Spring Blitz 2017 – Hanging in There

April 21, 2017 at 2:12 am (Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

I completed my 20th submission for April today, despite not keeping up with regular blitz blog posts. I blame mundane tasks that have gotten in the way, like helping with homework, chasing chickens (see the dastardly Pecan here to the left) and doing my taxes, and not so mundane tasks like being eyeball deep in Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes (which I hope to review on Monday.) I’ve been testing new venue waters too which has meant investing more time to broaden my call searches.

I’ve been waiting on a couple of new releases expected shortly. Forest Seclusion (adult content warning) is now available here, and there will be more to follow fairly soon.

I’ve also received a new acceptance – a year and four days in the making.  I was on the brink of retracting that submission when the acceptance came through, but I was pleased to see the wait was worth it.  I try to give a submission plenty of time before retracting, but I usually figure a year is enough.  Sometimes I do let them sit longer though, if I’m not anxious to resubmit.  At the same time I received a quick confirmation that another submission had made it through phase one of a three phase review process.  Fingers crossed. 🙂

And, or course, this month isn’t without its rejections – 5 so far, with two of the submissions clearing the year long mark.  It only pays to be patient some of the time.

I may not post again until Monday.  I have a short story I hope to finish and then it’s back to working on taxes.

But at least gardening’s not that far off … right?

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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 – A Storm’s a Coming

April 2, 2017 at 1:47 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

And so begins my April 2017 submission blitz.

I’m returning to my blog after a much needed hiatus. I started off this blitz with a submission of a strange story to an offbeat literary journal. I’ve had some luck with these in the past, my fiction sometimes blurring the line between “literary” and “genre”. In fact, a new publication for this month, my short story, “A Distaste for Dust” falls into this category. It’s dark and strange, but only sort of horror. It is making an appearance this April in Issue #2 of the Gathering Storm Magazine (https://www.gatheringstormmagazine.com/copy-of-volume-1-issue-1), a venue that seeks submissions based on a few inspiring themes for each issue. I’ve already written three stories as a result of these themes, and I’m happy to have the editors select one of those three for publication out of hundreds of submissions.

I have more coming out this April and I’ll advise you as it happens.  There’s plenty of excitement in store for 2017 and even more, I hope, after this blitz.

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December and Dark Corners

December 3, 2016 at 12:28 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

darkcornersI know this has been my first blog post in some time and it’s not because I participated in Nanowrimo this year (I didn’t). Rather, real life had me busy. An issue with my well/running water that had to be resolved before the ground froze for the winter had me (and to a larger extent, my husband) occupied on the home front for over a week.

Meanwhile, having to move offices (for a third time since I started my current job) meant numerous missed breaks and lunch hours and just a general sense of feeling burnt out at the end of the work day – so any blog posts got put on hold for sometime.

December won’t be much better, time wise. Commitments for the holidays, Christmas shopping and trying to fulfill the act from my daily act of kindness advent calendar doesn’t leave much wiggle room for writing or blogging, but I’ll do my best to squeeze some in.

On a happy note, I did keep up with my short fiction writing in November. One of my blitz acceptances (from a rejection the publisher retracted the day after it was sent – a first for me) came with a request for a sequel short, so I completed that. I hope they like it. I added a bit of plot and character complexity that they might appreciate, or it may put them off. I’ll wait and see.

I also worked on a sci-fi story for a selective call for submissions (a call extension by invitation only) with an impending deadline. Writing to a requested theme can be tricky – I have a tendency to skirt the edges of the topic to avoid being boxed in, which doesn’t always work in my favour. The story ended up nice and tight though, so I’m hopeful it has a chance.

And in other news, November saw a new story release. My horror short story, “On the Tip of her Tongue” is now available in the latest Dark Corners anthology, dedicated to the original editor, who sadly passed away before the anthology saw the light. Thanks to his wife and others committed to seeing the anthology’s completion, his efforts won’t go to waste.

I’ll try to get in a few updates in December, but if blog posts are limited, I’ll make up for it in January with my first annual winter submission blitz. I’m aiming for 100 submissions next year. Let’s see if I can make it happen.

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Blitz’s End – October 2016

November 1, 2016 at 1:20 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-31-at-10-13-00-pm-editedI get to say goodbye today to another blitz I’ve decided November will be a month of editing to follow-up after a month of submissions. Several of my stories that have had multiple rejections could use a tweak, and all of my novels could use another round too.

Maybe that will get me in the mood to write more prolifically again, especially now that gardening season is practically over (the kale, chard and rutabagas are still holding on). Dealing with a still busy day job and a household full of challenges (my mother-in-law lives in my basement, my daughter is a teenager and my son is on the spectrum, ‘nuff said) leaves me feeling drained at the end of the day and less than inspired. And that’s without going into all the issues facing my family in far away places (worrying about it can wear on my nerves.) It has been a brutal few years, and it leaves me being thankful for everything I do have, even if it does come with its share of challenges.

Aside from my novels, which mostly remain unsubmitted at the moment, this last blitz left me with only a handful of unsubmitted stories. I count that as a good thing, but it means if I want to have enough material for January’s first submission blitz, I’ll have to make a diligent effort to get things written in December. I have a couple of unfinished stories to finalize but the rest will have to be new.

On a happy note – my story “Hand” is now available in the Kindle version of the charity anthology “Silent Screams”. The print version should be available in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy many treats and not so many tricks. Bob for some apples and have a good swig out of the puzzling jug (if you don’t know what that is, go for a Google.)

Happy Halloween!

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Let’s Blitz Again – New Release

October 24, 2016 at 1:31 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-23-at-1-29-59-pm-editedAlong with recording my second blitz rejection (and another non-blitz one) I get to celebrate the release of one of my blitz acceptances (this month’s!)  Jitter Press accepted my flash piece “The Candy Apple Man”, which is available now in Issue #5.  If you prefer an electronic format, they have a digital version available as well.

Yesterday’s submission was sending out a recently rejected story to a call that looked like a good match, perhaps even better than my first try.  Today’s is another stab at an acceptance for one of my flash stories.  It’s been rejected a couple of times before but I think it has potential.

Thanks to the recent rejections, I have enough stories available for submission to make it to the end of the blitz even if I don’t finish anymore new stories over the next week plus.  I’ll keep hoping for some more acceptances in the meantime.  Fingers crossed.

 

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Let’s Blitz Again – #ICTTBCONTEST

October 21, 2016 at 10:36 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-21-at-7-05-16-pm-editedToday’s submission was to Grey Matter Press’s flash fiction contest. More about that in a bit.

Yesterday brought a new rejection, but not one from the blitz.  It was a story I sent out in the summer – one my sister had inspired while I was on vacation.  The editors said it had piqued their interest, but in the end, they had decided it was a no.  They did however say they hoped I would send in another story before the call closed.  Well it just so happened the short story I had recently finished and not yet submitted anywhere matched well with their theme, so without skipping a beat, I sent that one in.  I have high hopes and may end up disappointed, but it was worth a shot.

On my hunt for my next submission, I came across Grey Matter Press’s “I Can Taste the Blood” flash fiction contest and decided I’d give it a go.  Today was the last day to submit, so I just managed to squeak in there.  You can check out all of the flash stories submitted (including mine) at the link above and vote for your favourite.  If you give it a read, I hope you find my story quite chilling.

Two-thirds of the way to blitz end.  This has been a fun one.

And I’m off to hunt out my next call.

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016

October 3, 2016 at 3:00 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

killing-it-cover-cs-bookcover6x9_cream_470-sample2-sep-21-editedAfter a lengthy hiatus thanks to an insanely busy post-vacation summer, I’m back to blogging my usual October submission blitz. My first submission was a query for a horror-themed charity anthology. I’ve already received a positive response. Today was a submission for a contemporary horror anthology.

I’m still dealing with my busy time at work and harvesting my garden, as well as fall/Thanksgiving/Halloween family activities, so I’ll be keeping my posts short. That and I’ve been wading through galleys for soon to be released anthologies. One is now available for pre-order, Killing It Softly, which contains a reprint of my horror story “Orbs”.

There are still many submissions ahead of me, so I’ll be blogging again soon. Enjoy the warm fall weather.

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Wine Fair

July 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm (Links) (, , , , , )

winefairThe incident at Nice on the 14th had everyone here a bit shaken up, but we still have to go on with life.  I only have a few more days of vacation, and I still want to make the best of them.

Today we piled in the car and headed out to Sigoulès for the annual wine fair.  They had the town square decorated with pretty yellow and orange ribbons as well as booths for a wide variety of food vendors, artisans and wineries.  They also had a stage for live entertainment but that wasn’t scheduled to start until the evening.  That meant the place wan’t overly crowded just yet and we could enjoy without dealing with a boisterous throng.

Many of the wineries were offering tastings – too many to sample every one without staggering home drunk, so we had to be selective.  We did sample a couple of nice reds at one booth for a Bergerac winery (and my Mom bought a bottle of the 2012 to go with supper – it had nice, smooth earthy flavour.)

We also sample red at another booth and picked up a bottle of chilled rosee at a third.  But the star of the trip not only offered the best rosee I’ve ever tasted (a gold medal winner), but they also had one of the most charming and cunning salesperson I’ve ever met.

The booth belonged to les Terres des Templiers who have a vineyard/winery on a mountainside close to the sea.  The vines are scattered on the mountainside, not in rows, at a 45 degree angle.  The pickers go in on ropes with baskets on their backs and hand pick the grapes which are drained naturally giving their wines amazing clarity. They are a small business offering exceptional quality and for quality control purposes, they are direct sell only.  They don’t sell through the stores.  They also don’t sell by individual bottle.  You have to order by 6 or 12 bottles and they deliver direct to home.  Sadly. this means I can’t get their wonderful wine in Canada, so I had to enjoy what I got to taste at the fair.

Their tale was interesting and their salesperson clearly believed in their prize-winning product (it was absolutely delicious.) My parents ordered some wine and took their card so they could organize one of their wine-tasting parties.  The can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TerresDesTempliers .

The fair was a lot of fun, despite the heat and I’m looking forward to going to a different market fair tomorrow in Issigeac (a basket fair,) a writers gathering here at the castle in Eymet and lastly a dinner out at Le Bastide.  I think by Monday I’ll be all touristed out (and I leave on Tuesday.)

No excerpt today because I had too much to say about today’s adventures.  We’ll see if I can squeeze one in tomorrow.

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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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