Friday, December 18, 2015

Horror List Book Review: Dead in the Water

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling andM.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 Dead in the Water, by Nancy Holder.

I can't believe it's been over a month since I did one of these. Whoops!

Happily, I can say this was another one I enjoyed. The opening section was written in second person and detailed what it was like to drown. An intense introduction to a story about a group of people whose ship goes down, and who are picked up by a boat that is somehow...wrong.

There's no new ground broken with this story, but the characters are interesting, their voices easily distinguishable. I cared about a few of the characters (others I was indifferent toward, some I wanted to cease and desist). Donna, a female cop, was the character I was most invested in, and the voice that began to prevail as we got deeper into the story. The pacing was good. The peril was serious. And no one was safe from the Big Bad. No one.

There were some good creepy moments, and the tension was well done. Plus, it's a bit of a roller coaster, though I can't say how, because it would give things away. So much hope and peril wrapped up together.

A few times it seemed overwritten, the details a mite too dramatic. There were voice overs, of a sort, that waffled between intriguing and too much. But I was involved enough that these didn't distract me much from the story.

This was a quick read for me, because I wanted to see how it would wrap up for a couple of the characters, and how they would escape. 

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)
5. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
6. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
7. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
9. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
10. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
11. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
12. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
13. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
14. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
15. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
16. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
17. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury)
18. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
19. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
20. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
21. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell)
22. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)

I have no idea what the next book will be, but I just bought several, so we'll see what speaks to me.

Ever read this? Or anything by Nancy Holder? What did you think?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Just the Links, Ma'am

Straight to the links today.

Accepting Submissions:

ChappyFiction is accepting submissions for a time travel anthology. Science fiction and fantasy. 7000 words or less. Pays $.06/word. Deadline January 1.

The 3288 Review is accepting submissions of any genre for their February issue. Fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, poetry, photography, visual arts, reviews. Pay is between $25 and $75. Deadline January 15.

Tree Lion Press is accepting submissions for a long-distance running anthology. Speculative fiction. 500-10,000 words. Pays $5 advance + royalties. Deadline January 15.

Rattle is accepting submissions for their summer issue, with the theme Los Angeles. Poetry and artwork. Pays $50 per poem. Deadline January 15.

Outlook Springs is accepting stories set in the quaint small town of Outlook Springs, which exists in an alternate dimension. Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Up to 7500 words. Pays $10 to $25. Deadline January 15.

Liminal Stories is accepting submissions of stories that are strange and unsettling. Will consider any genre. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline January 15.

The Sun is accepting fiction, essays, interviews, and poetry. Pays between $100 and $2000. Up to 7000 words.

The Lovecraft eZine is accepting submissions Lovecraftian and Cthulhu mythos fiction. Short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Pays between $25 and $50.


Splice Today is holding a political writing contest. 1500-3500 word essays. Cash prizes. Deadline December 31.

Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities is accepting short science fiction stories with a theme of health and medicine. Up to 3000 words. Cash prizes. Deadline February 29.

Are you ready for next week? Got any big plans? Any of these links of use to you? Anything to share? How's your writing going?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Goodreads Author Account

I previously did a post about setting up your Amazon Author Central account. Well, last week I realized I qualified to switch my regular Goodreads account to an author account. It's taken a few steps, but it was pretty simple overall.

You can view my Goodreads author profile, if you want to see what they look like. Click HERE. (And, hey, add me as a friend! I've been going through and adding people, but there's a limit on how many invites you can send out each day. But there's not a limit on requests you can accept!)

Instead of reinventing the wheel and telling you how to set your account up, I figured I'd point you to Goodreads own write-up on it. The information they expected was simple, and being able to send them a link to my Amazon Author Central profile was a help, as well. I sent in the request  in the evening, and it was approved when I got up the next morning.

Once it's approved, you can search out your books and have them added to your profile. Three of my books were instantly added under my name the moment it was converted to an author account. It asked me to confirm, and I did. Easy-peasy.

Three of mine were listed under the name Shannon Kenoyer-Lawrence. One did not have me listed at all. I was able to fix this issue easily by posting to a forum they have for that purpose. THIS LINK will take you to a help page on various issues you may need to resolve with your books. After I posted each issue separately to the forum, one was fixed within minutes, the other within a day. This was another place having the Amazon Author Central account helped things: I was able to put a link proving Amazon had already vetted me on those books. I imagine it would have been more complicated than that if I didn't have this simple proof.

Once I had my books set up, I fixed up my profile by adding photos, updating my profile information, adjusting the settings, connecting my blog to the account so my posts will show up there (you can also create a new blog there,) and all those good things. I then went through and started adding some of my connections, and I joined a couple groups, though finding other groups I'd like to belong to will take some time.

There are a lot of options I'm not utilizing on there yet, such as posting upcoming events and doing giveaways of books. They have author widgets you can put on your blog and Facebook, but I don't think I'll be using those until I have novels out. Though I'm curious as to how others in collections have utilized Goodreads.

I've got a lot more exploring to do, but it's a good start. I'd love to hear how you use it as an author, and any tips you might have!

Do you have your Goodreads author account setup? Do you utilize any of the extra features? If you're in collections with other folks, do you use Goodreads for those, or do you just use it for novels? Have you had any bad experiences on there? Do you have any tips or tricks?

May you find your Muse.

Book image by OCAL,

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Calico Queen & Links

I realized I never posted a picture of my new kitten, Nefertiti, so why not a dose of cuteness today?

We've had Neffie for two months now, so she's about fifty times as large as she was when I took this. Kittens grow insanely fast. She's a calico point Siamese. Did you know a Siamese cat could have calico points? I didn't!

Onto the links!

Accepting Submissions:

Sirens Call Publications has an open call out for the anthology What Dwells Below. Horror involving the creatures that live in city cellars. 4000-8000 words. Pays a flat fee of $25. Deadline January 1.

Alliteration Ink has an open call for their anthology No Shit, There I Was. Speculative fiction. Must start with the title sentence. 2000-7500 words. Will pay $.06/word, contingent upon the Kickstarter. Deadline January 6.

The Non-Binary Review of Zoetic Press is reading for their 8th issue with the theme of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Fiction, creative non-fiction, flash, and hybrid/experimental. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word and $10/poem. Deadline January 8.

Mystery Weekly Magazine is accepting submissions. 1000-10,000 words. Pays a half-cent per word.

Dreams & Nightmares is accepting submissions of speculative fiction. 1-2 single-spaced typed pages. Pays $12, plus contributor copies.


Glimmer Train is holding their Fiction Open Contest. 2000-20,000 words. First place gets $2500. Deadline January 2.

Of Interest:

LANGUAGE WARNING! The Middle Finger posted The Top 20 Most Original Gift Ideas for That F*cking Writer You Know (No, Not a Moleskine). There are some great ideas in there.

Had you heard of calico point Siamese before? Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? What's your favorite gift on the list? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Experiments in Writing - Killer Critters!

I mentioned a story type I've been experimenting with this past Wednesday during the IWSG. The story is experimental in that I've long enjoyed the genre, but I've never written in it. It's a play on the goofy critter horror films, like Tremors and Lake Placid. The idea is fun. The opening scene amuses me. But I realized I'd gotten so focused on figuring out where the story was going that I wrote myself into a corner. I started limping along, struggling with where to go next. And something was missing. What?

So I started thinking about what I like about those movies. And it really boils down to the characters, doesn't it? Those movies are often enjoyable because of a combination of things, but the characters bring it home. Tremors wouldn't exist without Val and Earl. Nobody would have cared enough to stick it out. Though the rest of the characters are quirky, and add quite a bit to the story. Still, Val and Earl make it. And not just one or the other--it's the relationship between them that carries the film. 

Would anyone have stuck it out in Lake Placid without the quick, snarky dialogue between the four main characters? The shocking profanity from Betty White? At least, it was shocking when the movie came out. These days I think we all know she's spunky and not afraid to have fun, but back then she was just Rose (?) to me. Pretty sure I bark-laughed quite a few times during this one.

I've set my story up with two characters that share some snappy dialogue in the beginning, but then I lost that relationship. I buried it while I was trying to get to the next place in the story. Now that I've figured this out, I think I can get somewhere, but it means going back to the second scene in the story and writing fresh from the point where all hell breaks loose. 

In addition, I want to inject more unexpected humor into it. That's something else that's enjoyable in both Tremors and Lake Placid: unexpected humor. Often, inappropriate humor, where the horrific is mixed with something ridiculous. I've put a few details in that are a kick, but I need more. More! Despite the fact that I'm a major smartass in real life, I don't often write that way. Weird, right?

One problem I'm running into is that I haven't actually read any stories like this (specifically, goofy critter horror). I'm taking something I've only experienced in a visual medium, and trying to convert it to a short story. Which is not a horrible roadblock, but I suspect it's at least a sawhorse taking part in the roadblock. An orange cone of doom?

For those of you who enjoy this sort of film, what elements do you think you enjoy the most? Is it the characters? The humor? The pure absurdity? Or something else entirely? What do you seek out when you view one of these? What missing element makes you sad? Have you experimented with your writing lately? How'd it go?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG - All The Doubts! T.B Markinson Releases A Clueless Woman. And Links!

It's the first Wednesday of December, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by the ever supportive Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Anyone can participate. Simply click HERE and sign up! Feel free to share your insecurities, fears, and inspirations having to do with the writing world. Then hop around to visit and support fellow insecure writers.

Also, be sure to hop around and visit our wonderful co-hosts:  Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan,Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell

I was wallowing in self doubt when I realized it was IWSG time. I [thought I had] finished revisions on a story that's been floated through two different critique groups, so I started submitting it. I got a rejection for it today. It was a "good" rejection, in that it was a personal rejection with great feedback on why it was not accepted. It also included an invitation to submit something else, but as I've mentioned before, somehow that always makes me freeze up. I analyze the feedback I got and look for the flaws mentioned in every other story I have available that might fit that publication. If there's a character issue, I start ripping apart my characters, and looking at all the ways they're lacking. If it started too slow or got slow at a certain part, I start freaking out about the other stories, tearing up the pacing in my head. Whatever issue is brought up, I project it onto the other stories.

The timing could have been better, as I was already over-analyzing my writing because of a story I experimented with this month. It's unfinished, despite being 8700 words, so far, which has me wondering if it's right for trying out my first novelette/novella. Or have I just royally screwed it up, and I need to shorten it into a short story? Should I have taken the left at Albuquerque?

Then I started doubting characterization. Do I get deep enough into my characters in short stories, or am I too plot driven? I keep my emotions close to the vest in real I doing that in my stories? Keeping those emotions strapped down and not setting my characters loose to examine them?

Maybe this doubt is inevitable after a two month hiatus from writing. Last month was the first I wrote anything new in months. The last two stories I put through critique group were old stories I pulled out and revised.

When you take a break from writing, purposeful or accidental, do you go through a period of self doubt and questioning your writing? I was flying high when I was getting the writing done. Now I've set it aside for several days, afraid to look at it again, because I think it will take a lot of work to get it to where I want it. It does show promise. Hopefully getting it there won't be as tricky as I fear.

I should say, though, I don't regret trying this experiment. And I will see it to the end. It's just a matter of convincing myself to jump back in and shut that inner editor up.

Time for my stats for the month of November. I do this each IWSG day to keep myself accountable.

Pieces Submitted in November: 12
Pieces Accepted in November: 0
Pieces Rejected in November: 7
Total Pieces Currently on Submission: 12
Publications Pending: 5
Other: 1 publication shut down while I had a submission there; 2 decided to stop accepting submissions, and posted that we should submit elsewhere in the meantime; 1 publication says it will get back to everyone, though it has closed down submissions, but it has been since August since anything was updated on their website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and Duotrope is showing no action since that same time as far as rejections and acceptances, so I am assuming they're actually shut down entirely for now.


Before we get to links today, I want to welcome T.B. Markinson here for her blog tour promoting A Clueless Woman.

Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

About the Author:

T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Purchase Links:

Mailing List:

Get the first book in the series, A Woman Lost, for FREE by signing up to TB’s Readers’ Group here.


Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” If Meg hadn’t been standing right in front of me, I would have recognized her snide tone, even despite the fact that she’d dyed her once-blonde hair a rich, fiery red. “Getting drunk on a school night. Shame on you, Lizzie. What would Dr. Marcel say?” Meg’s companion helped her slip into a coat. Hopefully, that meant they were leaving and pronto.

Approximately 150,000 people lived in Fort Collins, and the one person I didn’t want to bump into ever, let alone with Sarah, was peering down at us.

“Hello,” was all I could force out.

Meg’s gaze wandered over Sarah’s face and upper body before settling on me. “What happened to only drinking at home?” She crossed her arms.

“I’m afraid I’m a bad influence.” Sarah came to my defense.

“I see.” An older man tugged on Meg’s arm. She wore a tight dress—not her usual jeans and J. Crew sweater. And she was with a man—very unusual. “Have a good night, Lizzie.” She turned each Z in my name into a weapon. “Oh, I’ll be calling you to discuss that financial situation you brought up last time.” She gave Sarah a final glare and rolled her eyes. Red-hot anger raged through my mind and body as I clamped my lips together to keep everything bottled inside. How dare she treat Sarah so flippantly?

I counted to ten before I said, “I’m so sorry.”

Sarah’s eyes darted across the room to where Meg and her companion were exiting into the darkness. “Is she a friend?”

I snorted. “Former ...” I’d been about to say girlfriend, but instead added, “acquaintance.”

“I’d use another word for her.”

I let out a rush of air. “Really? What would that be?”


Now for links! Please bear in mind that I am not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a publication or contest.

Accepting Submissions: 

Authors Publish is accepting submissions of essays with the topic of "How I Got My Book Published." Up to 1500 words. Pays $.10/word, up to $65. Deadline December 14. 

Harper Perennial is accepting submissions of essays for their anthology "Not That Bad" about rape culture. This is not just a publication for women. 2500-7500 words. Pay is not specified, but it is a paid publication. Deadline December 15. 

Book Smugglers Publishing is accepting short stories with the theme of Superheroes. Open to all genres (even romance and horror) and age ranges from middle grade up. 1500-17,500 words. Pays $.06/word up to $500. Deadline December 31. 

Fox Spirit is accepting short stories for Respectable Horror. 4000-8000 words. Pays £10, plus contributor copies. Deadline December 31. 

Carte Blanche is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photo essays. Up to 3500 words. Pays an honorarium, though exact amount is not mentioned. Deadline December 31. 

Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things is seeking one story with the theme "The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword" to match the cover of their spring issue. Doesn't specifically mention payment, but I'm in this issue, and it is a paying market. Deadline December 31. 

Apex is accepting submissions for their Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling anthology. Turn speculative fiction on its head. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline December 31. 


Columbia Journalism School is offering the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. $30,000 will be awarded to someone who is already contracted on with an editor for a non-fiction book with a topic of social or political concern. Must show financial need. Deadline December 11.

Shoreline of Infinity is holding the Story Writing Competition for Readers. Write a science fiction story inspired by artwork they have posted. Up to 4000 words. Prize is publication, an author interview, a print of the artist's artwork, a digital subscription, and £80. Deadline December 21. 

Blue Mountain Arts is holding their Twenty-Seventh Biannual Poetry Card Contest. Cash prizes. Deadline December 31. 

What are your insecurities? Do you get insecure when you've been away from writing for awhile? What are your biggest writing doubts? How do you like T.B.'s cover? Have you purchased your copy yet? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? How do you keep yourself accountable?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 30, 2015

ShaNo Final Update & December Goal Setting

Well, hello out there. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Before I jump into this post, I wanted to briefly address the Black Friday shooting in Colorado Springs. Some of you know I live in the Springs, and I had a few emails inquiring as to how I was doing. Since not all of you are on my Facebook, I figured I'd let you know all is well here. The shooting occurred about two miles up the road from me, but I was at home when it happened, and none of my family were there, either. So we're all good! Thank you to those who reached out. My thoughts are with those impacted by the tragedy.

(Please do not turn my comment section into a debate on the reasons and politics behind the shooting. I've heard plenty of that this weekend, and have no interest in having it occur here. Thank you for respecting my request.)

I had a big post planned today. I was feeling inspired. And then the big idea for the post flitted away. Flit, flit, flit. I've been trying to remember what it was all weekend. Hopefully it will come back to me. But for now, I'm just going to close out ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo (Shannon's Novel and Short Story Writing, Editing, and Submitting Month). Given, there's still time today. If I get anything else completed, I'll update Wednesday.

My goals were:

1. Write 2 new short stories 
2. Revise the 4 short stories/flash fiction currently in need of revisions
3. Submit 6 new short stories/flash this month
4. Complete the current round of revisions on Wendigo Nights

5. Post-outline and mark needed revisions on Lonely Hollow: Synthesis
6. Decide which novel project I will work on next

What I achieved was:

1. I wrote 1.5 new short stories.
2. I revised 1 of the short stories. And it turned out I only had 3 needing revision.
3. I submitted 1 new short story this month (the revised one), but realized it had been stupid to set the goal of submitting the 2 I'd planned to write. I want to run them by my critique group first. So the goal turned out to be submitting 3 (see note above about how many I actually had needing revision).
4. I didn't touch Wendigo Nights. :( 
5. I didn't touch Lonely Hollow: Synthesis. >:|
6. Done!

I didn't do as well as I would have liked with these goals, but I got a lot of things not on the list done, due to things coming up, and I'll continue the remaining goals into December. I need something to keep me going with writing stuff as we go into yet another busy month. 

So my December goals will be:

1. Finish second short story.
2. Revise both short stories and submit to critique group (which means I need to finish in the next week, so it may just be 1 submitted this month.)
3. Revise both short stories after critique and submit for publication.
4. Finish current round of revisions on Wendigo Nights (so close...grrrrrr).
5. Post-outline and mark needed revisions for next round on Lonely Hollow: Synthesis.
6. Start making notes on as yet untitled next novel.

Aaaand, nope. Still don't remember what I wanted to write about today. So I'll see you guys Wednesday. 

How did you do with NaNo? Will you be writing until midnight tonight to finish, or are you done already? If you didn't finish, did you get close? Have you set any goals to keep your momentum going in December?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A View From the Reeds & Links

Happy Wednesday!

I feel like this is a good photo prompt. What do you think?

For the links, bear in mind that I am not endorsing these, merely passing them along. You should always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Broken River Review is accepting submissions. 3000 words or under. Pays $.05/word. Deadline December 1.

Crime Syndicate is open for submissions. Dark, dirty crime fiction stories. 1500-4500 words. Pays $25.

Poetry and Business is open for submissions. Essays and poetry. Due by the end of 2015. Pays $20.16.

The Strand Magazine is open for submissions. Mystery and horror. 2000-6000 words. Pays $25-$150.


The Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition is closing soon. Cash prizes. Deadline December 1.

Words & Brushes is holding a competition. 2000-5000 words. Fiction. Cash prizes. Deadline December 1.

Of Interest:

My Book Cave posted about Standard Vs Block Formatting in Ebooks. Passed along by DeAnna Knippling.

Liesa Malik posted 5 Tips for Using Your Business Card on the RMFW blog.

Do you see a story in the photo above? Do you have author business cards? What information do you include on them? What do you use them for? Any of these publications of interest? Anything to share? Publication news?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Collision Release Day - Emma L. Adams

Please welcome Emma L. Adams today!

It's release day for Collision, Book 3 in the universe-hopping urban fantasy Alliance series!

When Earth suddenly gains inexplicably high levels of magic, all fingers point at the Alliance.

On a distant world, where magic-fuelled forces of nature rule over humans, a disaster is sweeping the land, threatening to knock the Balance across the Multiverse out of sync. When Kay and Ada are sent there with the other Ambassadors, they’re thrown into the centre of chaos. Nature is alive, and angry.

Ada embraces the magic she still half-fears, but learning to control it proves harder than she can imagine. Kay, meanwhile, becomes more reckless than ever when testing the boundaries of his own abilities. When faced with living magic, no one is safe from its influence. Ada and Kay must choose what they’re willing to risk for the sake of saving a world that might already be doomed. Can mortals overcome the gods?

Amazon     Add on Goodreads


Heart in my throat, I pulled the stunner. Sparks immediately shot from the end, and I winced.
Carl struck at the creature with his stunner. An electric jolt split the smoke and the creature yelped. A creeping feeling curled around my spine, and I turned in time to dodge a second pair of insubstantial fangs as they snapped inches from my head.
I aimed the stunner at the beast and fired, a jet of red-purple lightning sparking off the walls. The creature screamed, but a louder noise overlaid it: a tremendous roar from ahead.
“Watch out!” Carl yelled.
I spun around in time to see an even bigger monstrosity rise from the smoke–red and long-limbed and snarling.
Where did it come from? Stupid how that was my first thought, but panic made me freeze up for a moment. It lashed out in a sea of sparks, and several guards fell, lightning encasing them. Carl swore, backing up, and other two monsters appeared alongside it–where the hell did they come from?
“My stunner’s out!” Carl yelled. “I’m calling for backup–if you run out of shots, just run!”
I had five shots left. Ignoring my pounding heart and shaking limbs, I ran at the nearest creature, which advanced on the fallen guards, and shot it with the stunner. A blast of magic far stronger than the stunner should have hit the creature in the face, sending ripples of magic pulsing outwards–only by pure luck did it miss the guards on the ground. Damn. If it hadn’t been for the adamantine in my blood, the backlash would have probably knocked me out. I wasn’t in control.
“Guys, stay back!” I yelled at two other guards who’d come to stand alongside me. “It’s not stable.”
I’m not stable.
But I had no choice. I struck with the stunner, sending a searing bolt of lightning at the nearest beast. Except the lightning didn’t come from the stunner. It came from my hand.
A nearby guard swore. “I’m out of shots.”
“Take mine,” I said quickly. “I can fight without it.” Magic seemed to want me to.
“Thanks,” he said, blinking like he was surprised I’d give away my weapon, and caught the stunner.
A snarling bundle of red smoke descended on us. How many of these things were there? For every one I knocked down, two more appeared, sparking and trailing smoke. I struck another with a bolt of magic, aiming at the floor to make sure I didn’t hit any of the other guards. The beast dissolved in smoke… and then divided in two. Like some ghastly hydra. Both halves growled at me, sparks flying out from their clawed, smoky red hands.
Shit. I backed away, thinking hard.
A rumbling sounded, and the ground trembled under my feet. What the hell? I’d thought the reinforced floor was impervious to any kind of hit. The magic. It’s got to be the magic. Lucky my shoes were magicproof, too.
“I’m getting outta this corridor!” someone shouted, and the sound of running footsteps clattered on metal.
A growl sounded, but before I could strike the two smoky creatures down, both dissolved into a formless red haze. Through the fog, guards ran everywhere, shouting, while I struck out with magic, to no effect. The magic-creatures had turned themselves into smoke, and it was like trying to beat up a cloud. At least we all looked equally ridiculous, I thought as I spun on the spot in what probably looked like an undignified ballet manoeuvre. Another guard face-planted, while a second tripped over him and brought the two of them crashing into a heap.
And the floor shook again, the smoke coalescing in the centre to form one formidable beast, filling the space from floor to ceiling. A shower of purple-red danced off the walls. I jumped back, but not before a spark grazed my forehead. The pain was more sharp than electric. Wincing, I braced myself against the wall, out of range of the magic. I still couldn’t see the creature. It was made of pure magic, and didn’t have a solid form. But I could feel the energy burning, and it was all concentrated in one place. The monster had pulled all the magic in the area into itself. It has to burn out. It can’t keep going like that.
But the monster didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Stunner shots mingled with the sparks, and inhuman screams told us at least one hit the target. My hands shook too much to risk aiming another magic shot, even as I felt the creature’s magic surging through the air. A bolt of pain shot through my forehead. I reached to touch the skin, and found it blistering hot. I thought magic couldn’t hit me!

Start the series from the beginning with Adamant (Alliance, #1), only 99 cents this week!

Ever since a devastating magical war tore apart Ada Fletcher's homeworld, she and her family have lived under cover on the low-magic Earth. Stuck in a dead-end job in London, Ada has spent her life hiding her true identity--and her magic. Until she loses her job, is chased by a rampaging monster, and is arrested as a prime suspect for a murder she had nothing to do with. It really isn't Ada's day.

Kay Walker, grandson of the Inter-World Alliance's late founder, expects to spend his first week as an Alliance employee hunting rogue monsters, not solving his supervisor's murder or questioning a strange, fierce young woman caught trespassing in the Passages between worlds. Killer or not, her abilities raise questions about the Alliance's history, and the closer he gets to the truth, the higher the body count rises.

The last thing Ada wants to do is help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada's magic. More, in fact, than she knows herself. One thing's certain: she's not the only one keeping secrets, and trusting the wrong person might cost more than her life...

Amazon   Add on Goodreads   Read the first chapter

What reviewers are saying

"Adams delivers high suspense throughout the whole book and manages to get you emotionally attached to the main characters which keeps you worried at every twist and turn. I basically flew through the action-packed story with its monsters and magic." - Goodreads reviewer

"Adamant is a fantastic start to a fun, adventurous and super cool series... Can't praise it enough!" - Alisha at Reality's A Bore.

Discovering she's a walking magical weapon is just the beginning of Ada's problems.

Joining the Alliance might be the key to seeing the worlds she's always dreamed of, but now Ada's in trouble with her family and her boss has put her on goblin-catching duty. With enemies around every corner and a centaur uprising threatening to bring a bloodbath to Earth's doorstep, the Alliance has their work cut out. While investigating the mysterious death of the centaurs' king, Kay and Ada navigate tensions between humans and centaurs and find the real, deadly potential of magic.

Against an enemy they quite literally can't see, Ada and Kay must face up to the power that almost destroyed their lives...

Amazon  Add on Goodreads

The Passages between worlds are out of bounds for a very good reason, but nineteen-year-old Kay Walker sees them as another challenge. Exploring the monster-ridden tunnels offers a thrill nothing on Earth can match. Until a rivalry escalates into a deadly game, and the lure of magic comes with a high price...

Amazon   Add on Goodreads  

Emma is the author of various fantasy novels, including the universe-hopping urban fantasy Alliance series and the YA paranormal Darkworld series.

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing speculative fiction with magic and monsters. She lives in the middle of England, but dreams of exploring the Multiverse. When she's not immersed in her own fictional worlds, Emma works as a freelance editor and proofreader and reads an improbable number of books.

Visit to find out more about Emma's books, or subscribe to her newsletter ( to get a free Alliance short story and monthly updates on upcoming releases.

Website  Blog  Facebook  Twitter  Newsletter

Happy Book Birthday, Emma!

What do you guys think? Have you read the other two? Does she not have a fun author picture?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Man, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta

Actually, the title of this post started out as something else, but then I forgot the cliche I was going to throw out there, because I'm vaguely sleep deprived (more so than usual.) And then I got that song in my head. So hey, ear worm!

I won't bore you with the minutia of why I'm more sleep deprived than usual, but it involves a trip to animal urgent care with a sick kitten in the middle of the night, several child sleepovers, a husband on a business trip, roofers, and a billion other factors. What I will tell you is that I wrote a short story! It's been at least two months since I wrote a new word, mostly because of a new day job and insanity with my volunteer jobs. And more minutia.

It felt insanely good to be writing again. Several days in a row. Not only that, but it was in a genre I've been wanting to write in for ages.

Time for the ShaNo update.

My goals were:

1. Write 2 new short stories 1 done!
2. Revise the 4 short stories/flash fiction currently in need of revisions
3. Submit 6 new short stories/flash this month
4. Complete the current round of revisions on Wendigo Nights
5. Post-outline and mark needed revisions on Lonely Hollow: Synthesis

6. Decide which novel writing project I will begin writing next Barring change of mind, I've decided!

And a quick thank you for the thorough drenching of this wench last week! Sploosh! I'm still making squick sounds when I walk.

Just for fun:

How's NaNo going? Your personal goals? Get any writing done this weekend?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Haunted Realm Book Launch & Links

Before we jump into this week's links, say hi to Emilyann Girdner, whose book The Haunted Realm just came out yesterday.

The Haunted Realm is the thrilling sequel to Young Adult Fantasy novel The Labyrinth Wall (Tweeted by Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings, Dante Rossetti Award Finalist, 5 Star Reader's Favorite Rated and Amazon Best-Seller).

In this riveting continuation of the story, Araina again faces a series of seemingly impossible magical obstacles. As Araina and her friends search for answers about their Creators and their magical labyrinth world, their journey becomes rife with peril when Araina falls victim to illness. Despite heart-pricking losses in the labyrinth swamps, vengeful ghostly attackers in the Blinking Willows, and many other dangerous obstacles, Araina is determined to succeed. If Araina can’t solve the mysteries of the haunted realm and find a cure for her sickness, she and her friends may never escape the labyrinth, or even live to try.

Obsidian Series Purchase Links:

Stay Connected to the Series via Websites and Social Media:

Happy Book Birthday, Emilyann! As someone who had a youthful crush on Sean Astin, I can't help but mentally squee that he tweeted about your book (and that you got to meet him.)

Now for some links. Please bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a contest or publication.

Accepting Submissions:

Pantheon Magazine's ninth issue has a theme of Hestia. They are seeking short stories, poetry, and reviews. They prefer brevity. Paying market. Deadline November 30.

Horror Tree published an open call for the anthology Bumps in the Road, with publisher Black Bed Sheet Books. 1000-7000 words. Pays in royalties and contributor copies. Deadline December 1.

Freeze Frame Fiction is seeking flash fiction of any and all genres. Pays $10 per piece. Deadline for third quarter submissions is December 15. 

Twit Publishing is seeking dieselpunk fairy tales for an anthology. 4000-9000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline December 15.

Red Moon Romance is seeking short stories about geeks in love for their anthology Covalent Bonds. 16,000 words or less. Pays royalties and contributor copies. Deadline December 15. 

Third Flatiron is seeking short stories for It's Come to Our Attention. Speculative fiction. 1500-3000 words. Paying market. Deadline December 15. 

Martian Migraine Press is seeking short fiction for the anthology Cthulhusattva: Lovecraftian Tales of the Black Gnosis. Up to 7500 words, flash fiction and short stories. No poetry. Pays $.03/CAD per word. Deadline December 15. 

Punks Write Poems is seeking short fiction submissions for two anthologies. Melee is for medieval fantasy; Don't Open Til Doomsday is for science fiction. 2000-10,000 words. Both pay $15 and a contributor copy. Deadline December 15. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul wants stories about gratitude. 1200 words or less. Pays $200 per story. Deadline December 15. 

Of Interest:

Sad news. Crossed Genres Magazine will be closing their doors for good after their December issue.

Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Publishing news? How's NaNo? What celebrity would you most like to have share your book? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Book to Movie, Spooktoberfest Runner Up & ShaNo Update

The ShaNo update will be brief, as I haven't accomplished anything from that list. This is not unexpected for me, as none of the things on my list this month are meant to be finished in one week. I should have an update for next week, and I did get some things accomplished this week by re-submitting three short stories that had been rejected, but that was not a goal on the list.

Before I get to the rest of the post, I just found out I was a runner up in the Spooktoberfest flash fiction contest! Woo-hoo! I do love some Halloween themed flash fiction. Congratulations to the winners and my fellow runners up.


Raise your hand if you enjoy when your favorite books are made into movies.

Raise your hand if you [not so] secretly wish your own novels will be made into movies some day.

I don't know about you, but I always have this sense of quiet dread when it's announced that a book I love is going to be made into a movie. When I read the book, it came alive in my head. I visualized the characters and settings. Now I'll be seeing someone else's vision of the story, and I may love it or hate it (or feel meh about it).

On the other hand, I've enjoyed quite a few of the movies made from books I enjoyed. Sometimes those visions are better than, or at least equal to, what I saw in my head. For those with different worlds and major settings, I often enjoy seeing them made into movies (Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, Harry Potter) so I can see that vision realized.

Plus, I've had a great time reading novels together with my kids and then seeing the movies with them. It's a wonderful experience, and one we'll keep doing as long as they're young enough to want to. And when they're older, perhaps we'll all just read the book separately, then share the movie still.

This is on my mind, because there is word YET AGAIN that Stephen King's The Dark Tower is officially coming to the screen. While I'm not going to hold my breath (they've been saying this for years), there's no way I'd be able to resist seeing it, despite the fact that I got that same nervous feeling in my stomach. Who will play Roland? In my head, Roland was always similar to Clint Eastwood (at the time I was reading it). A middle aged man, grizzled, but with dark hair. But Eastwood is too old (and his son too young). Ideas others have thrown out for who could play him have not excited me.

Looking at this from the author side, I know that I have incredibly specific pictures of my characters in my head. While it would be exciting to see my book on the screen, what would happen if I hated the actors they'd chosen? What if they destroyed my story?

I guess it really boils down to the fact that, whether you're a viewer or an author, the movie is a separate entity, and often a separate story, from the book (or short story, as that is always a possibility, too.)

How do you feel about books being made into movies? Do you have any favorites? Any situations where the movie was better than the book? What's your least favorite book to movie? How would you feel if someone wanted to make your book or short story into a movie? How is NaNo (or your own personal goal setting) going?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG - Anthology Release, October Stats & Links

Today is the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. 

The Insecure Writer's Support Group was created as an outlet for us insecure writers, our doubts and fears. Share your insecurities or some inspiration for those feeling insecure. 

A thank you out to our esteemed co-hosts this month:  Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson. Stop by and visit them to say thanks!

I'm actually excited this month, because an anthology I'm in came out yesterday! It's only in e-book form for the moment, but other versions are coming out soon. The Deep Dark Woods is an anthology of horror involving...the woods, edited by Christina Escamilla.

Fear abounds. It may be creatures that only you can see, or the fevered imaginations of your nightmares. Perhaps these monsters are the ones that bite and claw, or the ones that come out of the grave. No matter what, when you go walking in the woods at may not make it back out.

15 Short stories from some of the best horror writers around!

My short story, The Blue Mist, is in this collection. It can be purchased for $2.99 on Kindle currently. I'll post the other options on my publications tab when they're available.

Even with this good news having come out just in time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, I'm currently worrying about a magazine I have a story coming out in. All I know is that it's due out in November, but here we are in November, and I haven't heard a peep since the acceptance last winter. Did my return email with the contract not get received? Or does my story not need edits? So far, I've not had any stories returned for editing (remember, I AM the grammar nazi), but the acceptance on this one specifically said there were some editing suggestions they'd have. Maybe there was a change of mind? I have no idea. I guess I'll know if/when it releases, at this point. I'm trying not to stress about it. 

And, of course, by this time next week I'll probably be back in a slump, feeling like I'm a failure and a pretender to the title of author. Ups and downs, that's the roller coaster of being an author.

I do my submission stats each month with my insecurity post to keep myself honest. In October, these were my stats:

I submitted 6 stories.
I got 8 rejections.
I got great feedback on 1 of those rejections.
I got 1 magazine acceptance for a short story.
I have 4 publications pending. Only 1 has an official release date announced (~gnaws fingernails down to stubs~).
I currently have 8 stories on submission.
I have 3 stories I need to turn around and get re-submitted, but I'm holding one for a specific publication that isn't open to submissions currently, and the other two were just rejected this week, so I haven't turned them back around yet.

I also post markets taking submissions each Wednesday, so without further ado:

Please bear in mind that I'm not endorsing any of these markets, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence when researching markets.

Accepting Submissions:

Black Denim Lit is accepting submissions of genre fiction. They prefer literary style. Under 7500 words. Pays $.01/word. 

Mslexia is accepting submissions for their 69th issue, with the theme Monster. Stories up to 2200 words or poems up to 40 lines. This is a paying market, but specific pay is not mentioned. Deadline December 7.

Shenandoah is accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Nonfiction must be related to Shakespeare. I'm unsure of pay, but it is supposed to be a paying market. Submissions close in December.

Scary Mommy is looking for amusing essays and lists. Under 900 words. Pays $100. 

Highlights is accepting submissions of work for kids. They also take submissions from kids! Up to 500 or 800 words, depending upon age group you're aiming for. Pays $150. (Does not pay writers under 16.) 

Inkubus Publishing is accepting submissions for The Supornatural Collection, Volume 1. Male on male erotica involving supernatural creatures. 500-10,000 words. Pays $10 and a contributor copy. Deadline December 4.


Colorado Mountain College is holding the Common Reader Program Art & Creative Writing Contest. Creative writing of no more than 1500 words. Cash prizes. Deadline November 20.

How are you doing with submissions? Writing? What are your insecurities? How do you overcome them? Any good news to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's ShaNo Time Again & A Thank You to Yolanda!

Happy Day After National Author's Day!

What's that? November? Month of my birth? That must mean it's time for ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo again!

Don't tell me you've never heard of it. Surely you jest.

See, I don't want to write an entire novel this month, but I love the infectious energy of NaNoWriMo. So I set my own goals and use those to get back into the routines that faltered when the kids were home for the summer.

Feel free to join me in your own version of NaNo if you're not participating in the real one! It's the  energy and support that drive the month.

ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo stands for Shannon's Novel & Short Story Writing, Editing, and Submitting Month.

The Sub part of it all was a bigger deal before I reached the point I'm currently at with stories, so I'll be redefining it mildly this year.

My goals for the month will be:

1. Write 2 new short stories
2. Revise the 4 short stories/flash fiction currently in need of revisions
3. Submit 6 new short stories/flash this month
4. Complete the current round of revisions on Wendigo Nights
5. Post-outline and mark needed revisions on Lonely Hollow: Synthesis
6. Decide which novel writing project I will begin writing next

I'll update weekly on my progress.

I'd also like to thank Yolanda for the fun Halloween series of posts she put together, and for allowing me to participate. I won the 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest! You can GO HERE to find links to all the entries. Poor Jerry. He never saw it coming.

Alex J. Cavanaugh was the winner of a copy of The Deep, Dark Woods, with my short story The Blue Mist. Now if we can just reach publication date, I can send him a copy!

What goals do you have for this month? Are you participating in NaNo or creating your own? Did you follow along with Yolanda's great Halloween posts this year?

May you find your Muse.