A Celebration of Storytelling honors and showcases the art of writing in the four main genres of fiction: fantasy, thriller, mystery and crime, and science fiction. Each tale contains a festival, fair, carnival, or celebratory event to honor the antiquity and the importance of writing and scripture: to record history or to alter it, to entertain all types of populations, and to explore and explain the world around us.
This anthology stems from a previous publisher who had to close their business. Dark Owl Publishing picked up the anthologies and decided to keep the same spirit of the works to give the authors the publication of their stories that they so greatly deserved.
We are honored to have 58 stories from the below 39 authors. Their talents have embodied the mission of this anthology. From all walks of life, they have unique abilities to excite and inform, to render realism and alter imagination, to amaze, delight, terrify, and fascinate us as readers. Their work is more than worthy of this, a celebration of storytelling.
Below, after the table of contents, is a short take on the authors and why we chose their work.
Each author is incredibly unique, their voices strong and firm, their prose full of beauty, power,
and a true grasp of how to tell a tale.
We also highly recommend checking out their other work before buying A Celebration of Storytelling.
A Celebration of Storytelling is divided into four parts with nearly 600 pages of entertaining tales.
The Table of Contents is as follows.
"The Stories You Eat" by Jonathon Mast
"Permissible License" by Kenneth Bykerk
"Calliope" by Adrian Ludens
"Call to Me, Sweet Alecto" by Alistair Rey
"Day of the Dead" by Bruce Meyer
"Plague Doctor" by Elana Gomel
"Return to Death" by Justin Boote
"Headless Viper" by Kevin M. Folliard
"Tourist Trap" by Gregg Chamberlain
"Evergreen and Blood Red" by Quinn Parker
"Dance of Skins" by Kenneth Bykerk
"Spun Sugar" by Gregory L. Norris
"The Festival of Rejected Stories" by Jonathon Mast
"The Feis" by Jason J. McCuiston
"Murder at Spring Training" by Gregory L. Norris
"Lord Cardigan's Luck" by Martin Zeigler
"The Perfect Hamburger" by Carl R. Jennings
"The Fortuneteller" by Andrew McCormick
"By Bread Alone" by Christine Morgan
"Headstone Potlatch" by L.L. Hill
"The Adventures of Babie and Bogie: Origins"
by Hansen Adcock
"The Ringmaster" by Lawrence Dagstine
"Game Day" by Laura J. Campbell
"Death & Pixels in L.A." by Stuart Croskell
"Written in Ash by the Forgotten" by Peter Emmett Naughton
"The Stories We Leave Behind" by Jonathon Mast
"And Rise Like a Butcher's Lamp" by Andrew McCormick
"Pharaoh" by Hansen Adcock
"Breach of Protocol" by Stefan Markos
"As American as Honest Pudding Pie" by Eric Reitan
"The Stars Named for Lovers" by John A. Frochio
"The Ribbon" by Max Griffin
"The Elixir of Life" by John B. Rosenman
"A Rialto in a Galaxy Far, Far Away" by Lawrence Dagstine
"In Pursuit of the Grand Design" by Quinn Parker
"The Last Days of Doondras" by Tim Jeffreys
"The Maiden Voyage of the Starcatcher" by Susan P. Sinor
"Rival Suns" by Laura J. Campbell
"Seduction by Trial" by GD Deckard
"Earth Day" by Jason J. McCuiston
"The End of an Era" by Gregory L. Norris
"Two Fires" and "The Human Condition" - Fantasy
"The Adventures of Babie and Bogie: Origins" - Mystery
"Pharaoh" - Science Fiction
Han sent us four stories, and all were accepted without hesitation. Han is extremely talented at creating an entire world within a specified word count and in making you believe in his characters and the realism within his tales, no matter where or when they take place. I am amazed by his ability to create dialog and imagery seemingly without effort, and his stories always touch on humanity while being entertaining. Visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wyrdstories.
"Rudrayani Visits Ouidah" - Fantasy
Gustavo's talent reflects the vast types of storytelling across the world. He writes in various genres about many subjects, and his knowledge seems to know no bounds. He's also quite prolific, constantly announcing he's sold yet another piece. So his library of work is quite extensive! You can learn more about Gustavo and his extensive writing career on his website at www.gustavobondoni.com.
"Permissible License" and "Dance of Skins" - Thriller / Horror
Kenneth's stories all come from the Bajazid, his name for a mythical area of Northern Arizona that Kenneth finds inspiration from. His characters, events, and tales are all connected in various ways, placed in the background of the old mining locations and overgrown low forest of the forty-eighth state. Kenneth has an unusual voice that I find fascinating, and I'm happy to have his work in this book.
Visit his blog at Tales of the Bajazid.
"Regatta Ronnie" - Fantasy
What I most appreciate about Dwain is his experience - he has been a teacher and lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and currently is in St. John's, where he says his inspiration comes from the Canadian Atlantic. His unique voice takes stories in directions you don't imagine they're going to go, and his addition to this anthology is no different. I hope to be able to publish more of Dwain's work in the future.
LAURA J. CAMPBELL
"Game Day" - Mystery
"Rival Suns" - Science Fiction
Laura is highly talented, a truly gifted author who writes with confidence and strength. Her characters are always reliable, her narrative rich and satisfying. She is a truly bright star in the world of independent women authors. We'll be publishing Laura's collection No Lesser Angels, No Greater Devils on May 1, 2021.
"Tourist Trap" - Thriller / Horror
Gregg's work always makes me chuckle, if not downright laugh. he brings a quirky quality to his stories, and I always find them to be smart, engaging, and clever. He has a very big imagination and we get to experience. Some have sinister tones, some are life lessons, but I always walk away fully satisfied, having read an extremely good story.
"Death & Pixels in L.A." - Mystery
Stuart sent us a really intriguing mystery story that takes place in Hollywood, and he doesn't even live in America! But that's a true talent: to be able to write in any location with authenticity and believability, no matter where you yourself call home. Stuart's work is always rich and full of character, so I know you'll enjoy this story.
"The Ringmaster" - Mystery
"A Rialto in a Galaxy Far, Far Away" - Science Fiction
Lawrence has a lot of experience in all kinds of genre fiction, and he's one of those authors who can be relied on to always write a story that fits the theme asked for. He finds good stories in places not everyone thinks of, and these two stories really fit that storytelling style. Check out his website to learn more.
"Finders Keepers" - Fantasy
Danielle's work finds the fantasy, horror, and mystery in the everyday along with the true hearts within her characters. Her talent is far-reaching, honest, and extremely well honed. And in particular as a woman author, her obvious comfort within genre fiction is clear and satisfying. You can learn more about her work via her website.
KEVIN M. FOLLIARD
"Headless Viper" - Thriller / Horror
One thing I love about Kevin's work is he hits the ground running. His story is a slasher action tale, and I think it will keep you on your toes like it did me! Not everyone can write strong action sequences that can be visualized as they're being read. So I'm really happy to have Kevin's work in the anthology and hope to publish more of his work in the future. Check out his website for more.
JOHN A. FROCHIO
"The Stars Named for Lovers" - Science Fiction
John's work always bursts with imagination, painting a clear picture in your mind with his easy prose and descriptive atmosphere. I love this take on the traditional circus family--it has a lot of heart and I believe captures what we outsiders don't really understand about the behind the scenes of the Big Top in a tender and respectful way. Be sure to learn more about John's work here at his website.
"Plays Like the Greats" - Fantasy
Steve's work caught me with his descriptive language, his easy, matter-of-fact prose, and his vivid visuals. This story is shows his love for music, particularly jazz, but even if you're not versed in the music genre, you're still going to understand the narrator's struggles. In addition, Steve gives new life to the classic three wishes tale, making it feel as though we've come across these life lessons for the first time.
KELLY KURTZHALS GEIGER
"What the Wind Whispers to Those Who Listen" - Fantasy
Kelly always builds an entire new world in her work, or brings the fantastic into our world, and it's always completely believable and compelling. She inserts humanity and heart in everything she writes, and I always have felt her characters' feelings when I've finished her work. Kelly is a woman author who has a strong and confident handle on genre fiction, and we should all be paying attention to her work.
"Plague Doctor" - Thriller / Horror
Elana is a world traveler and has lived in many places on the globe, and it shows. She is able to put her experiences into gorgeous words that flow perfectly onto the page. Elana has a true talent for paying attention to the world around her and being able to interpret it and bring it home to us. I very much appreciate her prose, insight, and strong voice, and most of all, her ability to truly entertain. Check out more about her award-winning work at her website.
"The Ribbon" - Science Fiction
Max has studied folklore in all types of cultures, so he really understands the storytelling process. This is really clear in his tales as they are always well thought out and organized, and they satisfy those storytelling checkpoints that we as readers aren't aware of but satisfy the rhythm that creates a quality story. I am always impressed with his commitment to his work and high quality caliber. Learn more about his work at his website here.
"Headstone Potlatch" - Mystery
Laura is a North American Native, and I absolutely love getting to learn about her culture through her work. She writes as if you're right within the presence of these characters and are experiencing their story. It's almost as if you're privy to a private world that we wouldn't otherwise know about if Laura didn't bring it to us. I hope to publish a lot more of her stories in the future. Visit her website to find more of her work.
"The Black Masquerade" - Fantasy
"The Last Days of Doondras" - Science Fiction
Tim has an ability to write in different styles that not all authors are capable of doing. "Masquerade" is very much a fantasy quest, while "Doondras" is a cautionary tale. I love publishing Tim's work because his stories never fail to be interesting and engaging. I know that readers can always count on Tim for some fantastic storytelling. Be sure to check out his website to find more.
CARL R. JENNINGS
"The Perfect Hamburger" - Mystery
I cannot say enough about Carl's work. He makes me laugh every time I read a story of his. But beyond that, he has a true talent for creating a full, rich, strong story that engages the reader to invest in it. We plan to publish Carl's next novel that he's currently working on, especially since we know readers will want more after reading this story. Be sure to visit his Facebook page to follow where else his writing will pop up.
"Calliope" - Thriller / Horror
I cannot say how excited I am to publish Adrian. I came across his work when I was working with another publisher, and I fell in love with it. Adrian's work made my list of favorite scary short stories on the Off The Wing blog. So I honestly feel very lucky that I get to publish this lovely piece--a heartbreaking and bittersweet tale that I know readers will love. We'll also be publishing Adrian's third collection Bottled Spirits & Other Dark Tales May 1, 2021. Check out Adrian's Facebook page to learn more about where his work is landing.
"Breach of Protocol" - Science Fiction
I liked this story because it is a unique idea when it comes to apocalyptic stories. They tend to be plentiful in this day and age, so it was really nice to get one that had a completely different flavor to it. I want readers to find all kinds of entertainment within this anthology, and this short but impactful story is one I think will be impressionable. Stefan has a great grasp of telling a story in a fairytale type manner, too, and it is clear in this piece.
"Stories Dance" - Fantasy
"The Stories You Eat" - Thriller / Horror
"The Festival of Rejected Stories" - Mystery
"The Stories We Leave Behind" - Science Fiction
Jonathon blames me for "challenging" him to write a story for each genre included in the book. And you know what? I accepted each story! His works are about stories being a part of the living world, which we think is a great way to start each section of the book. The stories set the stage for the reader and help them settle in to enjoy the selections we've chosen. So taking on that challenge created a perfect matching set of stories for the anthology!
"Just Like 1815" - Fantasy
"The Fortuneteller" - Mystery
"And Rise Like a Butcher's Lamp" - Science Fiction
What always strikes me about Andrew's work is the incredible variety of his voice in different genres. Each of these stories is completely different from the other and hardly feel as though they came from the same author! But that is what Andrew provides: He's an author who has many voices to tell stories in many ways.
JASON J. MCCUISTON
"The Feis" - Mystery
"Earth Day" - Science Fiction
I've worked with Jason for a while, and his stories are the kinds I wish I could write. Full of strong characters, interesting storylines, historical references, intrigue and intelligence, Jason's work is the kind that will endure for decades to come. We're also publishing Jason's first sci-fi pulp collection, The Last Star Warden: Tales of Adventure and Mystery from Frontier Space, Volume I. Learn more about his library of work on his Facebook page.
"Chaconne" - Fantasy
"Day of the Dead" - Thriller / Horror
Bruce's writing talent lies in his intelligence and strong knowledge of the world around him. He's actually a professor with a lot of education in his background. This enriches what he writes and gives authenticity to his work. I always enjoy Bruce's creativity and hope to publishing more of his work in the future. Visit his Facebook page to learn more about his works.
PETER EMMETT NAUGHTON
"Written in Ash by the Forgotten" - Mystery
I absolutely love Pete's writing. There, I said it. Every time I've read a story of his, I've felt like I've experienced something undiscovered and incredible. Pete knows how to evoke emotion, create strong visuals, and sometimes even scare the crap out of me! I love this take on cult societies--he takes what we know about insular societies and twists it in a different direction.
"Need to Know" - Fantasy
KB is very talented and always sends me stories that are smart yet simplistic. One reason I like this particular story is I love the mother/daughter dynamic. It could easily be expanded into a fantastic novel, and honestly, the strength of this story lies in the relationship of its two main characters. We could take the fantasy aspect out and it would still be a wonderful tale. I plan to continue to publish her work if she'll have me do so.
GREGORY L. NORRIS
"The Traveling Zoo of the Mysterious and Extinct" - Fantasy
"Spun Sugar" - Thriller / Horror
"Murder at Spring Training" - Mystery
"The End of an Era" - Science Fiction
I believe there is no one author who has a more beautiful outlook on life than Gregory, and his stories always reflect it. His talent is unending, his love for writing addictive. He is the other author who wrote a story for each genre, and as always, I can't get over how fantastic each one truly is. Visit his website and learn more about his work.
"Evergreen and Blood Red" - Thriller / Horror
"In Pursuit of the Grand Design" - Science Fiction
Quinn is a masterful storyteller because her strength is in the details. She understands how to use minimal words to get maximum effect. She can write in many different genres, too, which, combined with her style, really makes her work extremely valuable. We plan to publish more of her work in the future. Visit her Twitter account to learn more about her.
"As American as Honest Pudding Pie" - Science Fiction
Eric's work is always interesting to me. He can write in various genres, and his characters are very strong and well-rooted within their environments. This particular story I liked because it isn't just sci-fi, it's also a mystery in its own way. In addition, the ending is absolutely not what I expected, and I was really glad it wasn't!
"Call to Me, Sweet Alecto" - Thriller / Horror
Alistair does a phenomenal job of creating tales that can creep up on you. With this story, I honestly wasn't sure why this character's boring ol' cruise was so important, but he successfully sucked me in and made me want to read more. His talent is in the speculative and the bizarre, and it fits right into this anthology with no doubts as to its quality. Be sure to visit his website to learn more about his work.
JOHN B. ROSENMAN
"The Elixir of Life" - Science Fiction
John is an extremely experienced author, and I believe he has science fiction naturally running through his veins. He has worked as a creative writing professor and his grasp on storytelling is probably part training, part raw talent. I don't think I've read anything of John's I haven't enjoyed, so his work will always be welcome here. You can visit his website to learn more about his career and his stories.
BRADLEY H. SINOR
"Dancer" - Fantasy
Bradley Sinor sent me an unusual entry that didn't go the way I thought it might, and that's the main reason why I accepted it. Bradley and his wife Sue are a fantastic team of authors with a wide range of experience in genre fiction. I am really glad to have them as part of this anthology, and hopefully in future anthologies as well.
SUSAN P. SINOR
"The Maiden Voyage of the Starcatcher" - Science Fiction
Sue Sinor has always sent me stories that has vivid characters and locations and her entry into this anthology is a prime example. I can really envision what she writes, which I believe makes her work very special. She and her husband Brad are an excellent author team, and I hope to publish more of their work in the future.
"A Tale of Bears and Honey" - Fantasy
Christopher's work is always clever and intelligent, and he skillfully inserts humor into what he writes. I really like how he balances dialog and action, creating stories that flow perfectly. I'm thrilled to present his story in this anthology.
"Lord Cardigan's Luck" - Mystery
Last but absolutely not least, Martin is an author who always sends me something that's well thought out and, if referencing history, well researched. I think this story really showcases his talent for meticulous detail as well. We are happy to continue publishing Martin if he'll let us.
Top three images from snappygoat.com
A Pageant of Fantasy background image by Sharon McCutche from Unsplash
A Feast of Thrills background image by Sebastian Hages from Unsplash
A Revelry of Mystery background image by Jack B from Unsplash
A Colloquium of Science Fiction background image by Munmun Singh from Unsplash
Hansen Adcock image by Sarah Richer from Pixabay
Justin Boote image by StockSnap from Pixabay
Gustavo Bondoni image from Shutterstock
Kenneth Bykerk image by Boogich from Getty Images
Dwain Campbell image is Rowing in Fog by Jim Costello
Laura J. Campbell image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay
Gregg Chamberlain image is a map of Arkham by Joseph Morales from Wikimedia Commons
Stuart Croskell image by Izayah Ramos from Unsplash
Lawrence Dagstine image from a Charlie Chaplin parade at the Waterford Golf Links, via their website
Danielle Davis image is an unknown artist. If you recognize it please let us know.
GD Deckard image is from Canva.com
Kevin M. Folliard image is from Canva.com
John A. Frochio image is by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Steve Gladwin image is by decrand from Pixabay
Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger image is by Patty Brito from Unsplash
Elana Gomel image is by Conor Rabbett from Unsplash
Max Griffin image is by Varvara Grabova from Unsplash
L.L. Hill image is of a Tlingit Potlatch in Whitehorse, Yukon by Daniel Fox
Tim Jeffreys image by Bryn Parish from Unsplash
Carl R. Jennings image by Edward Franklin from Unsplash
Adrien Ludens image is from Canva.com
Stefan Markos image made on Canva.com, dragon is by Parker West from Pixabay
Jonathon Mast image is by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Andrew McCormick image by Comfreak from Pixabay
Jason J. McCuiston image is of one of the twelve standing stones at Magh Slecht, from Mr. P's Mythopedia
Bruce Meyer image is Bach's Chaconne, unknown artist
Christine Morgan image is from the Asheville Bread Festival by @bishopse
Peter Emmett Naughton image is from Canva.com
KB Nelson image by Ravi Patel from Unsplash
Gregory L. Norris image by Victoria Borodinova from Pixabay
Quinn Parker image by Daniele Scanferlato from Pixabay
Eric Reitan image by Leonardo Apolinario de Laencar from Pixabay
Alistair Rey image by Peggy Choucair from Pixabay
John B. Rosenman image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay
Bradley H. Sinor image by Eric Nopanen from Unsplash
Susan P. Sinor image by Nathan Duck from Unsplash
Nickolas Urpi image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay
Martin Zeigler image from crimeafilm.ru