Step into my Murder Castle…

Holmes jacketMy second poetry collection, The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes, is now live on Amazon!

If you might be into some serial killer poetry, check out my book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Here’s a sneak peak from one of my poems in the book titled “Scarlet Siege”

 

Scarlet Siege

Insanity splits through the air
like a serrated knife cleaving
melons in half, juice pools out,
lightly blood-tinged, flowing into
the mob mentality of fair-goers
flies stick to the glistening liquid
churning out tiny spawn to harvest
inside the mind of crowds

stop and sample the new
flavors of candies,
watch in awe as Tesla
sparks electric excitement,
conducting lightning through
his body like a melody,
marvel at the Ferris Wheel,
that monstrosity of a ride
hovering between adrenaline
and a drop straight down to skull-
cracking fear

within the White City’s celebration,
the water stays pure, the air cool,
horrors belong on the outside
where suicides have popped up
like cherry-tinted daisies,
where horses drop dead
in the streets from exhaustion,
muzzled and blinded
they never stood a chance,

where blood runs thick enough
to brew gurgling tarns
around the great fair,
drown all the attendees
beneath a scarlet siege,
consume that split of insanity
cleave the city in half as it bleeds

Cover Reveal: The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes

Coming very soon from Strangehouse Books…The Devil's Dreamland full rez.jpg

 

“Tantlinger’s chilling poetry, inspired by life/lies of a serial murderer, unfolds in the imagined voices of his victims, and the man himself, in a city reduced to ashes and rebuilt for him to bleed. The poems entice to try understanding this devil: what does he gain from such horror? In the end, after he is hanged and buried, the haunting last poem plants the idea: evil is more than one man and isn’t easily destroyed.”

—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of “How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend” and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner

“In this morbidly creative and profound crime documentary, Sara Tantlinger delivers one of the best works of horror poetry I’ve read in years. What America’s Ripper, HH Holmes, built with his creatively sick “murder castle” in 1890’s Chicago, Tantlinger creates today with this book, rich with seductive language and unflinchingly exploratory in its multifaceted structure. It’s brilliantly constructed to get inside your skull and pry apart your morbid fascination with life, death, perversion, avarice and murder, awakening you to the evil that hides in plain sight around us all. Readers will thrill to find themselves spilling down its terrifying trapdoors and careening down its greasy dark slides, until they find themselves imprisoned inside the black gloom of a deviant dungeon of nightmarish evil that they’ll never be able to forget…or escape. An amazing autopsy of the unholy!”

—Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Grave Markings and Play Dead

“A fascinating and absolutely riveting journey into the life and times of one H.H. Holmes. Sara Tantlinger’s powerful and vivid prose takes you into the depths of Holmes’ dark universe and what you see will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.”

—Christina Sng, Bram Stoker Award winning author of A Collection of Nightmares

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!

 

Human Casket and Flower Stitches

How’s National Poetry Month treating everyone? Here’s a couple poems I’ve done so far to kick the month off:

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human casket- made with The Fridge of the Damned magnets! This piece is also over on Michael Arnzen’s Flickr page where he posts the poems made with these deliciously dark magnets (there’s also a link to get your own set!). Check it out.

And here’s one more piece for the day.

Flower Stitches

My heart is dark and dry,
but you water it with love,
pure in its coldness

the drops trickle down
my ribs and grow flowers
inside my lungs

their stems wrap around
my bones and clutch
me together

small green stitches
with black thorns
piercing from my pores

scars that bleed
make me pretty
with the blood of our love

 

Love Me Like A Murder Scene

“From the tantalizing title to its closing line, ‘Love Me Like A Murder Scene’ immediately got my attention and kept it. The poet uses crime scene homicide metaphors with a creepy brilliance that captures the obsessive nature of intense passion. I hope to see more from this writer in the future.” -Karen Petersen

My poem “Love Me Like A Murder Scene” is being featured as the poem of the week at The Five-Two. Check it out here!