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The Hazards of a Restless Spirit

I’m not going to get in the way too much here, but I do want to tell you of a couple reasons why you should be excited to know that dark fiction author Rena Mason has a story in this new anthology of sins coming from Cutting Blook Books–an imprint of Farolight Publishing. Full disclosure, my exposure to her work has been minor in terms of quantity but fucking huge in terms of quality. I first read her work right after the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards, where she won the award for best first novel, and while I often feel like the best entries in any given Stoker category didn’t get the nod they deserve, in this case, the best book most definitely won. My next encounter with her came in the form of a short story published the following year in the Qualia Nous anthology. “Ruminations,” also reprinted in Nightmare Magazine in 2016 (Read it here), was a bizarre and terrifying story that made me know truly and finally that Mason is the real fucking deal. So yes, when I saw the ToC for The Seven Deadliest, I was over the moon to see that she had a story in there and if you read it, it won’t take you long to understand my enthusiasm for her deliciously dark creations. Pick it up and see for yourself. I dare you not to love her. Read on as she shares her approach to the most difficult sin of the bunch to define.

Sloth – “Clevengers of the Carrion Sea” by Rena Mason

SEVEN_FrontCover_03-26-19-smallWhen I found out I got “Sloth” I immediately Googled it for something more than being lazy and a wiki page popped up with this:

Sloth is one of the seven capital sins. It is the most difficult sin to define, and to credit as sin, since it refers to a peculiar jumble of notions, dating from antiquity and including mental, spiritual, pathological, and physical states. One definition is: a habitual disinclination to exertion, or laziness.

Freaking great.

Preferring to write stories that aren’t what’s expected, especially when doing themes, I went on a more extensive search. I like my stories to come at the reader from different angles so that they’re able to be interpreted in different ways. After inspiration from works by John Langan and Victor LaValle, I knew I wanted to write a weird historical story.

I eventually stumbled on a holistic spiritual site that defined Sloth as avoiding caring for your spiritual self. Noting that people who are too busy in their everyday lives to stop and rest their souls and minds are also guilty of Sloth.

Bingo. I had my two main characters. A young boy who because of his laziness was responsible for causing his and his little sister’s blindness during a smallpox outbreak in Brooklyn in 1894, leaving open the possibility that his laziness also led to the fire which killed his parents. Then Margaret, a young woman who occupies every second of her time doing anything she can to stay busy, including volunteering her time to the church where she works nonstop to avoid religion, prayers, and the God she blames for her current situation.

These two sinners, guilty of sloth in their ways, meet by fate but choose to go to a place called Mawk where they are allured and persuaded they can exist as they are without stigmas, serving gods who rule over decay—in essence choosing what they believe to be the lesser of two evils.


Preorder The Seven Deadliest from Amazon and watch this space next week for more awesome. We’ll be rounding out the series with two more articles by Richard Thomas and John F.D. Taff respectively.

Follow along with the series:

About Rena Mason:

Rena Mason_Original Bio PicRena Mason is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 /The Blood List Presents®: The Search for New Blood Screenwriting Contest Quarter-Finalist. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, The International Screenwriters’ Association, Stage 32, and the Public Safety Writers Association.

For more information about this author, visit her website: www.RenaMason.Ink

Follow her on Twitter: @RenaMason88

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rena.mason

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