Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dragging Myself Back From the Dead

Wow, look at me slacking on blog posts. This one isn't going to be anything major, and I can't guarantee I'll be consistently blogging again yet, but I wanted to say hellooooo out there, blogging world!

I took a new job in late December that rapidly grew in responsibility and hours. For about a month and a half I had two jobs at the same time, and had suddenly been launched into full time work for the first time in fourteen years. Thus the silences and slacking. I'm exhausted, but happy, with the new job. My house is a mess. However, I took a partial day while the kids were at school to get one floor of the house clean. It's amazing how good it feels to have that one truly clean space. Not to say my house is filthy--my husband and I have done some consistent, but piecemeal, cleaning. But there has not been a big, thorough cleaning that leaves the whole house spanking clean and spotless.

I had two more publications come out since the last post. One was a surprise. It was due out in May. Turns out, the magazine is closing, and they're opening a slightly different one in its place, so they gathered their final stories and put them out in this earlier edition.

Don't Cry to Mama is a horror comedy anthology and Bloodbond Magazine focuses on monsters.

In the midst of everything, I also still had two volunteer jobs, one of which involved putting on a half-day miniature writing conference with six speakers. We happened to get a massive snowstorm the night before, which led to the cancellation of one speaker and many attendees, and yet it turned out to be the most financially successful, so far, out of seven years of having the event. I think that's mostly due to the attendees coming through for us, which was wonderful. And we managed to fill that speaker slot at 7 AM the day of the event!

I now have books consigned at three different locations, two of them local, which is exciting! Plus, I finished a short story and got in some much needed editing time.

My mom also had to have surgery during all this business. She had an abdominal hernia. My dad has ALS, and she's his full time caretaker, so my brother and I helped where we could. Luckily, the VA provided a daily respite worker and two CNAs to get him out of bed and put him back to bed, which took a weight off my brother's and my shoulders. We filled those roles last time mom had surgery. Happily, her surgery went well, and she's healing up, though she still can't lift him or do anything strenuous. And I got to hear my dad's machine voice for the first time (it's his voice recorded while he could still talk consistently, but it still sounds like a robot voice that kind of sounds like him...) I ended up posting some amusing interactions with the respite workers. Some of them were quite odd. The respite workers, unlike the CNAs, did not have to have any sort of certification. One was from Jamaica, but could not swim. One never stopped talking. I'm not sure she ever breathed. One thought I was offering her dinner when I gave her the food to feed my dad. One was racist. One wouldn't put the fork all the way in dad's mouth and expected him to lean forward for the food--he can't. So on and so forth. And then we have the VA provided house cleaner whose boss came to check up on her. The woman stood there petting the dogs on my dad's lap, and jumped when she realized she'd been treating my dad's legs like a table. She didn't know he was there...despite the fact that he's on a noisy bipap machine that breathes for him. Fascinating folks and plenty of story fodder.

I was a bit sad that I simply didn't have time to do fun things for Women in Horror Month. I did end up having a bump in sales, which was nice, but I wanted to enjoy the month and do some stuff with the blog. Next year! However, I did get to participate in a group reading for National Tell A Fairytale Day up in Denver at the BookBar, so that was fun.

In the midst of all this, I switched out the meds I'm on for PTSD, which means I've been randomly napping (not a thing I do unless pregnant, feverish, or apparently dealing with anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds) and have been making that adjustment.

We did squeeze in a family overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge (which is right here in our lovely city, but they don't do day passes, so you have to stay at the lodge in order to visit the water park). The stay was comped for a past issue with a stay, and they gave us a cabana for free one of the days. I feel like I experienced a bit of what rich people get to have, with a private cabana at the water park, a TV, outlets, a table, free drinks, and a waiter that came by every once in a while to see if we needed anything. It was pretty cool! I felt spoiled. I can definitely recommend their customer service.

Don't forget that WRiTE CLUB is going on now! I'm one of the slush readers. Check it out if you haven't before! It's run by DL Hammons.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a billion things, but that's okay. Next time!

Have you heard of WRiTE CLUB? Are you participating? How has the beginning of your year been? Are you getting some writing done?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG March - Heroes vs Villains

March! It's supposed to be spring soon, but what that means in Colorado is the most snow of the year. Right now we're having regular snowstorms on the weekends, which is rather annoying, but we usually have some gorgeous, warm days mixed in, as well, so here's hoping.

It's also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for IWSG!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group exists to provide community and support to writers of all stripes and levels. All are welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up. Post about your insecurities or reassurances for others, and bop around to visit different people. It's a great way to meet new folks.

This week's co-hosts are:
Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard! Be sure to stop by and say hi.

The optional question is Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero or the villain? And why?

You'd probably expect me to say I prefer the villain's POV, and I do get a maniacal delight out of writing from the antagonist's view, but I get something different out of writing from the hero's POV, and I enjoy that, too. And I write from that POV more often.

I didn't really answer the question, did I? There's fun in writing the villain, but I probably glean more satisfaction from writing the hero.

I've been busy with work, and just finished with the big annual event for my volunteer job (a half-day mini-conference with six speakers), so my writing has been minimal, but I finished a short story this past week, and I'm happy with that. I've had time to get some other writing done, as well, so yay! I'm calling that a victory right now.

My short story submission stats for February:

7 submissions
5 rejections
1 short listing
0 acceptances
3 releases
11 currently on submission

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores is seeking short fiction in science fiction and fantasy. 1000 words and up, but they prefer shorter. Pays $.06/word. Only open for submissions from March 21 to 28.

Darkhouse Books is seeking mid-century murder stories. 2500 to 6000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline March 31.

Crannog Magazine is seeking poetry and stories. Up to 2000 words. Payment unspecified. Deadline March 31.

tdotSpec is seeking speculative fiction stories for Imps & Minions. Up to 10,000 words, but they prefer 2000 to 5000 words. Pays up to $25CDN/story. Deadline March 31.

Orbannin Books is seeking short epistolary horror for Letters From the Grave. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline March 31.

Death's Head Press is seeking bizarro short stories for Breaking Bizarro. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $10. Deadline March 31.

Verity LA is seeking a variety of written word and performances. Up to 5000 words. Pays $AU100. Deadline March 31.

Davetopia is seeking horror and thrillers about clowns, but the clowns should not be the bad guys. Anthology name is Fears of a Clown. 1000 to 10,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline March 31.

Prospective Press is seeking stories of female predators. 4000 to 7000 words (or up to 1000 for flash). Intends to pay $.04/word (depending upon Kickstarter success). Deadline March 31.

How has 2019 treated you and your writing aspirations, so far? Do you prefer to write villains or heroes? Have you been submitting? Any news? Any of these links of interest?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Nick Wilford's Corruption Blog Tour!

Nick Wilford is stopping by today to talk about "Corruption," newly released this month!


Hi Shannon! Thanks for hosting me today. I'd like to offer your readers a brief insight into the nature of Loretanian cuisine.
Today I’m going to talk about some of the delicacies enjoyed in the land of Loretania. These people don’t have a lot and are used to living off the land. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to grow there is bits of scrubby grass. When it’s wet, the land turns into a muddy bog, and when it’s dry, it’s a parched, arid landscape.

To deal with this, they’ve adopted a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, almost like primitive cave people. With large families and scarce resources, they’ve learned to make a little go a long way. Roasted rat is a particular delicacy and is enough to feed a family of six. In Corruption, we see Ranglebuck, the chief of one of the villages, hunting a wild boar which is then served at a feast for the entire village, including the team of scientists who have just arrived to rid the land of the crippling disease that is holding it captive. In truth, it’s rare that such a beast can be found, and it could have lasted a bit longer if it hadn’t been shared with the newcomers, who have their own freeze-dried rations. One thing we learn, though, is that the Loretanians are completely hospitable, even for a people who have nothing.

They treat everyone equally, and it wouldn’t occur to them to be cold or distant. For them, life really is too short.
Title: Corruption
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series: Black & White Series #: 2 of 3
Release date: 11th February 2019
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing

Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Purchase Links:

Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.

Thanks for coming by, Nick! 

What do you guys think? Have you ever tried rat? Have you grabbed your copy yet? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG - No Bites

It's time for the February Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh!

Anyone is welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up, post, and visit your fellow insecure writers.

Our co-hosts this month are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

The optional question is: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

I love photography, so that's my other main creative outlet. Unfortunately, I haven't played with it much in the last year or two, but I want to get back to it. My husband gifted me some new lenses to play with for Christmas, and I haven't done so yet. I'm looking forward to it!

I didn't place any short stories in January, so have zero sales for the new year. Boo! However, I have quite a few releases coming out over the next couple months. The publishing world is funny that way. I either have a rash of acceptances coming in or a rash of publications.

Speaking of which, the anthology Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles came out this past weekend, and includes my Story "Stuck With Me." It's an odd little story about Siamese twins.

Now for a summary of my stats for the month of January. It's pretty dismal.

13 submissions
10 rejections
0 acceptances
10 stories currently on submission

What do your stats for the month look like? What are your insecurities? What other creative outlets do you have?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Masquerade Cover Reveal

We have the cover for the new IWSG anthology!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball? 

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard. 

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Year in Review: Year 4

Yay! This is the fourth year for my year in review post. I always enjoy looking back at the year to be reminded of everything that happened. It's easy to forget that so much has happened in such a short time.

Last February, I had women in horror take over my blog with guest posts about, you guessed it, horror!

J.H. Moncrieff posted about Truly Horrible Women (real life female killers).

Ashley Dioses wrote about Dark Enchantments (horror poetry).

DeAnna Knippling wrote about Zenna Henderson & Quiet Horror.

In March, I did a brief set of grammar lessons on words that frequently get mixed up.

Alright, All Right, Alrite

Are You Already All Ready?

See You Later, Alligator; After Awhile/A While, Crocodile

A friend of mine, Jason Dias, who also happens to be an existential psychologist and author, did a guest post on Existentialism and Horror.

Another friend, Jessica McDonals, did a guest post entitled Swirl: How Being Mixed Race Informs my Writing.

Then onto random topics:

Author Platform: Accessibility on Social Media

In Keeping it Real, I posted my full submission stats up to that point to show that it's not all peaches and sunshine to be an author, despite how it often looks on social media.

I broke down a Self-Publishing Business Checklist for those venturing in on their maiden voyage.

While dealing with it myself, I wrote a post about Depression in Writers and some possible coping mechanisms.

And a post about Bookstores Bouncing Back.

Now it's time for links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Ninth Letter is seeking poetry and prose. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25 per printed page. Deadline February 28.

Split Lip Magazine is seeking flash fiction, short fiction, memoir, poetry, photography, and art. Pays $50 for digital and $5/page for print. Deadline February 28.

Darkhouse Books is seeking poetry and fiction for What We Talk About When We Talk About It: Variations on the Theme of Love. They prefer literary. Up to 5000 words. Deadline February 28.

Death's Head Press is seeking horror erotica for Rope Burns. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $10. Deadline February 28. (Must scan down through other submissions to get to this one.)

Do you ever look back on your year? Did you miss any of these when they were first posted? Are any of these submission links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

*Edgar Allan Poe: By Unknown; most likely George C. Gilchrest, Samuel P. Howes, James M. Pearson, or Andrew J. Simpson, all of Lowell, MA - and, Public Domain,

Friday, January 18, 2019

Horror List Book Review: Naomi's Room

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.)

This week I'm reviewing Naomi's Room, by Jonathan Aycliffe.

This was a solid ghost story. It reminded me of The Shining, due to it being about a man from the past influencing a man to harm his family. The Shining did it better, but this was a much shorter book than that one. 

Though there are explicit crimes mentioned, no major details are given, and they happen "off-stage." 

The description of the book says this is about a grieving father. It felt like that at the beginning, but by the end he's indifferent, and therefore, so am I. While I think his indifference was intentional, I would have liked to see more internal conflict from the main character, which would have engaged me more.

The writing was good and kept me reading, but the book was predictable. It never emotionally engaged me as much as it should, considering it's about a child who gets murdered to begin with, and only gets worse from there.

My Top Ten stands:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum)
3. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
4. The Collector (John Fowles)
5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
6. The Bridge (John Skipp and Craig Spector)
7. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
8. Needful Things (Stephen King)
9. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
10. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

The First Line is seeking flash fiction and short stories beginning with a previous first line (lines are available on the website). 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $50. Deadline February 1.

Unnerving Magazine is seeking horror and other forms of dark fiction. 800 to 4000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline February 1.

The New Southern Fugitives are seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography. Up to 2000 words. Pays $40 to $100. 

Reader's Digest is seeking short works of various themes/types. Pay and lengths vary. 

Have you read Naomi's Room? How about Aycliffe? What did you think? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.