Friday, October 30, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
The Cover Girls are holding their 4th Annual Spooktoberfest this week. You still have time to participate between now and Wednesday. Your story must be 400 words or less, and include all of the following:
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Ash may have escaped death several times, but now things are finally looking up. The doppelganger is gone, she’s dating Leo, and the Venantium are staying away from her – for now. But a new threat rises from the Darkworld, and only the fortune-teller knows the true extent of the danger they’re in.
Lucifer, a sorcerer who did the impossible and cheated death through escaping to the Darkworld, is on the move. Now his second-in-command, Mephistopheles the demon, is loose in our world – and will do anything to win Ash over to his side.
The Venantium fear a repeat of the Demon Wars, the demonic invasion that wiped out the Blackstone family. But there’s more to those events than the records reveal. When Ash finds the lost diary of Melivia Blackstone, she starts to dig into the past to find the town’s forgotten history – leading to a revelation that shocks her to the core.
Leo seems to be the only person Ash can rely on, yet can she truly open up to him, knowing what she is? Blackstone’s dark history is rising to the surface, and it seems even memory can lie. The worst betrayal waits around the corner, and Ash has to decide whether to trust Leo with her darkest secret, even when it has the potential to destroy them both…
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Fire sprang up all around me, orange flames licking at my skin. I flinched away from the writhing wall of fire, which cut off any chance of escape.
I stood in a large room, a bedroom. Through the haze of smoke I could see a four-poster bed, its feathery curtains ablaze. Flickering tendrils of fire ate away at the posh-looking furniture, smoke gushing out in clouds. On the wall opposite hung a magnificent, gilt-framed painting of a girl with long, curly black hair. As I watched, the paint peeled away from the background as the ever-spreading blaze devoured it. Underneath the roar of the fire I heard a whimper, and realised I wasn’t alone.
A girl crouched in the corner of the room, arms wrapped around her knees, apparently oblivious to the fire raging around her. I tried to walk over to her but a wall of flames barred my way, flaring out of the lush carpet.
The girl raised her head, but she didn’t seem to see me standing there. She was older than I’d thought; her hunched position had made her look like a child, but she was probably around the same age as me. Her dark hair spilled from a bun, and her gown, similar to the one in the painting, was crumpled and stained, as though she’d fallen in the mud outside.
Her eyes looked right through me, and I gasped. They shone violet. A demon’s eyes.
She doubled over, coughing. I tried to call to her to get out of the burning room, but it was like something had stapled my mouth shut. Dreaming. I’m dreaming.
Happy Book Release Week, Emma!
Now for some links. Bear in mind that I'm just passing these along, not endorsing them. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
FTB Press is seeking stories for their anthology Odd-isms. Add -ism to a word and make a story of it. 4000 words or less. Pays in royalties and a contributor copy. Deadline November 21.
Garden Gnome Publications is seeking stories for their Biblical Legends anthology series. The theme is Resurrections. Flash fiction, short stories, narrative poems, and novelettes. Pays token flat rates. Deadline November 23.
Black Books Publishing is seeking stories for their anthology Illuminati at my Door. They're also taking submissions for their Urban Fantasy Romance anthology Sugar Daddy Wanted: No Experience Necessary. 3000-10,000 words. Pays $50 + royalties. Open until filled. (They are also taking queries for novel length fiction.)
In Short Publishing Co is seeking short genre fiction. 3000-4500 words. Pays in royalties.
The Subtopian is holding their News Competition. They take stories from the news and ask you to write about the possible future imagined from them. 500-2000 words. Pays $25 + publication. Deadline for this set of news topics is October 31.
Textbroker matches authors up with freelance writing jobs for pay. While I have not extensively researched it, I did find articles saying it was a legitimate freelance site. You'll want to research for yourself before trying it.
Writer Beware is a site that discusses various writing related topics and their risks to writers. I've specifically linked to a piece on crowdfunded anthologies, but this is a great site to explore overall.
This one's outdated, and he may have a newer one, but Dean Wesley Smith wrote a piece on the New World of Publishing. It includes tips and various information about being a working writer.
Bookbub put out the Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing and Book Distribution Tools.
Kameron Hurley wrote a piece about The Cold Publishing Equations: Books Sold + Marketability + Love.
Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Publishing news? What do you think of Demon Heart? Have you read books 1 or 2?
May you find your Muse.
Monday, October 19, 2015
I prefer my horror in short form these days, though it wasn't always that way. My first tastes of horror were in collections of urban myths and middle grade horror stories. I still remember a few of the stories in those first books.
After that, I quickly resorted to sneaking Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz books off my parents' bookshelves. Then I found more and more novels at the library. Ouida Sebestyen's The Girl in the Box has stuck with me since middle school. Given, this is likely considered suspense instead of horror, but as a pre-teen girl reading about a teenage girl being kidnapped and left in a dark hole with only a bottle of water and a typewriter, it was certainly frightening.
As a teenager, I returned to short stories, discovering the "Best of" collections. Ellen Datlow's name became synonymous with awesome horror short stories, followed closely by Stephen Jones. And roundabout I went. Novels to shorts to novels to shorts.
In reading through Nightmare Magazine's Best Horror list, I've come to discover that a lot of horror authors have a hard time keeping the suspense going enough to also keep the reader tense and on edge. With some of them, I've made it through three-quarters of the book before anything horror-related has happened. That's too long to set the scene before reaching the horror. Yet from this list, a book that isn't actually horror captured my attention and kept me riveted to the end, terrified at how it might end. The Handmaid's Tale appears to be listed as Literary (and Science Fiction, interestingly enough). But it's my #1 read on the Top 100 list, so far, and it has maintained that position for several months now. Given, I'm not counting the books from the list I'd already read, but I may reread those once I finish the ones I've never read before, and then we'll see where I rank them.
With short stories, the writer can pack a punch. There's just enough time to set the scene then wallop the reader with the horror. And it's possible to draw tension out without the in betweens getting dull.
Stephen King is, of course, a favorite author of mine, both in novels and short stories. I'm delighted that he's continued putting out short stories, despite having found success with his novels.
And, of course, if it's short fiction you're looking for, who better than Edgar Allan Poe? It's been a long time since I read him, and I've been thinking about dusting off my big, fat collection of Poe's works. "The Tell-Tale Heart" is one of my favorites, and it's a piece I performed in high school.
Who are your favorite horror authors, both old and new? Your favorite novels? Short stories? Do you prefer short stories or novels when it comes to horror and suspense? Why?
May you find your Muse.
Friday, October 16, 2015
The next book I review will be either Dead in the Water, by Nancy Holder, or A Choir of Ill Children, by Tom Piccirilli. I have both standing by, but I'm reading Terry Pratchett for the first time, and we'll see what I'm in the mood for once I finish that book.
Have you read Tananarive Due? This book? How do you feel about character driven stories vs plot driven stories? Does neediness in a character turn you off?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Some of you know that I collect Funko Pop villains for each story I place. Last time I posted a picture, they were on one shelf, and it wasn't full. I got to add a few recently, so I thought they should say hi.
I can't wait to have to add shelves. Not sure where they'll go yet, but THERE WILL BE MORE SHELVES!
I just placed a short story in Space and Time Magazine yesterday. No release date just yet, but I'll let you know when it comes out. In the meantime, I'm awaiting release dates on two anthologies I have short stories in, as well as edits on a short story set to be released in a magazine next month. It's an exciting time! Now someone make me get back out there and writing again.
Alright, link time. Bear in mind that I am not endorsing these links, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence to research publications and contests before you submit to them.
I ran across a lot of October blog hops when I was visiting folks during IWSG, so this week's links are a tad blog hop heavy. They sound like a lot of fun!
Sky Warrior Books is taking submissions for the anthology The Dragon's Hoard, which will be edited by Carol Hightshoe. Speculative fiction involving dragons and their hoards. PG-13 rating. 500 to 7000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline November 15.
World Weaver Press is taking submissions for the anthology Sirens. Speculative fiction involving sirens/Sirens. Up to 7500 words. Pays $10 and a paperback copy. Deadline November 15.
18th Wall Productions is taking submissions of novellas about Sherlock Holmes for a monthly series of novella releases that will then be combined into an anthology at the end of the year. 15,000 to 35,000 words. Payment in royalties. Deadline November 15. They're also taking submissions of short stories that combine urban legends and mysteries for their anthology All the Petty Myths. 3000 to 25,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline October 31.
Scarborough Fair and Minds Matter Magazine are holding a creative writing contest. Flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction. Cash prizes and publication.
Toi Thomas of the ToiBox of Words is trying out a new book hop for the joy of reading and writing. The first #BooktagsBlogHop begins October 19, and will be held the third Monday of each month. Choose a book, post the cover, include an excerpt and a write up of why you're sharing it.
Denise and Yolanda are back with the WEP (Write... Edit... Publish) Blog Hop Halloween Challenge. Post between October 21 and 23. 1000 words or less. Flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, artwork, photos. This month's theme is Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears.
The Cover Girls are holding their 4th Annual Spooktoberfest. Post between October 24 and 28th. Flash fiction, 400 words or less. You have to use all 13 Scattergory items (found in the post) in your story.
Bish Denham is holding The Listing Hop. Post a list of your choice on October 26. Easy peasy!
Wittegen Press is holding the Share a Scare Halloween Blog Hop. Post October 31. Share a scary story, fictional or true; give away a book; create scary art.
One Stop for Writers is a new resource available online. In their own words: One Stop for Writers is a powerhouse online library like no other, supplying writers with inspiration, education and unique description resources.
Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Will you be participating in any of these October blog hops? Have you heard of One Stop for Writers?
May you find your Muse.
Monday, October 12, 2015
You know that line from Scream? What's your favorite scary movie? While I'd love to hear that, too, I want to know what your favorite scare is more.
Do you like jump scares? This seems to be the focus of recent horror movies. It does manage to make a person tense when they spend the movie waiting for the jump scare, knowing it's coming. But is that a real scare?
Do you prefer the psychological buildup, where the truth slowly ekes into your brain, building your horror as it registers? No. No, they wouldn't do that. They couldn't do that. Please?
Or are you into torture, pain, blood-letting? Personally, this is my least favorite type of scare.
Does your favorite scare involve monsters? Isolation? The monster within? Do creepy crawlies do it for you every time? Have you ever considered what it is about your favorite scary movie that reaches you deep down?
I did a bit of a mini-workshop (not even that) at a Maker Faire this weekend. My hour was "Ask me how to make anything creepy." In preparation for it, I sat down to analyze what it is that scares people. Sure, clowns, spiders, and slashers scare people, but why? What is it about these different elements that scare people? We may be afraid that something is under our bed, but we all know there isn't really anything under there. So what makes us pull our feet in under the covers.
I broke it down into some basic elements. What is it we actually fear, beyond the surface scares we come up with?
Isolation/being trapped/claustrophobia - Something else people fear, even those who love their alone time, is true loneliness and isolation. In space, no one can hear you scream, right? Right. Being trapped on a space ship (Alien) or a ship (Ghost Ship) means there's nowhere to run. And no one is coming to save you any time soon. But you can still be on land and be isolated, such as in a deep, dark cave (The Descent).
The unknown/loss or lack of control - A fear of the dark is really a primitive fear of the unknown that hides away where we can't see it. The thought that something could be right in front of us, yet we can't see it. Something sneaking up on us. This one takes us right back to the caveman days, where the dark held many things that could kill us. Predators that waited until night to find their prey.
Change/science - People fear change, the lack of comfort and the things they know. Yet we deal with change all the time. Stories that deal with this show us dire change (I Am Legend). When it involves science, it shows us that the world can be graphically changed by our own hands. An escaped virus (28 Days Later), artificial intelligence that wants to see us wiped out (Terminator), a mad scientist (Re-Animator).
Pain/torture - The ultimate copout in horror, BUT something that definitely works to reach people. No one likes pain. (Okay not totally true, but most of us don't). We do what we can to avoid pain on a daily basis. The thought of being subjected to intense levels of pain and torture is terrifying (Saw, Hostel).
Of course, most horror depends upon a combination of these elements. I could have moved the movies I mentioned around all over the place, put them in different categories. No horror story depends solely on one type of scare. There needs to be an assault on our psyches to really freak us out.
So. What is your favorite scare? And your favorite scary movie? What tickles your psyche and scares the living daylights out of you? Why? What other categories do you think there are?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
|Author Harper Rose Memes|
Monday, October 5, 2015
To get in the mood, here's a list from Movies, Films, and Flix discussing "The Top 21 Horror Films of the 21st Century," as determined by a reader poll. There were a few that surprised me (What We Do in the Shadows and Mulholland Drive, neither of which are really horror), and a few I haven't seen (Trick R Treat, Martyrs, and The House of the Devil). There are also several I don't agree with. For example, I haven't fallen in love with It Follows the way many horror fans have. To me, there were a lot of issues with it, not least of which was how hard they worked to beat the message into the audience. Whatever happened to underlying themes instead of in-your-face themes?
Of course, any list like this is subjective. It did give me a few more movies to watch that I hadn't otherwise considered, so I'll have to check out the ones I haven't seen.
As a bonus, Moviepilot put together a list of horror shorts. You can check them out here. My favorites from the list are Night Night Nancy (despite some obvious flaws, like the actress's acting and the unrealistic way she reacts to what's going on) and Downstairs. I tend to prefer the evil of humanity more than monsters (though I love a good monster), but Downstairs had some excellent creepy moments and scares.
Looking forward to IWSG this week? I'll be co-hosting! If you're not sure what it is, look for Insecure Writer's Support Group HERE. Also, I'll be a guest on Yolanda Renee's blog, Defending the Pen, next Monday, the 12th. Come visit me there! In the meantime, I'm among great company, so stop by to see her other guests, as well. Christine Rains is there today.
Bearing in mind that this is 21st century only, are there any films you would have liked to see on the list? Anything you would remove or shuffle around? What was your favorite of the short films? Do you enjoy short films or does it need to be longer for you to get into it?
May you find your Muse.
Image by OCAL, clker.com