Demon Summoning for Beginners

Demon Summoning for Beginners by Cora BuhlertWhen observing a magical ritual in the woods, make sure to take precautions…

If you try to summon a demon to grant you your heart’s fondest desire, you’d better get your Latin right…

When studying ancient grimoires, it’s never a good idea to actually read the contents out loud or you might just cause the end of the world…

Following your grandma’s heirloom recipe might just conjure up something other than marinara sauce…

Four short humorous horror tales of rituals gone very wrong by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert of 5800 words or approx. 20 print pages altogether.

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More information:

  • Demon Summoning for Beginners is collection of humorous horror short stories of 5800 words or approx. 20 print pages altogether. This collection is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
  • All stories were written as part of the July short story challenge, albeit in different years. The idea behind the July short story challenge is to write a short story per day during the month of July.
  • Looking through my inventory of unpublished July short story challenge stories, I noticed that I had four stories about demon summoning rituals gone wrong and thought, “Well, those stories would make a nice collection.”
  • Like many July challenge stories, “Impartial Observer” and “Rude Awakening” were both inspired by pieces of fantasy art, namely this one by Nele Diehl and this one by David Velasquez.
  • “Ritual Failure” was inspired by watching an episode of Supernatural and getting annoyed at the badly mangled Latin used during a magical ritual. So I thought, “Well, if I’m annoyed, how annoyed will a demon be. And how will mangled Latin or mangled Hebrew affect a ritual?”
  • “The Secret of Nonna Elena” was inspired by noticing that the instruction for magical potions and spells and recipes for food often look remarkably similar, only that there are stranger ingredients in the former. So I thought, “What if a recipe accidentally conjures up a demon?”
  • Nonna Elena’s famous marinara sauce is based on this recipe for Italian-American Sunday pasta sauce. I’m pretty sure it does not conjure up a demon, though.
  • I have serious issues writing straight horror, cause whenever I try to write it, what comes out is either parody or stories where the protagonists try to figure out what the monsters want and how to deal with them without violence. The stories in Demon Summoning for Beginners largely fall into the former category with the possible exception of “Impartial Observer”, which is probably as close to straight horror as I’ve ever come. And even “Impartial Observer” parodies the horror trope of the occult investigator who wants to capture everything.
  • The cover is stock art by Dominick Critelli.