Thursday, October 31, 2019

Share the Love, a Reading, ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo, & Links!

Hello! It's Halloween, which is my favorite holiday. Although I recently had an epiphany that it's not the day, but the month leading up to it. When else is the macabre so acceptable to everyone? I'm also a huge fan of fall, so horror + fall = AMAZING!

I've got a reading come up in Denver:

And look! Our reading is #13. How fortuitous!

Each Halloween I put out a table full of books for all ages. For years I've been saving friends' signed books on my shelves after reading them, feeling like that was the way it should be, but then I had another epiphany (so many epiphanies in this post): shouldn't I be sharing their books out instead of keeping them on a shelf? So this year I'll have a bunch of books by friends. From here on out, if I attend a signing I'll just have them sign their books instead of personalizing them. That way, people get a signed book for Trick or Read.

Last weekend I went to MileHiCon. Friday I did a reading of a story I haven't yet sent out for publication. Saturday I participated in something called The Reading Game. Like The Dating Game, TRG has three options (authors) behind a screen, and one player (reader) asks questions until they decide who to "date." The chosen author then gives the reader a book/books. Third time was the charm, so after being up there three times, someone chose me. Woot! Sunday I did a panel on Wry Characters We Love. All in all, it was a good weekend, full of walks, food, friends, and that contagious creative energy that comes from writing events.

With November just around the corner (okay, it's not a corner, it's a step away), many of you will be doing NaNoWriMo. I'll be doing my usual ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo, so here are my goals for that:

1- Finish Nuts!
2- Finish one short story per week in November
3- Get all previously written short stories edited and on submission

That should be plenty for the month, I think.

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

Accepting Submissions:

Shooter Literary Magazine is seeking short stories, essays, poetry, etc. with the theme "supernatural." Pays for publication. Deadline November 17.

Claw & Blossom is seeking prose and poetry with the theme "ring." Must contain some element of the natural. Pays $25. Deadline November 25.

Bronzeville Books is seeking short speculative fiction stories with a "twisted love" theme. Up to 3150 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline November 26.

Ninth Letter is seeking short fiction, poetry, and essays in varying windows through February 28. Pays $25 per printed page.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking short stories with the theme "lost love." 5000 to 15,000 words. Pays for publication. Deadline November 30.

Black Beacon Books is seeking mystery short stories and novellas. 2500 to 7000 words for short stories, up to 25,000 words for novellas. Pays for publication. Deadline November 30.

Jay Henge Publishing is seeking short fiction for three anthologies: Sensory Perceptions, Whigmaleeries & Wives' Tales, and Sunshine Superhighway. Flash to 20,000 words. Pays $5/1000 words. Deadline November 30.

Do you keep all fellow authors' books, or do you donate/sell them? Do you do Trick or Read? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Horror List Book Review: Invisible Man

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.)

It's been almost a year since I last reviewed a book on here. Back in January, right before everything went chaotic in my life, I reviewed Naomi's Room. As with everything else, I'm trying to get back to my old normal.

This week I'm reviewing Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.

I'm going to be honest. When I saw this title on the list, I thought it was THE Invisible Man, which is actually by H.G. Wells. But this book is on a list of scariest books ever for very different reasons than Wells' story.

Ellison's Invisible Man is a stark look at society, individualism, identity, and, most obviously, race. The examination of race is split between two different areas: the deep South and Harlem.

I wish I'd reviewed this after first writing it. It's been probably about eight or nine months. I read it just before things went upside down. I remember the raw emotion I felt while reading this gorgeously written book. The frustration, the anger, the sadness, and a host of other emotions. But I don't remember specific examples I could pull and more precise reviews to give you.

The "horror" of this book is the way people treat other people, the things that happen that are looked past or ignored. The way we train others to be, and are in turn trained to be. The wrong we can do, and the wrong that can be done.

If I remember right, we never get a true name for the main character. This is part of his invisibility.

All I can tell you is that everyone should read this book. Written in 1952, it flows in a beautiful arrangement of words that belies what we're reading about. To close, I'll put the opening paragraph of the prologue here:

"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and  might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me."

I rank this right there with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Handmaid's Tale" for commentary on society and a vivid, depressing look at the resilient and downtrodden in our society. The invisible, as it were.

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

Accepting Submissions: is seeking horror stories set in the Victorian era for Dark Divinations. 2000 to 5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 31.

Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking flash mysteries. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline October 31.

Utopia Science Fiction is seeking optimistic SF. 100 to 6000 words. Pays $15.

Mura Magazine is seeking poetry, flash fiction, and visual art. Less than 1000 words. Pays $1 CAD/100 words.

Czykmate Productions is seeking horror flash and short stories (plus graphic art). Pays $2.

The Bronzeville Bee is seeking speculative fiction, crime, and YA short stories. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.05/word.

Have you ever read Ellison's Invisible Man? How about the other books I mentioned? What are your thoughts? Do you find the subject matter chilling? Any of these links of use? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG - Read to Write

It's Octooooooooooooooooooooober!

Oddly, it's been in the 80s here until today. I'm ready for fall weather.

It's also the first Wednesday of October, which makes it time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is all about seeking and giving support from/to fellow writers. Anyone can join. Just click on Alex's name to sign up. Then post the first Wednesday of each month and visit fellow IWSG'ers.

The co-hosts this month are  Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard,Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

The optional question this month is "It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another writer. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

Personally, I believe writers should be readers. Being a writer is a constant learning and growing experience. Unless you're only reading one author for all time, it's highly doubtful you're going to write just like them. On the other hand, you can learn a lot from other writers and your responses to their work. You can learn just as much about what not to do as you can learn about what to do. I find that an author doing something wrong can make me see the errors in my own writing.

I'm currently waiting on some submissions to either get accepted or rejected so I can start putting together my next collection. I like to put some new stories in with old ones, and am thinking of doing more new ones this time around, but I want to see what I have available first. So no submission stats this month!

In lieu of my usual posts, I wanted to share S.A. Larsen's recent release!

It’s finally here!
New cover. Completely rebranded. Same corpse-raising middle grade adventure.
MOTLEY EDUCATION: The Urd Saga, book I
by S. A. Larsen
Ages: 8-12
Pages: 354
Ellysian Press, September 10, 2019; Second Edition

"A deftly crafted ... and entertaining read!"
Midwest Book Reviews - Children's Watch 2017
Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted Terms of Enrollment
Signed: Ebony Charmed

Ebony should be excited about entering sixth grade to further develop her skills. And she would be. If only her lame abilities let her see more than three ghosts.

Struggling to live up to her gifted family, Ebony is horrified when she is branded a Seeker: someone who is neither Sensory nor Luminary. To top it off, her Deadly Creatures and Relics project – transforming a measly stick – seems destined for failure.

But there are doors to other worlds where creatures have been watching her. And when the truth emerges that her project is more than a stick, she knows she must act. Along with her best friend Fleishman and his pet lizard, Ebony finds herself wedged between prophecies and quests. Oh, and saving the entire spirit world from annihilation.

Ebony is not ready to be a hero. But a dark presence has already stolen more than one local kid. And this time, her failure is not an option.

*Bronze Award Winner, 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards for Best Juvenile/YA Fiction*
*Winner - Purple Dragonfly Awards 2017, Honorable Mention; ebook*
*Gold Medal Award Winner - Literary Classics Book Awards 2017, Grade School Fantasy*
*Gold Medal Winner - 2017 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards, Children's Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Order signed books from The Children’s Book Cellar via message.

About the Author
S.A. Larsen is an award-winning author, childhood apraxia of speech advocate, and Maine-iac ice hockey fan, who has watched more hockey games than she could ever count. She also has a soft spot for the strange and misunderstood, which might explain her love for dipping plain chips in ketchup. Her favorite stories push the boundaries of our world and open harbored emotions to inspire and challenge the heart. She's the author of Motley Education: The URD Saga Book I (Ellysian Press, 2019; second edition), a fantasy-adventure for middle grade readers and Marked Beauty-her debut young adult fantasy-romance (Ellysian Press, 2017). When she's not chasing her characters around a cemetery or antagonizing them with the wonders of young love, she lives in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children. Visit her cyber home at, find her on Twitter @SA_Larsen and Instagram sa.larsen, or on, where she does most of her spookiness brewing up all sorts of creepy ideas with a group of #SpookyMG authors. Stop by for a visit . . . if you dare.

What are your insecurities? Do you think writers should also be readers? Isn't S.A. Larsen's new cover great? Have you picked up your copy?

May you find your Muse.