And the Winners Are…

we hopped 'til we dropped!

Coffin Hop 2012, like all good parties, has left us with new friends and good memories. I enjoyed the variety and inventiveness of your Hop posts, and I was thrilled with the comments left here on my blog. I’m sure we’ll bump into one another again sometime, and then we’ll smile and say, “Remember when?”




Prizes were drawn by writing each commenter’s name on a slip of paper and putting it in a lovely felt basket with an owl applique. People who commented more than once got an additional entry for each comment. Once a slip of paper was drawn from the lovely felt basket with the owl applique (and green LED eyes!!), that paper was not put back for further drawings.

Haunted House Group Scream Winners

( Receive a copy of Stolen Climates )

Penelope Crowe

Erik Gustafson

Kim Koning

Carrie Crain

Milo James Fowler

Ann Michaud

Jennifer Stuart

James Garcia, Jr

Jolie du Pre

Jeanette Jackson

Jason Darrick


Nina D’Arcangela

Joseph Pinto

Laura Thomas

The Blood-Curdling Scream Winners 

( Receive a signed Stolen Climates Postcard )

Carrie Crain

Erik Gustafson

Inion N. Mathair

Jason Darrick

Blaze McRob


Nina D’Arcangela

Joseph Pinto


Anne Michaud

The Strangled Scream Winners

( Receive a Signed Stolen Climates Poster )

Nina D’Arcangela

Blaze McRob

The Pleasant Surprise Scream Winner

( Receives a bundle of fiction by The Emissaries of Strange )

Erik Gustafson!!!

The Grand Prize Scream Winner

( Receives the Stolen Climates themed goodies + the felt owl basket )

Kim Koning, come on down!!!

Congratulations on winning my Grand Prize! I hope you enjoy the waffle mix from Kerby Lane, which is a 24-hr diner in Austin that’s amazing. You could eat waffles and read The Haunting of Hill House, of which I’m sending you a physical copy. I’m also including a packet of cosmos seeds to grow in your garden, a signed Stolen Climates poster, and a severed hand!

All packed in a lovely felt basket with an owl applique!

Kim's Grand Prize

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Spooky Inspiration

( Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Prizes. Ghost story. )

I’m not surprised the sexy gypsy won the costume contest, but you were robbed. Your costume is more authentic, especially the way your innards dangle over your belt. How are you getting your eyes so glassy?

Okay, not much of a talker, are you?

The keg’s just been replaced. Now it’s Devil’s Backbone, named for a road near Austin that’s claimed its share of travelers. Guys who probably look about as bad as you do, now that I think of it!

It’s funny stuff like this, the little coincidences or glimpses that inspire the horror I write. Stolen Climates is the Muse-child of a few major artistic inspirations. Since you’re so quiet, and the line for beer is long, I’ll fill the space by telling you about one.

front porch of Hill HouseI love The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I enjoy the supernatural aspects of the story, but what really captures my imagination is the main character’s stubborn insistence on fabricating a better, more interesting version of herself. She lies to everyone, building a story of a life that doesn’t exist. Just as I pluck details from the chimera of reality to weave my tales, so too did Jackson’s character. Her stone lions and ‘cup of stars’ make cameos in Stolen Climates. My character, Prentice Feyerbach, is the male, iPhone-toting version of Jackson’s character. That’s why I include a copy of The Haunting of Hill House in the ‘I Won the Grand Prize!’ Scream; they are companion pieces, meant to match up like two stone lions on a high-rise balcony.

Where did that guy with the bad-ass fatal car crash costume go? You didn’t see him? He was right here a moment ago…

Don’t forget you can get a free ebook edition of Stolen Climates just by leaving me a comment that includes the phrase, “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.”

May you find your blue cup full of stars,



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Welcome, Coffin Hoppers!


welcome to the happy horror writer's Coffin Hop stop!

Help yourself  – the keg’s full of ice cold Oktoberfest cheer. There’s candy corn, multicolored popcorn balls, assorted cheeses, and crisp apples. Feel free to explore the yard and relax near the chiminea. If you feel adventurous, take a short walk across the way to the empty field where there’s a cold spot that is always chilly, even in the brutal Texas summer. If you stand there long enough, you will hear either the owl or the other thing. If you hear the owl, you are in good company. If you hear something else –  run!

No Halloween party is complete without door prizes, and the Coffin Hop is a week long party! To participate, all you have to do is be a registered member of the Coffin Hop. To win, all you need is a little luck or the help of spirits conjured over candlelight and cauldron.

Prizes ( Ranked by Scream )

The Haunted House Group Scream:

Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor,” and I will give you Stolen Climates, my horror ebook.

The Bloodcurdling Scream:

Ten commenters will get a signed Stolen Climates postcard.

The Strangled Scream:

Five commenters will win a signed Stolen Climates poster.

The  Pleasant Surprise Scream:

One commenter will win a  delectably twisted set of dark fiction ebooks by #TESSpecFic  authors, including:

The Imaginings, by Paul D. Dail

Valknut: The Binding, by Marie Loughin

Corridors of the Dead, by Jonathan D. Allen

100 Unfortunate Days, by Penelope Crowe

Stolen Climates, by Aniko Carmean

The ‘I Won The Grand Prize!’ Scream:

One person will receive a Stolen Climates themed goody pack! This includes:

Gauss Hotel’s Award Winning Waffle Mix (just add sytra!)
Helena’s Cosmos Seeds
Margot’s Hand – It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!
A (previously enjoyed!) paperback of The Haunting of Hill House
A signed Stolen Climates poster

Come back and comment often! Multiple comments mean multiple chances to win. And you know you want a prize to go with that fine beer buzz and the thrill of walking out into the haunted field!


-aniko, the happy horror writer

Mother Nature isn't just a metaphor!

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Fleeting, Lovely

Twitter Code Swarm from Ben Sandofsky on Vimeo.

What you have just witnessed was a code swarm. When a programmer writes code, it is saved in a file. As developers complete tasks, they check in their files, ‘commiting’ them to a repository. Each commit is a historical data point linking the file and the person who changed the file. The animated code swarm is a visualization of that historical data. This is an overly simplistic explanation, but hits the points that matter for the following discussion.

When I watch a code swarm, I’m overcome by existential wonder. I don’t see files or code. I see humanity.

The swarm is a visual representation of the interconnectedness between the developers who shared those files. Their common creative pursuit linked them in ways both beautiful and fleeting. Developers zoom onto the screen, take a central role as files orbit around them. They bob nearer or farther other developers, swapping files, sometimes appearing to be like binary stars breathing each other’s life force. Then, just as unpredictably, they separate. Every now and then, a developer departs the field of vision, their work on that ecosystem done. Their files stay, building new links between the developers who remain. The footsteps of each contributor are stored in the commit history and their voices stay in the code base, echoes of the past. The code swarm is an artifact not so much of programming, but of the very human act of collaboration.

When I watch a code swarm, I am prompted to visualize my life. I picture the various stages of it and the people who would have been influential. My swarm would start with only a few actors: Mo, Poppy, me. Then my sister would join us, and there would be four of us connected by shared habitation, experience, and name. When I went to college, my icon would fly farther from the others, and new friends and professors would gather around me. Sometime in my junior year, Mr. Aniko and I gravitate to one another and here we are still, a universe of two. Thinking of my life swarm makes me realize how tenuous and circumstantial most relationships are. When someone zooms out of my frame of reference, I am left with less than files and timestamps. I’m left with imperfect memory. I’m left with sweet melancholia and an awareness of the fleeting nature of most situational friendships.

Perhaps this is why I love books. In them, relationships never end. If someone zooms off the screen, I need only go back a few pages to have them back again, exactly as they were and without any of the fuzzy imperfection of my own mental camera. There is a permanence that is heartening, a good swift kick to the devouring maw of time and entropy. There is definite order and complete crystallization; the lives in books are, in that sense, more solid than the ones you and I are living.

Yet books don’t exist in vacuums. They are their own universe. They talk to each other, conversing across centuries, language divides, and cultural differences. Allusion is magic. Stolen Climates talks to Calvino’s The Agentine Ant, Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and Salinger’s A Perfect Day for Bananafish. It is homage and a recognition that I do not come first and could not have built what I did without their precedent. I am honored by my timeless meeting of those authors, just as much as I am honored by the people I have met at school, work, or on this blog. We are a perfect and fleeting ecosystem.

Be thankful, but without any grasping at that which must pass away. Experience the perfection of the friendships you have now. Don’t put off that lunch with your co-workers because time is fast and soon, you’ll be just people who used to work together. Oh, you can LinkedIn and Facebook ad infinitum, but life’s not like a book. You can’t just turn back a few pages and restore the connection you had. You have this moment, this day, these people. Go to them.

This post is dedicated to Mr. Aniko, my husband of eleven years and my best friend for fourteen. I love you, Mr. Aniko! You are my perfect other.


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