Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PPWC 2015 Recap & Links

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015 was a success! Now that it's done, I'm working on recovering. Talk about a jam-packed week:

Tuesday we had a meeting, so this was our short work day (though, as treasurer, I went home and had a lot of prep work to do before disappearing for several days.)

Wednesday we did the major prep-work for conference (stuffing registration packets, picking up supplies, setting up the bookstore, etc.), with the day starting in the afternoon and us wrapping up at about 12:30 at night.

Thursday was the add-on day, with programming from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I attended a ghost hunt with Graves Paranormal as the PPW representative. It was fun seeing how the various instruments were used, and we had some interesting things occur, which weren't expected, as it's not a known haunted hotel.

Friday and Saturday were our full days of programming. I moderated a few sessions, read people's work in our Read & Critique 123 sessions, helped with ballroom, and did whatever else was needed. The book signing was Saturday. My minis got to come in, with my son excited to meet R.L. Stine. My daughter refused to go near him, no matter how nice he and his wife were, but she did get to meet a local author (DeAnna Knippling, who writes MG horror under the name DeKenyon) whose books she has been reading over and over, and who signed her quite worn copy of one of the books.

I had the opportunity to sit at the head table for all but one meal, meaning I got to chat with Mary Kay Andrews, Andrew Gross, and Seanan McGuire. I was seated with the winners of our Zebulon writing contest for one of the meals, which meant I didn't get to sit at R.L. Stine's table, but he was friendly and funny, as was his wife Jane, and I chatted with him at a staff/faculty mixer instead.

If you ever have the chance to meet him, I highly recommend it. Both he and his wife are friendly and funny. Both of them, plus Seanan McGuire and DeAnna Knippling, were great with my kids, which I appreciated, as there were a lot of people at the signing, so it was a bit overwhelming to my littles. DeAnna got down on the floor to talk to my daughter and sign her book. Seanan told her jokes and sweetly waved at my son (who is more bashful than my daughter). Jane Stine told people in the signing line that kids come first, and insisted she and Bob take the time to get a picture with my son and sign both books he picked up.

At the Saturday banquet, I was awarded Volunteer of the Year. Much to my relief, I'd thought we were hopping into the contest awards, which I was helping with, so had already done a face and tooth check (as in, "Is there any food on my face/in my teeth?") And I was feeling blissful from a heavenly chocolate cream pie I'd just eaten for dessert. Mmmm.

I moderated sessions I was interested in, so ended up attending a workshop on short stories presented by Rod Miller, a session on female serial killers presented by Pete Klismet, one on prologues by Laura DiSilverio, and one on rejection by Mike Befeler. I also attended one on other serial killers by Pete Klismet, but I wasn't moderating that one. I look forward to listening to all the ones I missed on the recording.

Sunday was a half day, with morning programming, then everyone heading home after lunch. For staffers, that meant clean up, closing up the bookstore, etc. I got home about 4:30 and promptly dozed on the sofa. That night, I slept 9 hours, which is amazing considering my sleep at conference consisted of 13 hours total from Wednesday night to Sunday morning. As you can imagine, I was exhausted. Given, no one sleeps well at conference. For me, I wouldn't have slept much better at home, but I'm betting I would have gotten a tad more. Happily, I had a roommate who worked hard to not disturb me in the mornings, and seemed to know not to engage me, even when I was awake when she got up. You don't talk to insomniacs in the middle of the night/early morning unless they talk to you first, people! It's an unwritten rule. Once I'm engaged in an interaction, especially verbal, all chances that I might fall asleep are gone, ffffft, out the window. A combination of a helpful roommate and spa and rain sound apps I downloaded onto my phone gained me a few hours of sleep from my first night (during which I got 1 hour of sleep). Yay!

Not only was the event a hit, but I had great fun with friends, got asked to dance spontaneously by someone in the bar line (who then went on to dance with a bunch of other random gals for the rest of the night in the bar), tried out a new restaurant one of the nights where food wasn't included in the conference (Thursday), and chatted with agents, editors, and writers galore.

As treasurer, much of my work began when conference ended, so I've spent the last couple days working on that. Note to self: arranging coins on the floor and using a dry erase board to track counting of cash is ineffective when you have a cat. I should have taken a picture of her managing to lay across both the piles of carefully arranged coins and the dry erase board. Sigh. Despite her help, I got the counting done, and she has continued to follow me around, getting into anything I'm doing, since I got home. I'm fairly certain she missed me more than my children did.

Ah, well.

(All posted photos taken by Jared Hagan, official PPWC photographer.)

With all that said, it's time for links!

Accepting Submissions:

Zero One Publishing is seeking short stories for their anthology, Whispers From the Abyss. Flash fiction and short stories up to 4500 words. They want stories in the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft's mythos. Pays a penny per word and contributor copies. Deadline May 30.

Arc Poetry Magazine wants spoken word poetry. Deadline May 15. Regular poetry submissions end May 31. Can submit up to 3 poems. Pays $40 per page, plus contributor copy.

One Story is looking for literary fiction short stories. 3000-8000 words. Pays $500 and contributor copies. Submission period closes May 31.

Glimmer Train has three free submission periods per year, with one of them in May. Short fiction, open genres. Pays $700, plus contributor copies. Reading period ends May 31.

SpeckLit is looking for drabble length fiction and non-fiction. Speculative fiction. 100 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline May 31.

The Liz McMullen Show is looking for lesbian historical romance for Through the Hourglass. 3000-5000 words. Pays $30, plus contributor copies. Deadline May 31.

Crossed Genres seeks science fiction and fantasy with the theme of the year 2065. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline May 31.

Pole to Pole Publishing is accepting stories for their Hides the Dark Tower anthology. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror involving a tower. 500-5000 words. Pays $.02/word, plus contributor copies and possible royalties. Deadline May 31.

Christina Escamilla Publishing is looking for dark fiction for the anthology The Deep Dark Woods. Flash fiction up to 500 words, short fiction up to 8000 words. Pays $.05/word, plus contributor copy. Deadline May 31.

Pulp Modern is looking for genre fiction, including crime, horror, science fiction, and westerns. 2000-5000 words. Pays 1/4 cent per word. Deadline June 1.

Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Publishing news? Who is your favorite author to have met?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm Off!

I'm packed and ready to go to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference! I wasn't going to post until conference was done, but I found out Tyrean  Martinson featured me, along with some fantastic writer/blogger folks whose names also begin with "S," over at her blog Everyday Writer, Tyrean Martinson. It's part of her A-to-Z Challenge, in which she features different writers and bloggers each day, leading up to a blogaversary celebration with giveaways.

So if you have a moment, go check out Tyrean's blog, and the wonderful folks featured today (and other days)!

And if you feel like it, I'd love to hear your best and worst conference or convention stories. It doesn't even have to be writer's conferences. Have you been to the worst dental convention ever? I still want to hear about it. You can keep me company with my insomnia at the hotel.

I'll be back to normal posting next week. Looking forward to visiting everyone. Have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Had any interesting experiences at a conference or convention? Good or bad? What happened?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spotlight Among Friends

We're creeping up on conference next week (Pikes Peak Writers Conference, for which I volunteer), so today I thought I'd just spotlight a couple friends' books. This is my last post until after conference.

I should be posting as usual by Wednesday, the 29th (if not Monday, the 27th, but we'll see if I'm conscious enough to put together a post then).

This isn't an official blog tour.

Today I'm giving you a quick peek at Alex J. Cavanaugh's recent release, Dragon of the Stars, Ashley Hodges Bazer's newest, Once Upon a Heist, Jennie Marts' cover reveal for Tucked Away, and Chris Mandeville's cover for Seeds. So we've got science fiction, a fairy tale, romance, and a post-apocalyptic adventure.

The ship of legends...

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Now available for purchase at Amazon on Kindle and in paperback. Find more information at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

Emberly is a simple girl, leading a simple life of servitude to her stepmother and stepsisters. But when her friend Gwyn shows up at her doorstep, proposing a scheme that would free her and a ragtag bunch of fairy tale heroines from their unsatisfactory lives, Emberly accepts.

Their mission? Steal jewels from the kingdom’s six princes.

Each heist involves danger and mystery, and soon Emberly discovers a secret that could finally free the kingdom of Paladia from the clutches of evil queen Venefica. Or utterly destroy them all.

Now available in e-book and paperback from Amazon. Get more information at Ashley Hodges Bazer's website.

Forty-eight years after a catastrophic solar event destroys all life and technology on the planet’s surface, nineteen-year-old Reid Landers lives in the old NORAD facility deep inside Cheyenne Mountain with other descendants of Originals, barely subsisting on canned food and rats. For all they know they are the last hundred souls on Earth...until Reid meets the first stranger he has ever seen, a stranger with a grown apple. This catapults him on a journey to California to find seeds for his people, an adventure fraught with skin-carving pirates, twisted missionaries, and mercenaries on Rollerblades. Even if Reid can outwit the despot leader of “Lost" Angeles and resist the siren’s song of a beautiful con artist, there may not be any seeds left to find. And his people—including the woman he secretly loves—might not take him back.

Available for pre-order at $.99 through the 18th, at which time the price increases. Kindle and paperback (obviously, discount price is only for e-book) via Amazon. For more information, visit Chris Mandeville's website. Release date April 18.

Sometimes you find what you need in the most unlikely places...

Charlie Ryan's cheating fiancé left her with a broken heart and even broker bank account. She's hit rock bottom, but everything is about to change. Suddenly, she's inherited a Montana farm named Tucked Away from a grandmother she never knew existed. A fresh start is just what she needs - and no men in her future this time, even if the local vet is as hot as a Montana summer.

Zack Cooper is content with his simple life. Running his veterinary practice and raising his daughter are enough to keep him busy, and he doesn't need a high-maintenance city girl like his ex who plans to sell her grandma's ranch and split faster than a setting sun. So why can't he stop thinking about Charlie and her hot-pink cowboy boots...and the way her eyes say she wants to stay while her lips tease him with plans of leaving?

Just when both start to believe love might be worth the night will change everything.

Available for pre-order on Kindle and paperback from Amazon. Release date April 28. For more information, visit Jennie at her website.

All of these folks except for Alex J. Cavanaugh are Colorado Springs authors, who I will be seeing at the conference next week!

What do you think of these covers? Don't these stories sound good? Are you attending any conferences this year?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Horror List Book Review: The Doll Who Ate His Mother

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them. I'm far enough in that I figured continuing to add the titles to this first paragraph would take up too much room.

This week I'm reviewing The Doll Who Ate His Mother, by Ramsey Campbell.

I'm starting to think that the people who made the lists I'm going off of just took the first book of great authors, rather than their best book. 

As it is, I'm having trouble deciphering exactly how I feel about this book. It was more of a mystery that a group of people were trying to solve, though there were grisly elements. In the beginning of the book, Clare is driving her brother home when a man runs in front of them on the road. Her brakes are faulty, and she ends up slamming into a light pole. Her brother dies in the accident, and the strange man that ran into the street snatches his detached arm and flees. 

The rest of the characters are an author writing about this crime and another he thinks is related, the son of the victim in the related crime, and a random guy who shows up and says the man killed and ate his cat. These characters read very oddly, like a British comedy sitcom. They're unrealistic in some ways. Clare, specifically, has strange mental ramblings and often seems child-like. She makes stupid, irrational decisions. She giggles like a maniac when breaking into a man's apartment, under the assumption that he won't mind if she tidies up.


The setting is colorless, drab. The people they meet lack animation. The villain of the story is rather bland, as well. We see a quick bout of violence from him, but he never builds on this, and it occurs close to the beginning. In fact, I rarely felt like the characters might actually be in danger, even after the big reveal. 

Yet it was a quick read for me, showing that Campbell has a certain skill in his language and pacing. I never struggled to read, but I did struggle to care overmuch, especially after a certain point. You see, at first I thought it would continue to escalate, but it really didn't. They merely went on foolish quests for information. 

Who would have thought a villain who eats dead things and steals arms would be dull? But he was. There was even a man with evil magical powers who had created a cult of sorts, but he seemed more like a whack job than anything else, and he wasn't frightening either, just nasty.

I'm trying to keep this review shorter than my previous ones, and I honestly lack much to say. I enjoy Campbell's writing, but this book wasn't my favorite. Sometimes his descriptions are fascinating, almost surreal. Sometimes I did a mental double take and had to read what he'd said again to be sure I'd read it correctly. But, as I mentioned above, I did like his use of language.

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
5. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
6. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
7. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
8. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
9. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
10. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
11. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell
12. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)

Not sure what I'm reading next, but you'll be the first to know.

Have you read Ramsey Campbell? This book specifically? What did you think? How would you compare it to his other novels? What do you think of the rankings above? If you've read some of these where would you rank them?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stumpy Stumperson & Links

It's been nice around here lately, so I've been hiking again. I took my camera out the last time and snapped a bunch of pictures. Signs of spring are starting to peek out here and there, birds nesting, trees budding, and a few flowers blossoming. But one of my fun discoveries was a tree stump that looked to be multiple trees that grew into each other. It's delightfully twisted and full of character. So meet Stumpy:

If you look closely, you can make out shapes, even faces. One of the gnarled branches looks kind of like a demonic puppy.

Without further ado, links:

Accepting Submissions:

Arcadian Media is seeking submissions for their Starbound anthology. Science fiction. Should have something to do with the stars. 2000-10,000 words. Pays $10 per story. No deadline, but it will close when full, and they're aiming for a publication of this summer.

World Weaver Press has an open call for their Frozen Fairy Tales anthology. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $20 and contributor copies. Deadline May 15.

Horrified Press has multiple anthologies open. The King of the Living Dead, 3000-5000 words, deadline May 16. The Fall of Cthulhu Vol. II, 3000-5000 words, deadline May 28. Both pay in royalties. There are also several open until filled, so it's worth perusing the page.

Wherever Magazine is open to narratives, journalistic pieces, and non-linear reflective works. Up to 3500 words. This is a paying publication, but pay is based on length and a discussion with the editor.

Home Business Magazine is looking for nonfiction articles on home businesses, including how-tos and work-from-home success stories. Pays for stories they have assigned, but not ones submitted blindly. No deadlines.

Grievous Angel is seeking poetry and flash fiction in speculative fiction genres. Poetry up to 36 lines, flash fiction up to 700 words. Pays $.01/line for poetry, $.06/word for flash. No deadlines.

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is looking for fantasy and science fiction. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.15/word. No deadlines.

T. Gene Davis's Speculative Blog accepts speculative fiction stories to be published Mondays and in an annual anthology. This is not for kids, but should be family friendly. 250 to 6000 words. Pays $75 per story. No deadlines.

Number 13 Press is looking for pulp crime novellas. 20,000-35,000 words. Pays author royalties of 60%. No deadlines.

Triptych Tales is looking for mainstream, fantasy, and science fiction. They should be set in the here and now. 2000-6000 words. Pays $100 per story.

Any of these of interest? Ever seen a tree stump quite so gnarled? Do you see any shapes in the trunk? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Release: Under the Bed Magazine

This past Saturday was the release date for the issue of Under the Bed Magazine featuring my story, Know Thy Neighbor! This is officially the first magazine I've had a short story published in (though not my first acceptance into a magazine), so I'm incredibly excited! 

A simple jog ends in a night of terror for suburban mom, Rebecca. Her tormenter is the last person she'd expect, or so she thinks. Another surprise awaits her, this one more horrifying than the first. Do you know thy neighbor? 

I thought up this story while out on a late night walk. As I peered around at the darkened houses, avoiding the deeper shadows, I wondered who lived behind each of those doorways. Who might be staring at me from the night-blackened windows? We all now have the capability to look up registered sex offenders in the area, but what of those who haven't been caught? Times have changed, and we no longer know our neighbors the way we once did. Then again, did we ever really know them?

Needless, to say, the rest of my walk was spoiled by these thoughts, putting me on edge. When I got home, I sat down and immediately wrote this story while the trepidation was fresh in my mind. John Wayne Gacy was well liked, and I'm sure he wasn't the only one.

I'll never look at my neighbors the same way again.

Under the Bed Magazine
Published by Fiction Magazines
Volume 3, Number 7

Genre: Horror
Warning: Mature, graphic content

My Story: Know Thy Neighbor

Available in e-magazine at:

(in multiple formats)

Various and sundry retailers of e-periodicals

Price: $3.99

A cool thing about this magazine is that it's peer chosen. The stories with the most votes from the team of curators are accepted by the magazine. It kind of makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know how this was chosen. Or would that be cold and scaly?

What do you think of the cover? Creepy enough? Do you sleep with your feet securely snuggled under the blankets, or do you hang them off the side? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG, Submission Updates & Links

Here we are at the beginning of a new month yet again! Before I jump into my IWSG post and links, a quick good luck to those of you out there embarking on the A-to-Z journey today.

And now it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for today's IWSG are Suzanne Furness,Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole! Show them a little love!

I like to keep myself accountable by posting submission information for my short stories on IWSG day. I hope that it encourages other folks to get out there and start submitting, and that it shows that rejections aren't the end of the road. Keep submitting and you'll start seeing acceptances. 

In March, I:

Submitted 6 pieces
Got 9 rejections (1 of those was after being short listed, 1 came with great feedback)
Received 1 acceptance (to be published this Saturday--news here on Monday!)
Currently have 4 pieces on submission (soon to be more when I turn around the ones rejected)
Got a new piece edited by hand, but need to transfer those edits to the computer and submit
Sent off a query to follow up on a piece I submitted over 130 days ago

Oh yes, and I wrote The End on WIP #2, something I took a long step away from for awhile because I wanted to explore short stories for a little while. I'm currently outlining it for the plot points and important information so I can fiddle with the outline before heading into full edits. I want a general idea of where some plot and character information needs to be submitted before I start.

After a year of submitting with nothing to show for it, I've started getting scattered acceptances. I figure it only goes up from here. So if you've been waffling, I recommend you get out there and submit, submit, submit!

To help you get started with that, here are some links:

Accepting Submissions:

Weirdbook Magazine is accepting submissions for Issue 31. They want weird speculative fiction stories. Preferably less than 6000 words. Pays $5 per thousand words and a contributor's copy. Deadline for this issue is April 30.

AGNI is in their open submission period. They take poetry, short fiction, and essays. No specific word limits. Pays $20/page for prose and $40/page for poetry. Deadline May 31.

The First Line runs a quarterly contest (though there are no specific winners or ranks, just pieces chosen for publication and pay) where they give you the first line and you run with it. The summer first line is "Laura liked to think she was honest with herself; it was everyone else she lied to." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25-50 for fiction. Also accepts poetry and non-fiction. Deadline May 1.

Knightwatch Press has several horror anthologies open for submissions. Three have May deadlines. All are royalty based and, for the most part, are expected to be around 5000 words (word requirements vary minutely, so check the website). Deadline for Playroom (horror in childhood settings) is May 1. Deadline for Madame Morte (horror in burlesque) and Wild Things (shape shifters) is May 15. 

Ghostwoods Books has a couple calls out for anthologies. They pay a small advance, plus royalties, and both have a word count of 3000-8000 words. The first one is in the genre of cosmic horror entitled Cthulhu Lies Dreaming--deadline May 1. The other, Haunted Futures, is looking for romance and has a deadline of early summer 2015. They have said they'll post a strict deadline closer to the date.

Myth Ink Books has a call out for stories with the theme Legends of Sleepy Hollow. 2000-8000 words. It will pay $5 and a contributor copy. Deadline May 1. 

Manchester Speculative Fiction Group is putting together an anthology entitled Revolutions, where the stories are set in Manchester, England. 1500-6000 words. Will pay 10 pounds. Deadline May 1.

Flash Fiction Online is looking for flash fiction up to 1000 words. Open to all genres. Pays $60 per story. No deadlines.

Cracked Eye is accepting submissions in multiple genres. 3000-6000 words. Pay is not specified, other than that a fee is paid to authors. No deadlines. 

Perihelion is looking for science fiction. Short stories, articles, reviews, etc. 2500-7000 words. $.01/word up to $75. No deadlines.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to add or share? What are your insecurities? What's holding you back from submitting? 

May you find your Muse.