Category Archives: Book Promotion

Monstrous Nature: The Story Behind “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar”

Welcome back, and happy Ides of March! Today, I’m thrilled to announce the debut of “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar,” my new dark fantasy story that appears in the Gaia: Shadow & Breath, Volume III anthology. *cue fireworks & stabbing Caesar in the back!*

Gaia: Shadow and BreathSeriously, though, this is quite an exciting release all the way around. First off, this anthology is from Pantheon Magazine, and I adore working with editors Matt Garcia and Sarah Read. They are such fantastic people, and I’m so incredibly honored to have another story in a Pantheon publication after last year’s gorgeous “Hestia” issue. As if that wasn’t enough, the table of contents for this anthology is wonderful; it’s always such a treat to be published alongside the supremely talented Rose Blackthorn and other great authors like H.L. Fullerton, David Tallerman, Tim Major, and Sandi Leibowitz. As usual, the anthology’s interior illustrations from Luke Spooner at Carrion House are simply divine. And just take a gander to your left at that gorgeous cover from Verboten Valley Art! *swoons*

Since the Gaia: Shadow & Breath series focuses on nature-themed horror and dark fantasy tales, this call was exactly up my alley. Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, living amidst the ravages of nature on our former horse farm provides endless amounts of strange inspiration. How could it not when you hear coyote howls at midnight and routinely discover inexplicable animal bones spread about the earth, all beneath a canopy of green? And that’s what my Gaia tale is all about: a foreboding forest and the things who dwell in its shadows.

Against this ominously gorgeous background, “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar” focuses on Dani, a young girl who is navigating life in her dying village while coping with the unwanted attentions of a monster. The story follows her from the age of six up through adulthood. Somewhere along the line in my short fiction, I realized how much I enjoy tracking characters over many years as they grow up in tenuous worlds. This is true of “All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray,” which follows the nameless protagonist over fifteen years at her family’s bewitched orchard. Likewise, in “Ten Things to Know About Ten Questions,” the two main “deviants” start out the story in middle school and end up in their senior year of high school before it’s over. It’s always a challenge to condense such a long period of time into the compact form of short fiction, but when it comes to writing, I love nothing more than pushing myself to—and sometimes past—the breaking point with ideas. So with “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar,” I once again focused on the protagonist’s coming-of-age, all while exploring what consorting with a monster would mean to her as a child and how that meaning would change as she grew older.

Green with Scales, Gray with Tar As I mentioned above, I’ve been looking quite forward to this release. I am so proud of this story, and as we bid farewell to 2016 last December, I knew this was one of only a few tales on tap for the New Year that would be forthcoming in magazines and anthologies. When it comes to writing, 2017 is already shaping up to be an entirely different kind of year for me. “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar” is only my third story released so far in 2017. Not too shabby certainly, but not the whiplash speeds I’ve released work in the past. Now of course, my short fiction will be getting its biggest boost yet next month when my debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, hits shelves. With five brand-new stories featured in the table of contents, original short fiction won’t be in short supply (consider yourself warned!). But again, “Green with Scales, Gray with Tar” is particularly special in my little writer heart, and I’m so happy to finally see it released to the wilds of the publishing world.

So if all this talk of monsters has piqued your interest, then please head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Gaia: Shadow & Breath, Volume III. All proceeds benefit The Nature Conservancy. Because who’s going to protect the glorious monsters of the forest if we don’t?

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal and Presale for my Debut Fiction Collection!

So. You might have already heard (because sometimes, I’m a little loquacious) that I have a book coming out. In fact, I have a book that has an official release date (APRIL 14th).

I have a book with a beautiful cover (see below, because for real).

I have a book with my name on it.

Seriously. This is actually happening.

In a way, I don’t know where to begin. The whole process of putting together this collection is a bit like waiting up on Christmas Eve. It’s nerve-wracking and thrilling in equal measure. And I still have trouble believing that such an amazing press like JournalStone is publishing my work. A whole book of my work. And speaking of books—in this case, book covers—allow me to swoon and squeal from behind my keyboard as I unveil the cover for my debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe!

And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe

That gorgeous photograph is the work of the amazing Nona Limmen. All of the covers from JournalStone are absolutely incredible, so I knew when editor Jess Landry approached me for this collection, that no part of this process would be anything less than stellar. But to feature such a breathtaking image from an extraordinary talent like Nona on my cover is completely out of this world. I’m in awe of the design every time I look at it.

But that fabulous cover isn’t the only news about the collection. As of this past weekend, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe is available for preorder on the JournalStone website! And for the first time, here is the official table of contents for my debut collection! (Again, how is this really happening?!? *head spins*)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Something Borrowed, Something Blue”
“Ten Things to Know About the Ten Questions”
“The Clawfoot Requiem”
“All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray”
“The Man in the Ambry”
“Find Me, Mommy”
“Audrey at Night”
“The Five-Day Summer Camp”
“Skin like Honey and Lace”
“By Now, I’ll Probably Be Gone”
“Through Earth and Sky”
“The Tower Princesses”
“And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe”
“The Lazarus Bride”

These fourteen tales are a combination of my stories that have previously appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, LampLight, Interzone, Bracken, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among other venues. There are also five brand-new tales that are original to this collection. Of course, I’ll be talking more about the process of creating this book as well as the story behind many of these pieces, but in the meantime, I have to give another shout-out as well as tremendous thanks to my editor Jess Landry for championing these stories. Without her devotion to my work as well as her incredible attention to detail, this book would not be a reality. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have such an incredible editor like Jess, but I truly couldn’t be more grateful.

So if you’re so inclined, head on over to the JournalStone site and check out the preorder page for And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe. And keep an eye on this blog in the coming weeks for more posts, giveaways, and promotions than you can shake a horror-loving stick at!

Happy reading!

A Year in Fiction: 2016 Awards Eligibility Post

2016 is at last behind us, and here I am with something I’ve never done before: an awards eligibility post. This is a weird thing, mostly because it’s strange to say, “Hey, consider nominating me for things!” but at the very least, it is nice to do a roundup of this past year. So let’s just say that is the overarching point of today’s post with the added caveat of “If you enjoyed any of these stories, feel free to share them in whatever way you would like!”

2016 FictionIn 2016, I’m thrilled to say that I had fifteen works of original fiction published! That’s in addition to eleven reprints, which made for a busy year. It’s also super exciting that a number of those stories were my first appearances in fantastic publications including Shimmer, The Lift, Interzone, Daily Science Fiction, and Bracken, among others.

So here, for the curious, are all those first-published-in-2016 tales, broken down by format!

ONLINE (& FREE!)

All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray” (Shimmer, March 2016)
Poisoned apples, sleeping girls, and a dying kingdom lead a young woman down a perilous path in this dark revisionist fairy tale.

Baby Bird” (Triptych Tales, February 2016)
A YA fantasy of teenage friendship, bird skulls, and learning how to finally take flight.

The Little Girl Who Came from the Sea” (Kraxon, March 2016)
Two seaside siblings discover a little girl dozing in the sand in this childhood ode to the ocean and all the strange gifts the waves send to shore.

Through Earth and Sky” (Bracken, March 2016)
Sisterhood, loss, and whispering bones. While there be magic here, this one is inspired by my husband’s grandmother and her real-life struggle against reeducation as a Native American woman in the early twentieth century.

All the Mermaid Wives” (87 Bedford, September 2016)
Mermaids dragged from their home and made to conform as good wives and mothers. But one “reformed” mermaid isn’t like the rest…

Holiday Playlist for the End of the World” (Daily Science Fiction, November 2016)
A playful apocalypse tale, perfect for a chilly December evening while you’re decorating the tree or reinforcing the windows to keep out the monsters.

PRINT & eBOOK

Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” (Nightscript, Volume 2, October 2016)
A young girl documents her older sister’s transformation into something grotesque. Think The Virgin Suicides meets The Fly.

The Tower Princesses” (Interzone, May 2016)
A weird fantasy tale of adolescent girls trapped in towers and the lonely outsider who dares to befriend one.

Find Me, Mommy” (LampLight, April 2016)
Little Emma Jo likes the darkness. Unfortunately for her doting mother, the darkness likes Emma Jo, too.

Horseshoe” (The Haunting of Lake Manor Hotel, April 2016)
A disgraced jockey discovers the ghosts of her past are a little more literal than she realized in this installment from Woodbridge Press’s shared world horror anthology.

Gingham Curtains and Electric Shock” (Mental Ward: Experiments, May 2016)
Psychological experiments go awry when two ostracized patients develop an unlikely bond.

The Neighborly House” (Robbed of Sleep, Volume 5, September 2016)
A gossipy small town contends with a miniskirt-wearing enchantress who decides to teach the cruel locals a supernatural lesson they won’t soon forget.

AUDIO

Girl, Alone at Play” (The Lift, Season One, January 2016)
Strange pictures and a misfit photographer mark my first foray as a contributor to The Lift universe.

Storkson Candy: The Perfect Treat for Kids of All Ages” (The Lift, Season One, March 2016)
A glut of candy, a wayward bunny, and a sprightly specter named Victoria make for one devilish Easter.

The Last Costume Change” (The Lift, Season Two, October 2016)
Two teenage cousins sneak out on Halloween, only to find themselves in a haunted building where they must at last face their fears of the past.

In other writing news, 2016 saw the completion of my debut horror novel, Festival of the Lost Girls, a creepy 80,000-word tale of small-town teenage friendship, mysterious disappearances, and ethereal girls who giggle inside mirrors. Also, as I announced in November, my debut fiction collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, was accepted at the supremely awesome JournalStone and will debut this spring!

And that was my 2016. It was a profoundly strange year, seeing that it was the most successful of my professional life, despite the intense and often terrifying upheavals in the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep writing when the world grows darker and more dystopic than any fiction, but I also believe with the utmost conviction that the most trying times are when we have to push back the hardest, no matter how difficult that battle may be from day to day. So to all you wonderful writers out there, keep up the good fight. Now more than ever, we need you at your best.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

Deck the Halls with Literature: 10 Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers

December is winding down, and in my little nook of the world, ’tis the season for gift giving and festive revelry! And if you’re like me, you might not have done all your shopping for those friends and family you adore so much. Fear not! I have the perfect list for you! And even if you’re personally not celebrating any holidays this December, a new book is a reason to rejoice any day of the year! So check out these ten great titles, and consider giving the gift of literature this December. After all, there’s nothing better!

For the fantasy devotee:

The Lilies of Dawn

The Lilies of Dawn by Vanessa Fogg

This gorgeous novelette from rising star Vanessa Fogg is a poignant tale of love, lilies, and family. And that beautiful cover by artist Likhain only makes this unforgettable book even more perfect. Vanessa is rapidly proving herself to be one of the strongest new voices in speculative fiction, so check out this book today and keep an eye out for her forthcoming works. If you love truly original fantasy as much as I do, then you will not be disappointed.

For the nostalgic mystery lover:

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew Anthology: Writing & Art Featuring Everybody’s Favorite Female Sleuth by Various Authors

This Nancy Drew anthology is a perfect throwback to the fun mystery stories of yore. Nearly 100 contributors from around the world united to make this book possible, and one of those writers includes the incredible Geosi Gyasi, an awesome author and interviewer who I previously featured on this blog. Suffice it to say, this sweet and loving tribute anthology to one of literature’s coolest sleuths is most certainly a book you don’t want to miss.

For the fan of creepy anthologies:

Killing It Softly

Killing It Softly by Various Authors

Women in Horror Month is just around the corner, so why not get a head start with this anthology featuring a litany of talented female authors? This beautifully creepy tome includes tales from Elaine Cunningham, Jess Landry, Rose Blackthorn, Nancy Holder, and others, and is sure to make your holidays a little bit scarier. And who wouldn’t want that?

For that pal of yours who adores all things bizarre:

Hate from the Sky

Hate from the Sky by Sean M. Thompson

Eraserhead Press is the gold standard for fabulously strange fiction, and its New Bizarro Author Series gives you a taste of all the best up-and-comers in the industry. Case in point: Sean M. Thompson’s newest work about a man who is battling the very sky above him. This is most definitely a book to read and an author to watch.

For that special someone who likes nightmares with their eggnog:

100 Nightmares

100 Nightmares by K.Z. Morano

This acclaimed horror book from author K.Z. Morano is a breathtakingly unique creation. Included are 100 stories, each told in 100-word drabbles, and these frightful tales are inspired by ghosts, fairy tales, and the creatures of Japanese folklore. If all that wasn’t enough to draw you in, there are also fifty haunting illustrations to accompany these bite-sized morsels of terror. A wonderful horror collection penned by a truly fantastic author.

For the romance fan:

Love Under the Harvest Moon

Love Under the Harvest Moon by Various Authors

Not everything on this list is creepy and crawly. Love Under the Harvest Moon is a charming anthology for the romantic at heart. In addition to a number of other great authors, the table of contents includes a story by the awesome Nemma Wollenfang who appeared recently on this blog. A great gift for anyone who needs a little more love in their life (and really, who doesn’t?).

For the on-the-go reader:

Trick or DeathAny of the awesome Kindle short stories by Calvin Demmer

In our insanely busy world, sometimes there isn’t nearly enough time to chill with a good book. But that doesn’t mean awesome literature should fall to the wayside. For that busy book lover on your list, consider the gift of a perfectly terrifying short story from rising star Calvin Demmer. For less than a dollar (seriously!), you can delve into worlds of hungry ghosts, disturbing trick or treat festivities, and other holidays gone horrifically awry. An ideal gift for any busy horror lover.

For the YA Fan in your life:

Doll

Doll by Miracle Austin

First off, Miracle Austin is awesome. She is a fantastically imaginative writer and a fantastically wonderful person. In her first standalone novel, Miracle puts her incredible imagination to use as she crafts a tale of high school revenge that at once feels familiar and completely original. With the perfect amount of scares and the proverbial high school angst, you won’t find a cooler young adult horror novel this season.

For that person who can’t get enough ghost stories:

Shadows at the Door

Shadows at the Door by Various Authors

There’s something about the wintry holidays and ghost stories that just go together too perfectly, like devilish peanut butter and jelly. And if ghosts stories are what someone on your shopping list loves, then look no further than Shadows at the Door. With beautifully unnerving illustrations and a roster of talented artists, this is one gorgeously fearsome anthology sure to make anyone’s winter a little bit more shiver-inducing.

For that flash-fiction-loving fiend on your list:

Dark Flash

Dark Flash by Maria Haskins

I’m personally a huge fan of flash fiction, and I truly believe that there aren’t nearly enough outlets for it. Fortunately, if you or someone on your Xmas list agrees with me, then author Maria Haskins has got you covered. This super cool new book includes eight short tales that run the gamut from dark fantasy and horror to science fiction. And honestly, where else are you going to find a single work that manages to blend cats, demons, and unicorns? A great gift for lovers of flash fiction, the bizarre, and well-written prose.

Those are my top ten picks for awesome fiction this year! And if you still can’t get enough cool literature, you could always give a gift subscription to a superb magazine! A few of my favorite publications include LampLight, Nightmare, and Shimmer!

Happy reading, and happy holidays!

COMING SOON: My Debut Fiction Collection from JournalStone

So I’ve been keeping this big (huge! GIGANTIC!) news under wraps for a few weeks as I finished up the promotion for my Halloween blog. But now, with October firmly behind us, I am beyond thrilled to make a very exciting announcement: my debut short fiction collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, is slated for release in the Spring of 2017 from JournalStone!

JournalStone

Seriously, that means I will soon have a book with my name on it, a table of contents filled with my stories. That seems a little surreal. It’s even more surreal that such an incredible publisher like JournalStone will be releasing the collection. This is the press that publishes work from authors like Laird Barron, Jonathan Maberry, Gary A. Braunbeck, and the newly signed Mike Griffin. This is the press that has won Stokers. And now I’ll be joining the illustrious roster of authors. No pressure or anything, right?

In the coming months, I will be working with editor extraordinaire Jess Landry on the book, and I will of course be sharing more information as it develops. We are still very early in the process, so I don’t want to divulge too many details yet (this author here is a superstitious one after all), but I will reveal this: the table of contents will feature a mix of reprints as well as five brand-new stories original to the collection. With a focus on my horror and dark fantasy work, the collection will revolve around themes of otherness, family, defiance, and grotesque transformations, and truly I couldn’t be more excited to share these tales together in a single collection.

So if you’re so inclined, please be on the lookout for more information coming soon about And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe. I will most certainly be hollering from the rooftops about this one!

Happy reading!

Sisterly Affection: The Story Behind “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister”

Welcome back to one of my last posts before the Halloween season is officially over! As it often goes in October, these past few weeks have been wonderfully busy ones. And truly what more could a horror writer want?

In the world of fiction, earlier this month saw the release of Nightscript, Volume 2. Along with tales from the illustrious likes of Malcolm Devlin, Steve Rasnic Tem, Ralph Robert Moore, Kristi DeMeester, Michael Griffin, Rebecca J. Allred, Jose Cruz, Gordon White, Matthew M. Bartlett, Eric J. Guignard, Daniel Mills, Christopher Ropes, and more, this fearsomely gorgeous anthology also includes my coming-of-age body horror story, “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister.” Needless to say, this is most certainly an auspicious and awesome occasion. I was a huge fan of the debut volume of Nightscript last year, and I had wanted to submit that first round, but alas, the submission window closed before I could. That just made me more determined to send a story to editor C. M. Muller when he announced the call for 2016’s Nightscript. Back in January, I submitted my strange little tale about a teenage girl who witnesses the grotesque transformation of her older sister, and to my absolute delight, C.M. accepted it for the table of contents.

Nightscript“Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” is one of my personal favorite pieces I’ve written. The story blends a number of elements that I’ve used in my previous work—an unusual list format (the protagonist counts different ways she dislikes her sibling throughout the story), the often emotionally fraught relationships between sisters, and the alienating sense of otherness that far too often goes with adolescence. However, with this story, I wanted to go beyond what I’d done before. When I was writing “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister,” I challenged myself to draw out new ideas and techniques from the seemingly familiar elements and to push myself into darker places that scare me. Even though I’ve loved horror all my life, it can still be easy to flinch and hold back when things get too strange or too uncomfortable or too personal. But with this story, I forced myself to go into those dark, troubling places, and the end result is—I hope—a tale that is both viscerally creepy and at least a little emotionally devastating. But you know, in a good way.

As for the inspiration behind “Reasons,” body horror was most definitely at the forefront. I’ve dabbled in this brand of horror before (“The Clawfoot Requiem” and “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” certainly don’t shy away from horrific bodily transformations). This time around, I looked specifically to the modern master of body horror, David Cronenberg, and what I consider his crowning achievement: the remake of The Fly. What I feel works so well in Cronenberg’s version of the film is the bond between the two main characters and how that relationship grows and deteriorates simultaneously through the story. For “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister,” I wanted to explore a similar type of devastating metamorphosis, only in this case, using a relationship between adolescent sisters as a backdrop to completely overhaul the dynamic. In keeping with the monstrous adolescent themes, there are echos of Ginger Snaps in there, and also a little bit of The Virgin Suicides, which is in its own odd way, a ghost story of sorts. When I was finished, “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” had becomes a story of otherness and isolation with maybe, just maybe, a glimmer of hope embedded in the horrific.

So if all this talk of creepy body horror has piqued your interest (or you just can’t resist all the amazing authors in the table of contents), then consider adding Nightscript, Volume 2 to your bookshelf. Gorgeous and ghoulish fiction awaits you.

Happy reading!

 

Homesick for the Sea: The Story Behind “All the Mermaid Wives”

Welcome back, and Happy Friday! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about my fiction, and fortunately, today I get to talk about a brand new story! I am so thrilled and honored to announce that last week, my dark fantasy tale, “All the Mermaid Wives,” made its debut on 87 Bedford!

This is an exciting and auspicious occasion all around. For one, it’s my first original work of fiction to be published since May. I was very fortunate over the summer to have a number of stories put back into publication as reprints, but there’s always a special joy in seeing a story debut in the world. This story is also at once covering new ground and revisiting an old love: it’s my very first mermaid-themed story as well as a return to fairy tales, something I deeply enjoy as both a reader and a writer.

Figures of mythology and folklore have always fascinated me, and I love when I discover a great retelling of an old classic. Consequently, the last few years have been wonderful as a reader of short fiction since many fantastic variations on mythology, and mermaids in particular, have been unleashed in the speculative fiction world.  (One personal favorite of mine is Sunny Moraine’s “So Sharp That Blood Must Flow,” an ultra dark reworking of The Little Mermaid.) That being said, I never imagined that I would add my voice to mermaid literature. If it’s not broken, why fix it? But that’s the thing about inspiration–it can lead you down the unlikeliest roads.

Despite being an only child, something I love to explore in my fiction is the dynamic between sisters. Such relationships have been at the forefront in several of my previous stories, including “A Certain Kind of Spark” (Mantid Magazine), “Through Earth and Sky” (Bracken Magazine), as well as the forthcoming “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” (Nightscript). In the case of “All the Mermaid Wives,” the story’s genesis was most certainly in the bond between mermaid sisters, Galene and Eleniora. They are the hearts of “All the Mermaid Wives,” and their relationship is what inspired me and spurred me on to tell this particular tale.

I am so pleased to have sold “All the Mermaid Wives” to 87 Bedford. It’s always a joy to work with newer publications. Two of the very best experiences I’ve had thus far in my writing career were being featured in the debut issues of Bracken and Mantid Magazine. Judging from the already fantastic stories featured in 87 Bedford as well as the professionalism of the editor, Lichen Han, I predict a long and illustrious life for 87 Bedford. Although the publication is currently closed to regular submissions, keep an eye out for the next open submission period, and I will be sure to include it on an upcoming Submission Roundup as well! A highly recommended speculative fiction site!

So if all this talk of the ocean has made you yearn for salt, waves, and barnacles, head on over to 87 Bedford for “All the Mermaid Wives.” It’s a strange and lonely tale of mermaids & matrimony, homesickness & heartache, and hopefully, it will inspire you to pen a fairy tale of your own!

Happy reading!

Writing and Werewolves: Interview with Lance Keeble

Welcome back to this week’s author interview! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight Lance Keeble. Lance is the author of numerous short stories as well as the lycanthrophy novel, Globes Disease.

Recently, Lance and I discussed his favorite authors as well as the evolution of his writing. Lance also talks openly about many of the struggles writers face in completing projects as well as how he overcame those obstacles to finish his novel, Globes Disease.

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

Lance KeebleOff and On I have been writing since I was a child. Around 6 or 7 years old, I would make up songs, write poems, I even wrote, illustrated and bound my first book. It was a story about an ant that becomes an astronaut. My mom had it for years and then I ended up with it. It is now in the safe hands of my mother-in-law.

I have a diverse and eclectic taste but some of my favorite authors include Joe Nazel, Nnedi Okorafor, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Stephen R. Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Chuck Palahniuk, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, Dwayne McDuffie, Edgar Allan Poe, Homer and Dr. Seuss.

Congratulations on the April release of your debut novel, Globes Disease! What inspired you to write a multi-perspective story about lycanthropy?

Thank you. Well my original idea for Globes Disease happened around 1985. I asked myself a question, which is how I often start out. What if? How come? Why is something a certain way? Etc.

As it pertains to Globes Disease I asked, “What would happen if a black man was a werewolf? How would he feel walking down the street, having to wonder, “Are they staring at me because I’m Black or because I’m a Lycanthrope?”

Around 2006 I committed to completing the short story, mainly because of being a lifelong fan of sci-fi, horror and adventure. I felt some things had not changed much as far as the main characters. I would often read something or watch something and use my imagination and mentally replace the characters with whom myself, my friends, and family could relate to.

I love ensemble casts of characters. Superhero groups, the diversity that Empire Strikes Back attempted to explore. So I added more characters to my books and the response from beta readers was positive. Eventually my short story turned into 5 novellas; by 2012 I had a collection. That collection eventually was merged to make a complete Novel. Thus giving life to the multiple perspectives.

What writing challenges if any, did you experience in the editing process?

Oh my lord, (laughing) I needed an editor who could make sure my continuity was well developed and consistent. It turned into a hair pulling experience.

My first editor looked at the book and thought it was too long. Then after reading it, she felt it was a fast read and asked me to add a chapter, a cruelty scene that could humanize what animal cruelty from the animals perspective (recurrent theme here), which I thought was a great idea, so I did it. Alas, she had a family illness and had to back out of the project.

Second editor formatted my work and did a good job but then I discovered a missing chapter and had to scour all my drafts till I found it. She had moved on to another project by then so I had to find someone else.

My last editor was great but it took way too long to edit, she had health issues and family health issues, and at some point felt she had low bid the work. With all that we were able to compromise and complete the book with only a few minor disagreements. She was great; she found and helped me correct a lot of issues that I needed found. Overall, she did a great job.

My writing challenges were numerous. Most Writers and Authors deal with deadlines, writers block, criticism and self-doubt. In my case, add, working on a job where you have to leave at a moment’s notice, deal with the constant interruptions and requests for your time. I endured a divorce, a rekindled relationship, a new child, and a myriad of family/friends issues that most people go through but would surely derail any hopes of writing let alone finishing a project.

Blessing or Curse I have a form of AD/HD and OCD, so I had to steal my time or go crazy. Working early mornings, using technology, texting, emailing, syncing things I’d written, when I couldn’t sit down and type on a computer.

It made my work feel schizophrenic at first but it aided my exploration when it came to speaking from multiple perspectives.

In addition to Globes Disease, you’ve also written short fiction. Is your writing process different when crafting longer fiction versus short stories?

Not entirely. I do what I call a brain dump. If I have a compelling idea, I just dump it all on the page and decide what it will become later. Keeps it pure. Some things that I write feel better as scripts, others as short stories and a few just beg to be novels. The first novel I wrote and re-wrote with no outline. The second book, the prequel (that I now need an editor for), I somehow ended up outlining it. It begged to be organized, and doing so worked out great. To me, my writing can often become real and alive, and at some point you feel like you are a loon because the characters take over and tell you what to write.

Do you find one [kind of writing] is more challenging or enjoyable than the other?

Believe it or not, I love poetry. It is pretty cut and dry. Beginning, Middle and End over a couple of pages. Short Stories and Novels can be complicated and of course they have a lot more details you have to cover. You don’t want to over describe or leave out too much. There are more things you have to consider so that you do not go over a certain word count. I wanted my first novel to be short but it kept growing, the more I cut, the more it grew, like hair. (Laugh) But now I look at it, and I don’t see it being any other way.

Your work often leans toward horror and dark fantasy. As an author, what draws you to the supernatural?

Globes DiseaseI love the fantastical. I was the kid who got up early on Saturday mornings to watch superhero cartoons. I devoured creature features with Godzilla and Gamera, etc. I was glued to the set watching black and white horror like, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Dracula; you name it. I read comic books, fantasy, and science fiction…

Later I was thoroughly impressed with An American Werewolf in London, Blade, even the basic premise behind Underworld.

Other works that impacted me were Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven,” Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea and the Thomas Covenant Series by Stephen R. Donaldson. These works and others like it really influenced how I thought about that Genre. It changed how I viewed my work. I like things that are slightly different and away from the traditional.

Where would you like to see your writing career in five years?

I would love to have a large cult following the way Chuck Palahniuk has. I would love to find different ways to present my work as well. Be it Television, comic books, Internet etc. I really just wanna have fun being creative, find my audience and hopefully get paid for it.

What new projects are you currently working on?

I wrote a Super Hero comic, that’s been in several magazines. Well I completed the Graphic Novel script quite some time ago, I am looking for an artist my partner and I can afford, so that they can help create 200 pages of awesomeness.

I am also looking for an artist for a children’s book I’ve completed.

I have written and I am currently writing scripts for Music Video Production Company.

I am also writing another Super Hero prose for Ascension Epoch public-domain-superhero-anthology. The premise is to resurrect public domain characters. I myself am reimagining one and I am excited, I hope I make the cut. That should be available in December.

I wrote another superhero prose titled “Nikia the Pandora,” it will be in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology in December as well.

I finished the prequel to Globes and I am looking for an editor.

I am entering contests, submitting work and looking forward to more events.

Big thanks to Lance Keeble for being part of this week’s author interview series. Find him at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as on the main site for Globes Disease!

Happy reading!

Nostalgia and Reprints: The Story Behind “All the Hippies Are Dying”

While this blog space is never exactly quiet (Author Interviews! Submission Roundups! Writing Tips!), it has been a little while since I’ve shared anything about my recent publications. So let’s remedy that before July slips away from us! I’m so thrilled that last month saw the release of my magic realism tale, “All the Hippies Are Dying,” at The Wild Hunt. This strange story about a mother obsessed with her youthful foray at Woodstock and the daughter who tries and fails to bring her mother into modern day is a little bit dark, a little bit magical, and perhaps more than a little bit wistful. It’s also among my favorite stories I’ve ever written, so that always makes a story release even more exciting!

First off, it’s worth noting this isn’t the debut of “All the Hippies Are Dying.” The story was originally released last year in the first issue of The Gateway Review. My experience there with editor Joe Baumann was a fabulous one, and he supported “Hippies” so much that he even nominated it for a Write Well Award through the Silver Pen Writers Association. How nifty is that?

Since I do love this story so much, it’s been great to see how it’s found a second life at The Wild Hunt. And it was quite fortuitous circumstances that led to the publication. In the spring, The Wild Hunt editor Ariell Cacciola reached out to me after reading my Shimmer story, “All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray,” and asked if I would be interested in contributing to her new magazine. One visit to the site, and I loved the aesthetic of The Wild Hunt so much that I knew I had to be involved. I sent Ariell “All the Hippies Are Dying” and I was so incredibly pleased when she and her fellow editor enjoyed it enough to add it to the other beautiful tales in their archives. So far, “Hippies” has received some nice reviews (huge thanks to Morgan Crooks for including it as a top June story pick on Ancient Logic), and it’s beyond thrilling to find the story is resonating with readers.

“All the Hippies Are Dying” is an oddly personal tale, one that highlights my love of turntables and vinyl and 1960s music. In a way, I’ve been carrying this story with me since I was fifteen years old and started researching Woodstock in books at the public library. That’s when I first fell in love with the bands from that era—The Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, among many others. In those well-spent days of youth, I was a little like the matriarch in “Hippies,” just hanging around a spinning turntable and absorbing every note of the music. Thus, it was both cathartic and slightly bittersweet to finally translate some of those feelings into a cohesive story.

“Hippies” also gave me a chance to explore the world of magic realism. I’ve been a huge fan of magic realism fiction for years, and this was one of my first interpretations of the genre. I definitely hope to return soon to this fresh and lovely brand of fantasy in my short fiction. In the meantime, an early sketch of a new novel I’m writing will blend a healthy dose of horror with magic realism, and though it’s too early to tell for sure how this new project will turn out, I’m certainly hopeful that it might become something both strangely beautiful and beautifully strange.

So if you’re so inclined, head on over to The Wild Hunt, and take in the nostalgia of “All the Hippies Are Dying.” The free love of Woodstock awaits you!

Happy reading!

10 Awesome Websites that Will Make You a Better Writer

The business of writing is tough. With rejection the name of the game and a deluge of information (and misinformation) out there, it can be difficult to know where to begin. A few years ago when I started, I had no idea what I was doing or how to get there. There was a lot of stumbling in the dark (and heck, there’s still plenty of stumbling), but most days at least, I feel like I have a general idea of where I’m going, and that’s thanks to some incredible resources that are available online to anyone and everyone who wants to utilize them.

So for your scrivener pleasure, here are ten awesome websites that have helped me in my journey as a writer. Among you more experienced authors, all these sites might look familiar, and that’s great! It means you’re way ahead of the curve! But for those of you just starting out or simply looking to take your career in new directions, one or more of these sites might be exactly what your writing career needs at the moment.

So whether it’s teaching you the specifics of plotting a novel or helping you to streamline your submission process, these sites will help to make you a better (and more inspired) writer. And who doesn’t want that?

If you’re working on a novel and need help with plotting…

Helping Writers Become Authors features an array of posts about structuring scenes, stories, and character arcs as well as common writing mistakes that—let’s face it—all of us make occasionally. Blogger K.M. Weiland breaks down novels and demystifies many aspects of storytelling that vex us most as writers. And one of the best things about her site is that even if your story is already in good shape, her tips will help to make it even better, meaning that you can use her advice at any point in your plotting process or at any level in your writing career. After all, the best advice is the kind that just keeps on giving.

If you’re eager to become the next best young adult novelist…

Better Novel Project will guide your way. With fantastic outlines and adorable illustrations, this award-winning site examines the most popular YA books and offers advice on how to apply the general principles to your own work. And I know what some of you readers might be thinking: But I don’t want to write YA fiction! No problem. Blogger Christine Frazier offers regular tips on writing that could still improve your plotting and character development as well as provide some valuable insight into what makes a bestselling book. And admit it: we all want to be bestsellers some day, don’t we?

If you’re seeking somewhere that will help you find markets and track your submissions…

Duotrope is an easy-to-use and fairly affordable resource that offers a searchable database of over 5,000 short and long fiction and poetry markets. Additionally, the site offers a personal submissions tracker as well as statistics on each market, including length of time for response, and percentage of acceptances versus rejections. This is the one site on this list that I use every single day, and my life as an author is far easier for it.

If you’re seeking somewhere that will help you find fiction markets and track your submissions, but you can’t afford a subscription fee…

The (Submission) Grinder is a nice alternative to Duotrope. Although I will always be a little partial to Duotrope—I discovered it first, and the platform design is a little more to my preference—The (Submission) Grinder is truly so similar that you might do a double-take between the two sites. And since the world doesn’t call us starving artists for nothing, having a site where you can find markets and track submissions for free can definitely be a big help.

If you’re seeking markets for your science fiction and fantasy short stories…

Ralan is the place to go. A staple of the speculative fiction scene, the website is so informative that it’s almost overwhelming. Over the many years of its existence, Ralan has been nominated for awards and features no “exposure only” markets, which means every market listed will pay you, some of them quite handsomely, if you submit and the editors accept your work. Way back in the long ago days of 2014, I found my very first markets on Ralan, so it will always have a special place in my little writer heart.

If you write horror and other dark fiction…

The Horror Tree will inspire your macabre soul. With tons of submission calls as well as a blog filled with great tips from working writers, this site will keep you entertained and always poised for that next submission. The Horror Tree was also the first submission site I discovered after Ralan, and one that has helped me locate numerous markets that later went on to accept my work. Good stuff for us creepy writers!

If you still can’t get enough horror and dark fiction…

Dark Markets is another fabulous website that features a variety of horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction markets where you can send your work. With an easy-to-navigate design and a constantly updated list of publications, there is always something new to discover. (As a side note, I need to give major props to both The Horror Tree and Dark Markets for being two of the venues where I often find submission calls to share on my monthly Submission Roundup. Did I mention I seriously love these sites?)

If you’ve finished your novel and are ready to seek out representation…

AgentQuery.com will guide you through the process. With a customizable search, you can discover dozens of agents seeking books in your genre, and just to make the process even simpler, AgentQuery.com will also link you directly to the agency’s site. It doesn’t get much easier than this. A perfect place to start on your road to representation.

If you like online workshops and columns written by working authors…

LitReactor has got you covered. With cool classes and equally cool blogs from some of the best writers working today, there is always something on LitReactor that will not only entertain you but will also help guide your way through this capricious industry. Even a casual visit to the site can turn into a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole. There’s just so much to check out. Consider yourself warned.

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for your writing career…

Writer’s Digest is the gold standard, a total oldie but a total goodie. From workshops and tutorials to blogs with tips on writing and submitting to agents, there are few sites that can point you down the path on how to become a successful author as well as Writer’s Digest. The name isn’t synonymous with literary advice for nothing.

Did I miss your favorite writing site? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading!