Monthly Archives: November 2020

Electric Horror: Interview with Mackenzie Kiera

Welcome back! Today, I’m thrilled to feature author Mackenzie Kiera. With Lisa Quigley, she’s the host and creator of the award winning Ladies of the Fright podcast. Mackenzie’s new book, All You Need is Love and a Strong Electric Current, is out now with Unnerving.

Recently, Mackenzie and I discussed her inspiration as an author as well as her favorite parts of the writing process and what she’s got planned next.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I don’t remember not wanting to be a writer. Although, it was very important that I wasn’t only going to be a writer. See, I was afraid of people telling me: “you will never make any money as a writer” so I always paired ‘writer’ with ‘paleontologist’ or ‘archeologist’ or whatever science I was reading about. I was never concerned with if being a writer would make me money. My dad worked in advertising as a writer, so I knew it was possible. Just, no one else seemed to think so. Some of my favorite authors? Oh, man. Right now it’s got to be Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alma Katsu, Grady Hendrix, Stephen Graham Jones, Rebecca Roanhorse, John Scalzi are my new shiny favorites—amazing people, all of them. A couple of books that I think will always sit on my shelf are the GOT series, Catch-22, Swan Song, Nos4A2, The Red Tent, Dante’s Inferno, and the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Congratulations on the release of your debut, All You Need is Love and a Strong Electric Current! What was the inspiration for this story, and how long did it take you to develop it?

Thank you. This happened in a couple of short bursts. I wrote the short story version on a dare in a sitting or two. I made it to the final round of a couple anthologies, but ultimately it was turned down because it was too graphic. I drawered it for a few years until Lisa turned me on to the possibility of sending a pitch to Eddie Generous over at Unnerving Press for the Rewind or Die series. At the time, my son was about five months old and I worked full time from home. I couldn’t imagine taking much else on, so I pitched CURRENT to Eddie, fully expecting for it to get turned down, and then I could at least say I tried, right? When he got back to me, he seemed pretty jazzed on the idea, which means I had to write the novella. I think it took me a couple of months? I drew heavily from some choice slashers Stephen Graham Jones told me to watch as slasher homework, and then, while I wrote, I was listening to the soundtrack to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

What in particular draws you to horror fiction?

The truth. I think horror tells the truth in ways other genres can’t. For instance, after the traumatic birth of my son, I had debilitating anxiety and felt like unless I stayed in my son’s nursery that something large and toothy was waiting to eat him around every corner. I didn’t want company. Horror pulled me up. Horror had how I felt, but on the page. I read Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and felt like I could breathe again. After a healthy dose of slashers, I felt a lot better. To me, horror is brain medicine. It lets me know that I’m not crazy, that monsters are real. But, horror also holds the secret that even though there are monsters in the world, they don’t always win.

You’ve written short fiction, and now with your new novella, you’ve also tackled longer fiction. How is your approach different or the same depending on the length of the work?

I actually truly hate writing short stories. I enjoy writing non-fiction or craft directed essays, but I struggle with the short fiction format. I’ve written novels (unpublished and probably for the better) so the novella form actually felt like a perfect length.

In addition to your fiction writing, you’re also co-host of Ladies of the Fright! How if at all has podcasting changed your approach to storytelling?

Oh, that’s a really good question. Considering I’ve been writing the whole time, I don’t think it has changed much. Our interviewing may change a bit, now that we can interview authors as authors ourselves, but considering the idea is to spotlight our guests, I can’t imagine much changing.

If forced to choose, which of the following is your favorite part of the writing process: developing a character’s voice, establishing mood and setting, or mapping out plot points?

Ha! Oh, the voice and plot points. I enjoy hearing how my characters speak and fine-tuning their quirks and favorite phrases. Plot points are fun too because I tend to map those out with a glass of wine late at night in one of those cheap drugstore composition notebooks.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on a new novella titled: The Attic Man and Madeline. It’s a possession story with a trope flip. Lots of demon sex, some intense black magic, and one crazy bitch. It’s been a fun time writing it, is what I’m saying. We also have some really great plans with the podcast, but that’s a secret!

Where can we find you online?

Best place to find me is on Twitter. I’m Kiera1Mackenzie. My website is MackenzieKiera.contently.com (although I’m not sure it’s 100% up to date) and then the podcast is Ladiesofthefright.com, and LOTFPod. Be sure to check out our blog as well! We have some new stuff happening in those corners.

Thank you! This was so much fun.

Huge thanks to Mackenzie Kiera for being part of this week’s author interview series!

Happy reading!

Withering and Wonderful: Interview with Ashley Dioses

Welcome back! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight author Ashley Dioses. Her brand-new poetry collection, The Withering, is due out soon from Jackanapes Press.

Recently, Ashley and I discussed her inspiration as an author, her awesome new book, and what she’s got planned next!

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

It seems I always wanted to be a writer. I don’t exactly know what triggered the exact moment, but I was writing short stories since elementary school. My dad was a writer and that’s probably where I got it from. I grew up reading J. R. R. Tolkein, Brian Jacques, and then later Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Edgar Allan Poe so those authors will always be some of my favorites. Later on I read Clark Ashton Smith and fell in love with his writing. Favorite contemporary writers include Nicole Cushing, Damien Angelica Walters, Christine Morgan, S. L. Edwards, and many others.

Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your poetry collection, The Withering. What can you share about the book?

Thank you! It is a collection of horror poetry from my teenage years. I wrote a lot of dark stuff during that time and that’s really when I started focusing poetry over other kinds of writing. It has 55 poems broken up into 4 sections. The themes for each section are nature horror, supernatural horror, psychological horror, and body or gore horror. There are ten full-page artworks by Mutartis Boswell, who also did the front and back covers. There’s also an introduction by John Shirley. I also include an afterword, a few notes on various poems, and a chronological list of the poems.

You write both poetry and fiction. How is your approach the same or different for each medium?

For poetry, all I need is an image or a line for me to take off and write a full poem. For fiction, I really need to be organized and have a plan. I need beginning, middle, and ending ideas before I can even start writing a story.

What draws you to horror? Do you remember the first horror film you saw or horror story you read?

My dad was a big fantasy and horror fan. When I was young he started me off by reading me fantasy stories which led me to reading them on my own. It didn’t take long though before he started getting me to read and watch horror. Probably one of the first horror films I saw was probably The Nightmare Before Christmas followed shortly by The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I also remember watching The Crow late at night in my room when I was supposed to be asleep. One of the first horror books I read, that I remember, is The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I was also fascinated with witches at the same time (not that that has changed) so I got my hands on every book about witches I possibly could.

How if at all has living through 2020 shaped your writing?

It really hasn’t changed much except for the fact that I’ve written less this year than previous years. I’ve been focused on reading more to get fresh ideas.

If forced to choose, which is your favorite part of the writing process: creating characters, establishing mood, or developing setting?

When it comes to fiction, I love creating characters. My favorite part is to create a believable person and give them ambitions and conflicts and personal demons they have to live with or get through. For poetry, it’s definitely establishing a mood. The atmosphere has to be perfect.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a collection of Gothic and Decadent poetry called Diary of Vampyress. The ‘diary’ belongs to the vampyress, Countess Nadia. The book opens up with a sonnet cycle based around her and her character. It currently has over 60 poems and is divided up into sections by subjects. After the sonnet cycle, the sections are Vampires and Devils, Witches and Werewolves, Daemons and Death, Other Dead, Halloween, Femme Fatales, The Seven Seals sonnet cycle, and Translations.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on various social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, but to really stay up-to-date with what I’m working on you’ll want to check out fiendlover.blogspot.com.

Tremendous thanks to Ashley Dioses for being this week’s featured author!

Happy reading!

Falling into Fiction: Submission Roundup for November 2020

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Lots of great opportunities in November, so if you’re looking for a place to send your work, then one of these markets might be the perfect fit!

As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m simply spreading the word! Please direct your questions to their respective publisher.

So with that, onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Cemetery Gates Media
Payment: $500 on signing & $500 upon publication; 80/20 author-publisher royalty split
Length: 40,000 words and above
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: For their debut horror novel series, the editors are seeking debut horror novels.
Find the details here.

Luna Station Quarterly
Payment: $5/flat
Length: 500 to 7,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction from female-identifying authors.
Find the details here.

New Tales of Fairy Godmothers
Payment: .01/word
Length: 4,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: The editor is seeking retellings and new stories about fairy godmothers.
Find the details here.

LampLight
Payment: .03/word for original fiction ($150 maximum); .01/word for reprints
Length: up to 7,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020 (or until the Submittable portal closes)
What They Want: The editors are seeking dark, literary fiction of the weird, unsettling, and quiet horror variety.  
Find the details here.

In Darkness Delight: Fear the Future
Payment: .03/word ($150 maximum)
Length: 2,500 to 4,500 words preferred (up to 7,500 words will be considered)
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: This Corpus Press anthology is seeking horror fiction with futuristic themes.
Find the details here.

FIYAH
Payment: .08/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: Short fiction from 2,000 to 7,000 words & novelettes up to 15,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2020
What They Want: Open to Black authors, FIYAH is currently seeking fiction and poetry for their forthcoming unthemed issue.
Find the details here.

Planet Scumm
Payment: .02/word
Length: 2,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: January 10th, 2021
What They Want: Guest edited by Hailey Piper, this issue of the magazine is seeking speculative fiction stories specifically from cisgender women, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and genderqueer people.
Find the details here.

Happy reading, and happy submitting!

RELEASE DAY: Boneset & Feathers is now available!

So today is the day! Boneset & Feathers has officially made its witchy debut in the world!

So many thanks to the amazing Scott Gable at Broken Eye Books for bringing this book into existence! It was such a wonderful experience working with Broken Eye again after the release of Pretty Marys All in a Row back in 2017. Also, tremendous thanks to gawki for their amazing cover art. Behold the cover in all its vibrant glory!

Pre-orders have started making their arrivals in readers’ homes, which is always an exciting thing for writers. If you ordered the book, please tag me in any pictures you post, as it will do my witchy little heart good to see them!

As for advance reviews, here are a few lovely quotes about the book from reviewers so far!

“Kiste casts a spell with this original and suspenseful horror story, but it holds more than meets the eye.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“A gorgeous book featuring magic, witches, ghosts and revenge turned sour.” — S.J. Budd of Come and Behold My Dark World

“Kiste is a versatile and engaging author making this book definitely one to check out. Recommended for fans of coming of age, witches, and more.” — Sci-Fi & Scary

“By the time you hurtle toward the epic conclusion, you will be wowed and left wanting more from this master storyteller and weaver of magic tales. Buy all of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books if you haven’t already.” — A.E. Siraki at Cemetery Dance

So just where can you find this strange little book with its ghost birds and witches and witchfinders? I’m glad you asked!

Boneset & Feathers at Amazon

Boneset & Feathers at Broken Eye Books

The ebook version is also on its way and will be available shortly as well!

As always, happy reading, and thank you so much to everyone who’s already ordered and supported this novel! I know 2020 has been rife with uncertainty, and today in particular is a very tense day, so for everyone who’s shared in my book’s release, I appreciate it so much more than you know!

Stay safe, and stay witchy!