Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alright, All Right, Alrite...

It feels like forever since I did a regular blog post, so it's time to post something with some sort of value, eh?

Before jumping into the post, Beneath the Waves is now available for purchase at Amazon, and includes my short story A Cold and Carnal Hunger.

When I was editing the WIP I currently have on submission to agents, I found I had some confusion about a lot of "A" words. For example alright vs. all right. I ended up jotting down the words that were giving me issues, so that I could do a pass through during editing specifically to ensure I was using the right words.

It seems we've smooshed some words together that shouldn't actually be one word, and in other cases, whether it's one word or two depends upon the usage, so I figured I'd compile what I learned into a series of posts, partially for me to reference in the future.

I'm starting with alright vs. all right. In case that wasn't clear from the title. (I was channeling Matthew McConaughey, what can I say? And in order to fully channel him, I threw in a truly fake version of the word: alrite.)

As it turns out, McConaughey must be saying, "All right, all right, all right." While in usage, all right is often used to mean all of something are correct, and alright has been used to mean it's okay, it turns out alright is NOT a word at all. Not in American English. Apparently, it's more questionable on whether it is accepted in British English, though it's considered to not be a word in both.

So whether you're saying something is okay or something is correct, all right is the way to go in formal writing. Of course, you can choose to do it the wrong way, and most people probably won't blink.

But...the more you know, right?

Okay, link time. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Bennington Review is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and more. Pays $20 to $200. Deadline May 15.

Gehenna and Hinnom is seeking dark short fiction that falls under weird fiction and cosmic horror. Up to 5000 words. Pays $30 to $55. Deadline May 15.

Spider is seeking children's stories with the theme Inventions for ages 6-9. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, crafts, etc. 300 to 1000 words. Pays up to $.25/word. Deadline May 15.

Wizards in Space is seeking speculative fiction with serious themes close to the heart. Up to 5000 words. Pays $30. Deadline May 26.

The Weekly Humorist is seeking comedy writers to do pieces up to 1500 words. Pays $20.

Don't forget to email me your publication news and announcements for the IWSG newsletter! You can use the Contact Me form here on the main page.

My horror short story collection, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations is available in print and e-book. Check it out on the Publications tab!

Have you been using "all right" all right? If not, will you still use alright? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? Have you been submitting or querying?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Horror List Book Review: The Bridge

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.)

This week I'm reviewing The Bridge, by Craig Spector and John Skipp. (I had said I'd be reviewing "Ghoul," by Brian Keene next, but I forgot I said that, and I picked this one up from the pile instead.)

I'm not new to splatterpunk, but I am new to eco-horror. Oddly, eco-horror is not my favorite sub-genre (I say oddly, because it's just a different type of apocalypse, and I enjoy those). However, I enjoy the way they wrote enough that being brow-beat about the environment (not that I disagree, but I tend to be turned off when it feels like I'm being preached to) couldn't put me off the book.

They had such a fantastic way with words that at times it was almost literary, but then the gross-out factor was high. The descriptions were disgusting and amusing, often at the same time. They elicited groans and "ew"s from me several times, which I love. It was quite a visceral experience.

The book was about toxic sludge pollution becoming sentient and wiping out a town. It takes over people and uses them to grotesque purpose. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, so though the good guys stood apart in my head and stayed separately identifiable, some of the bad guys blended together for me at times, because they're all being taken over, which means they're the Overmind, but maybe it's intentional that they blended together, though they retained their original names.

Despite the minor complaints above I liked this one enough that it's going in my top ten. Now to figure out where...

My Top Ten:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum)
3. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
4. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
5. The Bridge (John Skipp and Craig Spector)
6. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
7. Needful Things (Stephen King)
8. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
9. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
10. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

Okay, maybe next time it'll be "Ghoul," by Brian Keene.

Have you read any Skipp/Spector books? How about eco-horror? What do you think about it? What Skipp/Spector book would you recommend?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: Exciting News & Links

It's the first Wednesday of April, which means it's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh!

This group was created for writers to express their insecurities and seek support from fellow writers. Anyone is welcome to participate. Just click on Alex's name above and sign up, post the first Wednesday of the month, and visit your fellow IWSG'ers.

This month's co-hosts are  Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan! Be sure to drop by and say hi and thanks for their hard work.

Speaking of the IWSG, I've got some news: As of this month, I've joined the IWSG team! Christine Rains is stepping down from her reign as the newsletter queen, and I'm taking over. I'm excited to be part of the IWSG crew!

This month's optional question: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

First, if something else is going on, I try to give myself a break. Maybe I just need a break from writing. Otherwise, I tend to set reasonable goals if I'm struggling, and to seek out themed submissions calls to see if anything catches my interest and sparks a story idea. If I need to work on something else, that's what I'll do.

While I spend plenty of time beating myself up when I'm not accomplishing what I think I should be, I try not to. If I make myself miserable over writing, the joy of it will dissipate. And who wants that? So if I'm struggling with my writing, I try to figure out why so I can figure out the best solution.


March Submission Stats

Each month, I do a submissions/publication summary of the month before in order to keep myself accountable. Here's March:

Submitted: 3 short stories
Acceptances: 2
Rejections: 1
Short Listed: 3
Published: 0
Currently on Submission: 10
Other: A magazine I was due to have a story in went under about a month before the projected release date. While I was disappointed, as it was a cool magazine, that story was picked up by the new publication being put out by one of the creators of the previous magazine, and will release in May or June in the first issue of the new magazine.

I didn't get much writing done this month or last, which was a letdown after a productive January. I'm trying to get regular life back in order after the book launch, and then I should get more done.

Other Publishing News in March:

My short story collection, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations was released on March 15! Clicking on the title will take you to the Amazon page, but it is also for sale from Barnes & Noble and Apple. More buy links can be found on my Publications tab.

My release party the week after it came out was great fun! We celebrated with pie and wine.

I had a flash fiction piece up at Cottonwood Center for the Arts that was inspired by a piece of art by Linda Logan (the artwork was untitled). This was a cool inter-arts program run by Pikes Peak Writers, with plans to flip it and have artists create pieces of artwork inspired by pieces of flash fiction. This was the brain child of Bowen Gillings.

Some April News (this week):

My short story A Cold & Carnal Hunger is in Beneath the Waves - Tales From the Deep, an anthology of water-based horror edited by Steve Dillon, and including stories from Clive Barker, HG Wells, HP Lovecraft, and Brian Lumley. The price goes up to $22 this weekend, so grab it now for $16! A hardcover edition will be releasing next week for $33.

I'll be signing copies of the Necro-Om-Nom-Nom-Icon, an anthology including two of my HP Lovecraft related stories, at Stir Coffee & Cocktails this Saturday from 1-4 with my fellow anthology authors. Copies of Blue Sludge Blues will also be available for sale. If you're local, come on out! This should be a good time. I don't have buy links for this yet, but once I do, they'll be on the Publications tab and the left sidebar.

Wow, it's been a busy month. Really, it's been a busy year, so far! I absolutely can't wait to have copies of the above two books in my greedy little hands. 


Submission Link Time!

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Bayou Magazine is seeking short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art. Up to 7500 words. Pays $25-$50. Deadline May 1.

Carte Blanche is seeking narrative fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, photography, and art. Up to 3500 words. Pays "a modest honorarium." Deadline May 1.

The First Line is seeking short fiction and non-fiction with the first line "'I wanted you to be the first to know,' Rowan tentatively confided in me." 300 to 5000 words. Pays between $5-$50. Deadline May 1.

Midnight Hour is seeking horror, dark sci-fi, neo-noire, cyberpunk, and dark speculative fiction for Midnight Hour. 1500 to 8000 words. They're also seeking dark Christmas stories for Midnight Before Christmas. 1000 to 10,000 words. Both pay $.02/word. Deadline for both is May 1.

Nosetouch Press is seeking folk horror for Fiends in the Furrows, an anthology. 5000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline May 1.

What are your writing insecurities? Do you read the IWSG newsletter? Are any of these links of interest? Any you might submit to? Anything to share? Have you had any submissions this month?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Release Party Photos & Links

Since I somehow had it in my head that it was IWSG (yeah, not for another week--maybe it's because I have some exciting new to share...), I figured I'd do a brief post about my book release party, which was this past Thursday at a local restaurant, 3.14 Sweet & Savory Pi Bar.

Photo by Ron

Photo by Sue

It was wonderful to see so many of my friends and family members. Even people who don't read horror, and therefore didn't buy a book, came out to show their support. I offered a discount if people brought canned/dry goods to donate to One Nation Walking Together, and was excited that a few people took me up on that, so I'll be taking their donations along with my own (if you're local, their food drive will be going through April 30, with the food going to those living in poverty on reservations--they also take cash donations online throughout the year).

I have to give a shout-out to the local writing community. I'm incredibly lucky to live in a city (and state) with a strong arts and writing community. There are all manner of writing groups and gatherings, and many people I've met through these groups came to the signing to show their support.

Here's a snippet of photos from the party. If you've got me on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, and then some!

Photo by Ron

Selfie by Jason

Photo by Ron

Selfie by Justin

As anyone who's had a book signing knows, it's impossible to feel like you got to talk to everyone satisfactorily, and I missed out on getting photos of some of those who attended, but the bits of time I had with people were such great fun. I was exhausted afterward, and took a couple days to fully recover from the party, but it was completely worth it.

To close out before I jump into submission links, here's a photo of me with my husband, aka the cover designer, snapped by a friend. He has helped throughout the process, and was a huge help that night, carrying things, helping setup, keeping me hydrated, taking pictures, and packing up at the end. Oh, and he made the signage you see! He has mad skillz.

Photo by Sue
Now for the links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

NonBinary Review is seeking poetry, fiction, essays, and art relating to A Wrinkle in Time (book only). Up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 23.

Unnerving Magazine is seeking gothic fiction and poetry for Haunted Are These Houses, an anthology. 400 to 6000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 28.

Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery and suspense of all types. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline April 30 (does not open for submissions until April 1).

Hellbound Books is seeking horror like that around in the 80s for Schlock! Horror!, an anthology. 5000 to 15,000 words. Pays $10. Deadline April 30.

Sincyr Publishing is seeking creative nonfiction and poetry about personal healing after trauma for Kintsugi. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline April 30.

Cohesion Press is seeking military horror for Snafu: Resurrection. 2000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.04AUD/word. Deadline April 30.

Less Than Three Press is seeking polyamorous LGBTQ+ non-erotic stories about family for Happiness in Numbers. 10,000 to 20,000 words. Pays $200. Deadline April 30.

What was your favorite game or feature at a book release/signing? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Book Release Celebration & Tick Tock Coming Soon

Today's my book release party in Colorado Springs for Blue Sludge Blues. Woo-hoo! Wish me luck!

Congratulations to the winners of the Rafflecopter giveaway for e-books of  Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations: Tamara N., Traci A., and Arlee J.!

Now guess what? The IWSG anthology is coming out in just over a week, so here's a quick word on the book release:

Themed anthologies are a great way to become acquainted with new writers and reconnect with those writers you enjoy. This newest one from Dancing Lemur Press offers an exciting variety of styles and some "against the clock" tales to keep you reading.

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

Coming May 1!

Add it to your Goodreads TBR List.
Preorder your copy.

Link time. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Blackbird is seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Up to 8000 words (or query for longer). Paying market. Deadline April 15.

Epoch is seeking literary fiction, poetry, essays, screenplays, cartoons, graphic art, and graphic fiction. Submit by mail only. Pays $50 to $150. Deadline April 15.

Galli Books is seeking speculative short fiction and cover art for Speculative Masculinities. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays £0.08/word. Deadline April 15.

Circlet Press is seeking asexual romance speculative fiction. 2500 to 8500 words. Pays $25 for an e-book edition then $25 for a possible print anthology in the future. Deadline April 15.

Visions is seeking speculative fiction with the theme of Home. Up to 5000 words. Pays 4 to 5p. Deadline April 15.

Third Flatiron is seeking space opera and sci-fi for Galileo's Theme Park. 1500 to 3000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline April 15.

Spider and Ladybug Magazines (for kids) are seeking LGBTQ+ inclusive fiction, poetry, and non-fiction for an Over the Rainbow theme. Up to 1000 words for fiction, 800 words for non-fiction. Pays up to $.25/word. Deadline April 15.

Evernight Teen is seeking YA contemporary romance for Kissed. Must begin and end with a kiss. 15,000 to 25,000 words. May be royalty paying, but not specified on the anthology page. Deadline April 20.

Will you be purchasing Tick Tock? What do you think of the cover? Any of these markets of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Release Day! Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations

Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations
by Shannon Lawrence

Release Date: March 15, 2018
Horror short story collection

A collection of frights, from the psychological to the monstrous. These tales are a reminder of how much we have to fear: A creature lurking in the blue, sludgy depths of a rest area toilet; a friendly neighbor with a dark secret hidden in his basement; a woman with nothing more to lose hellbent on vengeance; a hike gone terribly wrong for three friends; a man cursed to clean up the bodies left behind by an inhuman force. These and other stories prowl the pages of this short story collection.


From For Love of the Hunt:

"The taste of his dying heart was the most succulent flavor I'd ever partaken of. The thick, rich blood flowed into my throat and I felt it burning its way through my entire body, even as that great muscle pulsed against my lips. His strength belonged to me now."

You can read other excerpts at the blogs of those helping with my book release. Each person has an excerpt from a different story:

Tamara Narayan - Know Thy Neighbor (and she's telling a scary real life story)
Christine Rains - Shifting Sands
Mina Burrows - Cravings
Jennifer Lane - What the Fire Left Behind
Lisa Southard - Maelstrom
Diane Burton - Sound Advice (and info on skinwalkers)
Meka James - Salvation Lottery
Patricia Lynne - Metamorphosis (and she's telling a scary real life story)
Juneta Key - In the Dark (and a bit on writing about horror)
Elizabeth Seckman - The Blue Mist
Catherine Dilts - Blue Sludge Blues
Pete Aldin - Faceless
Joylene Nowell Butler - The Tourist

Buy the Book

Also available from Apple and other countries through Amazon

If you'd like to help share the news about my book, here are a couple pre-made tweets (and feel free to use any images posted here):

Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations by Shannon Lawrence now on sale at Amazon! Also B&N and Kobo. Get your horror fix in with this collection of short stories @thewarriormuse

Killer mists, creatures in rest stop toilets, and neighbors you should beware, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations by Shannon Lawrence now on sale at Amazon! Also B&N and Kobo. @thewarriormuse

The dark side of being the sole survivor, creatures in the woods, and more, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations by Shannon Lawrence now on sale at Amazon! Also B&N and Kobo. @thewarriormuse 

About the Author

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes mostly fantasy and horror. Her stories can be found in magazines and anthologies, including Space and Time Magazine, Dark Moon Digest, and Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. When she's not writing, she's hiking the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster.

Social Media Links

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG - Safety in Numbers

It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group again!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the IWSG is to air your insecurities while supporting others doing the same thing. Anyone can sign up by clicking HERE. Be sure to bop around and visit others, too.

This month's co-hosts are:

This month's optional question is: 
How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

I don't usually celebrate a goal/finishing a short story, but I do celebrate when I finish a novel by having a milkshake. And when I place a short story, I get a Funko Pop villain/monster. I've just recently added Carrie, Jack from The Shining, and Norman Bates, all there on the top next to Pennywise and Cthulhu. 

My husband added the third shelf while I was away a couple weeks ago, because the other two were getting too cluttered. What happens when I fill that shelf? I can't wait to find out!

As far as my insecurities this month...well, I've got my first solo horror short story collection coming out. Sure, I've been published in magazines and anthologies, but it was never just me. I feel like I'm about to walk in front of a room full of people naked, and it's mildly terrifying. What else? I'm having a public book release celebration and signing (if you're local, there's information on my appearances tab about it, but the quick version is I'll be at 3.14 Sweet and Savory in Colorado Springs from 5-9 PM on March 22), and I'd hate to sit there all alone and pathetic with my box of books, which is why I'm having a book release celebration instead of signing at a bookstore (for now, at least.) I desperately did not want to sit there all formal behind a table, staring at the door, wondering when someone would show up. Instead, I'll be somewhere familiar, with wine and food and pie, so I can drown myself in calories if no one comes.

By the way, my book release will be March 15, and each blogger posting it has an excerpt from a different short story. Some of you asked about quick tweets. I'll put some of those together and get those out, too. It's available for pre-order in e-book right now, with paperback and e-book release on the 15th.

I guest posted at Pete Aldin's blog with book release information. You can check it out HERE. I talk about four ways horror can be beneficial, and you can get a sneak peek at the first excerpt from my collection.

Moving on, here are my stats for last month. I post each month to keep myself accountable.

In February, I:

Submitted 10 short stories
Got 2 short stories short listed
Got 2 acceptances
Got 8 rejections
Got 1 invite to submit 1 of those rejected stories to a different anthology by the editor
I currently have 12 short stories on submission

A pretty good month! Believe me, it doesn't always look like this, so don't get discouraged if you're submitting and getting rejections. I went through a major dry spell for several months with tons of rejections and no sales. So please get out there and submit! And relish every rejection you get. And feel free to post your stats in the comments so we can celebrate short stories together.

Finally, let's get to the links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along, so always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

West Branch is seeking poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. No more than 30 pages. Pays $.05/word. Deadline April 1.

Paper Dog Books is seeking speculative short fiction the Robots Live Now anthology. 1500 to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline April 1.

Bikes in Space is seeking stories with the theme Dragons. 500 to 8000 words. Will pay a minimum of $30, with how much more depending upon the Kickstarter. Deadline April 1.

Radiant Crown Publishing is seeking adult and erotic romance with a strong speculative element for Mystique Masquerade, an anthology. Novelettes and novellas, so 7500 to 40,000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 1.

Syntax & Salt Magazine is seeking short literary speculative fiction. Up to 3500 words. Pays $10. 

Flash Fiction Magazine is seeking flash fiction. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $40 for stories chosen to be published in the anthologies (pays nothing if published on website).

What do you celebrate, and how? What are your current insecurities? Any submission stats to share? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.