The Blurb on Other People’s Word: Mentralysis

December 15, 2017 at 1:44 am (dark fantasy, horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Review – House of Bloodstein: Mentralysis – by Ren Garcia

I’m a true fan of Ren Garcia and I’ve read all of his books to date (well, I’m working on Kat now.) Mentralysis started in a very puzzling way. I was very intrigued to see where it was going. Ar first it seemed similar in some aspects to his other books, but off in a way, straying from some anticipated norms.
Then it took a turn to a place darker than any of the others and I found that more than a little disturbing. I thought: “This book is nasty! Nasty, nasty, nasty! I love it….”
Understand, this is coming from an avid reader of all speculative fiction, who especially loves both horror and fantasy. I found the storyline of this book the most creative and original of all Ren’s books, and considering he’s a master world-builder, that’s saying a lot.

In addition to an edgy and moving storyline, the new characters were delightful and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed Laika, a Haitathe – quite a force to be reckoned with and one of the pivotal components of the story. Ren also turns some of the pre-existing characters on their heads (with a well-thought out explanation, of course.)

He presents his heroes with conniving villains who provide some exceptional challenges. They offer up equally exceptional resolutions in return.

If you are looking for some genre-bending, speculative fiction with a fresh approach to a great story, this book’s for you.

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #10

October 15, 2016 at 12:54 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

28968_10150173648865032_6591698_n-editedAfter a week of turmoil at my day job, the seriously stressful kind, it’s a relief to come home to my writing and family. I’m still poking away at my garden, but it’s almost at an end.

My submission yesterday was one from my pseudonym and today’s was a reprint.  I’m getting creative because I’ve had so few responses during this blitz and no rejections to date, which means I’m starting to dig pretty deep into my shrinking “available for submission pile”.  Not counting available novels, I only have a dozen shorts left that aren’t reprints (I have oodles of those), and a third of the remaining originals are flash or micro fiction.  I’m still making progress on “Smiles All Around”, which will hopefully be ready for submission early next week, but I’m going to be reaching to get all 32 subs in (since I’m extending this blitz to November 1.)  I will have to fill in the gaps with reprint submissions and novel queries.

Time to chill and to shake off some of the negative energy still clinging to me from the day.

Have a great weekend!

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WiH Local Spotlight – A. F. Stewart

February 26, 2016 at 1:15 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

Screenshot 2016-02-25 at 8.57.15 PMMy second spotlight for the week shines on A. F. (Anita) Stewart, a lifelong bluenoser (born and raised) who writes a variety of genre fiction as well as poetry, but has a particular inclination towards the dark and scary.  She describes herself as someone with “an overly creative mind, and an active imagination.”  Her hobbies include reading (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, and oil painting.

I’ve never had the good fortune of sharing pages with her, but perhaps sometime in the future this might come to be, especially if someone puts together an anthology of works from Nova Scotian horror writers (we have a fair number here – more than I realized).  She has published books and short stories in several anthologies, which you can find on Amazon here.  Or you can find out more about her works here.

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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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10 Simple Questions – Bellator Edition – A. L. Butcher

August 1, 2014 at 3:06 am (fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Next up in my Bellator spotlight is half of a dynamic writing duo, A. L. Butcher:

1) Who are you?

Hi, and thanks for spotlighting me today. I am Alexandra Butcher (A. L .Butcher), British fantasy author, born in the Southeast of England but currently living in the Southwest.


2) What have you written and in particular, what have you written for Bellator?

To date I have two novels published as part of an adult dark fantasy/fantasy romance series – the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and an anthology of short mythic stories set in the same world. Plus several poems and short stories in other anthologies.  My Bellator story, which was co-written with my friend and fellow writer Diana Wicker, is ‘Outside the Walls’. It is a fantasy tale of war, love and determination.


3) I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but why do you write?

Yes I’ve been asked that before.  Why do I write? Because I’ve always written and made up people and places. At school I was always writing poems and stories and I suppose you could say I was a creative child. I get bored easily and tend to drift off to more interesting places…


More than this I write the stories in my head that want to be told.  I write because I enjoy it and because it keeps me sane (ish).


4) Do you have a preferred theme or topic?  Are warriors your typical thing?

I write fantasy, mostly fantasy romance but also mythic fantasy. My work has been described as gritty. The novels deal with themes like slavery and freedom, love and battle and, of course, heroes. What does it mean to be a hero?  Why do the characters do what they do when others sit back and do nothing?


The short stories are a mixed bag indeed. I have a small collection about the Kitchen Imps – tiny, very mischievous creatures who cause all sorts of mayhem, including stealing socks from the washing machine. Tales of Erana is a collection of mythic tales of past times, featuring gods, lonely mortals, magic, war and love.  There will be further mythic tales in future months.


Are warriors my typical thing? Not really, both the main characters for the novel are magic users (in a world where magic is illegal).  Warriors and heroes are as old in storytelling as stories themselves, but I guess there is the question of definition – how does one define a warrior – are we talking about armour, swords and shields or those who strive in war? I’d say heroes are my typical ‘thing’ if that makes sense.


5) Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

Most definitely a pantser. I know the beginning and the end of the story (usually) but the middle is negotiable. I have tried to plan, but I always end up changing it vastly. I have an overarching plan for the series and lots of notes with ideas, past events, character profiles etc.


6) What do you like most about writing?

Creating new worlds! Being in charge of the lives of these characters and the events which befall them.


7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I am a terrible procrastinator, so actually getting as much done as I’d like when it needs to be done. I get distracted easily so I do spend far too much time on Facebook or Goodreads. 😉


8) Who or what inspires you most?

I usually get ideas at awkward times, like when I’m in the bath or cycling to work.  I get inspired by stories – mine or sometimes other peoples. I get a lot of inspiration chatting over ideas with Diana.


9) What are your plans for the future?

Book III of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles will, hopefully, be published by the end of the year. Also I have a couple of fun fantasy tales in the forthcoming Wyrd Worlds II – a free spec fic anthology by a collection of sci-fi and fantasy authors. I’m involved with the Indie Collaboration as well, so look out for those.


There will definitely be further books in the Chronicles, plus at least one more Tales of Erana.  I am also working on another project with Diana. I’d like audio books for all of them too.


10) Why Bellator?

Mia knows Diana, and mentioned a charity anthology earlier in the year. Our story didn’t really fit that one – as there was no other fantasy so when she said about Bellator it was a perfect fit. I’ve written for anthologies before so I was happy to help and this charity is something I support – my parents were both Armed Forces folk and my father has a disability caused in war so, although this isn’t supporting a British charity it is a cause close to my heart.  I am delighted to be part of this.

Find more of A. L.’s work here:

Light Beyond the Storm – Book I Link Amazon–ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C

Shining Citadel Amazon

Tales of Erana Amazon Audio .

All the links can be found here, along with various author, character and reader interviews:

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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition

September 10, 2013 at 2:27 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

With D. M. Slate

The next Interview on my roster of Wicked Women Writers competitors – a lovely lady by the name of Danyelle:

  1. Who are you?

    Hi! My name is Danyelle, and I write under the name of D.M. Slate. I live in Colorado, but guess what – I hate skiing… 😉 (So do I. Skiing…blech! – CB) Fishing, camping and hiking are activities that I enjoy, though. I’m 31 years old (just a young’un – CB), and am married to my high school sweet-heart. We have 2 young kids, a business, and 8 pets that keep us busy! (Do chickens count as pets? If they do, I have her beat – CB)

  2. What have you written and in particular, what have you written that’s wicked?

    In 2009 my first novella was released. Day 94 is based upon world apocalypse, in the form of disease epidemic. A young family fights all odds, barricaded within their home, as the world crumbles around them. Jasmine keeps a journal of the events – until she reaches day 94…

    Isolated was my first novel, and its terror is drawn from a real-life experience that my husband and I found ourselves in, deep within the Mexican jungle. We obviously made it out okay (are you sure about that? – CB)… but my characters aren’t so lucky – muhahahahha!

    Roots of Deceit is a paranormal horror novel, stretching the span of 5 decades. Old farmer Peterson finally comes to the realization that the secrets of the past aren’t easily buried, as the tortured soul of a young girl plagues the new city folk who buy the property next-door.

    After the release of the last book, I changed focus a bit, and began writing shorter stories. Grizzly Possibilities is a flash fiction story featured in the Frightmares anthology, dealing with an unfortunate camping experience. I also have a short story in Morpheus Tales Apocalypse Special Addition called Sun Catcher. In this version of apocalypse the sun has exploded, causing a chain of events that destroy humanity. Survivors are forced to join the NWS. If they run and hide, and are found…they become dinner.

    (Woo! She has been busy – CB)

  3. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but why do you write?

    I have a VERY overactive imagination – the kind of person who scares themselves in the dark – LOL! I love the ability to create an alternate reality – and then move all the “players” around, seeing what happens. It’s almost like a game of chess, and I have to outsmart my opponent…which is really just myself. (Is she saying she plays with herself? – CB) Then, I get to weave all the complexities of the plot throughout the story, never revealing too much, too soon. I like the challenge of it all.

  4. Do you have a preferred theme or topic (zombies, serial killers, demons, etc…)?

    I like real-life situations… things that could plausibly happen, under certain circumstances. In general, I tend to write more on a psychological level… how do people react when you put them in ______ scenario. I like to focus on human nature – and the driving forces behind each of the character’s actions. (favourites of mine as well – CB)

  5. Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

    For books, I’m a plotter – for sure. I tend to work backward. I know how things are going to end, but then I need to figure out all of the events leading up to the ending (Just like me! – CB). I make a massive “web”, linking all of my major events, before I ever start writing.

    On the short stories – I fly by the seat of my pants (Not like me… – CB).

  6. What do you like most about writing?

    Creative freedom. This is my “world”, and I can make whatever happen in the story that I want. It’s invigorating. (Like a cold shower – CB)

  7. What challenges you the most about writing?

    Finding the time to write is one of my main challenges. I work full time in addition to owning a business, and I have a family (and a small zoo) as well. Trying to find a happy balance is always difficult. Beyond that, finding the right publisher is always tricky, as well.

  8. Who or what inspires you most?

    My inspiration is a deep burning within my soul. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a child… but I’m also a logical person, so I opted for a business career, instead of writing. I’ve accomplished the goal of getting published, but that is only the 1st step in my personal journey. (This all sounds so familiar – CB) Making the switch from hobby to career is something that I strive for.
    That internal drive to succeed is what inspires me the most.

  9. What are your plans for the future?

    I have 2 current WIP’s: a survival horror novella called Moral Frostbite, and a psychological thriller novel, Oculus Sinister. My plans are to attend the International Thrillerfest conference in NY next year, and hopefully catch the eye of an agent. 😉 (with a sharpened hook? – CB)

  10. Why Wicked Women Writers?

    I love a challenge – and this caught my eye right away, especially since the theme was apocalypse. After I got my specific scenario, I was truly challenged. I had to research quantum physics to understand strange matter, and at that point it became clear that a gasmask as a weapon would do little against a black hole – LOL! My characters were unable to leave the interstate, so in the end, I chose darkness as the constraint that would keep them on the road.

    The podcast was a completely new experience for me – so I liked that aspect, as well. This was the 1st time I’ve ever recorded a story, and I learned SO much in the process. It was a really fun experience to be part of!!

    There you go; she has 10 years on me but I have 3 chickens on her …that sounds dirty 😛 Plus she picked up on the podcast thing quickly while this is my third year and I’m still a podcast dunce. Proof you can’t teach an old chicken new tricks. Such is life *shrug*

Thanks Danyelle! Find out more about D. M. at:

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Genre for the Holidays – Crazy Happy or Just Crazy?

December 20, 2012 at 2:29 am (Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

This should be a very happy holiday season for me. I just finished the first draft for my twentieth novel (the one I started for NaNoWriMo) – that should make me happy, right? Well according to an article I once read it should also make me crazy. I wish I could locate that link but all of my searching has yet to yield the article in question (maybe I’m already nutty enough that I imagined the darned thing.) Anyway, it suggested that writing requires a fiction writer to alter their perspective and look at the world in a much different way than a non-writer. At about the twentieth novel point, it supposedly skews your reality permanently…

…or to put it bluntly, it makes you crazy.

Of course, I can’t say I honestly trust any articles on writing out there anymore. You can find “experts” who say almost anything imaginable about writing nowadays, and many of the articles are contradictory. According to some of them, my writing must be lousy, because I use an outline which means I’m not creative, because I write quickly which means I can’t write smart, and because I don’t write in a pre-selected writing space at a pre-defined time in complete silence without any distractions, which is the only proper way to write. So they say, if I believe all of the articles on writing out there.

Then again, if they are all true, that makes me already crazy – which means I shouldn’t care what any of them have to say.

Anyway, before I go stand in the corner talking to walls and laughing at my own jokes, I’m posting the last first draft chapter of The Trading of Skin to As I’ve done with past NaNos, all twenty chapters will remain public for three weeks and after that only the first five chapters will remain public. Here’s the link:

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Genre for the Holidays – Celebrating 2012!

December 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm (dark fantasy, fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

The Blog of The Year Award

I am grateful to receive The Blog Of 2012 Award from a fantastic blogger/storyteller, Cheryl Moore. Cheryl is an amazing artist and a fascinating raconteur and you can find her brilliant work on her site, Unbound Boxes Limping Gods. I will now award this to three very deserving recipients, who are all talented and prolific.. Their names will be revealed after the rules.

1. Select another blog or other blogs who deserve the ‘blog of the Year 2012′ Award.

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘join’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

7. There are stars to collect! Yes, there are stars to collect! Unlike other awards, which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different! When you begin you will receive the 1 star award, and every time you are given the award by another blog, you can add another star!

8. There are a total of 6 stars to collect. At which time your “badge” will look like this:

You can check out your favourite blogs, and even if someone else has already given them the award, you can still award them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

Now for my nominations and the criteria for my decision:

To go with my genre theme, and because I think he deserves all 6 stars, I’m voting for Ren Garcia, who writes the best steampunk space fantasy out there (IMHO). His blog, The Temple of the Exploding Head, offers details from his well-integrated world-building and samples of the artwork from his books. A must see!

I’m also voting for the blog of the talented Bruce Blake who writes incredible fantasy and urban fantasy (although he grabbed me with his short stories – wicked good). He’s heavily involved in the indie writing scene and celebrates writing and genre fiction on his blog.

Lastly is Blood Skies, the blog of Steven Montano. He is a fellow creative accountant who also writes dystopian dark fantasy. He has some holiday content from December 8 – another way he fits my theme. Maybe it’s something in the water that makes us this way…

Anyway – I highly suggest check their blogs out. If you do, you’re in for a treat.

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