Wednesday, April 27, 2016

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Rock Piles & Links

Someone left behind some rocks on the rocks in front of the rocks. At Garden of the Gods. (From a hike a few weeks ago.)

I don't remember what these piles are called, but I know there's a name...

Jumping straight into links. Bear in mind, I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

FTB Press is seeking stories about renegades. 2400-4200 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline May 28.

Book Smugglers Publishing is now looking for novellas to put out quarterly. Speculative fiction. 17,500 to 40,000 words. Will pay a signing bonus, plus royalties. Deadline May 30.

One Story is seeking literary fiction. 3000-8000 words. Pays $500 and 25 contributor copies. Deadline May 31.

Caffeinated Press is seeking stories of all lengths (except for novels), plus poetry. Pay is between $10 and $150, depending upon length and type, plus contributor copies. Deadline May 31.

Nashville Review is seeking all kinds of fiction and poetry. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25 or $100, depending upon type of submission. Deadline May 31.

SpeckLit is seeking 100 word speculative fiction. Pays $.05/word. Deadline May 31.

Otter Libris is seeking stories about the circus for Now in the Main Ring: Amazing Tales From the Circus. 3000-10,000 words. Pays $25, plus a contributor copy. Deadline May 31.

Vestal Review is seeking flash fiction. Up to 500 words. Most genres. Up to $25 payment. Deadline May 31.

Lit Select is seeking stories for Love Slave: Score. Erotic fiction. 2000-8000 words. Pays $30. Deadline May 31.

AGNI is seeking poetry, short fiction, and essays. Pays up to $150. No word limits. Deadline May 31.

Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Do you remember what the piles of rocks are called? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Whirlwind Weekend of Releases

The publishing world is an odd one. Sometimes it moves at the speed of sloth. Sometimes everything hits at once.

I had five publications with unknown or tentative release dates, and I was waiting to hear when they'd be releasing. Well, Saturday I was notified of the release of Once Upon a Scream, an anthology I have a short story in.

My short story is entitled The Black Undeath, and is a new take on the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. With zombies.

It can be purchased at Amazon or CreateSpace in paperback for $13.00, but the e-book won't release until May 28. also did a podcast that involved an interview with Dan Shaurette, the editor, and mentioned something about each of our stories. It's Episode 124. My kids loved hearing my name on a podcast.

If you'll be attending BayCon, those authors from the anthology that could make it will be doing a panel and release party. (I can't make it--sad face.)

The very next day, I received an email that Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Volume 2, Issue 2 had released. My creative memoir flash fiction piece, Grandma's Leather Sofa, is in this issue.

This one is kid friendly (one of the very few things I've done that is.) In fact, there are stories in Ember written by kids. And it's fully illustrated! It's on sale for $14.95 at E&GJ Press, but you can use the coupon code SLAWRENCE-FRIENDS to get 35% off!

I actually waited on posting the Ember release, because I didn't want to be obnoxious with the releases on Facebook. But I'll post it today. The kicker is, it looks like one of the magazines I'll have a story in will come out in a week, so boom, boom, boom, three in a row.

Knowing the publishing industry, there will be a gap before the other two release. Funny how that works. Things have been crazy with these two releases and the details surrounding them, and then it will be back to glacier speed, as I wait for acceptances/rejections and release dates.

I enjoy the ride, even if it is sometimes random and stressful.

How was your weekend? Any publishing news to share? Other fun stuff? Have you ever had multiple publications come out at once?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Horror List Book Review: Penpal

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 Penpal, by Dathan Auerbach. 

This book was okay. It had the elements of an amazingly creepy story, yet it didn't deliver. There was an insane amount of unnecessary exposition that slowed the story too much for me. Details that never ended up having a point.

Penpal is about a boy who went through some scary things, but it's told from the perspective of adult him, looking back. The way the story unravels, mundane things are set up and built upon until later in the story, where we find out deeper meanings to them. Knowing that he's looking back on this as an adult severely lowered the tension for me. He obviously survived if he's the one telling the story. So I was never worried about him, and if I couldn't worry about him, knowing he grew up, then what was there to be scared of?

Near the end, others are put in danger. For me, this was the only time I felt any tension. At that point, I read the book much faster than I had been previously. 

Because of the way this was written, I hesitate to give too much away. I can say there were creepy details, ones that I could think, "Ah, that's a great detail," but they fell flat because of the storytelling style.

In the end, I so badly wanted those freaky details to pan out, but they didn't. Yes, the truth of what happened when he was a kid was frightening when I thought about it, but I had to think about it... I had to work to be freaked out, and even then it was, "Oh, yeah, wow, that could have been bad." I even tried to identify with what the mother must have been feeling, considering she knew how much danger he'd been in, but she's a teeny minor character, and it wasn't possible.

Interesting fact: This began as a series of posts on nosleep on Reddit.

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

The next book I'll be reading on the list is Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. 

Have you read this? Have you ever read something on nosleep on Reddit? What about contributing to it?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, April 18, 2016

PPWC 2016 Wrap Up - All the Firsts

I'm back!

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2016 is a wrap! I had several firsts (first time as PPWC faculty, first time being a participating author in a book signing), missed a couple opportunities (I was supposed to have a critique and present my query to an editor, both of which ended up not happening because I was working during the times I would have done them), and had an overall exhausting, but wonderful experience.

I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Lindsay, Joe R. Lansdale, Rachel Caine, Wendy Corsi Staub, Johnny Worthen, Steve Saffel, and a slew of fantastic creative folks.

I taught a workshop on short stories, and was on a panel with my fellow Ladies of Darkness, DeAnna Knippling, MB Partlow, and Susan Mitchell. Both had good attendance, and lots of questions and positive feedback, which felt phenomenal!

I also participated in the faculty book signing, where I signed copies of The Deep Dark Woods. I sold all but two of the books I'd consigned, which I'm really happy with.

The next week will still be busy, but not with the level of stress and pressure I had the last few weeks. I'm looking forward to getting back into my blog and jumping around to visit everyone I've missed in the last month!

How have things been for you for the last month? Anything exciting or interesting to share? How did your first book signing go? Every met any of the folks I mentioned above?

May you find your Muse.

Photo #1: With Jeff Lindsay, photo by Deb
Photo #2: Charise and I with Wendy Corsi Staub, photo from Charise's camera
Photo #3: Me presenting on short stories, photo by Becky
Photo #4: The horror panel, photo by Kameron
Photo #5: Me at the book signing with the last three copies remaining, photo by Michelle

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Welcome to Sortilege Falls Cover Reveal, IWSG, & Links

Before we jump into the IWSG, I want to welcome Libby Heily for her cover reveal of Welcome to Sortilege Falls!

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Due out in June from Fire and Ice YA Publishing

Find it on Goodreads

Look for Libby in the following places:

Now it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group exists to air your insecurities, get support from fellow writers, and lend support right back. Anyone can participate. Go here to sign up

My insecurity this month involves creating a query letter to pitch with at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference next week. I haven't had time to sit down and put one together yet, so I need to get on that ASAP. I'm excited to get feedback on it, whether I get an ask or not, because I can use that feedback to improve the query. And then I have no excuse not to start querying agents! ACK!

As part of my IWSG post each month, I like to keep myself accountable by reporting my submission stats. 

In March, I:

Submitted 4 pieces
Got 5 rejections
Got 0 acceptances
Had 1 piece published
Finished writing 1 novella (only to decide I've got more story to tell in a second POV, so I'm making it a novel)

Not a busy month in terms of writing, but this month that's okay. I need to get more productive next month when conference is done!

Now for some links! Please bear in mind that I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Part II of The First Line is open for submissions. The first line for this summer issue is "By the fifteenth month of the drought, the lake no longer held her secrets." Each story must begin with that first line, but you can do with the story what you like. 300 to 5000 words. Pays between $5 and $50, depending upon submission type. Deadline May 1.

Sirens Call Publications is open for submissions for their anthology Monster Brawl. They want monsters fighting each other. 4000 to 8000 words. Pays $25, plus a print copy of the book. Deadline May 1. (Note: I have a short story coming out in one of their anthologies soon, and they're incredibly friendly to work with!)

Disquieted Dreams Press is open for submissions of horror comedy Skeptics Must Die. 5000 to 7500 words. Pays $20 per story. Deadline May 1.

Hy Bender and Will Paoletto are putting together the anthology Ghosts on Drugs. The title tells you what they're looking for, though it's broadly defined. No specific word limit. Will pay $.15/word up to 2500 words, $.06/word after that. Deadline May 1.

The Lorelei Signal is open for fantasy short fiction with strong/complex female characters. (You are not required to have female characters, but if you do, they must not be weak or window dressing.) They accept short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Up to 10,000 words. Pays between $2 and $7.50. Deadline May 15. (I've met this editor at a con, and she is very friendly.)

Lamplight Magazine is open for submissions of horror. Up to 7000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline May 15. 

Bracken is open for submissions of speculative fiction. Up to 2500 words. Pays $.02/word. 

The Stoneslide Corrective is open for submissions of stories of all kinds. Short fiction, narrative nonfiction, and flash fiction. Pays between $50 and $125, depending upon submission type. 

What are your insecurities? What do you think of Libby's cover? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.