Friday, September 23, 2022
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Today I welcome Deniz Bevan! I asked her to talk about research and her upcoming release, Druid's Moon.
The Long and Winding Road of Research
A guest post by Deniz Bevan
Every time I finish a story, I think to myself, “next time I’ll write something contemporary, set in the town I live in, so that I don’t have to do any research!”
In over three decades of writing, this has still yet to happen!
Druid’s Moon started out with an idea from a dream: A man and a woman in a storeroom in a cave, with the door barred, and antagonists on the other side of the door, doing their darndest to get in. Somehow, I knew that the man had been a beast, and that there were even more evil creatures in the depths of the cave, and they had to be defeated.
The fantasy aspect was easy to create! Then came all the bits and pieces of the plot and character backgrounds, and suddenly I had a research list of more than 10 all-encompassing items.
Here are a few:
Kraken: How to merge previous legends with
Archaeology: Daily life on a dig, qualifications, language
Cornwall: Locations and languages
Noble families of England, Scotland and Wales: A plausible name and ancestry for Frederick
Fairy tales: Genre staples for Beauty and the Beast tales
There were other items I read up on, including druids and their tombs and Welsh and Cornish myths and legends, that I found I didn’t need as much after all, but everything that had the right sort of flavour, I would read. The most exciting part is always the serendipity of research something and realising that you got it exactly right, or that your story and setting have dovetailed nicely into the history of that location.
The historical aspects of some of my research areas were the ones that really sent me down rabbit holes. The history of shipping, the history of Cornwall... Even ancient art depicting retellings of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale would pique my interest. I’d go to the university library and come back with two stacks of books!
While I’m in the midst of drafting and editing, I try not to read fiction set in my time or place, as I don’t want to be unduly influenced. Later, when edits are nearly complete, I might turn to fiction, to see how other authors have addressed the same location or central idea.
Eventually, there comes a moment when I realise I’m using research as an excuse to procrastinate on edits.
When that happens, focusing on the characters themselves generally gets me back into the story. Some of the most fun research is keeping an eye out for character faces!
Here are Lyne and Frederick:
Frederick is a photo of Romain Grosjean that I came across in my local newspaper; and Lyne is an unnamed screenshot from a survey I was in the middle of taking!
You just never know where the research road will take you...
By Deniz Bevan
Beauty to his Beast…
Lyne Vanlith, an archaeologist who seeks a logical explanation to any mystery, discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When the signs foretold by the curse descend on her, Lyne can’t find a reasonable interpretation.
And that’s even before a Beast rescues her from a monstrous sea-creature. She drops a grateful kiss on the snout of the Beast, who transforms into a man, Frederick Cunnick, Baron of Lansladron. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast—and break the curse forever.
Now both spellkeeper and monster are targeting Lyne. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and save Frederick—and herself. Instead of logic, for the first time, Lyne must trust her heart.
Release date – September 20, 2022
$14.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 226 pages
Fantasy – Romance (FIC009090) / Paranormal (FIC009050) / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology (FIC010000)
Print ISBN 9781939844866 / EBook ISBN 9781939844873
$4.99 EBook available in all formats
A firm believer in burning the candle at both ends, Deniz Bevan is generally writing a new novel while editing another and blogging about her reading and research adventures. Other days, she tries to stay off the web altogether, as she delves into the history, mystery, and romance of her characters’ lives. http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
It's that time again.
The first Wednesday of each month is when we all gather our neuroses for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The IWSG exists so we can share our insecurities and support each other. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, anyone can join. Simply click on his name and put your blog on the linky list. Then hop around and visit your fellow insecure writers.
The co-hosts this month are:
This month's optional question is:
What genre would be the worst for you to tackle, and why?
I'm skipping this month's question. I feel like the bulk of the answers will be horror and romance, and honestly I'm not in the mood for more anti-horror stuff right now.
After a lot of thinking, I'm going to be making some changes to my writing career in the coming months. I don't completely know what that's going to look like yet, but I have an idea. A few ideas. Unfortunately, drama in the horror writing world has started tainting how I feel about horror, and I'm not okay with that. I'm not going to stop writing horror, and I have some long-term projects in the works, but my focus will be elsewhere for a while. There are other worlds to explore, basically, and it's time I branched out more.
Of course, change is scary. I've dipped my toe in elsewhere and had pretty good luck with it, so far. I'm thinking of writing under a pen name, maybe a couple, so I need to decide about that, as well, before I submit anything more in other genres, so I can keep some consistency. I'll definitely be paying attention to those of you who already publish heavily in multiple genres.
Anyway, wish me luck! I feel a bit like I'm flapping in the wind right now with a loose anchoring rope.
Note that the monthly post on open submissions will likely be delayed by a week, as I have a guest post next week.
Okay, time for a submission recap for the month. I post each month during the IWSG to keep myself accountable.
12 rejections (1 shortlisted, 1 invitation to direct email another submission right away, 8 personal rejections)
1 withdrawn story
20 submissions currently out
What's your writing insecurity? Have you ever made a drastic change to your writing career? How'd it go? Are you ready for fall?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
The Special Place
Tagline: Sometimes you need to get away for a bit to find some peace
Carol Anne crept through the reeds, her shoes squelching in the mud and shallow water. A twig snapped behind her, and she froze. Her feet sunk into the marshy ground, water seeping through her shoes. At least sinking was quiet.
It was dark out here in the marsh, the moon not yet high enough to lend her much light. After a moment where no other sound occurred she continued on her way. She exhaled her held breath as she yanked first one foot out then the other. Mud sucked greedily at her sullied shoes, but relinquished each foot after a hesitation.
From a nearby tree, cicadas set up their raucous chatter. They'd let her know if someone was following her.
Soon, she was far enough to the east to step on solid ground and skirt the marsh. It felt strange to feel a steady surface beneath her. The squishy ground had eased the pain in her ankle a little, but now it throbbed from the workout and the hard impacts.
He hadn't meant to hurt her. It just happened.
She reached across her chest to gently press the bruise on her upper arm. Even though it wasn't visible in the darkness, its precise shape was burned into her mind. All five of his fingers were visible in the deep purple and black circling her upper arm.
He always told her he was sorry. Not right away, but later. He made it up to her. Cruelty wasn't in his nature, but he was tired, stressed. He wasn't himself sometimes.
A small part of her knew this as the nonsense it was. After all, hadn't she seen cruelty in his eyes, the set of his mouth? She could tell the exact moment where his actions went from unconscious to purposeful. The moment he realized he was hurting her and squeezed a little harder.
This time, he'd kicked at her foot to trip her up, but he'd hit her ankle instead. The pain had blossomed, sharp at first, then subsiding to a dull ache, spreading up her leg and down her foot. He'd caught her before she could fall, grasping the meat of her upper arm.
That was when she'd seen it.
His eyes had narrowed, a hint of a smile twisting lips that could be so soft during the good times, making them look hard and, yes, mean. He'd thought about it before he squeezed. He'd held her eyes with his so he could watch every aspect of her reaction as his fingers tightened.
She'd fought back, wrenching at his fingers and finally kicking him in the shin. She'd meant to kick him in the knee, but it was hard to aim when you were wrestling someone a good one-hundred pounds bigger than you. And whereas her weight was soft, his was all muscle, solid to the touch.
He was so angry he punched her in the face. That was something he never did. Marking her face was a mistake.
Carol Anne raised tentative fingers to her eye socket, felt the solid puff of the swelling there. It felt like something was broken, shifting around under the skin. It had sounded that way, too. She'd never heard a crunch quite like it.
The ground shifted once more. Lush grass softened her steps, a cushion between her pain and the soil. She was nearly there.
This time was different. She'd had enough.
After he punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground, he stormed away, kicking a chair away from the kitchen table on his way past it. He went out the door to the backyard. The door had swung around and slammed closed behind him. It spoke of finality. A finality that woke her up.
While she waited for him to return, she cooked dinner. She was limping heavily and could barely see through the damaged eye, but she prepared his favorite grilled cheese sandwich, setting a handful of potato chips on the plate with it. There was a can of tomato soup, so she made that, too, throwing in a couple stale croutons and a pinch of shredded cheese. It all went to his place at the table, along with a glass of milk so cold bubbles frothed on the surface. She set his chair back upright.
With everything in its place, she left through the front door. He'd be in his shed, but she didn't want to chance him seeing her.
A slight hill stood before her. At the top was her special place. It took her longer to climb than usual, the pain in her ankle hindering her some, but she made it. Just as she reached the crown of the hill, the moon rose enough to push glowing fingers between the willow's fronds, illuminating the stump on which she liked to sit. Using her good arm, she pushed the branches aside and disappeared into the safety of her special place.
Settling on the stump, she breathed a sigh of relief at taking the weight off her ankle.
She closed her eyes and listened to the frogs singing their moonlight sonata in the marsh, joining with the chorus of the cicadas and other night insects.
She wondered if he'd drunk the milk yet, and whether he would be a problem anymore.
887 words, NCCO
Thursday, August 11, 2022
I'm a day late, but the roundup is here!
Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Inked in Gray is seeking speculative fiction short stories with the theme "Joy is Resistance" for Reclaiming Joy. Up to 8000 words. Pays $45. Deadline August 30.
Wyldblood Press is seeking fantasy short stories involving the sea for From the Depths. 1000-12,000 words (sweet spot is 3000 to 5000). Pays .01 pounds per word. Deadline August 31.
Bert Edens is seeking horror stories based on Alice Cooper's songs. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $25 with proceeds going to Alice Cooper's charity Solid Rock Teen Centers. Deadline August 31.
Apparition Lit's brief submission window will be open soon. Speculative fiction and poetry with the theme "Nostalgia." 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Submission window open August 15 to 31.
Timber Ghost Press is seeking horror set in the Old West for Harrowing Trails. Up to 6000 words. Pays $10 to $35. Deadline August 31.
The Quiet Ones is seeking horror and dystopian with the theme "Nocturnal Animals." Up to 3000 words. Pay $25. Deadline August 31.
Input/Output Enterprises is seeking vampire horror for And the Dead Shall Sleep No More. Up to 6000 words. Pays $15. Deadline September 1.
Writers Victoria is seeking fiction and nonfiction with the theme "Unravel." Up to 1200 words. Pays $70 to $200. Deadline September 5.
Belanger Books is seeking mysteries involving police who go to Sherlock Holmes for help for The Consultations of Sherlock Holmes. He cannot be the main investigator. 5000 to 10,000 words. Pays $100 or $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter proceeds (whichever is more). Deadline September 15.
Pyre Magazine is seeking dark speculative fiction. Up to 3500 words. Pays $10. Deadline September 18.
Dragon Soul Press is seeking dragon stories for Reign of Fire. 3000 to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline September 30.
Mocha Memoirs Press is seeking "cybernated stories of rebellion" for Crack the Code. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.
The Bombay Literary Magazine is seeking fiction, poetry, and graphic fiction. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays Rs. 5000 (about $65). Deadline September 30.
Brigids Press is seeking gothic romance. Female and nonbinary authors only. 2000 to 6000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.
Any of these of interest? Any other calls to share?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
It's August, and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!
Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to give writers a forum to both seek and lend support. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab!
This month's co-hosts are:
This month's optional question is: "When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?"
I typically just write whatever comes into my head, so I'd say I try to be original. It's whatever I want to write about.
On an unrelated note (or maybe not...who knows?) I've had my first book returned. Probably I'm lucky it took this long, especially with the TikTok challenge, but it was disappointing to see in the reports on Amazon. Boooo.
Keeping it short this month. I know some of you are unable to leave a comment since whatever weird update sent my Blogger haywire. I'm trying out a suggestion from C. Lee McKenzie, so hopefully it works. Thank you for the idea either way!
I'm feeling discouraged right now with no new short story sales for a few months. But here are my July stats:
16 currently on submission
That's all, folks! Hope you're having a good day.
Are you submitting? Any news? What are your insecurities? Do you write to the audience?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
It's time for the monthly submission roundup! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Augur is seeking speculative fiction for their regular magazine (Augur) and cozy SF/F stories for Tales & Feathers. They mostly take Canadian/First Nations. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.11/word. Deadline July 31.
Pikes Peak Writers is seeking short stories and poetry that takes the reader to a new world. Up to 6000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline July 31.
Superlative is seeking short fiction with the theme "Futures." Up to 1500 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline July 31.
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing/Ghoulish Books is seeking body horror stories written by transgender and nonbinary authors for Bound in Flesh. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline July 31. (Note that I have worked with this press before with their magazine Dark Moon Digest, and they are always a pleasure to work with.)
Black Beacon Books is seeking post-apocalyptic short stories for Tales from the Ruins. 5000 to 10,000 words. Paying market. Deadline July 31.
Metaphorosis is seeking SF/F short stories about an interesting museum. 1000 to 8000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline July 31.
Three Ravens Publishing is seeking high fantasy short stories for Embers of Corsari, a shared world anthology and horror comedy short stories for It Came from the Trailer Park II. 7000 to 10,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline August 1.
Lethe Press is seeking dark speculative short stories about "gay sexuality, desire, masculinity, and the aesthetics of rough trade" for Brute. 2500 to 10,000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 1.
The First Line is seeking fiction, poetry, and critical essays with the first line "Lily unlocked the back door of the thrift store using a key that didn't belong to her." 300 to 5000 words. Pays up to $50.00 depending upon submission type/length. Deadline August 1.
The Last Girls Club Magazine is seeking feminist horror with the theme "Thoughts & Prayers." Up to 2500 words. They also accept poetry and flash fiction. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 1.
Rayne Hall is seeking horror stories dealing with trains for The Haunted Train. No length restriction. Pay is flat fee of 10 Euro. Deadline August 15.
Ghost Orchid Press is seeking erotic horror fairy tales for Les Petite Morts. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline August 30.
Dragon Soul Press is seeking contemporary women's fiction for Life at Its Best and Christmas stories for Magick & Mistletoe. Up to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline August 31.
Gwyllion is seeking pulp/low-brow speculative fiction. Up to 10,000 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline August 31.
Eerie River Publishing is seeking dark short stories for It Calls from Beneath. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline September 1 (does not open for submissions until August 1). They are also taking water themed horror for their elements series. 1500 to 7000 words. Same pay. Deadline August 31.
Timber Ghost Press is seeking horror stories set in the Old West for Along Harrowed Trails. Poetry, flash, and short. Up to 6000 words. Pays up to $35. Deadline August 31.
Apparition Literary Magazine is seeking speculative fiction poetry and short stories with the theme "nostalgia." 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 31 (not open for submissions until August 15.)
War & Whiskey Publishing is seeking horror SF set on another planet for Strange Sunsets. 2500 to 7500 words. Pays $30. Deadline August 31.
Hellbound Books is seeking horror short stories paying homage to Poe for Madame Gray's Poe-Pourri of Terror and space SF horror for Hellbound Sci-Fi. 3000 to 8000 words for Poe and 4000 to 10,000 words for Hellbound. Pays $5. Deadline September 1. (I've been published with this market and had a good experience, but please note that they don't always send out rejections, as far as I know.)
Head Shot is seeking noir short stories for Bang! 2000 to 8000 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline September 1.
Orion's Belt is seeking SF stories. Up to 1200 words. Pays $.08.word. Deadline September 1.
Taco Bell Quarterly is seeking literary fiction, poetry, and more that involves Taco Bell in some way. 500 to 1500 words. Pays $100 per piece. Deadline September 5.
Any of these of interest? Any open calls to share? Are you submitting?
May you find your Muse.