Posted on February 9, 2014
This is not going unnoticed, especially by the guards, who are frustrated at not being able to taste the Demon Lord's Kitten but they dare not evoke his wrath. When they realize that he is in love with Taby, their desire soon dissipates. But in a dramatic turn of events, it transpires that Darren needs Taby as much as she needs him. They battle to not only save not each other, but someone else as well.
The Devil's Kitten
#unrequitedlove #thedevilskitten #paranormalromance #bdsm #demonlove #love
Posted on February 8, 2014
Legacy by Carrie Baize
Dark forces have awakened at Coveington Hall and have their claws deeply embedded in its owner, Dorian. After a surreal and terrifying encounter, she struggles to make sense of it all, and gratefully accepts her twin's late night visit. Realising he is unable to help his sister alone, Damian reluctantly seeks help from his colleague, Stick. Upon his arrival, it dawns on both men that Coveington Hall is consumed by a darkness that hasn't rested but has been propelled into the present, affecting them all, instead.
They battle unfamiliar forces that attempt to individually control them, as well as their past and present realities. Working together, Dorian, Damian and Stick find their past intertwining, along with the dynamics between them rapidly changing. They discover more about themselves and each other in what becomes a desperate fight for sanity and survival, leaving them with no choice but to accept the impact that the past has not only on the present but on their futures as well.
For a limited time you can get
Legacy for $1.95
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#fantasy #paranormalromance #actionadventure #possession #alternateuniverse
Posted on February 7, 2014
"...unrequited love does not die; it's only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded. For some unfortunates, it turns bitter and mean, and those who come after pay the price for the hurt done by the one who came before."
~ Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischief
More details to follow...
#unrequitedlove #legacy #devilskitten
Posted on February 6, 2014
If you arose from the waters of Fossil Lake what would you be?
I'd have to be a Mishipizhiw (Great Underwater Cat) from Algonquin legend. For the story, I used the more Anglicized spelling Mishipishu for two reasons - one, I thought that a camp would use older Anglicized spellings rather than the more current, more accurate spellings of Native words; and two, we've got a cat named Mishipizhiw and it was hard to take the story seriously when the Great Underwater Cat's namesake was sleeping on my desktop, so I had to use a different spelling to help break that mental image.
Wondering what put me under there in the first place!
I wouldn't be pretty. I would be humanoid with lake reeds for my hair, lake weeds or lily pads for clothing, and skin the muddy brown color of the lake bottom. I'd have gills and webbed feet and hands to make swimming the depths of the lake easier.
That isn't as tough a question as we'd thought it would be. Melanie says she'd be a plesiosaur; the long-necked, sleek marine reptile much like the legendary Nessie. Jodi says she'd be a tylosaurus pembinensis; she's a nerd.
Wet, cold, and irritated, but I'll have superpowers. My luck? Some sort of nasty skin rash.
Since fossils are from extinct animals and none of them had the skill to write poetry or be creative, I would prefer to stay human. I am more interested in viruses, which doesn't leave fossils, but they have a unique ability to survive, mutate and spread, as the language.
Some remnant from an ancient world.
Hopefully, something useful, like a well-preserved Hudson Bay blanket.
The crocodilians are an ancient species, slow, patient, hungry, and extremely deadly. Like sharks they have changed very little over the eons, indicating that their form is incredibly adaptable, they are survivors, very likely to crawl out of Fossil Lake.
I think I would be very much like my avenging angel character. Every time I pass by an animal that has been left behind, I say a little blessing and wish the critter a better afterlife.
Well, as my approach to writing tends to be amorphous and ever-changing, I suppose I would have to be some sort of primordial ooze rising from the depths!
I'd love to say something awesome like a plesiosaur, a Lake Placid croc, or something similarly SyFy... but the truth is probably more along the lines of an ol' prehistoric tortoise, thick-shelled, slow-but-steady, and with a really long memory.
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Posted on February 4, 2014
"Make Me Something Scary began as a conversation with myself about how I should color a Halloween decoration, which ended with me slightly doubting my interpretation of everything I saw."
"Growing up I was obsessed with stories of lake monsters like Nessie and Champ. I read everything I could find about them, and wanted to believe they were real. Now the "Meg" books by Steve Alten and the show River Monsters with Jeremy Wade inspire me. We know so little about what is hiding in our oceans that who knows what monsters are yet to be discovered?"
"When we saw that there was an open call for Fossil Lake, the two of us sat down on respective sides of a chat program, and discussed a horrific event in one of our children's lives, something a certain slime ball had wished upon her. Besides enacting our own brand of revenge on the perpetrator, we decided to purge ourselves, and write a story. This time, instead of the act actually happening, the twit couldn't do it for obvious reasons and the girl was avenged two-fold; once by her lover, and once by the lake itself."
"The story is one part Bilbo & Gollum, one part Grendel's mother, and a third part messing with Theo, cause it's fun to put him into awkward situations and then see where he goes with them."
"Actually, my inspiration to write some of the most absurd poetry that I never thought my mind could invent, comes out of nowhere. I don't plan what I'm going to write, as far as poetry. I simply fix myself a cup of coffee, plug the ole earbuds into my Samsung Galaxy and listen to Eminem on the music player, and allow myself to drift deep into places I don't normally go."
"I came up with the title and just started writing. The initial idea was to just approach the torture angle from all sides. As I continued to write though I began to realize how boring that would be and the lines sort of eased themselves into the story I told."
"Reading about a documentary that theorised that dragons may have existed and how they evolved to become dragons of myth and lore. In addition, how many ancient Gods have serpentine qualities."
"I have an affinity for animals. My life is wrapped up with a pack of furry little critters that have taken over my home. Most of them are rescues. Every day when I drive to work, it kills me to see animals that have been struck by cars and left to rot on the side of the road. It makes me angry that people can't seem to avoid them and sometimes it seems as if they go out of their way to strike them down."
"A story I read somewhere, supposedly true, about a man sewn into the body of a horse for some crime. Also, the opening bit from The Empire Strikes Back."
" "Alchera" draws on themes from the Yellow Mythos of Bierce, Chambers and Lovecraft, infused with hints of the Aboriginal Dream Time and the reality of nuclear testing in the Australian outback."
"A few years ago, we did a fossil-hunting side trip while on a family vacation. I've always had interests in geology, paleontology, dinosaurs and all that good stuff; been a rockhound and into show-caves. It was neat to get out there and scour around. We didn't find any dinosaurs, but seeing the delicate impressions of ferns and worms and such stayed with me. So, I wrote "Impressions", and also seized the opportunity to pile on the shout-outs and in-jokes."
"Arkham Arts Review draws on my love of Lovecraftian fiction, horror film and the people that make them. It is something of a "what if scenario", what if Lovecraft's world was real? Would we fight those monsters, throw them in prison, or do what we always have and absorb them into our society, make a place for them, or at least pretend that we have. And how would Hollywood and all the critics handle that?"
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Posted on January 28, 2014
I've been asked on several occasions where I get the inspiration for my characters, settings and story lines. This is such a difficult question to answer, because much of the time, I have no clue! My writing process is a jumble of disjointed images and subliminal suggestions from the world at large, as well as quite a bit of this strange imagination of mine.
I broke my leg skateboarding when I was 13, and took up paper and pencil to combat the boredom of being stuck on the couch. That first attempt was really very bad, but I realized then how much fun it was to take the images in my head and place them in the world. It was liberating, and I found such a freedom in it. The magic of being able to go anywhere I wanted to was only overshadowed by the books I loved to read: Asimov, Heinlein, Anthony, and so many other sci-fi/fantasy writers. I loved giving myself a voice in a life that was hard to live some days. It honestly wasn't a big step from reading those masters to wanting to write in their world as well.
Everything became inspiration: People in my life, the clouds that looked like dogs one minute and dragons the next, even the way society interacted with itself . It was all fair game! A writer is always working, and everything they come in contact with helps the creative process.
A few years ago, I was hanging out with my kids, watching a program on the Discovery Channel about the crystal skulls. It was pretty interesting, but before I knew what was happening, I was sitting at my computer, typing madly. My middle son, Austin, muttered, "And there she goes," which caught my attention. When I asked him what he meant, he said, "You can be going along like the rest of us, and then you get this sort of glazed look. The next thing we know, you're either typing or writing furiously in your notebook. It's just what you do."
And I guess that's it. Half the time I'm not aware that I'm doing it. And the other half, I'm sure I've stepped onto the Crazy Train.
Developing characters is a slightly different process for me. When I've decided on a storyline, I then have to figure out who will populate my world. Sometimes it's a straight-forward thing where I consciously say, "I need this type of person." Other times, most times, they come to me. They come to me fully realized, with a history, and expect me to write it out for them. If I don't write quickly enough for their tastes, they start banging on the inside of my skull, demanding release. One of the characters in my book Night Walker (due for release in 2014), literally showed up outside my living room window one night and insisted that his story be told. It was as if he were physically there, so real I could reach out and touch him.
And that's when I began to worry about my sanity. I spoke to a friend of mine, a romance writer, and she told me that I wasn't crazy, that all writers do the same thing. I felt somewhat better about fictional characters banging on the inside of my skull, screaming to get out, and yet part of me worried still. Was this actually normal, or was I losing my tenuous hold on sanity?
It wasn't until September of this year that I was able to relax on this subject. I had the amazing opportunity to sit in the same airspace with Stephen King and listen to him talk about writing, and he brought me to tears when he said that his characters talk to him and tell him what to write. What a revelation! A breath of fresh air! I'm not crazy! (Well, I suppose that is a relative thing, given that the Crazy Man Himself said it). In any event, I no longer worry that I'm completely insane when I explain my character process to people.
For those who don't know, writers are a special breed. And I'm not talking "special". I mean special with a capital "S". We see the same things that everyone else does, but we don't process them the same way. Where you might see a man holding his wife's hand while she crosses the street, we see a Knight escorting a Lady through danger. You see hills in the prairie. We see a whole tribe of Native Americans living their lives, or a million Bison running free. It's all about perspective and the willingness to suspend belief so that imagination has a chance to flourish.
Writing is easy. Good writing is hard. There are those who write because they want to, and that's wonderful. But there are those of us who write because, if we don't, we will lose our minds. The stories have to be told. They have to see the light of day. It's definitely not an easy way to spend my time, but I can't imagine doing anything else.
The next time you wonder where writers get their ideas, just take a look around you and wonder, "What if?" That's what we do.
Posted on January 21, 2014
Fossil Lake, Fossil Lake, Fossil Lake... oh, sometimes there are stories behind a book every bit as bizarre as some of the stories IN a book.
Like a lot of anthologies, when you get enough like-minded writers together with a shared idea or experience, sooner or later the suggestion's made to put a project together. That was kind of it, but there was more.
Because, see, sometimes when a response to criticism is the ludicrous challenge of "well I'd like to see you just do it yourself then if you think it's so easy, so there, nyah, pppllllbbbtt!" in an attempt to shut down that criticism while never expecting anyone to actually DO it...
Sometimes they actually DO it. Sometimes they call your empty, petulant bluff. Sometimes they decide, okay, yeah, let's prove we can do it and do it far better. Let's make a real anthology. With real stories, real editing, real contracts, real publishing.
Let's not grab as much public domain stuff as we can to pad out our own incoherent ego-stroke crap, prey upon a bunch of unsuspecting young writers by trawling Fanfiction.net and DeviantArt, run it through five or six word processor programs to call it edited, slap about twenty different fonts onto each page, throw on a stolen piece of artwork or hideously shopped self-portrait, vomit the whole thing onto Lulu, and call ourselves professionals.
And it worked. It all fell together neatly as could be. Plenty of writers expressed their interest in contributing to such a project. The too-recently-departed Janrae Frank was willing to publish the results through her company, Daverana Enterprises. All that was needed was someone to take on the task of playing editor.
Well, hey, that's where I came in. I would have been delighted merely to submit a story to Fossil Lake, but I was eager and excited to step up to the plate, and determined to make this happen.
There's the old joke about actors and "but what I really want is to direct". I don't know if that quite applied in my case - after so many years submitting stories, I'd come to develop an image of editors that I think several fellow writers share... somewhere between cold soulless Reject-O-Bots and maniacally-chortling sadists supping upon shattered dreams flavored with the sweet saltiness of tears.
I have learned that's not true (usually). Even before I found myself in the big chair, I'd realized that they're people too, sympathetic and understanding, good people who do what they do because they love words as much as the rest of us (again, usually). As hard as it is to send out a story and risk rejection, being the one in the position to have to make that call is NOT fun. It, frankly, sucks.
My previous unofficial forays into editing-type gigs hadn't forced me to deal with a lot of that. I'd racked up years of pseudo-experience running a fanzine (Avalon Mists) and an ezine (Sabledrake Magazine), I used to 'edit' the resident-written newsletter at the psych facility where I worked, I got put in charge of the Girl Scout Troop newsletter because I opened my mouth at a meeting to mention being a writer, that sort of thing. For anthologies, I'd done four fanfic ones for conventions. I've done tons of beta-reading and general proofing and editing help for other writers.
But this, Fossil Lake, this was a step further. This involved putting out a submissions call, dealing with responses, acceptances and rejections, sending contracts, working with writers on actual EDITING... and reading. So much reading!
Okay, admittedly, compared to some anthology calls I know of (1100 submissions to SNAFU? Dude!), I wasn't entirely buried alive. Odd call, small market, not offering the big bucks. I still received 80 stories and 15 poems, and later had at least twenty other authors express disappointment at not having heard of the project or else they would have sent something in, too.
80 stories. Luckily, I've always been an obnoxiously fast reader. Even so, it felt like a lot, and my appreciation for editors who do this sort of thing full time all the time went up several notches. I've sometimes felt overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the review copies I get sent each month (The Horror Fiction Review, shameless plug and shout-out here!).
So, yeah, for a while there, Fossil Lake submissions pretty well consumed my every waking moment... and I kinda loved it... all those stories... opening each was like opening a surprise present... the anticipation, sometimes the letdown, sometimes fist-pumping cries of YES!!!, sometimes stunned gobsmacked elation.
Seriously, some of them, I could hardly believe had been sent to ME, to this not-exactly-big-bucks market. I had a few moments where I was sure it must've been a mistake, they meant to send it somewhere else... those moments, however, were tempered by the selfish, avaricious urge to lock those puppies down NOW before the writers came to their senses!
And then there were the stories obviously written TO the call, from that above-mentioned group of like-minded writers. That's where gloves came off, evil fun was had, and dirty nitty-gritty was got down to. I had some come to me expressing concerns that their stories might "go too far" or "be too mean" and was able to reassure them that there was no such thing... especially when you looked at some of the other submissions...
The final decisions turned out fairly evenly balanced between stories that nailed that semi-stated objective, and stories that were just so damn awesome I wasn't gonna pass them up if there could be even the loosest connection made to the general theme.
I still had to do the rejections, and that was sad. Several message exchanges went back and forth between Janrae and myself as I tried to wheedle out enough word count to fit in all the ones I HAD to have plus the ones I really really wanted and the ones it'd be a wrench to pass up and... well, she was very generous, but she did have to give me some limits eventually. Even for something that was going to be ebook first, we had to keep in mind the next-stage plan... which would involve a print version if and when the ebook sold well enough (hint, hint!).
The entire process of working with the writers was amazing. Even the ones who were new to fiction-writing had a great creative spark and spirit to their storytelling. Everyone was cooperative, communicative, remarkably un-stubborn and easy to talk to... or at least, if anybody had any screaming diva outbursts about how impossible I was, I never heard about it.
One of the most daunting but thrilling parts was when I dared to take the presumptuous plunge approaching legendary author Ramsey Campbell to maybe-pretty-please include a reprint excerpt from one of his earlier works... AND HE AGREED!!! ... then contacted me again some time later to ask if I'd also be interested in an excerpt from his new book! I'm still giddy. I mean, Ramsey-freakin-CAMPBELL here, people! Who's not only an awesome master of the craft but a cool person and a real class act.
Would I do this again? The editing gig? With all the reading, with having to do the rejections, with all the work? Absolutely. In a flash. Maybe not full-time, maybe not trying to juggle several books at once like some editors I know and admire. But, a couple of projects a year, in and around working on my own stuff? Oh, yes.
All in all, it's been a terrific experience - marred only by the tragic and untimely loss of Janrae, who left this world for a better place just days before Fossil Lake was released. She was entirely supportive of this book, entirely behind it from the get-go, and I like to think we're all united in our wish to see this be as fitting a legacy for her as possible.
Posted on January 20, 2014
Cover Art by Kirsten Maloney & Cover Layout by Phil Smith
! EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT !
Melanie Van Every
Just when he decides he might as well close up shop for the day, the door opens. It admits two dripping-wet deputies with grim looks on their faces. Town folks often jokingly call them the twins, though they aren't related. They just look very much alike, with broad shoulders, brown crew cuts, and the builds of slightly out of shape former football players.
Danny, on the right, speaks up first. "We hate to disturb you Tom, but there's been an accident on the lake, and --"
His partner Josh interrupts, almost jittering with eagerness. "Right now we're calling it a drowning, but --"
"-- in reality it appears he was attacked by an animal," Danny finishes, shooting Josh a scowl.
Tom raises his eyebrows. "An animal? Probably a momma black bear protecting her cub, then. It's the right time of year for it."
There are no customers, but Danny still looks around the empty shop before pulling something out of his pocket. It's a plastic bag, the zip-kind they use for evidence, and holds what appears to be a four-inch-long tooth.
Tom raises his eyebrows further as he wonders if the deputies decided to liven up their rainy-day boredom with a prank. Fossilized mosasaur teeth are rare, most of the finds around here being from much smaller creatures, but some still turn up every so often. They are, in fact, exactly what fuel the legends of Miss Fossie.
If they expect him to fall for it...
His thoughts get no further as he notices this particular tooth is no fossil. It's as white and clean as if it had been ripped fresh from the creature's mouth that very morning.
Posted on January 17, 2014
I had not anticipated just how isolated it would feel down here. We are thirteen hundred feet down, which is deep in terms of water depth, but really not all that far. I am less than a city block away from the crew of our tender ship. If there were not water in between us, I could wave to them and they would see me clearly. But there is a tremendous amount of water in between us. Those who live above the water and those who live beneath it are in different worlds.
Though our habitat keeps the water at bay, my mind can still feel the water pressing down on me. I feel I could be crushed at any moment.
Perhaps I'm just working too hard in an environment that is not ideal for humans. I should be grateful that the habitat is as large as it is. It is the largest underwater habitat ever used, but I must admit, I still feel as if I am in a prison. It is cold down here and always damp. The dehumidifiers try their best but they simply cannot keep up. I can hear the motors of the dehumidifiers always whirring. There's a constant thumping sound from the compressors that move air around the habitat. Then there's the steady hum of the electrical generators and the random beeping of lab instruments.
But underneath it all is the constant sound of dripping water. Condensation gathers the water on our windows, on the pipes that run along the walls, and on duct work that hangs from the ceiling. It all runs together and drips down. The water that runs down the walls and windows just adds visually to the feeling that we are slowly drowning, but it is the water dripping from the ceiling that will drive us mad. The drips fall with a steady quiet rhythm that is almost soothing until the moment comes when a drop lands on the floor too soon or too late and your brain's sense of anticipation gets kicked in the gut.
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Posted on January 16, 2014
Look no further....
Cover Art by Kirsten Maloney & Cover Layout by Phil Smith
! EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT !
Kerry G.S. Lipp and Emily Meier
Lana carried the severed head by the hair as she walked toward Fossil Lake.
The head belonged to Bart, recently deceased. So recently, in fact, that the blood still dripped from the jagged cut that separated his head from his body.
She arrived at the bank, popped a beer, took a sip and set the can down. Then she lit a smoke. Dusky purple light sprayed across the horizon, sky as smooth as the calm water. The sky and the lake mirrored each other.
Bart's blood still dripped and his skin still felt warm. His dead eyes illustrated that age-old cliche of the silent screaming death, but Lana found it impressive. Cliches and stereotypes existed for a reason, and Bart's eyes both defined and justified that reason. She could stare at them all day and see something new, like artwork. Pure and unsettling.
His eyes told the story. Maybe it hadn't happened until the last second or two, but he'd figured it out just before he died. She hadn't seen his life flashing before his eyes as she removed his head, but they sure told the story of his death.
And what a story it was.