Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday

If you haven't already heard about Nigel Bird's "Dancing With Myself" series of self-interviews with writers and publishers, head over to Sea Minor and take a look. The current subject is writer R. J. Ellory, my turn was on Thursday. (See my interview here.) The interviews are a blast to read and Nigel has got some really interesting people lined up for the future.

Speaking of Nigel, his story "Silver Street" is in the Autumn issue of Dark Valentine, which is available now on the site. The story was inspired by a photo prompt Cormac Brown put up over at Cormac Writes. And speaking of Cormac, congratulations to him for being included in the new flash fiction anthology from Untreed Reads.

Dark Valentine will be publishing one of Cormac's stories in our October Fiction Frenzy--31 days of dark tales to celebrate our favorite holiday, Halloween. (Well, okay, we actually like Christmas a lot too.)

DV is looking for more stories to fill out the frenzy, especially if they're ghost stories or Halloweenie tales. (And I would love, love, love to see some dark SF come our way.)

And speaking of Dark Valentine (and I seem to be doing that a lot today), on Monday (Labor Day), a serial story by writer Scott J Laurange will begin in 11 parts. (And by the way, the missing period after his initial is not a typo--he prefers it that way.) Called "A Knight's Tale," it is a modern take on Canterbury Tales.

Pamela Jaworska, the incredibly talented artist who has been contributing to DV (and before that, to Astonishing Adventures Magazine) has done original illustrations for each of the 11 chapters. It's a great story and I think you'll like it, so check it out, beginning Monday.

And speaking of incredibly talented artists, Jane Burson has created the cover for DV's Winter issue. It connects to a story by Christine Pope, a gorgeous, Russian-flavored take on The Snow Queen. You can see the cover here.

And speaking of Dark Valentine still--writer Jim Harrington has a creepy little tale, "Sharing a Rise on a Rainy Morning" in the Autumn issue. He invited me to participate in his "Six Questions" series. You can see that here. I highly recommend you check the series out because editors tell people EXACTLY what they want.

I think that's about it. Even I am sick of hearing about Dark Valentine Magazine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Murder Served Cold

Even if you don't normally buy hardback books, you might want to put The Murder Room on your list. Or buy it, read it gently and then give it to someone you love for a Christmas present. (What, you've never done that?) This book about the founding of the Vidocq Society and the work they do reads like a piece of historical fiction and the characters are wonderful. (Richard Walter, one of the world's greatest profilers, is a sardonic atheist whose encounter with a pedophile priest opens the book, has a great sense of sound-bite. Asked how sure he is that he's closing in on a killer he says, "If I were the killer, I wouldn't buy any green bananas.")

Read the excerpt from Esquire to whet your appetite.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Needle Magazine Summer Issue

The summer issue of Needle Magazine is out and I feel like an honorary editor because several of the writers who contributed are in the Autumn issue of Dark Valentine.

Nigel Bird has a piece of flash up at Dark Valentine right now--"For the Love of God." If you haven't read it yet, for God's sake click on the link. It won't take you but a minute to read it. His story in the Autumn issue of DV was inspired by a photograph friend of Dark Valentine Cormac Brown posted on his site.

Allen Leverone's story in Dark Valentine is called "Dance Hall Drug" and it's a nasty piece of work. (I mean that in a good way.) You'll want to read it as soon as it's available, which will be Friday, September 3rd.

Shout-out to David Cranmer too. He hasn't submitted to Dark Valentine yet but I'm sure that's just an oversight!

It is such a pleasure reading the well-crafted stories in Needle. I want to steal all of their writers.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I know a lot of people who get a little ... nonlinear over the subject of fan fiction. (Yes, Lee, I'm talking about you!) My attitude is more laissez-faire. Where's the harm? Writing fan fiction can be a great way to prime the pump of a writing career, a way to gain a following or even just a way to play with some of your favorite characters.

My friend Susan Garrett parlayed her love for the cult vampire show Forever Knight into an opportunity to write one of the three novel tie-ins. The book is still available at and if you're a fan of all things vampire, you should order here. you can buy it used for $6.66 (ooh, spooky).

Susan hadn't done a lot of writing in the past few years but she was planning to get back to it this year. She was one of the first people I contacted when Joy Sillesen and Joanne Renaud and I came up with the idea for Dark Valentine Magazine. I told her I wanted a story from her. She told me as soon as she felt better she'd put something together. That was in January. She never felt better. And she died today.

And I am so sad. She had so many more stories to write. And I will never get to read them. (Because of course, this is all about me and how I feel because Susan is beyond such mundane feelings now.) I want a cosmic do-over. I want Susan to live out a life surrounded by family and friends and her silly, overweight pug Belle. Surely there's someone on the planet we could do without (the BTK killer? Joseph Kony?)

If there's one lesson to be taken from this it is--don't wait to write your stories. Don't put off your dreams...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All Due Respect...Check it out

I am the Queen of Craig's List. Since 2007 when I realized the impending Writer's Guild strike was going to impact my income, I've been cruising the writing/editing listings on a daily (sometimes more frequent) basis. (Last year half my income came from jobs sourced on CL. Which amazes me.) Even when I don't have time to keep up with all the blogs I monitor, I'm on CL day in and day out. It's a lot like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of dross but sometimes you hit paydirt.

Yesterday there was a call for submissions from All Due Respect, where David Cranmer's story, "The Great Whydini" is up. All Due Respect (ADR) is looking for "old-fashioned pulp crime fiction" and their submission guidelines say it best: We are interested in crime fiction. That means fiction about crime. Not solving crime. Not bemoaning crime. Fiction about people who are criminals and maybe a little bit about why they are criminals, so long as you don't go Dr. Phil on it.

In this case, crime doesn't pay. They apologize for that. But ADR looks like a handsome showcase for a good story about bad people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ThugLit is Taking a Break

Todd Robinson over at has made it official. The current issue is going to be the last for a long while, maybe even forever. He's been at it for five years and now, he says, the crew (Johnny Kneecaps, Lady Detroit, and Big Baby Thug) is taking a break.

The archives will stay live, so you can always browse through the pulptastic stories that were chosen for each issue.

I always admired the site's slogan: Writing about Wrongs.

I guess this is one time when it's more appropriate to say Adieu instead of Au Revoir.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Read

iBoy is one of the best books I've read in a long time and it seems to be completely under the radar. It's a coming-of-age story and a super-hero origin story and it's not like anything you've read.

One minute Tommy Hawkins was a normal 16-year-old boy heading off to a friend’s house to talk to her about something and the next thing he knows, someone has called his name and thrown a cell phone from a great height—shattering his skull. The book is set in a gang-infested council flat in England and it is as gritty as, say, the movie Dirty Pretty Things. Bad things happen in this story and the "big bad," a gangster called Howard Ellman, is one of the scariest villains in the YA fiction world.

As Tommy transforms into something not altogether human, the writer does something subtle with point of view that really elevates it above the genre. He doesn't pull punches, but his main character is such a good-hearted kid that we come along for his ride willingly.

If you don't have time to read a novel this weekend, check out Chris Dabnor's flash fiction "The Folly" over at Dark Valentine.

You should also head over to Clarity of Night where a new flash fiction contest is in progress. I have a story up there and so does my good friend John Donald Carlucci. At last count, there were 40-some stories, but they're only 250 words max, so you can gobble them up like chocolates.