Catch-Up in June

June 2, 2017 at 12:52 am (dark fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

A post has been a long time in coming (sorry), but I have been well and truly busy. I’ve been working at setting a blog up for my pseudonym as well as prepping a couple of between blitz submissions, juggling proofing and marketing requests and participating in the voting process for one of my writer’s associations. It’s also gardening season, jugger season and I’ve been spending a lot of time with my daughter lately. So yeah – I’m busy.

That being said, the last few weeks have been pleasantly rife with story acceptances, payments, cover reveals and ToC announcements – so I have to play catch-up on those (or, at least the ones I’m allowed to talk about now.)

Compostela – Tesseracts 20 – containing my sci-fi short story “Better” is now available for pre-order here . Tesseracts is one of my “writer’s bucket list” achievements, so it’s a big deal for me. I’m sharing pages with some pretty impressive people.

Clockwork Canada, the Exile Editions steampunk anthology containing my short story “The Curlicue Seahorse” is on the ballot for the 2017 Aurora Awards, in the category of Best Related Work.

I have a new free read available too.  My flash fiction, Pure Mime, has been published by Body Parts Magazine.

And you can also find me listed on two ToC announcements. The first is from Digital Fiction Publishing. My short story “Octavia” will be included in their all-female writer horror reprint anthology, “Killing It Softly 2” .

The second can be found on the blog for Mackenzie Publishing . Their “Two Eyes Open” horror anthology will include my period horror short, “Soul Cakes.” I’ve shared the lovely and intriguing cover above.

I’ll have more announcements coming soon as my last submission blitz proved to be quite successful. And I just finished a horror short for a themed anthology invite that I can’t discuss just yet. We’ll see how that goes.

I hope everybody’s year has been as exciting as mine has been so far. Now its off to work on some edits…

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Spring Blitz 2017 – New Release

April 9, 2017 at 11:35 pm (dark fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Another two submissions have gone out, one micro-fiction and one flash, and both creepy horror tales.  I had another story I wanted to submit, but the venue I was considering doesn’t reopen for submissions until tomorrow, so it will have to wait.  This particular story has been rejected 12 times already, but I feel it is a strong story, as it has had four “maybe”s that turned into “no”s and some decent praise from some pro-rate editors, despite no acceptance.  So I’ll press on and perhaps it will find a home some day.

Another of my stories has just been released by Crimson Streets.  Not only have they published “Amnesty” but they accepted a follow up story involving the same character.  I have another story in mind if ever they decide they want a third.

Back to hunting out more calls for submissions – I still have three weeks of submissions ahead of me.

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Spring Blitz 2017 – Plan B

April 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I recently came across a call for submissions I was hoping to submit to with an existing story I had that matched the theme, but it meant waiting for a rejection from a prior submission. I did get a response back, but not the rejection I had been expecting. So along with a story sale, I was left with now having to resort to Plan B … write a new story. I’m about 1,000 words in, but I have a solid story concept, so I expect I’ll finish it over the next couple of days.

I did submit a couple of reprints since my last post, to a new venue for me.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with reprint submissions, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and my eyes open for other opportunities.

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A New Year’s Blitz – January 2017

January 2, 2017 at 3:00 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

chantal-headshotAfter taking it easy last year, I’ve decided this year I’m going to up my productivity. For the first year, I’ll be adding a submission blitz in January to get my annual submission total up to 100 (or more.)  I was lucky that Gamut is open to submissions today.  They close after receiving 300 submissions, and that’s usually within 24 hours, so I squeezed in a couple while the window was still open – one reprint and one original.  I only have so many unsubmitted stories at the moment, so in addition to hitting up reprint markets, I’m going to have to make an effort to either generate a few new things to put out or edit my novel manuscripts to resubmit somewhere new.

I’m not big on resolutions,  but with a big new challenge to deal with at my day job and seeing a lot of things that need organizing at home, I’ve decided the only way I can do it is to cut down on my time online and watching TV or movies.  I also want more time to read and perhaps start writing reviews again.  I was good about it today and got a few things done that needed doing and a few things read.  I just hope I can stick to it.  It almost feels like I’m trying to shake an addiction.

I hope 2017 shapes up to be a better year than the last one.  It definitely holds potential.  Let’s see if I can make the most of it.

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Let’s Blitz Again – It Takes All Kinds

October 26, 2016 at 2:01 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

1015584_10152927473845032_887250515_o-editedAlong with making my submissions and working on my latest short story, I’ve also had to review the galley of my first soon-to-be-published children’s story.  I occasionally experiment with different genres and reader age groups, but I always tend to come back to darker adult speculative fiction.  This one is for charity though, so I’m happy to contribute to the anthology.

I did get another blitz rejection back (“entertaining and well-written – but no”) so I sent it out again that same day and I sent out a multi-rejection story today.  Just a few more to go now, with no new material required.

Just a quick post tonight because this is a busy week – more on Thursday 🙂

 

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #8

October 11, 2016 at 12:56 am (dark fantasy, writing) (, , , , , )

1930969_87232245031_3487_n-editedI managed to squeeze in today’s submission, a dark fantasy story to a podcast, in the middle of cooking Thanksgiving dinner and cleaning up the aftermath. Aside from the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing, everything for supper came from our garden and our front lawn (cranberry sauce from scratch – yay!)  I did spend the day catching up on a few chores I didn’t get done yesterday, and deciding on the next story I plan to start tomorrow.  I also spent the day hoping the power wasn’t going to go out on us while the rains poured and the winds thrashed, and thankfully it didn’t.

A happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends out there.  Wishing you pleasant company and good eats. 🙂

 

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #5

October 6, 2016 at 11:01 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

202345_10153006317075032_1470588330_o-editedSo far, I’ve had two responses to my submissions. The first was an invitation as a result of my author query on day one (although it may not apply until 2018 – I don’t mind the wait.) and the second was for Tuesday’s submission. Apparently, my daughter is a valid critic. The acceptance came with a request for a title change. I didn’t mind. I’ve had that request for one other story and I didn’t hesitate to change it. I’m never that attached to a given title.

I did start work on another call for submissions yesterday until I realize the call doesn’t open until November 1, so I’m setting that one aside. Maybe I’ll extend the blitz by a day to include that one. I have enough material to spare, especially if any rejections come back during the month.

I may end up skipping a post or two to do garden-y things in the next week. We’ve had a couple of frosts which could end up with a need for some quick harvesting. I won’t skip any submissions though.

Today’s submission, a “multi-maybe but never yes” story that has been through one requested rewrite and therefore now exists in two versions, one with a more optimistic ending than the other. I like them both. I sent off the darker version to yet another pro-rate venue with a fitting theme. We’ll see how it fares this time.

More later…

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Summer Excerpts – Theme of the Week

June 29, 2016 at 1:10 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

SEU2I have a busy summer, with extra jugger, gardening, swimming/beach trips, vacations and overtime at work all added to my plate. I thought this year, I might start regular posts of excerpts matching a theme – so I don’t end up with huge gaps between posts. Since I’m revving up for a trip out of country, I thought I’d start with a theme of “travel.”

My first excerpt, from my novel “Sleep Escapes Us” come from Chapter 4 – Refuge:

Zelmis spent many days weaving his way through the forest as fast as he could manage, in order to make his way back to Gil-Doba. He still had hopes of stealing back his Alina, without getting caught and punished for his crimes. Not that he expected Dentys to mistreat her, but the longer he waited, the more likely the peltast would be lurking in ambush for him when he arrived, or even worse – Muka would be there to confront him. At the moment, that was Zelmis’s greatest fear.

He worried that even with the hastiest approach, he would arrive too late. The peltast would have the advantage of travelling by horseback and they would not have to worry about where they would find food, drink and shelter for the night, all citizens obliged to provide them with hospitality when asked for it. Zelmis had to journey on foot, often having to deal with near impassable terrain, and sometimes having to stop to seek out running water or to take shelter from inclement weather.

Fortunately, Zelmis had two regular permanent shelters in the woods in which he lived during the hunting season, one located fairly close to the Bucagi Mountains. That allowed him to shuck off the bloodied ceremonial clothing that he had been forced to wear for the sacrifice and change into some spare winter garb he kept for colder temperatures. Travelling in them would be uncomfortable, he would perspire heavily and risk overheating because the weather was still quite mild, but better that than exposing himself for his crimes by walking about wearing Zalmoxis’s blood. As long as no one identified him as the man who had been selected in the lottery, he would not be turned in to the peltast.

He also kept spare weaponry in his shelters, and gathered up one of his extra spears as well as a bow and a quiver of arrows. That allowed him to keep himself fed along the way; otherwise he would have succumbed to hunger long before reaching Gil-Doba. He made do with as little as he could to get by, each hunting effort presenting a delay in his rush to get home. By the time he did arrive at his village, he looked like a wild-man, as ungroomed and as haunted as Cerzula, and leaner than he typically was – not that he was a large man to begin with.

Zelmis smelled the smoke in the air while he was still quite a distance from Gil-Doba and he could see a glow through the foliage and hear the screams before he broke through the trees. He did not go into the village, but merely hovered by the tree-line, watching the chaos erupting in the settlement and observing with shock and horror. Someone was attacking Gil-Doba.

The first thing that Zelmis wondered, as his heart sank into his stomach, was if what he had done had somehow been the cause of all of this. Without the support of Zalmoxis behind the troops from Gatae and the surrounding regions, they might have fallen before the enemy, who were now infiltrating the spaces within their borders. If that were the case though, he was surprised that they would have already made it to Gil-Doba, a very central location.

The second and much more painful notion that crossed the hunter’s mind was that the raiders may have already reached and invaded Muka’s home, raping Dentys and killing the children. He reminded himself of Cerzula’s words, that he was to give the scroll she had given him to Alina upon his death-bed and that he would see her grow to maturity. As long as the seer’s foresight held true, his daughter was alive, and he would see her again.

He had to choke back a sob at the thought, withdrawing into the bush as some of the flames surged before him, fanned by the wind. He was convinced that he had to reach Alina now more than ever, if only to make sure that she was safe. Just because she would live to adulthood did not mean she was not at risk of suffering horribly at the hands of the enemy.


I’ll try to post one of these every day – even on my own travels.  That’s all for now.

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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: The Next Three (#8-10)

April 11, 2016 at 2:25 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

springI have become a terrible procrastinator lately, which I hope will change with better weather, but at at least I’m getting the submissions out there. Three more have been sent, one dark fantasy, one horror and one weird tale, two have which have had pro-rate “maybe”s turn to “no”s and had several re-submissions without a bite. I’m still hopeful though, and I’m treading in untested waters by sending them out to new publishers/new venues.  A lot of them are only offering token payments, but right now I’m just looking for some variety, not necessarily my next shot at a pro-rate sale.

This weekend was particularly nasty for April, with a heavy wet snowfall this morning, so I don’t expect to shakes the blahs anytime soon.  An acceptance or two from this blitz might help, until I finally get to start planting my garden. That usually lifts my spirits (fresh veggies – yay!)

I’ll keep my eyes out for new calls.  I have no lack of material for submission, so my focus now is on finding my stories a home.

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