Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Hi guys! Since I got behind on posting books I'd read recently, links, etc., I figured I'd do a post just for that, as well as the sign up for my book tour. I'll be releasing my holiday horror short story collection on my birthday, November 20! The first story is set on Thanksgiving, so it seems appropriate to release it the week before.
The sign up form is at the bottom of this post.
In the meantime, here's some recent media I've enjoyed!
Killer Chardonnay, by Kate Lansing
I read this for my Sisters in Crime book group. It's a cute cozy mystery about a woman who has just realized her dream by opening up a winery, only to have a murder occur in the restaurant on her very first day. A little light romance, interesting suspects, a troubled brother, some wine details, and plenty of intrigue. Also, Kate Lansing is adorable.
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
I've been reading one or two chapters of a craft book each required writing day, and finally finished this one. It comes highly recommended for a reason. Deeply honest (sometimes to a questionable extent that made me wonder if I liked the author as a person), down-to-earth, and inspirational. I imagine her classes are effective. She discusses all things writing: the ups and downs that make up the roller coaster, the fears (some even realized), the criticisms, and the realities of publication. It's told in a relatable way, as if one's reading a really long personal essay.
Dead Stop, by Barbara Nickless
Barb's third book is next on my book group's list, but I'd only read the first one, so I decided to read them in order. Of course, then I read them in the wrong order, because after this one I read number 4 instead of number 3. Sigh.
Anyway, Sydney Parnell is a train cop. A war veteran, she and her military-trained K9, Clyde, deal with the ghosts of their past while wandering the train yards at night. Only, bad things happen at the train yards sometimes. In this particular book, Sydney responds to a call from one of her engineers. He's hit a woman, who was standing on the tracks. But when she investigates, it's discovered the woman didn't commit suicide--she was bound with wire and left to die.
In the meantime, her boyfriend is investigating a brutal family slaying. A father and son have been found dead in their home. The father, a veteran, is suspected of murder suicide, possibly PTSD, but the wife and little girl are missing. What could he possibly have done with them?
Barb's books are definitely not cozies. Terrible things happen to good people. But Sydney and Clyde always make sure the guilty pay. Fast paced and incredibly well-written.
Gone to Darkness, by Barbara Nickless
As mentioned above, I messed up. Pretty sure this is book 4, not 3. (Picture taken from the front porch of my new cabin!!)
A man is found in a freezer train car. Clothed in a woman's dress, his body scarred with fresh writing, he was only found because a strange woman signaled to the train as it went by. But where's the woman? Why is Noah in a dress? Who tortured him to excessive levels before killing him? And who's next?
Sydney has a lot to prove in this one, and she aims to do it. But while she's stalking a killer, somebody's stalking her.
Just as with her preceding books, Barb brings it with this one. She'll break your heart after she makes it stutter.
Smitten with Ravioli, by Ellen Jacobson
A cute romance with travel abroad, this one features a disgraced graduate student who flees to Italy to escape a bad relationship and a scholarly humiliation. The last thing she wants is a romance. But we all know romance finds us on its own timeline. The problem is, Ginny's been lying since she met him, thinking it was a one-time run-in, so when it turns out they're stuck together in this little town, she has to dig deeper or come clean.
Fender Lizards, by Joe R. Lansdale
Dot, a roller-skating waitress who lives in a trailer park in small-town Texas, finds herself involved with a roller derby. Her boss at the Dairy Bob offers to back it, and she ropes in her sister and fellow waitresses, with her mysterious uncle, who appeared out of nowhere years after her father disappeared on a cigarette run. The heroine in this has a lot of heart and a philosophical mind. She's honest and no-nonsense. Between taking care of her sister's abusive boyfriend (husband? I don't remember for sure), a new love interest, and life in general, Dot does the best she can to maneuver through her day to day and survive.
I *think* that catches me up with the books I've read since my last time posting them. The last two were e-book.
There's no way I'm going to remember everything I've watched movie/TV-wise, but I know I binge watched the show Pen15 after a friend recommended it.
This one's hard to explain, but I really enjoyed it. The two main actresses are adults, but they're playing middle school versions of themselves. The rest of the actors in the show are legitimately kids. It's hilarious at times, rough at other times, and frighteningly accurate to middle school girl behavior. I can't say I've done everything they do in the show, but it still felt accurate (and horrifying). There were times when they made things so uncomfortable I had to cover my eyes and squirm in my seat. Blatantly honest.
It's the story of two friends battling their way through the middle school halls and grown up family problems. One of them earns the name Ugliest Girl in School at the very beginning. The other one tries to pretend she can't hear her parents fighting all the time. First dates, first thongs, so many firsts.
This is pretty much my daughter's favorite thing ever right now. It's a game series that Cinnamon Toast Ken does walkthroughs of on YouTube. One version was also put into a movie form. I'm not going to pretend to understand it. It reminds me of the Japanese horror film Battle Royale. Each game finds a new class entering the Academy. They don't remember who they were before, and that evil little bear in the image above (Monokuma) tells them they have to kill each other to get out. Each time someone dies, a trial is held. The other characters must find out who killed that character. If they guess right, the killer gets punished (horribly, but creatively.) If they guess wrong, they'll all be punished. Ultimately, the survivors must find their way out.
I watched the Joe Bob Briggs Last Drive-in version of this 1980 film. It's a blatant 80s ripoff of Alien, complete with aliens and exploding chests. A piece of the trivia was that there were multiple languages being spoken by the various actors, and it was ultimately dubbed in English. Pretty goofy and about to leave Shudder. I probably wouldn't watch it again.
Books of Blood
I'm actually currently reading the Books of Blood, all three volumes, and I only recognized one of the stories in this. Not sure if that means I haven't gotten to the others or they changed them. Not terrible, not great. The first story is the best. The second one is the most memorable. I've already forgotten what the third one was.
This one's available on Shudder. It has the feel of a sitcom, but with cheesy horror goodness thrown in. Two men live and work together at a TV station making low budget commercials. Their real dream is to be horror film makers. They also host a TV show where they show old horror films. One's girlfriend is an artist, a cutesy girl who creates bizarre and freaky art. The other's ex shows up, and she's a doctor or a nurse (I don't remember since it's not actually a big part of the storyline.) There's an imaginary friend who shows up to give bad advice, who also happens to wear fishnets and leather. Dee Snyder plays their boss and a guy in a cover band. Obviously low budget, but lots of fun. There have been several great horror icons doing cameos, including Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, and Danielle Harris. Seth Green plays a goofy special effects guy with multiple personalities.
This is an entertaining indie horror flick on Shudder. Two authors stowaway at cabins in the woods and decide to scare each other with stories. The stories within the story are fun. One of them is a published and known author, the other a newbie. In the end you'll have to ask yourself if the author who won really won at all.
Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Haunts and Hellions. Gothic romance anthology from horroraddicts.com. This one's coming up fast, but they're great to work with, so it's worth a try. 2000-5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 31.
Slashertorte is an anthology of cake horror. Up to 2000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 1.
Metastellar is seeking speculative flash fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline November 1.
Off Limits Press is seeking adventure horror stories for Far From Home. 2000-8000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 1.
Thuggish Itch is seeking horror stories about birds with teeth. 1000-5000 words. Pays AUS $5-$10, depending upon length. Deadline November 15.
Finally, if you'd like to sign up to help launch my holiday horror tales, you can click this LINK or fill out the form below. THANK YOU!
Read any of these books or watched any of the shows? Have you heard of Danganronpa or played the game? Any of these links of interest? What have you been reading? Found any good new (or old) shows? Any media you'd recommend?
May you find your Muse.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
When disasters strike around every corner, is it possible to have a happily-ever-after?
BLURB: Beth and Donovan are expecting their first child. Life couldn’t get any better…until a stalker makes his presence known. This person sends disturbing messages and unsettling items, but it isn’t long before his menacing goes too far.
Hoping for a peaceful Christmas, Donovan takes Beth to Michigan. Days into their trip, a winter storm named Nemesis moves in with the goal of burying the state. Snowdrifts surround their house, and the temperature drops below freezing.
Except, the storm isn’t the only nemesis they must face. Everyone’s lives are at stake—especially that of their unborn child. Will they survive, or will they become a frozen crime?
The crunch of the shovel pounding into the snow and ice filled his ears. It was all he could hear. The rest of the street was silent beneath its wintry blanket. Breathing was difficult with the icy air clogging his lungs. His nose burned. His throat was dry and on fire. But he ignored it, focusing on his task.
Crack, crack, crack.
He jabbed the shovel into a hunk of snow. On the third hit, it shattered into several pieces. He scooped them up and flung them to the side. He surveyed what remained. There was one big ball in the middle of the path that needed to be dealt with next. He moved over to it and struck it. That one impact had it severing in two. He was about to hit it again when something crashed into the back of his head.
Explosions of white light danced over his vision. Pain enveloped his skull. The shovel slipped from his fingers. Blackness cloaked his mind, coaxing him into its depths.
Beth. Her name was a whisper in his head, as if his thoughts were being sucked into a wormhole.
His legs collapsed under his weight.
Cold. It seeped into him, consuming him. And then his consciousness fled down that same void that ate his thoughts.
***HUGE DISASTER CRIMES GIVEAWAY***
Prizes: 4 eBooks (Disaster Crimes 1-4: Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, Tsunami Crimes, Flaming Crimes) + Girl Boss Magnets (4), Inflatable Cup Holder (1), Adventure Fuel To-Go Cups (2), Anchor Fashion Scarf (1), Mermaid Nail Clippers (2), Citrus and Sea Salt Scented Candle (1), Snowflake Handmade Bookmark (1), Insulated Cooler Bag (1)
Number of Winners: One
Giveaway Ends: October 30, 2020 12:00am EST
***FREE EXCLUSIVE EBOOK***
To get the exclusive prequel to the Disaster Crimes series, sign up for Chrys’ newsletter. By signing up, you agree to receive Chrys Fey’s newsletter. After you confirm subscription, you will receive an email (so check your inbox and spam folder) with directions on where to snag your eBook copy of THE CRIME BEFORE THE STORM.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press. https://www.chrysfey.com
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Hi all, it's time for the October (holy cow...October!) Insecure Writer's Support Group!
Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves as a virtual place to give and get support for your writing insecurities.
This month's optional question can be found on Alex's blog, on the IWSG page.
September has been a month of many insecurities. I took a couple hits to the ego that made me question why I put myself through all this. However, these two things wouldn't have been enough to sink me so low if I hadn't already been stressed out and depressed to begin with. I think a lot of our writing insecurities play off things happening in our non-writing lives, as well, sometimes causing them to expand out of proportion.
Of course, without a few ego blows, how else would we stay modest and down to earth? Oh, wait, I was never going to think I was the most awesome writer in the world, so please no more slights. Thanks, world!
In other, probably related, news, I'm back in college to get my business degree! I started back last week. As it's a college that allows me to accelerate, I'm hoping to be done by summer. This also means I will likely only be blogging on IWSG days.
Given, since I started writing this I've been ruminating over the big lows I had in the last couple weeks. If I find that my meaty school schedule is making it so I can't write, I will be backing down and planning on completing it in two terms (so one year). Part of what upset me is that I got so busy with day job stuff and volunteer job stuff that I made writing my last priority. Because of that, I fell. Publishing seems like exercise: it only takes one brief slip to make you have to start over, yet it's always a struggle to try to keep up momentum. I lost a lot of momentum over the last couple years. I was thinking about where I might be with things had I not put everything else first. And it made me sink like a rock, emotionally.
Now that I've worked through these thoughts and figured out the source of the lows, I can move forward and start trying to gain that momentum again.
If you've read my book "Bruised Souls & Other Torments," would you consider putting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Frankly, my book release flopped. The timing was horrible. I couldn't heavily advertise or do anything fun online to promote it, because it came out just as the pandemic took off, and I didn't foresee we'd all still be isolated this late in the game. I only have a few reviews, and because my sales on both books have fallen, partially courtesy of so many canceled events, I can no longer find my books in an Amazon search. I have to find one of the anthologies I'm in and track from there. How are we supposed to have sales if Amazon buries our books? I've seen other people post about this issue, too.
Any help on the review front would be appreciated!
I had a new release last week! And guess what? It's not horror, just dark fantasy. My story is Of Earth and Fae, and mixes together Ute and Irish lore.
Ride through the sky with the Wild Hunt!
A fierce host rides across the winter sky at night
In wild pursuit of whoever crosses their path
Peals of thunder follow the horses as they gallop through the clouds
Fire flashing from their hooves
The baying of the hounds echoes across the sky
Their sharp teeth glinting in the light of the moon
The Huntsman blows his horn, and the Fae ride behind him
Their faces both beautiful and terrible to behold
When the nights are long and the winter winds howl, stay inside
Lest you cross the path of the Hunt...and become their prey
The Wild Hunt contains thirteen stories based on the wide and varied folklore of the Wild Hunt. In some tales, the leader of the hunt is Odin; in others it’s King Arthur, Herodias, or Herne the Hunter. Sometimes the riders are Fae; sometimes they are specters, or skeletons, or strange beasts never before seen by mortal eyes.
But no matter who the hunters are, you definitely don’t want to be the one they’re after...
Let the Wild Hunt begin!
Time for my September submission stats:
1 implied rejection (learned I wasn't in it when they announced it was for sale, which was one of the ego blows mentioned above)
3 novel queries sent out
15 stories currently on submission
What are your insecurities? Have you ever really screwed up and lost your momentum? How did you recover? Have you been submitting?
May you find your Muse.
PHOTO: Swoosh Blue MD, clker.com, OCAL