Let’s Blitz Again – Review Edition

October 20, 2016 at 1:52 am (fantasy, horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-19-at-10-48-31-pm-editedTwo more submissions have been sent to magazine markets, both new to me.  They are both stories I’ve only submitted once or twice before, so I’m still not sure how they’ll be received.

At the same time, I received an e-mail regarding the upcoming release for one of my two acceptances this blitz.  I should have more details to share here soon, when we get closer to the print release.

Since I finished the story I was working on yesterday, I decided to work today on a review of a book I just finished reading.  Here are my thoughts:

Review – Ren Garcia’s The House of Bloodstein

I’ve always enjoyed Ren’s space opera books for their high adventure and detailed world building, with added elements of fantasy and steampunk, quite dark in some places thanks to shadowtech.  But this new addition to his series leans even more into my favourite genre, horror, which made the read more enjoyable for me.  This particular novel continues the story of his second generation of characters – the first generation appearing in the original League of Elders series.  Kay, Sam, Phillip, and Sarah are offered the opportunity to participate in a game, not as players, but as collectors of some highly sought after game pieces.  There is a twist to the invitation that inevitably leads into dangerous terrain, facing off with dastardly villains, a crazy gun-toting revenant and space zombies far scarier than your average zombie fare.  Joined by King, an artifact creature crafted to assist and defend them and Thomasina/Rose, Phillip’s romantic interest, the characters encounter everything thrown at them with their usual bold flair, making for a wild ride with some incredible fight scenes.  Overall it was a wonderfully fun read.

My only advice is that this book wouldn’t read very well as a stand-alone novel, so if you haven’t read the rest of Ren’s series – start at the beginning and work your way up to this.  His series is definitely one of my favourites.

Time to start a new story – more from my blitz later.

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Summer Excerpt – Theme “Wine” #2

July 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm (fantasy, Magic University, writing) (, , , , , , )

11754554_10155841288460032_4464622716940604587_o - EditedToday’s my last full Eymet. Tomorrow it’s off to Bordeaux so I can catch my flight to Paris and from there head back to Canada. I’m going to miss the socializing here. Trips to the local pub with my sister so we can sit and chat and outings to friends of my parents where we sip wine and nibble on cheese and olives are a little different from the socializing I do at home. It feels as if there’s a stronger sense of community here and people are quite warm and receptive.

Don’t get me wrong, people are friendly back in Nova Scotia, it’s just a different kind of friendly. I’m more comfortable around other people here then I am at home.

So here’s my next excerpt, from Masters & Renegades: Magic University.  I won’t be posting again until I get home, thanks to my converter missing a spot for a grounder (and my cord plug having a grounder).  Once I leave for Bordeaux, I won’t be able to charge my laptop until I hit Montreal, so the power I have will be for necessary/urgent use only (like electronic check-in for my flight.)

Tom entered the magical chamber.  A surge of apprehension swept over him as he looked at the royal blue carafe upon the table and the scry eye hovering above.  It was so different without Snyder there to guide him along.  The half-satyr had been a wonderful teacher, but Tom still did not feel confident enough about his skills to feel comfortable without him.  He sighed and approached the table.

Tom supposed it was his own fault.  He had let people pamper him all of his life and he did not have to be here.  In fact, many people would prefer he not be where he was, if they would have known.

As Tom squatted and focused on the carafe, he considered how he and his teacher had first met.  Snyder had been a travelling entertainer.  Tom had always been fascinated by magic and had requested that Snyder meet with him for a private audience.  He had food and wine brought to his chamber and they had talked all night about magic.  Having some idea at Snyder’s true identity, Tom pressured Snyder into revealing that his bardic talents were only a tip of the iceberg.  The half-satyr was a highly-skilled Renegade mage and his ability was much greater than his bardic charade would suggest.  Tom had leapt at the opportunity.  He had forced Snyder to remain with him, secretly keeping him as a tutor in spell-casting.

Time to go finish up my packing 🙂

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Summer Excerpt – Theme “Coffee” #3

July 14, 2016 at 11:36 am (fantasy, Magic University, writing) (, , , , , )

11794430_10155841286760032_4772023191227114902_o - EditedYesterday was a shopping day for me, which included buying some coffee for a coworker and a t-shirt with a coffee slogan for me. Today is a national holiday here in France so there will be music, good food, wine and fireworks. I expect it will be a fun evening.

This will be my last “coffee” excerpt. I’m revving up for a wine fair this weekend and I am, after all, in wine country, so appropriately, the next one will be “wine”.  This one is from my Masters & Renegades novel, Magic University:

Ebon was halfway to his destination when his map slipped away from his telekinetic grasp.  This had never happened to him before, but he had also never put such a demand on his physical reach before today.  He juggle the map with what little physical force he could still manage to muster, flipping it over so that he could at least memorize its contents.

He continued onwards, abandoning the map face up in the mud.  He had not expected this would happen, and knew it meant that he would have to feed, something he rarely felt the inclination to do.  This did not please him.  Feeding took time and energy, and he had neither.

Arriving at what he believed was his destination, he began his search.  He had no trouble locating the leather wallet that contained the token.  He could pick out with ease the two glowing magical auras surrounding the purse, and they smelt absolutely heavenly, like the aroma of fresh bread or strong coffee.  He salivated at the thought of absorbing all of that sweet, distinctly different energy.  The one reminiscent of coffee was harsh and bitter, but strangely satisfying, the other somewhat bland, but slightly sweet and very substantial.  That was the only one he intended to feed off of, absorbing what he could as quickly as he could.  This was the plan, but once he started, he could not stop.

He had not recognized his hunger, had not realized just how ravenous he had become.  He sucked back the spell’s energies, lost in the instinct to feed and absorb.  Before he had realized it, he had completely devoured the first spell and had started in on the second.  He had lost all track of time, and as the last drop of energy slipped past his ethereal lips, he stretched out, thoroughly satisfied and replenished.

Now I’m off to make myself some lunch.  ‘Til next time 🙂

 

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Once Upon a Scare Blog Tour: The Evolution of a Mash-up

May 22, 2016 at 12:00 am (dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

RitualDollI’m not overly fond of most mash-ups, but I love reading and writing mash-up fairy tales. I’ve loved them ever since reading Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood story collection when I was a teenager. I had played with an assortment of them before I wrote “Without Family Ties”: horror versions of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, a cyberpunk version of Jack and the Beanstalk, a Nordic dark fantasy version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and an adult dark fantasy version of Rapunzel. So when I set my sights on Pinocchio, I’d had some practice.

I decided I wanted a modern setting with a story centered on some sort of ritual doll, so I sent out some research feelers. When I came across the description of an unusual collection of 140 spiritual and cultural art objects from sub-Saharan Africa on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. called “In the Presence of Spirits,” I knew I had my inspiration. The exhibit included ritual dolls, masks and spiritual symbols of power that dated from about 1850 to the mid-20th century.

After reading through the available material, I decided the rituals of the Kongo (or Bakongo) and the Ambo peoples worked best for the mash-up. Their traditions included the nkisi, bakisi, baganga, mpungo, ovana, and rituals that could be completed by a single individual, such as my version of Geppeto, Jojo. My research also provided the traditional materials used to create the ritual dolls and the fertility stones. After I was done reading, I had plenty to work with.

Considering Geppeto constructed Pinocchio out of a desire to have a son, I chose a similar ambition for Jojo with Berko. Add the elements of a Kongo power figure and Ambo fertility magic along with his desperation and an evil twist, and the stage was set for horror. The challenge was then for me to match up the plot points and characters in the story with aspects of the original fairy tale. Top it up with an extra helping of fear and I had myself a mash-up.

If you are curious to see the end product, “Without Family Ties” is now available as part of the Once Upon a Scream horror mash-up anthology. My next mash-up WIP is a modern dark fantasy version of Sleeping Beauty with an Asian back-drop.

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April Blitz 2016: And Two Pro-Rates Make a Dozen

April 13, 2016 at 12:10 am (fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

45039_10150227155645032_1577412_nI received my first rejection for this blitz today, but that didn’t discourage me from sending out not one, but two, pro-rate venue submissions, one fantasy and one horror (#11 and #12.) They are new venues for my submissions, but I sent them two stories I really enjoy, one of which has had “maybe”s from pro-rate venues in the past, and the other too new to know how it might fare. I had only sent it to one pro-rate venue prior to this, and they folded, cancelling that submission call as a result before I received a response. This is my first and only re-submission so far, so fingers crossed. The hubby described it as “disturbing” which is a compliment where horror is concerned.

On a happy note, I was informed of a tentative May release date for another anthology containing one of my stories, making it two for May.  I’m still waiting for word on the other four nearing release.  One is looking at July, but not giving a proposed date yet.  The other three are up in the air.

I finished a horror story today and ran it past my teenage daughter.  Reading aloud allows for better editing and if it gets better than a “meh” from her, it has potential.  She liked it.

More blitz later…

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April Blitz 2016 – Submission#1 and a Friend’s Sneak Peek

April 1, 2016 at 10:44 pm (dark fantasy, fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , )

HeliodorThis year’s spring blitz has begun – a story that has been waiting for a response from a charity anthology for over a year. I’ve withdrawn that submission and resubmitted to a new anthology. Fingers crossed.

And while this blitz is going on, I’m waiting on not one, or two, but six anthology releases.  One is scheduled to come out at the beginning of May, but the other five don’t have set release dates yet.  All I know is “soon”.  I’ll keep you up to date as I know more.

Also, to share some info on a friend’s release, here is a sneak peek from Shannon Wendtland ( Website/ Blog: http://shannonwendtlandau.wix.com/a-quarrel-called).

Shannon is a wife, mother, writer, database administrator and general pot-stirrer-turned-mystic.  Her latest release is called Heliodor and considering my venture into steampunk, I thought it would be fun to share:

“The captain placed a kid-gloved hand over Malfric’s. “Walk a bit with me while I fill you in.”

Malfric got to his feet, leaving the barrel-stool behind and looped his left hand through the crook of the captain’s arm. As the captain led him towards the bow of the ship, Malfric tasted currant jam and warm biscuits on the salty sea air. His favorite.

He stopped the captain before he could take another step. “There’s no point in buttering me up, Finch. Just give me the details. If I agree, we can proceed straight to the repast you have set up in your quarters. Otherwise, just hand me your purse and we’ll call it even.”

Finch muttered beneath his breath. “Your infernal nose ruins everything. Fine then, have it your way. A job has come up ― not our usual fare, but the bounty was too good to resist. So I booked it. But I need a voyeur to get it done. Naturally, I thought of you.”

Naturally. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch.” Shifting floorboards belied the captain’s response.

Malfric frowned. “You wouldn’t have laid out my favorite tea if it were an easy job with no strings. In fact, you wouldn’t have sent for me at all…any novice voyeur would have done.”

A snicker came from his right. Ah, Quantex had followed them.

The captain’s arm tensed beneath Malfric’s hand. Though he said nothing, Malfric detected the shift and rustle of his silk coat as he turned to glare at his first mate.

“There’s an artifact. We were not the only ones hired to find it,” Finch said with a disgruntled sigh. “The other crew has a day’s head start.” His voice softened to a conspiratorial whisper, “but we have an advantage they do not.”

Oh? “And what, pray tell, is that?”

A sharp intake of breath, a faint whistle through his nose, and the captain answered. “A body.”

 

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The Season for Waiting

December 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm (fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I’ve had lots of news lately, but unfortunately not things I’m at liberty to share. I got a peek at an anthology cover but I have to wait for it’s official release. I recently received an acceptance and contract but mum’s the word until the official ToC is announced and I’m still waiting to spread joy about an earlier acceptance which I’ve been asked to keep quiet for now.

I’m also waiting on the release of three anthologies I’m in, two horror, one fantasy, that are supposed to be released soon, but I haven’t had word on any exact dates.

With all this waiting, I’m getting a little twitchy – kind of like a kid waiting for Christmas Day.

So I’m trying to keep myself occupied by enjoying my new netbook (with its 9 hour battery life -yay!) and writing and submitting a few short stories. That way, the waiting doesn’t seem so bad.

Twitch, twitch.

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April Blitz – Day 12

April 13, 2015 at 3:17 am (fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I sent out a few more submissions while completing the first draft of an essay I hope to be submitting to a competition shortly. I haven’t gotten any feedback lately for the submissions from this blitz but I haven’t received a rejection so far. I usually have at least one or two by this point in a blitz.

I’m testing a lot of new ground, via new publishers. I’m not sure if I’m up for submitting any of my novels this month. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Women in Horror – Shared Pages: Lillian Csernica

February 18, 2015 at 4:05 am (fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , )

LillianCI chose this female horror writer for my spotlight because her story “Dark Waters” in the Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2 anthology is a good dose of spooky and suspense. I like the phobic element and the mysterious air associated with the ocean and Bill.

In addition to being a woman in horror, Lillian is a mom, a history buff and a Japanophile. She writes fantasy and crafts jewelry as well.

Find out more about Lillian here: https://lillian888.wordpress.com/

 

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Women in Horror – Shared Pages: Mia Darien

February 11, 2015 at 3:28 am (fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

MiaDarienI chose this female horror writer for my spotlight because her story “Anniversary” in the Wake Up Dead anthology was both charming and chilling, featuring my favourite monster (zombies!) and a hint of humour (intentional or not.)

In addition to being a woman in horror, she is also a writer of romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction – and an editor. Beyond writing, she is a gamer and a mom.

Find out more about Mia here: http://www.miadarien.com/

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