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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Women in Horror – Shared Pages: E.E. King

February 16, 2015 at 3:51 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

EEKingI chose this female horror writer for my spotlight because her story “Synthesia” in Fear: The Modern Anthology of Horror and Terror – Volume 1 is cleverly woven; scary mixed in an odd way with whimsical and vivid imagery.

In addition to being a woman in horror, Elizabeth is a performer, writer, biologist and painter. She is the recipient of various international biology and painting grants and she has murals in Los Angeles and Spain.

Find out more about Elizabeth here: http://www.elizabetheveking.com/

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Scary Christmas

December 26, 2014 at 4:09 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , )

rtdYou might think frightening tales about Christmas like the ones in Return to Dethlehem are a modern thing, but stories about Christmas monsters have been a long standing tradition. Here are several examples of yuletide nasty beasties that I managed to dig up when I went looking:
1. Baboushka (La Befana)
2. Belsnickel
3. Frau Perchta
4. Grýla (mother of Yule Lads) and husband, Leppalúði
5. Hans Trapp
6. Jólaköttur(inn) (The Yule Cat)
7. Kallikantzaros
8.Krampus
9. Mari Lwyd (the Christmas Zombie Horse)
10. Père Fouettard (Papa Whip)
11. Servant Rupert
12. Straggele
13. Tomte(n)
14. Yule Lads (Sheep-Cote Clod, Gully Gawk, Stubby, Spoon Licker, Pot Scraper, Bowl Licker, Door Slammer, Skyr Gobbler, Sausage Swiper, Window Peeper, Door Sniffer, Meat Hook, Candle Beggar – From the poem The Yuletide Lads by Jóhannes úr Kötlum. )
15. Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)

And here are a few blogs regarding these monsters as reference:

http://scarylittlechristmas.wordpress.com/
http://www.fright.com/edge/scary_facts_about_christmas.htm
http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/non-fiction/articles/the-myths-and-legends-behind-christmas/
http://www.thjodminjasafn.is/english/for-visitors/christmas/other-christmas-characters/

So have a merry scary Christmas and keep an eye out for things that go bump in the night.

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Women Can’t Write Good Horror?

March 12, 2013 at 2:26 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I don’t have my review ready this week – still immersed in Deep Cuts. I’m reading every little nook and cranny to the book, including the intro and all of the recommendations, in very careful detail. I guess I’ve been lingering so much on this because I was distraught and bewildered by something Lisa Morton says in the intro… that in almost every horror writer’s forum out there, there seems to be a thread running on the inability of women to write good horror.

Hunh? Really?

I was also disappointed to hear that only 30% of the submissions for a pro-rate anthology honouring women in horror actually came from female writers.

Have I had blinders of some kind on? Because I’ve never run into anybody who has told me I can’t write good horror because I’m a woman. I’ve had some people decide they didn’t like my writing in general, but I’ve never had anyone suggest that any problems they’ve had with my stories was a result of my gender. Do people actually think that way?

I decided to do a search on the internet to see if this was truly a common sentiment. Initially, I found a lot of postings defending female horror writers, most of them associated with Women in Horror Month. Most of them seem to be offering counter arguments or excuses surrounding the notions that female writing is too sappy and emotional for horror, or they don’t write anything that’s effectively scary or gory. I’ve never been accused of any of that either, so once again, I’m scratching my head.

By the time I was done my search, I was pretty upset. While I don’t give much heed to the odd forum entry that “chicks can’t write horror” (because I don’t value the opinion of anyone who would refer to me as a “chick” unless in jest), the reports of people on panels at conventions saying things like women were less effective at writing horror and suggesting we should stick to fluff and paranormal romance made me want to string the buggers up and whack them repeatedly in their scrota with a stick laced with rusty nails (pointy ends to flesh, of course). While I wouldn’t actually do anything like that, I was pissed off enough to consider the fantasy – not to mention it would certainly show them I mean business when it comes to horror.  I’m sure I have several female horror writer friends who might contemplate joining me.

Don’t think I can write horror that’s scary or gory? Think my work will be sappy because I’m a woman? If that’s the case, I’d advise you to check out “Wrigglers” when it comes out in the soon to be released Midnight Movie Creature Feature II from May December Publications. I don’t shy away from cruelty, gore, death or violence when it comes to my stories and I challenge anyone to give an example of a horror story I’ve written that’s “sappy”. Containing irony – yes. Offering dark humour – at times. But sappy? Never.

When I write horror, I write horror, and I mean business.

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Genre for the Holidays – Christmas De-Gore

December 9, 2012 at 1:55 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

I just finished writing a horror short story, working title Deck the Halls, set during the Christmas season and it was my first attempt at holiday horror. I think there’s something a little more jarring about Christmas horror, just like horror involving the mistreatment of children, seniors or cute, fuzzy animals seems umpteen times more disturbing. Most people see those things as particularly vulnerable and needing more protection, almost untouchable, just as they see Christmas as being something associated with happier memories (unless you have an especially dysfunctional family or celebrate a different holiday.)

There’s plenty out there to inspire this kind of scary Christmas tales. I can still remember the terrible Santa story in the Gremlins movie. The Grinch is a pretty chilling character as well. If you dig around you can find quite a bit on the legend of the naughty children-eating Christmas devil, the Krampus. There are dark humour-filled animated features like The Nightmare Before Christmas or live action gore-fests like Black Christmas. The holidays can be scary, if you are willing to tread that taboo-ish territory.

Once I have my story typed in I’ll post an excerpt. I stretched the taboo beyond making Christmas ugly and included the mistreatment of a senior as well (the guy’s elderly mother – yikes! – but don’t worry, he gets it in the end.)

More tomorrow J

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My Favourite Monsters A-Z – Troll

October 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm (fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

Trolls are possibly the most popular monsters out there, along with dragons, werewolves, vampires and zombies. They are definitely strange enough to be fascinating, crass and ugly enough to be repulsive and ultimately versatile. You’ll find them living under bridges, in caves and forests and even in the ocean. Plus along with being scary and typically nasty they can also be humorous. From fairy tales to RPGs (Tunnels & Trolls comes to mind), board games to goofy songs (such as Trolls in the Pantry), these wart-bearing, nose-picking, groin-scratching buggers are everywhere, threatening to eat billy goats and people’s children alike.

To add insult to injury, once your bridges, woods, caves, pantry, etc. are infested with trolls, they’re not so easy to get rid of. In some instances, you might be able to drown them, but it’s most advisable to burn them with fire, acid, or any other flame or corrosive that happens to be readily available. Otherwise, they have a nasty habit of regenerating regenerated severed limbs (or like the one in my sketch above, regenerating from the severed limbs.)

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My Favourite Monsters A-Z – Redcap

October 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm (horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

You might think I’d find something demonic or undead, like a revenant, more frightening than a fairy, but this is one particularly scary fairy. Described in various ways, but usually as a little old man with clawed hands, red eyes and unruly hair, he wears a cap that is red because it has been bathed in the blood of someone the redcap has murdered. Some legends say he has to keep this cap wet with blood because if it dries out, he dies. He lives in uninhabited castles along the border between England and Scotland and preys upon travellers who invade his home – a very nasty fairy indeed.

I first came across the redcap as a child, in Nancy Arrowsmith’s “A Field Guide to the Little People” and her gory description of the murderous little bugger left me with nightmares.

Here’s my sketch of a redcap.

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My Favourite Monsters A-Z – Erinyes

October 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm (fantasy) (, , , , , , )

I’ve been partial to Greek and Roman mythology since a young age, and I liked the monsters best (as I mentioned in my Cyclops segment.) That’s why I’ve chosen the Erinyes as one of my favourite monsters.

The Erinyes (AKA the Furies, or Eumenides) , terrible female avengers with an association to the divine, were creatures of vengeance. They were known to pursue men (such as the matricidal Orestes) and persecute them, driving them mad as retribution for wrong-doings, particularly for grievous crimes like homicide.

Legend had it they originated from drops of blood from the castration of one of the gods. Sometimes they are depicted with wings, related to the harpies. Sometimes they are wingless or depicted as ghosts. I find the winged version the scariest.

Here’s my sketch of the Erinyes above.

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