It’s ALIVE!!!!

I’ve been planning to write a post for about a month, but every time I sit down to do it, I get more ideas than I want and end up getting a headache and taking a walk. I guess I should give a little background as to where I’ve been for the past year and a halfish. I have been (insert eerie music) nowhere and almost everywhere. Fuzzy brain fogs are like that. When your body decides to go a little haywire and you don’t know why, every ounce of focus and attention gets funneled into figuring out what’s wrong or avoiding it all together, and I’ve had fun with both. While I won’t go into a massive amount of detail, I will say that it’s nice to be able to hold onto a thought for more than twenty minutes again. Not being able to focus on a single story thread or come up with even fifteen percent of the words I wanted to use but couldn’t pick out of a lineup frustrated me to the point of almost deserting my fictional worlds without a backward glance. The tiny sparks of clarity that would flare at the strangest times kept me interested in an attempt to type coherent sentences.

Besides having a brain that wouldn’t cooperate, three of my furry feline friends aged beyond their bodies and died during the year. All three lived full lives. Two were seventeen year old siblings and one was somewhere between twenty-three and twenty-six. With two cats remaining, the house seems awfully quiet. I can’t call myself the crazy cat girl anymore. It’s quite an adjustment.

Why come back now? It’s about time, don’t you think? Two new stories have been published. I’ve started getting story ideas without racking my brain to come with them. The monsters in my head are getting restless. And look out world, I have a lot of purging to do.


Fun with email…or not.

First, the good news.  I subbed a story today.  It’s a tweaked reprint, but it is a submission.  It isn’t that I haven’t been working, it’s just that I’ve been involved in other projects not related as much to writing as I’d like.  But actually submitting something again does feel good.  Bad news, another story that had been accepted had the publication cancelled.  But more good news, a submission call showed up that would be a good fit for the story.  So I’ll be submitting it as soon as I add at least 40 words and do a readthrough to check for rewrite possibilities.  So my fingers cross again as I delve into my scribblings again.

Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy (almost) New Year!

While this would have been more apt for a pre-Christmas post, it’ll just have to do as New Year’s Eve post.  My story, “The Secret Ingredient,” was published in Horror Novel Reviews’ Christmas anthology When Red Snow Melts.  It’s available for the Kindle and would have made great post-holiday reading, or you can save it for next year.  It’ll be waiting…

Kind Words

ImageEarlier this month, one of my stories was published in the anthology Still Hungry for Your Love.  “Ashes, Ashes” was chosen from over 200 entries to be published in the book.  I can’t say I wasn’t pleased.  It’s one of my quieter tales…or mostly quiet.  There’s still death, there’s still decay, but an onslaught of zombie hoards there isn’t.  It is implied but not experienced.  I wrote the story a few years ago for a submission call to another anthology.  After it had been accepted, the whole anthology was canceled for economic reasons.  The story was shelved and shopped a few times before it found its new home among the 15 stories that make up the anthology. 

A few days ago, I received and email from Kiona Smith-Strickland, one of the other authors whose story made the cut. “Your story “Ashes, Ashes” was an absolutely fantastic read!  It made me laugh in some places and sniffle a bit in others, and I’ve never in my life actually wanted to give a zombie a hug until I read your story.” I figure if I can make someone want to hug a zombie, I should be able to accomplish almost anything, right? 

Many thanks to Ms. Strickland-Smith for the kind words. Sadly, I’m a rather slow reader and haven’t gotten to read through the book yet. All I can say is I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s stories.

A light and a tunnel

After what seems like a million rejected story submissions, I had one out there waiting for an answer.  I didn’t have much hope as it had been rejected a few times itself after having been accepted and then the anthology got cancelled.  Anyway, the little story has a history and has finally found a home.  Maybe I shouldn’t say anything in case this one gets attacked by rabid armadillo squids, but as of yesterday’s email…”Congratulations.  Your story is in the…anthology.”…it has a place of publication.  More news to come once I start writing again.

Wicked Women Wednesday #4

wwwposter2013In celebration of the month long voting period for the Wicked Women Writers Challenge (click HERE to listen to the stories…then, vote for your favorite by emailing  …  end shameless plug), I’ve conducted a series of interviews with the other participants.  Since there were 4 weeks to vote (only 5 days left) and there are 13 women taking part in the contest, more than one author has been featured each Wednesday. This is the last installment (unless I hear from one who’s been busy as an ant preparing from winter while telling the grasshopper to hop to it).

This week, D.M Slate, Margaret Fiske, and last year’s winner, Killion Slade, tell us what they really think of happy endings.  Keep reading to find out tidbits about these interesting women.  How did they get here?  What do they have in common? Who would have an elephant if it were legal?

D.M. Slate

slateWhat brought you to the Wicked Women Writers Challenge?

I was looking for a themed contest to enter, to take my mind off of my current WIP, when I stumbled upon this contest.  I love apocalypse stories, and I was hooked when I found out that I’d be given constraints to work around.  It was truly challenging.

What did you find most challenging in doing the recording of your story?

Learning to use the recording/editing software was the most frustrating part.  I’d never recorded a podcast before, so it was an entirely new experience.  It took a few times of trial and error.

How do you create your villains?

I like my villains to be real.  Most of the time this character seems to be likeable, at first, until their true nature emerges later in the story.  I try to create someone that would be scary, to me, in real life.  I generally like my villains to be smart… threatening.

What’s your worst experience with killing a character?

In my paranormal horror story, Roots of Deceit, a young couple loses their daughter, unleashing a chain of events that changes their future.  In the 1st version of that story, I’d written a graphic scene of this small child being run over by a car.  It made me weep when I wrote it, and eventually, I changed that part of the story.  I don’t really like killing kids.  😉

What are your thoughts on happy endings in horror stories?

I don’t like them.  In my first horror novella, Day 94, I killed both of my main characters at the end.  It was an epic love story, and in my opinion, the only way to go was to take the couple out, together.  My publisher didn’t agree, and made me re-write the ending.  =(  I think the story has a much less dramatic effect, now.  In real life, things don’t always end happily…

If you could have any animal as a pet or familiar, what would you choose?

An elephant, for sure!  I seriously even looked into this, only to find that elephants are illegal in the United States.  Booooo! My second choice – a Raven – they’re badass.

I love animals, and we actually have 8 pets in our house, currently: dog, cat, 2 rats, bird, rabbit, box turtle, and a bearded dragon.  I could handle an elephant, too – I’m just sayin.

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Margaret Fiske

Blue HeadshotWhat brought you to the Wicked Women Writers Challenge?

Google, the Great Instigator.

What did you find most challenging in doing the recording of your story?

The editing was grueling.  Dragging each sound byte over a ten minute base recording took hours.  The torrid steam bath that we call summer here in Nebraska was also an obstacle.

How do you create your villains?

I like to pepper them with admirable qualities.  A villain that’s completely evil becomes cartoonish in a heartbeat.  The best villains, like their non-fictional counterparts, are a mix of heaven and hell.  It makes them more 3-D, more believable, and ultimately more human.

What’s your worst experience with killing a character?

Currently, I’m writing a story where the heroine goes through unimaginable hell and survives, only to be killed by an ally.  It’s absolutely the right way to end the story, but it still stings.  It feels like losing a family member.

What are your thoughts on happy endings in horror stories?

Write whatever works best.  Just because it’s a horror story doesn’t mean it has to end horribly.  If all horror stories ended unhappily, the genre would stagnate.  Of course, “happy” doesn’t have to mean Pollyanna marries the reformed hottie vampire and they blissfully live in a cozy little coffin with a white picket fence out front.  Happiness can be as subtle as a ray of hope shining on a dark soul.

If you could have any animal as a pet or familiar, what would you choose?

Cats have definitely chosen me.  I have polydactyl cats, with extra toes and thumbs. (Think Michigan feet and snowshoe hares.)  I strongly suspect that they type cat tales on the laptop when I’m out of the house.  Otherwise, I think a phoenix would be apropos.

Find her on Facebook.

Killion Slade

killionWhat brought you to the Wicked Women Writers Challenge?

By day, I am a wicked villainess of search engine optimization, and I had Googled for horror stories contests.  I found the Wickeds, and never looked back!

What did you find most challenging in doing the recording of your story?

What I found challenging was learning the process all together.  I had never created a podcast and the technical aspects of learning how to use audacity was quite the curve for me.  Once I did, however, I was hooked.  Audio books are my escape since I do not have the physical time to read.  I can’t wait to hear our debut novel on audiobook.

How do you create your villains?

Truthfully?  People who are unkind to me find very creative ways of meeting their demise in my stories. It’s fantastic therapy. J  I take a look at who they are and envision why they have become so wretched. I wonder what they would be if allowed to fully develop in their pitifulness.  From there, I begin a dossier on them and allow them to start talking to me (as a character, of course).

What’s your worst experience with killing a character?

We haven’t killed too many, which I should probably do more of.  I can’t say if I have had a poor experience when killing a character because none of them have been innocent victims… yet.

What are your thoughts on happy endings in horror stories?

LOVE them!  It truly depends on whose HEA it is.  There is always a winner and a loser, and sometimes the winner is the villain.  Sometimes when the story is told from the villain’s POV , you want them to win, even if it means a non HEA for the human counterparts.

If you could have any animal as a pet or familiar, what would you choose?

I would choose a dragon.  Only thing is, they are too awesome to be a pet.  I would want them to be my friend. J

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Thank you all for your insights and entertainment.  As for the rest of you, don’t forget to listen and vote.  The voting period ends on October 7th.