed. Let’s dig in!

I also like poetry that speaks to me; like when I’m reading stories, with poetry I still want that picture to form inside of my mind and Sara Tantlinger’s collection does this with ease. I loved the shorter vignettes: The Filth in You, Notch Post and Unstitched, whilst short they are no less shocking and cutting pieces, leaving deep marks that will take time to heal. I found they broke things up…

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More horror poetry for Strangehouse Books in 2018 . . .

Check out some info on my upcoming poetry collection, THE DEVIL’S DREAMLAND, inspired by none other than serial killer H.H. Holmes.

Sara Tantlinger’s Love For Slaughter was one of Strangehouse Books most popular titles in 2017, so we are definitely excited to show you what she has in store for readers in 2018!

For her follow-up collection, Tantlinger has chosen none other than notorious killer HH Holmes as her inspiration. Here’s a look at the (WIP) cover art:

HH Holmes cover

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From Holmes, With Love (and murder)

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Herman Webster Mudgett, alias Dr. H. H. Holmes. *source*

In 2015 I watched a documentary on Netflix titled H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer. I took notes, fascinated, wanting to do something with this savagely strange killer…a couple years, an MFA degree, and some publications later, I finally found precious time to sit down and research Holmes for my next poetry collection, The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes, which should be out later this year.

So until then, let me offer you some Valentines, H.H. Holmes style, while I continue researching and writing and dreaming in the darkness. Who better to do romance than a serial killer doctor who had three wives at once, courted mistresses, and stuffed some of them into trunks after killing them?

Ah, amour!

Actually, a couple years ago the Pittsburgh ScareHouse featured a Holmes “murder hotel” theme in their Basement that I went to for Valentine’s Day. You had to sign a waiver before entering since the Basement allows the actors to touch you. Thus, I was electrocuted, blindfolded, shoved in a safe, slightly strangled, chained up by the H.H. Holmes actor, and more! It was great!

Please enjoy these love notes from my muse, this strange, manipulatively charming,

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What do you mean everyone doesn’t have stacks of Holmes books and a Holmes coaster? (In my defense, some of these were gifts, ha.)

swindler of a man…or, of a devil, as he would have you know….Try these out on your loved ones and let me know how it goes.

*Roses are red, your lips are blue, I’ll hide your body so well, and poison your daughter, too. For Julia and Pearl

*I want to strip off your clothes and your skin

*With a body like that, you’d make a beautiful research cadaver

*I’ve never met anyone like you. Be my fourth wife? No, it’s okay, I left them alive and only killed the mistresses. I swear!

*Love isn’t refundable, now sign your property and life insurance over to me
-(Holmes was a notorious conman and loved money)

*What’s the key to your heart? *pulls out dissection knife*

*Love is like chloroform, sweet-smelling at first, but then you wake up naked and chained in the basement…

P.s. Artist Holly Carden designed this cool as hell illustration of the Murder Castle here. You should check it out.

The doctor and I bid you farewell, for now. We can’t wait to invite you back into the nightmare dreamland later…

 

StokerCon 2018 Schedule

Next month I’ll be headed to Lovecraft’s home town of Providence for StokerCon 2018. I Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 11.35.11 AMattended my first StokerCon last year in Long Beach, CA, so I’m excited to be attending again (and to have a much shorter flight this time around — LAX is actually made of nightmares). Here’s what I’ll be participating in:

Friday, March 2nd, 11a.m. — Reading Block: I’m ecstatic to be reading my work at a conference for the first time. My reading block is with Randy D. Rubin and Scott Edelman — good stuff! It’s sure to be a wonderful and weird time.

Saturday, March 3rd, noon, — Women In Horror Month Panel: I can’t wait to talk about my favorite ladies in horror and gush about their work, influence, and inspiration. This panel is with Amber Newberry, Kathleen Scheiner, Linda Addison, Meghan Acruri-Moran, and moderated by Carol Gyzander.

Saturday, March 3rd, 3:00pm, — Terrifying Teaching Tactics Panel: Horror in the classroom? Oh yes. This panel is going to be a blast, and I’ll be chatting with Frazer Lee, Heather Herrman, Tom F. Monteleone, and the madness is moderated by Mike Arnzen.

Saturday, March 3rd, 4:00pm, — Breaking Barriers with Horror Poetry Panel: Poetry is one of my favorite things to write, talk about, and study, so I’m thrilled to be on this panel with John Edward Lawson, Marge Simon, Randy D. Rubin, and Stephanie Wytovich, moderated by the brilliant Linda Addison.

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In between all of this, I can’t wait to attend workshops, classes, a pitch session, see old friends, and fangirl over some of the writers who will be attending this year. See you all at the Biltmore!

 

Friday the 13th — Academic Style

Having a Friday the 13th in October was too fun for this horror writer to pass up, even in the classroom. I had my Composition & Culture students discuss the pros and cons of what would happen if social media suddenly vanished from campus, and then we took a look at some horror films (and the excellent show Black Mirror) that portray social media/technology as an ultimate and relatable in-your-face evil as compared to the more metaphorical/societal evils vampires, demons, witches, and other baddies in horror tend to represent. (Check back later for another post on this comparison because I think it’s a fascinating one to delve into).

For some creative fun, I brought in my pal and poetry colleague Mike Arnzen’s Fridge of the Damned Poetry magnets and challenged my students to use the poetry bits to create something inspired by our social media conversation (because poetry is fun!) I was both impressed by each group’s abilities to provide a great analysis to convince me how their poems tied into our earlier conversation, and quite happy to see the overall engagement in creating poetry because, as anyone who has met me knows, I believe in the power of poetry and doing any kind of creativity, always. With about 10ish minutes on the clock, I set the challenge, played some spooky soundtracks in the background, and they got to work.

Check out each group’s poem below! And while they are dark and I love horror, I obviously like some social media (I mean, I am blogging about this after all), but I very much believe in the importance of discussing our social media-obsessiveness, and maybe poking fun of our habits can lead to some introspective moments of reflection and encourage us to put the phones down and enjoy the fall foliage or read a book beneath the autumn sunlight. Or write wacky poems with friends.

Tommy's group

“Fear is human…” Tommy, Devin, and Cory show us how sometimes people are childish on social media, but hurtful comments can seal into one’s mind. And sometimes, social media claims our very souls…duhn, duhn, duhn…

Sam's group

Sam, Megan, Josh, and Kylie give us some abstract lines to show how time disappears when on social media. It can hook us in, render us numb, and end with the shrieks of the innocent.

Mike's group

Demons within chocolate? Oh yes. Mike, Kate, and Camila delve into how sweet someone can seem on the internet versus the inner demons that may be lingering beneath the surface.

Lauren's group

Lauren, Katie, Allison, Teegan, and McGarity present a dark analysis of the fragility of our nerves when on social media, and how despair can grab us when we dangle our hearts on the internet.

Azaria's group

“broken humans / in agony” — the glare may hide some words, but Azaria, Alma, Nelson, and Brooklynn don’t glare away from showing how broken people can break even more inside the noisy world of social media.

Kelsey's group

Kelsey, Lexi, Mackensi, and Kamyron chop us up with this abstract and detailed piece on the potential darkness lurking when we give too much of ourselves to social media.

Andrew's group

The glass machine, is it social media or is it humanity? Andrew, Taylor, Gabby, and Trent provide some interesting thoughts on different elements on various social media in this one.

Josey's group

“swallow you dead” — it certainly can. Owen, Liz, Anna H., Anna M., and Josey provide us with these final thoughts on the costumes we sometimes wear on social media compared to our true selves.