The Farmington Writers Circle Meets Again on March 9.

zola_leandreThe Farmington Writers Circle meets again on Thursday, March 9, in the Entertainmart (formerly Hardback) Café at 7:00 pm.  The topic of the night will  be how to grow a twitter presence using hashtags and by following other twitter users.

Everyone is invited.  There is no charge and no membership requirements.

Preceding the meeting, starting at 6:30 pm, one of our members will be reading from his/her works.  The reader and his/her works will be announced once finalized.

The Farmington Writers Circle is a group of local writers who are interested in exploring and developing new means of marketing and publicizing their works.

For more information, contact Phil Slattery at or via @philslattery201 or via this website.

Slattery’s Horror Weblog is Now Phil Slattery’s Blog

Writing  at Hasting's Hardback Café in Farmington, NM, late evening of October 16, 2015 (self-portrait)

Writing at Hasting’s Hardback Café in Farmington, NM, late evening of October 16, 2015 (self-portrait)

Originally, I started this site as a purely horror weblog, because that was my passion of the moment.  However, long before I became interested in writing horror, I studied German, Russian, and English literature and occasionally some American literature of several genres. Now I am returning to my literary roots and my generally wide-ranging interests and this blog will begin to reflect that.  I will still post mostly horror-related material for the foreseeable future, but I will also start to expand into wider realms of literature with postings on classic and modern literature, occasional scifi-related articles, and whatever else “piques my interest”.

As you have no doubt noticed, I sometimes stray from horror with articles on the art of writing or lessons from non-horror masters, because to me, horror is just as much literature as any other genre.  It is all the art of the written word.  Indeed, there are many lessons that the classics of mainstream literature can teach writers of horror.

I find it annoying, to say the least, that horror is usually considered second- or even third-rate compared to mainstream literature, when excellent horror can offer as much in plot, character development, and other aspects as any other literary work.  Who can say that the works of Poe do not deserve to be in the canon of great American literature when they are included in university textbooks?  As influential as Lovecraft has been on the horror of late twentieth and early twenty-first century culture, who can say that he will not eventually be taught as widely as Poe?  Stephen King, one of the nation’s most prolific authors, certainly deserves much more respect than his works generally receive.

But I digress.

I will continue to post articles on the art of horror, as much of my interest still lies therein.  You will start to see more articles on classic literature and writing and other genres as well.  You will also start to see that I will post and re-post less non-fiction articles on the art of writing and movies in favor of actual short stories and flash fiction drawing on whatever sources I can.  I will probably post more criticism, as I have begun learning how valuable good constructive criticism is planning one’s own works and developing one’s own style and techniques.

I hope you will continue to follow along with my journey into the world of literature and that you enjoy it as least as much as I.

The Saturday Night Special: “The Terrible Old Man” by H.P. Lovecraft (1921)

          It was the design of Angelo Ricci and Joe Czanek and Manuel Silva to call on the Terrible Old Man. This old man dwells all alone in a very ancient house on Water Street near the sea, and is reputed to be both exceedingly rich and exceedingly feeble; which forms a situation very attractive to men of the profession of Messrs. Ricci, Czanek, and Silva, for that profession was nothing less dignified than robbery.
       The inhabitants of Kingsport say and think many things about the Terrible Old Man which generally keep him safe from the attention of gentlemen like Mr. Ricci and his colleagues, despite the almost certain fact that he hides a fortune of

H.P. Lovecraft, 1915

H.P. Lovecraft, 1915

indefinite magnitude somewhere about his musty and venerable abode. He is, in truth, a very strange person, believed to have been a captain of East India clipper ships in his day; so old that no one can remember when he was young, and so taciturn that few know his real name. Among the gnarled trees in the front yard of his aged and neglected place he maintains a strange collection of large stones, oddly grouped and painted so that they resemble the idols in some obscure Eastern temple. This collection frightens away most of the small boys who love to taunt the Terrible Old Man about his long white hair and beard, or to break the small-paned windows of his dwelling with wicked missiles; but there are other things which frighten the older and more curious folk who sometimes steal up to the house to peer in through the dusty panes. These folk say that on a table in a bare room on the ground floor are many peculiar bottles, in each a small piece of lead suspended pendulum-wise from a string. And they say that the Terrible Old Man talks to these bottles, addressing them by such names as Jack, Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe, Peters, and Mate Ellis, and that whenever he speaks to a bottle the little lead pendulum within makes certain definite vibrations as if in answer. Those who have watched the tall, lean, Terrible Old Man in these peculiar conversations, do not watch him again. But Angelo Ricci and Joe Czanek and Manuel Silva were not of Kingsport blood; they were of that new and heterogeneous alien stock which lies outside the charmed circle of New England life and traditions, and they saw in the Terrible Old Man merely a tottering, almost helpless greybeard, who could not walk without the aid of his knotted cane, and whose thin, weak hands shook pitifully. They were really quite sorry in their way for the lonely, unpopular old fellow, whom everybody shunned, and at whom all the dogs barked singularly. But business is business, and to a robber whose soul is in his profession, there is a lure and a challenge about a very old and very feeble man who has no account at the bank, and who pays for his few necessities at the village store with Spanish gold and silver minted two centuries ago.
      Messrs. Ricci, Czanek, and Silva selected the night of April 11th for their call. Mr. Ricci and Mr. Silva were to interview the poor old gentleman, whilst Mr. Czanek waited for them and their presumable metallic burden with a covered motor-car in Ship Street, by the gate in the tall rear wall of their host’s grounds. Desire to avoid needless explanations in case of unexpected police intrusions prompted these plans for a quiet and unostentatious departure.
      As prearranged, the three adventurers started out separately in order to prevent any evil-minded suspicions afterward. Messrs. Ricci and Silva met in Water Street by the old man’s front gate, and although they did not like the way the moon shone down upon the painted stones through the budding branches of the gnarled trees, they had more important things to think about than mere idle superstition. They feared it might be unpleasant work making the Terrible Old Man loquacious concerning his hoarded gold and silver, for aged sea-captains are notably stubborn and perverse. Still, he was very old and very feeble, and there were two visitors. Messrs. Ricci and Silva were experienced in the art of making unwilling persons voluble, and the screams of a weak and exceptionally venerable man can be easily muffled. So they moved up to the one lighted window and heard the Terrible Old Man talking childishly to his bottles with pendulums. Then they donned masks and knocked politely at the weather-stained oaken door.
      Waiting seemed very long to Mr. Czanek as he fidgeted restlessly in the covered motor-car by the Terrible Old Man’s back gate in Ship Street. He was more than ordinarily tender-hearted, and he did not like the hideous screams he had heard in the ancient house just after the hour appointed for the deed. Had he not told his colleagues to be as gentle as possible with the pathetic old sea-captain? Very nervously he watched that narrow oaken gate in the high and ivy-clad stone wall. Frequently he consulted his watch, and wondered at the delay. Had the old man died before revealing where his treasure was hidden, and had a thorough search become necessary? Mr. Czanek did not like to wait so long in the dark in such a place. Then he sensed a soft tread or tapping on the walk inside the gate, heard a gentle fumbling at the rusty latch, and saw the narrow, heavy door swing inward. And in the pallid glow of the single dim street-lamp he strained his eyes to see what his colleagues had brought out of that sinister house which loomed so close behind. But when he looked, he did not see what he had expected; for his colleagues were not there at all, but only the Terrible Old Man leaning quietly on his knotted cane and smiling hideously. Mr. Czanek had never before noticed the colour of that man’s eyes; now he saw that they were yellow.
      Little things make considerable excitement in little towns, which is the reason that Kingsport people talked all that spring and summer about the three unidentifiable bodies, horribly slashed as with many cutlasses, and horribly mangled as by the tread of many cruel boot-heels, which the tide washed in. And some people even spoke of things as trivial as the deserted motor-car found in Ship Street, or certain especially inhuman cries, probably of a stray animal or migratory bird, heard in the night by wakeful citizens. But in this idle village gossip the Terrible Old Man took no interest at all. He was by nature reserved, and when one is aged and feeble one’s reserve is doubly strong. Besides, so ancient a sea-captain must have witnessed scores of things much more stirring in the far-off days of his unremembered youth.


A short, animated version of “The Terrible Old Man” can be found on Youtube at  Four minutes, eighteen seconds in length, it is an abbreviated version of Lovecraft’s 1,200 word story.  It cuts out a lot of the descriptive text and adds a couple of minor touches of its own, but, as far as horror and Lovecraft go, it is a relatively charming tale.   I find the story more enjoyable because of Lovecraft’s unique narrative style.


Literary Open Mic Starts Tonight at the Hardback Café, Sponsored by the Farmington Writers Circle

The Farmington Writers Circle is starting a new feature in sponsoring a literary open mic night at the Entertainmart

Official Author's Photo from March, 2015

Official Author’s Photo
from March, 2015

(formerly Hasting’s) Hardback Café.  The first performance will be tonight, Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. followed by a meeting of the Farmington Writer’s Circle.  We hope to have a half-hour performance at 6:30 p.m. preceding each Writers Circle meeting on the second Thursday of each month (February is an exception and we will be meeting on the third Thursday).

On February 16, I will be reading selections from my short story collection, The Scent and Other Stories: The Dark Side of Love, followed by a short open discussion and a questions and answers session.  Follow this link to learn more about The Scent…

In the future, we hope to have other members of the Writers Circle read from their works.

However, you do not have to be a member (not at this point, but maybe later) to read from your works.  Simply notify me through this website and I will schedule you for a slot.  However, members will have the first choice of slots.

All I ask is that, because there are families and children in Entertainmart, that you choose something that does not contain obscenity, explicit erotica, graphic violence, or anything generally considered in bad taste.  Please keep your readings to the G or PG level.  If you must read a passage containing vulgarities, please bleep them out, whistle, or do something entertaining other than saying them out loud (miming them or acting them out is not allowed either).

Also, please don’t read from someone else’s works.  We want to hear your voice, the voice of Farmington.  Hemingway and Shakespeare are great, but everyone knows them, even if they haven’t read them.

Be aware, the Writers Circle will not be the only ones attending your reading.  The Hardback Café is open to the public and the public will be moving in and out and having their coffee.

For more information, contact me via this website.

The Farmington Writers Circle Meets Tonight, February 16.

image001The Farmington Writers Circle meets again on Thursday, February 16, in the Entertainmart (formerly Hardback) Café at 7:00 pm.  I will be leading the discussion on the second part of what I have learned from publishing on Kindle and using their marketing tools.  Other topics, such as developing a literary open mic night, and developing a website for the Writers Circle will also be discussed. Everyone is invited.  There is no charge and no membership requirements.

Preceding the meeting, starting at 6:30 pm, I will be reading selections from my short story collection The Scent and Other Stories: The Dark Side of Love.

The Farmington Writers Circle is a group of local writers who are interested in exploring and developing new means of marketing and publicizing their works.

For more information, contact Phil Slattery at or via @philslattery201 or via this website.