Monday, December 6, 2021

Newsletter #11: December 2021

Hello friends! Big things are on the horizon for 2022. I'm back to work full time, with another book and television show project on deck, and so much more! Here's what's up:

Recent Awards/Publications

"whispers of autumn," Visiting the Wind: Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology 2021
November 2021

Honorable Mention, 2021 Haiku Society of America Gerald Brady Memorial Award for Best Unpublished Senryu, "crushed by guilt"
Autumn 2021

"The Love of Strangers," Serving Refugee Children: Listening to Stories of Detention in the USA
August 2021

"wishes," Words in Bloom: A Year of Haiku at Chicago Botanic Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois
Summer 2021

"The Amphibian Foundation's Master Herpetologist Certification Program," Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 56, No. 6
June 2021

Upcoming Publications

My long-awaited poetry chapbook, apparitions, was finally accepted for publication last March by Rhythm & Bones Press, winning their Bonechaps poetry chapbook series contest. Unfortunately, the press became embroiled in an unrelated scandal soon after, and subsequently folded. I brushed my shoulders off, regrouped, and found the perfect press for this little chapbook "that could." The book will finally be released this winter by Highland Park Poetry Press, a local publisher that I know well and love! Watch this space for more info, coming soon.

Recent Appearances

My name in lights (kind of) at the Launch Party for
Where the Party Never Ended: Ghosts of the Old Baraboo Inn.
This summer, I returned to my regularly scheduled program of in-person events, including the Launch Party for 
Where the Party Never Ended: Ghosts of the Old Baraboo Inn at (where else?) the Old Baraboo Inn in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I then had the joy of moderating the Midland Authors Awards Panel at Printers Row Lit Fest, followed by a book signing at the Society of Midland Authors tent. I was a judge for the organization's 2020-2021 Children's Fiction Award. I also returned to the conference circuit this fall with the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Dark History and Horror Con in Champaign, Illinois. Last but not least, I worked my modeling (and project management) magic at the Fall Fashion Show at The Colette Collection in Chicago. In television news, The R.I.P. Files is now available on Sling TV! I've also joined Instagram, like a big girl, so please follow me there! Here are some other interviews and press pieces, including a follow-up to my beautiful, fascinating, and strange past life regression experience from earlier this summer:

Paul Goddard, Ep. "Amelia Cotter's Ghost Story for Halloween"
October 31, 2021

Past Life Regressions with Paul Goddard, Ep. "Past Life Regression Chat With Author, Poet & Storyteller Amelia Cotter"
October 25, 2021

"Printers Row Lit Fest," Literary License (pg. 10)
September/October 2021

September 22, 2021

Upcoming Appearances

It's been a great debut year for Amelia's DragonGoddess Boutique! Our items have sold in select stores in Chicago and Salem, Massachusetts, and we were able to introduce our items to the world online and at my in-person events. We are celebrating the holiday season by offering 30% off all items! Handmade incense, meditation kits, and versatile solid perfume are all 30% off through December 31 with coupon code DGB30. Signed copies of my books and postcards are also available in limited quantities through the holidays at regular price. As with all things during the pandemic, a few of my events have been cancelled or rescheduled multiple times during these past two years, but things are looking up for the next one and I can't wait to see you at one of my upcoming appearances (with so many more to be announced in 2022!):

The Haunted Savannah Paracon at Hotel Indigo in Savannah, Georgia
February 25-26, 2022

The Haunted Galena Conference at DeSoto House Hotel in Galena, Illinois
April 29-30, 2022

Dark History and Horror Con at IHotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois
August 19-20, 2022

More than ever, thank you all for sharing in this journey with me. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year. And, of course, Happy Hauntings!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Haiku #15: whispers of autumn

A fitting poem for chillier days, longer nights, and dramatically beautiful sunrises:

whispers of autumn…
seedheads shake away
early morning frost

"whispers of autumn," copyright 2021 Amelia Cotter (first published in Visiting the Wind: Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology 2021, 2021)

Friday, October 1, 2021

Story #6: When the Goatman Comes

Happy October! Every year I share a special post or series of posts leading up to Halloween, and I've been thinking about this one for months. This lyrical, rhyming poem honors the legend of the Goatman, a prominent (and highly weird) figure in American folklore, with roots in European folklore and wide-ranging stories from around the U.S. and beyond. I wrote this story when I was only 13 years old. Clearly, I peaked as a writer a long time ago. It has long since been polished and packaged for publication, and I am excited to reshare it now for your spooky (and spoopy) season enjoyment:

Apparently it is so
That when darkness climbs the skies,
The old Goatman of legend
Comes out from where he lies.
I do not know this for a fact
But so I have been told,
And so I shall tell you
About this silly tale of old.

Through word of mouth and hearsay
And mere stories I have found,
It is believed he’s always here—
Oh yes, he’s still around.
Long he’s lurked among the hills
And in the fields beyond the hay,
He was here long before you and I
And walks among us today.

When the fog descends
On our darkened streets and narrow roads,
His long shadow can be seen
Along the cobblestones.
Although I am no witness
I am told of his wicked features:
A mangy coat, gnarled hooves,
He stands upright, the creature!

His horns are that of the Devil,
His snout that of a boar,
His smile pure torture
With fangs nearly to the floor!
You may think it nonsense
As I always did and do.
But then again, as they have said,
“Wait till he comes for you!”

He wanders in the shadows
Seeking souls to make him stronger.
On the wicked and the weak
He gorges to feed his hunger.
He creeps into our homes at night
Upon the Witching Hour.
With his mangled claws he strikes,
Bad children he devours.

And when he’s through
And his thirst for blood
Is quenched for that one night,
He gallops back into the hills
And thankfully out of sight.
From atop the mountain Baphomet
His next victim will hear him howl,
Before he descends upon the town
…Why, is that the sound of him now?

But you understand, my friends,
This simply cannot be.
I am a good young lady
And he would never come for me.
I do not fear and am proud to say
I’ve always been so brave;
To me he is but a folktale
Told to make us all behave.

Yet this foul noise draws nearer;
I can almost hear him breathe.
As I look up from my cozy hearth,
A silence comes over me.
It is dark and quiet here
Though the fire sometimes roars;
Is that in fact the old Goatman
Knocking at my door?

I’m afraid perhaps I’ve lied to you,
My trusted faithful friends,
And for my terrible sin now
I expect I shall meet my end.
I have never seen a monster,
But we fear what we don’t know.
I swear I did not believe in him
Until just a moment ago.

I stand quietly, trembling,
And set down my book and pen.
My shadow dances dizzily
As the fire distorts it now and then.
All the silent children
And the families of this place
No longer need to fear
And return to their nightly pace.

For the old Goatman of legend
Has now chosen me.
I can no longer run away;
I cannot dare to flee.
I must add to the story now
What I did not mention before:
The beast strikes weekly on this night
Not after or before.

To think I never believed it,
How could it possibly be real?
I had laughed and laughed about it,
Not an ounce of fear I’d feel.
But they say he’s twice as evil
As the witches of the caves,
The vampires of the north,
And the spirits from the graves.

And now that I may find it’s true
I cannot describe with glee,
That I reckon he is here
To pay his ghastly visit to me.
Before it was all a harmless tale
To scare the kids to bed.
But it is no longer all that funny,
Now that I’m filled with dread.

I hear his hooves upon my steps,
Smell his stench down to my bones.
I open up the door and wish
That I was not alone.
Here he looms before me
A sight that I can barely stand—
I am face to face now
With that old Goatman!

He bares a sickly grin and puffs
At his sweet cigar.
But he is the finest dressed creature
That I have seen, by far!
He tips his top hat in greeting
And bows over one cloven-hoofed leg.
His suit is a fine burgundy
And he sports an expensive cane.

Why he looks just like a handsome devil
(If I’d imagined one before…),
And has no boar snout and no fangs
That reach down to the floor.
I move out of his way
As he begins to step inside.
For such a terrible creature
He has quite a charming stride.

There are two plush chairs by the fire
And both are the color red.
He invites me over as he sits in mine
So I decide to stand instead.
I offer him some coffee, some tea,
Or an ├ęclair,
But with his warm and menacing tone
He tells me to sit in the chair.

His voice has a comical, throaty snort
With a touch of British flare,
As soon as I sit he advises me,
“Tea, but no ├ęclair.”
I rush into the kitchen
And return nervously with a tray.
I can neither describe the fierce beat of my heart
Nor the depth of my dismay.

I hand him his cup of tea
As he sets down his cigar with care;
I watch the glowing tip turn to ash
While I sit down in my chair.
The blaze of the fire lights his face
As he politely sips the tea.
For the first time, his blade-like teeth
Are visible to me.

He smiles in contentment
And poises himself to speak,
This will be a long night—
Already I’m tired, shocked, and weak.
“I’ve come tonight on my weekly rounds
From the mount they call ‘Baphomet,’
In hopes that I would find you here
For an evening we won’t forget.”

“Well I was not expecting you, sir,
On this moonlit night.”
My tone is meek and mild
And my voice is filled with fright.
“I visit when I’m most unwelcome—
It gives me a rush of power.
I am here to see you now, my dear,
But won’t stay longer than an hour.”

He is just so nonchalant,
While I can barely speak.
Yet, somehow I manage:
“I can’t believe it’s already been a week.”
“Neither can I, but darling,
How my hunger grows and grows.
I long for the taste of humans,
Which is something I think you know.”

“Yes, but I was not anticipating
This would happen to me.
It is hardly fair at all,
I’m a good girl, can’t you see?”
“Ahh, my child, yes,
And so many of the innocent do weep.
But I’m afraid it cannot be helped—
You are mine and mine to keep.”

With a shrill bark of laughter
He rears back his monstrous head,
I wish that I had listened more
To all the things they said.
Oh, my dearest friends and family
Who have truly believed indeed…
What a fool I am,
How could I ever have been so mean?

“I hope that when you do it, sir,
At least you’ll do it quick.
I am crestfallen at the thought
And think I might be sick.”
“Perhaps if you had not been
Such a bad little girl when younger,
I would not be here right now
My dear Beatrice Unger.”

“Beatrice, who?” I blurt,
“Why, kind sir, that is not my name.
And I always was a good little girl—
I can say it with no shame!”
Suddenly he stands
And looks down deep into my eyes.
“Then I have the wrong person,” he states,
“Well, surprise, surprise!”

Confusion grows within my head
And I feel a chill so cold,
I rise up, too, and stare
Into the face of this beast of old.
“I must be on my way then,” he says,
“It was nice of us to chat.
Thank you truly for the tea,
And madam, that will be that.”

I am stricken with relief
Nearly falling to the floor,
But I gather up my senses
And show this Goatman to the door.
“I believe now!” I shout after him
At the very top of my throat,
And with a tip of his hat and a wave of his hand
He is gone, that old Man-Goat.

"When the Goatman Comes," copyright 2021 Amelia Cotter (first published in Lost in the Witching Hour, 2014)