The Gift of Jolene Haley

Once upon a time, when I was dipping my foot into the writing community, I saw a tweet by a writer inviting total strangers to join their horror cabin during Camp NaNoWriMo. And I overcame my introverted reticence and tweeted back.

That’s how I met the incomparable Jolene Haley.

Jolene blew me away from the moment I met her online.

Polished and creative. Jolene writes stories that make me tremble with fear, then cry from loss on the next page. Check out her books and anthologies here.

Compassionate and warm. I immediately knew she loved doggos, pizza, witchy things, and the people close to her. Jolene introduced me to many of my closest horror writer friends, and that she is surrounded by the most positive and supportive writers is a credit to how genuine she is.

Inspiring and elevates others. Jolene’s support and enthusiasm for people making art has no bounds. She hosts a global horror resource site, The Midnight Society, and features writers and illustrators each year in her own Spooky Showcases. And she advocates for her writers as an agent with the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

One of these days, I’m going to meet Jolene in person. But her friendship is strong enough to cross the whole country. She is my gift, even though today is her birthday.

The Midnight Society is posting lots of birthday wishes for Jolene today. Swing by and check them out!

Mary Rajotte

Kathy Palm

Brian LeTendre

FWF Celebrity Workshop: Jonathan Maberry

I am excited to share that the 2019 Florida Writers Foundation Celebrity Workshop is hosting Jonathan Maberry.

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, and comic book writer. His vampire apocalypse book series, V-WARS, is in production as a Netflix original series and will debut in early 2019. He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and action; and he writes for adults, teens and middle grade. Find him online at www.jonathanmaberry.com.

You can register for the FWF Celebrity Workshop here.

The Florida Writers Foundation is the charitable sister organization of the Florida Writers Association.

The Other Side of the Table: Spooky Empire 2018

Spooky Empire Horror Weekend is done, and what an amazing experience. There is so much I could write about, but I want to share something I couldn’t find before I appeared on the Creator’s Track: how it felt as a horror writer just beginning to make appearances at conventions and conferences.

michael and victoria

What touched me the most was how welcoming the horror writer community was at Spooky Empire. The 2018 Creators Track list was exceptional, and many of them had appeared at Spooky Empire before. Check out the lineup:

creators track poster

Credit goes to our track organizer, A.D. Sams, for how well everything flowed. The green room was full of silliness and snacks, and the panels and signing tables broke and set up smoothly. Panelists were excellent presenters, and they supported each other’s books, comics, films and music in each session. 

This was my first event bringing books and swag to a signing table, and I’d scoured writer blogs for suggestions. I don’t have any photos of my rolling backpack filled with books, bookmarks, cards, a display stand, bones, pens, sign, and a pensive skeleton, but it was carefully packed to set up my display in a couple of minutes. The planning helped, because attendees came over to talk about writing once the bones came out.

signing table

Lastly, my role as a panelist took me by surprise. I’d hoped, and it happened, that I spent the weekend with creators and audiences who share my love of horror. I hadn’t expected the legitimacy granted from a badge, a Horror Writer Association T-shirt, and being in the program. People treated me like a “real” writer.

And I am. And so were the audience members who asked questions  after we coaxed them, and then gushed about horror writing. So were the folks who came to the signing table and got information about writing resources in their area. I sat in the Spooky Empire audience in 2017, and I still am sitting in the audience, learning from writers who know more than me. I really appreciated sharing the con with those writers, to share that the panel table doesn’t make imposter syndrome go away, and encourage their writing the way the Spooky Empire writers have encouraged me.

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There is so much more I could write about Spooky Empire Horror Weekend, from the huge selection of horror vendors, to the exceptional cosplay, to the vibe of thousands of people loving spooky things and celebrating them together. Check out this video by Attractions Magazine to see just how big the Spooky Empire Ultimate Horror Weekend is:


Upcoming – Spooky Empire Creators Track

Spooky Empire Logo

I will be appearing as part of the Creators Track at Spooky Empire in Orlando, Florida, USA, on October 26-28, 2018.  Spooky Empire Ultimate Horror Weekend is one of the largest horror conventions in the nation, and this year’s convention has a huge line up of celebrity guests, horror creators, a film festival, live performances, and a tattoo festival.

This year’s Creators Track focuses on horror writers and includes panels, seminars, and signings. Come see me at Cult of Terror, Women in Horror, and Writing is Hard, But We Love It.  I’ll also be signing The Dark and Stormy Night, a blind round robin horror story.

Want more information on the Creators Track? I wrote about last year’s panels for The Midnight Society.

Can’t wait to see you there!

VICTORIANATIONS

Woo hoo! Blink Fly is a Finalist!

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Fed up with her cabin mates, a girl hikes under the Texas sun and meets the fly of her darkest dreams.

I’m excited to announce that my story, “Blink Fly,” is a finalist in the published flash fiction category of the Royal Palm Literary Awards.

The Royal Palm Literary Awards are the Florida Writers Association annual writing competition.  I’ve been a member of FWA for several years, and I’m honored that my story has been recognized by my local writing community.

Awards will be given on October 20, 2018, at the FWA conference banquet.

“Blink Fly” was published as part of the Summer of Screams Writer and Artist Showcase, a compilation of dark fiction and artwork set in summer camp.

Happy Birthday to the Magical Jolene Haley!

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Did you see the will o’ wisp dancing outside your door this morning?  She fluttered for just a moment, then careened off. There are forces moving on the wind, darting between shadows, luring you off to where the spirits are celebrating today.

Jolene Haley, writer and founder of the The Midnight Society horror writer collective, is having a birthday today!

 

An adorable night hag, haunting the dreams of her victims, Jolene writes terrifying slasher YA stories and witchy romance.  Her beast minions, the dog and the occasional cat, serve her on the night roads.  She grows stronger from eating the food of the gods, pizza.  She cannot be stopped.

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Jolene’s greatest magic is the warmth and support she gives to everyone around her.  She brightens dark days, dispels dark spirits of the heart, and feeds the creative fire in her friends and acolytes.

Blow out those birthday candles, Jolene! Hope you special day is amazing!

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The Midnight Society is celebrating our creepiest member all around the internet.  Check out all the other Jolene celebrations!

Jenna LehneKathy PalmAmy GiuffridaMary RajotteBrian LeTendre

Summer Camp, Summer Screams

Summer camp is bonfires, camp songs, and summer friendships…

Summer camp is spooky woods, monster legends, and the scary things that lurk just beyond the trail…

Or on the trail, like “Blink Fly.”

#SummerofScreams

Jolene Haley is hosting #SummerofScreams, writer and artist showcase celebrating the darker side of summer camp.  “Blink Fly” follows a camper hiking in Palo Duro Canyon, where the Texas ground cracks open.  The canyon is rust red and deep.

You’ve probably met a robber fly before, maybe even jumped when it buzzed past you.  They’re common and spectacular, and always hunting.  Hello, gorgeous.

Robber_Fly,_Face,_Charles_County,_MD_2013-11-04-11.26.16_ZS_PMax_(10768695115)

Credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, USA [Public domain or CC BY 2.0]

Jolene Haley is an exceptional writer and curator of horror and other anthologies.  I highly recommend “Harrowed (Woodsview Murders, #1),” her YA slasher with Brian LeTendre.

Follow the #SummerofScreams showcase for more scary summer camp stories.