More News Post Blitz

May 19, 2015 at 10:40 pm (Links, writing) (, , , , , )

zucThis time of year my focus tends to be on gardening more than writing, but I’m happy to see submission seeds I planted during my blitzes are yielding fruit. I’ll be announcing the release of one of my zombie stories shortly from an acceptance from a prior submission blitz, and from this April one I just received a semi-pro rate acceptance for a favourite story of mine I’ve been shopping for some time. The ones I like best can take longer to find a home because I tend to be picky about venues, reserving them for semi-pro or pro rate calls for submission. I’m extra happy about this acceptance because it comes with multiple contributor copies as well as a good flat fee. It’s also a really good fit with the anthology.
I still am writing in dribs and drabs, toying with another fairy tale mash-up, one that mixes Snow White with Norse mythology. I’m also trying to dig up more info on two contracted acceptances that may or may not have been released. I couldn’t find my story listed on the table of contents for one anthology – the publisher has had issues, so if it turns out to be a no-go I won’t be terribly upset. The other anthology was released with no official notice sent my way and I haven’t been able to locate a table of contents for it anywhere. I was on the online acceptance list that used to be posted but now is gone and I do have a contract for it. I have to assume, at the moment, my story is in there, but I can’t be sure.
More updates as they come in – back to gardening.

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Women in Horror – Shared Pages: Suzi M (aka Xircon)

February 17, 2015 at 4:09 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

SuziMI chose this female horror writer for my spotlight because her story “Zed” in the Zombie Lockdown anthology was engaging, frightening and a great read. We shared pages in two other anthologies as well.

In addition to being a woman in horror, Suzi helps support the efforts of independent artists, writers, musicians, and film-makers. She is, as she puts it, a knitter/spinner, an Etsian, a webmistress, an educatrix, and a cape-wearing supergirl.

Find out more about Suzi here: http://suzi.typepad.com/

 

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April Submission Blitz – Mash-up Maybe?

April 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm (dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

Part of me is not a big fan of mash-ups, but I’m honestly a sucker for ones involving fairy-tales. I sharpened my horror teeth on fairy-tale mash-ups from Tanith Lee. I’m currently working on my third fairy-tale mash-up, this one based on Rapunzel but with a deviant spin. I have a Cinderella/zombie mash-up that is scheduled to be released as part of a horror anthology this summer. And lastly, I wrote up a Lovecraftian version of The Little Mermaid that I’m sending out as today’s submission. I wrote it for a pro-rate anthology that rejected it and submitted it to a token payment ocean horror anthology that gave it a maybe but then turned it down. This current semi-pro call is specifically for Lovecraftian fairy-tale mash-ups, so its timing concurrent with this blitz is a happy occurrence. We’ll see if they go for it.

In part it depends if they are looking for a Cthulu-esque writing style or just Lovecraftian elements. When I write a fairy-tale mash-up, the storyteller in me leans heavily towards a storybook stylization with a chilling edge, rather than the other way around. I think the pro-rate venue I wrote it for was looking for a story with a stronger Lovecraftian flavour and not just a something that worked Dagon and his ilk into the story. Not that my story wasn’t appropriately gruesome – that much it is. It just reads more like a fairy-tale. I have read far more fairy-tales in my time, toes and tomes of them …many of them spectacularly gruesome, than I have stories by H. P. Lovecraft, so for me they yield greater influence. I’m sure it’s different for writers that took an interest in classic horror at an earlier age.

I’m still waiting on that third Simon 451 rejection and I have another submission already in mind for tomorrow. We’ll see what happens them.

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Women in Horror – Spotlight: Rie Sheridan Rose

February 6, 2014 at 12:47 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

My next spotlight author contributed the short story “House Call” to The Grotesquerie. Rie is a versatile lady with an adventurous spirit – in addition to a fiction writer she is a lyricist and a poet with a love of things steampunk and fantasy as well as horror. She and I share pages in Dream Walkers and Midnight Stalkers from Horrified Press along with the lycanthropic charity anthology, Shifters, from Hazardous Press (and the non-fiction Zombie Writing from Rymfire Books.) She has many other published works to show for her decade spent as a professional writer, a display of her dogged efforts and obvious talent.

Rie says she has always wanted to be a writer (along with a range of alternating secondary professions) and is pleased to be living her dream.

Her fans describe her work as “amazing,” “incredible,” and “excellent” – high praise for her spooky and action-filled writing.

She has a fabulous website at http://riewriter.com/ and you can find her work at her Amazon author page.

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October Submission Blitz – Indian Burial Ground

October 17, 2013 at 12:55 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

“Laying on Hands” is edited and away, followed by “In Too Deep” – two more submissions for two more days. At the halfway mark, not much has come back so far – I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I gleefully noticed a new posting by Penumbra based on Egyptian myth and I think I want to work on that next after I done my current “to-be-published-under-my-pseudonym” effort. I’ve already had a couple of maybes from them that didn’t pan out, but I’m encouraged to keep trying. I hope I can come up with something as interesting as “Dry Heat” which is no longer on print but will possibly be included in a collection of my short stories May December Publications had been planning.

My horror trope for today should be Native American burial ground, if I were to be political correct, but considering its an older trope, it happens to be pre-PC. Off the top of my head, I can think of two classic examples that include this trope, Pet Sematary and Poltergeist. It has a scary mystical appeal that can be used to explain anything from zombie cats to possessed severed hands, one of those “go-to” options.

Back to working on my current story…

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October Submission Blitz – Buried Alive

October 4, 2013 at 2:30 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Today’s submission involved a reprint and a certain podcast which last rejected one of my stories because of my use of a southern backwoods dialect…only to offer up a story a couple of week s later with the same “undesirable” dialect. This patois that supposedly got old fast in my story was perfectly acceptable when used in a story by a big name writer with a shelf-load of awards to his name *sigh*. It’s something you get used to fast in this industry – everything is forgivable if you have a name people know. If you are unknown, forget it.

Personally, I liked the dialect – it gave both stories extra personality. And I showed them; one of my stories appeared with a story by that same writer on a different podcast a couple of weeks after that (ha!) I don’t have high hopes for an acceptance from these folks, but I’m not giving up. If they turn me down, I’ll try the story on another podcast and throw something else at them next blitz. I may be sending them a new story twice a year for the rest of my life. I should keep a collection of the rejection letters (although I deleted the first one because it was seriously nasty…downright rude, even.)

My horror trope for today is being buried alive. While it’s not the fear it used to be, more of an old one from the days where it was more difficult to assure someone was actually dead, you’ll find it in a plethora of stories and some movies are even based entirely on the concept. I especially liked one zombie story I read which began with a person who believed he was rousing to this state, not realizing he wasn’t alive but undead (and had been buried because he was actually dead). By the end of the story, it becomes obvious.

I’m hoping to finish “Better” tomorrow – we’ll see J

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A Current Endeavor – Decisions, Decisions…Argh!

July 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

Some decisions are happy ones in the making – like participating in the Darlings of Decay zombie anthology. It is getting lots of great publicity and it has given me the opportunity to share in something with many other fantastic female horror writers. It’s available now on Smashwords for free!

Other decisions, I’m not so sure of. Every time I submit something somewhere, I always have to wonder if it will be at the expense of a better opportunity somewhere else, especially when I get the latest pro-rate venue telling me I made the shortlist out of 500+ submissions, but I didn’t make the final cut (yet again *sigh*).

My current dilemma is the result of such a decision. I submit regularly to a certain writing competition that I’m never likely to win because of my non-conformist ways. That being said, I give it a shot every quarter. Now I find myself in an awkward situation because of my latest submission. I just found out about a pro-rate venue looking for stories with very particular criteria that the short story I sent in to the contest actually meets. Aside from an appropriate word count for my story, they want a tale set in 1400 to 1920 – my story is a period piece set in the 1600s, they want it set in the real world – mine is set in New World Canada during the arrival of the first French colonists, they want some form of marginalized character including the disabled – my protagonist is hearing impaired, and it needs to have a supernatural component – I included a mythological monster of Native American legend from the area where the story is set. It is a *perfect* fit for the anthology, already written and ready to go.

Except it is sitting with this contest until a winner, not likely to be me, is decided. And that decision won’t happen before the July 31st deadline for the anthology.

So what do I do? I won’t submit to both places at the same time when both specify “no simultaneous submissions” so I could scrabble around to see if I can somehow retract it from the contest, if that is even an option, and then submit to the anthology. Or I could leave it be and miss what is potentially a much more likely win with the anthology.

These are the kind of decisions I hate, and they seem to come my way on a regular basis. Sad but true.

At least I have four weeks to make up my mind…

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A Current Endeavor – Halfway Exposed

June 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

As I start on Chapter 10 of Endeavor and approach the halfway point of the book, I find myself with the opportunity to garner myself some exposure. Not the kind where I remove all my clothing and dance naked in the street, although I’m sure that would draw some attention. Rather the kind where people can sample some of my work for free along with the work of several of my cohorts. I’ll be posting cover art and links after it is released on Monday, a special horror anthology where a reprint of one of my zombie stories.

I have taken advantage of this kind of opportunity before. I’ve posted free samples of my work to Scribd.com, Wattpad, the Guild of Dreams blog and this blog. I’ve contributed to several free online journals including Angie’s Diary and Moronic Ox. I’ve even had something up at Fangoria online (which has since been replaced with this year’s Weird Words finalists) – or if you prefer audio options, Horror Addicts Wicked Women Writers contest.

The only rules I apply to putting samples out there is a preference to post reprints and I never provide “exposure” samples to anyone who will be profiting from my work without paying me in one way or another (or a charity in my stead.) I think that’s a reasonable practice. Participating in a free promotional venture is one thing. Letting someone abuse the situation for their own gain is another altogether.

Submission Blitz update: A promising “maybe” unfortunately turned into a “no”. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be looking at another Submission Blitz in October…pre-NaNoWriMo.

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A Current Endeavor – Truth be Told?

June 23, 2013 at 12:38 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

I just finished up chapter 8, so I’m still making progress, which is good. I’ve been following an internet debate as to whether or not a writer should offer up an explanation or background story of what exactly is the cause of the zombie apocalypse (if there happens to be one in their story.) The initiator of the thread suggested that the background story is not necessary and mainly exists as filler or the bane of the writer: the info dump.

I’m inclined to disagree.

I do think that an explanation for the apocalypse is not always necessary. It is dependent on the plot of the story, the characters involved, and even the length of the tale. I’m less prone to believe that a background story is required for a short story – there just may not be time to get into the details. A short story often captures a moment or a single event, so the kind of extraneous facts that belong in a novel just don’t fit there. But sometimes the story absolutely demands an explanation – it can be integral to the plot and based on the nature of the characters involved, they may not be satisfied until they have one.

There was more debate as to whether the cause is scientific or supernatural should impact the need for that background story, but I also believe that those things aren’t deciding factors. In either case the characters may never get the opportunity to discover the “why”. They may not have the knowledge base to allow for answers, and they may not have the time or the opportunity to go looking for them.

I also object to the notion that an explanation has to result in an info dump. There are plenty of ways to add details to a story without throwing it at the reader in one large, hard-to-digest lump. The characters can discover information bit by bit, digging for the details, or the plot can simply incorporate the cause, making it a part of the bigger picture. Personally, I try to avoid discussing any background stories unless I feel it’s important for the readers to have. In some cases, less is more.

I took a look at my published zombie stories and, my yet to be published zombie novel and the inclusion of an apocalypse explanation really does vary.

Palliative (short story) – no explanation. Time is limited and opportunity non-existent.

Just Another Day (short story) – brief explanation. Protagonist is not a scientist and her knowledge is limited to what she has heard/read in the news.

Waking the Dead (short story) – hypothesized explanation. Cause is integral to the plot and one of the characters is a know-it-all who insists on researching it as best she can

Deadline (short story) – brief explanation. Protagonist is not a scientist but works with them. She casually skims their research but is too disinterested to dig for more details.

Shear Terror (novelette) – no explanation. Protagonist is a pre-teen separated from civilization and technology.

What a Man’s Gotta Do (short story) – vague explanation. Protagonist is not an educated man and doesn’t really care much about the details. Knows what he has learned in passing about the cause, over time.

Escarg-0 (short story) – full explanation. Cause is integral to the plot and characters witness it firsthand.

Life and Undeath on the Chain Gang (short story) – no explanation. Story does suggest a supernatural root to the apocalypse, but no details given. Protagonist is a prisoner without any real exposure to the world-at-large.

Sleep Escapes Us (novel) – full explanation. Cause is absolutely integral to the plot and characters witness the events that lead to the apocalypse.

This should prove I don’t believe there’s a tried and true rule here. And in no case is there an info dump in any of these stories. The funny thing is, in one instance some of the readers thought there should have been one. That goes to show you that you can’t please everyone, because you’ll run into naysayers on either side of the debate.

I’m going to keep going with my gut on this one. I know I don’t like info dumps myself, they tend to read a little dry, but I’m a fairly curious person who wants to know the “why” if it is relevant.

Truth be told? Only if it should be.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Zombie: Lockdown

May 21, 2013 at 1:46 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

I’ll do my best to do this anthology justice, but I’m still coming down from my Star Trek high (I just returned from watching In Darkness). Then again, this book gave me a bit of a zombie high. I really enjoyed all of the stories which, despite their common prison theme, had a surprising amount of variety and differing flavour from tale to tale. This was due in part to the spectrum of main characters, ranging from typical prison tough guy to much more placid intellectual criminal. There was gore, some of the stories quite visceral in places, but a lot of the horror came from that sense of isolation and entrapment, from hopelessness in the face of a grim and likely brief future.

Choosing favourites from this group was difficult, but there were three that slightly edged out the others (only slightly, mind you):

No God Waiting by T. Fox Dunham – I really liked the superman/experimental aspect to this story. It gave the tale a historical feel. The main character was somewhere between a creep-show comic book character and a dark champion . This was one of the more gory tales, but it seemed appropriate based on the nature of the story

Isolation by Rebecca Brown – This one offered up a real element of claustrophobia, along with deprivation and desperation. I found this one particularly chilling.

Death Row by Joseph Rubas – The story at the top of my list. The main character is both despicable and oddly moving at the same time, and I found myself quite invested in him by the end of the story. An impressive achievement, considering circumstances.

If you enjoy zombie fiction this is a great read. A firm thumbs up for this one.

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