I wrote “While the Black Stars Burn” while I was attending a winter MFA residency at Goddard College in Vermont. I knew I wanted to write a story evocative of both the Robert Chambers story “In the Court of the Dragon” and Lovecraft’s story “The Music of Erich Zann” but which was not a copycat pastiche of either one. The heat wasn’t working well in my dorm room, and my being profoundly cold and under-slept definitely influenced my writing!
While the Black Stars Burn
by Lucy A. Snyder
Caroline tucked an unruly strand of coarse brown hair up under her pink knit cap, shrugged the strap of her black violin case back into place over her shoulder, and hurried up the music building stairs. Her skin felt both uncomfortably greasy and itched dryly under her heavy winter clothes; it had been seven days since the water heater broke in her tiny efficiency and the landlord wasn’t answering his phone. Quick, chilly rag-baths were all she could stand, and she felt so self-conscious about the state of her hair that she kept it hidden under a hat whenever possible. She hoped that her violin professor Dr. Harroe wouldn’t make her take her cap off.
Her foot slipped on a spot of dried salt on the stairs and she grabbed the chilly brass banister with her left hand to keep from pitching forward. The sharp, cold jolt made the puckered scar in her palm sharply ache, and the old memory returned fast and unbidden:
“Why aren’t you practicing as I told you to?”
About the Author
Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author. She wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, the nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Scary Out There, Seize the Night, and Best Horror of the Year. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is faculty in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction.
About the Narrator
Tatiana Grey is a New York City based actress of stage, screen, and of course, the audio booth. She adores traveling and counts her lucky stars that acting and dancing have taken her all over the United States, to Montreal, Vancouver, Ireland, and Holland… but she loves coming home to New York where it all started. Equally at home speaking heightened language in a corset, in a leather jacket spouting obscenities, and as a dancer she has been compared to such dark, vivacious heroines as Helena Bonham Carter, a young Winona Ryder and Elliot Page. This depth and facility with multiple genres garnered her a New York Innovative Theatre Award Best Featured Actress nomination for her work in The Night of Nosferatu. Her facility with accents has landed her quite a few audiobooks and numerous on-camera roles including the role of Evgenya in the award winning I am A Fat Cat. Tatiana is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.