February ’23


Welcome to the Newsletter!

Thanks for stopping by for my first newsletter of 2023! I hope you enjoy it and will share it with your friends and family. 

Thanks for reading Billy Don Loper-Fiction and Fascinations! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.


Recent Announcements:

Since my last newsletter two of my short stories have been accepted to publication. The first was “Father, or the Pain that Lingers,” and it was published in late January. It can be read here: http://www.usmproductmag.com/current-issue. The second was “Key to the Heart,” a story which recently won a story competition at a local bookstore (The Author Shoppe, Hattiesburg, MS). It’s been picked up by Panorame Journal for their Summer Gothic issue, which will come out Summer ‘23. 

Outside of these publications (wild that I can put an ‘S’ on the end of that already), I have also joined THE SINISTER SCOOP horror media website as a contributor. (check them out here: https://www.thesinisterscoop.com/home). There should be some cool stuff coming from me there soon. 

Also, in March I’ll be interviewing horror author Cat Voleur for ARCHIVE OF THE ODD, (


), so stay tuned for more there. 

Project Progress:

My sci-fantasy story has officially been sent to the copy editor! Once I get it back, there’ll be a lot of work left to do, but in the meantime I’ve moved back to my speculative sci-fi story and hope to make a little progress on it in the meantime. 

Recent Fascinations:

Two of my most recent reads have put an interesting topic at the front of my attention. In January I read through Stephen King’s novel HEARTS IN ATLANTIS and D.J. James’s novella STITCHES. These two stories, despite both being part of the paranormal genre, could not be more different. However, it isn’t the distinctions of genre nuance (such as STITCHES being a body horror story and HEARTS IN ATLANTIS being a psychic thriller), but instead it is the classification of writing the two fall into. 

While the spectrum of written works is as wide a tapestry as possible, two extreme distinctions exist that do not necessarily communicate quality, but do communicate density: Literary Fiction and Independent Genre Fiction. Literary Fiction is often dense, metaphorically layered, and an overall more complex experience. Independent Genre Fiction, on the other hand, is often quick to read, exciting, and focused on telling a compelling (or terrifying) story. Language and metaphor come second in Independent Genre, in other words. 

I’ve often considered myself a primarily-literary reader. Prose and metaphor have always been very important to me, and because of that I’ve often scoffed (yes I’m ashamed of this) at independent fiction. However, reading STITCHES and then finishing up HEARTS IN ATLANTIS really caused me to think about what that kind of perspective means. King is the undeniable…king of genre fiction, but HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is a true masterwork in literary fiction, it just happens to have a slight paranormal tint in places. If Shirley Jackson or Nathanial Hawthorne are literary writers, then so is King in the instance of HEARTS. D.J. James, though, did not write a literary story in STITCHES. James instead invokes memories of 1960s and 70s pulp paperback horror novels. STITCHES is bloody, disturbing, and fast moving. It leaves the reader with a feeling of sick dread. The prose is simple, if at times a little clunky, but it conveys its story in a quick, direct fashion that leaves plenty of room for the disgust to splash out of the page. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is a story in the vein of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, while STITCHES is the paperback version of 1980s slasher horror. B-Movie on the page, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that kind of fiction is an important part of the genre, and often provides room for more literary works to breathe. 

So as I read STITCHES and began making criticisms to myself about the quality of the prose not being quite as high as other books, I found myself realizing that those kinds of criticisms are, by definition, meaningless. STITCHES was not supposed to be a literary masterpiece. It isn’t a psychological, complex horror movie. It is FRIDAY THE 13TH. 

And that’s okay. You should read HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, but you should also read STITCHES. 

Thanks for reading!

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