Blitz Follow-Up #1

May 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , )

Sorry for my absence, but as you know, life happens.

The response to my latest submission blitz so far has been a little disappointing, but I guess I ought to expect that when many of the markets I chose to submit to this April were a tougher sell. To date I have only one firm acceptance, with my story Velveteen, and one “possibly…maybe” which you’ll be able to read more about here. I still have many submissions I’m still waiting on, so my luck could turn, but I’m not going to get my hopes too high.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting to hear if I’m going to make it into the Wicked Women Writers finals this year. They chose to limit the finalists to 5 in 2014, so I’m not guaranteed that my audio story will be aired in the contest. If not, I’ll have to find something else to do with it. No point in wasting all that effort.

And lastly, there’s a blog tour going on involving a fantasy anthology to which I contributed (see picture). You can find the schedule for that here.

More news later…

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Progress Update

March 29, 2014 at 3:30 am (Fervor, horror, Links, The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , )

My apologies for my recent absence, but my world is a busy blur at the moment. Along with trying to meet a March 31st deadline for two pro-rate submissions as part of my current writing/submission goal, I’m also working on Dominion, book #6 in my Fervor series, revving up for my April Submission Blitz and trying to finalize this year’s Wicked Women Writer submission. This month also saw the release of the print version of The Blood Flows True, the last installment of my Snowy Barrens Trilogy. So this progress report will be brief.

Released this month was an anthology I’m happy to be a part of – Let’s Scare Cancer to Death. This is one of several charity anthologies to which I’ve contributed, but this one helps in the fight against cancer and my story is dedicated to my dear friend Barb McQueen who lost her battle with cancer almost a year ago. I purchased a copy and I encourage others to do the same. It contains stories written by a great group of horror writers and supports a cause that’s close to my heart.

I did manage to complete and send off those two pro-rate submissions. So far, all I’ve had is more rejections, but the last one said my story was “quite excellent” and had made it to the final round of selections before they decided not to go with it. I’ll keep trying and maybe at some point, I’ll get that elusive pro-rate acceptance. I’ll be sending many more submissions out next month.

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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition – Leigh M. Lane

September 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Another of my fellow Wicked Women Writers is joining me here today (perhaps the last for this year’s run). She has an impressive amount of work out there, and apparently doesn’t procrastinate as badly as I do:

1) Who are you?

My name is Leigh M. Lane, and I’m just another creative mind looking for a place in this world (I’d be happy with a place in any world – CB).  I write speculative fiction spanning from science fiction to horror, with thirteen novels under my belt and too many short stories to count.  Six of my novels have been published through a small press under Lisa Lane, and I’ve published four through my own independent imprint, Cerebral Books.  I’m married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr., and we have a very spoiled Maine coon mix named Kadie. (Sweet – CB)

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

Nearly everything I’ve written is wicked in one way or another.  My Lisa Lane novels are all very twisted erotica, most notably erotic horror (double sweet – CB),
and my speculative works all have a disturbingly dark side to them.  I’d say my most wicked novel is Finding Poe, which I wrote as sort of a tribute to the master of Gothic horror.  It contains a couple of scenes that creeped me out when I wrote them, and the underlying theme is jarringly surreal.  Of my short stories, the most wicked is unquestionably “The Descent Upstairs,” which is a part of the Mirages: Tales From Authors of the Macabre anthology.  It’s about a woman driven into a homicidal rage by relentlessly loud upstairs neighbors (I’ve had loud upstairs neighbours…CB).

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

I write because I have to.  The muses fill my head with ideas, characters, and alliterative phrases, and if I don’t release them onto the page, they build like steam in a tea kettle.  While it is doubtful that I’d start blowing steam from my ears, it sure feels like it sometimes.  I also write to express my thoughts on the various evils over which I have no control; I can’t stop them, but I can write about them and maybe make a difference that way.  Some of the worst monsters imaginable are people, you know (do I ever – CB).

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

My preferred theme is social evils, although insanity is also up there.  I write a lot of third-person dystopian literature (I’m starting to see why this year’s WWW appealed to you – CB), but I do also make good use of the first-person unreliable narrator.  I like to play with readers’ perceptions, really take their minds for a spin.

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

Both.  I like to be organized when I write, so I begin with as detailed of an outline as I can manage before I sit down to write the actual story.  With that said, the muses often have their own ideas as to where a given story should go, so usually I find myself working around their changes, ever revising my outlines in an attempt to stay one step ahead of them (although they’re always at least two or three steps ahead of me).

6) What do you like most about writing?

Writing is the ultimate form of self-expression (for those of us who can’t dance – CB) and, as I’m often too timid to express myself outside my prose, it’s the outlet I need to feel like I’m putting myself out there.  It is satisfying in a way few other activities are.

7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I’m a terrible procrastinator, often dropping a manuscript for several days—sometimes weeks—at a time.  I allow discouragement and health issues to get the best of me, which is a bad place for anyone—not just creative types—to flounder through.

8) Who or what inspires you most?

Exceptional writing in any format—prose, television, film, music—inspires me to work on raising my own bar.  I love art for art’s sake; it refuels my muses.

9) What are your plans for the future?

I have no plans beyond continuing to write the best stories I possibly can.  I’ve found life often gets in the way of even the most carefully laid plans, so I’ve learned to let life lead me where it will and to do my best to enjoy the ride (but don’t forget your seatbelt – CB).

10) Why Wicked Women Writers?

I love a good challenge.

Excellent! If you want to learn more about Leigh, check her out at:

and don’t forget to listen to her story and all the others in the challenge at:

– and vote for your favourite!

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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition – Julianne Snow

September 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

My next Wicked Woman Writer has shared pages with me in the Darlings of Decay anthology, but she’s more than just a pretty face who writes about zombies:

Who are you?

My name is Julianne Snow and I am an author. I’ve released one book to date and have others in different stages of production. I’ve also had numerous short stories published in different anthologies and publications. Aside from all of that, I’m the Co-owner and Publicist for Sirens Call Publications (sweet! – CB).

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

Gosh – hard question! If you’d like to see my complete bibliography you can check out my blog at If you’re talking thematically, I’ve written horror, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories, science fiction, some dark comedy here and there, stories that would border on the bizarre and even a little romance (I’ve tried my hand at that a couple of times too – it’s really not my thing – CB).

As for writing anything truly wicked, I have a few tales that fall into that category – Madeleine (Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed, The Best of The Horror Society 2013), Six Millimeters (The Sirens Call eZine #2), and Fade to Black (Serial Killers: Tres Tria) just to name a few.

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

I write because it’s in my blood and the stories twist themselves around in my psyche until I release them (sort of like verbal brain worms? – CB).

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

I don’t have a preferred theme at all. I write what comes to me at the time it fights for its chance. I find it interesting to mash genres together (I love cross-genre – CB)and sometimes the outcome works out, and in orders it doesn’t.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

I’m a pantser the majority of the time. When I sit down to write, I let the storyline develop as I write. At times, I have a beginning and an end in mind, but I have to trust my process to get me to the end. There have only been a few times where the end was a complete surprise even to me.

What do you like most about writing?

I like creating. There’s a part of my logical mind that likes the whole process of crafting a story (funny – my logical part likes plotting and my creative part like crafting – CB). I like the feeling of getting to the end and then re-reading only to find out that what you’ve actually put down on paper is better than what you had imagined.

What challenges you the most about writing?

Sometimes it’s finding the right way to capture the emotion of a scene that plays out in my head. I can see it, but sometimes the words escape me in the moment of its genesis. After a little time, it comes to me though.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by many things. Sometimes I’ll see something play across the screen at a movie and then wonder what would happen if… In others, it can be the flash of a colour, or a smell that triggers the entire plot (A smell? Wow, most of my inspirations are visual or verbal – CB)

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to keep writing and honing my craft.

Why Wicked Women Writers?

I saw the call for writers and read about the challenge. I was immediately sold on the idea of writing an apocalyptic story.

Thanks, Julianne. Can’t wait to see the next wicked thing you have in the works.

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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition

September 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

with Rebecca Snow

And now a few words from a lady I consider my horror writer alter ego. It’s like she’s the horror yin to my dark and freaky yang. Someone asked me once who I’d want to finish any unfinished stories, were I to kick off tomorrow, and she’s top of the list.

1) Who are you?

I am me…Rebecca Snow. I have a super power that no one can see. Anything else I’d say here would be rambling blather and sleep inducing (sleep…what is this thing sleep? – CB).

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

Words…I’ve written lots of words. Not as many as some, but more than others. As for being wicked, just about everything I write is wicked in one way or another (I can vouch for that – CB). Even the humor is a little evil. As for all the places I’ve had a story published, instead of type them out, here’s a link.

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

If I don’t write, the voices get too loud. If I ignore them too long, I start to twitch (that might be kind of fun to watch – CB).

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

To read, I prefer anything that doesn’t make me roll my eyes like dice. In writing, I rather enjoy horror in general. I’ll try any topic once as long as it doesn’t make me want to scrub off my skin. I find horror to be a great way to relieve any frustration that lingers throughout the day.

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

Having had to ask what a pantser is, I have deduced that I am a pantser. Granted, sometimes I plot my pants. Most of the time, I get an idea, grab a few characters out of the closet, and throw them into the middle of things to see what they do (I always marvel at those who can do this, because it never works for me – CB). It isn’t always successful, but it is fun to watch.

6) What do you like most about writing?

I like getting the stories out of my head so other people can see them. They aren’t always well received, but I’m not the greatest vocal storyteller. It’s much easier to scribble the tales than tell them.

7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I wrestle with interruptions. I have a writing room, but the cats always know where to find me.

8) Who or what inspires you most?

Breathing (that must make life easy – CB).

9) What are your plans for the future?

Funny, other than short term, I rarely make big plans. I’m in middle of a few shorts. Hopefully, my next endeavor will be another novel that has more of a chance at being published than either of my others. (I wish I could be so laid back…I always have new unachievable goals to add to my list. CB)

10) Why Wicked Women Writers?

Why not? And the company is outstanding.

Awwww – a woman after my own heart, even if she would be likely to dig it out with a sharpened spoon. I hope you give her story consideration along with the other Wicked Women Writers. She’s #8 on the list. Read more about her at

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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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10 Simple Questions – WWW Edition

September 9, 2013 at 2:53 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

With Chantal Noordeloos (aka the other Chantal)

This month I’ll be interviewing my co –conspirato…er…fellow competitors in the Wicked Women Writers challenge from Horror Addicts. I’ll begin with my namesake – a rare thing when you have a name like mine.

  1. Who are you?

    I am the great and powerful Oz… oh wait, no… I’m slightly less impressive. I’m Chantal Noordeloos, a writer from the Netherlands. If you want to know who I am on a more philosophical level… I’m not quite there yet, I need to get in touch with my ‘inner zen’. (I’ve touched my ‘inner zen’ – it recoiled away…CB)

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

    I’ve written a ‘bunch’ (yes really specific here) of horror short stories, some of which are particularly wicked (I prefer ‘oodles’ – CB). In fact, my story ‘Mirror Mirror’ is featured in the ‘Someone Wicked Anthology’, so I would like to think that was wicked. I’m not a horror writer per se, but I do like to write stories with a bit of a wicked twist. I’ve also written a Steampunk novel (Coyote: The Outlander) and other genre stories.

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

    That is a favourite question(and annoying as heck, but I’m a sadistic interviewer-CB). In a nutshell, it’s an outlet of creativity. Before I wrote I turned to all sorts of hobbies to ‘fill the empty space in my soul’ (and I mean that with as much drama as I can possibly muster). Now that I write, my life is much more fulfilled. Also more wacky and stressful, but let’s not go into that.

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

    Ehm… I really like using mythology or religion in my work. I also love fairytales and urban legends, but I don’t use those too often yet. I guess Angels and Demons are a bit of theme in some of my stuff.

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

    YAY!! I love this question, I ask people all the time. I’m a plotting pantser (wow! Never got that one before – CB). I need a iddy bitty structure, or I lose the plot, but I tend to plot a lot, and then use about 10% of my plotted work and pants the rest. Because I just seem to like extra work for some reason.

  6. What do you like most about writing?

    Creating that little world that a reader can nestle into. (Most folks don’t want to nestle anywhere near what I write – CB) I guess I like ‘being read’ the most about writing. I like it when I can make people happy with my stories. Or miserable (when I write horror)… heck any emotion I’ll take.

  7. What challenges you the most about writing?

    Editing. I hate it… with a passion… a big stinky passion (Oooh *clap* *clap*- a kindred spirit – CB). I could start a picketing group against it. But it’s a necessary evil, and it takes me such a long time. I’m quite a fast writer, so all my extra time goes into whipping my stories into shape.

  8. Who or what inspires you most?

    *blank stare* Ehm… *wipes a bit of drool from the side of her mouth* Not just one thing, I couldn’t narrow it down. Other writers really inspire me. Having a good conversation with Apple Ardent Scott can really fuel my writing engine, but to be honest, a lot of things in life inspire me. Reading books I like (or I hate, that can be inspirational too in a twisted way) Seeing a good movie, watching people in the street… you name it (that makes my picking pictures out of floor tiles sound weird – CB).

9)     What are your plans for the future?

To try and take over the world! Narf… wait… no, wrong again. I have a great many plans for the future. I’m currently working on the rest of my Coyote series (there will be five books in total and the next will be called the ‘Clockwork Dragonfly’) and on my own horror collection (yes, a bit of wickedness will be present) called ‘Deeply Twisted’. Otherwise I’ll be working on my ‘Celestials’ trilogy angels and demons, as you might have guessed) and my ‘Even Hell has standards’ series. I have a lot of plans for my future. (And maybe get some help for that drooling problem?-CB)

10) Why Wicked Women Writers?

Well first of all, because it had the word ‘Wicked’ in there, that drew me to it immediately. Then because it was a podcast. I’ve never done a podcast before, and since I’ve dabbles with a lot of other things, a podcast needed to be on me ‘This I have done’ list J

Okay, I confess – not namesake. The name similarity was just a coincidence.But she has the same witty sense of humour that I have. I’ll have to hae her visit Word Blurb again in future.

You can find out more about Chantal here:

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Women in Horror Month

February 9, 2013 at 3:06 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I’m taking a break from love and Hawthorne to commemorate Women in Horror Month. I consider myself fortunate to not only be published in the genre, but to know so many wonderful women who also write horror. There are more of us than you might expect, just as chilling and terrifying as our male counterparts. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in three women only genre productions, one of which come out later this month, an anthology called Mistresses of the Macabre from Dark Moon Books. The editor has organized series of interviews with all eighteen of the talented and spooky contributors and you can check them out along with editor, Lori Michelle’s remarks at the Last Writes blog.

This wasn’t the first all female anthology in which I’ve participated. While Mistresses of Macabre offers a variety of horror tales, my first venture into an all female anthology was also an all zombie anthology, Hell Hath no Fury from May December Publications. I can thank this publication for some enduring friendships with sisters in spirit who share a love of the genre, such as Rebecca Snow and DA Chaney. It also contains some kick-ass zombie – I enjoyed the read.

My third all female romp has been competing in the annual Wicked Women Writer competition, hosted
by Horror Addicts. It has been a fantastic experience, my first with podcasting. Writing to an odd theme has proven challenging, and my results, “Rats” and “Thanksgiving Special” were certainly interesting. I’m actually looking forward to trying my luck again in 2013. I’m also hoping WWW will attract even more participants this year.

It’s nice to see a growing presence of women in horror and the chance to celebrate female contributions to the genre. If you have a favourite Woman in Horror, use this opportunity to let her know how much you enjoy her work.

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