IN SOMNIO: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror – Kickstarter and Pledge Rewards

I’m excited to announce the Kickstarter for IN SOMINIO: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror, which will include my weird story, “The Reaching Sea.” It’s coming soon from Tenebrous Press and editor Alex Woodroe.

Image showing the cover of the IN SOMNIO anthology, which is a monstrous angler fish house luring people in. Also shows illustrations of a woman and hands, disembodied hands chopping an axe, a woman from the sea with fish nets draped on her and a starfish, and a mud monster crawling towards the viewer and smiling.

IN SOMNIO will feature the work 25 horror writers and illustrators who’ve twisted classic Gothic tropes into new, horrendous forms.

The Kickstarter for IN SOMNIO went live a couple days ago, and it’s already over 60% funded! Pledge rewards include book pre-orders, prints of the cover and interior illustrations, eBook bundles, and fun add-ons like stickers and social media eulogies.

Indie book sellers: There are retailer discounts, too. 

Black and white illustration of a fox and bat with it's mouth wide open, over a creepy house surrounded by woods and flowers

I’m thrilled to be part of this gorgeous anthology. Thank you to everyone who supports the Kickstarter, no matter what the contribution. Your pledges are making this project happen, getting an indie press and editor paid, and funding illustrators who create spooky, unsettling art.

Photograph labeled "Victoria Nations - The Reaching Sea -" with as story excerpt: "Barry, put that down." her voice had rung out louder than the wind coming off the water. Barry had waded calf-deep to catch the thing floating towards him. He'd just realized he was holding a human hand. A hand! So weird! And she was there, insisting he give it up. "Mom, look! It used to be alive." Barry cringed, remembering how he'd tried to explain it to her, but the excitement tangled his tongue. He needed to convey how important a discovery it was. Mom wasn't moved by his enthusiam, though. "That tells me it's rotten now. Drop it."

Winter Horror, “After Krampusnacht” and Beyond

Gothic Blue Book, Volume VI: A Krampus Carol is here from Burial Day Books! It is a celebration of folklore and myth around Christmas, Yule, the cold winter months and Santa Claus’ opposite, Krampus. What better way to pass the dark nights of winter?

My Krampus, in “After Krampusnacht,” visits a seaside town. There’s no snow, but the drifting sand still hides a monster.

You can read about my writing process for “After Krampusnacht” at The Midnight Society.

Gothic Blue Book, Volume VI: A Krampus Carol is available in paperback and eBook formats:

Paperback

Kindle

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.

panel close-up

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!

giphy

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.

5mar

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!

giphy2

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

NaNoWriMo 2016 – My Third Year at Hogwarts

Have you met your word count for today, NaNoWriMos?

NaNoWriMo has been rocking along for six days now, and writers are flying on the heady rush of stories pouring out of them while simultaneously worrying when and where they’ll find the time to reach their nearly 1700 wpd (words per day) goal. Wacky sleep patterns are starting to take their toll. Writers are sneaking into corners to tap on their phones or dictating scenes while driving.

This is my third NaNoWriMo and just like Harry Potter in his third year:

“I knew I could do it this time,” said Harry, “because I’d already done it…Does that make sense?” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling

I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo twice before, so I know I can get 50,000 words of a story out in 30 days. And I know I’d have a blast doing it.  I even have a creepy story idea that wants to be a novel, badly.

But I needed something other than 50,000 new words this year. I’m doing something harder, at least for me. I’m spending my time editing last year’s novel. That means reworking the parts that fell flat before, or which ended with note to myself to “do something here.” It means punching up my ending to something more exciting.

It also means discovering that I really like some of what I wrote last year, and being grateful it’s organized more coherently than I’d feared. I love this story. The main character is awful, and kind of hilarious, and I have the best time writing her. Horrific things happen that make me want to clap my hands. There’s magic there, and the story deserves to be made better. And it feels good to push myself to get better at my craft.

And I have some reward writing for myself, too. I have a spooky short story to finish for submission in December, so that’s my dessert after I do the harder stuff.

Do you have a writing goal this NaNoWriMo? Any tricks for fitting writing into your schedule?

You can find me at Leaves and Cobwebs – reach out and let’s cheer each other on.

DreadFest 2017 – Call for Writers

I’m very excited to be involved with an upcoming event that celebrates horror and dark fiction in all its delicious forms.

W.T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora, Florida is looking for authors to participate in its first annual “DreadFest,” an event to celebrate the darker side of fiction.  The event will focus on horror and other genres that give a creeping sense of dread.  Authors must have books available for purchase.  The event will be limited to 20 authors.

The event is being planned for January 14 or 28, 2017, at the library.  The library has large rooms for presentations.  Authors who participate will have their own 6’ table to sell and sign books and other things.  The library will promote the event and feed the authors lunch.  They will solicit vendors to provide door prizes to attendees, and may even be able to provide some musical entertainment.  There is an outdoor pavilion that could be used if an activity is better suited for it.

WT Bland Library

W.T. Bland Public Library

Since this is a new event, participating authors have the opportunity to help direct the format.  The library would love to have participating authors:

·         Do presentations on writing or elements of dark fiction (horror, dark fantasy, thriller, paranormal romance, etc.)
·         Participate in a horror/dark fiction author panel
·         Help judge a micro- or nanofiction writing contest
·         Sell and sign their books
·         Donate a book to be included in door prizes

W.T. Bland Public Library has held a popular Romance Expo (celebrating Florida romance authors and books) for several years.  At last year’s August event, they had 20 participating authors and over 100 attendees.

Bonus: The weather in Central Florida is usually beautiful in January, and Mount Dora is  a popular spot for winter “snowbirds” and tourists, so it’s a perfect time to visit and share your scary stories.

If you are interested, email me at LeavesandCobwebs@earthlink.net or send me a message on Twitter at @Leaves_Cobwebs.  Hope to see you there!

Dreams and Summer Camp (NaNoWriMo)

In a place where the oak canopy opens and there is full sunshine, the Seminole-Wekiva Trail asks what you want before you die.

A little apart from the murals of Paint the Trail, a section is painted with chalkboard paint.  There’s chalk to write your dreams.  What do you want to do before you die?

I stopped when I first saw it, struck by the question.  It’s so big and yet so basic. It implies that you aren’t, yet, doing the thing you want to do.

Maybe the remoteness makes it easier to declare what you want.  The wall is covered in layers of writing.  People wrote who they want to marry, or just that they want to fall in love.  They wrote they want to become the best at something.  They wrote they want to move away from their home city, dreaming of the wider world.

Some came back to write that they did the thing they had written before.  These are written in large, victorious letters.

I wrote a dream earlier this year, and I think of my chalkboard heart often as I work towards it.  This year has been about editing my stories better, paying attention to how they are crafted, and submitting them.  With more submissions, I’ve received more feedback, and that is making me a better writer.

Happy first day of Camp NaNoWriMo to my fellow campers out there!  By participating, you’re making your declaration of what you want to do.  You’re carving out time to write, riding the thrill of a story coming together in your head, and pushing through the muck when it slows.  I’ll see you along the way at #5amWritersClub and near midnight, trying to get my daily word count.  Come say hi at Leaves and Cobwebs, and we’ll sprint together down the trail.

SWT-Before I die-heart