Wednesday, February 19, 2020

WIHM & Black History Month

As I write this, I'm waiting to hear whether my grandma has died. She's at my aunt's home on steady morphine. They didn't think she'd make it through the day, but she did. She's a strong, stubborn woman, and my last living grandparent. I woke up to the news that she was probably dying, and I'm afraid I'll be waking up tomorrow to the news that she has. So I'm not feeling incredibly creative about a post.

I was hoping to post about the Bloody Valentine event that occurred on Friday, but get this: my new laptop doesn't have a slot for an SD card. What?? So until I get an adapter, I can't post pictures! I'll post about it next week instead. But I can tell you that it was a successful event. And here's a photo of myself and my two co-hosts, taken by a guest (and friend, author M.H. Boroson) at the event.



For today, how about some articles that recommend female horror authors and writers in the African diaspora, in tribute to Women in Horror Month and Black History Month?

Nightfire recommended 9 Female Horror Authors You Should Read This Women in Horror Month.

Kat Clay posted 40+ Free Horror Stories by Australian Women.

Goodreads lists Female Horror Authors.

The Lineup did 13 Female Horror Writers You Should be Reading.

Scott Wood Makes Lists made a list of 28 MORE Black Picture Books That Aren't About Boycotts, Buses, or Basketball.

The Portalist posted Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors You Need to Read.

From last year, Essence made a list of 11 Books Written by Black Authors We Can't Wait to Read in 2019.

Goodreads did Popular Top 50 Black Authors Books.

Buzzfeed did 42 Amazing Books Written by Black Authors.

The book I finished this week was Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.


It's more of a novella, actually. I quite enjoyed it. It's told from the viewpoint of the young girl in the front (though she's 18, I think). She lives with her sister, her uncle, and her cat, and she has a free range life, cavorting through the fields. Something isn't right, though. We discover that the rest of her family was killed, with her older sister accused of the crime. The townspeople view them as murderers and mistreat them. The story, as with many of Shirley Jackson's tales, touches on small town mentality, and how isolating it can be to not be accepted by your neighbors.

I've been watching Good Girls this week.


For some reason, it didn't catch my attention when it first started, but I decided to give it another try. Now I'm binge watching it. If nothing else, it's a commentary on how quickly things can spiral out of control when you make a bad decision.

I've been watching The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel, with my husband the last couple nights.


I'll give anything with Jason Bateman a go. We're both enjoying it. At the beginning, it plays out like a regular crime film, but then the supernatural elements start to show themselves. We're not done with the season yet (I'm not sure if the whole season's even done on HBO). The mood is dark, as it should be, and the storyline is compelling. Be warned that it's about child rapes and murders, though you never see them, as it's about the people accused of the murders/rapes.

In tribute to Valentine's Day, I watched the 1981 version of My Bloody Valentine for the first time.


As much as I love Jensen Ackles, this version was better than the one made in the 2000s. It's a classic slasher, down to the harbinger who rails at everyone at the bar about how they're all going to die. The mine workers and their girlfriends wave him off, of course, and make their way to the fated mine, despite deaths occurring in the town.

I also watched a short film entitled Catcalls.


You probably haven't heard of it unless you have Shudder. It's only about 9 minutes long. But it's a good short. I didn't realize it was a short film until it ended, and then I was disappointed, because I would definitely watch a full length film with this premise.

Currently reading: Cinder

Do you have any specific female horror authors or stories to recommend? How about black authors and books? How was your Valentine's Day? What are you watching? What are you reading? Any books, TV shows, or movies you'd like to recommend? What about new music?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Comedy-Related Book Recommendations

You know when I posted alllllll those book recommendations for noir, magical realism, and pulp a couple weeks ago, and I said I'd post if any of the other book recommendation posts I've done before came up as a memory? Well, guess what?! One did.

A year ago, I asked for recommendations of humor books. Something to make me laugh. And I got a gazillion recommendations. Without further ado, here they are:

A Way of Life Like Any Other - Darcy O'Brien
Douglas Adams (can confirm) (specific mention: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galax)
Terry Pratchett (yep)
Christopher Moore (oh, yeah) (specific mention: Practical Demonkeeping, It's a Dirty Job, Biff)
Good Omens (haven't read it, but watched the show)
The Stephanie Plum series - Janet Evanovich (I consume these in a day when they come out, and they make me laugh out loud)
The Sellout - Beatty
Dave Barry (of course!)
Jeff Strand (I've recommended books by him before) (specific mention: It's a Good Day for Voodoo, Benjamin's Parasite)
Tim Dorsey (I've read two by him, and really enjoyed them. He is super fun in person.)
Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
The Jeeves and Wooster series
Chelsea Handler (agreed)
Jen Lancaster (I'm iffy on her)
Bill Bryson (specific mention of A Walk in the Woods)
Jeremy F. Lewis's vampire series
The City Boy - Herman Wouk
John Connolly's Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil series (specific mention: The Gates (book 1)
Joe R. Lansdale (specific mention: Hap and Leonard series, Best of Short Stories, Bubba Ho-Tep) (I enjoy his horror; have not read his comedy)
Becky Clark (Fiction Can be Murder) (absolutely)
Mario Acevedo (definitely)
John Dies at the End (Enjoyable)
The Longmire novels
The Dresdan Files - Jim Butcher
The Bobby Dollar series by Tad Williams
Body - Harry Crews
Gary Reilly's Asphalt Warrior series
Nobody' Fool - Richard Russo
The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil - Fay Weldon (read this due to the recommendation - dark humor)
The Sex Lives of Cannibals
Drew Hayes
Robert Holt (specific mention: Tanzia, There are No Zombies in America)
Jeff O'Brien
Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series
Company - Max Barry
Tom Robbins
Janitor 51: Saving the World, From Midnight to Eight - Richard Griffith
Money - Martin Amis
Carl Hiaasen
Flavia de Luce books
A Simple Favor
Donald Westlake Dortmunder books
The Wicked Witches of the Midwest - Amanda Lee

In looking at my memories at this time last year, I was really struggling. Depression-wise, health-wise, etc. It's no wonder I asked for recommendations of funny books/authors. I haven't made it through half the list, but of the ones I've read, I've enjoyed them. I figure maybe someone else out there can use the mood boost I was looking for last year.

Speaking of mood boosts, the books I read this week were:

Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson.


If you've never read The Bloggess, a hysterical blog, you're missing out! The creator of said blog has written a couple books consisting of essays on various subjects. She's genuine, open about her mental illnesses, insane in the best way, and funny. This was just what I needed right now.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed the World, by Erik Larson.


Admittedly, I thought this one was mostly about H.H. Holmes. That's how it was recommended to me. It turned out to be far more about the Chicago World's Fair and its organizers, with snippets about Holmes. Part of me was disappointed, but the writing was good and the fair was fascinating. I was surprised at all the things first introduced at the fair, such as the Ferris Wheel and spray paint.

Since I've been down, it's been a week of familiar shows and movies. I like to pull out old favorites when I'm like this, because they provide comfort. I may write more about all of that next week. For now, I don't have any show/movie recommendations.

I spent yesterday evening putting together giveaway bundles for the big Women in Horror Month event we're putting on this Friday. So exciting! Here's hoping some people actually show up.

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

Accepting Submissions:

Dream of Shadows is seeking fantasy and horror short stories. Up to 1500 words. Pays 20 pounds.

Reckoning is seeking short speculative fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Up to 45,000 words. Pays $.08/word.

Filthy Loot is seeking stories for three anthologies: No (transgressive), Fucked Up Stories to Read in the Daytime (bizarro), and Teenage Grave (splatterpunk). Up to 3000 words. Pays $5. Closes once full.

Funny Times is seeking funny stories and cartoons. Stories should be 500-700 words. Pays $30-$60, depending upon submission.

Terse Journal is seeking poetry, essays, creative nonfiction, science fiction, flash fiction, and more. Up to 7000 words. Pays $10.





Wednesday, February 5, 2020

IWSG - Coming Along, News, & Trading Card

It's time for the February Insecure Writer's Support Group post!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG servers to support insecure writers. We post our insecurities or our reassurances. Anyone is welcome to join. Just click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab. Then post and hop around to your fellow IWSG'ers to drop a note.

The co-hosts this month are:

The optional question this month: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What is it and did you finish it?

I love to write off prompts, including images, but I don't remember having a finished, published story based on a photo/work of art. At least not off the top of my head.

Things are coming along for me in getting back to writing! I've started a spreadsheet to keep track of words written and edits done, so I can keep track. I always find it interesting when people post their words written at the end of the year, so I figured I'd try that out. Given, I just started that two days go, so there's a full month missing. Still! It will be fun to track.

The next collection is coming along. I've given a list of visuals/subjects to my husband so he can start playing with the cover. The Table of Contents is finalized. Now for final edits and formatting. I'm still hoping for a mid-March release.

If you've signed up for my newsletter (link in sidebar), you'll be the first to see the cover and TOC!

I had a new release this week!


Hello my Earthling! Hello my starling!
Hello my space-time alien gal!
It Came From Outer Space! is a baker’s dozen of tales about creatures from outer space who may or may not have boldly gone where they really shouldn’t have. Tales of aliens who test the creatures of Earth…tales of Earthlings who test the creatures from other planets…aliens who attack…aliens who defend…and aliens who are a little too close for comfort.
Prepare to discover realms at the furthest edges of human imagination.
From the depths of outer space…
To the depths of the sea…
To Portland…and beyond!
AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo • Apple Books • Universal Book LinkGoodreads

I'll be reading at a Women in Horror Month event on Valentine's Day: A Bloody Valentine. Cottonwood Center for the Arts is hosting us that night. I'm also a host and planner on the event. More information available on our Facebook event page.



Finally, I was interviewed at Superficial Gallery for Women in Horror Month, and I have another trading card! This is such a fun thing they do to support women in horror.


I haven't done stats in a while, because I was figuring out what stories to pull from submission, so here's the first one of 2020. January stats:

5 submissions
2 rejections (one that had been short listed)
1 withdrawn (magazine appears to be defunct)
1 acceptance
7 currently on submission
1 currently short listed

I'd like to get back up to 10 stories on submission (and above), so I'm jumping into edits. I've got several stories languishing as they wait for edits.

What are your insecurities? Are you working to improve on any of the causes of insecurity? Are you submitting? How are you celebrating Women in Horror Month? Any news to share?

May you find your Muse.