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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April Blitz 2016: Submission #2

April 3, 2016 at 3:10 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

1930503_71700570031_9229_nToday’s submission went out to a small Canadian press preparing their first teen anthology. With one very minor tweak, I had just the thing for them, towards the lower end of their preferred word count. It’s only a token payment call but I like the idea of working with a new Canadian publication.  I’ve worked with four Canadian publishers to date, but I’d be happy to increase that number.  Most of my acceptances have come from U. S. venues.

I’m trying to decide what I’ll work on next, story-wise.  It’s hard to think past the drama that my unfortunate family is dealing with in France (I may go into detail later, if the situation demands it – I could be setting up a Change.org petition if all else fails), the reorg going on at my workplace and some bad news from friends.  Right now my own problems seem petty in comparison and the world, pretty harsh and scary.  If I write something, it will have to be truly escapist.

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WiH and Other Things

February 23, 2016 at 12:49 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

wihm2016fbprofileI feel a little guilty that I haven’t blogged anything for Women in Horror month so far this February, but I’m still recovering from a few weeks at my day job that have been extremely taxing. Staff on extended holiday, new trainees and the prolonged loss of an administrative employee as the result of a medical emergency, plus the usual winter colds and storm day closures, have put some strain on me and my co-workers. It seemed to suck away any motivation to do anything requiring any effort, particularly creative effort, when I got home. I still have to help around the house and do my share of cooking so my artistic output and support work, like blogging, were put on hold. With some vacation time to recharge, I’m going to strive to get back on track and at least contribute something for the last week.

I also haven’t been involved in much in the horror genre lately, aside from my participation in a Christmas charity anthology. My latest endeavours have been fantasy, steam punk, dystopian, comedy and dark fantasy, so I feel a little out of touch with horror at the moment. Of the six anticipated releases I have coming out over the next few months, only two of them I’d describe as horror – one’s a fairy tale mash-up and the other more of a “weird tale” horror than the standard type. I even have a very non-horror children’s story that will be included in a charity anthology…definitely not my usual fare.

Instead of my shared pages offerings I’ve posted in past Februaries, I’m going to pick my favourite local/Canadian female horror writers to spotlight for a week. I haven’t participated in an all female anthology this year, but I have been paying particular attention to other folks this far North, especially those who live nearby. I think it would be great to have a little local writer convention for speculative fiction writers. Since there isn’t one, I have to find other ways to celebrate my peers.

So keep an eye out. We have some great talent up here that I will be pleased to showcase.

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2013 – Ack! – A Year in Review

December 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

Don’t get me wrong because of this post’s title. The year wasn’t a total write-off. The kind of trials and tribulations I faced this year help put things in better perspective. Tragedy can spawn gratitude, amongst other things. When you lose something or someone very precious to you, you learn to better appreciate the other special people, keepsakes and opportunities in your life. You also learn to better value happiness and a sense of well-being because those things can be fleeting.

As a co-worker and I discussed, you never want to say “How could things get worse?” because they could, and if you dare ask that, the powers that be just might show you how. I would never tempt fate that way. Nevertheless, this was one of the worst years I ever remember, ranking up there with the year we confirmed my son had autism and long before that, my first serious heartbreak. The troubles of 2013 weren’t limited to my immediate surroundings but extended to family members suffering through unpleasant events and friends going through terrible times as well. Not good.

All that being said, there were definitely some positive aspects to the year – some writing firsts for me. My first acceptance, and appearance, in a Canadian anthology, now up to two with a third in the works. My first opportunity to buy a book containing my writing at a local bookstore. My first novel solicitation from a Canadian publisher. My best short story sale to date, compensation-wise. My first appearance in a Christmas anthology – the recently released O Little Town of Deathlehem (all proceeds go to charity.)Sure – I still have many goals unmet, but I have to enjoy the victories.

And the new year ahead? Well, what better to do when you are feeling a little broken than to work at fixing things? So that’s the plan. Rather than focussing my energies on building anything new, I plan on shaking things up and revamping what I already have – things that could use some care and polish. Make things better.

So there you have it. No whining about how life isn’t fair. No succumbing to frustration and despair. Just taking things in stride and stepping back a bit to reorganize, with the hope that things will be better in 2014.

Have a happy new year!

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Bruce Is Back…Again

July 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm (dark fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

This is Bruce

You may recognize him because you’ve read his books or because I’ve talked about his books more than once before. He writes amazing horror short stories and I’m a fan of his Icarus Fell urban dark fantasy. (I’d say he was my favourite urban dark fantasy writer but he has yet to edge out Neil Gaiman there – sorry Bruce.)

Bruce says his goals in life include writing more novels and remaining tall, bald, and Canadian (Happy Canada Day, Bruce!)

Anyway, he has news that makes me all fidgety – so happy I might just want to run out and do a dance of joy in the rain…

     

Yup – that happy.

Anyway – here’s his news. Drum roll please:

Coming July 15, the third instalment in Bruce Blake’s best-selling Icarus Fell urban fantasy series, SECRETS OF THE HANGED MAN.

Icarus Fell thought the afterlife couldn’t get any worse…until Hell came looking for him.

When you are the orphaned child of a disgraced nun, and you’re saddled with a ridiculous name like Icarus Fell, you don’t expect things can go drastically downhill.

Until death comes along and an archangel recruits you for a job you screw up so badly you nearly lose your son to a demonic priest and a fallen angel.

And then, burdened by the lives lost because of your foul ups, you travel to Hell, a detour that costs you more dearly then you could ever have imagined.

No, things couldn’t get much worse in the afterlife…unless Satan sends his lap dog to bring back the one thing he thinks belongs to him.

You.

Why couldn’t death be easy?

 

So take my advice, if you like urban fantasy with and edge, check out this series. Bruce is a good enough writer that he has been nominated for the eFestival of Words’ Best of the Independents Ebook Award as well as being a semi-finalist for the 2012 Kindle Book Review Indie Book of the Year (and his Khirro’s Journey trilogy was awarded the Life Changing Read Award by author/editor/blogger Ella Medler.) It may just leave you so happy you’ll want to do this:

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Edit Fest – Oh Canada

May 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I got a chance to see the wonderfully creepy cover art today for the upcoming “Dead North” anthology – a collection of zombie tales set in Canada (my “Dead Drift” included) from Exile Editions. It thrills me to bits to have my stories in Canadian anthologies. This will be my second, along with the Masked Mosaic anthology from Tyche Books, and I have an acceptance I received this month for a third Canadian anthology. I am a little sad, in a strange sort of way, that it took me so long after first publication to finally work my way into things Canadian. I had multiple stories published in US and UK anthologies with a variety of small press publishers before finally reaching this particular personal goal. There are still a couple of Canadian pro-rate venues I’d really like to conquer and I may crack them yet, but so far, all I’ve had from them is a couple of maybes that didn’t turn into a “yes.” I need to keep reminding myself … baby steps.

I have to wonder why I managed to make my mark (albeit a faint one) outside my own country well before managing it here. Is it because of our smaller population base? Are the standards higher here? Do my stories have more of a US/UK cultural appeal for some reason despite my Canadian upbringing? Is speculative fiction a market that is difficult to penetrate in Canada in general – or was it just me? I honestly have no way of finding answers, so I guess I just have to shrug my shoulders and be grateful for the progress I’ve made.

No new word as a result of the submission blitz, but I’ll keep you posted. On to the last of my Providence illustrations.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Masked Mosaic

March 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm (fantasy, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories from Tyche Books

I’m getting this review in a day late, thanks to the last two stories in this anthology. Wading in to an all superhero anthology, and an all Canadian one at that, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The cover is a beautiful montage tacked together to offer the shape of a maple leaf. The first thing I was pleased to see was that there was a fairly even split between male and female contributors. The intro was solid too, from someone who can be considered an expert with regards to Canadian superheroes. But truly, what blew me away about this anthology was the diversity and complexity of the stories. All were lush with historical and/or cultural references. Some were set in the past with unusual alternative histories, others took place in current times and there was even one with a futuristic tone. The tales had focuses on heroes, villains and those falling in between, formats ranging from comic book character descriptions to poetry, myth-style storytelling to modern literary narrative. You can find a little of everything in the anthology from the whimsically quirky to the dark and soulful, with protagonists varying from potheads to senior citizens. I feel it is a well-polished, well-explored compilation and here are a few of my favourites – keep in mind that it’s the darker fiction that appeals to me most:

The Creep – Michael S. Chong: Possibly the darkest story in the anthology and certainly the most chilling. While not wanting to spoil the tale, I will say that it hinges on a disconnect between perspective and reality. It had my mind spinning off into just how far the “hero” might go with his powers.

Circe and the Gunboat – Kevin Cockle: I loved the illusion of the relationship between the protector in this story and his ward. The implications of how a less tangible super power could change the world and the extremes people might go to to preserve the new world order were very thought-provoking.

Sea and Sky – Rhonda and Jonathan Parrish: A terrific myth-based tale with old world ambiance, it captured my heart with its charm.

Lonesome Charlie Johnstone’s Strange Boon – Jason Sharp: A tragic story demonstrating the corruptive powers of wealth and power that is both sad and frightening with moments of dark humour. I enjoyed its quirky flavour.

My only minor disappointment with the anthology is that my favourite story by far, and the only one that made me cry, was the opening tale to the anthology, Nocturne by E. L. Chen – an angst-ridden, sympathy-driven story about one downtrodden man craving significance in a fickle world. I’m the type who likes to save the best for last, so I would have preferred to see it placed towards the end of the anthology.

I applaud this excellent anthology with such a strong and obvious Canadian influences. It definitely rates amongst the top of my recent reads.

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It’s not all Bad News…

February 27, 2013 at 11:58 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

For all the bad news February has brought with it, there have been a few good things that have come my way. The first is the fact that my husband has his armouring business “Alchemy Armory” up and running again. That should help ease financial stresses.

The second is the release of not one but three anthologies containing one of my stories. Out earlier this month, Zombie Lockdown from May December Publications contains my story “Life and Undeath on the Chain Gang”. I actually did quite a bit of historical research for this zombie tale and learned a lot about chain gangs in the Old South, so I was pleased to see it find a home.

Just yesterday, Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories from Tyche Books was made available, containing my flash super-hero tale “A Face in the Wind”. I also had to do historical research for this as well, and I can proudly say that this is my first contribution to a Canadian anthology (although I have another Canadian acceptance that should be out within the year.)

And today marked the release of Mistresses of the Macabre, an all female writer anthology from Dark Moon Books. I contributed one of my favourite creations, “Orbs” to this horror compilation and I’m grateful to be included amongst a very talented group of ladies.

This is my second appearance in a Dark Moon Books anthology, and I’m happy to say that Slices of Flesh, my first appearance, has been included on the final ballot for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards (for Superior Achievement in Anthology).

So as you can see, things aren’t all bad, and here’s hoping they’ll only look up for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed.

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