Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Herbivorous Witch - Author Notes

Now that a scattering of Tall Tales / Shorter Days are drifting through the digital ether of Kindles and iPads... (with Nook soon to follow)... and with a continuing thank-you to all who recently grabbed a copy..., I thought I would use the blog to share bits and pieces of author-madness behind the stories, one by one, over the next few weeks, and even answer questions if anyone should venture into the seldom tread footpaths these days of blog comments. (See recent GIVEAWAY DETAILS*** added to the bottom of the blog) and btw 2-9-2012 latest installment is here: Jitter - Author Notes.

The Herbivorous Witch

The first short story in On Stranger Winds is a wintery tale, titled The Herbivorous Witch. In describing a general mood - I am reminded of the this passage from Wikipedia concerning the Grimms' Fairy Tales: "first volumes were much criticized because, although they were called Children's Tales, they were not regarded as suitable for children, both for the scholarly information included and the subject matter."

The Herbivorous Witch is not quite fairy tale, yet perhaps disarming with the seeming innocent telling of such genres. It's like the awesome surprise of a snow-day vacation, yet lurking with the danger of frostbite. I tried to recreate the feeling of those hazy days from youth, when evenings were filled with the fascination of heavy snowfalls, and the following day exhausting with snowmen construction; it's about the popping sounds the heating coils make as you thaw yourself safe and cozy by the heater, hot chocolate in your hands. Funny though how small irritants mar bliss. Especially when reality clashes with a human's inability to understand magical realms. And at that I can say no more... I will leave that to anyone who wishes to discuss further within blog comments...

I can say that the story was born from a curious writing process I created for myself while in Seattle during 2007. Given lack of much disposable income, (well remembered for numerous lunches on boiled eggs and vitamins), I began writing to boost my morale. I would scribble, upon waking or just before bed, a deliberate batch of nonsense. The goal was to avoid any seriousness in content. So the lines began as such... "A lost collection of fruit bats gathered on my skin"... or "there is a leaky ghost on my ceiling"... or "the herbivorous witch lives in the woods"..., (and if your interest is piqued, you can actually find the original verse in an undisclosed entry here on the Bindlegrim blog).

Around this time, various stories were started, and halted, and Jitter (the 2nd story in the book) was mostly completed while residing in the northwest, Seattle. It wasn't until moving to Denver, where I experienced regular snowstorms once again, that the poems coincidentally founds themselves at hand. I was posting past poems to the blog, and wondered if I couldn't turn one into a short story, to be included in what was percolating into a book of shorts. Likely inspired by our cottage habitat bordered by a small bit of woods, The Herbivorous Witch was a natural favorite. Between the poem and the setting, I found the story practically wrote itself.  

Ichabod's Cottage, Colorado where The Herbivorous Witch was written.

Do you have any great techniques for writing? This seemed a great method, whereas I have found some tales cumbersome to the telling, while other simply refuse and opt to be left alone in their own forgotten folder on a laptop.

In closing, I would like to express my experience as an author submitting this story. As I was exploring the adventure of self-publishing from every angle, I was simultaneously submitting the book to various magazines (especially those accepting of possible reprints). While a certain number declined unremarked, I received one wordy review though it was seemingly scathing! This reader described the characters as unlikeable, and yet described them spot-on, as written, with all their intended human foibles... (irritants of bliss as it were). I was told this undermined the story, which I also found humorous, because the reader finished, then felt necessary to "quite frankly" detail the awfulness of it. Contrary to their helpful (?) intent, I was "quite frankly" delighted! This person was not my audience; this person would not appreciate a good story like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. I like to believe the story shocked that particular reader, and if so, is an absolutely fantastic result! But enough about my fibrillating ego...

After all of this babble and scribble, I would love to hear what YOU thought of the story, or some aspect of it. Or even just your thoughts on writing techniques. Thank you for listening, sharing, and a big thank you to those who have taken time to explore this or other stories in the book.

Bindlegrim books in need of a new home. PS - Cover art is by David Irvine


1) Leave a blog comment here about witches, about writing, stories you like, or better yet about The Herbivorous Witch.

2) For each next six blog entries, I will draw randomly at the end of that week to give someone who commented a signed printed copy of Tall Tales Shorter Days.

3) At the end of the six blog entries I will draw from all comments (more comments, more chances to win) for one  Bindlegrim lantern - The Horrid Decor (Orange on Ghost Skin).

Note - Bindlegrim encourages and hopes, but does not require, that readers might leave a Like or a Review on the Amazon pages for the book: print or e-book.


*** And this weeks book winner! ***

Good evening! And congratulations to tonight's winner of a printed copy of On Stranger Winds: Tall Tales for Shorter Days! (See updated post). A screen shot of each comment was folded to the same size, shaken, and the first one to fall back out of the Trick or Treat canister declared the winner! All entries will be entered in the final drawing for the lantern (shown above), a few weeks from now. Thank you all again!

*** This weeks book winner! ***

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Free for Your Bindle...

Uh, ehr, I mean Kindle... and for iPad too...

Here is some quick day-specific news for the blog - letting folks know about this free digital book promo (1-27-2013) for the digital edition ending 12 midnight pacific time. These copies are available via Amazon for both Kindle and iPad viewing.

Screen shot of free day 1-27-2013 promo of Bindlegrim spooky collection of stories with witches, ghosts, veggie people, and talking cats....

If you are seeing this late, fret not, for during the next 90 days the book is available as a free loaner from the Kindle online library. And the book is usually priced at an affordable $2.99 (of which the author receives a humble percentage). (Note to Nook users - after that 90 days I will make this title available in that format too. Kindle Select regrettably bars other digital releases for that period, which I would argue is a bad idea for all... but I learned a lesson for the next book. Grrrr.)

For those who prefer the old school version, paperback first editions are available on Amazon too. (Please note that if you get any strangely printed copies, please return until you get a correct one). As well, the book is now available from the Bindlegrim store on Etsy. For the latter, I have ordered some stock, which I have eyeballed to be good print quality, that will be shipped direct from Ichabod's Cottage as signed copies.

Screen shot of Bindlegrim etsy shop featuring spooky collection of stories with witches, ghosts, veggie people, and talking cats....

Well, that's it for now, and my deepest (darkest) apologies to write and run... but Bindlegrim has more exciting mad-scientist creations mutating just around the corner... Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ghost in the Machine (Tall Tales for E-Book)


Bindlegrim Releases New E-Book Digital Edition Horror/Humor Collection:
Tall Tales, Stranger Days

Holiday artist Bindlegrim (aka Robert Aaron Wiley) releases second edition of short story collection On Stranger Winds now in popular e-book formats for Kindle and iPad, following the release of a more traditional printed first edition.

Spooky and humorous collection of short stories  Tall Tales for Shorter Days now offered free or at low cost of $3 with digital version.

January 19, 2013 - Robert Aaron Wiley (creator of Bindlegrim™) follows up printed collection of spooky stories “On Stranger Winds: Tall Tales for Shorter Days” with new e-book edition. This second edition is released through Amazon Kindle (offering Kindle and iPad formats). Depending on the customers' preferred format and memberships, the availability is very affordable - as free loaner or low purchase cost of $3 USD.

Amazon reader reviews have been positive. “The author has a wonderful ability to set an eerie scene and draw you further into the stories with delightful and/or weird characters.” (Irene Stanton, Amazon). “Time to cozy up in a bed of frosty autumn leaves under a dead oak tree and read through this wonderful book again!” (Dranem, Amazon).

The author admits backlash from at least one critic. The introductory story, The Herbivorous Witch received the following angry review after submission to a un-named magazine: "Quite frankly, I found all of the characters unlikable. The aunt was unintelligent and all the angrier for it, Solace was pretentious and bratty, Ferris was somewhat underdeveloped, and Pearl was as annoying as her mother.” The author counters, ”...the person nailed a surface reading of the characters as written, which makes me grin... The piece drew this person to finish, and was powerful enough to require an outline of offense. In my book, that's a good story!” ( The true audience for this book will get that too.

"On Stranger Winds: Tall Tales for Shorter Days" © 2012 Robert Aaron Wiley is currently available in print and e-book in both U.S. and Europe. Quality paperback, 138 pages, at $7.95 (Amazon print -edition one) and digital e-book download (Amazon Kindle - edition two). Cover art is by David Irvine (The Gnarled Branch) and Foreword by Daniel Boyer of Critical Corner.

About Bindlegrim (aka Robert Aaron Wiley)

The author cites examples like the mysterious kudzu-covered landscapes of an abandoned South as primary influences during youthful studies in fine art; a search for wonder that led him to relocate to Albuquerque and to Seattle, each for their rich support of cultural and artistic diversity. Pursuing fine art media and classical world music, the artist discovered a happier balance through the creation of recent alter ego Bindlegrim - outlet for whimsical exploration of seasonal holidays and their mix of curious imagery with inventive design.

For more information about "On Stranger Winds: Tall Tales for Shorter Days", please visit or contact Bindlegrim Press at

On Stranger Winds: Tall Tales for Shorter Days by Bindlegrim author Robert Aaron Wiley is a short story and poetry collection featuring art by David Irvine and foreword by Daniel Boyer

* Press release originally posted to PRLOG:

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