Tag Archive for horror

WisCon 39 Appearances!

wiscon39Tomorrow, I fly out for my first WisCon experience.

I’m super excited because I’ve heard so many great things about this conference from other writers. It has a heavy concentration on the craft of writing, which is the #1 reason I’m choosing it as my first con in years. I love the speculative fiction genre, but I love writing it more than I love the fannish activities that go along with it. Nothing wrong with going wild, Fandom! It’s just not how I engage with the works that spark my passion.

And I am thrilled that I will get to share some of my passion with you! I am one-third of the superpowered trio in the Triple the Strength! Triple the Power! reading with fellow writers Sally Wiener Grotta and Laura Lis Scott on Sunday at 1:00 pm in Conference Room 2 at the main hotel.

Flyer for our reading small

Thanks to Sally for our flyer! Unfortunately, Laura won’t be with us in the flesh, but I’m delighted to read a selection from her novella, Half the Sky, on her behalf. I’ll also be reading “Thlush-A-Lum”, my most recently published horror short story, and if time allows (it should), the first chapter of my epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen.

But that’s not all! On Monday morning, in the waning hours of WisCon, I’ll be on the Worldbuilding Through Food panel in Senate B at 10:00 am. Writing about food has been a huge part of my career over the past six years, and food has always been an honored guest in my fiction as well, so this panel’s topic spoke to me on many levels. Ty Blauersouth is our moderator, and my fellow panelists will be Nino Cipri and Amy Thomson. The official description:

The food crops and domestic animals an author uses in a fictional world shape underlying presumptions about where and when a story is set…or “not set,” in the case of not-quite-our-world-but-just-barely worlds. Medievaloid Europeish taverns with potatoes and tomatoes in their stew. Cultures that spice heavily, or lightly, or eat a wide range of animals; even if crops and livestock are all named with new words they often trace back to our-Earth models. How can one thoughtfully use food in your worldbuilding in ways that support themes and characters, without falling into shallow sloppiness? What SFF authors do food description particularly well? What’s good about it?

I’m especially excited to talk about how food choices can reveal character and ways food can be more central to the plot than just a lush description of a feasting table. Turkish delight, anyone?

Of course, I’ll be out and about all over the place during the rest of WisCon 39, but I haven’t had the chance to pick which sessions I’ll attend just yet. I’ll update you all on those plans as I make the decisions! Meanwhile, I always love meeting new people, so if you’d like to join me for coffee or a cocktail or a meal, just drop me a line at becca at thegourmez dot com or through Twitter @thegourmez. I arrive Wednesday evening and leave Monday afternoon.

See you soon, Wisconsin! It’ll be lovely to make your acquaintance.

“Thlush-A-Lum” is Available Now!

I am happy to announce that PULP Literature Issue #5 has officially launched, which means my horror short story, “Thlush-A-Lum”, is now available for purchase as part of the issue!

Thlush a lum pages 1

thlush a lum pages 2

You can buy Issue #5 straight from the PULP Literature website here:

Just click on the image to be taken to the ordering page. A print issue is $15 and an e-issue is $5. Lest that seem like a lot to you, I can confirm that I was impressed by how thick the magazine was when I received my author copy in the mail. I’m looking forward to reading all of these stories from my issue mates as described on the order page:

  • We dare you to be held captive by Eileen Kernaghan’s ‘The Robber Maiden’s Story’, and then try to escape alongside the intrepid Stella Ryman as she attempts a jailbreak in The Four Digit Puzzle by Mel Anastasiou.

  • Next, travel by boat and by bus to places you’d rather not go, with the fantastical ‘Polycarp on the Sea’ by Stephen Case and the gritty detective Finley in ‘The Pledge’ by Donald Dewey.

  • Three pulp poems by Mark J Mitchell will prepare you for the cruel transformations of ‘Thlush-a-lum’ by Rebecca Gomez Farrell and ‘Some Say the World Will End in Fire’ by R Daniel Lester.

  • These are followed by a few stories of wishing for more, in ‘A Discussion of Keats’s Negative Capability’ by Susan Pieters and Margaret Kingsbury’s ‘The Longing is Green when Branches are Trees’.

  • A treat lies in store as we publish the winners of the first annual Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction, followed by the short, sharp horror cartoon ‘Bait’ by Kris Sayer.

  • For dessert, we hope you’ve saved room for the next installment of Allaigna’s Song. It’s the perfect way to round out a good family feast.

  • All this beneath a beautiful new cover entitled “Fondly Remembered Magic” by our first cover artist Melissa Mary Duncan.

For those of you who contributed to PULP Literature’s Kickstarter campaign last month, thank you so much! I believe you should have received your Issue #5 already.

And for those of you who didn’t, here’s a little teaser of “Thlush-A-Lum’s” first few paragraphs:

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window. At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her. A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep: thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum. In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas. In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.

The sounds crept in no matter the season.

And a photograph to set the mood…

thlush a lum wine

I hope you enjoy “Thlush-A-Lum”…and you remember to keep an eye on those bedroom windows.

 

Last Day for the PULP Literature Kickstarter! And an interview with Thlush-A-Lum’s Markella.

The countdown clock is ticking! There are only 22 hours left in PULP Literature’s Year 2 Kickstarter campaign, and the magazine’s at 89% of its goal. That’s so close! Please consider boosting it up over the edge. By doing so, you’ll be supporting fiction writers as PULP Literature pays professional rates. Which means you’ll be supporting me as my “Thlush-A-Lum” will be published in the next few weeks in PULP Literature Issue #5. Just click that little image below, and you can reserve your $5 e-copy or $15 print copy of Issue #5 now. Do it. Do it!

Additionally, “Thlush-A-Lum’s” main character, Markella, gave PULP Literature an interview last week. What did this young woman have to say about her family, the noises that seek her out, and what she thinks of herself? Find out here.

Missed my teaser earlier? Here’s “Thlush-A-Lum”s first few lines:

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window. At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her. A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep: thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum. In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas. In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.

The sounds crept in no matter the season.

And look out for PULP Literature Issue #5 coming your way soon!
Pulp Literature #5

“Thlush-a-lum” to be published in PULP Literature!

I’ve been sitting on this news all summer! But that’s my own fault, because I insist on signing a contract before I announce any of my fiction publications. Which means the contract is signed, and I have a new short story coming out at the end of the year!

“Thlush-a-lum” will be published in the Winter 2015 issue of PULP Literature, a newish speculative fiction magazine that came to be through a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013.

pulp literature

Issue #5 will be released electronically and in paperback form, and you bet I’ll update you once buy links become available. In addition to four yearly issues of the magazine, PULP Literature runs a number of contests that often feature publication as a prize. Their editors’ blog is also a fount of useful information for writers. Peruse away!

What’s “Thlush-a-lum” about, you wonder? It’s pure horror that would qualify as flash fiction in most markets. The story came about when I challenged myself to write something more focused on the sense of sound than the other four I more commonly use in my writing. Many of those sounds are inspired by what I could hear from my own Southern bedroom window…and a few sounds that I swear I’ve been able to hear no matter where I’ve lived.

The first few lines? Certainly.

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window. At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her. A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep: thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum. In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas. In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.

The sounds crept in no matter the season.

And you know I like to include a photo to set the mood when I can…

thlush a lum photo

Fiction Bragging — She Could Be Me

Time for the next entry in my self-promotion series! She Could Be Me is a short story published by Flashes in the Dark back in May of 2010. And it’s available online for free! It’s a horror story with a Twilight Zone feel to it. Interested? Here are the first few lines:

“I’m delayed,” Tom said over the phone. Celia could barely hear him with the thunder on her end of the line and the airport loudspeaker playing an endless stream of announcements in Spanish, a language she didn’t understand, on his. The announcer’s voice sounded ethereal and discordant at the same time, like a slightly off-tune harp being plucked.

“I’ll be home tomorrow,” he continued. “Don’t get bent out of shape, okay?”

What was a strange thing to say. She never complained when Tom was delayed.

You can read the rest at Flashes in the Dark here. Perhaps these photos will help you with the atmosphere for enjoying She Could Be Me.

The walk toward Chez Mer:

 Celia’s drink at Chez Mer:

Fiction Bragging–Last Complaint

I wouldn’t call it a resolution, but I am attempting to do a better job of that self-promotion part of writing. I hate self-promotion. I want people to magically find all my published work, become instant dedicated fans, and beg me to create more stories for them. Funny enough, that doesn’t happen on its own! Or at least not at this stage in my career. But this stage in my career is actually pretty awesome, because I’ve been published several times now, and that’s a huge building block in terms of ego and confidence to keep going.

Here’s my plan: I’m going to point you all to my published pieces one by one in case you missed them the first time they were published. I’ll report links to my interviews on other blogs as well, maybe revel in that time—ok, two times now—that Durham magazine interviewed me on the Triangle dining scene or those times—ok, two times now—that the Independent Weekly mentioned my name. Eventually, I’ll even  tell you all about how I’m writing the occasional post for WRAL Out and About, the first of which will be coming out soon. Yes, I’ve known that for weeks, submitted my first review last week, and I still haven’t told the interwebs about it—I really am that bad at self-promotion, folks.

Consider this the first installment in my bragging series, to be posted at least every other Thursday. Our first installment is Last Complaint, a horror short story that won me third place in WOW! Women on Writing’s Flash Fiction contest back in 2009. In it, a grumpy old woman finds out that airing her grievances isn’t always the wisest plan. Here are the first few paragraphs:

She parks her station wagon under the “No Vacancy” sign. This is the first inn she’s passed since dinner at that horrible truck stop diner. Her bowl of clam chowder had been lukewarm and the waitress had the gall to try and make her pay for it. She doubts she’ll be treated any better at this place, but she can feel her eyelids drooping.

“Bellboy!” she yells into the dark lot. No one comes. She sighs, then pulls out her suitcase and wheels it towards the small front office that glows with a pale green fluorescence.

“Can I help you?” grunts the middle-aged man wearing a stained gray uniform at the desk. He flips the channel on an old television set that’s perched on the countertop behind him.

“I need a room,” she says. “How much?”

“We’re full up. No vacancy,” he gestures towards the sign outside then stares at her, his mouth hanging open.

“That’s ridiculous,” she insists. “I have a nephew who manages a Hyatt.” She waits for this to affect him but his expression does not change. She continues, unperturbed, “There are always extra rooms available, that’s what he told me.  Even at the Hyatt.”

To continue reading, head here, and scroll down the page about halfway. You’ll find my picture and the rest of Last Complaint there. This picture was not taken with the story in mind, but it captures the mood of the latter half of the story, stumbling through a dark hallway half asleep.

Enjoy! And let me know what you thought.