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As regular readers of this newsletter know, we just held an online contest to call attention to the special 40th anniversary edition of Old Fears, the horror novel co-author Ron Wolfe and I first saw published – in hardcover, by the New York-based Franklin Watts – in 1982. Its new edition, published by Babylon Books includes a couple of never-before-seen stories by Ron and me.

            We have also come up with six brand-new flash-fiction pieces as a result of the contest, in which we asked readers to submit the old fears from their childhoods. As promised, we picked a half-dozen of ‘em and crafted short tales based on the winning entries. Plans call for us to share the very first story, “The Devil’s Bed,” from an idea by Arica Loyd, on October 14 – which should be right about now. A second one is set to come out on October 21, a third on the 28th, and the other three all at once for a big blowout on Halloween.

            Arica and the other five winners will each get an autographed copy of the latest Old Fears iteration, as well as a signed paper copy of the story spawned by the fear he or she submitted.

            You can find those stories here.

            We got dozens of entries, and all of them were good ones. Sometimes, in fact, the reason an entrant wasn’t chosen had nothing to do with quality. For instance, both Ron and I really dug Gary Gackstatter’s old fear having to do with the Beatles’ tune “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” but we knew that we’d have to get into the song’s lyrics in order to weave a proper story, and we didn’t want to risk a lawsuit from Paul McCartney and/or Sony/ATC, the two owners of the Beatles catalog. (It strikes me as possibly ironic that Sony is the entity currently holding the movie/TV option on Old Fears.)

            Anyway, Ron and I hope you enjoy these little stories; thanks again to everyone who made this fearful (if you will) contest such a success. And finally, even if you already have your own copy of Old Fears, always remember, with the holidays on the horizon, that books make fabulous gifts.