Secrets about “Satan’s Sweethearts”

Last July I read and reviewed Small Spirits: Dolls of Darkness by Marge Simon with illustrations by Sandy DeLuca. I have been out of touch since we’ve been resettling in the Midwest and I somehow missed Satan’s Sweethearts, a collaboration from Simon and Mary Turzillo.

I’ve already ordered the paperback from Amazon, but while I wait for it to arrive, Marge Simon has graciously provided me with a post divulging some insights behind the writing of this collection.

You can also read  Interview With Marge Simon and Review: Small Spirits by Marge Simon.

From Marge Simon—Mary Turzillo and I have collaborated on Sweet Poison, a collection that won the coveted Elgin award, 2015 and prior to that, a couple of fun poetry and flash collections about dragons: Dragon Soup and The Dragon Dictionary.

So being as we are both adventuresome and full of wicked glee, we determined to compose a poetry collection about the most evil women throughout history. We didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into, I can promise you that.

I’ll preface this with a short bit I wrote to set the mood for our section on “Mothers Who Kill Their Own.”  Though it was not my cat, it did happen. It makes you wonder, because such unexpected behavior, possibly a malfunction of genetic instinct,  is found in our own society.

When I was a little girl, my parents got a Siamese cat. They wanted to breed her. So when the time came, that was done. By and by, she had a litter of kittens. But as we watched each born, she wouldn’t clean them, she did nothing. So we did that, and put the tiny ones back into the birthing box with clean towels.

Come the morning, she was cleaning herself. Six small bodies lay mutilated, dead. There was blood on her tongue.

The above is one of my first horrifying life experiences. In writing poems for the rest of the book, we sometimes had to step back and get away from it totally. Why? Read on.

And now, let us got to China for this chiller by Mary:

There are more poems from other centuries, including the 21st century such as Myra Hindley  (Manchester, England)  and Aileen Wuornos. As I am a Florida resident, what she was all about happened way too close to home.  One heartless female, and proud of it.

Aileen Wuornos  1956-2002

 “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.” – Aileen Wuornos

Thank you for inviting me to guest your blog, Angela!

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

Haiku Story: Jewel Day 11

Jewel—February 11

There he cared for Jewel

binding both her wounds and heart

hoping to win her.

Jewel is an ongoing story told in haiku to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Women of Horror Month and National Haiku Month.

Read the previous Jewel haiku here.

Find out why haiku doesn’t have to stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5 hereThis is my NaHaiWriMo challenge.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #Poetry, Haiku Story | Leave a comment

Submissions: $50 Prize for Poetry

“the Same” is hosting their first ever Poetry Contest during the month of February.

The contest is open to all women and girls with a deadline of Feb. 28. The winner will receive $50 and print publication in their next anthology.

The theme is “Love and Relationships.” Accepting up to six poems per submission.

Submit via Submittable: www.theSame.submittable.com
View their website at: www.theSame.blog
Check out the previous anthology at: http://amzn.to/2E6Zau4

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry, #Submit | Leave a comment

Haiku Story: Jewel Day 10

Jewel—February 10

Transfixed with his find

he spirited her away

to his forest hut.

Jewel is an ongoing story told in haiku to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Women of Horror Month and National Haiku Month.

Read the previous Jewel haiku here.

Find out why haiku doesn’t have to stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5 hereThis is my NaHaiWriMo challenge.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #Poetry, Haiku Story | Leave a comment

Fiction: Pain Relief

I still owe a recap of Borderlands Bootcamp and I will get that up this week. One of the results of that weekend of intense writer training was the following story.

We were each given the first line of an iconic book on the first night. I received a line from Jack Ketchum’s Girl Next Door. Given that he had just passed away days earlier, I felt like I was treading hallowed ground.

Saturday night we had just a few hours to wrestle a story from our exhausted, over caffeinated brains based on the first line we were given. It was writing taken to an extreme. This is the first draft of the story I came up with. I promise full details of the camp experience later this week.

Pain Relief

Written by Angela Yuriko Smith

   “You think you know about pain? I know about pain.”

   He held up his palms. They were lined with dirt and chapped. His nails were framed in flakes of dead skin, ending in black crescents.

   “You have dirty hands, but that isn’t the same thing as pain. Just take a bath. You don’t need my help for that.” I took my time unscrewing the cap off the bottle and let it drop to the ground. His mouth twisted as he sucked his bottom lip, thinking.

   “It’s because of it. People who don’t know pain don’t be dirty like this.”

   I didn’t respond and took a drink from the bottle. His hands dropped back to his lap.

   “Why do you want to know about my pain anyways? You ain’t gonna do anything about it.” His eyes fixated on the Jack and I let the light catch it so it shone amber.

   “I can’t help you if I don’t believe you.” I tipped the bottle again, letting a trickle run down my chin. I liked the desperate look in his eyes as his world narrowed and licked my lips before wiping the drops away with the back of my hand. “Good stuff.”

   He licked his own lips in subconscious pantomime and pushed layers of a tattered sleeve up, exposing a forearm latticed in scars. The skin was less grimy there.

   “Here’s some pain for you. Every time I lose something, I keep the memory in my flesh. I cut myself,” he said. “That’s a lot of memories.” He ran his fingers across one of the bigger lines.

   “Lots of people cut themselves. It doesn’t mean your pain is worse.” I pulled my phone out and checked the time. “What do you cut yourself with?”

   “I got a knife. You gotta have a knife ‘round here. I’ll show you.” He pawed at his neck with stiff fingers and pulled at a string tied at his neck. A decent sized hunting knife in a worn black sheath was dangling at the end of it. I held my hand out, letting the liquid slosh against the glass as I did.

   “Can I see it?”

   He sucked his lip in again, thinking, before he pulled the string over his head and placed it in my hand.

   “Now you give me the bottle like you said.”

   “I didn’t say I was giving you anything. I said I would help you with your pain.”

   “A drink sure goes a long way to help. I got arthritis from the cold nights and a good drink is all that makes it go.”

   I cradled the Jack in the crook of my arm and slid the knife free. The blade was hash marked with scratches. The tip was snapped off.

   “So what did you lose to make so many scars?”

   “Everything! I lost everything I ever had. Shitty parents, shitty wife took the kids, shitty friends… I tried to make something with my life but I got backstabbed every time. Nothing left to do but cut reminders and try to get on.”

   Sitting on the greasy back step of a restaurant and smelling like piss, he didn’t look like he was getting on.

   “And cutting yourself helps?”

   He looked at the blade in my hand.

   “Not like the booze does.”

   I held the bottle out and swished the contents before I handed it over to him.

   “I knew you weren’t gonna just tease me. I knew you were gonna help.” He took a deep swig, sloshing it around in his mouth before swallowing it.

   I dropped the sheath and it landed at his feet, the string spreading serpentine on the stained pavement. He took another swig and bent over to pick it up. I bent over too, above him, close enough for his body stink to invade my nose.

   The knife pushed in to the small hollow that hid where his shoulder and neck connected. It slid in, already familiar with this flesh–a final memory that would never scar. He fell forward on one knee, propped up by the bottle, before he collapsed. Blood and booze mingled into the cracks beneath him.

   “You were doing it wrong,” she said.

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Haiku Story: Jewel Day 9

Jewel—February 9

In a ruby pool

he found the lovely maiden—

heart barely beating.

Jewel is an ongoing story told in haiku to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Women of Horror Month and National Haiku Month.

Read the previous Jewel haiku here.

Find out why haiku doesn’t have to stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5 hereThis is my NaHaiWriMo challenge.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #Poetry, Haiku Story | Leave a comment

Interview with a Real Vampire

Warning: This may be a controversial post.

I was approached by a gentleman that claims to be a real vampire, so I, of course, interviewed him. This is a result of being infected by the v5 virus. You can read more about it here.  Some may not believe his claim, but regardless of beliefs, please keep it civil.


Interview with a Real Vampire

 

2017

Angela—What is your name and how old are you?

Nightshade—Over time, I’ve had quite a few names, actually… so, for the sake of ‘identity issues,’ I don’t often use my “legal” name. Nowadays, I just go by the Apache-given name “Nightshade Child,” or the name by which the “Real Vampire Community” once knew me by; “Shadow Walker KA.”

As for how old I am, I don’t even know, anymore. I am old enough that all my current records are not even my own. But going by “legal record,” I am nearing my thirties.

Angela—You are a vampire because you’ve been infected with “v5.” What is it and how does it affect you and others?

Nightshade—Put as simply (and in as few words) as possible, “v5” is a retro-viral gene (basically a genetically-based retrovirus) that essentially makes the said ‘vampire’ or person afflicted by it stronger, faster, more agile, and basically increases overall health, but with the (albeit unfortunate) “cost”—so to speak—of the physical need to consume the “life-force energy” (typically fresh blood) of another living being.

In short, our bodies require, thus sustain a much higher intake level of iron and certain proteins found only in blood. For some, however, the need for blood not only maintains our physical health, but mental/psychological health, as well.

For some, it also enhances the metabolism (scientifically-speaking; metabolic rate), in that it either becomes slow to the point of “sluggishness,” or it speeds up to being “sluggish” due to being so fast (think of it as being similar to a clock-manner spectrum). But of course, as you can imagine, one of the biggest things that is enhanced by “v5” is the person’s healing rate (some wounds take only a short time to heal, whereas others may heal almost instantaneously).

Basically, it takes a “mere human being” and turns them essentially superhuman, at the cost of having to consume blood, in order to maintain personal health. Now, there are quite a few more things that it does, but for that, I would have to write you a pamphlet or more (quite literally, mind you).

Angela—What is the difference between “v5” and the vampires in fiction?

Nightshade—In short, vampires of fiction are exactly that: fiction. Real vampires (people afflicted by “v5,” in any of its many degrees (and yes, there are “degrees” or “levels” of it, so to speak) do not turn into bats or mist, religious icons such as crosses have no effect (in the words of an old acquaintance of mine, “it’s ludicrous to believe that religious icons would have any effect on a creature that if it ever existed, it has existed prior to that even being an icon; What if the vampire is Jewish?… a cross is just going to piss him off”), most of us are not allergic to garlic unless it is either an allergy obtained otherwise or one is born with said allergy, nor does “holy” water affect us.

And as for sunlight, the only real problem there is most often a visual sensitivity to bright light, in general, unless the gene has not had the chance to properly evolve/advance past the problem of being sunburned (in other words; do we burn into ash in sunlight? No. We may get a sunburn, and/or a migraine, but that is about it.)

As for things such as Real vampires (“v5”) being “from Hell” and the such… again, not even close… and things such as the ‘charisma’ concept– that only depends upon the vampire/person his or her self.

Angela—How long have you existed?

Nightshade—This one, admittedly, is a little tricky, since you’ve already asked it, just in a different way. As a vampire, myself, I can only say “it’s been a long time.” I may not have been the first vampire to exist, but I have yet to meet one actually older than myself in that regard. But beyond being a vampire… I don’t even know how long I’ve been around. I only know that I can still remember when there was no such thing as religion, if that says anything.

Angela—Do you turn others into vampires like in the stories?

Nightshade—In light of the fact that Real vampires (“v5”) are again a retro-viral gene that is transferred via blood alone, so far, the only way that any of us have found to transmit the gene to another individual is through an exchange of blood (ergo, one must in some manner or other ‘ingest’ the blood of a vampire to become a vampire).

So, a vampire simply taking a bite out of someone is just not enough (in fact, nowhere near enough) for that person to become a vampire. In fact, the only thing really required is that the person simply consumes enough of a vampire’s blood to have the gene be absorbed into the body, and thus it still takes time for the “awakening/turning” process to fully occur.

However, the problem with this is that a vampire’s blood, depending upon how old said vampire is, can be highly toxic to “normal” human beings (because (oddly enough, this being semi-accurate of fiction) a vampire’s age does indeed affect the potency of our gene).

Angela—How did you become a vampire?

Nightshade—In my case, I suppose it was a little bit ironic, and seems to most too far-fetched to even be possible. But I literally almost drowned in a pool of highly ‘contaminated’ blood (and by “highly contaminated,” I mean it had an extremely strong ‘strain’ of the original retrovirus already infecting it).

But these days, it’s apparently believed that I may have already had a faint strain of the gene, or that I simply “wasn’t human to begin with,” given my obvious survival of the incident.

Angela—What is your purpose in life?

Nightshade—Frankly, that is like asking the sun or nature what their purpose in life is. In all honesty, I really don’t even know why I became a vampire, even being ‘what’ I was prior to becoming one. Let alone do I know what the purpose behind it was, or even what that alleged “purpose” is, to-day. So the only thing that I can really say about it is that I Am What I Am, and I Am That I Am. Whatever the original purpose for it, whilst I may not know, I only know the purpose I’ve given for it, myself, over time.

Angela—How does “v5” affect an unborn child?

Nightshade—Really, it only makes the child even stronger. There really isn’t much difference betwixt a “normal” human child and a vampir child—least of all, in the womb. The only real difference is that a vampir child is much stronger than it would be if the child were a “normal” human.

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Haiku Story: Jewel Day 8

Jewel—February 8

He came to rob tombs

relieving corpse of treasure—

useless currency.

Jewel is an ongoing story told in haiku to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Women of Horror Month and National Haiku Month. Read Jewel haiku 1-7 here.

Read the complete Jewel haiku here.

Find out why haiku doesn’t have to stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5 hereThis is my NaHaiWriMo challenge.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #Poetry, Haiku Story | 1 Comment

Spotlight: Ghosts of the Sea Moon

A. F. Stewart has a new book!

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.

Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed.

His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts.

What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns…

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

Title: Ghosts of the Sea Moon (Saga of the Outer Islands Book 1)

Author: A. F. Stewart

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publication Date: January 13th, 2018

Paperback Price: $12.99

Digital Price: Pre-order and Release Price $0.99. Will go up to $2.99 on February 14th

Buy Links:

Books2Read link (all non-Amazon retailers): https://www.books2read.com/u/ml5GvM

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078MS397S

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37648721-ghosts-of-the-sea-moon

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Moon-Saga-Outer-Islands/dp/1981802223/

Author Links:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/afstewartauthor/

Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/348788975590362/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/scribe77

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afstewartauthor/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1175681.A_F_Stewart

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/a-f-stewart

Website: https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/OGrTT

 Author Bio:

A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

The Captain

Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind. Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.

The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.

A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.

Damn her…and her beasts.

On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”

“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.

“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”

A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.

“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”

“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”

“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.

Instafreebie preview (download the first four chapters free): https://www.instafreebie.com/free/cu9nx

 

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A Haiku Story Begins: Jewel 1-7

A lot of the things that have been keeping me occupied are finished and I feel the need for a challenge… and it happens to be National Haiku Month.

Starting today, I’m going to attempt an ongoing story through February, told in haiku. Here are the rules I am setting out. Feel free to share your own version!

  • Because February is a month known for romance, I’ll tell my own version of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Because I am me, it will be horrific romance.
  • Because I enjoy seeing how far I can flex within boundaries, I’ll stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5.

Read the complete Jewel haiku here.

Find out why haiku doesn’t have to stick with the American grade school syllable pattern of 5-7-5 hereThis is my NaHaiWriMo challenge.

I could fail. By the 20th I may decide this is a terrible idea and deny this was ever a thing. For now, here are the first seven days of Jewel, a story based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, told completely in haiku.

Jewel

February 1

Jewel arrives to see

her Romeo departing

with his new love, Death.

February 2

Jealous rage consumes

her future with youthful fire

burning bright on blade.

February 3

Knife in hand, she thrusts

eyes fixed on lost Romeo

and opens her heart.

February 4

She pours out her soul

in a heated rush of red—

ruining dress and life.

February 5

A jilted girl’s wrath

leaves little room for mercy—

all near must suffer.

February 6

Blessed dark consumes

her anger with dreamless sleep

and silence shrouds her.

February 7

There an end might be

for sweet Jewel and Romeo…

but for the hunchback.

Posted in #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, Haiku Story | 1 Comment