Dear Reader:

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the flat
Was a dizzy little mouse
Chasing the cat.

Well it looks like we're tucking in for another numbingly long, jaw-judderingly cold and woefully wet winter. To forefend against literary frostbite during coming months, Writer's Cramp will keep Jack Frost roasting on the open fire and the tootsies toasty with a heaping of fine fiction, pounds of potable poetry and an avalanche of alliteration. Having gouged that out of our mouths with only marginal pain, let's move on to the current issue.

Over the years, our good friend Ronald Carpenter has continued to contribute stellar work to our pages and this Christmas is no exception. Ron returns this December with the fourth in his series of stories featuring the One True Detective, Sherlock Holmes and his faithful and devoted friend, Dr. John Watson.

In The Crime That Never Happened, we discover, "It was an uncomfortable time for the great detective. It need not be detailed how his visitors, experiments, and use of narcotic drove away his landlady's other tenants, nor how he stood on the brink of eviction. And with his landlady, her solicitors, and their printers all competing for his services, small wonder he allowed a pair of forgers to escape. Not only allowed them, but held the boat till they got aboard so they could flee the country!"

Ann Huseman's eloquent and elegant writing is always welcomed to our site and when she lends her talents to an issue of Writer's Cramp, it is always the richer for it. This winter, Ann takes us to planes ethereal with her Snow Dancing with Ghosts.

"I dreamed last night of a fountain in Woodruff Place. Icicles covered the statuary in the center. The basin was filled with a dark mirror of ice that reflected moonlight and two ghostly apparitions waltzing in the snow. The couple danced slowly in a circle around the fountain to music composed of cobwebs and dream dust. With each turn around the circle, I felt myself grow younger, as if the ghostly waltz somehow served as a time machine transporting me back to a Christmas long ago and a place I had all but forgotten."

A man rapidly becoming legend within the circle or Writer's Cramp regulars is Jan O Hansen, Norwegian Mariner and master poet whose work has continued to grow and follow unbounded paths, his words bursting barriers and his images cutting swaths through jungles of ennui to drag passion screaming from the insulated wastes of disinterest. Man can this guy write! Dream Factory barely contains his lust for language.

"Last night was restless a conveyor belt of
dreams, couldn't keep up.
Modern Times at a dream factory,
in the morning only a few fragments remained.
George W. Bush playing the banjo . . . "

And we are pulled back into the shadowy world of Cobston, Ontario, a world where the dead don't seem able to stay dead and the people in the haunted town would rather not think about the things they close their eyes to. Robert Liberty offers us the first two chapters of his newest and continuing work, Down Among The Dead. As with his previous two novellas depicting the curse of Cobston, the mythos continues, this time into the present day. Detective Superintendent Ray Delaney finds a corpse buried to its chest in the clay of Scarborough Bluffs and begins a journey into macabre madness.

"I looked again at the body buried to its chest in the damp clay, then tilted my head upward to squint into the glare of the morning sun reflecting off the slick, sculpted shapes of the bluff face. I found it easy to trace the descent of the body; how it would have slipped and thumped from one cluster of shrubbery to another, bouncing and sliding in the muck down the wet walls and into the few granite outcroppings that ultimately crushed the victim's chest and skull and erased parts of his face . . . I borrowed a cigarette from Freddie Jordan, tore the filter off and lit it. It was the first I'd had in two weeks. The scent of a corpse always makes me want to smoke the taste of copper out of my mouth. I inhaled deeply."

And as a special winter warmer, we've disinterred the entire first collection of the Cobston Mythos so you can all get reacquainted with the amazing events of the town that wouldn't die. The Cobston Mythos - A Retrospective is waiting to be rediscovered and devoured slowly, once again.

Gather round the fire and dangle those chestnuts, winter's jaws are snapping shut.