Recently I was asked to interview with the wonderful D&T Publishing for Women in Horror (WIH) month – February 2021. At first, I was, admittedly, taken aback because I live with a serious case of imposter syndrome — I mean ‘Women in Horror’, why would I be asked?! Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? Then it dawned on me, Hey, yeah, I am one of those – a woman who writes horror! Needless to say, I agreed happily, in support of a wonderful publishing house run by wife and husband duo, Dawn and Timothy, who do so very much for the indie horror community. They even warmly accepted one of my little dark tales, ‘Neighbours’, into their dark fiction anthology ‘After the Kool-Aid is Gone’ last year.
With a massive line-up of planned publications this coming year, they are a publisher to put on your ‘to watch’ list for sure! Check them out by visiting their website and socials:
It’s only heading towards the end of January, and I’ve too many ideas for this year! That being said, channelling one at a time and arranging my notes into some semblance of order is the (lifelong) personal challenge. Unless it’s for someone else my sense of organisation, with my own creative projects, can be chaotic.
On the well-organised side (the joy of the Gemini), I have opened the doors and made Word Refinery public! If you haven’t already, feel free to check out Word Refinery pages. I am opening up my editorial and proofreading diary to new clients. More info here:
Writing has been slow burn this month, with the exception of one completed short story – which, hands up, I love. It’s wicked — I can’t wait for folk to read it. It’s parked for an upcoming submission, but if it doesn’t make the cut (I really hope it does!), it will be published this year, I may even squirrel it away for my solo collection.
On that front, it’s been a year since I’ve personally published. In remedy of this I am collating some short stories with a couple of unpublished pieces to put out a collection this year – potentially in the summer, depending on editorial commitments, which take priority.
Just dropping by with a quick 2020 writing (or more subbing) wrap up since it seems to be the thing to do!
On my first year actively subbing and writing for specific calls, this has resulted in 58 pieces accepted for publication. 42 of these have been published this year – 8 Short Stories, 13 Flash Fiction, 20 Drabbles and 1 Poem. The remaining 16 accepts will be out in 2021.
I have been lucky to have my work appear alongside some cool folk from around this wee planet. Thankful and grateful for the opportunities and encouragement from my friends, family and writing community. Writing wise it’s been a pretty fun year — I’ve learned so much and developed some new skills along the way.
Newly released for the death of 2020 – The Sirens Call eZine is out now! Celebrating a world of horror and dark fiction from around the globe, Sirens Call Publications have put out issue 52 containing 130 pieces of Horror and Dark Fiction. All honouring the theme of death. I am chuffed to have one of my own stories Snake appear in this issue. Snake first appeared in Concoction: A mini Anthology of shorts which is still available in print and ebook from Amazon worldwide. To get your hands on The Sirens Call eZine – where you can read online or download your copy FREE – head to their site:
This year, my first attempt at NaNoWriMo didn’t hit the goal. Winter always seems to be a time of heightened drama, in opposition to the slower, warmer, more reflective side I long for at years end. Quieten the noise, slow down the pace. It doesn’t seem to matter the ingredients placed in the cauldron; there’s no slow and steady blending and simmer, it’s a sporadically exploding bomb — spewing shrapnel into the eyeballs and the roof, and right now it’s barely holding up. With that my focus was and still is in tatters, December may be more about finding all the pieces again and trying to fuse some sanity and peace. Anyway, my Backyard Asylum novel project only reached 14k – quite a distance from the 50k goal! I beat myself up throughout November with exhaustion and lack of creative time to drive into it. That’s been quite prevalent this entire year more than just the month, but it did feel more saturated. Such is life; she likes her curveballs and depression likes to wrap her fingers around my throat for periods of total torment. She’s a cruel demon indeed. So, it’s been a case of prioritising basic practical needs over desire. Although creativity is certainly a need, when it’s embedded deep, which fuels desire — without the sparks of passion there is little will to trudge through the more mundane, life has to be more than that — the fight continues. I’m rambling now, this slump shall pass! So, while Backyard Asylum is written in my head, I have to sacrifice some sleep, muster some energy from the ether and hit the keys — though maybe without the daily word-count pressure, which did me no good this first time around. Regardless, I am happy with what’s down for this WIP novel — its bones are horrific in a promising way. There’s a lot to work through and develop, but I’m confident it will in time progress so I can nail this first draft and go deep into sculpting and editing through the rough edges. The characters have meat, and there’s some strong scenes pinned already. I spiralled off into research more than physical writing a little more than planned, such is the ‘panster’ way. As much as I tried to avoid the temptation, I have my eye on a few open-calls for short stories. Nothing new and substantial has been written on the front yet, but there are some ideas stewing, so I’ve some snippets of poetry to go back to and work on to develop into a full-blown piece.
In summary, my first NaNoWriMo died in week two. But, the story itself will come into being, I am pleased with what’s been written so far, it’ll just take a little longer to get there. It’ll be a priority for 2021.
Claustrophobic, locked in.
Mirrored headstones line the grey road.
Buried alive, suburban death-row.
‘Did you hear about so and so?’
Blurred race of parallel lines standing still.
Masking — one fanes will.
Mimic gimmicks with lacklustre flare.
Another unforgiving snare.
Teeth scraping bone.
Smile while blood flows soaking frozen toes.
A trend-setting bush, a coat of paint.
‘Oh, look together we’re dammed saints.’
The season of outdoing the clone next door.
Marching down the line of uninspired duplication — snore.
Locked down on cookie-cutter lane.
Painting beige with grey, painfully mundane.
Disgusted with one’s own disdain.
It really is insane.
Bumbling sedate-like, a year on, rotters are no different to the local junkies. Except, the rotter isn’t coming at you with its drooping face, skin pulling down at the darkened cavernous eye-sockets, hanging loose off the jawbone, slurring; “Any spare change pal?”
They’re still using that old line, except by change they mean anything that can be offered to dealers in exchange.
I prefer the real dead-walking — even they won’t touch a junkie for their fix. Shame, maybe that’d help us all; thin the heard. Though, I’m not prepared for the sight of the dead on something like speed-meat.
This drabble was first published by Reanimated Writers Press in their anthology 100 Word Bigger Zombie Bites.
November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. I’ve decided to participate this year for the first time. I reckon that this would be a rewarding challenge to jump into. Being somewhat of a panster when it comes to writing, I am going to try blend that with a little structure and daily (nightly) target over the 30 nights. The push is very much needed! I am only at the very early (late by the schedule) planning stages. It’s decision time as to whether to use this exercise to really bite into one of my two parked WIPs, or whether to start something entirely from scratch. Either way, the aim is to plan to reach a goal of 50k words as a completed first draft in those 30 nights. No editing – this in itself will be a personal challenge, as I am a constant (probably obsessive) editor when writing.
So, with that 50k target, that gives a daily goal of 1,667 words. This is undoubtedly a mammoth task considering other life commitments to work around and for a loose gardener like myself. But, it’ll be an epic achievement to end this crazy year on for those who participate. Decisions will be made, planning is underway, and come November 1st I’m on it!
First up is Dark Halloween, the 5th book in Macabre Ladies Holiday Horror Collection. With the eBook available for preorder now, it goes live October 6th. My 3 flash stories; ‘Interspecies Relations,’ ‘Painted Black’ and ‘Bloody Eels’ will feature among a host of Autumn/Halloween themed horror.
‘Interspecies Relations’ was inspired by some reading and artwork I was taking in around mythological creatures – particularly that of Cecaelia from Asian and North American mythology. Writing this also inspired my ‘Tentacles’ painting.
‘Painted Black’ is a little flash inspired by my youngest daughter, who rather chillingly asked me why the shadows were looking at her at bedtime one evening.
‘Bloody Eels’ is a Drabble that came from two interlinked short stories of mine ‘The Night is Mine’ and ‘Phantasmagoria.’ It is a view from a trapped spirit of the character Amy when she is in a disembodied, limbo-like state after death.
Next up is Books of Horror Community Anthology Volume 2 from the wonderful Books of Horror Publishing. Another book that can be preordered now, for October 16th release. My new short story ‘Sacrifice’ will feature alongside a mix across the spectrum of Horror.
‘Sacrifice’ was originally an idea I intended to write as a flash piece that centred around Summer Solstice. It sprouted and became a little more with some nostalgic elements entwined with themes of manipulation and betrayal.
I gained a spot with D&T Publishing, with their anthology, After the Kool-Aid is Gone. This one promises to be a ‘heavy-hitting collection’ of political horror / dark fiction. My short story, ‘Neighbours’ will feature. preorder now for October 26th release.
‘Neighbours’ is another new story, one born during the 2020 global pandemic. Led by the MC’s internal narrative over his frustrations with the hypocrisies and selfishness of mankind, while his family-life is shattered, irreparably during ‘lockdown.’ This story is one man’s journey over the edge in suburbia.
Finally, as far as books I have stories in this October is Iron Faerie Publishing’s anthology, Hexed. Here my flash story ‘Hard Shades’ will appear. Preorder now for October 31st release.
‘Hard Shades’ came from a mind spiral evolving from ‘Painted Black’ marrying with thoughts of the theatre of vampires – though this piece is not vampiric. The dance and chase between light and dark is a classic that I enjoy playing with.