Graveyard Shift Sisters: Sci-Fi Sunday with Valjeanne Jeffers

When I asked Valjeanne Jeffers which of her books is the best introduction to her work in order to interview her for my blog and the Graveyard Shift Sisters website, she didn’t hesitate before she replied, “Voyage of Dreams”.

And after reading it, I agree.

“Voyage of Dreams” is a collection of shorts from Jeffers longer works, intended as teaser for readers to have a taste of the genres the author writes in. There is horror, there is steampunk, there is erotica, there is sci-fi…

Now I must disclose that “Voyage of Dreams” does not have complete stories. Don’t pick it up unless you’re ready to understand that these are excerpts—written book trailers, if you will.  They will lure you in and give you the need to know what happens next.  You will come to hate the words, “To be Continued” (if you don’t already) and want to purchase the full-length novels. If you prefer to have an entire story right up front, I suggest reading the excerpts from her work on her Amazon author page and choosing a tale.

Jeffers has an enviable way with creating multi-cultural characters that leap beyond stereotypes. Her descriptions and imagery wrap you into the storylines.  For writers, we are always searching for the “hook” that snags the reader quickly and Jeffers has figured that out.

She also creates strong female characters and I can never have enough of those. In Awakening, she sets her sights on freeing Nandi, a young African girl from the societal and family pressures of playing the part of princess. Nandi finds her way to becoming the warrior she craves to be, but not without significant bloodshed.

Author and editor, Valjeanne Jeffers.

Author and editor, Valjeanne Jeffers.

My other favorites?

Colony: Ascension – Reads like sci-fi horrorotica. A young female astronaut desperate to find life outside of Earth finds answers as she wakes up a captive of an alien race.

Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective – Bizarre murders, a serial killer that is able to continue his work after death, and a female detective from the country who is the city cops’ last resort to stopping a plot that may affect all of North America.

Websites: (for buying books)




Read my interview with Valjeanne on the Graveyard Shift Sister’s website here.

Graveyard Shift Sister: Sumiko Saulson

I’ve been frantically reading to get out the next installment of Black female horror author spotlights and interviews on the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog.

Next on the list is Sumiko Saulson, author of Happiness and Other Diseases, The Legend of the Luna, and most recently, Ashes and Coffee, a short horror tale featuring a homeless Black woman as protagonist.

Ashes and Coffee, a horror tale with a gritty look at homelessness in modern day California.  But is Death any better?

Ashes and Coffee, a horror tale with a gritty look at homelessness in modern day California. But is Death any better?

I first heard of Sumiko Saulson’s work during a 2013 Women in Horror Month (WiHM) event when she was an ambassador and interviewed twenty-five women for her WiHM blog series.  I noticed she was a horror blogger as well and I didn’t at the time know of many Black women running such a blog.

Not long after, she interviewed me for her non-fiction book 60 Black Women in Horror. If you haven’t seen the book, pick up a copy and read about the authors, filmmakers, scriptwriters in horror that you don’t know about, but should!

The author, Saulson, with two of her books.  Looks like it doesn't rain in Northern California, either...

The author, Saulson, with two of her books.
Looks like it doesn’t rain in Northern California, either…

Also, head over to the Graveyard Shift Sisters site and to read my review of Ashes and Coffee and an interview with Sumiko.

Graveyard Shift Sister: Lynn Emery

Here lies the next installment in my series of Black female horror author spotlights on the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog. Read about the first installment here.

GSS founder Ashlee Blackwell has created for herself the awesome task of  “Purging the Black Female Horror Fan from the Margins”.  I’m happy to help by featuring Indie Black female horror authors on my blog and hers.

The late and great Vonetta McGee as Princess Luva in the cult classic Blacula.  If you haven't seen this movie, get to it!

The late and great Vonetta McGee as Princess Luva in the cult classic Blacula. If you haven’t seen this movie, get to it!

Without further ado, here’s my interview with native-born Louisianan author Lynn Emery and my review of her  book Only By Moonlight.  Head on over to the Graveyard Shift Sisters website and read about her writing process, inspirations and how she came to love horror.



Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Eden Royce:

Sharing because I’ve seen it and I’ve been guilty of it….

Originally posted on Blot the Skrip and Jar It:

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

View original 2,421 more words

Deadroads: A Review

I love Gothic horror.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I may have mentioned that several (hundred) times.

Unfortunately, I don’t come across it much in new books that I’m asked to read. There’s a glut of shock and slasher horror, splatterpunk, cannibalism, serial killers, and the like.

While that’s fine, sometimes, I like to sit down to a quiet, yet creepy and disconcerting tale. Ergo, I’m pleased to present my Hellnotes review of Robin Riopelle’s Deadroads: A Novel of Supernatural Suspense to you.

Leading ghosts down the Deadroads takes special training...

Leading ghosts down the Deadroads takes special training…


I’m also pleased to have included the word “ergo” in a blog post. Read the full review on the Hellnotes website here:

Hyde: A Review

In sum, Hyde is a story about a quest.  Not the Dungeons and Dragons/sword and sorcery kind.  But the type of quest that many people never even embark on: one of self-discovery. The phrase “finding out who you really are” is featured more than once, and it is used well. Not something I come across often when given an erotic horror story to read.


Vince Churchill's understated cover for Hyde.  Don't let the smooth taste fool you.

Vince Churchill’s understated cover for Hyde.
Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.

For some readers, a few of the subjects may be off-putting.  For me, one of the marks of a good author is how he or she handles writing what can be considered difficult subject matter for the majority of the population. Churchill handles these subjects—kidnapping and voyeurism, to name a few—with a deft pen. (er… keyboard?) But at the conclusion of this story, even the initial feelings you have about Hyde’s actions are turned upside down and inside out.

This is truly an erotic horror, so brace yourself.  Once you’ve decided to strap in, Churchill creates an enthralling experience for the reader.  His imagery is creative, but not over-worked. He used his words craftily, bringing each character’s emotions to the reader in a vivid bas-relief, making reading Hyde an almost tactile experience. Both fear and sexual pleasure are given equal attention and the writing of each is powerfully effective.

Hyde is also peppered with pictures, shown like stacks of Polaroid photos within the text.  I’m pleased to say that each artist is credited with copyright for their work just inside the cover.

One of my favorite terms used in Hyde was “pained satisfaction”. It ties into a neat little bow what most of the characters face. I must admit, I didn’t forsee the ending, as I sometimes do with erotic horror. There’s no way for me to describe it here without giving spoilers, but the finale was a fit ending for this tale and an excellent way to wrap up this quest for self-knowledge.

Hyde reflects its namesake.  Disturbing, yet recognizable.

7 Questions with Eden Royce

So excited to be featured on The Flip Side of Julianne blog today!

I first worked with Julianne Snow when I submitted a short story to Sirens Call Publications for their Women in Horror Month eZine in 2013.

Here’s hoping I’ve done an interesting interview! Click below for the full interview.

7 Questions with Eden Royce.


Women in Horror Month eZine 2013.  Download it free!

Women in Horror Month eZine 2013.
Download it free!