Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Functional Nerds, Cover Reveal: Marked Beauty & Links

I was interviewed by The Functional Nerds podcast. Check it out after you've read the rest of the post! ;)

I'm pleased to be participating in S.A. Larsen's cover reveal for Marked Beauty. Without further ado:

Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.
Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.


About the Author
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at

Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads

This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:
  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.
***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)

"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal

"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal #YAlit

An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal #YAlit

The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.


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

Accepting Submissions:

A Murder of Storytellers is accepting short fiction pieces about the rebellious dead for the anthology The Misbehaving Dead. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $15 and a contributor copy. Deadline June 13.

Arsenika is accepting flash fiction and poetry for their summer issue. Up to 1000 words. Pays $60 for fiction, $30 for poetry. Deadline June 15.

18th Wall Productions is accepting short Lovecraftian stories for their anthology The Chromatic Court: Tales of the Lovecraftian Arts. 4000 to 16,000 words. Pays 5% gross profit quarterly. Deadline June 15.

Pseudopod is accepting short horror/dark fiction to be put out on a podcast recording. Pays $.06/word.

What do you think? Have you participated in a hashtag giveaway before? Going to now? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? 

May you find your Muse.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Horror List Book Review: Wet Work & Links

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 reviewing Wet Work, by Philip Nutman.

This novel came with the back story that it began as a short story he had published, that someone requested he flesh out into novel form. It also included the short story, which was an interesting departure from the novel (in other words, it wasn't just the short story with a whole lot of details filled in.)

This is a solid zombie novel, and very different from the typical ones. In it, the zombies are self-aware and thinking, though some of them haven't made the change successfully. Of the successful ones is our main character, Corvino, a special ops agent who happened to be on an op when all hell broke loose. 

We track several characters other than Corvino, including a man who is herded up with other non-zombies in order to feed a group who have taken over the government. He's a police officer who sticks around initially to help, but ends up running with other officers when it's obvious the police can't do anything against the new menace. You see, not only do the dead come alive again, but any sort of bug or virus is accelerated, so that the common cold kills within a couple days and turns its victim into a zombie, too. This is probably the most damaging part of what happens after the comet sets things in motion.

It's somewhat obvious that Corvino was the original focus of the short story, but the other characters are well fleshed out, as well. The pacing is good, marching us forward until we see what awaits the characters we're watching. Society breaks down, with those who are well committing crimes, looting, raping, etc.

The female characters were mostly incidental, so it was guy-centric. One POV character is female, but she wasn't as well fleshed out as the men. I didn't feel like I knew her well, so it seemed to me she was unnecessary as a POV character, especially considering the end (which I won't give away). However, she wasn't a harpie or the stereotypical female character one often sees; she was just unnecessary as POV, and would have been fine as a secondary character.

It was also clear he struggled with romance/sex, but it isn't a story killer.

All in all, I have little to say. This was an action-driven approach to zombies, one that took them in a different direction than the usual, and there are compelling mysteries involved that Corvino must figure out. Definitely a worthwhile read, especially if you like the zombie sub-genre.

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. Wet Work (Philip Nutman)
15. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
16. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
17. The Witches (Roald Dahl)
18. Psycho (Robert Bloch)
19. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
20. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
21. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
22. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
23. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
24. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
25. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
26. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
27. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
28. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
29. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
30. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
31. World War Z (Max Brooks)
32. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
33. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
34. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
35. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
36. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
37. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
38. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
39. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

Now for some links, since I didn't post on Wednesday. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Contrary is seeking short fiction, poetry, and commentary. Pays $20. Deadline June 1.

Goblin Fruit is seeking fantastical poetry. Pays $15. Deadline June 1.

Page & Spine is seeking poetry, essays, flash fiction, and short fiction. Pays $.01/word. Deadline June 1.

Compelling Science Fiction is seeking sci-fi short stories. 1000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline June 1.

Pickman's Press is seeking Lovecraftian horror for their anthology Corporate Cthulhu. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline June 1.

Helen Literary Magazine is seeking short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Pays $2 to $5. Deadline June 1.

Fantasia Divinity Magazine is seeking short fiction for the Goddesses of the Sea anthology. 500 to 15,000 words. Deadline June 5.

Have you read this? What do you think of aware zombies? What would people do with societal and mortal restraints removed? Any of these publications of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah - IWSG

The day isn't over yet, so I'm squeaking in my IWSG post. This would have been the first one I missed since I started doing it. YIKES!

Anywho, it's the first Wednesday of the month (I think it's Wednesday...), which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Anyone is welcome to join in. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up then post on the first Wednesday of the month. You can avow your insecurities or give reassurances to others if you happen to be having a great month.

Our co-hosts this month are Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone! Stop by and say hi and thank you.

I'm just coming off a weekend at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, so I'm feeling exhausted, but not as insecure as I might otherwise be. I did a solo workshop on short stories there, plus a loosey-goosey panel on volunteering and a panel with some fellow short story authors, which was a lot of fun. I usually sneak a peek at the surveys people fill out at the end of my workshops to see what they had to say, but didn't get a chance, so now I'm floating in insecurity about whether my workshops were helpful, though I did get lots of positive feedback on the short story panel.

Speaking in front of people isn't something I come by naturally, so while I have more confidence in it than I used to, it's still stressful and causes plenty of insecurities. I hate to bore people. So hopefully I did okay.

Moving on to my stats for the month of April. It was a slow month, so my stats are sparse.

2 rejections
1 note sent out to everyone who had submitted that the editor needed a break, so it's not really a rejection. I've pulled it and will submit elsewhere.

That's it. Don't worry, it should pick up in the month of May.

In other news, I queried an agent at PPWC, and he asked me to send him the first three chapters. I'll be sending that out in the next week. Fingers crossed it goes somewhere!

Also, speaking of conferences, I found out this past week I've been accepted as faculty at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in September. WOOT! It will be my first time there, and I'm looking forward to it.

Since I'm posting so late, I'm skipping the open submission links for this week, so I can get this post out there! As treasurer for Pikes Peak Writers (only for the next week, though!), my real work began the moment the conference ended, and I've spent several nights working until 4 AM, including the night of the conference. All this after being at the hotel from Wednesday forward working. I'm so tired, people! But I'm trying to get everything closed out so I can hand over a nice, pretty bundle to the new treasurer.

I'll try to do a summing up of the conference next week!

What are your insecurities? Are you comfortable speaking in front of people? How were your submissions this month?

May you find your Muse.

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,