When I first began to think of the project that became the Midnight Bites series, I reached out to my current Crone Girls authors for novella pitches. I received quite a few that became the stories you’ve read (or are going to read!), including one from Shannon Scott, whose “Swing a Dead Cat” anchored our second full-length anthology, Coppice & Brake. Scott’s pitch went like this:
“I’m thinking of something along the lines of Toy Story, but with rape kits.”
I don’t know a single editor in the history of publishing who would turn down the chance to read that story. Especially when written by Scott, whose writing is a beautiful synthesis of the frenetic, existentialist, comedic limits of the horror genre. That story, “Joyride,” can now be found in the latest offering from Crone Girls Press, Objectified (Midnight Bites 5).
As Scott got to work translating the pitch into the novella you will find in these pages, I reached out again to the CGP author crew to recruit the remaining two stories. The theme–“cursed objects”.
Cristel Orrand, whose Southern Gothic “Gatekeepers” was featured in our very first anthology, Stories We Tell After Midnight, stepped up with a story of a woman who loses her voice to cancer and gains a new piece of medical technology that has unexpected–and disturbing–consequences. Set in the Beltway corridor halls of the defense industry, “M.O.U.T.H. Piece” enrages, disturbs, and, just when you think you’ve figured it out, pulls the stain-resistant, institutional-colored rug right out from under you. (She also writes a mean chess metaphor!)
To round out the three-novella anthology, Jennifer Nestojko returns to offer up a more traditional cursed object tale of a family heirloom that fits a woman’s finger just a little too perfectly. “Found and Lost” is a tale of grieving and loss and the emotions that can overwhelm us with their intensity, told in Nestojko’s beautiful, lyrical prose. For those who have read “The Soul Within” in SWTAM1 and “Bad Hair Days” in SWTAM3, you will not want to miss this story. (And if you haven’t read them, then you should definitely check them out!
Objectified (Midnight Bites 5) was a labor of intense love. The stories in here are not easy reads. They will rip your heart out and stomp it into the ground, even when you’re chuckling out loud. Each of these authors has left their indelible mark on the offerings that Crone Girls Press has to give. As the editor, I am grateful to Nestojko, Orrand, and Scott for once again trusting me with their words; and for our readers, if you are looking for something to close out Women in Horror Month, this is the volume.