Tom Howard’s ‘Come into My Parlor’ in Writers Co-op Production’s The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey Anthology

I asked fellow The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey anthology contributors to share some things about themselves prior to publication and those generous enough to do so will be appearing here for the next week or so.

Each entry gives a taste of their contribution, a little about them, how to contact them, how their story came about, and definitely a link to The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey (which you should purchase because it would make each and every one of us happy.
you do want to make us happy, don’t you?
i mean, considering what we wrote, you want us to know you’re a good person, right?).

Let’s start with an introduction to the anthology as a whole:

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson’s point has been echoed by many, but in the Land of the Weird the question arises, “A journey to what destination?” At the same time, you might ask, “Is the journey therefore the destination?” The journey may well be an individual’s destination, because it will define them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And in the Land of the Weird, that journey can take twists and turns that amuse, sadden, or horrify.
This trip into the Land of the Weird offers you 39 unique trails to follow, assisted by 35 different guides, each leading you down their own singular paths, manifesting their own view of journey as destination, some laughing, some weeping, and some, eyes wide with fear, shaking as they point out the spectral footpath for you to follow on your way down The Rabbit Hole.

A Writers Co-op Production
Stories by: Chere Taylor, Brian R. Quinn, Arthur M. Doweyko, Donna J. W. Munro, Tom Howard, Kayla Whittle, Leslie Muzingo, Pete Barnstrom, Emmie Christie, Thomas Nicholson, GD Deckard, Richard DeRobertis, M.C. Schmidt, James Dorr, Rosalind Goldsmith, Margaret Karmazin, J.W.Wood, James Rumpel, Bill McCormick, v.f. thompson, Fran Tabor, David K. Slay, Joseph Carrabis, Jane Frankel, Alice Baburek, Susan R. Morritt, Bobby Rollins, Lee Clark Zumpe, Denice Penrose, Stephen McQuiggan, H. Donovan Lyón, Anna Ross, Michael Pudney, Beth Gaydon, and Tom Wolosz.

Tom’s contribution is Come into My Parlor. Here’s the opening:

The bell above the door tinkled, and three strange men entered Hildy’s bookstore. Although it was late evening in Fossil Station, Kansas, she hadn’t closed her shop. Vonda Toedimier had called to say she’d stop on her way home for a romance novel and Hildy’s scone recipe.

How the story came about:
When I first started writing fifteen years ago, I submitted a story to an anthology where tea saved the day. They rejected it, and this poor story has been making the rounds ever since. It’s been longer. It’s been shorter. The POV has changed several times. It’s been workshopped, critiqued, and almost archived.
Hilda Donnechie was an English nanny immigrant who lived next door to us in Texas. She was a character and would have had no problem with aliens appearing in her bookshop.

About Tom Howard:
Tom Howard is a science fiction and fantasy short story writer with over one hundred and twenty-five short stories sold. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas and recently retired from working around the world as a banking software consultant. He has four children who, along with his grandson, provide him with a great number of story ideas.
He’s had careers in the US Air Force working as a communications analyst for NSA and as a Titan missile officer. He’s worked in corporate America as a technical writer and an analyst for financial systems. He founded the Central Arkansas Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group for critiquing local writers (and appreciates them every day). Originally from the South Bend, Washington, Tom has lived in Germany, England, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Tom collects and self-publishes his sold short stories in anthologies available on Amazon: Collected Science Fiction, Volume 1, Collected Fantasy, Volume 1, and Superworld Stories, Volume 1. He’s currently working on volume 2 versions of each of the anthologies. He’s also working on several novels, including book three of his Three Desert Roses epic fantasy and book three of his Aurora space opera series.
You can find his work on amazon.

See all The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey stories here.