Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Time Has Come & Beta Readers

You may remember I had beta readers look at my novel this past year. I wrote a post about how to work with beta readers for Writing From the Peak, the official blog of Pikes Peak Writers. You can check it out HERE.

As of today, I'm at the Marriott in the lead up to Pikes Peak Writers Conference, where I'll be working as staff AND presenting some workshops. Plus, I'll be selling and signing books. So my husband made me a friend to take.

Turns out there's a bigger one on its way, but he'll be dropping him off at the hotel after I'm already there.

My younger cat is not a fan.

She actually wants to eat it.

3-D printers can make all kinds of cool things, eh? Given, my facehugger pales in comparison to building organs with a 3-D printer. Still, I like it. He and his older brother will be at my signing table.

Have a great week, and I'll see you next Wednesday for the IWSG! Hopefully with some fun news from PPWC. In the meantime, here are some links. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

AGNI is accepting fiction, essays, and poetry. Pays $10 per printed page. Deadline May 31.

One Story is accepting short literary fiction. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $500. Deadline May 31.

Baltimore Review is accepting fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Pays $40. Deadline May 31.

67 Press is accepting flash and short fiction. Up to 5000 words. All genres. Pays $25 + royalties. Deadline May 31.

Recompose is accepting speculative flash fiction and poetry. Up to 1100 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline May 31.

Nashville Review is accepting fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25 to $100, depending upon submission type. Deadline May 31.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is accepting short submissions for the theme Positively Happy! Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline May 31.

CASFWG is accepting short fiction for the anthology When You're Strange: An Anthology of Strangers. Up to 7500 words. Pays $15. Deadline May 31.

Any of these links of interest? Anything to add? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Surprise Book Release! - Maski, Upcoming Workshop, & Links

For anyone Denver adjacent, I'll be doing a workshop for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers next month!

Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - FREE
Location: Sam Gary Library, Denver

Deconstructing the Horror Genre - Everyone has their own definition of horror, but it's often oversimplified. The genre extends beyond jump scares and slashers. We'll break horror down to its base elements to learn how to build a solid horror story.

Hope to see you there!

Joylene Nowell Butler's new book Maski: Broken But Not Dead releases today!

Where does the surprise come in, you ask? Joylene had an injury that has her stuck in the hospital right now, unable to partake in the launch of her new book. L. Diane Wolf, her publisher, set this surprise release up for her! We can only hope to have a publisher like this in our writery lives.

EBook release date: April 18, 2017

Maski: Broken But Not Dead
By Joylene Nowell Butler
Psychological Thriller
$4.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844385

An IPPY Silver Medalist!

To the Breaking Point...

When Brendell Meshango resigns from her university professor position and retreats to her isolated cabin to repair her psyche, she is confronted by a masked intruder. His racial comments lead her to believe she is the solitary victim of a hate crime.

However, is all as it appears? After two bizarre days, the intruder mysteriously disappears but continues to play mind games with her. Taught by her mother to distrust the mainstream-based power structures, and with her stalker possibly linked to a high level of government, Brendell conceals the incident from the police. But will her silence keep her safe?

Then her beloved daughter, Zoë, is threatened and Brendell takes matters into her own hands. To save Zoë, Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.

Purchase Links:

“Joylene Nowell Butler gets straight to the story, taking you from one happening to the next and keeps you turning the page.” - Martha A. Cheves, author

“A psychological thriller filled with suspense, action and drama...” - John Bell, 93.1  CFIS-FM: Prince George, BC

“Riveting and beautifully written. You won't be able to set it down.” Judith S. Avila, author

Joylene, Métis, is the author of Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and Break Time. She and her husband and their two cats reside in Canada for the summers and Nayarit for the winters. They believe life should be an adventure.

If you'd like to help get the word out about Joylene's new book, you an tweet the following:

Available now! Amazon-  B&N-  iTunes-  @cluculzwriter


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

Accepting Submissions:

Inklings Publishing is accepting short stories for the anthology Eclectically Heroic. Up to 7000 words. Pays $25. Deadline April 30.

Lamplight is accepting short stories in speculative fiction. Up to 7000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline May 15.

The Lorelei Signal is accepting short stories, poems, and flash fiction in fantasy. Up to 10,000 words. Any female characters must be strong/complex, not just victims for the rescuing. Pays between $2.00 and $7.50, depending upon submission type. Deadline May 15.

Pedestal Magazine is accepting poetry in the theme of "War." No length or genre restrictions. Can submit up to 5 poems. Pays $40 per poem. Deadline May 21. (Does not start taking submissions until May 1.)

Cloaked Press is accepting fantasy short stories for their annual anthology Fall Into Fantasy. 2000 to 7500 words. Pays $10 + possible royalties. Deadline May 25.

National Lampoon is accepting humorous articles. Up to 1500 words. Pays $70.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG - Beating Self Doubt & Links

It's the first Wednesday of April, which makes it time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The IWSG is open to anyone who would like to participate. It's a place to air your insecurities, and a way to hop around and lend your support to others. Click on Alex's name above to go sign up.

This month's co-hosts are  Chris D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte,Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey! Be sure to stop by and say thanks for their hard work.

This month's optional question is Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

The years I participated in the A-to-Z, I wasn't yet published, so no, I didn't use it for any sort of marketing.

For those of you participating in the A-to-Z right now, I hope you're having a great time! I actually might be able to do it next year, so I'm already considering what I might like to do.

As far as my insecurities, I've been low the last few months, suffering quite a bit of self-doubt, and judging my writing harshly. As a result, I didn't finish anything new for a good part of that time, but I recently broke through it and started enjoying the process again. I'm also being flooded with ideas. Sometimes you just have to soldier through the downs until you can reclaim your love of the writing again.

The first Wednesday of each month is also when I go over my stats for the month, so here are March's stats:

5 submissions
6 rejections (1 personal)
0 acceptances
1 publication

I currently have 9 pieces on submission.

I've gotten a lot of editing done this month, so that's good!

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

Accepting Submissions:

Strange Horizons is accepting speculative fiction short stories. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.08/word.

Red Sun Magazine is accepting speculative fiction short stories up through novella or serialized. They prefer 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $100 for short stories. Other pay varies.

The Flash Fiction Press is always accepting flash fiction. All genres. 250 to 1200 words. Pays $3.

Occult Detective Quarterly is accepting fiction, non-fiction, and artwork. They want stories about those who investigate the odd and supernatural. 3000 to 5500 words. Pays $.01/word.

Phantaxis is accepting short stories, flash fiction, and artwork in science fiction and fantasy. 1000 to 15,000 words. Pays $.01/word.

Daily Science Fiction is accepting speculative flash fiction. Up to 1500 words. Pays $.08/word.

Of Interest:

The Guardian put out an article entitled Rise of Female Monsters Shows Horror Movies Are Not Afraid of Big, Bad Women.

What are your insecurities? How do you pull yourself out of a slump? Have you submitted any stories this month? Are any of these links of interest? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cutting Out Time & Links

Editing is not my friend.

I can write pretty much anywhere, with or without distractions. I can write to music or watching television. I've written at Chuck E. Cheese, surrounded by insane munchkins hyped up on pizza and sugar.

But editing? I need silence or instrumental music when I'm editing. I need fewer distractions.

What I've discovered is that I edit better out of the house. Somewhere else, where I won't freak out about the house being messy or worry about what I need to make for dinner. Where the kids can't ask me questions. So I've started treating myself to happy hour at a quiet local restaurant each week to make time for editing. They say write drunk, edit sober, but I prefer to write sober and edit with a glass of wine (not drunk). And maybe a salad or appetizer. Or pie!

The point of this is to find a way around the issues or blocks you run into. Find a way to take the less pleasurable parts and make them fun. Or at least a nice change. For some of you, it's the editing that's an issue. For some it's the writing. For others it might be design or marketing. Make it fun, make it routine, make it relaxing. I'm grateful I have a place to go where they don't mind me being there taking up a table (I would leave if it was busy enough for the table to be needed, and I do leave once it gets busy), and where I can be comfortable, treat myself, and get some work done.

If you don't have a restaurant or coffee house to go, maybe there's somewhere outdoors, like a park. Perhaps there's a local hotel with a lobby bar where they won't mind you taking up space at a table or comfy sofa in the lobby to write/edit.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Carte Blanche is accepting fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photo essays. Pays a modest honorarium. Deadline May 1.

The First Line is accepting fiction and essays for their summer line. Up to 5000 lines. Must start with the line "The plan suddenly made sense." Pays up to $50. Deadline May 1.

Afrocentric Books is accepting diverse fiction for their steampunk anthology Afrosteam. Must have a main character of indigenous African descent. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline May 5.

The Dark City is accepting short crime and mystery fiction. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays $25.

Litbreak is accepting short stories, novel excerpts, essays, reviews, and poetry. Up to 12,000 words. Pays between $25 and $100 depending upon type of submission.

Confingo is accepting short stories, poems, or art. Up to 5000 words. Pays £20.

Where have you found to get some quiet time away from home for work? Do you write or edit there (or something else)? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

*Image Glass of Wine 2, OCAL,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Defining Horror, News, & Links

Well, hello! Apparently, I'm going to take a couple weeks off, retroactively. Who knew?

I'm deep in edits for the novel I want to pitch at the upcoming Pikes Peak Writers Conference, with a goal of pitching then getting that sucker out into the world. Whether I get a "send it" or not, I'll be submitting to agents following the conference in April. Exciting!

At the same time, I'm working on writing the next novel, plus finishing a bunch of short stories I started recently.

I was notified today that the paper issue of Cheapjack Pulp is now available on Amazon, and the ebook will be available there this Friday, but can be pre-ordered now. You can find both available formats HERE.

While I was working on getting that added to my Amazon Author Central account, I happened across the Audible version of my short memoir piece, "Grandma's Leather Sofa." I didn't realize it was available! For those of you who don't enjoy horror, this is one of my few published pieces that isn't horror. It's available for purchase HERE. It's read by Hallie Ricardo, who has quite a few audio books under her belt (I was scanning through her credits.) It's so cool to hear my story read by someone else like this. And the person who designed the cover did a great job! I need to see if I can find out who it was in order to give them proper credit, but for now I'm not sure. Also, this is the first thing that's only under my name, rather than a magazine or anthology where it's a bunch of us, so if you're so inclined, a review would be lovely.

Speaking of reviews, I just found one on one of the magazines I'm in that specifically calls out my story. Yay!

I was recently involved in a conversation on Facebook about horror movies. The question was whether a horror movie that's PG-13 can be a good film. As conversations do, this one metamorphosed into other related topics, and I noticed that different people define horror differently. Given, I've noticed this before (and also...duh). A few examples: 1. People disagree on whether Aliens is horror or adventure sci-fi (I believe it's both), 2. I've been told by several folks (all male) that The Handmaid's Tale isn't horror (it sure is if you're a woman.)

I tend to define horror more broadly than some. For example, I consider many dystopians to be a form of horror. Handmaid's Tale is more appropriately a dystopian, but the ramifications are terrifying. Atwood doesn't just show a different world, she tells us how it happened and makes it look so easy. There is a feeling of helplessness inherent to the story, and I think women aren't so far removed from the days they couldn't bank or own property or vote that the possibility of being put back in that place isn't scary.

When exploring whether something is horror, or can be treated as such, one of the first questions to ask is what you get from the story. Horror doesn't just exist to provide jump scares (which exist as a release valve in many cases, much like comic relief does, a bleeding off of pressure/tension). There's a place for jump scares, just as there's a place for gore, but often horror exists to cross lines its creators can't cross otherwise. I don't mean fantasy fulfillment, but rather a means to address issues that are hard to talk about. Metaphor is used heavily in horror to represent other things, whether fears or current issues/affairs. Horror tends to be timely, even if it's not obvious that this is so.

Despite what I said above, there can also be an element of fantasy or wish fulfillment. Why else would "revenge porn" exist? I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House on the Left are extreme examples, but there's often a more discreet usage of it. What about the character in horror films or books who "gets theirs," even though they're technically also victims of the Big Bad? Who doesn't cheer when Paul Reiser's character gets his in Aliens? We shouldn't be rooting for the bad guy, yet we do when the not-so-good guy is a jerk who we feel has earned it. This one's easy to trace. How many times in a week does someone do something to you that you wish they'd pay for? That guy who cut you off on the freeway. The woman who stole your parking spot. The dude yammering away on his cell phone during the movie. We deal with minor irritations like these on an almost daily basis, and it feels good to see karma visit someone, even if they didn't do anything to you personally.

This is an example of horror letting you enjoy the dark within yourself. We all have something dark or inappropriate, possibly even shameful (though much of what we feel this shame over is something others might not see as wrong at all). Exploring it through story is as freeing as seeing someone pay for their wrongs.

Horror blurs the lines, pushes back, tests society. It takes norms and dashes them on the ground. It scares us, but if it's really good, it makes us think, to evaluate ourselves and those around us. The good stuff sticks with us long after our initial experience with it. It creeps around our synapses and randomly nudges them.

So what is horror? Horror is psychological. Or it's gory. Or it's tense. Or it speaks to a frightening future. Or. Or. Or. All in all, horror is what scares you, even if that scare doesn't involve one monster. Horror is what makes you think about the things you'd rather not. Horror is a claw reaching out from under the bed, the neighbor down the street, the twisted future, a sick man, a vengeful woman, a ghost, a harmless clown (or a harmful one), history, a mystery. What scares me won't scare you, and vice versa.

In short? Horror is what you define it as, even if your definition is different than mine. That's clear as mud, right?

How about some links?

Accepting Submissions:

Blackbird is accepting poetry, short fiction, personal essays, and plays. Up to 8000 words. Pays after publication, but doesn't specify pay amount. Deadline April 15.

Helios is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Current theme is Redux and Progression. Word count varies per type of submission, as does pay. Next submission period is April 1 to April 15.

Third Flatiron is accepting short fiction and flash humor pieces in the theme of Cat's Breakfast (sci-fi and satire). This is intended as a tribute to Vonnegut. 1500 to 3000 words. Deadline April 15.

18th Wall is accepting short stories and novellas for Their Coats All Red. Strange fiction set in the high Victorian era. 4000 to 16,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline April 15.

Hashtag Queer is accepting short stories for an LGBTQ anthology. I couldn't get their submission guidelines page to come up, so have no further information other than the current deadline of April 30.

The Timberline Review is accepting short stories, creative nonfiction, essays, poetry, and flash fiction. Up to 5000 words preferred. Pays $25. Deadline April 30.

Cohesion Press is accepting short fiction for SNAFU Judgement Day, an anthology of post-apocalyptic military horror. 2000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.05AUD/word. Deadline April 30.

Afrocentric Books is accepting short fiction for Afromyth, a mythical fantasy anthology. Main character must be of indigenous African descent. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 30.

How do you define horror? Have you ever had a story come out and not known it right away? Any good reviews or news? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cover Reveal - Dark Winds Rising

Today I'm welcoming Mark Noce to The Warrior Muse for his cover reveal of Dark Winds Rising!

Dark Winds Rising is the sequel to my debut novel Between Two Fires, and comes out with St. Martin’s Press December 5th 2017! Today is my cover reveal for the next book in my historical fiction series set in medieval Wales. A big thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the great cover art!

Dark Winds Rising (synopsis)
Queen Branwen finds her world once again turned upside down as Pictish raiders harry the shores of her kingdom. Rallying her people once more, she must face her most dangerous foe yet, the Queen of the Picts. Ruthless and cunning, the Pictish Queen turns the Welsh against each other in a bloody civil war, and Branwen must attempt to stop her before her country threatens to tear itself apart. All the while Branwen is heavy with child, and finds her young son’s footsteps dogged by a mysterious assassin. Branwen must somehow defeat the Picts and save her people before the Pictish Queen and a mysterious assassin threaten to destroy their lives from the inside out.

About the Author

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.

Dark Winds Rising is his second novel in a historical series published by St. Martin’s Press. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, (also published via St. Martin's Press) is available wherever books are sold. Learn more at or connect via his newsletter or blog.

Between Two Fires: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Macmillan

What do you think? Great cover, isn't it? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG - Finish It! & Links

Spring is coming! But before we get there, it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

All are welcome to participate. Just sign up and post your writing insecurities the first Wednesday of each month, then go around and support your fellow insecure folks. Also, be sure to thank this month's co-hosts: Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

This month's optional question is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Yes, I have, but I must say it's harder to edit an old story than to just write a new one! It has worked out for me, though. Two of my recent publications were old stories I'd pulled out and rewritten. Still, it's not something I do a lot.

My insecurities have to do with finishing stories this month. I've started a bunch of stories, but I keep hopping between them and not getting them finished. I need a good dose of time and energy to actually finish. I can't submit a story that isn't done! And I'm going on a few months with nothing to submit to my critique group, which isn't like me. I'm determined to have one or  two stories to submit next month.


Each month I do my submission stats to keep myself accountable. In February, I:

Submitted 8 short stories
Got 6 rejections (2 with personal feedback)
Got 0 acceptances (sob)

I currently have 10 submissions out


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

Accepting Submissions:

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores is open for flash fiction and short stories in fantasy, fairy tale, and science fiction. Pays $.06/word. Current reading period ends March 28.

Sycamore Review is open for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. No genre pieces. Pays $25 to $50. Reading period ends March 31.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has two open calls for possible topics. The themes are Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and My Kind (of) America. 1200 words or less. Pays $200. Deadline for these two themes March 31.

West Branch is open for poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. Pays $.05/word. Deadline April 1.

Splickety is open for the June issue of Splickety Magazine with the theme Medieval Mayhem. Historical, not fantasy. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline April 7.


Hermeneutic Chaos Journal is holding the Alice Sullivan Prize. Only those who have not had a novel or collection of short stories published may enter (published short stories is fine). 300 to 1500 words. No entry fee. Grand prize of $300. Deadline March 31.

Of Interest:

Sherry D. Ficklin posted The (Hard) Truth About Book Signings. She's got some great information and tips for your book signings, as well as some hard truths, just as the title says.

What are your insecurities? How are you doing with submissions? Any of these links of use? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Horror List Book Review: Dark Forces

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.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.

This week I'm review Dark Forces, an anthology edited by Kirby McCauly.

I haven't done a book review since December! I decided to give myself a break to try to get through the rest of my giant TBR list, because reading these every other book was really cutting into the rest of my reading.

This was a good collection of stories, even though, like most other anthologies of horror published before a certain time, it is heavy on male contributors and extremely light on female contributors (there are two women, and twenty-two men.) The authors in this anthology were Stephen King, Dennis Etchison, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Edward Bryant, Davis Grubb, Robert Aickman, Karl Edward Wagner, Joyce Carol Oates (the one woman I consistently see in these older collections), T. E. D. Klein, Gene Wolfe, Theodore Sturgeon, Ramsey Campbell, Clifford D. Simak, Russell Kirk, Lisa Tuttle, Robert Bloch, Edward Gorey, Ray Bradbury, Joe Haldeman, Charles L. Grant, Manly Wade Wellman, Richard Matheson, Richard Christian Matheson, and Gahan Wilson. A power house of folks, to be sure.

There were some patterns to this collection of stories. One of them was vengeful females. Another was a proliferation of crones. And women scorned. The number of stories centered around angry women was surprising. It actually made me wonder what books and/or movies came out that year, or what was in the news, that would cause these to be common recurring themes.

The first story in here was written by request. You might recognize it: The Mist, by Stephen King. The Mist is a good story, despite the fact that I was dismayed at the sexism inherent. Not Stephen King! Yes, Stephen King. The female characters in this story were all either attractive or old, and all were described by their looks and appeal to the main character. And the main character sleeps with a young girl while they're trapped in the store, even though he's worried about his wife, who remained behind at their house. Given, he's thinking about his wife while they have sex. I don't know if that makes it better or worse. 

Other than that, it's a solid horror story. He's rather good at writing the eccentric religious zealot, as well as the psycho bully (in this case, the same person). He manages to describe the dregs of humanity well in all his stories, to make you ache for something bad to happen to certain characters. But he also had some incredibly likable characters, from the grocer who stands with him to an elderly woman who takes no nonsense and doesn't appear to be afraid of anything. Even giant escaped creatures, that loom out of the mist to eat people and do terrible things to them.

The other stories included twisted late night clerks, a woman who gets delicious revenge, a Yiddish man mistreated on a cruise for no reason, a new take on the demon barber of Fleet Street, a frightened man who pays a steep price, a man who styles himself an antique dealer suffering for one of his oddities, a conceited jerk who wrongs a woman, sewer invaders, a dream detective, accidental revenge, killer crones, a mysterious well, a cosmopolitan gathering, killer stones, a deadly Christmas tree, a cartoon about a boy who wouldn't get out of bed, a time traveler, tourism gone wrong, doomed punishment, a grizzled man and an ancient monster, a confused man in a coffin, and an extermination gone wrong.

Dark Angel, by Edward Bryant, was my favorite story. A woman takes the ultimate revenge on a man who left her in a bad situation. This one might actually be more horrifying for men than anyone else, but it left me feeling a mix of satisfaction and horror. 

All in all, I don't think there was a story I disliked. There were a couple that fell flat for me, but I figure they would work for other folks. This was a solid collection of short dark fiction, with some fantastic writing from the contributors. I thought it was cool that an illustrated story was included, that Gahan Wilson told a story in words instead of pictures, and that Richard Matheson and his son did a story together.

Before I close this post out, I want to do a quick tribute to Ed Bryant, who died this past week in his sleep. He was a local horror author, a regular at various cons, and an all around wonderful guy. He had a voice like deep velvet and he was incredibly kind to everyone around him, especially newer writers. He had stories in almost every collection of dark fiction out there, and was prolific. I'm going to miss him at the next con.

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
6. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
7. Needful Things (Stephen King)
8. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
9. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
12. Dark Forces (Kirby McCauly)
13. Dawn (Xenogenesis, Book 1) (Octavia E. Butler)
14. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
15. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
16. The Witches (Roald Dahl)
17. Psycho (Robert Bloch)
18. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
19. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
20. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
21. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
22. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
23. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
24. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
25. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
26. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
27. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
28. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
29. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
30. World War Z (Max Brooks)
31. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
32. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
33. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
34. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
35. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
36. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
37. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
38. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

Next book? Not sure. But I will try to read it within the next two weeks to get back on schedule a bit.

What do you think of the writers in this collection? Any of them favorites? Have you read this anthology? Have you read The Mist (I'm pretty sure it also showed up in one of King's collections)? Seen the movie?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Girl Without A Face Cover Reveal & Links

Today, I'd like to welcome Medeia Sharif for her cover reveal of Girl Without a Face!

Evernight Teen, March 3, 2017

Destiny awakes with amnesia. She had been driving on a wet road, about to leave flowers at a memorial marker of a deceased classmate, when she almost met that same fate.

Her mother, Mildred, is restrictive. She doesn’t want Destiny to have her cellphone, which a nurse sneaks into her room. It’s useless since Destiny doesn’t have the passcode. After her hospital stay, she enters her mother’s overbearing household. Mildred becomes physically abusive, and Destiny fights back.

When Mildred is away, Destiny leaves with her neighbor, Gabriel, whom she’s developing feelings for, and they drive around to jog her memory. She’s positive she crashed near a memorial marker. When they find the marker in question, and when she remembers her phone’s passcode, her identity is questionable and Mildred is even crazier than she at first thought. Destiny is eager to escape Mildred’s household and find out who she really is.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

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Congratulations, Medeia! Looks awesome!

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

Accepting Submissions:

LOW L1F3 is open for submissions of cyberpunk short stories. They have a special issue with a political theme. 2000 to 8000 words. Pays $20. Deadline for special issue is February 28.

Parks & Points is open for poetry submissions in February to celebrate National Poetry Month (in April). Can submit up to 5 poems having to do with nature and the outdoors. Pays $15 per accepted poem. Deadline March 1.

Subprimal Poetry Art is open for submissions of poetry, flash fiction, art, and essays. Pays $20. Deadline March 2.

Alien Dimensions is open for submissions of science fiction short stories that involve friendly aliens, are set in space and in the future. Up to 5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline March 15.

A Lonely Riot Magazine is open for submissions of short fiction and poetry. Up to 6000 words. Pays $7 to $20.

Vastarien is open for submissions of nonfiction, literary horror fiction, poetry, and artwork. 2000 to 7500 words. Pays $.01/word.

Persistent Visions is open for submissions of visionary fiction that pushes boundaries and skirts reality. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.07/word.

Fantasia Divinity Magazine is open for submissions of drabbles, flash fiction, and short stories of any genre except erotica and nonfiction. 100 to 7500 words. Pays 1/2 cent per word.

Of Interest: 

Blackbird Publishing put out a post on Three Easy Ways to Use Facebook to Get Mailing List Sign-ups. put out a copy of an old article about a house Robert Heinlein built right here in Colorado Springs. He put a lot of cool details in at the time, and there's even a bomb shelter. (Apparently, there are quite a few homes in the Broadmoor area with bomb shelters and hidden passageways.)

How do you like Medeia's cover? Mysterious, isn't it? Any of these links of interest? Anything to add? How are you doing with your writing and submitting?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Upcoming Appearances, Do 1 Thing, Short Stories, & Links

Why, hello! It's Monday.

I recently confirmed some upcoming appearances I'll be making, so I thought I'd share! Plus, I have a question for you. But first, here's a picture of the awesome care pack, partially from Do 1 Thing, Nicole from The Madlab Post sent after the Mni Wicon Blogathon. Did you guys know there's a Native March on Washington set to occur March 10? Not only is DAPL an ongoing issue for Standing Rock, but the constant apathy and violation of Native rights is at stake.

As far as appearances, I'll be a showcase author at Pikes Peak Library's Mountain of Authors for the first time! I've worked this event as a representative of two different writer's groups (Pikes Peak Pen Women and Pikes Peak Writers) in the past, but this is the first time I've had the opportunity to be a featured author there. I'll have a signing table, and will get the chance to stand up to introduce myself and my books. It's a free event, so if you're local check out my "Appearances" tab for more details. I'd love to see you there!

I've also been confirmed as faculty at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2017. I'll be on a panel about why you should write short stories, as well as presenting a standalone workshop on the business of short stories. You have to be a paid attendee of the conference to attend.

Both of the above are in April.

In addition, I will be presenting a 2-hour workshop on short stories for Colorado Springs Fiction Writer's Group in August. Half will be dedicated to the writing of short stories, with the second half involving the business side of things. This event is also free.

I've also received a fourth invitation to be a panelist at an event in mid-summer, but that's the only information I'll give out until I have more concrete information.

Question Mark by OCAL,

My question related to the above is what do you want to know about short stories? Not only will your answer to this question help me hone more workshops in the future, but I can do posts about it on here, as well.

I was interviewed at Writing From the Peak. Check it out!

Finally, how about some links? I'm sorely behind, aren't I? My blogging has been iffy at best lately, but I'm working on getting back to my usual schedule. Please bear in mind that I'm passing these along, not endorsing them. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Flame Tree Publishing is open for submissions of short stories for the following themed anthologies: Lost Worlds, Supernatural Horror, Time Travel, and Heroic Fantasy. 2000 to 4000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline February 28.

Galileo Books is open for short stories for science fiction art, essays, prose, and comics. Current theme is Games. 250 to 500 words. SFWA qualified paying market. Deadline March 1.

Radiant Crown Publishing is open for submissions of dieselpunk short stories, novelettes, and novellas for their anthology Gaslandia. Pay varies by type. Pays $.01/word. Deadline March 1.

Splickety Love is open for submissions of short stories themed toward historical romance. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline March 10.

The Cincinnati Review is open for submissions of prose. Up to 40 double-spaced pages. Pays $25/page. Deadline March 15.

Freeze Frame Fiction is open for submissions of flash fiction for their 4th Quarter issue. 1000 words or less. Pays $10/piece. Deadline March 15.

Arsenika is open for submissions of poetry and flash fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline March 15.


Reflex Fiction holds an international competition for great flash fiction. 180 to 360 words. Free entry. Cash prizes. Deadline February 28.

Of Interest:

Susan Spann did a guest post for Writers in the Storm on takedown notices entitled Pirates Beware: How to Prepare and Use a DMCA Takedown Notice. It seems there's a need for this more and more these days.

What do you want to know about short stories? What would you expect at a short story workshop? What would you be disappointed was missing? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? How are you doing with submissions?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, February 6, 2017

WIMH - Time to Check Out Some Women

February is Women in Horror Month! The 8th annual, in fact, though I first heard about it two years ago.

WIHM is intended to bring attention to women in all aspects of horror, whether writers, directors, or any number of other artistic ladies who like it scary-style. As one of these women, I figured I'd do my part and tell you about some other ladies in horror that you may not have heard of.


The Soska Sisters (Twisted Twins Productions) are a relatively new discovery for me. You can catch them on Netflix with their show Hellevator, a "reality" show that puts people in a horror setting and makes them solve puzzles of different types or they get locked up in the dungeon. With snakes. And spiders. And showers of blood. All while these two giggle malevolently at the torture. Imagine my surprise when I realized they were also responsible for the film American Mary, starring Katharine Isabelle of Gingersnaps fame. Not only that, but they had a piece in the short film anthology ABCs of Death 2. Now I know they've got other films, which I look forward to watching. Starting with Dead Hooker in a Trunk.

If you'd like to check out more female horror filmmakers, here's a great Rolling Stone article featuring a few, including Jennifer Kent (Babadook) and Karyn Kusama (Jennifer's Body and The Invitation).

Just want movies with female protagonists? Check out this list from Dazed. Or go watch Teeth, American Mary, Gingersnaps, Housebound, Scream, Cabin in the Woods, Resident Evil, or Alien. Sygourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich, and Katharine Isabelle are three of my favorite bad-ass ladies from this list. (Fun fact: I'm watching an episode of Rosewood while I type this up, and Katharine Isabelle is making an appearance on this show.)

As far as TV, if you have Netflix, I highly recommend Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore. This isn't one for scares, but it's a fantastic horror comedy. American Horror Story (also available on Netflix, though not a Netflix original) is also female-centric in many ways. Scream Queens and Crazyhead are both horror comedies out right now.

Also, be sure to check out horror anthologies, like The ABCs of Death, V/H/S, and others. These often feature shorts by female directors, and at least one of these was produced by a woman.


Despite what you may have heard, there's no shortage of female horror authors. We number fewer than the guys, but we're here. Some better known horror authors include Joyce Carol Oates, Shirley Jackson, Daphne du Maurier, Kathe Koja, Lisa Tuttle, Gemma Files, Tananarive Due, and Poppy Z. Brite. Here are a couple longer lists: Hellnotes, Goodreads.

For specific books I'd recommend, try Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for some classic stories to get you started. Then look up some of the lists out there of best new horror in 2016.

Since it's also Black History Month, here's a great list (plus links within it to other lists) of black women in horror put together by Sumiko Saulson. (Also check out the Graveyard Shift Sisters, who are doing 28 Days of Black Women in Horror, which includes actresses, writers, and more.)

There are two wonderful female editors who put together horror anthologies: Ellen Datlow and Paula Guran. Check out any anthology put together by these two, and you're sure to find a ton of great horror fiction, much of it written by women. Both do Best of anthologies that I highly recommend to help you jump in and discover the current best horror authors.

Nightmare Magazine did an all-female issue entitled Women Destroy Horror. It's still available for purchase HERE.

This should be enough to get you started. And, of course, check out my publications tab if you'd like to read something of mine!

Do you have a favorite female-driven horror film? A favorite female horror author? Please post your favorite women in horror, whether they be actresses (scream queens), directors, producers, authors, or editors, in the comments!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG - Late! Stats & Links

It's the first Wednesday of February, so time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

This monthly group meets the first Wednesday. All are welcome. Come along and share your writing insecurities and inspirations. Be sure to visit other participants and encourage them, too. To sign up, click on Alex's name above, go to the IWSG tab, and enter your blog link. Then post. Easy!

Our co-hosts this month are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Buter! Stop by and say hi to them while you're out.

Today's optional question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? 

Unfortunately, I notice issues in writing much more than I did before, though I try to block out the writer in me when I'm reading, as it's such a relaxing thing for me. Typos, cliches, things I'm editing in my own work, etc., all these stick out when I'm reading. Also, bad plot devices and characterizations. I try to learn from the things that pull me out of a story now, so I can attempt to not make the same mistake.


Jumping into my monthly stats. I like to keep myself accountable by reporting my stats each IWSG, so here are my January stats.

In January, I:

Got 7 rejections (3 of these were personal rejections, which is great!)
Got 0 acceptances (sad face)
Have 2 pieces shortlisted (fingers crossed)
Submitted 5 pieces
Currently have 9 pieces out on submission.

I have several short stories I need to finish edits on so I can get those out, too. I'd like to have 20 short stories going at a time, but I'm not up to that productivity level yet. So I'm participating in a writing challenge for writing every day in February via Facebook. I'll share that challenge to my Warrior Muse FB page in case anyone else wants to jump in.


Link time! Bear in mind that I am not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is open for submissions of vignettes for their May issue. 800 words or less. Poetry and vignettes. Pays $5 AUD. Deadline February 28.

Imprimo is open for submissions of short stories to their current theme: Time. Any genre. Also take poetry. 2000-6000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline February 28.

Parsec Ink is open for submissions of short stories to their current theme: Cravings. Up to 6000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline February 28.

Body Parts Magazine is open for submissions of short stories to their current theme: Killer Clowns and Freak Shows for their Spring/Summer issue. Flash fiction up to 1000 words, short stories up to 8000 words. Pay varies by type between $5 and $20. Deadline March 1.

Upstreet Literary Magazine is open for submissions of fiction and creative nonfiction for their 13th issue. 5000 words or less. Pays between $50 and $250 per piece. Deadline March 1.

The Literary Hatchet is open for submissions of short dark fiction, poetry, narratives, art, photography, illustrations, etc. Up to 6000 words. Pays up to $10. Deadline for April issue March 1.

Contrary is open for submissions of original commentary, fiction, and poetry. Pays $20. Deadline March 1.

Skirt! Magazine is open for submissions of essays by women to their current themes. See their page for each month's themes. 800 to 1100 words. Pays $200. Current deadline March 1.

Mugwump Press is open for submissions of short sci-fi and fantasy stories having to do with time travel and related mattes for their anthology Afrofuturism. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline March 1.

Goblin Fruit is open for submissions of fantastical poetry. Pays $15. Deadline March 3.

What are your insecurities? Has writing changed the way you read? How are your stats for this month? Are you submitting? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Year in Review & Links

Last year, I did my first Year in Review post, and I enjoyed doing so, so I'm doing it again this year.

February 15

Eat Your Heart Out: Romance in Horror

Romance isn't necessary in horror, but that doesn't mean we always leave it out.

February 22

Do What You Want, Do What You Wanna

About HuffPo and giving your work away for free.

March 7

Publication Resources

A post all about how to track down open submissions for publications., OCAL
March 14 

Your Other Inner Artist

Exploring other forms of artistry. If you write, what about painting? Photography? Singing? Performing theater?

May 16, 23, and 30, June 6

Writer's Conference Basics

This was a multi-part series on everything you need to know about attending, volunteering/staffing, and speaking at writer's conferences.

Part I - Overview
Part II - Attendees
Part III - Staff & Volunteers
Part IV - Faculty

Boxing Bears, OCAL,

June 13

The Factions of Writing

Cliques exist everywhere, even in the writing world.

July 11

Let's Talk Money - Taxes, Licenses, & Square

In which I discussed things authors need to know about selling books at events, checking on sales tax licenses needed, and using/setting up Square.

August 15

Setting Up a Book Signing Table

I used a lot of my learning experiences this past year, primarily as a speaker, to put together posts to help other people hopefully get through them more easily. This was another of those. How to set up a book signing table, with various tips.

October 31

Let's Talk Horror: A Top Thirteen

This was a fun one to do. I like the fun ones. Instead of just listing favorite horror movies, I thought I'd break out various elements and list my favorite of those. For instance, favorite scene in a horror film, favorite final girl, etc.

November 21

Native American Writers, Artists, Actors, and Musicians

In case anyone was seeking out Native art during Native American Heritage Month, I listed some resources and links.

November 28

Is Post-Apocalyptic the New Western?

It struck me that westerns have been replaced by post-apocalyptic books and films, showing some of the same elements. Here, I broke them down.

Hm, it looks like I only did two of the fun posts. I'll have to remedy that this year!


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

Accepting Submissions:

The Lorelei Signal is open for submissions. Fantasy short stories, flash fiction, poetry. Any female characters must have a reason for being there. Up to 10,000 words. Pays between $2 and $7.50, depending upon submission type. Deadline February 15.

Nasty is open for submissions. Any genre, but must include a fetish. Up to 1500 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline February 15.

For Books Sake is open for submissions of short stories written by women with the theme of "ghosts." Up to 7000 words. Token payment. Deadline February 22.

Opossum Lit is open for submissions of short stories, poems, and essays. They'd like a subtle link to music. Pays $100 to $250, dependent upon type of submission.

Asimov's is open for submissions of science fiction short stories. Up to 20,000 words. Pays $.08 to $.10/word up to 7500, then $.08 above 7500.

The Cedar Canyon Chronicles is accepting short fiction. Must be set in the fictional Cedar Canyon (Western Oklahoma) and involve a monster of some sort. 500 to 2000 words. Pays $5 for the first 20 accepted stories.

Bards and Sages Publishing is open for speculative fiction, mystery/thriller, and adventure short stories. 5000 to 20,000 words. Pays $25.

Reader's Digest is open for super short stories about you. True story about you. Up to 100 words. Pays $100.

Occult Detective Quarterly is open for short stories about those investigating the strange and unusual. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word.

Deep Magic is open for submissions of clean science fiction and fantasy. No violence, sex, graphic language. Pay varies by word count, beginning at $.08/word for the first 5000 words, and going down to $.06/word above that.

Were any of these your favorite? What was the favorite post you put on your own blog this year? Feel free to link to it in the comments. Or, if you did a post like this one, link to that. Any of these publication links of interest to you? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Goal Setting & 2016 Review

We made it through 2016, even if it came with some new scars. It was a year of craziness, as I imagine all election years are, but we survived. 

It's always fun to recap the year then look ahead to what I'd like to achieve. Setting goals helps me think through what I want to do and how I want to end the year.

I submitted short stories and flash fiction 77 times in 2016. This is not 77 stories, just submissions, since I turn the rejected ones back around. In 2015, this number was 60.

I had 4 acceptances in 2016. This is down from 9 the previous year. I know why, and I'll address that in a minute.

I had 9 stories published in 2016 (the 4 accepted, plus end of year acceptances from 2015.)

6 stories submitted in 2016 are still pending.

Which means I had 67 rejections in 2016. Not up to my 100 goal yet, but creeping that way.

And here's another stat to add: I had 4 speaking engagements in 2016. A standalone for Pikes Peak Pen Women, 2 workshops at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 3 panels at Denver Comic Con, and 4 panels at MileHiCon. In addition, I participated in 5 signings. So cool!

Last year, my goals were:

  • Finish first revision of novel #2 (UF above). Done!
  • Do a second pass through on novel #1 (YA above). Done!
  • Start novel #3. Done!
  • Continue writing short stories, revising them, and submitting them. One per month would be fantastic, and give me time to focus on my novels, but we'll see. Nope (did not achieve one per month)
  • Finish all short story revisions pending. Done!
  • Submit those short stories once revised. Done!
  • Have one of the novels (#1 or #2) ready by April, so I can query an agent at PPWC. Nope
  • Continue experimenting with my writing and finding the joy in it. Done!
  • Get back to my photography (what? I just slipped in a non-writing goal...) Sorta
  • Continue with the horror reading/review challenge Done!
Not bad! I mentioned above that I know why I didn't have better numbers. It's the same reason I didn't have my novel ready by April, and the same reason I didn't get more short stories written. I got insanely busy between two volunteer jobs, and it did not let up until the end of May. My writing suffered severely, which actually led to a mega bout of depression about having fallen behind in my writing, as well as destroying the progress I'd made the previous year. It wasn't until school got started again that I caught up on my writing, so we'll see what happens with these new stories I've got out. I've also pulled a couple to do some re-writes on.

My goals for 2017, understanding that I set goals knowing life is fluid, and that my goals and circumstances may change at any time, are as follows:

  • Final revision on Novel #2
  • Query Novel #2 in April at PPWC
  • Finish Novel #3
  • Write at least one new short story per month
  • Finish current pending revisions
  • Continue to book speaking/signing opportunities (so far, I have 1 definite and 2 possibles)
  • Evaluate Novel #1 to see if I want to continue pursuing it or trunk it for now
  • Continue submitting short stories - aim for 100 rejections and 12 acceptances this year
  • Write for at least two themed issues or anthologies that are outside my normal comfort level
I think that's more than enough goals for now. Part of me wants to achieve one short story per week, but I don't believe that's realistic for me right now. 

Onto links! Bear in mind that I'm passing these along, not endorsing them. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Broken Eye Books is open for submissions to their anthology Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird. They want space opera combined with cosmic weird horror. Short stories of 3000 to 6000 words or flash fiction of up to 1000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 31.

The First Line puts out a quarterly first line, which acts as the prompt for a story. This quarter's first line is: "Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent." Story should start with the first line, which cannot be altered. 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $50. Deadline February 1.

Skirt! Magazine is open for submissions to their January theme: The All In Issue - stories about going all in, taking risks, etc. Personal essays relating to women and women's issues. 800 to 1100 words. Pays $200. Deadline February 1.

Mofo Pubs is open for submissions to two literary erotica anthologies: Hotel and Sacrilege. The title is also the theme. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline February 3.

Splickety Havok is open for submissions in the theme Tyrannosaurus Reads. Think Jurassic Park. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline February 10.

Bundoran Press is open for submissions to a science fiction anthology entitled 49th Parallels: Alternative Canadian Histories and Futures. 1500 to 7000 words. Pays $.05CAD/word. Deadline February 14.


Creative Writing Ink holds a monthly writing contest. Free to enter. Short stories up to 3000 words or poems up to 40 lines. Any genre/theme. Prize is web publication and £10 Amazon GC. Deadline January 31.

The Chicago Tribune is sponsoring the 2017 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. Fiction short stories up to 8000 words. Prizes of $500, $1000, and $3500. No entry fee. Deadline January 31.

Did you create goals for the year? How about last year? How did you do on those? Do you do resolutions or goals? How strict are you about your goals? Do you go beyond goals and make a plan to complete each item? Are any of these links of interest to you?

May you find your Muse.