Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Media Roundup, New Release, & YouTube TV

Well, between the issues I was having with Blogger and some personal life things, I didn't end up posting the last two weeks, which I find a bit frustrating since I was back in the rhythm of posting consistently and visiting blogs. Oddly, Blogger seems to have fixed itself after I threw my hands up and ignored it for two weeks. I guess we'll see. But it's keeping me signed in again, which it wasn't doing for a while, and it appears to be keeping me signed in when I visit others. Yay? I'll celebrate when it stays consistent. ~gives Blogger the hairy eyeball~

I had some news to share during my unintentional hiatus! My mystery short story "The Class Ring" came out in the Unsettling Reads anthology Summer Bludgeon! It's a nice, thick book with stories from some awesome people, and it's mystery, so those of you who don't like horror would enjoy this one!

Summer Bludgeon is available from Amazon.

I was also featured on Between the Covers, a sort of talk show for authors produced by Red Penguin Books. My fellow guests were Susan Cole and Amy Bernstein, and our host was Stephanie Larkin.

I was also a showcase author at Mountain of Authors, a program put on by my local library district (Pikes Peak Library District). The keynote was Craig Johnson. He's always a great presence, very laid back, but also personable, and he tells a great story. This was the first writing event I ever intended when I decided to start really doing it, and I have a special fondness for it. It was nice to have this bit of normalcy return after being canceled for the last two years.

I was also supposed to be part of a group book launch for those of us who had released books during the pandemic shutdown, but...I got COVID. Ironic, eh? I made it through two big writing conferences without getting sick, even after people I hung around tested positive, but it took my son coming home at the end of the school year with it for it to spread through our house. Oddly, it was a bit of a relief to finally get something we'd been avoiding for two years. Though now I've heard that the latest versions of Omicron don't actually give you immunity when you get them, so I'm feeling pretty disgruntled about that. I'm just glad we didn't get sick until things had calmed down. We also managed to keep my daughter from getting it, though the rest of us did, which was a relief, as she's prone to pneumonia, and I was really worried about what COVID might do to her. I'm grateful we seem to have weathered it okay, though my husband has a bad, lingering cough. 

Okay, media roundup time! These are some of the standouts of my media intake for the last month or so.


The Sanitorium, by Sarah Pearse

An old sanitorium has been converted into a fancy hotel, but after it opens people start disappearing, with at least one body turning up. A massive snowstorm traps the staff and a couple guests in the hotel after an avalanche takes out the road. Trapped with a killer, an inspector on a dramatic break from her job must figure out who the killer is and what they want before they kill her or someone close to her. Great sense of desolate isolation. There are many secrets slowly revealed over the course of the book. Solid suspense.

The Between, by Tananarive Due

After witnessing his grandmother die then come back to life in his childhood, a man starts having weird dreams and reality seems to shift around him. As he fights for his sanity, and possibly his life, he must also deal with the man stalking his judge wife, who seems to want to destroy the entire family. Great tension that leaves you guessing whether he's crazy or if his world is really shifting the way it seems to be. I thought there were too many dream sequences (not my favorite), but it wasn't enough to deter me from reading the book and overall enjoying it.


The Man From Toronto - Netflix

Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart. How could it be bad? It isn't! I enjoyed this quite a bit. Kevin Hart is a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now the bad guys think he's the go-to guy to torture information out of suspects. But he's not the Man from Toronto, Woody Harrelson is, and Woody's now got Hart's character on his radar. It's goofy, and there's a hysterical scene that I can't describe because I feel I'd give something away, but it's definitely worth a viewing when you need a laugh.


Snowflake Mountain - Netflix

Okay, so it's "reality" television, but there's something satisfying about seeing some of the most entitled, bratty, twenty-somethings have to learn how to do things for themselves. There's one who seems beyond help, but the others appear to be trying. Good for mind numbing entertainment. These kids have been voluntold by their parents to go to a rugged camp with outhouses and tents. So far, they've had to find their food, dress a deer, learn to cut down trees, etc.

The Boys - Prime

The new season is running on Amazon. I've been looking forward to Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) joining the show, but it's been an odd introduction to him, so far. The boys are back together, but there's strife between them, and trust is hard to come by. They think they've found the ultimate weapon against their apparently unbeatable enemy, but the joke's on them. Plenty of intrigue and tension. There are always tons of things that go wrong, no matter how well they try to plan for it. And the surprises keep coming. It's dark and gritty, but they make sure you can figure out from the first episode of each season if it's the type of show for you or not.

What have you been watching? Any good books read lately? How are you doing on your reading goals for the year?

May you find your Muse.

*Image - Angry Eyes,, OCAL

*Image - Swoosh Blue MD,, OCAL

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Visits & Submission Roundup

Okay y'all, I've had to download Mozilla Firefox to do it, but I think I can finally visit other blogs and comment on them (and respond to comments on my own blog)! As far as I can tell, unless others are having issues with blogger, too, my issues are stemming from adding work accounts and keeping my Google Drive access to them open. Which I've had to do before, without having these issues, but that was before I was using the newer Office setup that keeps me online.

Anyway, whatever the issue, I *think* I have things back to normal as long as I use a separate browser. Fingers crossed!

I ended up getting sicker after my IWSG post, and simply didn't have the energy to work on it until now.

Moving on! 

It's time for the June and July submission roundup. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Freeze Frame Fiction is seeking flash fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $10 per piece. Deadline June 30.

Brigid's Gate Press is seeking short stories, poetry, and drabbles in horror and dark fantasy for Dangerous Waters: Deadly Women of the Sea. 500 to 3500 words. Pays $.08/word for short stories, $50 per poem/drabble. Deadline June 30.

War & Whiskey Publishing is seeking science fiction taking place on other planets for Strange Sunrises: Tales From Distant Planets. All sub-genres, but they have a specific sci-fi horror call in the future, and would prefer horror be saved for that one. 2500 to 7500 words. Pays $30. Deadline June 30.

New Gothic Review is seeking short stories that re-imagine gothic literature for the 21st century. 1500 to 5000 words. Pays $65. Deadline June 30.

Strange Aeon is seeking cosmic horror short stories. 5000 to 10,000 words. Pays $20. Deadline June 30.

Dark Matter Magazine is seeking sci-fi horror for Monstrous Futures. Black Mirror-type stories. 2000 to 4000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline June 30.

Unsettling Reads is seeking fantasy, horror, and science fiction themed around winter/snow and that must feature a tree. Short stories and poems. 1500 to 5500 words. Pays $20. Deadline July 1.

The Cafe Irreal is seeking irreal stories (defined on their site). Up to 2000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline July 1.

Minola Review is seeking poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by those identifying as women or nonbinary. Up to 5000 words. Pays $175 per short story or creative nonfiction and $25 per poem. Deadline July 1.

Substantially Unlimited is seeking work by those who are disabled, especially focusing on invisible disabilities. Current theme is "stigma." 1 to 15 pages. Pays $15. Deadline July 1. 

Pillow Talking, a podcast, is seeking first-person narrative/creative nonfiction real-life bedroom conversations. 350 to 2000 words. July themes are "sanctuary" (July 2 deadline) and "I remember..." (July 16 deadline), but they take unthemed pieces at any time. Pays $25 AUD. 

Aurelio Leo is seeking fantasy short stories by authors of the African diaspora for Sovereign: An Anthology of Black Fantasy Fiction. Up to 39,999 words. Pays $.08/word up to 1000 words then $.01/word after. Deadline July 1.

Arelia Leo is also seeking urban fantasy dealing with elemental fire magic for From the Ashes. Same word count and pay as above, but in addition 10% of net proceeds will be donated to charities supporting burn victims. Deadline July 16.

Jaggery is seeking work by those of the South Asian diaspora. Art, essays, poetry, fiction. No specific word count. Pays $100 for fiction, $25 for all else. Deadline July 17.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking women's contemporary fiction for Life at its Best. 3000 to 15,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline July 30.

Water Dragon Publishing is seeking speculative fiction exploring the impact of the pandemic for Corporate Catharsis: The Work from Home Edition. 2000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline July 30.

Brink Literary is seeking creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry with the theme "reverence." No specific word count. Pay ranges from $25 to $100. Deadline July 30.

Hellbound Books is seeking splatterpunk for In Celebration of Splatterpunk. 4000 to 10,000 words. Pays $5. Deadline July 31.

Wolfsinger Publications is seeking science fiction of any sub-genre with your take on "ring of fire" for Ring of Fire. 1000 to 7000 words. Pays $15 plus royalties. Deadline July 31.

Zoetic Press is seeking poetry, short stories, and visual art with the theme "in motion" for Nonbinary Review. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.01/word for prose, $10 for poetry, and $25 for art. Deadline July 31.

Fiyah is seeking fiction and poetry by authors of the African diaspora with the theme "hauntings and horrors." 2000 to 7000 words for short stories or up to 15,000 words for novelettes. Pays $.08/word for prose, $50 for poetry, and $.10/word for nonfiction. Deadline July 31.

Sliced Up Press is seeking is seeking blood-free horror shorts stories and poetry for Bloodless. 1000 to 3000 words. Pays $30. Deadline July 31.

The Sprawl Mag is seeking poetry short stories, and visual art of a speculative nature. Up to 1000 words. Pays $20 CAD. Deadline July 31.

Are any of these of interest? Anything to add? Are you submitting? Any submission news? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG - Painful Mistakes & Summer Bludgeon Pre-Order

Hello! It's that time again. Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group.

But first, I have two teeny bits of news: I will NOT be at the Overdue Book Signing event this weekend because there's COVID up in our house, so I've had to cancel. There will still be lots of great authors and their books there for anyone who wants to go!

Also, Summer Bludgeon, which includes my short mystery story "The Class Ring," is now available for pre-order in e-book on Amazon from Unsettling Reads. There will also be a paperback, but it's not available for pre-order at this time. 

Heavily inspired by the film Grease, the story traces what happened after the events of the film...and involves a murder mystery.

33 Original Tales About Summer's Darker Side

Inspired by an earworm from a song in the 1978 film, Grease, "summer lovin'" became “summer bludgeon.” Voila! A new collection was born. The stories, poems, and art included in this collection highlight the dark corners of our hearts. They pull back the curtains and show us people at odds, broken relationships, romantic love gone terribly wrong. Cold deeds and chilling words unfold against the simmering backdrop of the "warmest" season of the year.


Buy Summer Bludgeon from Amazon

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to provide a place for writers to seek support and give it. Anyone can participate. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list, then hop around and visit others on the list, especially this month's co-hosts: SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

The optional question this month is: When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing until the end? If you haven't started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

I'm skipping the optional question this month, although my post sort of answers it in the end. 

I was really down this past weekend, due to some family issues, and then in the middle of what was a terrible weekend, I saw the news of a release for a book that was very similar to my current WIP. I've been working on this WIP off and on for probably about a decade now, which is shocking to consider, but I put it aside multiple times to work on my fantasy project, short stories, and book releases, and there were huge chunks of time where stuff with my dad, my family, and my jobs took precedence and my writing faltered. Plus, it started out as a short story, and I loved it so much that I decided to expand it into a novel and add a second POV. I've written about it on here multiple times through the years.

Now the other story being released is set during a different time period and has several other differences. What's similar is the feel. They're both horror comedies about killer critters. I guess that's where the similarities end. But it got me further down when I was already struggling. I've let similar issues make me drop a project in the past.

This time, instead of letting it sink me completely, I sat down on Saturday and finished the first draft of the book (I was 5000 words from the finish when I sat down.) I came very close to scrapping the entire thing. But this time I didn't let that happen. As soon as I get through some big work deadlines this week for the day job, I'll be jumping into revisions. Am I still mentally struggling with the doubt? You bet. But this is a project I love, and I'm not letting it go because of something that has nothing to do with me or the story.

Had I written this post on Friday or even Saturday, the tone would be very different. It took me several days to get to a positive place about it. Even as I sat there typing away at the final chapters, I was feeling dismal. This was a decade of my work. What I really wanted to do was curl up and let the numbness take over.

Now I'm just feeling that much more determined to finish it and get it out on submission, because the stories ARE different, and what this tells me is that there's a market for that type of story. Right?

I'm also excited about starting work on my next two WIPs. And maybe I won't take so long to write the next one so that this doesn't happen again. 

Not only that, but I've written, edited, and submitted one new short story per week for the last month, and I'm feeling pretty productive.

Okay, submission stats for the last month. I do this each month with my IWSG post to keep myself accountable. May stats:

24 submissions

10 rejections (feel the burn!)

0 acceptances

6 stories withdrawn from markets that either went under or were taking too long so I could resubmit

25 stories currently on submission

Note: I'm having issues with Blogger. Other than signing in and doing things on the back end, I can't stay signed in to comment on people's blogs. I can't even respond to comments on my own blog without posting as "Unknown!" I'm working on it and will get around for visits, but not today. Hoping I'll feel better tomorrow from the COVID and will have the energy to deal with the issues so I can visit then.

Have you been submitting? How are you doing? What are your insecurities? Have you ever had a similar situation to my IWSG post? What did you do? Did you scrap it or plunge forward?

May you find your Muse.