The End, a Beginning and Winners!+

Tonight marks the last day of A.F. Stewart’s annual October Frights Blog Hop. This year seventeen blogs participated over the course of five days. At the end of this post, you will find a list of the Hoppers. It’s always fun… and I already look forward to next year.

As the October Frights Blog Hop ends for the year, Suite and Sour is uploaded to Amazon and awaiting approval. The second book after my Bram Stoker Awards Finalist® Bitter Suites, I’m excited to release the next part of the story. As soon as it’s live on Amazon, I’ll be posting here and on my social media.

And speaking of winners… I ‘won’ a new grand-daughter yesterday! And more winners… John Reinhart won my book swag contest with Loren Rhoads as a second winner! Congratulations everybody!

Finally, it’s just been confirmed that I’ll be participating in the Local Author Fair hosted by Mid-continent Public Library with 11 other authors. You can find that link here.

We will be participating in three panels as well to answer questions from moderators as well as the audience. You can see those (and sign up) here. I’ll be running a special Ghost Story Game event hosted by Omnium Gatherum to be played for Halloween. More on that soon. Finally, I’ll be on the HWA Skeleton Hour with other Black Crane authoresses in early November.

I’ll announce all dates as they come closer. For now, I need a rest. That’s been three books and a magazine published, edited another book and a new grandbaby in about three weeks or less.

I think I’ll go to bed early. And while I snooze, here are the other blogs to visit from the hop…

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC

Hawk’s Happenings

Heidi Angell

Curiosities

James McDonald

Always Another Chapter

Spreading the Writer’s Word

Yours in Storytelling

Carmilla Voiez

Hello Romance

GirlZombieAuthors

Frighten Me

M’habla’s!

Brain Matter

NLCARTERWRITES.COM

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Happy Neewollah!

My mind is blown!

Today I was going to post the poem I wrote for another project called Happy Neewollah and I decided to look up the pretend word neewollah, or Halloween backwards.

I almost lost it when I found out that there’s been an annual Neewollah Festival since 1919… and it happens in Independence, Kansas!

That is Kansas, not Missouri but I checked and this other Independence is only 3 hours away. I’m going to try and go this year, but if I can’t swing it this fast it’s on my calendar to go next year. Neewollah 2020 runs from October 23—31. You can read all about it here.

And now, for that silly poem.

Happy Neewollah!

Happy Neewollah!
May your pumpkins be merry
and your glowsticks bright.

Frolick in the fields
with your bobbing apple eggs
hunting leprechauns.

Wear your mistletoe.
No protection? No kissing
under the fireworks.

Taxes in July
while the shamrocks wilt away 
and the bunnies hide.

The turkeys this year
aren’t all birds on our tables—
some of them are us.

That’s 2020…
it’s been a Mad Hatter Year—
unprecedented.

This year is backwards.
It’s the first Halloween where
un-masked is scary.

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Read Horror for Resilience

In March 2020 things got real. Most people were either in denial or shock… but there was a certain subset of people you could find wandering through the grocery stores calmly, carts full of canned chicken and bags of white beans.

These were horror and speculative fiction fans. They strolled through the grocery stores just to witness the current events. Fights over masks, toilet paper and hand sanitizer—everything was pretty much like we’d read about.

This isn’t anecdotal. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health recently backed up what fans of the dark already know: frightening fiction prepares you for the terrifying what-ifs… because sometimes they become what is.

“One explanation for why people engage in frightening fictional experiences is that these experiences can act as simulations of actual experiences from which individuals can gather information and model possible worlds,” they write in their opening statement for (take a deep breath) Pandemic practice: Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic written by Coltan Scrivner ,⁎John A. Johnson, Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen and Mathias Clasen.

It’s nice that science supports what we already knew. Later they elaborate between genres. “fans of horror films exhibited greater resilience during the pandemic and that fans of “prepper” genres (alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films) exhibited both greater resilience and preparedness,” the study goes on to say.

Fans of Dune, 1984, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Animal Farm… we aren’t worried. We have role played these possibilities all our lives. In my last (Autumn 2020 #138) Speculating column in Space and Time I said “We have been here before, a hundred times in a thousand pages.” You know what I’m talking about. They don’t know, but you know…!

Image by blackrabbitkdj from Pixabay 

I don’t think any horror fan is happy to see people suffer, but as a group I think we can all share a satisfying told-you-so moment. Don’t grudge us our moment.

We’ve spent our lives on the shadowy edge of polite society, or mastered the masquerade of normalcy to fit in. We’ve been counseled, advised and had well-meaning loved ones try to intervene to help us be more “wholesome.” Finally, this is our time to shine… and we may actually be of use to you.

As many watch the news in disbelief, we are pulling out our notes on the Thought Police. We see the consequences of totalitarianism, wide spread surveillance, and repressive regimentation of behaviors within society. We know what to expect. If you are friends with one of us, we told you in early March to be prepared for the apocalypse. We told you to buy toilet paper.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

Now the ball is in your court. You choose how you want to proceed. Nothing is getting better fast and you may as well settle into the new norm. If it’s not nature after us with hurricanes, wildfires and brain eating amoebas… it’s us after ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, horror fans are not actually horrible. We just like to know who is.

Because we’re nice, we invite you into the fold. Read something spooky. Let yourself be terrified. Learn to be fearless. Come to the Dark Side. We really do have cookies. We stocked up in February.

Ready for more?

Hop on the Horror Train and visit the rest of the sites participating in A.F. Stewart’s October Frights Blog Hop.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC

Hawk’s Happenings

Heidi Angell

Curiosities

James McDonald

Always Another Chapter

Spreading the Writer’s Word

Yours in Storytelling

Carmilla Voiez

Hello Romance

GirlZombieAuthors

Frighten Me

M’habla’s!

Brain Matter

NLCARTERWRITES.COM

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Bones to Pick & Giveaway

Enter to win below!

Yesterday’s poetry in the graveyard with Amy from Hipness and Outrage went well and we had a blast telling stories, reading poetry and looking out for ghosts. I found out Amy loves hanging out in graveyards as much as I do, so now I have a cemetery sister.

Everything went smooth until I changed my location to just outside of the Vaille Mausoleum. Mrs. Vaille is a local ghost legend many swear to have seen.

Not long after I moved my camera went crazy, my sound started cutting in and out and then my phone went flat. Maybe the Lady in Gray is actually Mrs. Vaille, searching for acceptance.

All the technical crazy starts at the end of part two… and here are both parts. The giveaway I promised is posted after the videos. Scroll down… if you dare!

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October Poetry Reading!

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Part One
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2nd half of October poetry!

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Part Two

As promised, here’s how to win a book swag giveaway! The winner will get a copy of all the books pictured in a StokerCon 2016 tote… with some extra goodies thrown in. How to enter?

Use the nifty RafflePress widget:

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Visiting the Lady in Gray

There are local stories here in Independence that a ghost wanders up and down Woodlawn Cemetery, next to Noland Road. She’s said to be an older woman dressed all in gray and quite a few people claim to have seen her. One of the groundmen told me he’s seen her a number of times and told me where to look. I’ve visited many times, but have yet to have seen the Lady in Gray myself.

But if at first you don’t succeed… try poetry! Tomorrow starting at 2 pm CST be sure to pop by Amy Zoeller’s from Hipness and Outrage Instagram to watch us wander Woodlawn ourselves, reading poetry. If we are lucky, the Lady in Gray may make an appearance—so be watching! As bait, I wrote her this poem…

Lady in Gray

Moth-soft and silvery
she shadow shimmers
to silent Tchaikovsky
seeking the red mare
she knows must be
“…just there...”

She wanders but never finds it.
Not the pony, not the spindly sapling
nor the rope that linked them…
all gone years and tears past.

Her hidden picnic spot
once a place for secret wishes
now sprouts monuments
as well as dandelions—
all dust and terminus.

She strolls up Noland Road
unaware of the asphalt scabs
and the horses, now made of iron.
Her faded eyes, blind to the glare
of harsh, electric will-o’-wisps
see nothing but Stygian shade.

The Lady in Gray—
a whisper of a girl
on the cusp of full bloom
has now grown up to be
a tale for midnights
told in whispers.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing how to win a box of book swag as part of A.F. Stewart’s annual October Frights Blog Hop that will include a copy of  Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, Shadow’s Lament by Ryan Aussie Smith, Altars and Oubliettes (my latest chapbook) and some Space and Time magazines, both new and vintage.

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October Frights Begins!

No Halloween season can be complete without A.F. Stewart’s annual October Frights Blog Hop. This year seventeen blogs are participating over the course of five days from now to October 15th.

Meet authors, get free, scary reads, giveaways… All this week I’ll be doing giveaways of magazines and books, including a paperback copy of Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. As you’re reading this, I’m away teaching a workshop on slam poetry as part of the Talk Book to Me event hosted by MCPL. I’ll post a recap of the workshop next Saturday.

Sunday I’ll be reciting poetry in a graveyard with Amy Z. from Hipness and Outrage and hopefully we will have a video to post. The cemetery we will be respectfully visiting is the home of the Lady in Gray… a local ghost many have reported. Hopefully some of our reading will draw her out for a cameo appearance—and that just sums up the weekend.

Be sure to pop by all this week for haunted happenings and visit the other participating blogs for more offerings. Ready for a spooky vacation from 2020? Here’s your itinerary:

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC

Hawk’s Happenings

Heidi Angell

Curiosities

James McDonald

Always Another Chapter

Spreading the Writer’s Word

Yours in Storytelling

Carmilla Voiez

Hello Romance

GirlZombieAuthors

Frighten Me

M’habla’s!

Brain Matter

NLCARTERWRITES.COM

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His and Her Books

Completely by coincidence Ryan and I both had our books go live on Amazon on the same day—his and her books! While his official publish date for Shadow’s Lament was October 1 there was a delay in the actual upload so it actually went live today. Altars and Oubliettes, my latest poetry chapbook, also went live today.

You can find Shadow’s Lament by Ryan Aussie Smith here.

Find my poetry book, Altars and Oubliettes here.

I am very proud of Ryan’s first book. He stuck with it and created a world. He researched all sorts of medieval stuff. He survived editing three times. He wrote a 100k word story. It’s pretty damn good. He is officially an author.

His and her books

You can tell where all my book love went. I threw my poetry book up in a day (layout, not content). I used Amazon’s cover creator for the first (and last!) time. And I forgot to add my description. Instead, you will find some cryptic Xs. Yes, please feel free to laugh.

I’ll help by sharing a screenshot… and now I better go fix that.

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Announcing Horror University Online!

Open to members and nonmembers, the incredible Horror University classes will now take place online! This is such exciting news. I attribute any success I have to these classes from Horror University.

People have mentioned they are surprised I’ve gotten as far as I have in just a few years. The reality is that I had five years of nothing and then, no kidding, joined HWA and started taking classes like these. In the first year, I started making ground. In my mind, I owe HWA for all my success. They provided the tools I needed. And now they are available for all!

Jonathan Maberry taught me how to be professional and make my art my business. Linda Addison exploded my brain with the possibilities of poetry. I’ve never taken a class from Lisa Morton, but I have heard her speak and she’s brilliant and informative. As the previous HWA president, whatever she teaches will be valuable. I was lucky to have Tim Waggoner as a mentor for a brief time and the man knows his industry. He pointed me where I needed to go and told me the steps to get there. Spoiler alert: Ryan and I are signing up for all classes.

But enough of my cheerleading… read the official press release yourself:

Horror University, the HWA’s program of interactive writing workshops and presentations, is launching in an all-new format with live, online workshops with some of the strongest voices in horror. Formerly only accessible in-person at StokerCon, this series of classes, designed to help writers hone their craft and advance their career, will now be available year-round and accessible to anyone with access to the Internet. Past StokerCon attendees have provided wonderful feedback about their experiences in Horror University—but the HWA realizes not all horror writers can attend StokerCon to participate in this opportunity. Now you can enjoy these workshops even if you can’t travel to StokerCon.

Join us for our special introductory session this October and November, featuring four of the most prominent writers in the genre today: Linda Addison, Jonathan Maberry, Lisa Morton, and Tim Waggoner. Then watch for announcements for more HU Online workshops coming in early 2021. 

Each session will take place on Zoom so students may interact directly with the instructor.

Pricing and details for each workshop are listed below. A special discount is available for those who wish to register for all four sessions.

The pricing is $50 for non-members and $40 for members per session (going up to $65 for non-members and $50 for members next year)

Bundle pricing is four workshops for $140 for members, $180 for nonmembers. 

SIGN UP HERE: https://hwa46.wildapricot.org/event-4011815

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National Dark Poetry Day!

One of my favorite days of the year and I celebrated by witnessing the release of two chapbooks. The first was not mine but Alessandro Manzetti’s Whitechapel Rhapsody. I had the pleasure of editing the translation, and I emphasize pleasure.

There is dark poetry, and then there is Manzetti. He deep dives into the most depraved recesses of humanity, dredging up every festering and damaged part of us… and turns it into poetry. Not for the sensitive reader, I love Manzetti’s work because he allows his work to run unfettered into Hell to bring back souvenirs.

I wish my poetry was this dark… but I am a ray of sunshine compared to this foray into midnight madness. If you are looking for true madness beautifully written, then grab Whitechapel Rhapsody. The Kindle version is up now. The paperback will join soon.

Find Whitechapel Rhapsody here.

Then, as promised (for a year or so now) I just uploaded Altars and Oubliettes. Yes, I know I have been saying this for awhile, but it is actually loaded on Amazon and will probably show up by tomorrow sometime. I will have links here and mention it.

Now that Altars is up, I am already a good way into my next one which I plan to release in April 2021. Called Post Consumer, it’s an exploration of all the things we cast away. People, animals, children, body parts… so far I’m very happy where it is taking me.

A genuine Niceville Pirantula

Finally, not poetry but a nice surprise I found on accident, the Retro Horror anthology looks like it’s going up. My pulp horror Pirantulas! is in it. I found it linked to my name today and did a double-take. That is a pirantula on the cover!

The story was written in a Florida town called Niceville and a group of us made a movie out of it. I’ll link it below. Don’t be too unkind… there is a reason I write rather than direct! I’m writing a story for a theater production happening there at Cafe Bienville. Maybe Dr. Brogan needs to be dusted off for a visit.

Pulpy retro horror is so much fun to write. After I finish up all the projects I have going on now (which are all technoir, if you were wondering) I might do some more campy ones. I know I had a follow up to Pirantulas! in mind. You can find Retro Horror for Kindle here.

That’s Ryan Aussie Smith (husband) narrating, by the way! He’s also the thrashing body.

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“In a Court of Clowns” on PoetryNook

Image by Joshua_Willson  

Like everyone, my brain has been occupied by all the ridiculous political antics I see populating my news feed. I cast no judgment on any one group or person—the whole system reminds me more of the movie Idiocracy than 1984.

I scroll through my newsfeed and am not sure whether to laugh or cry. Instead of either, I wrote poetry.

In a Court of Clowns

In a court of clowns
a jury seeks my judgment
without knowing me.

They all think they know
because of my hair, my skin—
because they were told

what they can expect
—do/don’t trust, do/don’t like us—
these people like me.

Then you wonder why
I/Us tend not to trust you—
one of us must start.

But forgive me, please
if I don’t make the first move—
history repeats.

Still, it’s up to us…
Read the rest on PoetryNook.com

Enter PoetryNook.com’s free weekly poetry contest.
Previously published work welcome.

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