Submit Your Calls Here

Have you found an excellent writer resource or submission opportunity? Is there an amazing writercon in your area? Tell me about it!

I search through a few literary submission sites to find good opportunities to share each week and would like to start including reader submitted suggestions.

If you know of anything you think the creative community should know, please submit it to me via the contact form here. This links to the contact form tab at the top of this page.

I can’t guarantee I will share everything, but I will share all I can.

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Review: Satan’s Sweethearts by Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo

The gentle and demure feminine archetype is nowhere to be found in Satan’s Sweethearts, a collection of poetry from Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo.

While murder and sadism are usually attributed to men, between these pages hide women with one thing in common aside from their gender—they were unquestionably evil.

Otherwise they are as variable as a box of poisoned chocolates. Some, like Belle Gunness in Kindred Spirits, were physically imposing. Others, like Elizabeth Bathory in Lady Bathory’s Procurer, were not only beautiful, but rich and educated with excellent social standing.

Like the villainous women portrayed, each poem in this collection is individual. The feminine voices come through clearly as they tell their tale. From the country vernacular in Winnie and the Big Black Trunk to the antiquated English of Half-Hangit Maggie, I can believe that the women themselves are speaking from beyond the brimstone.

Murderesses of the helpless, the hapless, lovers, babies—every atrocity imaginable has been committed by the ladies in these pages. Simon and Turzillo bring feminine horror into the light, dropping prejudice and preconception to share the unpleasant truth… evil comes in all shapes, shades, sizes… and sex.

An outstanding collection, I had to chew through it slowly. Each poem sent me on a hunt to learn more about the subjects. It was a journey of fear. Sometimes I could see whispers of myself in the feminine faces reflecting from the pages. Satan’s Sweethearts is a work that needs to be approached with caution, but not missed.

Find Satan’s Sweethearts on Amazon here.

You might also be interested in:

Secrets about “Satan’s Sweethearts”

Review: Small Spirits by Marge Simon

Interview With Marge Simon

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry, #Reviews | 1 Comment

From Soraya: Interview with Tim Powers

Photo courtesy of Roberta F.

Today I have another interview from my friend, Soraya Murillo Hernandez, from Spain. Soraya speaks Spanish, and I only speak English, so our friendship has leaned heavily on technology and Google Translate.

Soraya has so many amazing interviews that I’ve created a category for her work. This time she shares her interview with Tim Powers, an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Tim Powers Call and Declare.

His 1987 novel On Stranger Tides served as inspiration for the Monkey Island franchise of video games and was optioned for adaptation into the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

You can find all of Soraya’s interviews here.


Soraya—In your novels, the mythology is very present. Do you think the historical element is as important as the mythology when creating a story?

Tim Powers—I think it does, yes — but in order for the mythological elements to be effective, I need the story to be solidly grounded in recognizably real history, and I try to use the particular mythology of that historical time and place. The history provides the rules of the story, as it were, and the mythology provides the strategy!

Soraya—What can you say about the Fisherman King? I have the feeling that you enjoyed creating this character very much.

Tim Powers—The interesting things about the Fisher King are that he is at once such an unknown figure and at the same time such a numinously evocative character. Why is he so often portrayed as fishing in a stream? Why does he always have an unhealing wound that renders him sterile? Why must one ask a certain question of him but on no account ask a particular different question?

All of the (few!) things we know about him from the myths imply a grand story, but we only get some unconnected fragments of that story! It’s the powerful mystery that fascinates me about him.

Soraya—You’ve used virtually almost all the mythologies of the world. Which were you wanting to know more? Which one do you think most exciting?

Tim Powers—Oh — so far I guess I find the Norse mythology the most dramatic, with the doom of Ragnarok always hanging over the heads of the gods and heroes. And I think I’d most like to know more about pre-Islamic Arab mythology — the sort of thing one gets hints of in the Thousand And One Nights– and Japanese mythology.

Soraya—What are you using to research? Are you afraid that too much research will take over the history?

Tim Powers—I use history books at first, and then for a tighter focus I read letters and diaries of the time, and travel guides, and contemporary street maps. “National Geographic” magazine is very useful for providing information about flora and fauna and tides … and then I have to resist the temptation to include every one of the details I’ve discovered, whether the story has room for them or not.

Soraya—You formed part, in your university time, of the group known as “Circle of Dick.” What memories you have of that?

Tim Powers—Philip K. Dick was a sort of fugitive when he came to live in southern California in 1972 — his house in northern California had been devastatingly robbed and vandalized, and the hostile police had told him that he would be well advised to go far away, and he had eventually agreed to move in with two girls he had never met in a city he’d never been to — and I knew the two girls, and they asked me if I’d like to come along to pick up Philip K. Dick at the airport.

I did, and got to be friends with him until his death in 1982. He soon met James Blaylock and K. W. Jeter too, and we spent a lot of hours together, talking about everything from religion to publishers’ rejection slips. (in Dick’s book, “VALIS,” the character Kevin is based on Jeter, and the David character is based on me.) Phil Dick was the most erudite, and funny, and kind person I think I’ve ever met.

Soraya—Your novel “The Anubis Gates” marked the rise of your career. As you wrote it, did you think at some point that this writing would be an essential work of steam Punk and fantasy literature?

Tim Powers—I hoped it would get published, and then stay in print for a while. I would never have expected it to stay in print for more than thirty years, as it has done, nor that it would be translated into so many other languages!

And of course Jeter and Blaylock and I had no suspicion that the “19th century London” books we were writing in the early 1980s would be followed by so many others! I don’t know that “The Anubis Gates” really counts as Steampunk, but I’m glad lots of people think it does.

Soraya—Your novel “Dinner at Deviant’s Palace” is supposed to be Sci-Fi, however the work presents a mixture of genres that make it difficult to label it as that. Would you label it of Sci-Fi?

Tim Powers—Oh — I guess I’d call it Sci-Fi, yes, though it reads like a fantasy. I didn’t include anything that was presented as overtly supernatural, and the bad guy was an alien from outer space, so — yes, I guess it counts as Sci-Fi!

Soraya—Would you say that your formula for success in your novels is choosing a time or important historical event and brush it with your touch of fantasy, adventure and action?

Tim Powers—Yes — I try to find a historical event or person that looks likely to have the sort of details I can interpret as supernatural, and then I read lots of books about it, looking for anomalies and enigmas and apparently-irrational behavior, and I try to think up a supernatural back-story against which those things all make sense.

Soraya—In “On Stranger Tides,” a novel set in 18th-Century Caribbean, readers find a little, magic, zombies, voodoo… do you love the supernatural world?

Tim Powers—I do find it fascinating, sure! And I believe even the most skeptical and materialist people have a weakness for it — I think everybody would be at least a little bit nervous about ghosts if they were in an abandoned old house at midnight and they heard something dragging downstairs! And since most everybody is susceptible to uneasiness about the supernatural, I do love to stir it up in my books.

Soraya—It is said that “The Stress of Her Regard” is your more mature work, written when already you have tasted the success of “The Anubis Gates,” “On Stranger Tides…” What do you think about it?

Tim Powers—I suppose “The Stress of Her Regard” is probably more mature than my previous books, just because I was older when I wrote it. But all those books had the same aim: to give the reader a suspenseful supernatural adventure story.

Soraya—In your novel “Declare” you return to a cold war London thereby honoring the writer John Le Carre. Is there any reason for this tribute?

Tim Powers—I always loved the devices of LeCarre-type espionage fiction — false passports, dead drops, double and triple agents … Berlin, Moscow, London! And I always wanted to write a story in which all that grittily glamorous stuff overlaid a supernatural situation. They seem strangely compatible!

Soraya—Your characters, Brendan Doyle and John Chandagnar, are ordinary people living in the novel with characters so real as Byron or Shelley. Do you search for a specific reaction in the reader or is simply given by the plot?

Tim Powers—Well, I do want specific reactions from the reader, yes — I want to make them laugh at some points, be scared at other points, and be anxious here and there. I try to set up my plots so that they’ll provide opportunities for these effects!

Soraya—Your books are collectively known as “The Worlds of Powers.” What do you think about this definition?

Tim Powers—I think it’s very nice! Certainly all any writer has, to be different from all the other writers, is his or her unique perspective on the world. So I’m glad my various perspectives on the world seem distinct!

Soraya—A critic said of you that the problem of Powers would be the same Powers, because the novels “The Anubis Gates” and “On Stranger Tides” put the bar very high difficult to overcome. What do you think about it?

Tim Powers—It’s very flattering! Though I think a lot of writers vault above that bar with no sweat.

Soraya—Where did the idea for inventing the poet William Ashbless come from?

Tim Powers—James Blaylock and I were in college together, and the college newspaper printed a lot of very bad poetry — and we decided that we could write poetry that would sound profound but would be absolutely meaningless. So we co-wrote a stack of “poems,” me writing one line and passing the paper to Blaylock, who would write the next line and pass it back, and we decided that our imaginary poet should have one of those two-word names, like Wordsworth or Longfellow, and we each thought up one syllable and combined them — Ashbless!

We sent the poems to the school paper and they printed them! And ever since then, whenever Blaylock or I have needed a name for a crazy poet in something we’re writing, we’ve used “William Ashbless.”

Soraya—What writers do you admire? What are your favorite books?

Tim Powers—Oh gee — I love Raymond Chandler and Fritz Leiber and Philip K. Dick and Heinlein and Lovecraft and Kingsley Amis and John D. MacDonald and P. G. Wodehouse — and my favorite books would include LeCarre’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” and G. K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man,” and C. S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength” and Robert E. Howard’s “The Hour of the Dragon.”

Soraya—What do you think about the e-book? What is your opinion about Amazon?

Tim Powers—I love Amazon — I can get anything in the world from that site — books, movies, buffing wheels, reading glasses, carnauba wax, Cthulhu toys, power tools! And I’m all in favor of ebooks — when I’m traveling, I’ve got about forty books on my Kindle, and it’s great to be able to choose among them when I’m in a hotel room somewhere.

Soraya—And finally, what advice would you give to emerging writers?

Tim Powers—Read a lot, constantly, and not just stuff published since 1980; read in the category you want to write in, but read books in lots of other categories too; write a lot, and finish stories that you start; send the stories to editors, and while you’re waiting for the editors to reply, write more stories.


Soraya Murillo Hernandez

From  Soraya Murillo Hernandez: I am an early reader, I started reading very soon and I was interested in terror, I liked to look for monsters and ghosts in the stories. Then I knew that the greatest terror came from humans. I am a book reviewer in Spain, I do it free to help its authors to know their works.

Soy una lectora precoz, comencé muy pronto a leer y me interese por el terror, me gustaba buscar monstruos y fantasmas en las historias. Luego supe que el mayor terror venia de los humanos . Soy reseñadora de libros en España, lo hago gratis para ayudar a sus autores a conocer sus obras.

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Happy Earth Day or WTH is a “Honey Tree?”

How best to celebrate Earth Day 2018, which is also in the middle of National Poetry Day? With an earth poem, of course. Here’s a cute eco poem set to music, a.k.a. a song, with some nice watercolor illustrations.

I do have one question… what is a “honey tree?”

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry, Eco Confession | Leave a comment

Saturday is for Sharing

This is a day for sharing. Once again, I feel like I’m playing catch up…but my my mad muse finally struck and I finally finished my poem to submit to the the annual HWA Poetry Showcase

Since I can’t share it, but my brain is full up with it, this is the perfect opportunity for me to share other writer’s work I’ve been reading.

First up is the poetry blog from nachtzeiteule. I know nachtzeiteule from work, and enjoy her somber subject matter. I encourage her to keep posting poetry on her blog and build up her collection. My favorite poem from what she has posted is The Garden—a conversation with a bird in a cemetery. You can find her blog on Tumblr at nachtzeiteule.tumblr.com.

Also, The Ladies of Horror Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge is underway. Hosted by Nina D’Arcangela each month, a group of women get together to respond to photo prompts. It’s so interesting to see how we all respond differently, especially when we have the same prompt. I’d like to start sharing these on my Facebook page, but here is what has already posted for this month:

  • Almost Human by Lydia Prime is a tale from another point of view. Ever feel like you are being watched in a department store? It may not be the store detective spying on you…
  • True Love by Ela Lourenco is a vicious bit of prose with a romantic slant. We all like to keep tokens from lovers…
  • The New Boy by Rie Sheridan Rose took the same photo prompt I had in a completely different direction. She leaves it up to the reader to divine what is happening, and why. My imagination has taken many different paths since reading this…
  • Lost is Found by A.F. Stewart has a lovely, dark bit of prose just in time for Earth Day. It’s a good idea to take care of nature before nature decides to take care of us…

You can catch more of these snippets of horror for the rest of the month on Nina’s blog, Spreading the Writer’s Word.

I also have this flyer from Dorothy Wilson that was sent to me with a request to share:

Posted in #AMWRITING, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry | 3 Comments

Making Absinthe: Beverage of Poets

Few beverages represent artistic madness like absinthe. In 1859, Édouard Manet’s The Absinthe Drinker shocked that year’s Salon de Paris. Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Émile Zola, Alfred Jarry and Oscar Wilde were all imbibers of “the green fairy.”

Pablo Picasso created his painted bronze sculpture, The Glass of Absinthe, as an homage in 1914. During the Belle Époque, five o’clock was known as the Green Hour in Paris because so many writers and artists filled cafes at that time, sipping their absinthe.

While absinthe has been blamed for for causing psychosis and violence, like any alcohol, the danger comes from over consumption.  In 1915, absinthe was banned in France, Switzerland, the US and most of Europe.

In 2007, absinthe became legal again in the United States, first offered by St. George Spirits. Lance Winters, master distiller and proprietor at St George Spirits, says absinthe is a “tongue-numbing drink” that “sharpens the senses.”

With National Poetry Month as our excuse—like we need an excuse— we are making our own absinthe with a kit from Le Loup Garou Alchemy. Without having an actual distillery at our fingertips, we are infusing vodka with an herbal teabag that contains the wormwood and anise that gives the drink its hallucinogenic properties.

Le Loup Garou Alchemy assures us that while we will experience heightened creativity, we probably won’t see any green fairy.

Still, it’s worth a shot—or two.

You can explore infusing your own absinthe with herbal sachets from Le Loup Garou Alchemy here.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry | Tagged | 2 Comments

Escape Claws Has New Spanish Translation

Surprise! There is a new edition of Escape Claws in Spanish on Amazon today. My good friend Soraya Murillo Hernandez, of the From Soraya interviews, took it upon herself to go through the Spanish translation and correct grammatical errors.

Thanks to her hard work, the new, editorially polished version is uploaded and ready for Spanish readers. I could not have done this without her help, and Pamela Sanabria, the original translator. Writing a book is the easy part compared to working with translation!

You can find the polished Spanish translation of Escape Claws on Amazon here.

I also added something new—a thank you message to Soraya at the beginning of the book. I translated this myself, with the help of Google, so any errors there are my own:

Un agradecimiento especial a mi amiga,
Soraya Murillo Hernadez, por ayudar a que mis
palabras viajen a través del mar.

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Madness Muse Seeks Submissions

Madness Muse Press LLC seeks stories, poems and essays on addiction and recovery. They want unpublished work, although they will accept work from blogs and social media. They have pretty specific submission guidelines, so be sure to check out full details here and take care to follow them.

They also have opportunities for guest bloggers and audio files of your Spoken Word for their Your Voice campaign. Submitted work should have a social activism/social discussion angle.

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Getting Speculative Now

Time to start thinking about the 2018 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest—opening June 1—now is the time to start creating your most brilliant work. From Dwarfs to massive Epics, there is a place for your poem to compete.

The contest is intended to raise funds for SFPA, as well as to draw more attention to speculative poets and reward writers of good speculative poems. As a fundraiser, there is an entry fee of $2 per poem, a deal in my book. The 2018 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest will open for entries on June 1. I’ll be sharing news of that here, of course.

Open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members, prizes will be awarded for best poem in three categories: Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words]); Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words]); Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up]). Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry allowed in any form. Entries will be read blind. Deadline will be August 31.

What can you win? In each category (Dwarf, Short, Long): $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize, $25 Third Prize. Publication on Poetry Planet (StarShipSofa.com) podcast magazine and on the SFPA website for first through third places. Find complete details here.

Questions about the contest can be sent to 18contest@sfpoetry.com.

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HWA Supports Dark Poetry

Lately I have been working on my submission for the annual HWA Poetry Showcase. This will be the fifth installment of this collection, and I’m proud to have been included every year so far, except the first. I’m working hard to create something worthy of this year’s publication.

The Poetry Showcase is a Who’s Who of all the best in dark and speculative poetry, but it is only open to Horror Writer Association members. Which raises a good point—if you are a writer in this genre, why aren’t you a member yet? Read all about the benefits of joining HWA here.

While the HWA has been around for awhile, their support for poetry had really grown in the last few years. Since I’ve been a member, I’ve seen it evolve into an entity that holds up independently.

One of the most recent changes is Stephanie M. Wytovich taking over as the new HWA Poetry Showcase editor. The original editor was Peter Salomon, and the annual anthology was his idea as a way for the HWA to celebrate National Poetry Month.

David E. Cowen took over after that, so the bar has been set high for this publication. I can’t imagine a better choice than Wytovich to carry the torch on into the darkness to see another Showcase edition birthed.

You can read all about Stephanie M. Wytovich in an interview published on the HWA’s Poetry page in February 2018. And, since I mentioned it, scroll down to July 30, 2017 to read an interview on me (or just click here).

I’m excited to see how the newest Showcase turns out. Here’s links to some of the past editions.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry, #Submit | 2 Comments