Back to the Wonderful Grind

My new writing space comes with an editorial chupacabra.

Most of the boxes are unpacked. Everything that was broken has been fixed or replaced. I remember my new address without looking it up. Time to get back to work.

On the forefront of important business is Space and Time Magazine. Submissions for fiction will be opening up this week. I’ll be working through the website and social media pages getting things updated with new information posted.

I’ve discussed our current submissions with the editorial team and determined that we should be good to publish issue #133 on March 20. Polish up your edgy stories and prepare to submit very soon.

In celebration of making the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Achievement in Long Fiction, Bitter Suites will be free for Amazon Kindle from Thursday, January 24, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to Monday, January 28, 2019, 11:59 PM PST. You can find Bitter Suites on Amazon here. 

In between being giddy about prelim ballots, grateful to be done moving and busy setting stuff up for Space and Time, I’ve been working on Suite and Sour, the follow up to Bitter Suites. I’m settling in to my new writing cupboard under the stairs. The spiders and I have become friends. Most of my personal things have been stowed away. I’m regaining a new peace in a new place. Moving-pocolypse is done.

Life is good. Again.

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Ladies of Horror for January

Check out all the great names in this month’s Ladies of Horror flash fiction line up on Nina D’Arcangela’s Spreading the Writer’s Word blog. The Ladies of Horror are a diverse group of women dedicated to writing darker things. Each month we write a story or poem based on a photo Nina sends us. We do it for practice, to share ideas… and because this is how we play.

Sadly, I missed signing up for this month. My moving apocalypse is all but over, however, and I look forward to another prompt next month.

Here’s who is showing up, and when…

1/20 — Tawny Kipphorn — a.m.
1/20 — Ela Aysan Lourenco — p.m.
1/21 — Stephanie Ayers — a.m.
1/21 — Sonora Bostian-Posner — p.m.
1/22 — Marge Simon — a.m.
1/22 — Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi — p.m.
1/23 — Anita Stewart — a.m.
1/23 — Ashley Davis — p.m.
1/24 — Tiffany Mok — a.m.
1/24 — Kathy Ree — p.m.
1/25 — Kathleen McClusky — a.m.
1/25 — Rie Sheridan Rose — p.m.
1/26 — Terrie Leigh Relf — a.m.
1/26 — Nina D’Arcangela — p.m.
1/27 — Suzi Madron — a.m.
1/27 — Stacey Turner — p.m.
1/28 — Erin Lydia Prime — a.m.
1/28 — Bailey Hunter — p.m.
1/29 — Melissa R. Mendelson — a.m.
1/29 — Lori R. Lopez — p.m.
1/30 — Sheri White — a.m.
1/30 — Kim Richards — p.m.
1/31 — Christina Sng — a.m.
1/31 — Naching T. Kassa — p.m.
02/01 — Asena Lourenco — a.m.

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Bitter Suites Makes Stoker Preliminary Ballot

The view from my phone…

I was standing in the kitchen when my phone notified me that I had new mail. I could tell from the subject line that it was important—the preliminary ballot for the annual Stoker awards announcement.

“Oh yea! Time to see who this year’s horror contenders are,” I said to my son as I moved in to intercept the last cup of coffee in the pot.

I opened my email with one hand as I poured with the other. Scrolling through, I saw familiar names. Many of my friends and colleagues made the cut. It’s exciting to see people you enjoy reading get recognition.

Then I came to the Superior Achievement in Long Fiction category and almost dropped my coffee. There was Bitter Suites, and my name, alongside some highly respectable authors.

This is my first time to have made the preliminary ballot, and I’m beyond excited. For me, this means I will be unable to sleep or eat until February 5 when the final ballot is announced. Bitter Suites has some crazy competition to make it to the next level. Regardless if I see myself on the final ballot or not, I feel like I have achieved a major milestone in my career.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read Bitter Suites, recommend it, give feedback, edit it, share posts, review and everything else. It means a lot. But now it’s back to Earth for me as I return to the glamorous real world of a writer—back in my closet to work harder, produce more and be grateful for what I’ve been given.

If you aren’t familiar with the Stokers award, it’s presented each year by the Horror Writer’s Association for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker. The awards have been presented since 1987. Read more about the Bram Stoker Award here.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminary ballot. This list should be recommended reading for everyone interested in horror. This is the best in the genre… and I am giddy to be included.

The 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot Announced

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to announce the Preliminary Ballot for the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®. The HWA (see is the premier writers organization in the horror and dark fiction genre, with over 1,400 members. We have presented the Bram Stoker Awards in various categories since 1987 (see

Works on this ballot are not referred to as “nominees” or “finalists”. Only works appearing on the Final Ballot may be referred to as “nominated works” and their authors as “finalists”.

The HWA Board and the Bram Stoker Awards® Committee congratulate all those appearing on the Preliminary Ballot. Notes about the voting process will appear after the ballot listing.

2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

del Toro, Guillermo and Kraus, Daniel – The Shape of Water (Feiwel & Friends)

Di Orazio, Paolo – Dark Mary (Independent Legions Publishing)

Katsu, Alma – The Hunger (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

King, Stephen – The Outsider (Scribner)

Maberry, Jonathan – Glimpse (St. Martin’s Press)

Malerman, Josh – Unbury Carol (Del Rey)

Manzetti, Alessandro – Naraka (Independent Legions Publishing)

Oates, Joyce Carol – Hazards of Time Travel (Ecco)

Reid, Iain – Foe (Gallery/Scout Press)

Saadawi, Ahmed – Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel (Penguin Books)

Stoker, Dacre and Barker, J.D. – Dracul (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Barsa, Michael – The Garden of Blue Roses (Underland Press)

Fine, Julia – What Should Be Wild (Harper)

Gordon, Jerry – Breaking the World (Apex Book Company)

Grau, T.E. – I Am the River (Lethe Press)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Rust Maidens (Trepidatio Publishing)

Lieske, Ryan – Fiction (Burning Willow Press, LLC)

Lye, Harriet Alida – The Honey Farm: A Novel (Liveright)

Setchfield, Nick – The War in the Dark (Titan Books)

Sorensen, Chris – The Nightmare Room (Harmful Monkey Press)

Stage, Zoje – Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press)

Tremblay, Tony – The Moore House (Twisted Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Alameda, Courtney – Pitch Dark (Feiwel & Friends)

Ernshaw, Shea – The Wicked Deep (Simon Pulse-Simon & Schuster)

Heidicker, Christian McKay – Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Ireland, Justina – Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray)

Kane, Dani – Wormholes: Book One of Axles and Allies (Barking Deer Press)

Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books)

Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster)

Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver (Gigi Publishing)

Watson, Mary – The Wren Hunt (Bloomsbury Publishing)

White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Ahmed, Saladin – Abbott (BOOM! Studios)

Antone, Alex and Wielgosz, Dave James – Cursed Comics Cavalcade (DC Comics)

Azzarello, Brian – Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train (Image Comics)

Bellaire, Jordie – Redlands Volume 1: Sisters by Blood (Image Comics)

Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios)

Hammond, Warren and Viola, Joshua – Denver Moon: Metamorphosis (Hex Publishers LLC)

LaValle, Victor – Victor LaValle’sDestroyer (BOOM! Studios)

Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Volume 1: The Black Barn (Image Comics)

Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 3: Haven (Image Comics)

Pichetshote, Pornsak – Infidel (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Bailey, Michael – Our Children, Our Teachers (Written Backwards)

Feldman, Stephanie – The Barrens (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2018)

Fracassi, Philip – Shiloh (Lovecraft eZine Press)

Hill, Joe – You Are Released (Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales) (Scribner)

Kelley, Brent Michael – Cruce Roosters (Omnium Gatherum)

Kurtz, Ed – Black’s Red Gold (At the Mercy of Beasts) (JournalStone)

Malik, Usman T. – Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung (Nightmare Magazine Issue #74)

Mason, Rena – The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) (Adrenaline Press)

Matthews, Mark – Body of Christ (Wicked Run Press)

Smith, Angela Yuriko – Bitter Suites (Createspace)

Sullivan, Todd – Shape Shifting Priestess of the 1,000 Year War (Schlock! Horror!) (HellBound Books Publishing LLC)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Deady, Tom – “All Summers End” (Unnerving Magazine, Issue #8) (Unnerving)

Eldridge, Tori – “Life After Breath”(Running Wild Anthology of Stories Volume 2) (Running Wild Press)

English, Kary – “Cold, Silent, and Dark” (Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath) (WordFire Press)

Fawver, Kurt – “The Gods in Their Seats, Unblinking” (The Dissolution of Small Worlds) (Lethe Press)

Herrman, Heather – “The Woman in the Blue Dress” (Dark Screams: Volume Ten) (Hydra)

Landry, Jess – “Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Murray, Lee – “Dead End Town”(Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2) (IFWG Publishing International)

Neugebauer, Annie – “Glove Box” (The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine Volume 3, Issue 4-July 2018)

Power, Kit – “Fish Hooks” (New Fears 2) (Titan Books)

Robertson, Andrew – “Her Royal Counsel”(Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland) (Exile Editions)

Taff, John F.D. – “A Winter’s Tale” (Little Black Spots) (Grey Matter Press)

Ward, Kyla Lee – “And in Her Eyes the City Drowned” (Weirdbook #39) (Wildside Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Carmen, Christa – Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked (Unnerving)

Files, Gemma – Spectral Evidence (Trepidatio Publishing)

Guignard, Eric J. – That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Iglesias, Gabino – Coyote Songs (Broken River Books)

Niveau, Thana – Octoberland (PS Publishing Ltd)

O’Neill, Gene – Frozen Shadows: And Other Chilling Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Paramaditha, Intan – Apple and Knife (Brow Books)

Smith, John Claude – Occasional Beasts: Tales (Omnium Gatherum)

Snyder, Lucy A. – Garden of Eldritch Delights (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Taff, John F.D. – Little Black Spots (Grey Matter Press)

Waggoner, Tim – Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection (Nightscape Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Aster, Ari – Hereditary (PalmStar Media)

Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)

Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: Screaming Meemies, Episode 01:09 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)

Cosmatos, Panos and Stewart-Ahn, Aaron – Mandy (SpectreVision)

Dyson, Jeremy and Nyman, Andy – Ghost Stories (Warp Films, Altitude Film Entertainment, Catalyst Global Media in association with Lionsgate)

Fradley, Jeff, McBride, Danny and Green, David Gordon – Halloween (Blumhouse Productions, Miramax, Night Blade Holdings, Rough House Pictures, Trancas International Films, Universal Pictures)

Garland, Alex – Annihilation (DNA Films, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Skydance Media)

Heisserer, Eric – Bird Box (Bluegrass Films, Chris Morgan Productions, Universal Pictures)

Ray, Billy and Smith, Mark L. – Overlord (Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures)

Woods, Bryan, Beck, Scott, and Krasinski, John – A Quiet Place (Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Chambers, James, Grey, April, and Masterson, Robert – A New York State of Fright: Horror Stories from the Empire State (Hippocampus Press)

Datlow, Ellen – The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea (Night Shade Books)

Dewar, Simon – Suspended in Dusk II (Grey Matter Press)

Guignard, Eric J. – A World of Horror (Dark Moon Books)

Murano, Doug – Welcome to the Show (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Murray, Lee – Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press)

Neal, David T. and Scott, Christine M. – The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror (Nosetouch Press)

O’Regan, Marie – Phantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the Genre (Titan Books)

Ward, D. Alexander – Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Worthen, Lyn – Quoth the Raven (Camden Park Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Connolly, John – Horror Express (PS Publishing)

Cutchins, Dennis R. and Perry, Dennis R. – Adapting Frankenstein: The Monster’s Eternal Lives in Popular Culture (Manchester University Press)

Gambin, Lee – The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)

Hopton, Sarah Beth – Woman at the Devil’s Door: The Untold True Story of the Hampstead Murderess (Red Lightning Books)

Ingham, Howard David – We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror (Room 207 Press)

Jones, Darryl – Sleeping with the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror (Oxford University Press)

Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life (Crystal Lake Publishing) 

Phillips, Kendall R. – A Place of Darkness: The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema (University of Texas Press)

Poole, W. Scott – Wasteland: The Great Ward and the Origins of Modern Horror(Counterpoint)

Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Boston, Bruce – Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing)

Clark, G.O. – The Comfort of Screams (Alban Lake Publishing)

Cowen, David E. – Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press)

Fletcher, Joe – The Hatch (Brooklyn Arts Press)

Lynch, Donna – Witches (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Shepard, Oliver – Thirteen Nocturnes (Ikonograph Press)

Simon, Marge and Manzetti, Alessandro – War (Independent Legions Publishing)

Tantlinger, Sara – The Devil’s Dreamland (Strangehouse Books)

West, Jacqueline – Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions (Alban Lake Publishing)

Wren, Twyla – Gwendolyn Witch and Other Macabria (Independently Published)

Please note these works must NOT be referred to as “Bram Stoker Award® Nominees” until the Final Ballot is formally announced on February 5).

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Google Fails Poe

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. Writers, readers, libraries and blogs everywhere are lauding the master of dark words… everyone but Google.

The search bar, which regularly highlights people I’ve never heard of with cute gifs, games, and graphics, is mundanely normal today. Where are the ravens?

Google, you disappoint me.

Related posts—
Death of Poe: Murder or Mishap?
HWA Announces National Dark Poetry Day

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New Year, New Publication

The new year has started out for me with plenty to think about. Besides the new house, I’ve officially taken the reins as publisher for Space and Time Magazine. I don’t enter into this challenge lightly.

While my background is in publishing, this is a whole new kind of publication with an impressive history. S&T has consistently introduced some of the best names in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres for 52 years. It’s one of the oldest continuously published magazine in the genre. That’s a lot to live up to. Fortunately, I won’t be alone.

The magazine comes with a small army of professional editors and writers that bring a passion for new speculative fiction and poetry to every page. Founder Gordon Linzner remains as editor emeritus to watch over his creation as it continues to evolve. Current publisher Hildy Silverman will also remain to help guide this magazine into a new era.

I also come with my own team. My husband and fellow author R. A. Smith is on board along with my daughter Kyra Starr—a competent graphic artist, marketer and social media manager. They have both worked with me over the years on a variety of projects.

I look forward to helping S&T continue to develop. Already a venerable publication, my involvement will be less about change and more about growth. S&T is already a leader in consistently breaking new literary ground and my wish is for that to continue as is. I look forward to bringing this magazine forward for many more decades.

The world of publishing has drastically changed since Linzner first launched it back in 1966. Higher printing and postage costs are just a few of the realities that have challenged not just S&T, but magazines and newspapers in general. Given S&T’s long tradition of publishing excellence, talented core of passionate professionals and dedicated readership, I believe that the soul of S&T will remain and thrive.

The news that the magazine would be changing to my hands came on my 50th birthday. I had a quiet moment as I considered where things would go from here. This has been my dream for many years. There is a great joy to being published. To have the ability to bring other voices to ink only magnifies that joy. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to do just that for such an amazing magazine.

I credit the previous pioneers who have made S&T what it is today—Gordon Linzner, Hildy Silverman and all those who have contributed their talents for so many years. Thank you for allowing me to take the helm.

Onward to new horizons!



Explore the Space and Time Magazine website here.

Read Hildy Silverman’s press release on this here.

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Exquisite Corpse #7: The Reckoning

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this month’s exquisite corpse—the final corpse of the year. All your excellent lines have given our exquisite corpse another month of purpose!

I do have my computer back, so I’m able to pair our poem with an image again. The way the lines came together amaze me. I have a sense of this collaborative poetry form as being something akin to magic. How do we all manage to create something so connected each month from such disconnected parts? Magic.

I wish everyone a wonderful 2019. May the distasteful bits of 2018 fall from your life to rot in the past and may the beautiful parts remain, growing brighter over the coming year until they illuminate every dark recess… except the shadowed corners you to choose to preserve. We can’t wipe away all the darkness, of course, or light would have no purpose.

Please enjoy the final corpse of the year, and I hope you will rejoin me soon for our next collaborative creation. This month’s eCorpse prize is a necklace containing real dirt sustainably harvested from Edgar Allan Poe’s original grave site—the perfect lucky charm for horror writers. This month’s winner is Sumiko Saulson. Congratz Sumiko, I will be emailing you for your address. Contributor names are in order of their line.

The last chimes of the old year die on a frozen wind as our corpse stretches sinew and cord to sing one last verse to times past. His fingers clutch at nothing, for that is all that is left to him… except words.

Lines of verse have been offered and he receives them gratefully as the lines that tether him to this place between worlds. Without them, he would cease. The gifted fragments are enough to quicken his thickened blood and give pulse.

Blank eyes look skyward at the hypnotic fall of midnight snow, and across the emptiness of winter he sings… and lives…

Read past corpse creations…

Exquisite Corpse #1: Collaborative Poem
Exquisite Corpse #2: The Daunting Riddle
Exquisite Corpse #3: Toxicated
Exquisite Corpse #4: Deceptions
Exquisite Corpse #5: Final Chimes
Exquisite Corpse #6: Treading


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Final Corpse of the Year

E. Corpse courtesy of Kyra Starr

I tried to go on holiday vacation and let the corpse rest until the new year but lines are coming in my inbox anyways, so let’s do this. This will be end of the corpses for 2018.

The old year will die with his final verse. I’m especially excited to see how this one turns out. Some of the lines coming in are giving me chills! Soooo…. despite what I said yesterday…

Submit your line now for the final Exquisite Corpse of the year. Send me your line via email— with EXQUISITE CORPSE in the subject line.

Please add your line and your name as you would like it to appear to the body of the email. Deadline is December 30th. The poem will be posted on December 31 to sing out the old year.

The names of contributors will be added in order of contribution. I’d also like to include our poem in my next poetry collection, Altars and Oubliettes.

And there will be a prize! I have made a few necklaces that contain real dirt sustainably harvested from Edgar Allan Poe’s original grave site—the perfect lucky charm for horror writers.

I’ll pick one line at random and send the creator a necklace in a gift box. Congratulations to Tawny Kipphorn for winning last time!

Aaaaand… in case you don’t know, an Exquisite Corpse is a collectively assembled poem. You can read more about them here.

Read past corpse creations…

Exquisite Corpse #1: Collaborative Poem
Exquisite Corpse #2: The Daunting Riddle
Exquisite Corpse #3: Toxicated
Exquisite Corpse #4: Deceptions
Exquisite Corpse #5: Final Chimes
Exquisite Corpse #6: Treading

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Closed for Christmas

I’m throwing in the towel for this year and putting myself on vacation until the new year. I’ve overestimated my abilities to keep to my daily blogging schedule while moving five apartments into one house with no car (still totaled) and no computer (still getting fixed).

We are in the thick of moving and I am more tired than I ever imagined was possible. A nasty cold bug is running through our tribe on top of everything else. ‘Tis the season for coughs and sneezin’…

I’m taking the rest of the year off from blogging to finish moving in, build a fence, install a dog door, fix my car, fix my computer, unpack and put together my office under the stairs. I’ll be back in 2019 with more exquisite corpses, fiction, reviews and excellent interviews.

I have one waiting now with the horrifically charismatic “Terrible Tim” from Drive-In Movie Maniacs, an award winning, nationally syndicated T.V. show that I will be excited to share in the new year. Read more about them here.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday however you celebrate (or don’t celebrate). See you in 2019!

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Exquisite Corpse #6: Treading

E. Corpse courtesy of Kyra Starr

Please read my post from yesterday for all my excuses as to why this exquisite corpse is late. My apologies for tardiness. I’m happy to have some new names joining us this time.

There will be one more corpse this year. Submissions open on Dec. 17th  and the poem will be posted (unless more crazy happens here) on New Year’s Eve. But more on that next week.

In the past posts I’ve enjoyed pairing the poem we create with an image but that will not happen today. The rickety computer I’m working on doesn’t have Photoshop and I’m not sure it could handle it… but no complaints! I am grateful to have anything to work on at all.

This month’s eCorpse prize is a necklace containing real dirt sustainably harvested from Edgar Allan Poe’s original grave site—the perfect lucky charm for horror writers. This month’s winner is Tawny Kipphorn. Congratz Tawny, I will be emailing you for your address.

But enough of the mundane. Let’s see our creation…

The corpse struggled to rise again, but the linen bindings were drawn too tight against his stiffened limbs. He cried out for help, but there was no internet to hear him. Finally, he prevailed and managed to slip off the table. He tore his bonds, released his voice and spoke this verse to the empty dark…


Distant thunder rolls across the heavens
as the sacred Dance of Death begins.
The glowing moon quietly sat in a rust-colored ring
as I drift upon waves of ebon shimmer.
The tea leaves shift in the microcurrent…
divination by peppermint.

I always dreamed of breathing underwater.

Over my soul a shadow looms,
and of my love this flower blooms.
Some things are better left unsaid,
some things are better off undead.

Collectively created by—Marge Simon, Sonora Taylor, Nina D’Arcangela,
Angela Yuriko Smith, Christina Sng, Tawny Kipphorn and David B. Harrington

Read past corpse creations…

Exquisite Corpse #1: Collaborative Poem
Exquisite Corpse #2: The Daunting Riddle
Exquisite Corpse #3: Toxicated
Exquisite Corpse #4: Deceptions
Exquisite Corpse #5: Final Chimes

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Still Standing

The last week and a half reads like fiction with all the catastrophes that popped up, but we are not only still standing, but pressing on in spite of it all. Tonight we find ourselves not quite at the end of the tunnel, but at least seeing the light.

We closed on our house at the end of November. We have the perfect house for us—a 123 year old house that’s been completely remodeled across the street from a park, a two minute walk from a large library and a short stroll from the historic square of Independence. It has a full size basement lined with antique brick. We are thrilled!

The next morning, the crazy started. First, my computer wouldn’t start. My CPU fan had gone out. Then my phone charge port decided to malfunction and I could barely keep it charged. It was the day after a blizzard, but progress must go on, right? I rented a van so I could pick up a stove. The sellers gave me the wrong address and at the end of the day I wound up at the bottom of a frozen hill in a moving van with a dead phone in the middle of the woods.

I managed to get a ride out to civilization, and the next day it took one of my sons and I two hours to break the ice enough to rescue the van. Once we did, I stubbornly tried to go after the cursed stove. Two more missed connections and another wrong address later, I finally got to see it. It was rusted. So much for being brand new. I left it and returned the van still stove-less.

We moved one of my sons in the new house so there would be someone on premises while we sorted things and moved ourselves. I dropped him off with supplies for a few days to find that the furnace wasn’t blowing heat. The furnace was the one thing we couldn’t inspect due to the gas not being on, but we were assured it was fine. It’s new, so we accepted that.

I did wind up smoking a pack of cigarettes at this point. I haven’t smoked since.

It wasn’t fine. A clogged exhaust, a bad pressure switch and a faulty thermostat meant $600 and two chilly nights for my son. Then the basement drain clogged. Once I got the furnace working I had to plunger the basement. I did get the drain cleared, and the water turned out to be from under the garage door due to extra heavy snow melt. I was glad to know it wasn’t anything busted.

Meanwhile, I managed to borrow a back up computer from my daughter so I could still get online and found that if I worked the cord just right I could still charge my phone. We had heat and online capabilities. Things were looking up.

That night I went to pick the other son up at work, and a teenage girl failed to stop in the parking lot and totaled my Civic. We were all very lucky she had hit the front of my car, causing it to spin. If she’d hit my passenger door straight on, she would have been seriously hurt. Lucky for me, I had no passengers yet.

A coworker boasted I finally had a “grown up girl car” when I pulled up in this car. Does this mean I no longer have to ‘grown up?’

That night I added up our situation. I was out a computer, a phone and now a car. The new house had no stove, fridge or washer and dryer and my budget for appliances at the moment had just gone on a furnace.

This is life, I decided. We had some huge blessings… a beautiful house, a family to fill it with and none of us had been hurt in the accident. I decided we were doing okay.

Since then, we’ve had some major blessings and things are back on track. I find myself grateful for little things, like the fact that my daughter had an old thrift store computer in her closet I can use while mine is being fixed. Every time I walk in the new house and feel heat, I smile. I probably would have never noticed it before. Now it’s a pleasure.

We are still in the thick of things… we have three apartments to break down and move into the house. The internet couldn’t be hooked up yet because of a rotted telephone pole, so that’s delayed, and we are still working out details like dog runs, dog doors and address changes.

My future writing space.

But the important details have been decided. I have my writing space claimed. There is an old cupboard under the stairs in the heart of the house that will make the perfect writing office for me. I can’t wait to get in there to push the spiders over, set up a desk and get back to writing.

So, a busy and adventurous week and a half for us, and more adventures ahead. I hope to get back on track with my work. I owe a finished exquisite corpse and prize. I plan to post that tomorrow, barring unforeseen incidents.

I’ll be offering Bitter Suites for free on Kindle next Friday. I was interviewed by the Horror Tree and that interview goes up this weekend I think… and I have an exciting announcement I hope to share at some point this week.

For now, I’m sitting back and being grateful I’m still standing.

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