The Nice Girl/Horror Writer Dichotomy: Guest Post from Sara Jayne Townsend

“What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”

As a child, I had very definite ideas about what girls were supposed to be like and what boys were supposed to be like. I wasn’t very fond of boys – they were loud and noisy and rough. I was a girly girl, into dresses and dolls and I didn’t like getting dirty.

sjtEverything changed around puberty, and it wasn’t just because boys suddenly got more interesting. In grade eight, we were given an assignment in English class to write a horror story. And in the school library, I picked up a book called DIFFERENT SEASONS that featured four novellas by a chap called Stephen King. I liked the book so much, I went hunting for other things by the same writer. That led me to CARRIE. The rest is history. From then on, I was hooked on horror. I devoured it throughout high school – the gorier the better. And suddenly, the girl who as a child couldn’t even watch a creepy TV show without having nightmares for weeks was writing some very nasty horror stories.

By this time, we were in the middle of the 1980s. My generation of women were growing up with the likes of Joan Collins as role models – women with big hair and big shoulder pads and six-inch stilettos, who knew what they wanted and weren’t afraid to go out and get it. The boundaries of gender were becoming blurred. My junior high school (mixed) obliged all students to take both Industrial Arts (wood and metal working) and Family Studies (cooking and sewing). I was actually hopeless at all of it. Writing horror stories, though – that I seemed to be good at.

In high school, where I was able to drop both Industrial Arts and Family Studies (and Physical Education, which I was also hopeless at), I started to get interested in the clubs and societies the school had to offer. I joined the Dungeons and Dragons Club. I found I really enjoyed playing.

It was after I left school, though, than I began to run into gender barriers more and more often. Girls don’t play D&D. Girls don’t play video games. Girls don’t write horror stories, apparently. Anyone who says that is clearly too ignorant to realise that FRANKENSTEIN, arguably the first modern horror novel, was written by a teenage girl.

There are plenty of women horror writers out there, but too often ‘best of’ lists of horror writers are populated exclusively by men. And I still meet people who are surprised when I tell them I’m a horror writer. “But you seem so nice,” they say.

Maybe being nice is not the way to go. Since women horror writers don’t get their voice heard often enough I think we have to learn to shout a lot louder. Maybe then more people will notice we’re out there.

***

stcSUFFER THE CHILDREN

Orphaned at eighteen, Leanne’s life is adrift in a sea of grief and drug use. She washes up on the shore of estranged relatives, the Carver family, struggling with loss of their own. The transition from her South London council estate to her new home in the Surrey middle-class suburbs is difficult for Leanne.

But beneath the respectable veneer of the quiet neighborhood, something terrifying lurks. Displaced and troubled teenagers are disappearing. Leanne recruits her cousin Simon and his girlfriend Carrie to help get to the bottom of the sinister mystery. Can the three of them stop a creature of unimaginable evil before Leanne becomes a target?

***

Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories.  She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there.  She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris.  She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later.  It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfill that dream.

Her latest release is SUFFER THE CHILDREN, a supernatural horror novel that is available now from MuseItUp Publishing

Learn more about Sara and her writing at her website and her blog.  You can also follow her on Twitter and Goodreads, and buy her books from Amazon UK and US.

 

 

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Hometown Horror: An Interview With Luke Walker

luke #4It is with great pleasure that I welcome author Luke Walker back to this blog. He’s been a regular visitor over the years and, as a passionate aficionado of the horror genre, has written several excellent guest posts on such topics as women in horror, short fiction in horror, British horror, and more. I urge you, after reading this interview and buying his latest novel, to check out his contributions.

 

Dooley: Congratulations on your latest release, Luke. Tell us all about it!

luke #3Luke: Hometown is a horror about a group of friends who’ve grown apart after the suicide of a mutual friend a few years before the start of the story. She haunts them in various ways and they gather in their hometown (funnily enough) to try and work out what’s going on. Once they’re all together, they’re transported to another side of that town – the underside of it where it’s permanently night and the population are a mix of human and inhuman monsters. Realising they’re trapped in the physical manifestations of their friend’s pain, they have to do whatever it takes to stay alive and get out. At the same time, the wife of one of the friends is searching for him, unaware that someone is looking for her. Someone who knows all about pain and causing it.

I came up with the characters in an older book (which was terrible) several years ago. A while back, I got to thinking about them and wondered what they’d be up to now. Putting that with a dark tale of regret, grief and a fair bit of blood got me to Hometown.

Dooley: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

luke #1Luke: I don’t think so. I treat it like a second job so I’m at my desk at set times and aim for a decent word count with each session. As long as I’ve got a drink and some tunes, I’m good to go. I’ve discovered I do have certain areas I go back to in my fiction (friendship, people trying to right wrongs, bad things happening to good people for no reason), but no real quirks. Which probably means I have loads. I just don’t know it.

Dooley: What is your favorite part of writing a book?

Luke: There’s almost always a certain point in writing a book where you realise what the real story is, and that’s often not the idea you came up with. For example, Hometown was meant to be little more than a nasty tale of monsters and people being trapped with them. 20K or so into the first draft, I saw there was something more to it than that: how truly terrible regret is and how powerful friendship can be. Plus some really horrible goings on.

When a story falls into place and everything clicks, that’s the best part of writing a book.

Dooley: What is your biggest fear?

Luke: Dentists. Next question.

Dooley: Are you currently working on any other projects?

luke #2Luke: I’ve just finished editing my most recent book. Once I’ve got a bit of feedback on it and made any changes and fixed my mistakes (there are always mistakes), I can get it ready to submit. In the meantime, I’ve gone back to a couple of older books to give them a spit and a polish. After all that, I’m starting a new book. It’s titleless at the moment which is no big deal. The title comes when it comes. This one is about a group of cannibals in the aftermath of a nuclear war. It’s an alternate history thing set after a mid 80s conflict. With a lot of blood, I imagine.

Dooley: What are the last three books you read?

Luke: I recently finished Joe Hill’s NOS 4R2 which was superb. I meant to read it a couple of years ago and never got round to it. A very enjoyable tale all round. Susan Hill’s Dolly was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. She’s done some great stuff but that one fell a bit flat for me. Tim Lebbon’s first thriller The Hunt was another winner. Lebbon usually writes horror or fantasy and I highly recommend him. The Hunt is obviously different to his usual work and worth anyone’s time.

I’m currently reading Duncton Wood by William Horwood which is an old-fashioned (in a good way) fantasy story of moles in an English wood. I’m also re-reading Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan prior to reading the sequel World War Moo. As you can probably tell, it’s not one to be taking too seriously but is still a great read. Funny, violent and silly at the same time.

Dooley: Where can we find you online?

Luke: My website is www.lukewalkerwriter.com, my Twitter is @lukewalkerbooks, my Good Reads is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2924729.Luke_Walker

Feel free to drop by anywhere and say hello. I don’t bite. Or eat brains.

Hometown on Amazon UK

Hometown on Amazon US

 

 

 

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Call for Sci-Fi Romance Short Stories: Issue 12

Issue-11-CoverTHEME FOR ISSUE 12: General…let your imagination go wild!

Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement.

Deadline for Issue #12: 15 August 2016.

Rights sought: Six-month exclusive world digital rights from date of publication; non-exclusive thereafter.

Other info: One short story will be published per issue. Please send only edited and polished work. Due to time constraints, we are unable to give personalized feedback on rejected stories.

Stories that tie-in to a previously established world will be considered, but story must stand alone.

All sub-genres of science fiction will be considered.

Any heat level, from sweet to erotic, will be considered. Original, previously unpublished fiction only. No fan fiction, please.

Story should meld the Science Fiction and Romance genres, and must have an upbeat (HEA/HFN) ending. Not quite sure what we’re looking for? Read our original fiction in previous issues. Read also our Fiction Editor’s take on why YOUR story got rejected.

No multiple submissions. No stories that have previously been rejected by us. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please inform us if the story is placed elsewhere.

Submit here! Standard manuscript format, please.

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It’s the Blue Moon Blog Hop!

blue moon blog hop

Hi, everyone. I’m delighted to be participating in the Blue Moon Blog Hop, organized by the wonderfully efficient Pippa Jay.  The theme is BLUE, and that just happened to fit perfectly with three of my books. Why am I so enamored with BLUE, you ask? Well, let me explain.

Three definitions of BLUE:

– A color between green and indigo on the spectrum

– Melancholy, sad, or depressed

– A movie joke or story with sexual content

In my trio of BLUE books, Earth is ruled by the aristocratic Blues, led by the self appointed Dictator. Earth is their base, but the planet is slowly dying. Now, the Blues must extend and consolidate their power into the rest of the inhabited galaxy.

 

Cover Art - Blue GalaxyIn the first book, Blue Galaxy, a young aristocratic woman, Sola de la Vega, is being sent to an arranged marriage with a Blue warlord on a colonized planet in the Outer Rim. The pilot of the ship that will carry her there, Javan Rhodes, former war hero turned alcoholic space flotsam, has the misfortune to fall in love with the woman, who turns out to be nothing like the demure young Blue she presents herself to be. There is melancholy and sadness, oh yes. And quite a bit of sexual content *grin*

 

Blue Nebula_MDThe twist and turns of Blue Galaxy, all told from the perspective of Captain Rhodes, leads directly into the second book, Blue Nebula, where the adventures continue from the point of view of Sola de la Vega. Swashbuckling of various kinds occur, secrets are revealed, hearts are broken, and the very uncertain future of the galaxy becomes a battle ground. The wily old Dictator of Earth has set a series of events in play that Sola and Javan must overcome, not just for the future of their relationship, but for the very survival of Planet Earth.

 

Blue Yonder-highresWell, that’s what the power players are up to. Back on Earth, as the Blues start to flee the dying planet, the ordinary people must go to extreme lengths to afford their own evacuation. The story continues in Blue Yonder as factory worker and part time prostitute, Isabel Visconti, is on the brink of escape when her old friend, Daniel Mourneau, shows up to beg a dangerous favor, one that could lead to an unimaginably horrible future for her. But how can she abandon her dearest friend?

 

Well, that’s my Blue trio. You can enter to win  a grand prize of books and giftcards via Rafflecopter.  I’m also giving away three sets of my Blue trio to three randomly selected commenters on this blog. I’m in a three kind of mood *grin* The seven other authors in the hop have blue obsessions of their own. Hop on over to read the rest of the contributions to the Blue Moon Blog Hop. Have fun!

blue moon

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A New Story and an Interview

the-trail-of-stars

Illustration by Sue Babcock

Well, I guess it’s time for an update.

My short story, The Trail of Stars, has been published in Issue 28 of Liquid Imagination. You can read  my story here. It’s SciFi with a Horror twist. I hope you enjoy. Each story comes with an original piece of artwork by Sue Babcock.

I was recently interviewed by author Sara Jayne Townsend for her regular Monday’s Friend  series. Check it out!

Posted in Author Interviews, Horror and Dark Fantasy, Science Fiction and Science Fiction Romance, The Writing Life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Call for Submissions: Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly Issue 11

SFRQ-Issue6-CoverTHEME FOR ISSUE 11: Alien Love

Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement.

Deadline for Issue #11: 15 May 2016.

Rights sought: Six-month exclusive world digital rights from date of publication; non-exclusive thereafter.

Other info: One short story will be published per issue. Please send only edited and polished work. Due to time constraints, we are unable to give personalized feedback on rejected stories.

Stories that tie-in to a previously established world will be considered, but story must stand alone.

All sub-genres of science fiction will be considered.

Any heat level, from sweet to erotic, will be considered. Original, previously unpublished fiction only. No fan fiction, please.

Story should meld the Science Fiction and Romance genres, and must have an upbeat (HEA/HFN) ending. Not quite sure what we’re looking for? Read our original fiction in previous issues. Read also our Fiction Editor’s take on why YOUR story got rejected.

No multiple submissions. No stories that have previously been rejected by us. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please inform us if the story is placed elsewhere.

Submit! Standard manuscript format, please.

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Blue Yonder Wins an SFR Galaxy Award!

SFRGalaxyAwards_iconWell, this is so damn cool. BLUE YONDER has won an SFR Galaxy Award, my second book from Decadent Publishing to do so. The previous winner was Mako’s Bounty. The specific award given  was for the Best Scene Stealer, and my lovely plot moppet, Baby Jack, was the one who stole all his scenes. Read on to meet him.

I’m so happy about the award I think I’ll give away a few copies of BLUE YONDER. If you’d like to get to know Jack and the other characters better, please contact me to request a complimentary e-copy.

***

He shook off his thoughts, strolling around the corner and then through the back door, pausing to enter the lock combo from memory. Yannis’s wife, Dora, sat at a table in the back room, packing small, dry oranges into bags, her face as miserable as always. She looked up as he entered. “That bastard Vangelis is still charging us for protection?”

Daniel pulled down his mask. “You’ve got a guard on your door, don’t you? Pay up. And watch your fucking mouth.”

Dora stood, then grumbled her way to a desk in the corner of the room. She pulled an envelope out of the top drawer, before turning and tossing it onto the table in front of Daniel. He opened it, spilled out the multicolored creds and started counting. Halfway through he heard an impossible noise. Dora crying? He glanced up into the stony face. Nope. He doubted a tear had ever dropped from those grim eyes. He turned toward the sound. In another corner was a cage with a mattress inside. Holding on to the bars and sobbing piteously was a small child. “A baby? I haven’t seen one of those in forever.” He rose and went over, crouching down and gazing into the limpid brown eyes of a half-naked little boy. “How old is he?”

Dora shrugged. “Eighteen months, maybe. Something like that.”

The boy reached a hand through the bars and clutched one of Daniel’s fingers. He stared down at it. Such a small hand. His fingers were thin, but he held on with an impressive grip. A fat tear slid down the child’s face, leaving a clear track through the dirt. Daniel turned back to Dora. “Is he your grandson?”

An amused snort exploded from Dora, the closest he’d ever seen her to happy. “My grandkids are grown and working for a warlord on Greenpath. I’ll be joining them soon enough. And that useless daughter of mine will take care of me in my old age. Whether she likes it or not.” She stabbed a bony finger in the direction of the child. “That right there is our ticket off this fucking planet. I’m gonna be retiring in style.”

Daniel looked back at the boy. “He’s for sale? Who the hell is gonna buy an extra mouth to feed?”

“Some Blue bastard. But he won’t be feeding the kid for long. His own brat needs a new set of kidneys, and the family can’t leave until then. I negotiated an excellent price. ” Dora smirked at her own cleverness. “The Blues are abandoning the city, the whole planet. You know what that means? It’s time to get the fuck out of here.”

The little finger clutched harder and the boy let out a sob. Poor kid. It was almost as if he’d understood the old bat. Daniel reluctantly disengaged his finger from the child’s grasp and went back to the table. He started recounting the creds. “Where’s his mother?

Dora shrugged again. “Who cares? What kind of stupid bitch would bring a baby into this world? He was being experimented on up at the hospital, so I’m doing him a favor.”

Daniel paused. “A favor that’ll kill him.”

“Whatever. The Blue is paying me enough for a ticket off this shithole. Me and Yannis both. Tell Vangelis this is his last payment. We’ll be gone this time next week.”

***

Decadent PublishingAmazon US | Amazon UK | All Romance | Barnes & Noble

Request a review copy: Contact Me

To-Read List: Goodreads

Earth is drowning, but Isabel Visconti won’t be going down with the planet. Her earnings as a factory drone and prostitute will soon fund her escape to the stars. All she’ll leave behind is her late husband’s best friend, Daniel Morneau, who has disappeared into the underbelly of the city’s criminal gangs. Until he shows up, pleading for Isabel’s help.

It’s the old Daniel, the kind, gentle one. The man who bought medicine for her dying husband then helped her through the grief. It’s the Daniel she couldn’t possibly refuse to help. But Isabel has already been given a choice by Daniel’s psychopath boss. Betray Daniel—or spend months traveling to a far-off colony, servicing a violent criminal gang along the way.

When Daniel is abducted, Isabel is his only hope. He may die without her, but is there time enough for love on the eve of the end of the world?

Blue Yonder-highres

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Call for Sci-Fi Romance Short Fiction

Issue4-CoverTHEME FOR ISSUE 10: No special theme…give it your best shot!

Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement.

Deadline for Issue #9: 15 February 2015.

Rights sought: Six-month exclusive world digital rights from date of publication; non-exclusive thereafter.

Other info: One short story will be published per issue. Please send only edited and polished work. Due to time constraints, we are unable to give personalized feedback on rejected stories.

Stories that tie-in to a previously established world will be considered, but story must stand alone.

All sub-genres of science fiction will be considered.

Any heat level, from sweet to erotic, will be considered. Original, previously unpublished fiction only. No fan fiction, please.

Story should meld the Science Fiction and Romance genres, and must have an upbeat (HEA/HFN) ending. Not quite sure what we’re looking for? Read our original fiction in previous issues.

No multiple submissions. No stories that have previously been rejected by us. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please inform us if the story is placed elsewhere.

Submit Here

Some tips for successfully submitting to Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly.

 

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The Galaxy Express: A New Direction

GalaxyExpressLogoSmallerI can hardly believe it’s been almost eight years since The Galaxy Express blog made its debut. And that for all that time, Heather Massey has sharing her love of science fiction romance, never seeming to run out of material. Over the years I’ve been a somewhat irregular contributor myself, both as Diane Dooley, and sometimes as my irascible alter ego, Agent Z.

But now it’s time for a new direction. With the advent of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, there was a great deal of overlapping work Heather was doing for both the mag and the blog. It seemed the time was right for melding the two entities. And so we give you Galaxy Express 2.0, which will continue the work of The Galaxy Express, though with three regular bloggers: Heather, myself, and Kaz Augustin.

The Galaxy Express, and it’s deep archive of everything Sci-Fi Romance, will stay up and available to all. It’s a tremendous resource for all SFR readers and writers (and the search function works great – I use it regularly).

We hope you will join us at Galaxy Express 2.0, where there will be a minimum of three posts per month. See you there! And do please leave comments!

Heather – As a writer and a reader, THANK YOU for all the amazing work you did bringing attention to what was once a small sub-genre. Your dedication, passion, and work ethic have always been an inspiration to me.

GalaxyExpress2.0_ff

 

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Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly: Issue 9

SFRQ-Issue-09-Cover-232x300Issue 9 of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is now live and, as always, it’s FREE.

This issue contains a round-up of the last few months of Science Fiction Romance new releases, several reviews, a guide to SFR movies, TWO original short stories, an introduction to the wonderful world of India-inspired steampunk, sneak peeks of three recent SFR releases, and a whole bunch more.

It’s a bumper issue and you can find it here. If you like what you read, don’t forget to check out our eight archived issues.

You can be reminded of issue releases by following the Quarterly on Twitter @SciFiRomance

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