BAD APPLE makes “best of” lists


Every once in a while you find out something that just makes your day. Recently, I discovered my novel Bad Apple was listed on a couple of Favorites/Best Of Lists (and in all the wedding planning and post-wedding clean-up chaos I missed it). So it was a nice surprise to find out that

Literary Mayhem’s Peter Schwotzer, who reviewed the book last year, named it to his My Favorite Books for 2013 List here and science fiction writer Brady Allen recommended it on his Way Out There blog as 8 Books You Might Like here.

In addition, Elissa Malcohn recommended it in connection with caregiving, as Bad Apple is the story of my experience with youth caregiving told through the lens of fiction. Read her interview over at The Genius Salon  here.

Stopping by Woods…

Stopping by Woods

I hate winter. Everybody who knows me knows that, and it’s one of the reasons I really want to head south in the next few years. But recently, my city-dwelling cousin–who loves the winter and snow–came to visit, and it (unexpectedly) started to snow. We had planned to watch movies, but she said she had always wanted to be up here, in the woods, while it was snowing – a dream she’d had for close to thirty years.

No movie-watching happened that day. We broke out the wine, sat outside on the back porch, and watched it snow. And it truly was beautiful. Sometimes it takes seeing something through someone else’s eyes to appreciate it.

On another note, it’s my late father’s birthday, and tomorrow is the first anniversary of my friend and mentor Daniel Pearlman’s death. Both men loved the poetry of Robert Frost.

Enjoy some poetry in the snow (and my husband’s birds going crazy getting seed from the feeders)!

The Quest for Corn Bran

Preparing to Eat Quaker Corn Bran

On Christmas Day, my sister and I were both up early. We opened our gifts to each other while on the phone and laughed about some of our best—and worst—Christmas Day memories. I don’t even know how we got on the subject, but we started talking about Read the rest of this entry

Review: Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End
Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s hard to find a zombie novel that leaves an indelible impression, because let’s face it, the storylines are often indistinguishable: World Plague. Infected become zombies who can spread through biting. Lone or few survivors fight zombies and each other, revealing humanity’s ugliness. Either everyone dies at the end or there’s hope for a new beginning. APOCALYPSE Z, though, is one I’m going to keep in my box to re-read on occasion; the eloquent writing and sharp descriptions resulted in some of the most stunning, chill-inducing moments I’ve ever experienced in a zombie novel. The best example appears on pages 120 and 121 in the paperback edition, in which the protagonist finds a zombie baby stuck in a high chair (I’m not going to quote it here, just get this book and read those two pages. Amazing). And then there are more poignant moments; from page 185 of the paperback edition: “Packets of noodle soup had been torn open in the shuffle; the entire floor was covered with little stars. I don’t know why, but that image jolted me like an electric shock, more than any other atrocity I’d witnessed./I collapsed against a wall, exhausted, eyeing all that pasta on the floor. I remembered how my mother and I had fixed soup on rainy days. That memory was intense and painful. I’d stored away that anguish, but now it flooded me in an unstoppable torrent. I mourned silently, big tears rolling down my face.” Fine stuff. Loureiro has taken the zombie novel to an intelligent, literary level. As far as zombie novel’s go, this one’s unforgettable.

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Snowed in? No problem! The SFSN Story Bundle is here!

Every once in awhile some awesome comes my way, and this month was no exception. Bad Apple was selected to appear in the SciFi Saturday Night Story Bundle. What’s story bundle? In a nutshell, it’s pay what you want for a group of five to seven e-books (what’s even cooler is it includes Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World!!). It’s live now – but only for a limited time; it’s gone forever on February 17! More info is below; don’t miss out on this opportunity to get seven great e-books: For very little dough, entertainment in the snow (groan)! To get your set from now through Feb. 17, click here:

SFSN Story Bundle Covers


StoryBundle’s proud to present the Sci-Fi Saturday Night Bundle, a collection of 7 titles curated exclusively by Sci-Fi Saturday Night. The popular podcast’s hosts each chose their favorite authors and we’re proud to feature the collection together for the first time anywhere. I’ll let them explain: Read the rest of this entry

Review: New Ghost Stories

New Ghost Stories
New Ghost Stories by Rob Redman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New Ghost Stories, published by The Fiction Desk, features some strong, fresh stories that make this collection worth picking up. Julia Patt’s “At Glenn Dale”–based on a real location–preys on urban explorer fantasies and ratchets the tension beautifully, while Eloise Shepherd’s “Journeyman” has the rare distinction of something I’ve honestly never seen done: the ghost’s appearance is so seamlessly integrated, sharp, short and shocking it’s almost as though it’s a film image; it’s a jump-inducing moment that made me question whether or not I had really seen it. Matthew Licht’s “Washout” uses the sense of smell to flesh out its setting and help the reader relate to the circumstances of its sorry characters, and the entrance of the supernatural is so completely unexpected it would’ve made a surprising addition to a non-genre-specific collection. My personal favorite, though, is Jason Atkinson’s “Half Mom,” a palpable examination of loss and regret with a bit of black comedy. All in all, those four make New Ghost Stories a general recommend for ghost story junkies who are tired of the same old stuff.

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In Case You Missed It: The Blog Ring of Power

BRoP Year in Review 2013What’s the Blog Ring of Power? Five writers who’ve bonded together to deliver some great content: writing advice and interviews from authors everywhere, as well as some other neat stuff in the world of speculative fiction. I was lucky enough to get an interview spot, and in the extensive, five-installment series I talk about the first story I ever wrote, which stories by others have affected me most, what career I’d be in if I weren’t a writer, why I prefer publishing through a small house, what I do about writer’s block and why it’s never a good idea to discuss your work-in-progress (and it’s not what you think!)—among other things. Here are the links to it all:

Part 1: Terri Bruce, February 27, 2013

Part 2: T.W. Fendley, February 28, 2013

Part 3: E.M. Labonte, March 1, 2013

Part 4: Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, March 4, 2013

Part 5: Dean C. Rich, March 5, 2013

The year closed out with an overview of my 2013 and what I’ve got on tap for 2014 at Sandra Ulbrich Almazan’s blog here: or on Goodreads at

Review: Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost Stories

Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost Stories
Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost Stories by Andrea Janes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sparingly-rendered treasure chest of ten tales is fresh and fun. On a technical level, what’s most impressive is the sharp imagery, deft use of single effect, and economy in the telling. Poe fans who have any deeper familiarity with the man’s body of work shouldn’t let this one pass them by—it’s chock full of subtle allusions to even some of his lesser known works at every turn and works heavily with many of his primary themes. As a bonus, lovers of New York City will appreciate not only the variety of locations depicted in the book—from the Morgan Library in Midtown to the Village to Prospect Park—but also the setting of stories during some of the city’s darker chapters: The fire and sinking of the General Slocum, a man’s murdering of his fiancé in SoHo, the terrible oil leak at Newtown Creek. Standouts for me included “We’ll All Be in the Arms of our True Loves Before Long,” “A Fitting Tribute,” “The General Slocum,” and “The Northern Dispensary” (this last one has a total party with Poe’s “Berenice”!), but they’re all enjoyable and skillfully written. A quick read that’s difficult to put down, Boroughs of the Dead is a must for any ghost story lover.

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THIS POISONED GROUND released today!

This Poisoned Ground

Dark Alley Press released “This Poisoned Ground” today! It’s 99 cents, so don’t pass it up!

To purchase in all e-formats, get it direct from the publisher here:

To get it right on your Kindle:

Want to know more first? Visit here.

Writers: Five Tips for Flashbacks

Flashbacks can be useful tools if they’re used properly. Here are five tips for doing it right I’ve learned along the way over at Jester Harley’s Manuscript Page (the official blog of writer Anne E. Johnson):


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