Thursday, August 14, 2014
For the interview I was asked to do a quick introduction video. I hate those. I'm always nervous and end up coming off a bit goofy or robotic. (And the bit of video clip I did for this had to be re-taken no less than seven times.)
Because I don't have an iPhone, I kept checking a friend's phone for the comments, which I thought were great by the way, and I really appreciated that horror fans took an interest.
I enjoyed the interview questions, they weren't the usual ones I get for most writer interviews. My favorite one was "What's up next on your Netflix queue."
One of the comments that garnered some attention was a question about gore. In it I wrote that there's only one thing I've ever read that's made me slightly nauseated and that I would tell what it was in my next blog post. Drum roll music, please...
The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. If you've never read it, I enjoyed it, and be warned, it's pretty graphic. The scene that did me in is when the killer "gets into it" with the lead male detective in the story. The reason I think in part, is that the only surgeries that got a little under my skin to see were cranio and/or oral maxillofacial ones. That's all I'll say. If you click on the book cover you can purchase a copy to read the scene for yourself and decide. In my opinion, Mr. White took a common vulgar phrase and made it "real" in a way that I never imagined. When I asked him about it, he told me that he had consulted a physician in "that particular field" on whether or not his idea was possible. So there you have it! - If you want it to read, sound, look real and be believable - ask a professional.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Here are two upcoming anthologies I have short stories in with some beautiful covers that didn't get posted in the interview yesterday. Both are due out this fall. Click the covers to find out more. And stay tuned!
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Good friends (Lisa Morton, Ricky Grove, Jeff Strand, Lynne Hansen, Chris Marrs, Gord Rollo, John Palisano, and new friends Greg Chapman, John Urbancik and Mike Wells) that were ready to go have a drink and the famous wings at Pok Pok were exactly what I needed when I first came through the hotel doors and checked in. I never even made it up to my room. Gave my bags to the bellhop, then left. Taking the late flight, suffering through the horrible "space invader" sitting next to me (partly on me during the plane ride), and rearranging the dinner reservations was all worth it just for those wings and the wonderful company.
I didn't sleep all that great and got to bed late because I had to unpack. Early the next morning, sounds of construction woke me up, along with the train, and when I pulled back the curtains about 30 construction workers were on the rooftop across the way. I quickly closed the curtains and finished getting dressed. Downstairs, we gathered for the train and headed to a place called Mother's Bistro. Fortunately for us, Ricky Grove researches his vacation destinations and had a plan of attack. While we (Lisa Morton, Ricky Grove, Nancy Holder, Chris Marrs, Erinn Kemper, Gord Rollo) waited for a table I kept seeing waitstaff go by carrying trays with plates of biscuits and gravy. I thought that must be good so many people have ordered it, and that's what I got. It was fantastic. After that we were off to Powell's Bookstore, which was enormous. Before that, the biggest bookstore I'd ever been in was The Tattered Cover in Denver. At Powell's I bought a horror/mystery book suggested by my Canadian pals, Headhunter by Michael Slade and On the Road by Kerouac for my son who asked me for it. Oh, and an umbrella, which I never used after purchase, because the weather cleared up. Later that evening, I remember going to the Opening Ceremonies and not much else. I think I'd had my first martini to kick off the event.
Friday I had meetings scheduled (more like relaxed pitch/chat sessions at the bar). I thought they went well. I spoke to and met lots of great people and want to thank Chris Morey, Aaron Sterns, Cherry Weiner, and Susan Chang of TOR/YA for their time and insight. After the Mass Signing where I sold out of my Double Down books of East End Girls it was party time! Josh Malerman, a great guy, whose debut novel Bird Box was just released had a nice little party going on, then it was the Deadite party for a bit, then off to the Absinthe party at the Crowne Plaza with Daniel Knaupf, Maddie Von Stark, and freak show performers. After a few sips of the Absinthe everyone became a freak show performer, and I'm quite certain I saw RJ Cavender lie on a bed of nails. I might have taken a photo if I hadn't been so shocked and melting at the same time. Then before calling it a night, we were told by some of the fellas, Brian Keene and Weston Ochse maybe, that we should go and get our pictures taken, and that they were FREE! So we did, and right as the guy was putting away his equipment, but he told us we could get them online. Definitely one of my favorite pictures of the event.
Another favorite is a picture that Gord Rollo and I had taken by the original painting Alan M. Clark did of our Double Down Book cover. Then we read a sign that said there were to be no photos taken. If caught, I would've just told them that Gord was Canadian. That seems to be a reasonable explanation for whenever something strange or illegal happens. Ha! And that's Derek Clendening's thumb in the picture, not one of the Security STAFF checking convention badges at the door taking the camera away.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
The horse year has never been good for me, so I don't expect much of things. I'm going to try very hard not to get excited over ventures I've got in the works, that's how strongly I feel about the bleepin' horse year. I did, however, purchase as many blue cicada type objects that I could find, in an attempt to have some balance. (Not real blue cicadas, mind you, although I did see some real cicada wing pendants. Maybe if I get desperate...) Yes, I'm a little bit culturally superstitious.
It's also been Women in Horror Month (WiHM 2013) and I've written some posts about women horror authors, did an interview or two, had some kind reviewers post my work on their blogs, and did a fun podcast with the great crew over at The Bourbon Lounge with Kate Jonez and S.P. Miskowski. I even made it onto S.L. Schmitz's list of "92 Female Horror Authors You Must Read Right Now" on Examiner.com. I've enjoyed reading all the great articles and posts on their website and Facebook page, even retweeting a few. If you're up for making a donation for a good cause to keep the organization going, (they even have a blood drive,) click here.
I read some great books last year, finishing up with K. Trap Jones's Fiction Collection The Crossroads and Michael Rowe's latest novel Wild Fell. Both great reads, I highly recommend. I'm kicking this year off with some awesome reads as well. Besides waiting for a bunch of pre-ordered books out soon, I'm enjoying Little Visible Delight edited by Kate Jonez and S.P. Miskowski, and Nameless, Mercedes M. Murdock Yardley's debut novel. Click on the amazing book covers to purchase.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I spend a good 2-3 hours a week altogether on the recommendations, depending on the amount. Closer to awards season, it gets busier and takes up more time. It also takes time getting the verifications entered, and adding links to works. This is all on a voluntary basis.
I can't delete any recommendations that are made, so when double recommendations do come in, I have to do a search and find, then count every single rec for that work to make sure the numbers are correct each time that work gets recommended. This also goes for people who recommend their own works, or works they've been involved with, which you're not allowed to do and it clearly states that in the rules that I did not write. If you have a link to add or change (just like it says in the rules) you write to the compiler at firstname.lastname@example.org to have them add it. It's obvious why everybody doesn't have access to the database to change their own information, but people don't understand this, because they don't read the rules, so when they can't figure out why they can't change or add to their listing, they get frustrated and blame it on me. I just got an email asking me if I could add a link because it wasn't working for them. Guess what? If you read the rules you'll learn that it never will. (I apologize, but the more I'm thinking about this, and on Thanksgiving, the angrier I'm getting.)
Every official email that you receive from me as the Compiler, I've been told to write you, unless it is a simple reply letting you know that the spelling of your work or link has been corrected in the database. I do not, (am not permitted) to contact any of you on my own accord or question your works without the order coming from someone higher up. There isn't a single thing I can do in the database that isn't looked over by someone else.
I have two works up this year (that have been recommended,) and I've been accused of personally attacking other author's works in my same categories, because of a letter of inquiry I was told to write by the higher ups. And I just want to say I did not and would never rally against another author's work. It's such a pity I have to defend myself against something I have no control over, and that I volunteer for. There's nothing like being called really nasty names for what has to be a complete misunderstanding made by others.
Same thing goes for the HWA Newsletter. There's a rule that self-published works are not permitted in the Free Promotional Listings. I did not personally make this rule. If I had as much power as some people thought I had, I'd rule the world. But yes, believe it or not, people get upset with me, because I have to turn away their works. And now there's a big campaign going on to defame my character.
And for what?
I still haven't quite figured that out exactly, except that I know people need someone to blame. You want to blame me and call me names, because it makes you feel more like a man, woman, human being, go ahead. I've been blamed for worse and called worse names. But in the end, you're only shooting the messenger.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The Vegas Valley Book Festival. It took place at the Historic 5th Street School in downtown Las Vegas, and you couldn't have asked for a more wonderful location or better weather. They did it up right, with interesting panels, music, and food choices.
Horror Writers Association sponsored a table and Mercedes Murdock Yardley and I worked it from 10am to 3:30pm. Many people came up interested in the association, which they'd never heard of, and walked away with a pamphlet explaining the organization. They also signed up with their name and email address to receive more information
It all started several months ago when I was asked by one of the committee members if I'd be interested in writing something for the annual anthology The Vegas Valley Book Festival puts out. The theme was "Progress" and it had to incorporate the element of Las Vegas. I did warn them that since I'm a horror writer first and foremost, my idea of "progress" might be different than others' perspectives. Of course, I said yes, and wrote a short story, "Reclamation" about water reclaiming the Earth, the last stand taking place atop one of America's biggest symbols for progress--The Hoover Dam.
Then I was asked if I'd like to sit in on a committee meeting, because the committee is interested in introducing more "genre" to future festivals. After attending the meeting, I thought, Yeah, they do need some genre, so then I decided to go ahead and be the horror liaison, to set up a horror panel, and invite horror authors to Vegas for the 2014 Vegas Valley Book Festival. Fortunately, so many horror authors cross genres, which makes them available to do other panels as well. I'm always happy to promote reading and the horror genre in the community.
Mid-October, there was a meet and mingle cocktail hour with local and national authors at City Hall, I was also invited to participate in. It was fun and I met a lot of people that are in well-established book clubs in Vegas. I learned that some actually have waiting lists for people interested in joining. It makes perfect
sense to me now, but I truly didn't realize the whole hierarchy and social importance of Vegas book clubs before.
The last week of October, there was a panel for the anthology authors and editor at the beautiful Clark County Library. We were told we'd be reading an excerpt from our work in the book, and I'm not a big "read in public" kind of person, but I thought I'd be able to swing it. Well, when I arrived and saw the large auditorium set up for it, I panicked. Ha! All the other authors were there waiting on me, and I was walking around taking pictures of the place, thinking I should've taken something to relax me, but the last time I did that and read, I slurred my words and vowed never to do it again. It all worked out, and I was told my reading went well. Afterward, the authors stayed for a while and signed books for the attendees.
The overall experience was fantastic and hopeful. One point I took away from it all is that Las Vegas needs more readers. I understand that in a city where world-class entertainment is on every corner it can be difficult to sit down with a book, but there's an enrichment that comes from reading and nothing else. It stirs the imagination and takes you places that aren't filled with crowds of people, loud slot machines, and smoke-filled casinos. I have friends who tell me they wish their kids would read more, but when the parents don't read, it's more likely the kids won't, either, and that's sad for everyone.
On the last bit about my cross-promotion with Carl Alves and the Goodread Giveaways. In the end, Carl's promotion started only 3 days after mine. I had something like 967 people request the book, Carl had around 776. I put one hundred dollars toward advertising on Goodreads. Was it worth it? No. But I did enjoy doing the giveaway and will definitely do it again in the future, without any money toward advertising. This was a fun cross-promotion Carl invited me to do with him and I'm glad we did it. Thank you, Carl. Hopefully, the winners of the giveaways will give us wonderful reviews and tell all their friends to go out and immediately buy our books.
---Now, back to reality.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
The thing that caught my eye right away about his post was the cover art, and then it was the title. I took it as a challenge, and for first time ever I felt like, "I HAVE to be in this anthology."
I've never considered myself the "pushy" type and I certainly didn't want to come off as desperate, but I messaged Taylor and asked him about the anthology. He told me to write the editor, Joe Mynhardt who runs Crystal Lake Publishing, and had just put out the anthology, For the Night is Dark, which also has a great cover. Even though I didn't know Joe, I sent a brief bio and introduced myself. But besides my short story "The Eyes Have It" in Horror For Good: A Charitable Anthology, nothing else I'd written had been published yet. I wrote Joe anyway and he told me that the anthology was getting pretty full but he'd look over what I sent him.
I thanked my lucky stars when he said he'd like for me to submit a story to him. The story I wrote that's in the anthology, "Death Squared" has nothing to do with why I had to be in the anthology. That subject is still a little a bit too close to tackle, but hopefully, this very personal blog will explain why.
When my younger sister and I were growing up, we fought nonstop. I was the "nerdy" one who got good grades and awards, was a cheerleader, and for the most part, obeyed my parents. She, on the other hand, skipped school, hung out with the wrong crowd, dropped out of high school, ran away when she was sent to live elsewhere, you name it. She came back to Plattsburgh, when I was in college for nursing. My parents had transferred to Colorado, so each other was all we had, and we tried to care for one another when we could.
Eventually, my sister moved to my parents home in Folsom, California. I'd graduated with my nursing degree and moved to Denver, Colorado where I worked in the Operating Room. It had been about eight years since I'd seen my sister. I went out to Folsom to visit my family in July of 1992. My sister and I hung out pretty much the whole time. My mom even rented cabins in Lake Tahoe where the whole family had fun times. I remember watching ARMY OF DARKNESS with her, and I'm not sure we'd ever laughed so hard. But my vacation ended, and I went back to Denver.
My sister and I kept in touch, though. More so than we'd ever had. She had completed her GED, had registered for college courses, and had just gotten a new job. Things were looking up for her, so I'd send her money when I had it so she could buy books for school. She'd write me letters and tell me about what she was up to. I told her I was going to paint her a watercolor. I taped the paper to my wall and just free flowed what came to mind. The center of the scene was a massive old dead tree. Then I painted a kite stuck in its branches in crimson. In the background, I painted a faint Grim Reaper, complete with scythe. I never told her what I was painting. It was to be a surprise.
About three months later, she was missing. I asked my mom if she wanted me to go out to help look, but she said no. Ten days after that, a surveyor saw bronze rims on a car earlier in the day and went back later to take them off. When he got in the water he realized someone had died in the car. It was my sister. She was nineteen years old, and only two blocks from home. Her car went off the road and hit a tree, then flipped over in the water. The autopsy report stated that she'd had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that probably had been painful enough for her to veer off, possibly pass out. There was water in her lungs.
My mom called me when they'd found her. I flew out to California.
The whole time was a blur. My mom remembered things that my sister had told her before the accident. She told me that a few strange things happened, and that somehow, my sister thought that she might die.
My little sister's favorite holiday was Halloween. She'd always go out. That year she didn't, and when my mom asked her why, she said it was because she'd been having nightmares about the Grim Reaper. Also, there'd been a black cat that darted out in front of her car.
I've never told anyone about the painting. Especially not my mother. She's really superstitious. When I got back to Denver, I tore it from the wall and threw it in the fireplace. I put all the paint tubes in a box, along with all my brushes, and I haven't painted a thing since. Or ever will.
Do I think that I had anything to do with anything? No. I just miss my sister.
And maybe that free flow thinking had me seeing things I never want to see again. Do I free flow think when I write? Absolutely not.
My little sister feared the reaper. I do not. And so, having a story, a piece of me, in the anthology that I had to be a part of. It was a challenge I took on and don't regret. I look forward to reading the rest of the stories in the book.
Many thanks to Joe, who did more than he ever thought by trusting that I'd do all right by his book.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Friday, October 11th was The Atomic Book Signing at the historic Atomic Liquors on Fremont Street, downtown. It's no longer a liquor store these days and is more of a bar. It was an interesting choice of venue with the loud music, bar regulars, and dimly lit areas. I'll admit that if I didn't drive there myself and knew I'd have to drive back, I'd have had a couple of martinis. Most of the attendees were coming in from the Southern Nevada Writers Convention, so the majority of them were writers. And if there's one thing I've learned from writers conventions is that writers don't tend to buy a lot of books. The best events that seem to sell books are at fan conventions and reader events like book festivals. Aside from my book launch parties, I sold the most books at the L.A. Times Book Festival, and I'm hoping to exceed those sales at the Vegas Valley Book Festival on November 2nd.
On Thursday, October 24th at 7pm at the Clark County Library on Flamingo, I'll be discussing my short story "Reclamation" that's in the Las Vegas Writes Anthology: Progress, Getting Better All the Time. You can read a bit of my story if you click the link and then click on Reclamation. It's going to be interesting explaining how my apocalyptic story of how water reclaiming the Earth relates to progress, but hey, I'm a horror writer.
The highlight of The Atomic Book Signing was getting to see Mercedes Murdock Yardley. We had to get a picture of her with The Atomic sign because her latest novella is a "tale of atomic love." Click HERE to buy a copy. You won't be disappointed.
As part of this cross promotion experiment, we're both having giveaways on Goodreads until the end of October. If you'd like to sign up to get a free copy of Carl's Blood Street, or The Evolutionist by me, clicking the book titles will take you there.