Category Archives: News

Join me for Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday Bash Online next Thursday, January 19!

So thrilled to announce it’s almost time to grab your amontillado and join me and a host of other Poe-enamored writers as we read “The Raven” and “The Bells” in celebration of Poe’s birthday Thursday, January 19, at 7 pm on Zoom!

2023 Edgar Allan Poe Birthday Bash Art

The event is free. If you’d like the Zoom link, PM me, email me, text me or however you get in touch with me, and I’ll get it right to you. You can also reach out to me through my contact page.

Co-sponsored by the Untitled Open Mic at Lowell Poetry Wheel and hosted by writer Meg Smith, we’ll each be reading Read the rest of this entry

Pushing the Reset Button

Success Popper 2022

When I was a kid, my parents had people over on New Year’s Eve. Usually, those couples brought their kids, and it was an evening of unsupervised fun in one of the downstairs rooms in our house. We got to eat things like Fritos and Port Wine cheese balls and could stay up as late as we wanted, playing Atari or watching movies.

But my parents looked at New Year’s as little more than the less exciting, not very meaningful finish to the holiday season, and I have to admit I did too, up until I got into my late 20s. Once I moved in with my housemate Charles and started to embark on my writing career and my own life in earnest, we began to mark both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as something to be celebrated, something special. Over the years, it’s gotten to the point at which, after Christmas Day, I start taking down the decorations and switch those in my home over to “winter,” and New Year’s Eve and Day have a spirit, feel, and magic all their own—it’s a party with friends (virtual for the past few) followed by a full day of rest on the couch, eating fun food and taking in Syfy’s annual The Twilight Zone marathon (and I own them on DVD, so if that ever goes away, I can happily continue that tradition).

Over the past five years, the two days have also taken on a spiritual bent for me. Not only a holiday, but a chance to begin completely anew. I’m not one for “resolutions” and never have been, but I always look at the start of a new year as the chance to reflect on the past year, take stock of things, and set new goals with the idea of “working on it” and not necessarily “completing it” to be successful.

I’ve seen writers socially sharing what they achieved in the past year, and I thought it was a neat idea, because I don’t do that. Not in the sense of a “tally” anyway. Last year’s New Year’s Eve cracker wish for me was SUCCESS, and holy crow, I wasn’t prepared for what that actually meant.

 

The year was a whirlwind. There are probably some things I forgot—honestly, that’s how awesome this year was—but here we go:

7 polished new short stories

3 new works in progress

29 new story ideas (nothing written yet, no. They go in a file for later).

5 acceptances

2 invitations to submit (successful)

12 story publications

Guest Speaker at 2 College Creative Writing Classes

6 interviews (podcast and print)

9 positive reviews of my stories or projects

2 successful 34 Orchard issue releases

4 panel events

LOL – a tiny photo of me in the New York Times and an interview in the Washington Post

Featured Author for Sirens Call eZine’s Winter 2022 issue

Final selections for anthology I’m co-curating; editing underway now

1 incredible new opportunity I can’t talk about yet

…and 1 film credit! Thanks to my husband Nathan, I got to be an extra on the set of the upcoming horror movie Candlewood. My first time on a movie set, I was nervous as shit, but I had a wonderful time! Whether anyone actually sees anything more of me than my arm or something kinda isn’t the point. That was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m looking forward to this summer’s release.

I also opened my 2022 “Wishes & Intentions.” I didn’t necessarily Read the rest of this entry

New story and essay, novel excerpt AVAILABLE NOW in FREE SIRENS CALL EZINE ISSUE 60!

SIRENS CALL ISSUE 60 COVER

BIG NEWS!! I’m ecstatic to announce that Sirens Call eZine Issue #60—FREE to download—not only contains my story, “What the Ocean Knows,” but, because they honored me with being featured author, also contains an essay, “Whispers Beneath the Lines: Dark Fiction’s Power to Heal” and a longer excerpt from my novel, Bad Apple! This giant issue also features Read the rest of this entry

PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER! “Sea Legs” available in Lovecraftian Microfiction Vol. 8!

Tree Nestle 1

How CUTE is this tiny book on a Christmas tree?

I’m thrilled to announce that my piece, “Sea Legs,” is now available in Lovecraftian Microfiction Volume 8!

“Sea Legs” is one of thirteen winners in the 2022 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon Microfiction Contest, and the collection makes the perfect stocking stuffer (tiny trim size is so cute too!!). It’s also two books in one, with Tales from the Tainted Inkwell—stories from the past that are out of print, including by cosmic favorites Cody Goodfellow and Peter Rawlik—on its flipside.

In “Sea Legs”: On a North Sea island, villagers are grateful for what the sea goddess gives—until what She tries to take in return may force one of them to go to unusual extremes. I was trying my hand at a cosmic/folk horror blend, something about which I learned at this year’s Necronomicon in Providence, RI in August.

Fill a stocking, put it under the tree, or treat yourself. You can get it here:

https://arkhambazaar.com/books/lovecraftian-microfiction-2022-tales-from-the-tainted-inkwell-collection/

Yay! My short story “Let the Rain Settle It” accepted for HUSH, DON’T WAKE THE MONSTER—Stephen King homage anthology!

So excited to announce that my short story, “Let the Rain Settle It” has been accepted for publication in Hush, Don’t Wake the Monster—A Women in Horror Anthology containing stories inspired by Stephen King but with a female spin!

Hush, Don't Wake the Monster Cover

“Let the Rain Settle It” is an homage to Stephen King’s “Rainy Season,” which I read in the early 1990s and has haunted me ever since. Here’s the introduction I penned for my submission:

Why I chose Stephen King’s “Rainy Season”

 It’s been said the experience of a story is different for each reader, because it depends on what that person brings to the table. I didn’t read Stephen King’s “Rainy Season” until it was reprinted in his 1993 Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection, but of all the pieces I’d read of his, this is the one that stuck. As a starry-eyed twenty-two year old who was, at the time, blissfully unaware she was engaged in a toxic relationship, I connected most with the subtle clues King presents about the broken young couple heading toward not just physical demise, but eventual emotional disaster if they did survive. While John and Elise aren’t the focus of King’s narrative—the spotlight, as always, shines on unsettling Mainers—they’re clearly in a place where the ordinary drudge of life and its reactionary transgressions have squelched the blush of love and romance. The blinders are off, they see each other for who they really are, and it’s not pretty.

While it’s been accused of being too similar to Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and a “time passer,” “Rainy Season” isn’t just another folk horror tale or creature feature. It’s a warning that the killer toads of life are always at your romantic door, and sometimes, it’s just better to let them in.

I’m so excited and honored my story was chosen for this unique project, and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories! Watch this space for pre-order and ToC announcement—Hush will be released March 2, 2023!

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 6 IS HERE!

A shocking occurrence unmasks a professor and a ne’er-do-well covers up the truth. A machine exposes the past and lies linger between a dinner’s courses. A bijou boogeyman unleashes a daughter’s rage while ordinary colors and unusual mattresses strip away the pretense of composure. In Issue 6, seventeen artists brood on the secrets we keep, and what happens when they are exposed.

Autumn 2022 features a dark tale from India, disturbing looks at real-life events, emotional pieces by newer voices and scary stories by names that frequently haunt anthology tables of contents. Why, even the cover photo has an unsettling tale behind it! Our sixth issue is what you’ll want waiting when you take your break from prepping for the busy holiday season.

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 6 COVER

Announcing our Table of Contents!

Cover Art: Ophelia’s Last Secret – Robert Cedergren

Shrike Song – Zachary Kellian

The Beginning of You – Samantha Bryant

The Gritter – Kurt Newton

The Baron of the Rails – Douglas Ford

The Dusk of Day-shapes – David H. West

And Satyrs Shall Dance There – John Berbrich

The Yakshi Next Door – Hareendran Kallinkeel

Head – Mark Steensland

Memory Foam – Rowan Hill

Her Color – Grace Rolen

Step on a Crack – Jake Jerome

Birthday Dinner, May 28. – Jennifer Judge

All Aboard – KC Grifant

Young People in Love – Sam Lesek

Ugly Cinderella – Molly Greer

Insert Name Here – J. Paul Ross

The downloadable PDF is designed so that it can be printed on double-sided paper for easy reading like a print magazine. As always, the issue is free, but there is a donation link should you choose to contribute.

Click here to get your copy!

Awesome announcements: “What the Ocean Knows” and “Sea Legs” accepted!

Scusset Beach Cape Cod -- Ghostly Footprints and Ribbons September 23, 2022

This washed-up eel grass and the ghostly prints of my boots inspired my short story, “What the Ocean Knows.” This photo was taken at Scusset Beach, Sandwich, MA, September 23, 2022.

My newest short story, “What the Ocean Knows,” has been accepted for publication in Sirens Call eZine Issue 60, Winter 2022! In “What the Ocean Knows”: A grieving Mavis finds comfort in afternoons spent talking to the sea… until the day the sea talks back.

This is a free online ’zine that has loads of good fiction, so I’ll let you know when it’s released and you can download your copy.

Sea Legs Winner -- HPLFF Colorful Cosmic Logo

In addition, my microfiction, “Sea Legs,” was one of thirteen winners in the 2022 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthuluthon Microfiction Contest, and will be published in Lovecraftian Microfiction Volume 8!

In “Sea Legs”: On a North Sea island, Read the rest of this entry

Halloween treats that won’t weigh you down! OUT OF TIME: TRUE PARANORMAL ENCOUNTERS is here—free preview of “Floor Song Tango” below!

If you love true ghost stories, then Timber Ghost Press’ Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters is the anthology you want to unwrap every night along with your favorite full-sized Halloween treat! (And if you DO purchase this book, drop me a line through my Contact page or other means. I have a special goody for you!)

My piece, “Floor Song Tango,” opens the collection, and is about the house I grew up in. Outsiders didn’t know what was going on—mostly because our parents had completely brainwashed us into thinking our experiences were products of our imagination (for the record, I think it was brilliant that they did that. I, for one, never would’ve slept. I’m forever grateful). I’m sure they’d even convinced themselves. That said, when it came time to dump the place after Dad’s passing, things ramped up.

While finally coming clean in “Floor Song Tango” relieved me Read the rest of this entry

Off to the beach house writer’s retreat!

This is my favorite beach house mug, although I always bring my own.

I leave Friday for the annual writer’s retreat at the beach house in Cape Cod with five other talented writers, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be there until 9/23.

While last year was incredible, I have to admit that the focus was mostly on my enjoyment of the great outdoors and getting some rest and social time. This year? The focus will be completely different. I have tons of stuff to catch up on: the Wicked Sick anthology, outstanding 34 Orchard business, website/blog/general writing practical-end catch-up, blog posts, the NEHW classes I’ll be teaching, Bad Apple’s 10th anniversary release, some reading… and some writing. Maybe. My list is pages long. Way more than I can get done in eight days. But I’m going to do my best!

And, with any luck, the weather will be such that I can get some daily beach time in.

Have a great week!

Hone your writing skills in these micro-focused classes! I start teaching September 28!

MASTER TOOBOX SERIES ART

Back to class! I’m thrilled to announce Trisha J. Wooldridge and I will be hosting an online Master Toolbox Series for writers that micro-focuses on specific skills. There’s one session a month and, at $35/each, they’re affordable; you can take just one, multiples, or, if you wish, all of them at a discounted price. They’re also keyed to any skill level. Proceeds support both the New England Horror Writers and 34 Orchard. Details and how to register below.

Tools of the writing trade need a sharpen? Need to pick up some new ones? No worries! Beginning in September, 2022 and monthly through February, 2023, the New England Horror Writers will present two hour Zoom webinars (which will include exercises and time for Q&A) that delve deep into the specifics of craft and business skills!

Open to the general public and NEHW members, each class will focus on a specific topic. Instructors are Kristi Petersen Schoonover and Trisha J. Wooldridge.

If you’re looking to build some new skills, these micro-focused, affordable classes are the way to go—and yes, we have plans to offer subsequent sessions with different topics every fall-winter going forward!

Here’s the full schedule:

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 – 7—9 pm

Story Openings Blueprint

We’ve only got one sentence to hammer that “you must keep reading me!” message home—and many writers don’t realize that sometimes, a piece getting moved out of slush is dependent on the strength of that one sentence. From do’s and don’ts to mining and can’t-miss criteria, this class gives the blueprint for great openers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 – 7—9 pm

Excess Hardware: Wordiness and Filter Phrases

We build stories from words and phrases—but sometimes we use more hardware than necessary to get the job done! This course teaches how to thoroughly inspect the piece to identify extra words and filter phrases and how to remove them for a cleaner reading experience.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 – 7—9 pm

EnTITLEment: Top-Notch Titles

A title isn’t just a label in My Documents. A good one should tell the editor or reader something about the story—right down to its tone. EnTITLEment provides the tools to nail a top-notch title every time, so that it not only stands out in an editor’s inbox—it pops in a ToC!

Wednesday, December 14 – 7—9pm

The Architecture of the Submissions Process

There’s more to the submissions process than just clicking send. We’ll offer plenty of insider tips on everything from formatting, market searching and close reading of guidelines to cover letters and bios to ensure pieces get considered. We’ll also cover other mechanics like tracking and how to develop structured—but easy—processes that guarantee we don’t inadvertently screw ourselves.

Wednesday, January 25 – 7—9pm

Dampproofing Dialogue

At best, dialogue can say a lot about characters, make them leap off the page, and be incredibly memorable; at worst, it can waterlog the pacing, tell instead of show, turn the story into a boring lecture and quite literally, say nothing. We’ll not only study how to write effective dialogue that makes characters feel organic, we’ll look at formatting, dos and don’ts, and how to make choices about what comes out of people’s mouths.

Wednesday, February 22 – 7—9pm

Nailing Theme

When it comes to theme, many of us probably didn’t feel like the sharpest tool in the shed that was high school English—but as writers, understanding theme is crucial: it’s the support beam of the story. We’ve got a fool-proof, easy way to identify theme and thematic statement, and we’ll teach its use in building a story that will stand the test of time.

Class materials will be sent to registrants ahead of time via email and are included in the $25 NEHW Member/$35 NON-NEHW Member fees. You can sign up for any combination of classes. Want to buy access to ALL SIX webinars? You can do that too: Member price for all six webinars is $130; Non-member price is $175.

Registration for NEHW Members:
https://wickedcreativellc.submittable.com/submit/231651/nehw-members-master-toolbox-webinar-series

Registration for Non-paid Members:
https://wickedcreativellc.submittable.com/submit/232874/nehw-non-members-master-toolbox-webinar-series

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