Monday, September 22, 2014

The Books of Your Nightmares!

Two excellent lists about the scariest books out there recently found their way to my attention, courtesy of a couple friends. Since I've only read a portion of the books on each list, I've decided to read my way through both of them, along with my partners in horror. We're hoping to do some fun stuff with it, including keeping up with our progress on our blogs and discussing/reviewing the books.

If you're interested in the lists, here they are:

Nightmare Magazine's Top 100 Horror Books

Short List's Definitive Scariest Books Ever Written

One of them, M.B. Partlow, has already started. Here's her first post on her progress and what she's doing with the project.

Here are the ones I'm certain I've already read (there are several I'm iffy on, so I am NOT including those until I know for certain I read them):

The Exorcist
Dracula
American Psycho
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Lord of the Flies (multiple times)
Pet Semetary
Frankenstein
The Silence of the Lambs
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Lost Souls
Love in Vein
The Haunting of Hill House
Bag of Bones
It
Night Shift
Salem's Lot
The Shining
Skeleton Crew
The Stand
The Bad Place
Strangers
I Am Legend
Interview With the Vampire
The Vampire Lestat
Floating Dragon
Ghost Story
Lost Boy, Lost Girl

Have you ever undertaken a challenge (of sort) like this? How many of these books have you read? What do you think of the lists? What would you ADD to the lists (I might just incorporate your suggestions into my challenge)?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - ALS Walk & Links

The ALS walk was this past weekend. All but one of my siblings was able to make it, as well as a few friends. The best part was that a couple of our long-time family friends (who may as well just be family) flew out the day before the walk to surprise my parents and do the walk with us. There's not a lot of positive for people with ALS. There is constantly a new negative, a new element they weren't aware of, a new issue. So to see my parents so happy was amazing. Here's our team, Dad's Defiant Defenders, after the walk. (I'm the one with the red wig-Jean Grey/Phoenix, hubby is Magneto.)


The walk was on Saturday. On Monday, my parents opened the local newspaper to discover an article about the Ice Bucket Challenge their neighborhood put together on their birthday, including a picture of my dad and the dry pre-IBC neighbors, who did the challenge then stuck around to surprise my dad with cake and goodies for my dad's birthday. Here's the article.


Overall, it was a great weekend, with lots of friend and family time.

Mushy gushy stuff aside, it's time for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

A Murder of Storytellers is putting together an anthology about your childhood fears. Beyond the Nightlight is a horror anthology. Deadline October 13. 500-1300 words. Pays $15 and a contributor copy.

Jamais Vu's current submission window closes October 15. Short fiction, book reviews, film reviews, poetry, and nonfiction. Pays $.05/word and a contributor's copy. Horror, thriller, dark fiction.

Lamplight is looking for horror flash fiction and short stories. Deadline October 15. Pays $50 for flash fiction, $150 for short fiction.

Ticonderoga Publications is putting together an anthology of horror in an urban fantasy setting, entitled Bloodlines. Blood must factor into the story in some way. 1000-7500 words. Deadline October 15. Pays AUS $.02/word, plus 2 copies of the anthology.

Shooter Literary Magazine is open to submissions of short fiction for their new magazine. Theme of the first issue is "Pulling the Trigger." Deadline October 15. Pay varies depending upon type of story.

Lakeside Circus wants your short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Speculative fiction. They also accept essays. They pay $.02/word for fiction, $.01/word for nonfiction. Additional for audio rights when requested.

Third Wednesday is seeking short fiction, poetry, and artwork. Rolling deadlines, but seasonal work should be sent three months in advance. Pays $3-5, plus a contributor copy.

Romance Flash is seeking your romantic stories of 1000 words or less. Token payment of $3.

Contests:

Mash Stories is holding their Mash Competition #4 right now. Deadline is October 15. Current keywords are "alphabet," "love," and "oxidation." Winner gets $100. Those who are short listed get audio podcasts of their work (I noticed a fellow blogger's piece listed as short-listed!) Up to 500 words.

Blog Stuff:

A bunch of Young Adult authors are holding Young Adult Reader Appreciation Week next week. Check it out! There's a giveaway and a whole lot of talented participants.

Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Publication news to share? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Watchers Book Trailer and Giveaway

Today, I'm pleased to host Deirdra Eden, and the trailer for The Watchers Book 1, a story that looks to be full of adventure and fun! You'll find a giveaway at the end of this post.

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light



 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.


The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions




About the Author


"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looks like a fun and exciting story! Thank you for stopping by Deirdre. 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Busy Cleaning & Links

Oy! I'm trying to get my house ready for company, but I didn't want to skip Wednesday links, so without further ado....LINKS!

Accepting Submissions:

Long Count Press is seeking science fiction stories about space exploration and human ingenuity for their anthology Golden Age. Deadline September 30. Pays $20 plus a percentage of the profits and a contributor copy.

Rose Lemberg and Stone Bird Press are seeking stories that don't necessarily fit in elsewhere, and that fit the genres included in Speculative Fiction. 500-1400 words. Deadline September 30. Pays $.06/word for originals and $.03/word for reprints.

Dark Regions Press is taking submissions for their anthology I Am the Abyss. Adventure stories of horror and/or dark fantasy. 10,000-18,000 words. Deadline October 1. Pays $.05/word, plus royalties, plus contributor copy, plus signed print of artwork.

Whitefish Review is accepting submissions for Issue #16 - The Geography of Hope. Deadline October 1. They pay $10/printed page, minimum of $25, maximum of $50.

Unlikely Story is reading for The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography. Deadline October 1. Up to 8000 words. Pays $.06/word.

Lectores Coffee accepts short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which they print directly on their coffee bags. 350 words or less. They take submissions at any time, but have specific reading periods. Current reading period ends October 1. Pays $20 and a free bag of coffee.

Brain, Child is a literary magazines for moms. They take several types of submissions, which they're open to year round, but they have a deadline of October 1 for a series of blog posts they're looking to fill. One is on LGBT families and the other is adoption-themed.

If you are a member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, you can submit to the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. Your piece can be on either writing, publishing, or marketing. Deadline October 2. 200-1000 words. The e-book will be free, and there is no pay associated with this.

that's life! is open to your fast fiction. Multiple themes and genres (see the link for details.) Pays per published page, from 600-2600 words. Pays $200-$500, depending upon number of pages.

Dark Fuse takes dark fiction short story submissions for their magazine and anthologies. 2000-5000 words. Pays $50 (with the addition of royalties for their anthologies).

Please bear in mind that these are just links I pass along, not publications I can personally recommend or guarantee in any way. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to any publication.

Any of these interest you? Anything to pass along? Publishing news to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Remembering Tina Downey


Today has been set aside for the blogosphere to remember Tina. I already did a post to about her last week, so I don't want to repeat what I've already said. However, today's about honoring her with the sunflowers she loved. There's not much to show for the one I planted in her memory, so instead of photographing dirt, I took a couple pictures at a farm we were at the other day.

Remembering you, my friend.





Tina's motto was "Life is Good." She made every moment count. So today I ask you to think about what is good in your life. For just one day, try to set aside the negative and embrace the positive.

We've got sunflowers growing all over here in town, along roadways, in the parks. If you happen to see one in your neck of the woods, send up a happy thought.

Do you have wild sunflowers growing near you?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG, Night Visitors & Links

It's that time again. That time where all us insecure folks get together to discuss our insecurities in the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Sit down, grab a cup of bitter coffee and a stale doughnut, and let's share a little about what ails us. Anyone can participate--just go to the link above and sign up!


The way I'm feeling right now, the better question would be: What am I feeling secure about? The answer is: Not much. But here's what I do know. I love writing. I'm happy when I'm writing. No matter what my publishing status, I will continue to write, even if it's just for me.

Isn't it ourselves we should be writing for in the first place? Publication is the bonus, sure, but the words we write are for ourselves. That's where the joy is. Everyone needs that pat on the back, in whatever way they desire it, but the real joy is taking those ideas that seed in our minds, planting them on the paper, and watching them bloom before us. I say hold onto that joy. Don't let it go, whether you're struggling to be published or already published and trying to market it. Don't let the business of writing keep you from the pleasure of writing.

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is a peek at a little peeping tom I had on the back porch last night, along with his little buddy.


These little guys moved furniture around on my porch, causing me to shut the lights out and check out the windows to see who was out there (it was around 1:30 in the morning). There was a squeak at the back door, and not seeing anything outside, I opened the shades (I have french doors) and bent down to look. Staring back at me were two curious raccoons. My poor puffed up cat and I sat there for a moment studying them while they did the same. Finally, I grabbed my camera and opened the door and they scurried over to the stairs, but one continued to watch me. That's his face there. He was also the one who kept standing up down in the lawn to look at me when I stood on my porch photographing them. The pictures suck because it was pitch black, but it was a kick to watch them frolicking in my backyard for at least thirty minutes. I can't believe I've lived here for so long and never run into raccoons before!

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

The David Tyson Report is putting together an anthology on ghosts. Horror, but it can be mixed with other genres. 2000-5000 words. Pays $10 and a contributor copy. Deadline September 28.

Blue Skirt Press is putting together an anthology about the loss of parents. Poetry, stories, art, photography. Deadline September 30. Payment is a contributor copy.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking stories along the lines of "Thanks to My Mom." Prose and poetry. 1200 words or less. Pays $200. Deadline September 30.

The third issue of Phobos Magazine is looking for entries with the theme "Troublemake." Short and flash weird fiction or poetry. Must have elements of the macabre. Deadline September 30. Limit 1000 for flash, 2500 for prose and poetry. Paying market.

Firbolg Publishing would like your stories for Enter At Your Own Risk: Dreamscapes Into Darkness. 3000-5000 words. Deadline September 30. Pays $50 and a contributor copy.

Crossed Genres current theme is "Indoctrinate." Deadline September 30. Must possess elements of sci-fi and/or fantasy. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word.

Contests:

Book Trust and the Sunday Times are holding The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Maximum of 6000 words. Must have been published in UK and Ireland. Deadline September 26. Cash prizes.

The Freeman Family and Drake University Department of English are holding the Payton James Freeman Essay Prize. Write an essay with the theme "After the Unhappy Ending." Up to 3500 words. Prize is $500, publication, and being brought out as a speaker. Deadline September 30.

The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award is open through September 30. First prize is $1000. Prose up to 17,000 words. For new writers of short fiction or novelettes in sci-fi or fantasy.

The University of Iowa Press is holding the Iowa Short Fiction Award and John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Must be a collection of short stories, at least 150 pages. Deadline September 30.

On a final note, A-to-Z co-hosts, past and present, have written a tribute to Tina Downey at the A-to-Z blog.

What are your insecurities? Do you still feel the joy of writing? Had any run-ins with raccoons? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sights of Home & Goal Setting

I read an interview with an author yesterday, and she mentioned a sight that lets her know she's home. For her it's a bridge. For me, it's Pikes Peak, the mountain that towers above our town. When we're able to see it, we know we're getting close, and it always rejuvenates us enough to get the rest of the way home after a long trip.

It got me wondering what that sight (or smell, or sound) is for other people. What is the sure sign that you're home, the thing that makes you feel at peace?

Now, that has nothing to do with writing for me. Not really. Although I do have a slight view of Pikes Peak out my office window, above the roof of the house across the street. I love that view.

Man Distressed Clip Art, clker.com
As far as writing, I've been trying to tackle some goals on a month-by-month basis. You see, I've mentioned the chronic migraines before, though I try not to do that much. The short version is that I've had a migraine for about three years now (yes, non-stop--even in my sleep). In fact, a little over. They did a two hour MRI on me to be sure I didn't have any brain tumors (I didn't), referred me around to various specialists, tried me on a few kinds of drugs, and I finally branched out on my own to find answers, because their drugs were only making things worse for me (not only in the lack of help for the migraines, but in the side effects that came with them).

During this same time, I've also suffered chronic fatigue, vertigo, depression, and anxiety. And the worse the migraines and fatigue got (because they're probably related), the worse everything else got. And the more useless I became. I stopped exercising, stopped getting things done, stopped doing as many fun things with the kiddos, etc. I've found improvement by juggling a variety of things that each help a little bit, and by adapting coping strategies, but it's still an uphill climb. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I crawled out of bed each day, but I did, and I forced myself to get dressed each and every single day.


Busy Mom with Child and Pets, courtesy of OCAL, clker.com

Now, with this improvement, I want to get back to being a real human being again. The common recommendation is that you shouldn't try to change too many things at once or you will fail at them all. Thus, my choosing one thing to focus on at a time. Last month, it was fitness. I worked out every single day.

Dancing Lady by OCAL, clker.com

As of today, it's a new month! So what am I working on this month? I'd like to continue working out every week day (down from 7 days per week, though I also intend to do something with the family that involves hiking or walking on at least one weekend day) still, continuing with my goal of physical fitness, but I'd now like to get into the habit of sitting down at my desk to work each day after I workout. So this month I aim to sit at my desk to write for twenty minutes each day (minimum) and to read a craft book. I'll be figuring out which craft book to read later on today. I've narrowed it down to two for the month, and I'll try to keep everyone updated. If I finish the craft book, I'll play catch up on the Writer's Digest mags I haven't read yet.

Computer by OCAL, clker.com

I'm also going to sit down and see if I can document the migraine journey in order to write some articles about it, perhaps. Migraines aren't uncommon, and I'd like to provide folks with an alternate view on how to approach them when other means are failing them or making them more miserable. Maybe something will come out of it, and maybe something won't. Perhaps it will just be cathartic to write it out.

One final thing on the writing, I've been updating my submissions status on IWSG  days, so I'll continue to do that. It will bother me to admit if I haven't submitted ANYthing since my last update, so it will keep me honest if I start to slack, which I did in the last couple weeks (though I've submitted to things this week.) That's not what the IWSG is for, really, but those details certainly tie in with my insecurities, and I like the accountability.

Summary of goals:
August-Exercise every day throughout the month. Done!
September-Sit down to write for at least 20 minutes each day on my desktop and read a craft book. Pending.
October-Undecided.

How do you know you're home (home being wherever you feel safe and happy, whether that's a house or elsewhere)? Is it a sight, a sound, a taste, a scent, or something else? How do you go about goal setting? Are you working on changing anything right now or establishing any habits? What have you found to be a successful way to change yourself when it comes to goals?

May you find your Muse.