Monday, August 29, 2016

World Con Wrap Up - The Big Empty

I attended my first Worldcon last week (aka MidAmeriCon II). It was in Kansas City, MO, an interesting little big town. Or so it felt in the area the convention center was in. We were surrounded by big, tall buildings and pricey restaurants, but there was hardly any traffic. I suspect this had something to do with the buses and street cars. Still, those exist in Denver, and there's still tons of traffic. Kansas City was a pleasant place to be, and perfect for the Con. And as it was only nine hours away, a group of us drove out instead of flying.

You guys know I attend a few conferences and conventions, and that I tend to come back from them on a big, exhilarated high. Not so much this time. Before we get to that, though, I'd like to talk about the good. How about a Top Ten (in no particular order)?

10. Quality programming. I'd been told you don't go to Worldcon for the programming, but for the networking. (More about that later). However, the programming was solid, as far as I was concerned. I will likely never attend another Con that is so short story friendly. Usually, as a female horror short story author, I'm in the mega minority, and I sometimes have trouble finding panels I'm truly interested in, but there were so many great short story panels, each involving various editors, such as Neil Clarke, Jason Sizemore, Sheila Williams, Jonathan Strahan, and the amazing Ellen Datlow (long-time fan of her anthologies), as well as a couple short story authors. Again, I doubt I will ever see all these editors, people who have rejected my stories (hahaha - okay, only two of the above editors have rejected me), all in one place like this again. John Joseph Adams was also there (I've certainly been rejected by Nightmare), but I didn't see him on any panels. A mutual friend introduced us out in the hall Friday, I think it was.

9. Yummy food. We went to Jack Stack for BBQ, which came highly recommended by locals. We had a large party, so we got a semi-private room with sliding doors (super fun to open and close them with flair...ask me how I know.) Other restaurants we ate at (and enjoyed, though service wasn't always great) were The Flying Saucer, The Yard House, and Cosentino's, which is actually a grocery store, but had tasty, convenient food. And dessert! That was the only night we got dessert. It wasn't a big thing around there.

8. Astronauts! Admittedly, I haven't outgrown thinking astronauts are cool. I attended a talk given by Jeanette Epps, a NASA engineer. She talked about the training they go through, and had a fun slideshow with all kinds of photos from it.

7. Attending a George R.R. Martin reading. He read a snippet from Dances With Dragons, a not-yet-published prequel to the Game of Thrones series. How often does one get that opportunity?

6. Finding a book I'm in at one of the dealer's tables. Fun surprise! It was Once Upon a Scream. I have since been informed that I should have offered to sign the books they had on hand. My mistake is your lesson! Always offer to sign a book if you happen across it. I heard this from both authors and a bookseller. And an editor! So just do it. Apparently, it doesn't make you a narcissist, even if it feels like it does.

5. Friend time. I got to spend time with friends, some of whom I don't see very often, and made a few new ones. And I was lucky enough to share my hotel room with a friend it's always fun to travel with, to enjoy some pre-event wine a couple times, and to have a night in, where we skipped the bar and just chatted and read. This was incredibly valuable downtime in a busy week. And a shared bottle of wine in a hotel room with a good friend will beat Bar Con any day.

4. Attending the Hugo Awards was a cool experience, and one each speculative fiction author should have the opportunity to do at least once. Pat Cadigan was a phenomenal hostess, quite funny and personable, and she kept things rolling right along, with the help of her minion.

3. I got to briefly meet fellow blogger John Wiswell of the Bathroom Monologues. It's always pleasant to finally meet in person someone you have spoken to online for awhile, even if it is just posts back and forth. He was preparing for a panel, so I just said a quick hello, got a hug, and left him to his prep.

2. Huh. I've run out. A Top Eight it is then.

1. Phlbbbbt.

As you can see, there were a lot of positives. So why did I leave feeling drained and emptied instead of inspired?

Well, let's discuss networking. We writers are an introverted bunch. When a couple friends told me that Worldcon was amazing, that I simply HAD to go, and that they knew people they'd introduce me to, including several editors relevant to my career, I had high hopes. I prepared myself in advance to suck it up and talk to people I didn't know. I can do that. It's never a bad thing to meet more people who work in your field.

If you've been to writer's conferences and conventions, you know that most of the action is at night at Bar Con. This is where the published and unpublished gather together in one loud, crazy bundle of networking. You mingle, you meet, you talk, you laugh, you drink.

The first night, most of our party skipped Bar Con. I had gotten less than 90 minutes of sleep before riding in a car for 9 hours. It was late. Everyone was cranky. So my roommate and I headed up to bed.

The next night, we had that awesome BBQ mentioned above, and then we went to the bar. The Con Bar was at the Marriott, so we headed on over.

And here's where the negative begins.

The bar was packed both nights we went. We initially kind of huddled over on the edges. The first night, the friends we'd come with who were familiar with these people were out in the middle of it, mingling. It was a struggle to try to talk to the writers filling the room. In fact, other than people I already knew, I didn't meet new writers that night, and certainly no editors. The only ones we ended up having real, substantive discussions with were readers who were attending the Con, not other writers. My roommate and I left with a bad taste in our mouths that night, but we thought perhaps things would change next time.

We skipped the bar the next night, which ended up being one of our better nights (see above). But on the night of the Hugos, we hit the bar with everyone else afterward, dressed to the nines. I went to the bar determined it would be different this time. I was dressed up. My hair was done. I was wearing makeup. I could do this. I was wearing a girl mask.

I saw an acquaintance talking to a group of men (the VAST majority of people in the bar both times were men), and I walked over to say hi to him, and introduced myself to the others standing there. They shook my hand, introduced themselves, briefly spoke in my general direction, then promptly turned their talk inward again (my acquaintance had been summoned by someone else, and had turned to talk to them). This time, the discussion became all about their female characters, and how WELL and FAIR they were writing these characters. They weren't talking to me, but around me. No one would meet my eyes after the initial introduction. In fact, two of them didn't even meet my eyes then.

I took the hint and wandered away.

This happened again. I can't tell you what it took each time to walk up and try to talk to these people. But I could rarely even get eye contact. And they kept trying to convince me, without actually talking to ME, that they were writing strong female characters. Okay?? Good? Glad to hear it. I don't care. I'm not the Female Character Police. This is not the only thing we women want to talk about, if at all.

I was approached several times by other women who were doing the same thing I was. They were great to talk to, and we had real conversations. I watched these other women circling the outskirts of the room, trying to meet people, trying to introduce themselves, and not really being let in. It should be noted that two well known female authors were there at the first bar night, and they were also on the outskirts most of the time, which I found bizarre. I mean, they were already a part of this crowd, right? Respected, I would think. About halfway through my time there, they found each other and stood there talking together for the rest of the night. So it wasn't just us no namers facing this. Otherwise, I'd say our problem was that we weren't people who could help others climb. I'm sure that was a part of it.

Ultimately, the night ended well, with me settled in with my friends, and several other people stopping by to talk. Once I gave up on being part of this particular writing community, I was able to relax for the most part. It was the first night that original group of friends was really all together and just hanging out, and it was a pleasant change and a comfortable place to be.

I intended to write this recap post last Monday, the day after I arrived home from MidAmeriCon II, but I just sat there at the laptop trying to work through how I felt about this trip. Empty. That's all I could feel. I felt empty. Cored. Cleaned out. The more I thought about it, the more disappointed I became. The more upset I got. So I gave up. I didn't want to say something negative about something so big in the speculative fiction community. I didn't want to jump the gun and say something I'd regret. I didn't want to be ostracized by not taking part in the love fest that was Facebook for the attendees after the fact. I scanned people's posts to see if anyone felt the way I did, but I didn't find anything.

I had to have been wrong, right? This was the very same community that awarded most of the awards that Saturday night to women. I had to be misconstruing it. It had to be my lack of ability to mingle, to network. My introverted nature working against me. Only...I have never felt this way at other conventions. Not even other speculative fiction conventions. Not even at Denver Comic Con, where I did not have most of my usual "support group" of friends, and where I hardly knew anyone at all. I may not have felt like I was in the middle of everything there, but I also didn't feel like I was facing a wall of backs, which is how I felt for most of Worldcon Bar Con. (It should be noted that I didn't feel this way in the actual convention.)

To be clear, I am not someone who instantly leaps to "It's because I'm a woman!" That is not my default. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind on Day 1. It could be that there were two completely different dynamics at play between Day 1 and Day 2. However, the things I've mentioned here, and the things I have chosen not to mention, indicated gender being at least a portion of the issue on Day 2.

There's also the fact that I've since spoken to a couple of my female friends who were there, and they said they felt the same. I definitely can't speak for all the women there, and I'm sure there were women who had a high old time and didn't feel this way at all. But several of us did. I found this tremendously ironic, considering the amount of lip service paid to women in the industry, both on the panels and in the amazing sweep that occurred in the awards.

Maybe we took it wrong, and I'm sure no one in that room would want it to have been that way, that if they were hearing this from a female friend, they would be aghast. But there's still work to do if even the female authors who are known and have been nominated for Hugos are outsiders.

A couple bad nights at the bar is minor in the scheme of things, but this was an experience I haven't had before, and one that has made me look to the future with a new sense of dread. Is this what I have to look forward to? What does it take to be worth talking to at Worldcon as a female author? Did I need to butch up my confidence level? I've been in the business world. I've worked for my share of misogynists, but I hadn't been made to feel this way by my community, the writing community, until now.

Now I'm faced with hotel, food, and gas bills to pay off for something that left me hurting and unsure about the writing community. And a great sense of emptiness and dejection. In the meantime, I get to keep reading about what a great Con it was for my male friends who were there, and how many fantastic connections they made. I didn't write a word last week, because I was emotionally exhausted from my five days in Kansas City. I'm coming back around, and finally got some writing done last night. My experience was a disappointment, but I'm sure it was just a fluke. There has to be another explanation. Maybe it was just me.

Either way, I failed miserably at this networking thing, and I need to examine that and figure out what I could have done differently, and how to do it going forward. I have spent the last couple years stretching well outside my personal comfort level, and I have felt good about that until now.

Having said all this, I can't blame anyone for my experience except for me. I built it up too high, had expectations that were unrealistic, and I'm sure I could have tried harder and stretched further beyond my own comfort level. Lesson learned. And next time I'll offer to sign the books. ;)

Did you go to Worldcon? How was your experience? Have you ever attended a writing event that left you feeling like an outsider? How did you deal with it? What tips and tricks do you have for networking?

May you find your Muse.

*Photos taken by myself and Patrick Hester.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Setting up a Book Signing Table

I've only participated in two signings as an author now, so I'm by no means an expert. However, I wanted to throw out a few suggestions for folks getting ready to do a book signing, based on what I've learned in participating, volunteering with setup, attending large signings, and visiting other friends doing single author signings.

Both of my signings have been at large events, with multiple authors participating, so there's a difference between this type and a single author signing. Your table setup will be similar between the two, though.


You want your table to bring people over to speak with you. It should be highly visible and make people want to wander over and see what's going on. There are a few things you can do that will draw the eye without being tacky.

It's a good idea to invest in book stands. Instead of having your books prone on the surface of the table, have some of them sitting up in a book stand or at least stand them against the prone books. You want them visible. There are many types, from the most basic to big ones that are more racks than stands.

It's a good idea to have a banner or blown up image of your book cover. If a banner, you should be able to tape it into the front of the table. If a blown up image, it's a good idea to have an easel to put it on. If you're signing at a bookstore, they may be providing the signage. This is something you'll want to inquire about when you arrange the signing. It's probably wise to keep your own signage in the car just in case something goes wrong.

If you are one author among many, either because you co-wrote a book or wrote a shorter piece in a collection/anthology/magazine, have a name plate. You can use cardstock or a thick paper and fold it in half with your name printed on either side. Or you can have something professionally made. People want to know who they're talking to. I found it caused confusion when I didn't have a nameplate at Denver Comic Con. Since I'd previously been provided one at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, I'd made the mistake of assuming this would be a regular thing.

I didn't do this, but I'd recommend having your own tablecloth, at least if it's a solo signing. Really, it would work at a larger signing, too. It looks nicer that way, and it can be eye catching to have that splash of color. Try to make it appropriate to the type of book you're selling. This is another item I'd say may be provided for you, but keep a spare with your signing items in the trunk of your car, just in case.


It's always a good idea to have swag to hand out. This way, people who aren't buying your book may look it up later, or look up other books you've written. Of course, you want swag for those buying, too. People like free things. And if those free things happen to encourage someone to buy your books, woo-hoo!

A big item is bookmarks. Have bookmarks with your name, web page, and current book cover (or a couple of your covers) on it. If you have a series, indicate this and possibly have the other covers on there, with the most recent being dominant. Hand these out to people who stop to chat, and include one with each book you sign. Some people sign their bookmarks. I'm not sure that matters, but it's up to you. An alternative or addition to this might be to do this postcard sized instead of bookmark, but people are more likely to use a bookmark.

Business cards. You should always have business cards with your name, web page, and any other information you want to give out. This should have your book cover on it. If you're selling a book that's not just yours (an anthology or magazine), you might just want cards that are themed to your writing, but don't have the book cover on it. Up to you. Give these cards out with the bookmarks or instead of them. If you make a professional connection at your signing, you need to have a card to give to them. I recommend against putting a phone number on them. You can write it on if you want someone to have it, but do you really want to hand your phone number out to a bunch of strangers?

Pens are another possibility. I met someone who has personalized pens with their name and website on them. They give them out to each person who buys a book or chats with them. I also read about someone who makes a point of signing with that pen, then handing it to them with the book. People use pens! And they're likely to walk away with one, anyway, so why not have it branded?


Dress nicely, or however appropriate to the event. I wore business casual at the writer's conference book signing, but went casual for Comic Con, which felt more appropriate to me. Unless you're dressing up in costume, make sure your appearance is pleasant and, it should go without saying, clean. Do your hair, wear some makeup (ladies), don't have dirty ragged nails.

Stand up! I stood through one signing, sat through the other. I engaged more people by standing up. Make eye contact. Start conversations. Say hi to people. Don't be an obnoxious salesperson, but do interact with people.

Other Stuff:

I've seen recommendations for and against this, so you'll want to consider whether it works for you or not, but having candy or a baked good at the table with you can draw people over to talk to you. Plus, people like sweet stuff. This is something you need to confirm is okay with the venue you're signing at, so you don't disrespect them by violating their rules.

If you have a newsletter, have a sign up sheet on the table. Let people know they can sign up for your newsletter, and tell them how it will benefit them. Do they get a free short story when they sign up? Will they hear about releases sooner? Are there discounts?

If you have other publications you are not selling at the event, you'll want to let people know about them. You can do this by including them on swag you're giving out, brochures/flyers, or a sign that has information on where to find them. I did a simple print-up with the covers of the books I was not selling (the ones that were e-book only), and a link for where to find out how to buy them (my blog). I wanted it to be easy to remember since I only had the one sign, but if I'd had more prep time, I would have printed up more to hand out or put it in postcard format to hand to people.

I've seen all kinds of eye-catching items at book signings, including feathered pens, photos, themed candy, cakes, skeletons, stuffed toys, dolls, figures, toys, etc. Make it your own. Make it something that will start conversations and draw the eye. Be interesting. Your purpose is to get people over to look at your books and, hopefully, buy them.

What do you recommend having (or not having) at a signing table? What have you learned from book signings you've participated in? What is one of the coolest things you've seen at an author's signing table? Any other suggestions?

May you find your Muse.

*My thanks out to Michelle Baker and Patrick Hester who took the photos in this post.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Horror List Book Review: Naked Lunch

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.

This week I'm reviewing Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs.

I really struggled with this one. If I had to sum up what it was about it would go something like this: This book is hallucinogenic gay snuff porn. It's Fear and Trainspotting in Space Station, Port 9.

Alright, that's incredibly simplistic. The author was an addict (recovering?) who also happened to be homosexual. The book was intentionally (I believe?) cut up into quick scenes that location hopped, and were meant (again, I think?) to represent a druggie's way of seeing the world. There are aliens. There are drugs. There is a lot of sexual violence. There is a lot of American government bashing. 

If you enjoy Hunter S. Thompson, you would probably like this. It felt quite similar to me. He's considered to be of the Beatnik group, such as Kerouac, and he got a lot of support from that quarter.

Part of my problem was that you really have no concept of who the narrator is. There's no reasoning for the travel, or for the narrator being at these places. Is it omniscient? Possibly? 

My ADHD brain just couldn't get into this book. I think it took me two weeks to read.

I assume the "horror" this was supposed to represent was government overreach and drug addiction. But it was so nonsensical, I couldn't get that sense of horror. Then again, maybe the snuff porn was the horror, but it was so ridiculous and implausible there was no way I could get into it enough to care. I certainly couldn't get into the narrator's head. There was no character to identify with or even to care about. I. just. didn't. care. And, yes, I'm clear that it was satire, as well. I enjoy a good satire. I got the points being made. I just didn't enjoy reading it.

Interesting factoid: There were obscenity charges concerning this book, and an attempt to ban it state-wide in Massachusetts. The Supreme Court cleared it, and declared it protected by the 1st Amendment. The beginning of the edition I read has transcripts from folks like Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg, who staunchly defended the book.

Having said all that, there was something fascinating and compelling about the book, which is the thing that allowed me to continue instead of just giving up and deciding a review wasn't worth it. I wanted to understand it better, but I didn't have the time, the energy, or the attention span to do so. I think it would take several readings of this book to understand it better, and I believe each reading would illuminate something new, if not many somethings new. I'm just not willing to put in that time. More intellectual sorts might enjoy this book as a study and commentary. I read for entertainment.

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. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
15. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
16. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
17. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
18. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
19. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
20. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
21. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
22. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
23. World War Z (Max Brooks)
24. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
25. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
26. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
27. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
28. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
29. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
30. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
31. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

The next book I read will be Roald Dahl's The Witches. I need a break.

Have you read Naked Lunch or seen the movie? What did you think? Have you read any of his other works, and are they similar? Do you have an example of good satire in novel form?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mark Noce Blog Tour - Between Two Fires

Today, I'd like to welcome Mark Noce to The Warrior Muse. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is releasing in about two weeks. Be sure to click on the link for his Thunderclap campaign in his social media links below, so you can help him out!

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Release Date: August 23, 2016

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.

His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Thank you for stopping by, Mark, and good luck with the book release!

What do you guys think of the cover? It sounds good, doesn't it? Is this a time period you enjoy reading about? Have you signed up for his Thunderclap campaign?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bish Denham - The Bowl and the Stone Cover Reveal & Links

Today, I'd like to welcome Bish Denham, for the cover reveal of The Bowl and the Stone!

You ready for it?

Here it comes...

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Pre-order today and enter the ghostly tale as soon as it releases.

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly. 

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/

She can also be found on Facebook:

And Twitter @BishDenham 

Thanks for stopping by, Bish. I love your author photo!


Link time! Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these links, merely passing along those I happen across. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a publication.

Accepting Submissions:

Pole to Pole Publishing is taking submissions of speculative short fiction for their anthology In a Cat's Eye. 3000-5000 words. Pays $.02/word, plus possibility of royalties. Deadline August 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for submissions for Curvy & Confident. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline August 30.

Frith Books is seeking horror short stories for Restless, an anthology. 7000-12,000 words. Pays $25. Deadline August 31.

ELJ Publications is seeking poetry, micro and flash fiction, flash essays, and hybrid works for Come as You Are. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 31.

Contrary is seeking commentary, fiction, and poetry. Up to 1500 words. Pays $20. Deadline September 1.

Sirens Call is open for submissions to the themed anthology Alone With Your Fear. 4000-8000 words. Pays $25. Deadline September 1.

Geometry is seeking creative nonfiction and fiction. Up to 8000 words. Pays $.01 to $.03/word. Deadline September 1.

|tap| is seeking poetry and prose. Pays $25. Deadline September 1.


The Rotting Post is holding a humor competition. Up to 1000 words. First prize is $250. No entry fee. Deadline August 31.

Poets & Patrons is holding the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest. First prize $50. No entry fee. Deadline September 1.

What do you think of the cover? Isn't this the kind of adventure you would have loved to go on as a kid? What is your favorite childhood adventure? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG - The Irks of Editing, New Release, Interview, & Links

It's the first Wednesday in August, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

By the time the September IWSG post comes along, the kids will be back in school, I will have been to World Con, and I will have officially been married 20 years! And so much more. August is a busy, busy month.

Co-hosts this month are Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! Thanks for co-hosting!

This month's question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

The first thing I wrote upon deciding I wanted to actually write a novel was a paranormal horror story. I only got a few chapters in. I then wrote a few short stories that I submitted and got rejected, then got so busy with school, work, and health issues that I gave up for awhile. None of those things have been published, but I might revisit the short stories. The novel is a lost cause, and that's okay.


This month's insecurity is really frustration with myself. I love the writing part, but not so much the editing part. I've got two novels needing to be edited. Instead, I write. It's time I buckle down and finish those edits. Both should be on the final round. I need to finish them and start querying! But I'm plagued with insecurities once I get through that fun part, and they hold me back, because this is the analysis portion of writing, and the more I think about it, the more doubts I have. I may love my stories, but will anyone else? The technicalities start to hang me up. Is this a sufficient story arc? Do my characters arc? Is the good guy good enough? Is the villain legitimately the hero of his or her own story? Are there too many cliches? So on and so forth. What I need to do is move past those and get the stories out there. I suppose I'll get my answer if they never sell.


As part of a larger interview, which will be posted next week, AmyBeth Frederick interviewed me on video. It's less than two minutes, so check it out!


My stats for July:

12 short story submissions
1 acceptance of an already published story by Audible
8 rejections
1 publication
2 new short stories turned in to critique group


My short story Shifting Sands came out in Dark Moon Digest, #24!

It's currently for sale on Amazon in paperback. It will be available in e-book soon.


Links! I took an unintentional break for a few weeks (somehow I screwed up and posted two posts the same day that were meant to be a week apart, and then I was out of town), so now I'm way behind on links!

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

Accepting Submissions:

Turn to Ash is seeking short fiction for a themed anthology. The story must be in the form of a phone call to a late night paranormal talk radio show. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 8.

The Lorelei Signal is accepting short fantasy stories. Must involve strong/complex female characters, though they do not have to be the main character. Up to 10,000 words. Pays flat fees between $2.00 and $7.50, depending upon submission type. Current deadline August 15.

World Weaver Press wants your Krampus stories for Krampusnacht Two, an anthology. 1000-10,000 words. Pays $10, plus contributor copy. Deadline August 15.

Revolving Door Press is seeking new fairy tales or retellings for the anthology "Turn Left at Grandmother's House." 500-7000 words. Also takes poetry and artwork. Pay for short fiction is $.06/word. Deadline August 15.

Splickety Publishing Group is taking submissions for Splickety Love with the theme "All's Fair in Love and Uniforms." Needs to be romance and have something to do with uniforms. 300-1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline August 26.

Wicked Tales is open for submissions to their themed anthology "A Scratch at the Door." 3000-15,000 words. Paying publication. Deadline August 26.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is seeking vignettes and poetry. Pays $5 AUD. Deadline August 31.

Farenheit Books is seeking submissions for their Spekulative Stories Anthology Series. The current theme is Automobilia. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 31.

Owl Hollow Press is accepting short stories for their anthology Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers, and Robots. Up to 8500 words. Pays $50, plus there is a Readers' Choice Award with an additional cash payment. Deadline August 31.

Blog Hops:

The August Write Edit Publish (WEP) Challenge is open for signups now. Theme "Gardens." Post on August 17.

What are your insecurities? How do you feel about editing? What's your favorite part, editing or writing? Have you submitted anything this month? Have you ever read Dark Moon Digest? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.