women in horror month

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If only I was as Hot as Stephen King: WiHM 2015 Thoughts

Published March 4, 2015 by admin

So all in all, this has been an interesting WiHM 2015. I have to admit, going in I had mixed feelings – I usually do. While I love having a chance to explore the genre I dearly love and am fascinated by,  and I truly do feel that we need to explore gender roles within it, I also usually begin to wonder if anything’s being accomplished. At some point every year, it begins to feel like yet another promotional campaign. Although I’ll gladly participate and take what I can get, I often wonder if we’re really being as effective as we could be. If I’m being as effective as I could be, or if I end up doing it because it’s what’s expected.

And then things happen that make me realize, yeah, I am really glad to be taking part in events like this. I won’t link to anything or mention names – this has been talked to death in writer circles lately – but at least once a year during WiHM something ends up happening. This year an author happened to make some disparaging remarks about lady horror authors (and surprise, surprise, they happened right as his new book was being released). To be fair, he made some pretty assuming remarks about horror writers in general: we don’t earn our place as real writers, we’re arrogant and outspoken, and on and on. And, at least it seems to me, that it was interesting that in the same post this guy was complaining about the need to network and promote his work.

I get it. Believe me, It’s a full-time job on top of the full-tie job I already have, plus writing. It’s why this gig isn’t easy: you do most everything yourself. I get the frustration at the saturated market, I get the unfairness of some titles having five million reviews (or what feels like it), and yours not having as many as you’d like.

But here’s the thing…

Most of the horror writers I’ve met of both genders are warm, chill people who usually aren’t into one-upping each other. You’re always going to have some bad examples, but in general, the business is hard enough without someone making it even harder.

And here’s the other thing. In the middle of his rant against horror writers and self-pubbers and everything else, he specifically mentions lady horror writers, and how they do things like dress up and take pictures with people – and then proceeds to say that most of us look like hags, anyway.

1. Have you ever been to a horror con? Dressing up and taking pictures is kinda par for the course. I’ve known plenty of male authors, male actors, and male vendors who engage in the same behavior. It’s all in fun and a lot of great photo ops are to be had.

2. I know plenty of people of both genders who dress up. Or if they don’t, I know plenty of male horror writers who wear horror shirts, or who have a specific look. We all have our gimmicks, don’t kid yourself.

3. Why does it always come down to looks? Of all things to rant about….I mean really? Seriously? Things like this feel like high school again – if nothing else, slam a gal’s looks and she’ll run away crying.

4. If I had known that I had to match the awesome, overpowering sex appeal of Stephen King and others, than I really would have been working overtime long before now. I mean seriously, I had no idea I was supposed to be honing my horror chic! Why didn’t someone tell me!? Is there some course I can take for this, some online group I can be part of to catch up? Is there some meeting I didn’t know about?

Lady horror authors  are many things – but we are authors. If you don’t like our work, fine, that’s your choice. But to grab something so left field…that’s grasping. That is frustrating. And that’s why we still need Women in Horror Month. We are good at what we do, people, and readers deserve to know that there are amazing and chilling titles out there (by both genders and by traditional and indie-published, alike).

Look, all the posts and promoting of my horror titles I do this month don’t earn me a trillion dollars – they don’t usually affect my sales at all. I talk about horror because I love it, and because I’m truly interested in examining a genre and finding a place for myself within it, just like I know so many other female writers are interested in the same thing. It’s hard enough being an author in this day an age – the guy was write about that. The thing is, there’s a huge community of people who will help you learn or be there to commiserate with you, and he just managed to piss them all off. At the end of the day, it IS hard being an author. I go back and forth whether I think gender makes it harder, but at the end of the day all I can do is to work my butt off and keep trying to move forward a step at a time. All we want out of Women in Horror Month is to be give a little exposure to those of us who may not have someone immediately pick up one of our titles because we don’t look like sexy Stephen or come-hither Clive or other recognizable male authors. We just want a fair shot in a genre that seems to suddenly want to push us out or at least ignore us, even though we have a lot to say.

And what’s amazing is in the wake of this, we’ve gained a bigger voice. We’ve hatched plans for charity-based anthologies, we’ve gotten mad about things all over again…and when we get mad, we go back to the woods and start planning and plotting and working.

We’re hags, after all. And some of us are inspired by the grand-high mother crone of them all, Baba Yaga. Lady didn’t take any crap, and she’s definitely a role model of mine. So yeah, there’s definitely a reason for this month, it seems. Many reasons. If it at least empowers us to talk to each other, to form a stronger community of  hags  female horror writers or horror writers in general, if it gets us talking online and in person about what we can do with incidents like this and where we can go from here, than that is a huge step forward, and something I’ll definitely take from this year’s WiHM experience.

 

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The Unlikely Villain by Riley Miller

Published February 28, 2015 by admin

I’m thrilled to have Riley Miller with me today! A fellow contributor/conspirator on The Big Bad 2, she’s going to share a post and an excerpt from her story with us!

The Unlikely Villain

Bad cops. Scandalous teachers. Greedy politicians. Incompetent nurses. The news is full of their stories. Ever wondered why? It’s not like we haven’t heard these tales before, or variations on the same themes.

Somehow these stories continue to horrify and fascinate us.

We call them public servants. We trust them to make things safe, to teach and guide and work for justice. And usually, they do. Like most people, they mean well. They work hard.  They do their best.

But the idea that a public servant would take advantage—well, that plays on our deepest, most human fears. We entrust them with society’s most vulnerable: the victims, the children, and the injured. Because of my profession, educator scandals in particular turn my stomach. I find myself asking, “Why? How did she let it get to that point?” or “How did he think no one would find out?”

I’ve been teaching in the public school system for ten years, and for every lazy, misguided, or (heaven forbid) predatory teacher out there, there are a hundred more who work late and care about their students so much it hurts.

This anthology made me think about the type of villain who scares me the most, the kind of person who takes advantage of their position of trust. Honestly, I creeped myself out while I was writing.

 Meet Miss Thompson. She’s an award winning teacher and a serial killer. Find her in a Biology classroom near you.

 Excerpt from “Teacher of the Year” in the Big Bad II:

 Miss Julia Thompson arrives to school at 7:05, coffee in hand, just as she has every other morning for the last eleven years. She isn’t surprised to see her colleague Paul Smith walking down the hall ahead of her. Ever since October, when she’d winked at him in the teacher’s lounge, he’s been making himself available. Showing up in the lounge while she ate lunch. Offering his help with copier jams. Starting conversations about students they had in common.

He slows his pace when he hears her, casually, as if he hasn’t been listening for the tap of her heels on the tile. When she catches up, he attempts a smile, but can’t quite manage it. He holds out the morning paper. “Seen this yet?”

“No,” she lies, and reads the headline aloud: “‘Third High School Student Missing in Two Years.’” She slows to make a show of reading the article.  “Oh no! They haven’t found Mark?”

“You teach him, don’t you?”

She gives a stiff nod, her gaze still on the paper. “I’ve taught all three of them.”

 ***

Thanks to Selah for inviting me to guest blog. I can’t wait to read the other stories late at night when I’m alone in the house and give myself a scare.

Riley Miller

Author Pic

Having given up my dream of being sexy and mysterious, I write about the mysterious and criminal. And hopefully, on my good days, stay sexy.

 On the net: www.rileymiller.net

On Twitter: @rileymillertime

Women in Horror: Susan Hicks Wong

Published February 28, 2015 by admin

Today’s Women in Horror guest is Susan Hicks Wong. I love hearing about people’s life experiences and how it relates to their writing, and she provides a post today that’s poetic, poignant, and a little unnerving in its intimacy. No wonder I like it. You can find Susan’s work in State of Horror: North Carolina

 

 ***

My current living space, which I share with my husband, is the size of a modest American bathroom. As if in compensation for these limitations, my windows often overlook herds of dainty antelope; shy, clumsy moose; stunning bald eagles; and tidy but carnivorous black-and-white magpies with tails like scissors. Our semi truck traverses plains, buttes, and canyons of biblical proportions; places where you can drive for fifty miles and, except for the highway, barely see any human residue. This view is generally restful and soothing and I feel rather self-righteous that it is all mine, though it is not. Experiences like our semi truck engine catching on fire while laboring up a Montana mountain definitely put solitary grandeur and rugged individualism into perspective.

We also spend quite a lot of time hovering around the periphery of modern life. Affluent suburbs, gritty industrial ports, and gentrified metropolitan loft neighborhoods—if you look closely, you’ll see our semi truck parked there, trying hard to look as inconspicuous as a seventy-two-foot long vehicle can be. We are the invisible ones who slide our rig in behind the entertainment movieplex, the pet superstores, the Starbucks, the Walmarts. My husband and I are quiet and sneaky, like a couple of spies roaming across North America. And as I roam I listen, I eavesdrop on your conversations. I take note of what you are wearing, your accent, and your concerns.

Your stories.

The transition of the landscape we move through tells a story. Jagged mountains give way to hills and plains furrowed by rivers that shimmer to the sea. Each farm and town and city we pass through is a fixed point in your world, which changes constantly in mine. The inhabitants of these places create their stories, unaware that I am passing through and listening, nosing around, feeling the particular air of their town. The humidity, the loud laughter, the animals trotting alongside the roadside all pass by my truck window. Abandoned grocery stores, trendy shops, shade tree mechanics, and trailer parks flicker along as if they were in my own private movie.

Sometimes we park in a pull out under the stars, in the high desert, beside a river, next to a train that wakes us up all night long. Sometimes the only joint in town in the middle of the dry, cold wood smoke-smelling Oregon outback says, sure thing, you can park across the street for the night. Come on in. We got pizza, beer, pool tables. Once we broke down in Michigan and spent the weekend of the summer solstice watching a huge fireworks display over the water and fighting jet-sized mosquitoes, in a tiny lakeside community that appeared, like Brigadoon, as our truck sighed to a stop in a restaurant parking lot. Often we stay in loud truck stops that stink of diesel but are bursting with overheard conversation.

I fell backward into this life. My old life, the one where I was both a single woman living with hundreds of books in a Pippi Longstocking house by a cemetery and the life where I was a visual designer who went into a windowless corporate cubicle every day to pay for my front porch swing and my art supplies and my martinis with friends, that life flew away. I miss the books. I miss seeing my friends and my mother every week. I miss my loft art studio. I don’t miss the windowless office. My husband and I visit the house we own together every five weeks or so and we catch up on cookouts, yard work, paying our taxes, just like normal people, albeit with a certain schedule to adhere to. The rest of the time we get paid to travel and I observe the whole continent.

I have a makeup bag, a smart phone, a laptop and an e-reader. I can carry all these things, plus a few of pairs of clean underwear and some jeans in my two hands. There is a feeling of stunning power and freedom when your entire world and needs fit next to your bunk. Before I was laid off from my job, before my old life changed completely, my husband encouraged me to start writing again. When I was younger my love for writing used to intimidate me. I enjoyed doing it a lot and I took creative writing courses in college but it seemed so isolating, too demanding to consider as a career. This thing, storytelling, could suck you down into itself forever. Visual art seemed friendlier somehow, more social; easier to let go and pick up again.

Now, writing fits under my pillow, I can take it out any time I want.

It connects me back into this world I pass through.

 ***

While the other children were playing outside in the fresh air, Susan Hicks Wong was scrunched down in a tattered armchair inhaling the miasma of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson. After stints as an art director and textile designer, she now travels wild and free across North America as a long haul truck driver with her husband. She attended the 2013 Odyssey Writer’s Workshop. Susan reads and writes as the prairie rolls past and she still loves the funk of decaying old books.

 

On Writing Horror by Tanya Nehmelman

Published February 27, 2015 by admin

Today’s guest is the lovely Tanya Nehmelman. I love talking craft and hearing where other authors get their ideas, especially in the realm of the horror genre, so this is an especially cool post for me. Enjoy!

***

On Writing Horror

By Tanya Nehmelman

Author in Paying the Ferryman (upcoming)

My horror stories are influenced by a number of things from nightmares or dreams to everyday experiences. I started out keeping a notepad and pen by my bed so I could jot down ideas before I forgot them. Now I downloaded an app so I can just grab my phone and type them in. Much easier and quicker than having to get up and turn on the light before I can write down the ideas on paper.

Taking stories from my dreams started out when I was younger, still a kid. I remember waking up sometimes after a dream and being mad that I woke up. I was the weirdo, who wanted to know what happened, so I would think about it and try to make myself redream about it, hoping I’d get a conclusion. More often than not that didn’t work, so I started writing them down and giving them endings I thought fit, and they became my stories.

Then there are the other story ideas that hit during everyday experiences. Like odd situations at work (I work in a doctors’ office) like when there was this weird smell coming from the hallway by the nurses’ station. It gave me the basis for a story about doctors and nurses who were getting rid of bothersome patients and stashing the bodies in the ceiling. Or one I came up with during nurses’ week when one of the doctors gave his nurse a beautiful antique pin. It provided the basis for the story I call, “Lisa’s Gift.” It’s about a haunted pin that transports its new wearer back in time to face the horror the original owner experienced when she received the pin. I guess I just look at everyday situations, make them weird and transform them into a horror story.

Balancing writing with the realities of everyday life comes to a bit more of a challenge for me these days. When I was in school, I’d work on my stories during class when I should have been paying attention. But if I started it in study hall and was really into it I had to keep going until it was complete even if that meant writing past study hall and in an actual class.

Now that I’m older and have the dreaded responsibilities of an adult I can’t just drop everything and work on a story although I’d like to sometimes. I’ll jot things down if I get a lunch break. After work I try to do some type of writing for at least an hour, some late nights that’s hard. On my days off are when I get some real writing done. I aim for a goal of at least four hours, depending on what errands are in store for me that day.

Once in a while I’ll wake up sometime in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep, and use that time to work on some writing. Writing in the dark while everybody’s sleeping adds to the creepiness in my tale as I creep myself out.

Then there’s the shower. I’ve come up with countless ideas while in the shower. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m completely alone during that time or the fact that the shower resides in an old creepy basement. Maybe it’s a little of both, but it is the perfect place to manifest scary ideas.

Although I do love writing horror, I do face some challenges in my writing. I’d say they differ from story to story. A lot of times, I come up with a good idea, but then can’t figure out a good or catchy way to start it. I work on the “meat” of the story and wait for the beginning to hit me. Sometimes it’s right away, sometimes not, but I eventually come up with something.

Other times I struggle with finding a good ending that fits and doesn’t come out cliché or predictable. This challenge doesn’t happen as often as the latter. I start a lot of my stories at the ending. With that said the hard part of starting backward is getting the rest to fit without making the story sound cheesy.

The worst challenge I find myself suffering from the most is losing interest in a story. I come up with a great idea, but once I get it on paper I don’t like it. What’s challenging is getting myself to care about that particular story enough to reinvent it and get it back to the state of me liking it.

Pandemonium is a perfect example of this challenge. It started out as a dream I had years ago. I woke up and wrote a short story originally called 6:12. I did not like it at all. It sat for two years until I picked it up again last summer and rewrote into something I liked enough to submit, and now I can share it with all of you in Paying the Ferryman.

***

Tanya Nehmelman is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is the author of several short stories included in the anthologies, Dead Men and Women Walking, Fossil Lake an Anthology of the Aberrant, and The Twelve Nights of Christmas. Her story All Hallows’ Night took 3rd place in the Inner Sins crossword format contest and is in issue 13. She has also received several editor’s choice awards for her poetry at poetry.com. To find her upcoming work visit her page at facebook.com/tanyanehmelmanauthorpage. Tanya Nehmelman lives in Northern Illinois with her family.

 

 

The Cock Doth Crow by S.H. Roddey

Published February 27, 2015 by admin

Oh me oh my, kidlets, have I got a treat for you today! My cohort, co-author, best bud, and enabler SH Roddey is here to rock your ever-loving minds with a gruesome, disturbing little short. Obviously I love it, and you should, too. It’ll make your morning – it’s all about breakfast and everything.

***

The Cock Doth Crow

by S.H. Roddey

 

“The cock doth crow
To let you know,
If you be wise,
Tis time to rise.”

 

Nursery Rhyme

 

The old rooster let go a warbling cry into the pre-dawn hours, the distant and lonely sound echoing off the tattered barn and over the pasture, bringing about the low of the cattle and the annoyed cry of the old barn-cat.  Back toward the farmhouse, a leaning, dilapidated structure consisting of creaky floorboards and drafty rafters, a candle-flame flickered.

An aging farmer by the name of Duncan Hearst tottered onto his porch, and from the candle-flame flickered to life a hand-rolled cigarette, which the old codger clutched between his withered lips.  He drew a shallow breath around the years of pollutants and the growing infection of emphysema, then let out a shaking, choking death-rattle of a cough.  The dog sleeping on the porch whimpered and scuttled under the ancient rocking chair, its tail curled around its paws for protection.  

“Duncan, you old fool!” the rackety woman’s voice screeched through the open door, “You get in here this instant and stop it with that nasty cigarette!”

“Coming, Martha,” he croaked, and took a final drag from the thing before flicking it over the porch-railing and scuttling back inside.

Duncan and Martha lived two miles from another soul, mainly because Duncan was such a horrid old coot that their neighbors had sold their farms off to be away from him.  Even their two daughters were grown and gone, and the whole slew of grandchildren Martha so desperately wanted to love never, ever came to visit.

Duncan was nearly sixty years old by Martha’s count, which meant that she was close on to fifty-five herself.  In their parish, they would have been considered among royalty for their ages, yet they were the outcasts, and she a pariah for her sweet doting on the undeserving wretch she called a husband.  But she had pledged ‘until death do us part’ all that many years ago, and until death did they part, she would continue to be true to him.

The old cock fluttered down from the fence in a torrent of feathers, then strutted toward the henhouse while Martha stood over the hearth, desperately wishing for the modern conveniences in which Duncan did not believe.  To have electricity, and a working oven that did not involve the chopping of firewood four times daily… running water in the house that did not require the cranking of an old well reel… Martha sighed wistfully as she gloved her hand in a tattered old pot holder and reached for the handle of the cast-iron skillet lying on the embers.

Hacking out a cough from lungs that sounded full of phlegm and infection, Duncan dragged himself into the house and seated himself at the table.  “Where is my breakfast, woman?” he snapped, pounding his fist on the table.  “At least get me my coffee if you plan to make me wait!”

Martha drew in a breath and held it for a three-count while she carefully placed the heated skillet on the prepared towels and cracked three eggs onto its smooth, black surface.  While the eggs sizzled in the pan, she pulled the kettle from the fire and poured two mugs of strong, black coffee.

“Here’s your coffee, Duncan,” she said, her words clipped from frustration, and turned back to flip the eggs.  While the pan was still hot she threw in four slabs of salted ham, careful to keep the fatty edges from popping into the eggs.  Mingling the flavors of Duncan’s breakfast certainly would not do, she thought with a sneer.

When the old fool’s breakfast was on a plate, she placed it gingerly on the table in front of him.  After thirty years of marriage, she had grown to expect no compliment, or even a thank-you… but when his lip curled and he glared at the eggs as if they were poisoned, she felt her patience wearing thin.

“Before you even think about insulting that breakfast, Duncan Hearst, you just remember how many ways you have deprived me! If you for one second think I will stand here and allow you to insult my cooking, you’ve got another thing coming. Now keep that smart trap of yours shut and eat your breakfast.”  Martha smothered a smug smile as Duncan’s jaw flapped like a loose hinge.  Before she lost her composure, she turned and strode from the kitchen.  She did not stop until she was out the back door and well toward the barn with the morning’s milk pail.  On the way out, she thought she heard the snick of a fork against a plate, but she wasn’t about to go back and check.

If anyone had asked her what had come over her in talking to her husband that way, Martha could have only shrugged.  She could easily tell a questioning party that she had grown weary of his insults and general lack of support, but that was only part of it, she mused as she pulled the stool up to Daisy’s side.  To be perfectly honest, she hated the old fool, and had since their youngest daughter, Lila Mae, had gone away to school and not come home again.

Her hatred flared brightly as starbursts behind her eyes as she sat down beside the cow and began her morning’s work. First the milk, then the eggs, then she would feed the animals before returning to the house to knead the day’s bread for baking. Duncan required fresh bread each day; he would never eat the remainder from the previous day. Martha would feed yesterday’s loaf to the chickens. It was Thursday, which meant she would boil up another chicken from their shrinking collection. She would take the hand ax to its throat and rip out its feathers from the tail up.

 The aging woman rose with her frothy milk pail and sat it in the window to separate before taking up her egg basket and heading for the henhouse. The cock strutted back and forth, back and forth, displaying his vibrant plumage for the biddies inside who, if they were at all like Martha, wouldn’t concern themselves with his show.

 She let the chickens loose and collected the morning’s eggs – only six for the day; Duncan would be less than pleased – then returned for her milk pail.

 When she returned to the house, Duncan had taken up his post in the rocking chair on the front porch. He sucked at one of his scant-made cigarettes, mostly paper and wood shavings to save on the cost of tobacco, and set about his list of the day’s complaints. The ham was not cooked properly. The eggs were too few. He would be damned if he’d eat day-old loaf. On the complaints continued.

 When Martha went to the back garden to collect the chicken for dinner, Duncan took it upon himself to follow her. His complaints echoed through her head, pinging shards of pain against the base of her skull. The old bastard was never happy…never. And she hated him. Yet his tirade continued, the poor fool unaware of his own misstep until the moment the ax blade meant for the fat hen wedged itself into the joint where his neck and shoulder met.

 Martha jerked the blade free and swung again, severing Duncan’s windpipe and esophagus. Blood spurted and oozed from the wound with each frantic beat of his heart, spraying the yellowing grass with a deep crimson coat. The third strike of the blade severed his spinal cord. His head, separated from his neck safe a thin strip of skin and his still in-tact jugular vein, lolled forward. His face bounced against his chest, leaving reddened lip prints on his dirty, white shirt.

 The body collapsed to its knees then fell forward, trapping Duncan’s miserable face between chest and dirt. Blood pooled from the raw, jagged wound, crawling across the dingy ground like fingers through pudding.

 Martha dropped the bloody ax to the ground beside her late husband and, with a smile, hoisted her skirt and turned for the house. She needed a change of clothes and her hair needed freshening. A visit to her daughters was long overdue, and it was far past time the babies met their maw-maw.

 ###

 The old rooster let go a warbling cry into the pre-dawn hours, the distant and lonely sound echoing off the tattered barn and over the pasture, bringing about the low of the cattle and  the annoyed cry of the old barn-cat.  Back toward the farmhouse, nothing happened.

***

Man, I have the coolest friends…Anywho, if you want to learn more about S.H. Roddey, you can check her at her website or on facebook

On Being a Woman Horror Writer by Margie Colton

Published February 26, 2015 by admin

I’m stoked to have an awesome lady here on my blog today, and like so many others, she’s brings with her some really, really great insight, as well as encouragement.

On Being a Woman Horror Writer

Margie Colton

 

Editor:  Paying the Ferryman (upcoming), Carpe Noctem: Truly, Madly, Deeply (upcoming)

Author: State of Horror: New Jersey, State of Horror: North Carolina, State of Horror: Louisiana (upcoming)

“Hey, I know you can do this. You have it in you. Do a little research and see what you come up with. You know what it takes to make a good story, use that. The story is there…” And so I wrote my first horror story.  Talk about anxiety.  Is it scary enough? Am I too in the character’s head? Should I amp up the scary part? I totally went over the word count—is that okay?  Is it scary? Oh I wrote the story, then the baby came back from the editor and I cried as I changed it, agonized over every word and phrase and comma. Then there it was, finished, shiny and new waiting for a reader.  The anxiety over whether someone will like it, or get it, or even worse—hate it—anxiety ridden, I waited for feedback.  “Well, I don’t like horror, but I liked your story.”  Thanks mom, now please other people, anyone read it and say you liked it.  I waited patiently with gallons of ice cream for that elusive review, and then it happened.  Someone I was not related to liked my story.  Okay now I believe I can do this.  I can write horror.

I am sure all writers in all genres have the same experiences with writing, editing, gaining acceptance, and dying for a favorable review, not to mention book sales.  However, I think as a horror writer, there is a unique aspect with acceptance of what we do and going so far as to justify what we do.   As a horror writer, people ask me why I write horror all the time and as a woman horror writer they ask me what would make me choose horror and not a “romance or something”. These people look at me like there is something wrong with me; something deep and dark lurks in my psyche that draws me to horror. Well okay probably something dark does dwell in my psyche waiting to manifest itself in some heinous way…. Or I think writing horror is amazing. Where else can someone irritate you and then you can exact your revenge by having a monster eat them for a snack? Of course all the characters who die in terrible ways after unbearable torment are only loosely inspired by real life—that’s my story.  Horror is fun to write.  No real rules, other than to have a great story and character.  No limits, I can be as creative as I want to be.  No formulas, my characters don’t have to get it on by page 200, and there doesn’t have to be a happy ending.  I am completely free to do what I want and go where I want in exploring the gamut of human emotions.  Powerful emotions—good and bad—are the key to any story and in horror that darker side is easy to explore.

I’m new to the horror writing scene, but all I have experienced is acceptance.  People, as in other writers, editors, publishers, have been very supportive and I don’t feel that urge to “prove” myself as a horror writer.  I do what everyone else is doing and that is crafting the best story I can—letting the characters tell their story—and then offering it up.  In talking to other writers and editors there is a ton of support for the craft.  We all face that “one spot” we can’t work out, or wait for reviews to come in, or edit and edit again. We all struggle to find ways to get our stories out there and then get them noticed.  Being a woman horror writer is not unique, but it is special.  It is having that sense of community with others, that uplifting support, which really makes a difference between feeling like a success and feeling like an epic failure.

It’s Women in Horror Month and a good opportunity to feature women in horror.  We are not all crazy or “off” or secretly deranged.  We like to tell a great story with deep characters and rich plots.  We are as well adjusted as any writer can be. Horror is a fun genre to explore and write. I’m at a place I didn’t think I would be at without the push from my good friend to give writing horror a try. I’m so glad he supported me and gave me the push I needed to get started.  Now I have so many stories in my head to get out and so little time to write.  My advice for any woman out there who wants to write horror is just to do it.  Don’t hold back and give it all you have.  Just write.

***

Margaret L. Colton

Margaret L. Colton is an avid history buff, especially in the areas of Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece and American History, she loves all things history. She has been imparting her historical knowledge on her students for the past 12 years, teaching not only historical subjects but psychology as well. She teaches in the same district she graduated from. Even though she has two Master’s degrees in education, the writing community called to her.

Before beginning to write again after many years, she began editing and recently started ML Colton Editorial Services. Currently, she has a short story in State of Horror: New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana and others set to be published early next year. Besides dabbling with some short stories, she is the Editor-in-Chief at Charon Coin Press and has anthologies coming out early year entitled Paying the Ferryman, and Carpe Noctem: Truly, Madly, Deeply.

She has two beautiful daughters and a granddaughter who share her love of books and fun and some amazing friends around her. Even though she lives in Missouri and is a rabid Cardinals fan, she loves to travel to some of her favorite places like New Orleans, Florida and Hawaii.

 

Donna Emerich: Horror Influences

Published February 26, 2015 by admin

Today I’m back with Donna Emerich and her take on those who have influenced her into the horror genre. It’s always fascinating to see where we’ve come from and who’s nudged us along, so I’ll let Donna have the floor!

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My influence in horror came in several ways. As a child my parents took us to a triple feature at the drive in on Saturday nights. While my dad and older brother feel asleep, I along with my mother had our faces glued to the screen watching all the blood & gore unfold.

As a young teen I spent most of my time reading all the books I could get my hands on. ” I didn’t have a soical life except baby sitting.” I became curious as to why ” women ” were always portriated as ladies in destress or promiscuous bimbo’s, the women were given less than ” great ” quality’s.

At sixteen I had an unusual experience that brought to light the strength I ” felt ” women should have. A local family from the area I was raised in had all the elements I loved. The maternal figure ran the family. Women were strong, stead fast and as tough as any man. The men’s antics caught up to them a spree of robbery, arson and an accidental murder. I watched the trial with fascination. this brought me to a decision ” I wanted to work in the legal system. I loved what I refer to as ” realistic horror “.

I discovered that ” true life ” events are sometimes scarier than any monster you can dream up in your mind.

I got injured in an work accident , I spent ten years reading and watching movies. I felt many story’s lacked action. I started writing, developing characters that showed ” real life ” can be the scariest ” of all. Women ” serial killers ” are not very prevelent in our society. So when I write a story I make them stand out leaving readers with thoughts such as These people could be my neighbors, I can relate to this family or my favorite I know what it’s like to be picked on and bullied. It’s good to like a villian.

Women writers are usually classified as romance, erotica, self help or other proper things for women to write about. Never given the credit deserved in our male dominated field.

Living in MO I have a new favorite book & history behind it, that proves women are not to be taken lightly. The Bloody Benders is set in Kansas in the late 1800’s. This story is about a serial killing family where the ” daughter ” runs the show. They kill travelers that stop in for a meal on the trial between two towns. This is why I feel that sometimes ” real life ” is scarier than fiction.

Women need to be given equality in writing as well as in the characters. I feel women should create chaos, blood, guts, gore “ass kicking ” take no crap female characters. No more ” powder puff girly girls “. Let’s take over ladies of horror.