East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Famous Modern Ghost Stories

17408014662_1a0e70e2e9_oWhat’s Halloween without a good ghost story, or five?

In 1921, Texas-born Dorothy Scarborough, lecturer in English at the Columbia University, edited a selection of spooky tales, and called it Famous Modern Ghost Stories.
The book includes works both familiar (Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen), and less obvious choices (Anatole France, Olivia Howard Dunbar).
One hundred years on, the volume is still a wonderful selection of ghostly narratives, and is highly recommended.

Here’s the full index… Continue reading


The Art of Travel

titleThe idea of the work occurred to me when exploring South-western Africa in 1850-51. I felt acutely at that time the impossibility of obtaining sufficient information on the subjects of which it treats ; for though the natives of that country taught me a great deal, it was obvious that their acquaintance with bush lore was exceedingly partial and limited. Then remembering how the traditional maxims and methods of travelling in each country differ from those of others, and how every traveller discovers some useful contrivances for himself, it appeared to me, that I should do welcome service to all who have to rough it,-whether explorers, emigrants, missionaries or soldiers, by collecting the scattered experiences of many such persons in various circumstances, collating them, examining into their principles, and deducing from them what might fairly be called an “Art of Travel.” To this end, on my return home, I searched through a vast number of geographical works, I sought information from numerous travellers of distinction, and I made a point of re-testing, in every needful case, what I had read or learned by hearsay.

Francis Galton‘s The Art of Travel is available as a handy pdf through the website galton.org, that collects all the works of the Victorian scientist, explorer and polimath. The book was very popular in the 19th and was often reprinted.

The Art of Travel is an entertaining read, and a great resource for writers of historical and exotic adventure fiction.

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Free Swamp God on Halloween

Shoggoth by pahko

Shoggoth by pahko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Halloween!
Or it will be soon.
And to celebrate this pagan festivity, why not spend a few hours with the Swamp God?

Bride of the Swamp God, the first story in the Aculeo & Amunet series, is free on Kindle from the early hours (Pacific Standard Time) of October 30th to the late night (ditto) of November the first.

Now you know – tell your friends (and your enemies!)