Yes, the date is April first, but this is no Fool’s joke. I have a story published in FIYAH, magazine of Black Speculative Fiction!
(Excuse me while I do the Running Man. *Cough* Thank you.)
I did a review on this blog of the first issue: Rebirth, and you can read that here. Not sure if I should review an issue in which one of my own stories appears, but you’ll get my thoughts on the issue soon enough…
Issue Two is themed Spilling Tea. We’re talking literal beverages and we’re talking figurative “T”– you know: telling the truth, no matter how challenging that might be.
First of all, let’s get into this cover:
Gorgeous, isn’t it? And the authors in this issue are no joke, either.
Barbara L.W. Myers
Eden Royce <—That’s me!
I’m so honored to be included in this issue alongside such phenomenal authors. Grab yourself a copy of FIYAH’s second issue, Spilling Tea. Also, check out the Spotify playlist that goes along with the issue. And their indie author spotlight featuring Constance Burris.
Oh, you want to know what my story’s about? Well, FIYAH’s editors, Justine Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins, came up with the perfect way to summarize “Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment” in all its Southern Gothic glory:
Wanted: one negress to find a certain lost cargo. Welcome to a Charleston of the past filled with a very necessary magic.
And that is what FIYAH is bringing to you with this magazine — necessary magic, necessary stories, and a time when the sound of our voices is very necessary.
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!)
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
Emily Lavin Leverett
Sarah Joy Adams
Eden Royce <–That’s me!
I was updating my media kit recently and I realized I’ve been writing features for the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog for over a year now. For anyone unfamiliar with Graveyard Shift Sisters, it is a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins. Before sites such as GSS, many of us had few like minds to discuss our love of the genre with. In talking with other black female horror writers, we also experienced surprise from others–readers and authors alike–and it was much the same:
*You* write horror? Really?
Yes. Yes, I do and I’m not alone.
Those responses were the reason I reached out to the owner of GSS, Ashlee Blackwell, and asked if I could write a feature on the black women who write horror. To my delight she responded with a resounding, “Yes!”.
My posts for these features tend to be my reading a book of the author’s choice and reviewing it, along with sending them an emailed list of questions about their work and inspirations, their experience with horror, and what shape they would like to see future of horror take. I’ve been told it’s one of Graveyard Shift Sisters’ most popular features. *Blush* (Actually, I think it’s badass.)
This time, I had a real treat with the feature. Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve not been able to find a strong group of writers to talk shop with and I missed that feeling of camaraderie. So when African horror author Nuzo Onoh emailed me to review her latest release, Unhallowed Graves, I asked her if she’d be open to doing the interview on the phone instead of via email. (My first review/interview with her was via email on her short horror collection, The Reluctant Dead. You can read about it here.)
Nuzo agreed and I’m so glad she did. It’s different conducting an interview on the phone, but it was the right call to make. (Ha!) We had an inspiring talk about writing, writing horror as a woman of African descent, the similarities between her culture (Igbo) and mine (Gullah-Geechee), and the differences between England and America. (That last topic is for another post.)
I am pleased to have urban fantasy and horror author Amy Braun as a guest poster on the blog today. Amy was kind enough to share what she’s learned as a new author this year. Read on for some great info, even if you’ve been in the writing game for a while.
The Things a Writer Can Learn in Six Months
by Amy Braun
When 2015 started, I decided to take the leap: I would publish a full length novel by myself. I was proud of my standalone novella, Needfire, which served as a way for me to test the waters of the independent world. But of course, the next step was harder.
I didn’t go to school for writing. I don’t have any mind of independent business. Marketing and press boggle my mind. I thought I was going to gain readers and a following by continuing my method of trying my hand at short story submissions. I’ve had some great successes that way– my stories being favored by readers and even winning an Editors award for my macabre short story “Dark Intentions And Blood” in the AMOK! Anthology– but it wasn’t enough. My muse got a little greedy, and I wanted more.
Path of the Horseman became more than a standalone novel to me when I wrote it in 2014’s NaNoWriMo. I knew the moment I finished it that I wanted to share it with as many readers as I could. I took a risk with an emerging cover artist, worked with an editor I trusted, and chose to release it with a major distribution/publishing company that has helped thousands of independent authors get their work out to the world.
Needless, to say, when the release date came, I was both excited and nervous as Hell. I was given a guide about how to go about promoting my book. I learned that nothing was free, patience is an agonizing virtue, and you still have to hunt for acknowledgement.
Despite all that, I gained more positive feedback than I could have imagined, and not just from my family. People I’ll probably never meet praised my book and left reviews that humbled and honored me. I know that you can’t please everyone, and sooner or later I’ll get a negative review that will leave me doubting, but to know the risk would be rewarded brought me a joy that’s hard to describe.
So I took another risk, and released a novel that’s beyond precious to me. Demon’s Daughter, the first in my Cursed series, has been with me for years. Like Path of the Horseman, I know I’ve done something special with it and have received great feedback on it. But this series is my proverbial baby. I’m watching two of my most beloved characters– Constance and Dro– take their first steps into the literary world. I don’t know how they’ll do, and it’s a little worrying to hear what readers will think about a story I’ve poured my soul into.
That being said, I wanted to give Demon’s Daughter the release it deserved. That meant paying extra to work with a fabulous cover design company and go through the trials of printing and proofing physical copies, and learning the joys of proper book formatting. Oh, did I say joys? I meant agonies. I’m not kidding when I say the hardest part of printing paper books for me was getting the damn formatting to line up. I ordered at least two copies of each book, none of which were free. And don’t even get me started on headers and footers. So I learned the hard way to look at each book with excruciating detail before approving said proof. And if you’re going to print with Createspace, have a CMYK version of your cover available so your book cover isn’t filled with sharp, angry colors fighting to share space on the paper.
Most recently, I learned the value of media kits and submitting queries for reviews. I’m still waiting on some of them, but looking back I should have sent out requests for reviews before I started publishing. That being said, I have a couple reviewers lined up who are generally excited about reading my work and have a significant following that will hopefully trickle over to me. I didn’t choose this career for the money, but it’s not easy working for free.
These are lessons I wish I had known earlier, but I’m new to the writing world. I’m learning from my mistakes, and I know I will be better for it when my next release– the sequel to Demon’s Daughter– comes out in December. Like I said, I don’t do this for the money. While my dream is to walk into my favorite bookstore and see my book on the shelves (or even better, see someone reading that book and surprising the hell out of them by explaining that I wrote it), I would be perfectly happy writing independently for the rest of my life.
The year is barely half over, and I know more lessons, good and bad, are on the way. But the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to keep going. I’ve had days where I’ve been frustrated, days where I’ve been lazy, and days where I couldn’t find motivation to write at all (AKA the worst days ever). But when I have those days, I look up at my desk and see the two printed books resting against the wall. I think about the entire process it took to create them, and how endlessly satisfying it is to see them there, knowing I can do it again. Writing a book is a long, sometimes torturous process. But the end result, no matter how you look at it?
Amy Braun is the author of the urban fantasy novels, Path of the Horseman and Demon’s Daughter. She’s been published in anthologies by publishers such as April Moon Books, Ragnarok Publishing, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Breaking Fate Publishing. To find out more about Amy, go to her blog literarybraun. Or you can find her elsewhere online at:
I am lucky to have the multi-talented horror queen Emerian Rich as a guest poster on the blog today. Emerian is an author, editor, artist, and vocal talent who I’m pleased to have worked with on the new release The Horror Addicts Guide to Life. Without further ado, heeeerrre’s Emerian!
So You Think You Know Horror? by Emerian Rich
As a horror writer and hostess, I pride myself on seeing the world through zombie-colored glasses. I figure, I can riff on anything horror related and have a better-than-average grasp of horror topics. So, when I first contemplated creating a horror almanac to be included in our Horror Addicts Guide to Life publication, I thought…no sweat, right?
Wrong. The thing us horror addicts forget is that for most of the year we are pretty useless to the general public. Sure, we are cool to invite if you want a spooky campfire story and always called upon for costume advice, but when Thanksgiving rolls around, we’re utterly forgotten.
My task was to find something to say about every month. Tasks to do, events to attend, people to celebrate. 365 days becomes a daunting task when you have to fill every single day with horror content. Holidays can be punked, horror birthdays can be found, but what do you do on a month like August when there is absolute nothing going on?
In the beginning, it was fun. I started with October because that is the beginning (and end) of a true horror addicts calendar. I got six months filled without hardly a backwards glance, but then, the dreaded blank page stared back at me, mocking my ignorance for the task and my cocky belief that I could tackle every day of the year horror-style.
My first solution was to ask my horror friends and staff. When that turned dry, I asked non-horror people, then I scoured the internet for fun horror facts. But still, all of this left gaping holes in a calendar that I live every year and should have been a piece of Devil’s food cake. Having exhausted all my sources, I took a deep breath and had a talk with myself.
“Listen, Emz, this shouldn’t be so hard. You live the horror lifestyle. Calm down and think about what you do each month, each day, that makes your life happily horrific.”
And that’s when the blood started flowing. The almanac was done in no time at all once I tapped my inner horror addict, the silly, zany, spooky gal inside that likes to tell ghost stories and play corny zombie board games.
Inside the Horror Addicts Guide to Life, you will find twelve months of awesome horror addict-ness. What do to, what to wear, what to celebrate, as only a true horror enthusiast would. For just a little taste, I’ll share April’s to do list with you:
Plan your epitaph.
Appreciate your bat.
Stock up on garlic (except for vampires).
Stock your laboratory for World Lab Day (23rd).
Tell a spooky story.
Recycle, the spooky way, for Earth Day (22nd).
Don’t forget, April is contains a lot of spooky holidays such as Be Kind to Spiders week, the 1819 publication of the first vampire story, The Vampyre by John Polidori. It’s also home to Walpurgisnaught, the holiday quoted in Dracula, 1931 as the night of evil.
Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Hazardous Press, and White Wolf Press. Emerian is a podcast horror hostess of HorrorAddicts.net. To find out more about Emerian, go to: emzbox.com.
My short story, “Voodooesque” is seeing the light of day in the anthology, The Big Bad II.
Ever find yourself rooting for the bad guy? Are you pulled toward the darkness and all of its charms? Then the second edition of The Big Bad brings you more to love! There are some fantastic authors featured in this collection–I know several of them– and I’m pleased to say female authors and authors of color are represented.
From the Dark Oak website, here is the description of the book:
A collection of best-selling fantasy and horror writers brings you twenty-four all-new tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all – humans. Crack open the pages, if you dare, and explore two dozen tales of humor and horror by some of the brightest names in the business!
Here’s the list of titles and authors. I encourage you to pick up some of their other works as well. After you’ve finished The Big Bad II, of course!
Mercy’s Armistice – J. T. Glover
A Family Affair – Selah Janel
Old Nonna – Gail Z. Martin
Letters to Logroth – Jason Corner
Skippin’ Stones – S. H. Roddey
The Sea Witch – Kasidy Manisco
A Day in the Life – James R. Tuck
Overkill – Sara Taylor Woods
Voodooesque – Eden Royce
A Fitter Subject for Study – Sarah Joy Adams
Ghosts and Sands – Jay Requard
Teacher of the Year – Riley Miller
Feels Like Justice to Me – Edmund R. Schubert
Portrait of the Artist as a Psychopathic Man – Stuart Jaffe
The House on Cherry Hill – Emily Lavin Leverett
Sticks and Stones – Bobby Nash
Sweet Tooth – Nicole Givens Kurtz
Just Pretending – Linden Flynn
Phone Home – E. D. Guy
I Think of Snow – J. Matthew Saunders
Little Gods – Neal F. Litherland
Drawing Flame -4 Misty Massey
The Witch Hunter – M. B. Weston
The Cully – D. B. Jackson
Buy your copy for The Big Bad II for Kindle or in paperback or in hardback—two print versions!—at Amazon.
If you missed book one, you can get it here: The Big Bad
I’ve been focused on writing horror and dark fantasy for quite some time now. But not everyone knows the first story I had published was an erotica tale.
So when I saw a call for submissions from Changeling Press requesting “weird shifter” erotica stories, I couldn’t resist writing a short story to fit the challenge. (My romance and erotica stories tend to be a bit quirky and offbeat.)
And it was accepted for publication! Here’s the cover:
Hard-working assistant bank manager Ellie is having a hard time getting over getting dumped by her cheating ex. After a particularly tough week, she visits her best friend Tippett at her job, a local carnival.
There, she plays a boardwalk game run by a mysterious and intriguing carnival barker and wins an adorable stuffed teddy bear. Later that night, the bear shifts into a tall, flame-haired lover with the ability to make her forget everything except the passionate games he wants to play.
Pick up a copy of the first in the quirky, sexy Carnival Magic novella series. It’s available now on Changeling’s site and coming soon to Amazon and AllRomance.com.