February Events Are Here

I know, it’s been here for a few days. I’m behind on my posting. No surprise there.

But there is a surprise in the festivities. February is Black History Month and Women in Horror Month. So I’ll share a quote from a ground-breaking American author, feminist and social activist.

“No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much.’ -Bell Hooks

For me, the quote above is true. That’s why I’ll be sharing posts on my Facebook and Twitter pages–in addition to this blog, of course–with articles about African-Americans and women horror writers. Spider Road Press has asked me to write a few articles and I’m also writing one for Horror Addicts.

In addition to that, I have two novellas to complete.

As I expected, February is a busy month, but I’m going to do my best to share all the festivities with you, so that you can share and support the great work being done on all fronts.

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Oh! And if you’d like a Women in Horror Month banner like the nifty one I have on my Twitter page and in this post, go here to get yours!

 

 

 

Banshee Books -A Co-op of Women Writers

Banshee Books

Self-publishing can be a challenge. Okay, it’s hard. To not only write the book, but get it edited, obtain the right cover, the right formatting–for print, for Kindle, for Smashwords, they’re all different– all without breaking the bank. So sometimes you need support.

I’m proud to be a part of Banshee Books, a co-operative of female, female identifying, and queer writers founded by British horror author Carmilla Voiez. Writers will self-publish their works, but this group offers support, guidance and promotion throughout the process.

In addition, members will read and review one women-friendly and/or trans-friendly book per month. This time around, we’re reading Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler. (Re-reading for me.)

Interested in joining? To be accepted all works must have an intersectional feminist theme. New members will be agreed by a majority vote of existing members, but all members agree to support and help promote each other’s work.

Stop by the Banshee Books website to learn more.

Graveyard Shift Sister: Tonya Liburd

The Graveyard Shift Sister feature is back for 2016!

First up this year in this interview series is Tonya Liburd.

Tonya is an editor, author, and champion of people of color as fiction creators. I spoke with her about people of color behind the scenes in fiction and publishing, creating from a place of pain, and using your heritage and history in your writing.

As I’m sure several people who read this feature are creators themselves, I also asked her what publishers are tired of seeing. (There’s also a link to where you can submit your uber creative story as well!)

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The phenomenal Loretta Devine in Urban Legend.

Read the entire review and interview on the Graveyard Shift Sisters website.

Flypaper: A Review

I picked up a copy of Book One of this series by C.K. Vile when it was free on Kindle.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Raised in a nightmare-like existence he now recreates in his books, Nick Dawkins wants nothing more than to be left alone. Podunk USA should be far enough away, but for his most passionate fans, the end of the earth is still too close. 

Danielle, a fan who manages to find him, shows up and his writer’s block vanishes. He’s inspired. Dreams he didn’t know he had are on the brink of coming true.

He should know better. He’s the teller of terror. There’s no room in his life for fairytales.

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I was on Twitter yesterday and I saw a tweet from author Sam Sykes that asked if people could get away from using “well-written” in reviews and instead tell exactly what was great about the book. Incidentally, I met Sam Sykes at Dragon*Con one year and he said I was the most polite person he’d ever signed a book for. (Random comment, I know, but I wanted this review to be a bit longer.)

While I agree with him, I’ve done it myself. ‘Well-written’ is a catch all phrase to describe well, just about anything the author’s done. So in this review, I said I would not use that term. So here it goes:

Flypaper is well-written disturbingly descriptive. It starts out similarly to several Stephen King storylines: a popular writer goes to a remote location to escape his oppressive fan base.

In this case Nick is frustrated with the attention from his popularity and it is starting to show when he makes public appearances. He retreats to a small town to write, but continues to be uninspired. And the attitude of the townspeople is less than welcoming. Much less.

Then he meets Danielle and his muse returns, even though she says she is unfamiliar with his work. But Danielle has ulterior motivations, and as her mental state declines, her lies come to light.

Unfortunately for Nick, obsessions can get…sticky.

C.K. Vile does a great job describing the reactions of Small Town USA and the mob mentality of some Internet message boards.

Where I had trouble was Nick’s reaction to Danielle once she started showing signs of…well, not being stable. There were several times where I thought, “Why doesn’t this guy just put his house alarm on and ignore his phone?” But I suppose being ‘that into’ someone makes you do—or not do—some strange things.

But as a thriller, it’s an enjoyable read. I did find myself wanting to finish it and as it is a short book, that isn’t a challenge.

Check out the book trailer here. And get your copy on Amazon.

Loot Crate: A Review

I was lucky enough to receive a free Loot Crate offer from The Melting Potcast, a writing variety show featuring a little of Everything from Everyone, Everywhere. The show features flash fiction submissions written to the podcast’s writing prompts–short works, intended to present different writers’ interpretations of the same ideas.

In addition, there are author interviews, recorded panels from conventions, book reviews, and much more for writers and listeners alike.

Now on to the Loot!

 The Loot Crate box. It come just like this. No wrapping or anything. Everyone will know your geeky awesomeness.Loot Crate cover

The Loot Crate box. It come just like this. No wrapping or anything. Everyone will know your geeky awesomeness.

November box pictures below. Theme: Combat

Nov loot open

Please excuse the kitten’s interest in the Loot Crate. He enjoys investigating all mail I receive.

Nov contents

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Contents:

Exclusive Cute But Deadly Magnet Set and Figurine

Exclusive Fallout 4 Vault Boy Bobble Head

TMNT Shredder Sunglasses

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 pin

Exclusive Street Fighter Hyper Looting comic

Loot Crate button

Nov statues

Close up of the two figurines. I had a little cold when the crate arrived, so there’s a little pack of tissues in  the background.

I had to sign up for a subscription to get my free crate. I have to admit that I was a mite disappointed in the November box. I’d heard great things about Loot Crate, so since it was the holiday season, I decided to get the December crate as well, to see if the previous box was a fluke. Here’s a glimpse of that box.

December box pictures below.

Dec crate open

 

metal Halo crate

Awesome Halo metal tin is awesome.

 

Dec contents

The kitten was super happy about the December contents and I was too!

Contents:

Exclusive Star Wars Han Solo Bobble Head (with grey temples)

Exclusive Ugly Holiday Sweater T-shirt

Exclusive Galaxy Quest Authentic Prop Replica Patch

Exclusive Halo 5 Ammo Tin Box

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Halo 5: Guardians Req Pack (This has a code that I can’t use so I’ll be giving it away on my Facebook page later.)

 

All in all, I’m happy about my crates. And I’m thankful for The Melting Potcast for the free Loot Crate. From what I’ve heard from Head Chef A.F. Grappin, they will be doing more of these types of giveaways, so go onto Facebook and Twitter to show some love for the Potcast.

May We Be Forgiven – A Review

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes is a book I picked up without it being recommended to me by anyone I knew and without my reading anything about the book. I was in a supermarket and I had a load of points on my loyalty card at the end of the year and I always spend them on books.

I read the back cover copy and thought the premise was interesting and I added it to my pile.

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The aforementioned book pile. I won’t promise to read these in order.

The book opens at Thanksgiving, a time intended to celebrate with family, but in many cases it can be a time of frustration when family tensions arise. Here is where we find Harry, the only one not participating in the current “discussion” at the table. Frustrated, he leaves the table, beginning to clear away the remnants of the meal, which he takes to the kitchen where his brother’s wife, Jane, is washing dishes. There, Jane kisses Harry.

This kiss is the catalyst for a firestorm of occurrences that left me stunned in places, incredulous in others. Strangely enough, Harry lets these occurrences happen all around him without truly seeming to be a participant in his own life. It was a bit—okay, more than a bit—frustrating to read about a protagonist who was so passive and unwilling or unable to make decisions that could impact his life.

My goal in reviews is to not give spoilers, so I’ll do my best to avoid that. But it’s challenging to do so with Homes’ book. Each character is so broken, so removed from the realities of life, that their actions to me felt surreal. Even so, it was like reading a nighttime soap opera in which you wondered, “What could possibly happen next?”

Harry’s brother George is a quintessential bully, who deals out cutting comments and lashes out with his fists instead of being able to communicate in any reasonable way. Sadly, the majority of men in this book fell into a similar category. (Except Harry, that is.) Their ways of thinking and doing were uncomfortable for me to read, only able to show jealousy and anger and violence, was so off putting.

Even when George commits a heinous crime, Harry is the one who seems to receive much of the hatred that should be directed at George. Harry bears the weight of all of this anger passively for the most part, but even when he expresses his frustration, he isn’t heard and doesn’t get the satisfaction of having his feeling acknowledged. To my horror, George gets off relatively lightly in this book and several people seem to want to help him return to normalcy.

Harry delves into online sex as an escape, meeting strangers for encounters. One thing I did appreciate in this book was that women were portrayed as having control of their sexuality and being active, willing participants in sex without any stigmas attached to it. Even so, I couldn’t relate to most of the women in the book because they all seemed to make decisions I found mystifying. I mean, who would let their recently orphaned nephew be taken to another state by a stranger?

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Harry, a historian, also has a fascination with Richard Nixon, a seemingly unusual hero for such a passive person. Harry’s obsession with him was to me a way of showing Harry as loving and admiring the “traditional male” and continually justifying it, even though he was being told it was history no one wanted to remember.

Finally, Harry seems to grow into a more active character when he takes on the role of caregiver, first for his niece and nephew, then for a local orphan, then for an aging couple. I found it interesting that Harry finds his happiness not in adopting the role of traditional male, but in taking on a role traditionally viewed as a female one.

The only characters in the book who seemed to be reasonable at all were the three children, who even though they all experience tragedy, are able to be resilient and rebuild their world in a way that not only suits them, but makes me feel like the world may be in good hands in the future.

Although it may not seem like it, I enjoyed the book. I wanted to know the fate of these characters. It read like a head on collision and I felt like a roadside observer once the paramedics have arrived. I can’t do anything but watch.

Cinched – A Release

It’s been a busy year for me, full of amazing experiences. I managed to get my short story collection Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror out this year, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get anything else out.

But I have!

I’m happy to announce that my short horror story “Basque of the Red Death” is in the multi-genre anthology Cinched: Imagination Unbound available now from Falstaff Books. (And it’s the first story in the antho!)

Cinched book cover

Contains my short story “Basque of the Red Death”. Yeah, you read that right.

 

This collection runs the gamut from steampunk to horror, from steamy romance to weird western, from victorian thriller to contemporary bondage. But they all feature the corset in some way.

My story was inspired by Poe’s classic short story “Masque of the Red Death”, but I’ve set the tale in the South and given it a few additional horrors. If you haven’t read Poe’s original tale, read it for free here.

Then check out Cinched: Imagination Unbound on Amazon for some twisted tales.

Featuring stories by:
John G. Hartness
Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
Misty Massey
Emily Lavin Leverett
Kimberly Richardson
Sarah Joy Adams
MB Weston
Herika Raymer
Dave Harlequin
RD Stevens
Andrea Judy
Nico Serene
Eden Royce <–That’s me!