Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Hummingbird & Links

Saw this little guy on a curve that overlooks the town of Cripple Creek.




I love photographing hummingbirds, but they're tricky to track!

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Rose Red Review accepts submissions art, photography, short fiction, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. The reading period for their Autumn 2013 issue ends August 12. They're looking for the dark origin of fairy tales and other beasties.

UFO Publishing is seeking submissions for Coffee: Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic. Coffee must be a major plot element. Submissions close August 31. Pays $.05 per word. Short or flash fiction with an element of the fantastic.

Rhino's submission window closes August 31. They seek poetry, translations of poetry, and flash. Pays in a contributor copy.

Dreadful Cafe is soliciting query letters for their first anthology, Membrane. All genres, but there is a theme. Pays $125 for short stories, $250 for novelettes, $500 for novellas. Deadline is TBD, but I imagine the sooner you get it in, the better, as they'll close it when they've found what they want. It opened in April.

Contests:

The theme for the Kazka Press 713 Flash contest for September is Warning Sign. The deadline is August 20. Stories must be between 713 and 1000 words. Pays $10.

Fiction Attic Press is a small press that takes submissions for publication, as well as running several contests. Check out their page for more information. Contests involve cash prizes, but also have fees attached. There are no reading fees for non-contest submissions, however, which is why I'm passing it along (I usually don't pass along contests with entry fees anymore).

Grants:

The Sustainable Arts Foundation issues a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award of $6000 and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award of $1000 to writers and artists with families (children). You must submit a portfolio. The deadline to apply is August 31.

Blog Hops:

August 12 is the Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest. This blogfest is in honor of Gary at Klahanie, who is the anti-blogfest spokesperson of the blogging community. It asks you to create three original blogfests (PG-13, please!) you would never join. I'm torn on this one. However, the fact that I'm in clinicals that day may make it so I shouldn't join, anyway. Sigh. What do you say, Gary? Do I dishonor you more by joining a blogfest or by not joining one in honor of you?

Anything of interest? Have anything you'd like to share? Going to participate in the blogfest? Any publication successes recently? Don't you love hummingbirds?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Here There be Pirates

Yarr, Matey. So...I saw a post on Facebook about a site that is illegally offering books up for download when they have not received permission. I reported  them on Facebook and got a notice back that they found no evidence of theft (it was the best option I saw to report the page), and that they won't be removing the page. Boo, Facebook! You fail! Does that make them complicit in copyright infringement? If only.

By OCAL at clker.com

This "business" has a website on a Blogger site. I figured I'd post it so people could make sure none of their works have been stolen. I'm not going to post the name of the site, because I don't feel like advertising for them. Use caution, as I accidentally clicked on something while shifting my laptop and got a virus notification. No idea what I clicked on. If you'd like to report them (or anyone in the future), a friend gave me this link for reporting copyright infringement to Google and this link to report abuse. And I guess if they get removed from Blogger, the Facebook page won't really matter, will it?

Moving on, I'm entering the third week of my CNA program. It's more intensive than I imagined, but hopefully I'm holding my own against the youngins' in the class. Can't wait to be done! So much reading, studying, testing, homework, and stress. OY!

I'd like to take a moment to alert you to a member of the blogging community that can use our support. If you follow or sometimes visit Jeff Hargett at Strands of Pattern, he lost his wife recently. If you haven't stopped by to give him your support, you can do so here. My heart is breaking for him and his family. Jeff is always so positive and supportive of others. The least we can do is give a little of that back.

Have you ever been pirated? What fun things have you done this summer? Getting any writing done, or do you let it rest during the summer?

May you find your Muse.






Friday, July 26, 2013

Join me at Sam's for my Piece in the Tree of Life Collaborative Writing Challenge!

Today was my day for the collaborative writing challenge unfolding (blossoming? sprouting?) on Samantha Geary's blog. Set to the music of Audiomachine, Tree of Life: Branching Out is being spun by a different writer each day. How will it end?


Here's my piece! I hope you'll enjoy it and backtrack to read the others. There will be voting on the best pieces from August 10 to August 17 by private message. For more information Tree of Life: Branching Out, you can visit the informative post on Sam's informational page or the A-to-Z Challenge blog.

Bonus: If you comment on the entries, you'll be entered to win a selection of prizes (more information on that at the last two links I posted). The more you comment, the better your chances! Plus, I'm incredibly nervous as to whether I did the story justice, and I would love to hear from you.

This is a great project, and I'd like to thank Sam for thinking of me. What an honor and a delight! Especially as I read my fellow participants' stories, and see what talent has come along with me on this journey.

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Resisting Farmer McGregor & Links

This week's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is all about rabbit stew...

Remember this little guy?


Well, he or one of his buddies got into my vegetable garden when someone left the cloche just a little bit off, and he ripped up my green beans then burrowed under the marigolds (which are in there as natural pest repellents, but apparently either got spilled without my awareness or some children "helped" me when I was in the garage getting something - it's undetermined which).




I almost channeled Farmer McGregor, and this rabbit is heretofore named Peter Rabbit, but I was able to get the green beans re-planted because the roots were intact, so we'll see how it goes. Bunnies gotta' burrow, amIright?

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Chicken Soup for the Soul has a ton of topics open for submissions right now, so I thought I'd pass them along again. Each topic has a deadline. July 29 is The Dating Game and Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide is July 31. Pays $200 upon publication.

Interfictions Magazine is seeking entries for their second issue. They're looking for "work that blurs the lines between literary genres" and "pieces that bridge fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose." This edition's deadline is July 31. Pays 5 cents per word for fiction, $20 per poem, 3 cents per word for non-fiction, and $50 for interviews.

Dreamspinner Press has an open call for submissions for two collections. Heartwarming is a fictional romance collection of short stories/novellas intended to be an advent calendar, with stories for each day in December. Deadline is August 1. Dr. Feelgood is for romantic short fiction stories with a medical/physical health theme. Deadline is October 1.

Submissions for the next issue of Blackberry Magazine close August 1. No theme. They take poetry, fiction, non-fiction, artwork, and photography. Blackberry is intended to feature the voices of black women writers and artists. Pays in a digital contributor's copy.

The First Line has their next two themes out. They give you the starting line, you finish it. Fall theme is due August 1. Winter theme is due November 1. Click on the link to view the prompt sentences. Pays $30 for fiction, $20 for non-fiction, plus a contributor copy.

Contests:

Audible, Inc. is presenting the Christopher Doheny Award for writers who have written or are writing a fiction or non-fiction book concerning a struggle with a life-threatening illness, either their own or someone close to them. Deadline is July 31. Prize is $10,000, publication and promotion.

The ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction closes on July 31. The piece should be less than 7500 words and "illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern life. Prize is $3000.

The Tales Pensieve is holding The Virgins Flash Fiction Contest. The deadline is July 31. 100 to 1000 words. They ask you to paint a city as human. Contest is open ONLY to those in India. Prize is a voucher to Uread.com.

Grants: 

World Riot, Inc. is accepting applications for travel grants for small press writers. $100 to $500 will be given to help with travel fees for small press writers traveling to writing events, signings, etc. Please note, there is a $5 processing fee. This is a quarterly grant. This quarter's application deadline is July 31.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Entered any contests or submitted pieces recently? Anyone have submissions updates? Do you have rabbits in your garden?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Spammers...

Dear Spammers,

No, I do not want to post about your swimming pool materials or your iPad headrest. I don't want to test out your eyeglasses (I wear contacts, never glasses). Your products don't appeal to me in any way. I would really like some chocolate right at this moment. Anyone want to send me some for a review? I could use something yummy to snack on. I'd like a million dollars; send me some cash to "sample," wouldja'?

I'm not interested in your guest post about parenting, business, exercise, job searches, fill-in-the-blank. It will just include "one little applicable link?" That's all? Oh, golly gee whiz, I'd be glad to let you sell a product on my blog with a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with reading, writing, movies, photography, or anything I could even pretend to be interested in.

What? You love my blog? You think it is well-written? You were turned onto it by a friend? Then how is it you've never READ the damn thing? When the beginning content of your email is no better than the Anonymous posts I've already blocked, you should move on.

No thanks, I have no capacity to even try to be interested in that b.s. you'd like to "sponsor" on my blog. Sponsor this:

by Robert Dillon, clker.com
You'd like me to post a Google map image you've made of x, y, or z? And you were drawn to me for this because...?

Want my help? Actually have read my blog. Offer me something that has to do with the topics I discuss here, not something that has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm interested in, or what my readers are interested in. Pay attention to what I've said IN MY BIO on the side of the page about what I will or will not do. And don't LIE TO ME about being a reader/fan/follower when it is quite obvious that YOU ARE NOT. And don't expect me to post what you want me to post. I'll try your product that has to do with reading or writing (MAYBE), and I'll post a fair review of it (IF I SO CHOOSE), but I am not here to sell out and be your ad-crony.

Should I be flattered that I've reached a point where I get constant spam concerning my blog? Did I pass some magical threshold of awesomeness that brought this down on my head? You know what the irritating part is? When I've written back to someone because it wasn't as much dissociated spam, and I've told them I'm not interested and only post such and such, I've had people write back and argue. When I try to ignore emails, they will persist and email me over and over and over until I finally reply with a simple "Not interested," (and even then, many of those people will CONTINUE to harangue me or will join the arguing crowd).

RUDE. INVASIVE.

ENOUGH!

How do you guys handle all the spam and unrelated requests? Do you find it funny or irritating? How do you reply (or do you)? Is it time for me to put up a tab with a specific list of what I will and will not do so I can just reply to them with the link? You can't argue with a link, right? It won't talk back. Then again, they probably still won't read it. Do I need to remove my bloody email??

Tell me about the weirdest email you've received about your blog, spam or otherwise!

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Elk Nuts & Links

I still haven't had a chance to go through the photos from my trip, so how about an infantile sampling?


Elk nuts? Actually, while we all know this means they sell elk AND nuts, hubby brought a gag gift back from Australia on one of his first business trips: a little bag made from kangaroo scrotum. So elk nuts really wouldn't be unrealistic. Also, this is the land of Rocky Mountain Oysters (look it up if you're not sure what that is).

The vast majority of my other photos are looking good, though! And they're scenic ones, not goofy ones like this one, with the exception of a few. I got some great photos of a gorgeous elk buck, along with a huge herd of elk up at the peak of one of the mountains. We also sat in a nasty thunderstorm, which apparently triggered a tornado down here over Pikes Peak. We missed it, but my dad got pictures. Insane once in a lifetime thing! (One hopes).

Okay, enough babbling. I'm a bit wired because I just got done with my first night at my CNA course. I could squirrel at you all day, but it's time for links. (Yes, I said squirrel. You know, like in Up: "Squirrel!" Highly distractible).

Free Online Workshop:

David Corbett presented a workshop for Pikes Peak Writers. You can view this 2 hour workshop absolutely free online, and it is most definitely worth the time! The workshop is The Outer Limits of Inner Life: Bringing Characters to Life by Looking Within.

Accepting Submissions:

Emby Press has several upcoming anthologies about monster hunters: Blood Trails is looking for your standard monster hunter as part of a trilogy of anthologies, with a deadline of August 15; Doomsday seeks monster hunters with a focus on an apocalyptic scenario, an outbreak, an epidemic, with a deadline of September 15; The Dark Monocle seeks steampunk monster hunters, with a deadline of October 15. All pay $25.

Alaska Quarterly Review seeks short fiction, fiction novel excerpts, poems, short plays, literary non-fiction, and photo essays. They do not open for submissions until August 15.

Descant is taking part in the 25 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with an issue following the theme of Berlin. Pays $100 honorarium. Seeking fiction, poetry, essays, and art. Deadline August 16.

Horrified Press is accepting submissions for Until the End, an anthology featuring short and flash fiction based on a couple left behind in the apocalypse. Deadline August 20. Pays in royalties. May consider poetry. They're also seeking submissions for Tales of the Undead - Suffer Eternal, Volume III. Deadline August 25. Pays in royalties.

Chuffed Buff Books seeks poetry for Poetry and the City. Deadline August 31. Pays £4 per poem.

Wolf Willow Journal has four editions of their literary journal each year. They're thematic, but will accept things that don't follow the theme. Macabre Symphony will be their October 2013 edition. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, artwork, and photography. Fall reading period ends August 31. Pays $20 for short fiction and creative non-fiction. Pays $10 for flash, photography, poetry, and art (cover art pays $20).

Grant:

Live in Brampton? The Brampton Arts Council offers a grant to writers of any kind, as long as their ultimate goal is publication. Amount varies. Deadline August 29.

Of Interest:

Rise 365 put out a piece by Claudia Good entitled 10 Things No One Told You About Being a Writer.

Interested in any of these? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.


















Monday, July 15, 2013

How Early is Too Early?

Hi! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Captain Technology and I got a weekend away without the minis. We went up to Estes Park and stayed in a cabin. Hubby knows me so well he even brought the movie The Cabin in the Woods, because he knew I'd want to watch it. We should have grabbed Evil Dead, too. What better way to watch?!

I'm hoping I nabbed some good photos in Rocky Mountain National Park to share on Wednesdays, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and look since I got back.

Onto the topic! I've been trying to figure out the timing on author sites and head shots. See, I was asked to submit a head shot with the short story that will be published next spring. What I've got in the form of a head shot is the photo on this blog, in which I'm not even wearing makeup (I usually don't), and it most certainly isn't a professional head shot. I've had to give head shots for guest posts and profiles and the like, and this is the one I give. The funny thing is, this photo was taken because my daughter wanted me to take it. She liked the butterfly in my hair. It doesn't even pretend to be a real head shot.

But it feels weird to get a professional head shot at this time. I guess I always viewed them as being for the covers of book jackets. You get a head shot when you've made it big, not when you have one short story coming out. It feels...presumptuous.

Also feeling presumptuous is the thought of creating an author website. I keep hearing that I should already have an author page on Facebook, an author website, an author everything. That I shouldn't be using my blog as the site (I do own thewarriormuse.com), but should have a site in my own name. In other words, it's time to start establishing "my brand." I've started doing that with my blog, but haven't done that as just me.

I have a built-in web design guy, right here in this very house, so the moment I decide to jump on that particular bandwagon, I can make it happen. But is now really the time? I've got one flash fiction piece in an anthology, and one short story that isn't even out yet and that I have no promotional materials for. I haven't even made the time to submit anything else since I submitted that particular short story this past winter, so until I "get off my arse" and make that happen, I don't have anything else coming out to cover.

So my question is, how early is too early for head shots and author sites? I think I've answered my own question on the head shots. I found a photographer I'll probably go to, who did the head shots of a local author friend. If I'm going to have a presence on the web, whether it be author or blog, or both, I should probably have a professional head shot, no? I was just going to take it myself, using my camera remote, but my research did turn up compelling arguments for having a fully professional head shot done, rather than ones done even by a good friend who dabbles in photography, for instance. (By the way, if you're looking into this same thing, there's a ton out there on the interwebs with tips for this sort of thing.)

However, the web sites and Facebook seem too early to me. What exactly am I going to be promoting? I'd connect it to my blog, of course, but what else? Then again, maybe it would give me the incentive I need to get back out there and start submitting again. I've thought about starting a couple little fun things based on characters or story lines. For my Urban Fantasy, I could probably post information on cryptozoological beasties. It's not that I don't have ideas, but I wonder how effective any of it will be without more to promote.

What's your opinion? Do you have an author site on Facebook and Twitter, and an author website? What do you put on it? How early did you set it up? Or do you just use your blog as your website for the time being? Have you had professional head shots taken?

P.S. I start my five-week CNA training course tomorrow. Wish me luck!

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - A View From Above & Links

We hiked up Helen Hunt Falls the other day, amidst a lovely light drizzle (feels magnificent on a 90-some degree day!) I thought I'd share the view from near the top.


Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing has two anthology calls out. Cirque D'Obscure is a a dark circus anthology. Deadline July 31. The Cogs of Time is a steampunk anthology. Deadline October 31. Pay unknown.

The July theme for Crossed Genres is Favors (gifts with consequences). Deadline is July 31. The August theme is Young Adult, with a deadline of August 31. Pays 5 cents per word.

Wily Writers Audible Fiction has three themes available for dark fiction short stories: psychological horror, military, and overall speculative fiction. Deadline July 31. Selected stories will be published in text and audio file. 5 cents per word.

The Virginia Quarterly Review seeks poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction. Deadline August 1. Pays $200 per poem or .25 cents per word.

Cleis Press has a call out for submissions of erotica to Men of the Manor: Erotic Encounters Between Upstairs Lords & Downstairs Lads. Deadline August 1. Pays $50 and 2 contributor copies.

Burning Book Press is seeking submissions for their Best Men's Erotica 2014 anthology. Deadline August 1. Pays $25.

World Weaver Press is seeking submissions for a Krampus anthology (yet to be named). Krampus is St. Nick's nasty associate, who comes along to punish children deserving of some discipline. Pays $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology.

The Sleepers Almanac, No. 9 is seeking submissions. Closes August 4. Pay unknown.

Contests:

Notting Hill Editions is offering the William Hazlitt Essay Prize, a contest seeking the best English-language essay. Prize is £15,000, with 5 runner-ups at £1,000. Deadline is August 1. Any nationality, any topic, as long as it is in English.

Of Interest:

The Review Review published an article by Lynne Barrett, entitled "What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines." A thorough article with good information.

Gotten any outdoor time this week? Hiking or camping? Time at the beach or in the mountains? Any of these publications you're interested in? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Submission Tracking

You know how every little once in awhile you get a phone call from someone, pick up the phone, and they ask, "Who is this?" It makes no sense, right? THEY called you. Shouldn't they know who they were calling?

I sort of had that experience with the contest I was chairing. Only I wrote to someone to let them know they hadn't placed in the contest, and I got a response back saying, "Who is this again? I don't remember submitting anything to you? Do you know what my piece was called?"

Huh?

By OCAL, clker.com

I had written the name of the organization, as well as the contest, several times in the email, so I was really confused as to why they simply didn't look it up. Plus, this person had paid to be in the contest (there was an entry fee), so there were multiple ways to track. PayPal, for one. The website. Their outgoing emails.

It made me wonder just how many contests this person was entering! I mean, props to them for submitting and submitting and submitting, if that is the case. However, if they're submitting that many pieces, maybe they should be keeping track in some way. Do you really want to write to an editor, for instance, and ask, "Who is this?" Probably not. Of course, I'm no editor, so this didn't impact them professionally, but if they weren't keeping track of paid contest entries, there's a good chance they're not keeping track of other submissions.

For me, I keep an Excel spreadsheet with the date of submission, title of submission piece, who I've submitted it to, their response period (if this is listed), their website, their email, and the editor's name. I then have tabs where I move it if I get a rejection or acceptance. This helps me keep track of those I've submitted to, and insures I won't have a mind spasm and re-submit the same piece to the same place. Given, I'm not submitting so many things that this is likely to happen (in fact, I haven't submitted since the piece that got accepted), so this shouldn't be an issue for me.

I also keep the copy of the piece I sent in within a folder called "Stories Submitted," so I always have the proper version and formatting sitting there to check, if need be. And I file the email in a folder for submissions, so I know what bio and information I sent. Overkill? Maybe. But it came in handy when I needed to notify one publication that another had accepted a story that was a simultaneous submission between the two. I was able to pull up the email and contact the appropriate person. Shew!

I'm wondering just how many people keep track of their submissions, and how they do so. Do you send it and forget it? Do you keep a record of it? What's your process for keeping track of your submissions? Do you include contests in that? Have you ever received an acceptance or rejection from someone you didn't remember submitting to?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Bad Trucks, IWSG, & Links

Today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is just a funny sign I drove by (for some reason, my cell phone tinges photos blue, like the Moonshine Express photo last week):


Yes, please, those of you driving trucks, do try to avoid the sidewalks...

Today is also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh!


While I have plenty of insecurities, the one I was most worried about this month was a love scene I had written, my first ever. For a week, I refused to turn it into my critique group, but finally closed my eyes and sent away. The feedback I got was great, and I feel better about it now! I find sex/love scenes to be the scariest thing to write, and have avoided them until now.

However, I'm still feeling insecure as to whether I'll be keeping the scene in. If not, I'll have to save it for a more opportune time. I'm just not certain about having a love scene in the second chapter. I didn't plan on putting it there, but it just happened. Events seemed to naturally lead to the scene. The character other than my MC actually doesn't show up in the rest of the book (except maybe at the end, which is not yet written), so I'm questioning the point of the scene, and whether I should remove it, keep things as is, or bring the other character more thoroughly into the story (which has been requested by my critique group!).

Decisions, decisions, decisions. What do you think? Is the 2nd chapter too early for a love scene in an urban fantasy?

Thank you to the co-hosts today:  Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans, and Heather Gardner!

And now, for links.

Accepting Submissions:

Burial Day Books is seeking short stories set in one of the following places: cemetery, funeral home, morgue, haunted house, active or abandoned hospital/mental institution, active or abandoned juvenile or adult correctional facility/prison. These stories will be in a Gothic Blue Book, similar to the follow-up to chapbooks back in the day. Deadline July 19. $25 token payment and 2 contributor copies.

Long Hidden is a speculative fiction anthology being funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. They're still seeking short stories through July 31. They welcome writing from anyone, but are especially interested in writing from those in marginalized groups. Pays 5 cents per word.

Dark Opus Press is seeking short fiction submissions based on Grimm's Fairy Tales for their Tell Me A Fable anthology. Pays 1 cent per word, plus a contributor copy. Deadline July 31.

Alban Lake Publishing is seeking submissions for their quarterly MG magazine, FrostFire Worlds. Open submissions throughout the year. Pays $15 for original stories, $3 for original poems, $6 for illustrations, $10 for articles.

Mantle Lane Press is seeking fiction from authors in the East Midlands area, or with an East Midlands setting. Pays in scaled royalty. Deadline July 15.

Contests:

Kazka Press's 713 Flash Contest is now in its July open window. Deadline July 20. The current theme is Sax & Violins (and Other Tales of Music). Pays $10 per story.

Fleeting Books and Wrecking Ball Press are holding the No Cheap Tricks: Rules for Writers Competition. They're looking for a one-line rule for writers. If your rule wins, you'll be in their book, plus win 100 pounds.

Conferences:

The Writer's Digest Conference is being held September 27-29, in Los Angeles. Early Bird registration ends July 19, at which time the price will increase by $50.

Of Interest:

You can view the Write Brain workshop (about 90 minutes long) presented for Pikes Peak Writers this month by Jennifer Lovett on Facebook and Twitter for Authors for free! If you like what she has to say, you might want to check out her website featuring PR, writing, and marketing tips for authors.

For you Trekkies out there, how about 4 Things Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing.

Anything you're interested in? How early is too early for a love/sex scene? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Why Horror?

I've just come off a busy weekend with two great events, both horror related. We don't do a lot of those, because the horror writer population seems to be smaller than, say, YA or mystery or romance or any number of other genres, all seemingly more fleshed out than that of horror writers, at least here in Colorado Springs. Perhaps my fellow horror writers are just underground? Who knows?

On Friday, we showed Cabin in the Woods, with commentary by Stephen Graham Jones. In fact, you can read his intro and outro HERE. Cabin in the Woods has become one of my favorite movies. I've watched it over and over, yet I still get that gleeful thrill when the elevators ding. I remember an MTV Movie Awards I watched one year where they gave an award out for the best tool used to scare. I don't remember the exact terminology of it, but it was things like the cat that jumps out at the guy roaming through the haunted house, or the phone that lets out a shrill ring and makes the girl scream. In my opinion, the ding of the elevators wins, hands down. The first time I heard that ding, a huge grin spread across my face. I knew something good was coming.

But why the grin? Why the thrill? Why is it that horror is something I react to in that way? I'm not the only one, so why do people want that scare? I definitely want the scare. If I don't give away a cheap jump, I'm disappointed. If I crawl into bed that night and don't have that moment where I consider leaving the lights on, I feel let down. And I think people who don't feel the same misunderstand. They think I'm not afraid of the movies or the books, when I AM. I WANT to be scared. I want to spend the rest of the night running through the possible scenarios in my head, looking behind my chair as I sit alone in the dark.

It's an escape, certainly. For me, I think that when I'm most drawn to horror is when I have something I need to get away from. The real horrors in this world aren't bogey monsters, werewolves, zombies, angry molesting trees (my favorite on "the board..." what's yours?). The real horrors are sickness, violence against others, war, death, heart ache. These horrors become too much, but a safe scare pushes them into the dusty corners for just a little while. A good horror movie makes those real horrors hide in shame, shove their faces down into shadows.

A horror movie/book scare has no real consequences. My heart pounds, my breathing quickens, and for that moment I feel alive, more alive than I was while sitting at my computer, while grocery shopping, while running errands. It makes me feel happy to be alive, happy to be living in my [mostly] safe little world.

And that's why I enjoy scaring other people so much, giving them a glimpse into the twisted maze that is my mind. I write horror, because I want others to feel the pleasure of the scare if, in fact, they like it as much as I do. Even a portion as much as I do. I want them to feel as alive and energized as I do when I've gotten a good scare. I want them to get goosebumps, feel their scalps shrink up in terror. When I write a story in the middle of the night that has me backing up against a wall with my laptop just to keep going and to kill my spine's urge to crawl up into my brain, I can hope at least one other person feels the same way when they read it.

I guess that's why horror...



What's your favorite moment in Cabin in the Woods? Your favorite monster from the movie (see the board above)? What's your favorite monster ever? Do you like to be scared? Why or why not?

May you find your Muse.