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 – 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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Networking and Nova Scotia

May 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm (Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

28968_10150173648825032_5870124_nThanks to some of my latest successes, I had the good fortune of meeting a fellow bluenose genre fiction writer so I could lunch and learn more about my cohorts in the province. He and a few others (now including yours truly) decided its about time we try to organize ourselves within the province so we can network better, organize events together and approach organizations as a unified group (that whole “strength in numbers” thing.)

It turns out organizing writers is a bit like herding cats, but we’re slowly getting somewhere and our group keeps expanding.  I’m gradually finding out about other local writers and writing groups, and my discoveries led me to join SF Canada.  I see plenty of networking opportunities ahead of me, and I’m feeling less like an isolated little blip of algae floating around in a big, mostly empty pond.  I still won’t be able to make most of the anthology book releases I’d like to attend, most of them happening out of province, or out of country, but at least I’ll have better means to connect and share.

The one good thing about all of this is that I’m starting to feel less like an impostor who has fluked out a couple of times (surrounded by others on ToCs that have multiple pro sales and awards to their names) and a little more like someone who is achieving new goals regularly and has something to show for my efforts.  I may not be “there” yet but I’m progressing with baby steps and getting closer all the time.

My goal for this current month is to write and submit three stories to three specific pro-rate calls for submissions (I also have a fourth planned for next month).  I’ve finished one story and I’m a good way into the second, so I think this is reasonably easy to accomplish.  I may have nothing to show for it but three rejection letters and three potential re-submissions for future blitzes, but I figure it’s worth a try.

So now I’m off to do some promotional work before I get the kids to bed.  And over the next few days I’ll be watching for my name to be added to the SF Canada membership list.  Maybe I’ll make some new writer friends once that happens.

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The Good Fight

July 3, 2014 at 12:15 am (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , , )

Sometimes, good things can come from rejection. My last submission blitz has been less than successful (three acceptances so far … which is only 10% of total submissions with very few still pending, so little chance of improving that.) While wallowing in my bog of rejections, I mentioned I was looking for calls for submissions for charity anthologies, since I figured I’d have a better chance of giving the stories away. I was being facetious about that last part. I actually believe charity anthologies have a lot of merit, I’ve stated this fact on this blog in the past. I did mean the part about wanting to submit to charity anthologies which wasn’t lost on everyone.

Somebody saw my post and asked if I might have a story to submit to a charity anthology they were assembling. They were looking for speculative fiction stories about warriors – ones with purpose to the fights in their tales, ones that were meaningful in some way. She asked if I had a story like that.

Well I did. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the first “good” short stories I ever wrote, the first draft completed about sixteen years ago. Since then it has been rewritten several times, in part based on feedback from Marion Zimmer Bradley (I know – right?) and from the submissions editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies … and the story is much better for it.

Now, finally, it is going to finally get the opportunity to be in print, for a cause that’s dear to my heart.

Maybe that’s the whole point to rejection. It gives us the chance to give things a second look and make things better. It provides us with the opportunity to find just the right fit for a story to give it more value. I’m sure hoping that’s the case with this one.

The anthology is set for release in August, and here is the blurb:

Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unlike and
inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive
boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled
with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s
what you’ll find in this anthology.

From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll
find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or
your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here
and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar
and new!

100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

I hope many those I know will support the cause and get themselves a copy. I plan on picking one up, and I can’t wait to read it. I’m certain I’ll find it inspiring.

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April Submission Blitz – Ambiguities

April 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm (writing) (, , , , , , )

I always aim for a good fit when I submit, but sometimes it’s just not that easy to figure out what a good fit is. Some venues have a clear theme, like the one that just sent me an acceptance (my first this blitz), and other venues have well-defined style or characteristic preferences, but then you run across the ones that offer a list of “we like this…but we like this equally” where the two preferences are two ends of a significantly varying scale. Talk about ambiguous.

I just finished submitting to one of those ambiguous venues yesterday and I always feel like those submissions are very much a shot in the dark. When the list of items they are willing to consider spans every corner of speculative fiction, I have no idea which of my far-ranging cross-genre tales I should send. I like it when a venue at least leans a little in one direction or another. As much as I’m not fond of calls for submission that are too restrictive, I actually prefer it when they set out some guidelines.

I’m hoping to finish my short “Burn” today so I can submit it tonight. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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April Submission Blitz – When You’re Strange

April 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm (writing) (, , , , )

One of the problems with writing primarily speculative fiction is that sometimes the tales I come up with are so strange, they don’t really seem to fit anywhere. Other than submitting them to a venue like Weird Tales or Drabblecast, where bizarre is the norm, I usually end up just sitting on them until the entirely unexpected comes along.

“On the Tip of her Tongue” is one of those kinds of stories. Aside from being strange to the point that even those specializing in the peculiar aren’t sure what to make of it, it also happens to be rife with foul language – not my typical tale. I have tried submitting it to a few of the odder venues, or ones that prefer shocking fiction, but so far I haven’t had any luck.

During this blitz, however, I stumbled upon a call for submissions for an anthology that seems custom-made for this story. This honestly wasn’t an event I’d ever expect to see. I jumped on the opportunity and submitted right away, but I won’t know if it’s in until August. Other than either not liking my writing style, or not liking the story as a whole, the only thing I can see that might put them off is the amount of obscene language involved. They may see it as excessive even if the story fits very well with their theme. It was one of those risks I took when I wrote the story, but it just doesn’t work without it. So, I have sent it in as is and I’ll hope for the best.

Here’s hoping J


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Women in Horror – Spotlight: Vivian Caethe

February 20, 2014 at 3:31 am (fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Today’s spotlight highlights the author of The Grotesquerie short story “Cryptomycology.” Vivian writes speculative fiction of varying sorts with a penchant for flash fiction and she also is a knitter, a stitcher and a gamer. Her published works include stories in her sizable collection, Handwritten, that displays her genre versatility. She also has SF, fantasy and steampunk stories available in several anthologies.

Her fans describe her as “adept” and her work as “evocative.”

Find out more about Vivian at or take a look at her Amazon author page.

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Women in Horror – Spotlight: Nicole DeGennaro

February 8, 2014 at 12:38 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

Today’s spotlight is on the lovely Nicole DeGennaro author of the short story “The River” in The Grotesquerie’s line-up. This talented lady is a copyeditor and an avid reader as well as a horror writer, so she knows her way around the written word. Her published works include short stories in the Scared Spitless anthology from Silly Tree Anthologies and Gothic Blue Book III from Burial Day Books. While she has studied journalism, she says her heart belongs to fiction writing, speculative fiction and psychological horror in particular.

Find out more about Nicole and her work at and her Amazon author page .

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Submission Blitz – Day 12

April 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm (writing) (, , , , , , , , )

Today I sent off a tweaked and prepped “Sanae’s Garden” and I was almost sad to see it go. It was one of those stories that just write themselves, as if by magic. You have no idea where it came from and it doesn’t resemble anything else you’ve written, but there it is. I also got two more confirmations of receipts. So far, out of twelve submissions, only one did not offer a return response right away. This has come as quite a surprise, because only about half of the small presses I regularly submit to bother sending receipt confirmations. It makes for a nice change.

I finished “Relief,” the humorous sci-fi flash fiction I plan on submitting for an anthology tomorrow and I’ve been tossing around a flash fiction time travel idea for tomorrow’s crafting. “Relief” is being submitted to the second volume in an anthology series that I originally wrote “Turbulence” for (which was rejected. My first submission may not have made the cut, but I’m not about to let that deter me from submitting to the current volume. I love a challenge, and if they reject it – oh well. There are lots of speculative flash fiction venues out there. I have an odd sense of humour – I like dark humour and bathroom jokes – but someone may see merit in it.

I’m thinking about switching my focus to editing next month. I have a lot of first drafts and first edits needing extra work that have gone neglected…but we’ll see where things take me.

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Genre for the Holidays – Procrastination

December 30, 2012 at 1:13 am (writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I have to confess, I’ve been using the holidays and housecleaning as excuses to procrastinate, something I don’t normally do. The work involved in the few things I do have to do right now with regards to my writing doesn’t thrill me, so I’ve put all of them off. I figure if I’m going to do them, I better make a list and if I don’t make a note of getting work done on them over the next few days, you all have the right to chastise me, berate me, slap my wrists … I’d even say spank me, but the hubby would object to that one. Anyway, here are the things on my writing to-do list. Maybe if I have them written somewhere public, it will shame me into getting my tushy in gear.

1) Write a story for Ren Garcia’s anthology – why have I been putting this off? Nerves. I don’t typically write this type of speculative fiction and I’ll be writing to Ren’s world, fan-fiction of sorts. I know I can’t come anywhere near matching Ren quality-wise and I honestly don’t have a story idea at this point. I need a little push with this one.

2) Submissions – I have two short story submissions I’ve been putting off. It won’t take long, but it feels so much like work and I haven’t been enthusiastic about submissions lately. I don’t know why – I’ve had some success lately so you’d think I’d be gung-ho, but I’m not.

3) Rewrite – I have a story ending to rewrite at an editor’s request. I’m scared to even start, despite having a few ideas on how I could change it. I guess I’m just worried I won’t be able to improve it and I’m waiting for that “zen” moment when the words just flow like magic.

4) Formatting – I have to format The Blood Runs Deep so I can get this second book in my Snowy Barrens trilogy out there. I was using the lack of cover art as an excuse, but I’m almost done with my attempt. It is nowhere near as good as Dianne’s work on the first cover, but it is a really good piece for my efforts and I think it will be acceptable. I just need a good kick in the pants to get started.

So there you have it, in order of importance based on deadlines, simplicity and necessity. And I’ll get to them, eventually, once I conquer this severe case of procrastination.

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