Wednesday, December 31, 2014
My son came through surgery fine on Monday. We'll all be happy to get to sleep through the night once we're done dosing him with pain killers every three hours. In fact, I'm sitting here, finally having gotten to sit down to write this post, as I wait to give him the next dose in 90 minutes so I can go to bed. Clark II gets the early A.M. shift.
Now for some links! Always do your due diligence to check out publications before you submit to them. I'm simply passing along links, and have not researched them.
Splickety Publishing Group wants your flash fiction for Splickety Prime, dealing with crime stories. This is for the March issue. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline January 9.
Inaccurate Realities is looking for YA speculative fiction stories of 2000-7000 words. Current theme is "love." Token payment of $15-25. Deadline January 15.
Dark Hollows Press is seeking short stories for individual release in February. Minimum of 10,000 words. Pays $50 per story. Deadline January 17.
Story of the Month Club accepts short stories of 3000-10,000 words. Speculative fiction (though it doesn't look like they take horror.) Pays $20 or a one year subscription. Deadline January 30.
Crossed Genres next theme is "Failure." Short stories of science fiction and/or fantasy. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline January 31.
Farolight Publishing is seeking horror short stories that are too long to be short stories, but too short to be novellas. 8,000-15,000 words. These will be made into Cutting Block Books, given professional cover art, and published individually on Amazon for $.99. Pays $.03/word. Deadline January 31.
Breaking Fate Publishing wants dark fiction. 1000-15,000 words. Next open anthology is "The Dead Walk," a zombie anthology. Pays in contributor copies. Deadline January 31.
Hydra Publications wants your dystopian short stories for an anthology. 1000-7500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline January 31.
Witty Bard Publishing is holding a Romance Short Story Competition. 1000-9000 words. Prizes include publication in an anthology and royalty shares (making this less a contest and more a call for submissions.) Deadline January 17.
The Chicago Tribune is sponsoring the Nelson Algren Literary Awards. Grand prize is $3500, plus possible publication in the Tribune. Deadline January 31.
Have you taken your Christmas lights down yet? (We always do after the 1st.) Did you drive around this year looking at light displays? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
BUY & TBR LINKS
BOOK 1 (Going Off Dreams) BUY LINKS
GIFT OF ESCAPE
Opening my eyes the images surrounding me were blurry and unfocused. Not knowing where I was, made me feel sick within the pit of my stomach and threatening to escape. My heart was in competition, feeling as if it were going to burst through my chest along with my breathing; it was catching in my lungs like knives.
Surveying the scene, items started making some sense. When my eyes focused, I could make out the dark room with the help of the soft glow from the lights above me. I knew I had returned. I was back in Arden’s Hut, something didn’t feel right though, I was alone. Immediately I moved my hand to feel the sheets on the bed next to me, only feeling empty fabric and coldness where I expected warmth.
My feet met the cool wooden floor as I searched the small quarters along with the connecting bathroom. He wasn’t anywhere, no note, no sign of him ever being there. My heart plummeted in a swan dive directly to the pit of my stomach, this felt all too real and familiar. The emptiness and dread, as if the darkness would swallow me whole was threatening to entrap my consciousness. Commotion from the hallway broke the threatening fear.
Not being able to hear what was going on; I crept toward the huge thick door. Carefully, I maneuvered my toes on the floor, not to wake the creaky boards beneath me. When I heard a familiar voice say “Get Nyx, we’ll have to tell her.” The knock at the door was a little shocking, making my already erratic breathing nearly stop all together.
Drawing a deep breath in I cracked the door peaking out, my eyes focused on the dark silhouette, light that was being filtered from behind her somewhere. As my eyes adjusted more I could associate the name with the being; Arden. She was one of the first entities I met here in this realm.
While it was dark and perilous there was a sense that there could be more, quite a weird sensation of both hesitation and promise. I knew there were threats possibly lurking in the shadows and yet I also had formed friendships and allies with some unique and wonderful beings here. While the threat was prominent I also felt secure and a sense of being home.
When I first met Arden I had seen her materialize on the edge of a mystical forest, which seemed like a lifetime ago. Her hair, black as the night that plagued Tartarus, and her eyes a mystic violet. She reminded me of a Native American goddess. She had the fighting skills of Qamait; goddess of war with the Nuxalk Nation. Her body looks sculpted like a well-trained assassin, fit with curves to draw any male prey. With her enchanted bow and her whip KiKi to aid in her quests, she was magnificent and wicked to witness in battle.
Arden was more of an older sister figure. Within minutes of meeting her I felt a sense of shared spiritual security within our devotion and dedication to those we hold near to us. Plainly put, I liked Arden. She was usually in better spirits though. Now her face was serious and worried which in turn worried me further and only added to my desperation.Looking at her through the entrance to my bedroom chamber, the light flickered from the candles in the hallway flirting with her skin enhancing her natural beauty. She said, “Nyx, you’ll need to come with me.”
“What’s going on?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer as she walked up toward the main hall.
The main room in Arden’s Hut consisted of wooden walls that reminded me of the consistency and texture like beavers had whittled the wood. Complete opposite, the floors were smooth and reminded me of a clean chopped tree displaying its many rings of life. When you looked above you could see smoke escaping through a fashioned hide-stretched ceiling. In the middle of the room a roaring fire encompassed by rocks that protect the many pillows thrown about – to which Arden would resort to throwing at guests when the opportunity presented itself. Her hut was comforting and inviting; when you took a deep breath in you could detect all the wonders and smells of the forest, which to me were delightful. You could also tell that her home had been around for a long time. Arden is a direct descendent of the Arduinnian Clan, who are known as the Guardians of the Forest, direct descendent of Diana, goddess of the hunt.
Upon entering Arden’s main room, my stomach immediately wrenched into a horrid knot. Zhou was laying lifelessly on the floor. This made my insides crawl knowing how powerful a fighter he is. Immediately I started contemplating what could have caused this serious condition.
Arden must have been hurting even more so. She had developed a relationship with Zhou and this only increased my concern. Arden, the true warrior that she is, was being strong for everyone. A painful lump was pressing against my throat and my eyes were pleading to cry. If Arden was holding it together, so could I.
I always liked Zhou, and I was sad to see him like this. He was still wearing his electric dark blue pants, with an equally dark purple shirt, and with the red streak in his black hair made him look intriguing. I never understood his fashion statements. I respected him though, as a fighter, a friend, and ally. With Zhou’s New Age fashion sense, it made him seem like he wasn’t from this dimension. Tartarus was more of a realm set with foliage. His choices in wardrobe against Arden’s more naturalistic approach made them both look mismatched. Seeing them together usually made me smile but, not now—Zhou was a Fenghuang, a shape shifting fire bird, more precisely a fiery phoenix. While he was very skilled in both his forms he is more powerful when he is in his phoenix form. He’s always eager for a fight. Zhou is like that big brother pulling you in to give you a noogie to remind you of the status quo. I’m afraid this time though, the fight won.
A healer Hikmat had his hands on Zhou’s forehead and chest, his eyes closed in concentration, meditating over Zhou’s lifeless body. I didn’t know Hikmat as well as some of the others in the room, I had met him only recently, and I knew he was a healer of sorts. He was a wizard when it pertained to plants, potions, and concoctions. He was a Tobar Segais like Tobar, meaning he possessed wisdom. His eyes stayed closed while his hands remained on Zhou.
Thinking of Tobar made my stomach dive even deeper. As if my stomach detached from the warm blood circulation within my body and plummeted toward the depths of despair— my mind reconnected with another concern that had me riddled right before seeing Zhou on the floor. Tobar, he was missing from our room and if Zhou was lying on the floor defeated… Tobar was an equal opponent.
Tobar was the one that introduced me into the realm. He was the one that my heart connected with and I felt drawn toward, like no other before him. A truly deep soul connection, without him next to me I felt as though a part of my being was missing. He had given me refuge from myself, I felt safe when I was with him. Without him, the danger lurking within the darkness here seemed more prominent and threatening.
With the thought of him not in sight intensified the sinking feeling that had pressed so deeply south. It began to rise more rapidly back up. I had to place my hand over my mouth to reel in my senses.
Arden kneeled down next to Zhou as closely as she could. She gently brushed her cheek against his in an intimate gesture. The room felt as if all the oxygen leaving vacuumed sealed the room, extinguishing the fire, and even the warm inside my body as I felt a sudden chill. Suffocating, I watched as she then placed her lips upon his with a soft wanting kiss. Arden’s eyes began to fill with emotion. I felt for her, as the tears sparkling against her skin escaped their confines and splashed against Zhou’s skin below. She placed her hands on his as she prayed silently.
Seeing her in such distress only made the situation feel more dire. I too bowed my head and closing my eyes.
Desperately I began to pray for Tobar’s safety and Zhou’s recovery. Please Lord, deliver Tobar back to us safely and lay your healing hands upon Zhou; as we so desperately need You now. I pray for those that have made their move against us. They’ll wish they had never been in existence once I finish with them…
My concentration broke off when Avlov and Enki joined us then. They both had bowls in their hands that contained some healing elements. Enki took Avlov’s and kneeled next to Hikmat on Zhou’s other side. Enki and I had only met recently as well. He was known as Lord of the Earth, meaning he had control over the elements and its constituents.
A Wieven, Avlov is also known as a Wise Woman. She has a vast knowledge of healing salves, rituals and how to use the elements for their benefit. She has fierce white eyes that match her white hair and almost a hipster outfit. I always liked Avlov because she wore converses.
The group that was working on Zhou, the healers, are much like those that wield magic. They can manipulate matter and they have a vast knowledge that helps them in their aiding processes. To watch them in action definitely feels like you were experiencing magic in a true form.
Touching my shoulder, Avolv broadcasted a message using her telepathy, “Nyx, I need to talk to you, please come with me over to the table.” Leading me over, she verbally asked “Have you seen Tobar?”
I was on the verge of tears, there was still so much that remained unanswered, and if Zhou was hurt—I could barely articulate “No, I woke up to an empty room, a cold bed and I couldn’t find him anywhere.” My chest flet like it was going to combust.
Arden had joined us and she put her hand around my shoulders to give me a half-hug “We’ll get these—”
But Avlov interrupted her and said, “I think we should get Nyx up to speed with what’s going on.”
Zhou began to stir making some noises and we all ran to his side. I felt so bad that he had to suffer so much. He opened his eyes and found Arden’s first, she took his hands in hers. Then he found mine and started to speak, weakly saying “I don’t… know… what… happened.”
Enki spoke up and said that Zhou had taken Xylo, the captured dryad we were interrogating, some refreshments for when she would wake up.
Zhou continued, “I opened her door… the next thing I knew I was… laying here.”
Hikmat told Zhou that he needed to rest. We gathered pillows as they propped him up, attempting to give him some comfort. Hikmat gave Zhou another potion, this time it was clear. What was it? How easily we were to trust. After he drank it, he smiled before his eyes closed and he was back asleep.
“So where’s Tobar?” I asked plainly.
Everyone looked alarmed. The sick feeling returned and now there was an alarming amount of pressure on my chest. I could sense something bad was coming. It was just around the corner, lingering there like a poisonous snake waiting to strike, taking me down with its dread and despair.
Avlov came to my side, she could be frightening to look at in the eye. Tobar mentioned before she was also known as the White Witch, I guess when you’ve been in existence as long as someone like Avlov has been, you can acquire a few nick names here and there.
She offered me some tea but I refused it, especially since I know how loopy her tea could make me feel. No doubt she added a little something extra to the liquid concoctions to help ease the soul in times of stress or high anxiety. Which would actually be great right about now but, I need my wit about me.
Arden came over to me and put her hands upon my shoulders again. Looking me directly in the eyes she said “We can’t find him.” My chest felt like it burst into flames. My body went limp, and I felt like I was falling. Everything went black.
In the mortal realm of Earth, she’s known as Katheryn, Eryn for short. She works within the local school system which means she doesn’t get paid as much as she should. Living on a tight budget, she recruited her younger sister Lean to move in with her. Eryn also has a dog named Bryan and an old fat cat named Smokie. She’s never been too lucky in love but, recently she found a man that isn’t put off by her distance; not to mention Lena really pushes for her older sister to loosen up more.
Before he disappeared, Tobar was a Segais, he had powers of a particular kind; he knew everything. His friends in Tartarus teased him that he was a “Mr. Know-it-all”. This always was useful with the woman that he loves, Nyx. He has a gentle soul and someone you would definitely want to cuddle with. However, after he’s taken his world changes when Lilith and Xylo nearly mutilate him turning him for their own dark purposes. With his new vampirism needs, things get complicated quickly. One good thing, now both Tobar and Nyx are immortal but, with immortality comes other obstacles of their own.
To learn more about the various characters visit http://goingoffdreams.blogspot.com
AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS
Thank you for stopping by!
May you find your Muse.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Wait. Heavily armed men? This can't be set in the past I was thinking of.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
While A Christmas Story is probably my favorite non-horror holiday film, there are other films that pop into my head when the sweet scent of cinnamon and pumpkin mingles with the earthy smell of pine. Those holiday jingles typically bring to mind a different sort of scene, one that mingles the merriest time of the year with something darker.
What about some horror for the holidays?
It can't all be ooey-gooey romances, family dramas, and films for kids.
Let's start with a little horror lite: Gremlins. Both Gremlins films are set during the holidays. Gizmo is, after all, a Christmas gift.
The holiday factors throughout the movie, with decorations galore. And in the end, the gremlins unleash mischief across town on Christmas Eve.
Fun Fact: The movie was originally intended to be more dastardly, but it was decided to keep it family friendly. No slaughtering dogs, turning the beloved main character green, or throwing mom's head bouncing down the steps. I must say, I think I prefer it the way they did it.
Gremlins is cute, funny, quotable, and, yes, scary at parts. But if you're wanting something a little more horror with just desserts mixed in, your next step should be the 1972 Tales From the Crypt, in which the short "And All Through the House" introduces you to a killer Santa (or an escaped maniac in a Santa suit...whichever.)
Only one of the stories has anything to do with Christmas, but it's one that has stuck with me for quite awhile.
Another choice if you like the idea of a killer Santa is Silent Night, Deadly Night. This one is about a boy who witnesses the murder of his parents by a man in a Santa suit. As a teen, his boss forces him to wear a Santa suit, causing him to spiral into madness, going on a murder spree.
Fun Fact: This was pulled out of theaters after two weeks, despite outselling Nightmare on Elm Street, which opened at the same time, due to an uprising of indignant parents, angry at the advertising and depiction of Santa as a psycho murderer.
I'm going to throw out one more that's more recent. Rare Exports. Unlike the others that involved Santa, this one features the real Santa. And he's not the jolly guy we've been feeding cookies all these years. This film comes to us from Finland, and it's a bit twisted.
If you'd like to look at more Christmas themed horror movies, here's a thorough list of them from Best Horror Movies.
Of course, you could always just horror-ise your other favorites:
Some other movies that don't necessarily fit the bill of the regular, touching or bittersweet Christmas film, but which also aren't horror, make my honorable mentions: Scrooged, Die Hard, A Nightmare Before Christmas.
What's your favorite Christmas movie? Do you like them sappy, funny, childish, action-packed, or scary? Is there a Christmas movie you've absolutely hated?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.
235 pages, FREE
IWSG sites – website, Facebook, and Facebook Critique Circle
Find the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords,Goodreads.
As I recently sunk into the rejection doldrums before climbing back out again, how about Five Things You Can Do to Beat the Rejection Doldrums?
1. Blast some music, sing, dance, and be ridiculous.
2. Talk to a friend. Especially if that friend is a writer/artist.
3. Go for a walk/hike/swim/bike ride. Something that gets you physical and/or relaxes you.
4. Create. Whether that's by writing, painting, playing music (or composing), taking photos, crafting, sewing, crocheting, or whatever other means of creation soothes you.
5. Research the next market and get it back out there.
I was going to do a Top Ten and be goofy, but I decided at the last minute to keep it serious. And I made it short so I could hear what YOU do to beat the doldrums. Let us know how you pull yourself back up after a rejection.
Now for some links. Always do your due diligence in researching a market before submitting to them. I am merely passing these along, and have not done any research into them.
Xchyler Publishing is seeking short story entries. They refer to it as a contest, but I'm putting it here since it's run just like anyone accepting submissions. This is for a steampunk anthology entitled The Strange Island of... Pays in royalties. Deadline December 31. 5,000-10,000 words.
WolfSinger Publications is looking for stories for their Weird Western Anthology. Deadline December 31. Pays $5/story + royalties. 500-10,000 words.
Dark Recesses Press is seeking novella length stories for their anthology A Collection of Untimely Hours. Dark fiction. Deadline December 31. Pays $.03/word. 15,000-25,000 words.
Monkey Star Press is putting together two anthologies on parenting. One on tantrums and babysitters, and one on moms, children, and lack of sleep. Essays, creative non-fiction, flash memoir, poems, top ten lists, dos and don'ts, humor, or inspiration. Deadline December 31. Pays $25-200. Up to 2000 words.
Black Beacon Books wants your stories about lighthouses and beacons. Deadline December 31. Pays $20 per story. 3,000-25,000 words.
Upper Rubber Boot Books is seeking submissions for their museum anthology: The Museum of All Things Awesome and That Go Boom. Deadline January 4. Pays royalties. Up to 10,000 words per story or 100 lines per poem.
Jitter Press is seeking horror-themed poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Token payment. Open submissions (no deadline.) 1500 word limit for fiction/non-fiction, 100 line limit for poetry.
Caesura accepts poetry year-round. Pays $20 per poem. Poems under 60 lines preferred.
Nightlight Reading is holding a short story contest with the theme Adventure. Aimed at 10-12 year old boys to keep them interested in reading. Deadline December 31. Up to 5000 words. First prize is $1000, plus publication.
Stage of Life has a monthly contest. 100 words or less. Prizes are gift cards from sponsors. The contest is split out by life stages, such as high school, college, married without children, etc.
Have you picked up your copy of the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond? Why not when it's free? What are your insecurities? How do you handle rejection doldrums? Any of the publications above interest you? Anything to share?
May you find you Muse.
Monday, December 1, 2014
There was a post on Facebook the other day about what books you read over and over, and I was surprised how many people said they never read books more than once. Now, there are plenty of books I'll never read again, but I have several I've read over and over again. I'm curious about what others have to say. Do you read books over and over again? If so, which ones do you read most?
Some of the books I've read multiple times include The Hobbit, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Lord of the Flies, The Gunslinger, It, The Shining, The Stand, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter (though this one is only because I read it with my kiddos as they get old enough), The Secret Garden, and probably a bunch more I'm not thinking about right now. What about you?
2014 Goals--Checkup to see how much I need to do before the end of the year.
- Finish novel #2.
- Edit novel #1.
Submit at least three short stories.
- Work out a better schedule (this is a perpetual goal...and one I never seem to achieve.)
Spend more time writing. Do something writing-related that makes me nervous. Example: Submit to a pro-paying market I think I stand no chance of getting into. Write something different than what I typically write. For instance, a genre I don't dabble in typically. Romance? Erotica? Steampunk?
Endless Book Tour
PURCHASE IT HERE
What do you think of the Endless cover? The excerpt? Do you read books multiple times or only once? Which books do you repeat read or have you read more than once? How did you do with NaNo? Your personal goals? Are you on track for your 2014 goals? Do you review your goals before the end of the year to catch up?
May you find your Muse.