The History and Location of Theater 13 Radio (for those who might wonder!)

Theater 13 Radio comes to you from a desolate graveyard surrounded by thick oak and dead pecan trees. Surrounding this ancient family cemetery is a rusty wrought-iron fence without a gate. Inside the fence stands a lone gray marble mausoleum with a single word carved in the lintel:


It is the last resting place of the lovely spirit you see in our banner.

Zarella died on her wedding night in 1923 after her third* husband succumbed under mysterious circumstances from, what were said to be, self-inflected knife wounds in his throat and chest. Go figure! Accidents in the home. What can you do to avoid them?

On her way to seek help, Zarella’s car, a red Dusenberg Model A, blew a tire. Some say she was driving too fast. Others say she was headed the wrong way because the only doctor was in the opposite direction. Well, you know how people gossip. Anyway, she skidded off a bridge into a river swollen with dark, rushing water. And there she drowned, trapped inside the car.

Funny thing that. Little problem with the logistics. When the car was pulled from the river she wasn’t inside. Doors were locked. Windshield wasn’t smashed or anything. She simply disappeared. There was a search and she was found dead half a mile down river. Some wags maintain she pushed the car into the river to fake her death and accidentally slipped in after it and drowned. Like that could really happen.

Gosh. It’s still a mystery, though. Well, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.

Now her aching, wandering soul channels OTR programs directly from the eternal ether to your PC — in an effort to reconnect with the material world, and return….

We’re not sure what she will do if she ever does return to this world. But it probably won’t be good.

And people say there are no happy endings in life. Enjoy the scary programs!

Theater 13 Radio, your one stop for OTR programming!

*They think it was her third husband. Records are kind of sparse since the City Hall burned down in 1934. Almost like someone was trying to cover up something. Anyway, it’s thought she might have been married before, but unfortunately her previous husbands died of tragic accidents around the house. One stumbled down the basement stairs in the pitch dark and broke his neck on the edge of a shovel. A one in a million happenstance, really, but what can you do? The second husband was found dead in the house library. He had been cleaning his gun and, well, it made quite a mess. The local police had trouble explaining this “accident” seeing as how he also had a letter opener in his back. But you never know about these things, and the past has a way of hiding its secrets. Everyone said the third marriage was for love.


In Which I Opine (whine) about Joining Professional Writer Organizations

I have learned I am now eligible for membership in Western Writers of America. I already belong to the Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers of America. Therein lies the problem.

Do I need to become a member of  another professional writing organization? I am also eligible for the Mystery Writers of America. I mean, a line has to be drawn somewhere. These organizations have yearly dues and they’re not cheap.

Here is the crux of the problem. I am no longer convinced these organizations bring anything to the table in this new day and age of Have professional writing organizations become antiquated?publishing. Back in the day having the letters SFWA or HWA after your name, while it didn’t guarantee a sale, let the editor know he had a story from a writer with a professional track record.

I am certain these things are still important to some degree. I don’t mean to diminish their relevance while, you know, diminishing their relevance. But I can’t escape the fact the publishing world has changed drastically in the last three years (and will continue to do so) that organizations like this simply do not carry the weight they once did.

I am probably wrong about this. One thing I know is the cost of yearly dues is not cheap. At least it’s not cheap to me. I don’t want to become a member of WWA for no other reason than my own gratification, either.

On the other hand, I admit these organizations bring good networking opportunities. That is one thing that hasn’t changed in this new day and age of publishing. I also like my friends I have made in SFWA and HWA. Not that they would stop being my friends if I left, but you get the idea.

I suppose I would be missing out on more than I can list if I did not become a member of WWA. I hope no one looks at these organizations I belong to and thinks I am trying to prove something. Being a writer I am mostly always lost and confused anyway. It’s my constant state of mind.

Okay. I guess I will submit an application to WWA (when I get around to it) and continue my membership in the others even though it will put a pinch in my budget.

I guess when you get down to it these organizations still bring more benefit than not. Although, that, too, may change over time.

Thanks for hearing me out. I’m glad we had this little chat.

“The Whistler” is being aired on Theater 13 Radio!

Theater 13 Radio is running an Old Time Radio marathon of The Whistler. This classic radio show was based on horror, mystery, suspense and other genres. The main thing about this show is you get to follow the story through the eyes of the murderer, and yet the story always takes an unexpected twist in the last minute. They are very well written and like all OTR I think theybenefit writers who want to concentrate on dialog and story structure.



Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....


Theater 13 Radio Marathon: CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Theater 13 Radio is ringing in the New Year by running a CBS Radio Mystery Theater marathon. This was the classic radio show hosted by E.G. Marshall. I just love listening to Old Time Radio because the emphasis is on dialog, an important aspect of fiction. It’s always a learning experience for me.

Hope you guys like this classic radio programming and have a great New Year’s day! 🙂

Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....

EQMM February 2012 Cover and personal thoughts on writing….

Here is the cover of the February 2012 Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in which my new Haxan story appears. Of course, I don’t have the cover story, but this should help you locate the magazine on a newsstand or something if you go looking for it:

My new Haxan story appears in this issue!

I have been thinking about all the milestones we hit as writers. First story ever written, first story sold, first novel written, etc. There are a lot of goalposts and depending on the writer some are more important than others.

Every story I have ever sold or placed is important to me.  But once I do that I move on. What I mean is, I forget about that story and start thinking about the next story. I don’t  do this because I think the last story is unimportant or has become less in my eyes. I do this because as a writer I am only as good as my last story. Which means if I want to move ahead I have to write another and another and another….

It’s enough to make you freak out!

Writing is all about “what have you done lately?” when it comes to how we are judged. Sold a story to EQMM? Nice. What have you done lately?

It’s a brutal fact about this profession but one we have to meet head on and accept. Writing is not easy. It’s not cupcakes. It’s hard work. Which is fine. I never thought it was anything but hard work. I have never thought writing was easy. Oh, there are lots of things about it that are easier to me now than when I first started. That, too, is expected. I have been doing this a long time. Even a blind hog can root up an acorn now and then. Same for me. I have learned a lot, but I am under no illusion I know all there is to know when it comes to writing.

That’s one part about this job I do like. I am always learning. That, more than anything else, keeps me interested.

New Story in EQMM, Theater 13 Radio and Health Update

My new Haxan story is out in the newly published February 2012 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. This is breaking news since I got the contributor copies a week or so ago. I think the magazine itself is out on the stands, however. If you pick up the magazine I hope you like the story when you read it.

I don’t have a file for the February 2012 magazine cover yet to help you find it on the newsstands, but when I do I will post it here. Last time I checked they only have the January cover image available. Meanwhile, I hope to have some really good news about upcoming Kindle stories from Argo Navis Publishing within the week. Again, I’ll post that information when it comes available. So keep watching the blog because that update is right around the corner.

Other that that it  has been a busy four or five days past. I’ve been working at The Observatory and we were pretty busy with late minute shoppers. I have also been fighting the downside of a head cold. The cold isn’t all that bad. I mean, I’ve had worse. But I’m dragging a bit right now and my sleep ;patterns are all out of whack. Not that they’ve ever been very solid to begin with. In the midst of all that our modem went out along with the router. So we upgraded and now we’re plugged back into the Matrix. More importantly, Theater 13 Radio was off the air for about a day which irked me, but we’ve got it back up now.

I bought Star Wars: The Old Republic and started playing. My character is a Jedi Consular named Gaella. So far I like the game a lot even though I am only at level 5. It is very story driven, and while you can’t escape comparisons to World of Warcraft there is enough different here to interest me. I also bought Skyrim but haven’t had time to install it and try it out. Skyrim is a single player game but with deep sandbox elements which is what I tend to prefer in a PC game. Once I get my feet wet in both games I’ll post reviews here.

I am still reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing. This is the second book in the Border Trilogy. I like it a lot so far, much better than the first book All the Pretty Horses. Yes, I am planning reviews of them, too. I know, I’m way behind, you don’t have to tell me! I’m running in place as fast as I can.  😀

Finally, we are running classic Christmas programming on Theater 13 Radio. These Old Time Radio programs include such classics as Jack Benny, Suspense, Gunsmoke, Lux Theater, Dragnet and a whole lot more. They all have a Christmas or holiday theme and we will run them through New Year’s Eve. We really hope you enjoy these old classic programs for the holiday.

Check out our special holiday programming!


My New Haxan Story Slated to Appear in February Issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine!

I got the contributor copies of Ellery Queen Magazine in the mail a day or so ago. They have my story “Phaedra” and it will appear in the upcoming February issue.

This was a big sale for me and I’m glad it is coming out now. I have made many other professional sales to many other magazines, and smaller non-professional magazines. They are all important to me. But let’s face facts. Some markets are harder to crack and harder to get into than others. Ellery Queen Magazine is one of those markets. It’s been around since, I think, 1941. In this day and age of publishing sturm und drang, that’s real staying power.

One of the best things about the story is that expanded elements of it will appear later in my novel Haxan which was accepted by ChiZine Publications. I like the synergy of this. I like exploring one aspect of a story from different directions and perspectives. I don’t think it can always work.

Sometimes a story pretty much does all the work on its own and as a writer we have no more to say about it. But my Haxan series is just that, a series. Different characters see and experience incidents in Haxan peculiar to their own viewpoint. All of us see things different through our own eyes and related to our own past experiences. That’s human nature. I like to explore that theme sometimes, if I think it deserves exploring.

And that’s the rub. As a writer I have to make the decision whether or not something like that deserves added exposure and time on my part. An incident like this, which sort of bifurcates Marwood’s life in Haxan and how he is viewed, has enough gravitas for that.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the release of the magazine. I hope you pick up an issue when it become available, and I hope you like the story. Thanks for listening!

Dragnet – Old Time Radio that delivers stark violence and murder for adults

I am always amazed at how “adult” OTR is compared to the sanitized candycorn of TV from the same era. Or even compared to many commercial television programs slopping their sugar water today. One such example is Dragnet. The old radio programs are very brutal and violent, very different from the watered down television programs of the same name. Though, to be fair, the tight, spare dialog, which was always the hallmark of Dragnet, remains in force.

All too often I thought the TV Dragnet was preachy and more interested in pushing a flag-waving erection bursting meme of “USA and LAW ENFORCEMENT HELL YEAH!” than delivering solid writing that examines the deep fractures in a human soul. Well, that’s TV for you. But if there’s any meme being preached in the OTR series it’s that violence is an ineluctable part of human nature and the world is a ceaseless shithole of blood, degradation, and grisly murder. That’s what the OTR Dragnet is about.

If your only familiarity with Dragnet and Joe Friday is the TV series then you are gonna be surprised at these old radio programs, I think.

Theater 13 Radio is currently running a Dragnet marathon. Click on the banner below and it will take you directly to the main website where you can find the .pls or download a media player of your choice. Theater 13 is also on StreamFinder, TuneIn and other radio sites. Google is your friend!

If you haven’t listened to these tightly written and uncompromising programs you might do well as a writer, or just a crime/mystery/suspense fan, to give ’em a try. Enjoy!

Theater 13 Radio

Halloween Haunt Update w/Pics!

This year we have a double theme. Outside it will be “Spider Graveyard” and inside “Skeleton Wedding Feast”. These pictures will give you some idea of what we are currently working on. I hope to have everything running by Saturday night and will try and get some night pics for you. I don’t plan to put up all the spiderwebbing outside because I don’t want it torn to complete shreds by the wind.

There will also be some surprises in the haunt which I will not tell you about yet, but keep watching this blog and I’ll have the pictures for you later. But this will give you some idea of the progress we’ve made so far.

This is the wedding feast. You can see we are still working on the table. Sorry for the blur. This whole scene will be illuminated in red light and everything will be draped in spiderweb. The trick or treaters have to come inside this room to get their candy!

A close up of the beautiful bride. Still working on her, too. You can see her necklace. She also has a bouquet. Once we get everything done I’ll take specific pictures of her. She’s pretty cool, I’m happy with how she is coming along.

The groom. Ideally he should have a bowtie, but we are probably going to go with the tie. I must really apologize for the blur!

Death welcomes the TOTs as they come inside the house. He will be bathed in black light. We will also have some other surprises for them.

There will be jack o’lanterns here, too and everything will be webbed. The TOTs will simply have to fight their way through the webbing to get to the door. That’s their problem!

The main entrance door. Somewhat spare, but imagine it completely wreathed in webbing. The spareness gives a special spookiness. The doormat will be taken away. I want nothing familiar in the entrance way. Only the most brave of TOTs can get candy here!

Theater 13 Radio Broadcasting OTR Horror, Mystery, and Suspense on 100 Channels!

Theater 13 Radio has upgraded. We are now broadcasting Old Time Radio programming on 100 channels. We hope this will alleviate any bottlenecking issues listeners experienced when they tried to log on with our old 50 channel system. We are still broadcasting at 24K and are considering an upgrade there as well.

Do you like Old Time Radio? We are your one stop for vintage Horror, Suspense and Dark Fantasy radio programming. Please, check us out and don’t forget to bookmark our site. And please tell your friends! 🙂

Come join Mistress Zarella for the finest in Old Time Radio programming!

Great article in Centauri Dreams: explains fallibility of Fermi’s Paradox, human impatience

“Lost in Space and Lost in Time: The Consequences of Temporal Dispersion for Exosolar Technological Civilizations” by Dave Moore, Centauri Dreams.

Mark here. This is an excellent article. I have always believed the problem lies more with our human-centralized impatience to “find idealized Star Trek aliens” rather than the simple fact we A.) are alone, or B.) the enormous spacial and temporal distances involved simply preclude a galaxy burgeoning with sentient lifeforms that mirror our own spatial-temporal frame.

In other words, the chances of advanced alien lifeforms inhabiting the same time-frame of our own civilization, given the age and enormous volume of the universe at hand, is pretty damn slim, and more likely zero.I fully expect this scenario is pure fantasy and wish-fulfillment. Occam's Razor is more than likely in effect: we're alone.

I maintain we will find microbial alien life, or come across archeological evidence of another civilization, long before we meet another  alien species face to face. You cannot ignore the time frame and galactic spacial distances involved, especially when coupled with the life spans of civilizations in relation to that.

Humans need to stop thinking in such limited and parochial terms. Even our galaxy isn’t a neighborhood. It’s enormous, enclosing both enormous time frames and distances. Once again, the ingrained impatience of our species is showing.

If you want to get down and dirty about it, Occam’s Razor is probably best here. We are alone. Star Trek, a federation of alien civilizations who exist at the same spatial-temporal point in their technological curve, is pure fantasy and will never be actualized. The actual age, and distances involved, preclude such an event. The distribution and rates of occurrence of alien civilizations are much too thin.

How I Created Theater 13 Radio, and Why

When I was thirteen I used to listen to a black and white transistor radio tucked under my pillow. One night I found a Chicago station and heard The CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall.

Just like that I was hooked. I fell in love with radio dramas and wanted to hear more.

Popular for its time, CBSRMT was a modern program aired by CBS during the late 70s and early 80s and produced by Himan Brown. It was an attempt to recapture the magic of Old Time Radio. When we moved from Illinois I always made it a point to find a station that aired this program so I could continue listening, and I would often ask my grandparents what they remembered of OTR.

As an adult I discovered real OTR, old time radio, and its fans. I began to collect and research these old programs and listen to them whenever I could. As a professional writer I saw the intrinsic value of these radio shows beyond their nostalgic worth. I knew I could learn a lot from these programs on how to write a tight cohesive story, and I did.

I really hope you like the classic programs I am bringing to you now, and I hope you come to love them and hold them as dear as I do, and will, for my entire life.

Theater 13 -- Old Time Radio Beyond the Extraordinary

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