The Satchel and Other Terrors
by Matias Travieso-Diaz
Stories of dark imaginings.
Coming February 24, 2023
This book is appropriate for teenagers.
“We have to be careful when we walk in the open.”
So begins the title story, and so begins this ominous collection of tales from settings around the world and times both close and long past. We are taken into realms terror, dragged by the hand into haunted places and minds, meeting characters whose fates could be our own if we aren’t careful.
A lonely woman on a cruise will not find what she’s looking for
until she realizes why she is on this ocean voyage.
A man visits a remote village in Africa to learn that some monsters
aren’t quite what he expected them to be.
An unfinished opera becomes a man’s obsession to find those lost notes,
no matter the means by which they are found.
A clumsy but meaningful art piece by a blind girl becomes the bane of
the art examiner who interviews candidates for a prestigious art school.
A portal is opened, a poker game is played, a mine is operated, and dolls are fabricated. Each story opens a new conflict, a new strife, a new view of both the extraordinary and the banal elements of our world. You will be mystified and intrigued, terrified and horrified, all as you turn the pages and discover these stories of dark imaginings.
About the Author
Born in Cuba, Matias Travieso-Diaz migrated to the United States
as a young man. He is a former engineer and attorney who, following retirement, redirected his efforts towards fiction writing. He lives with his daughter and two dogs in the Washington, D.C. area. He describes himself as an “Animal Farm’s goat, Packers and Barça fan, and lover of opera, classical theater, jazz, Italian food, and vino.”
He is the author of numerous short stories, over seventy of which have been published or accepted for publication in anthologies, magazines, blogs, audiobooks, and podcasts. The Satchel and Other Terrors is his first published collection of his short stories. He’s also written a novel, The Taíno Women, set in Cuba’s early colonial period, and a novella, Lázaro Serrano, set in Havana in 1762.
Praise for The Satchel and Other Terrors
"In The Satchel and Other Terrors, author Matias Travieso-Diaz takes the reader on an engrossing tour of the darkest corners of this world and others, the past, present, dark futures, and even other planes of conscience and reality. No matter how bizarre, strange, or twisted the story, Travieso-Diaz's living, breathing characters are the life's blood of the tale. 'Liebestod' is my personal favorite of the collection, but there's more than enough wonder and dread for any fan of horror and dark fantasy. A must-read for lovers of these genres."
~ Jason J. McCuiston,
author of Project Notebook
"Mr. Travieso-Diaz's short stories in The Satchel and
Other Terrors are like the bloody news photograph that you know you should not look at, but click on anyway. However, there is more in them than the terrifying places to which he leads you with his elegant black pen, and towards which you continue to follow even after you realize how cruel they are, like Old World fairy tales. There is a great diversity of time and geography in them, narratives that turn and then turn again with surprise,
and exotic characters who gradually become familiar because they plumb archetypes moved by fear, greed, and love. More importantly, Mr. Travieso-Diaz leads you to the realization that terror begins in the familiar places, the hearth, the school, and the office, metastasizes into the terrors that haunt us collectively, and transforms banal, complacent souls into monsters."
~ Alex Ferrate, peer review
"Using a passel of classic story formats, Matias Travieso-Diaz has given us nineteen delightfully varied macabre, grotesque or somewhat perverse tales. He delights in diverse artistic forms, indicating his inspiration with a quote at the top of each story. His influences range from fairy tales to operatic standards, from folk legends to literary myths. There is no shortage of psychological overtones to these stories.
"The reader will enjoy Travieso-Diaz's wide-ranging knowledge, reflected in the subject matters of these tales. If you like Faustian bargains, there's a story for you. If your taste runs to Dantean Purgatory, you'll find something to please. Readers who seek ethnic and historic scope, with a large dose of the gruesome, will no doubt be satisfied. Some tales are definitely morbid, some merely ending in an ironic twist.
There is a grim tale for everyone!"
~ Roxanne Greenstein, peer review
"Matias Travieso-Diaz takes you on a worldwide thrill-ride int his collection of creepy tales. He weaves macabre ideas with well-researched geographical and historical details. His stories remind readers the world can be a very scary place indeed. Best read from the comfort (and safety) of home!"
~ Adrian Ludens,
author of The Tension of a Coming Storm
and Bottled Spirits & Other Dark Tales
"Matias uses the tone and feel of age-old tales to illustrate the distorting, often tragic effects of human weakness. With a nod to Poe, Grimm, O. Henry, and even Stephen King, the author holds up human greed, jealousy, bloodlust, avarice, fear, bigotry, and other 'deadly sins' to a kind of funhouse mirror and reveals how much the distortion we see reflected back is more realistic than we might care to admit. Though often set in some faraway land or undetermined, mythical past, these stories reverberate with an anxiety and spiritual unease that very much speak to today's world. The author has tucked a burr in our souls and left us itching and squirming.
And that is as it should be."
~ Stephen Kimmerling, peer review
"The imagination, wide diversity of stories, and surprise endings are what make The Satchel and Other Terrors by Matias Travieso-Diaz such a delight to read. The imagination that Matias brings to us through his stories is a treasure worth savoring. I find the storylines for 'Slug' and 'Dummies' to be mind boggling. Where in the world did Matias come up with the ideas for these imaginative tales? I have never read anything like them. There are many other similarly imaginative and unique tales to be found in The Satchel and Other Terrors. Matias's imaginative stories never cease to amaze me.
"And the stories cover a wide range of themes in diverse settings. Stories of death, revenge, greed, mystery, fantasy, criminal investigation, science fiction in settings of every stripe. Stories in the past, the future, the afterlife, the wild west, medieval ages, as well as pure fantasy. It is impossible to become bored reading tales of such imagination and wide ranging storylines and settings.
"Finally, one never knows how the stories will end. The reader is captured in suspense. What is going to happen? How is this going to end? One of my favorites is 'Rosalba.' The reader will never guess the ending of this story revealed only in the last paragraph of three sentences. Similarly, nearly all the other tales have endings that will escape the reader until virtually
the end of the story.
"So The Satchel and Other Terrors is a treat for all readers, the young, the old, the fun loving, and the serious. Everyone should find something to love in these imaginative, wildly diverse, and suspenseful tales."
~ Paul Gaukler, peer review