Saturday, July 19, 2014

Anthology Call for Submissions: "Reel Dark: Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page"

Authors, check out this call for submissions to an anthology I'm editing with L. Andrew Cooper .

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: BlackWyrm Publishing is opening several positions in its spring short fiction  anthology for general submissions. We offer professional rates (typically $.05/word) for full members of  professional organizations such as the HWA, MWA, RWA, and SFWA; other stories accepted through  general submissions receive a flat semi‐professional rate of $25. All contributors receive copies. The  collection, tentatively titled Reel Dark: Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page, focuses on  the infection of (prose‐fictional) worlds by movies. We want innovative approaches: if you think endless  references to films or characters stepping into or off of the screen is innovative, reconsider submitting.  Although the anthology as a whole will be dark in tone, it will speak to a range of audiences interested in  horror, science‐fiction, fantasy, and/or romance (particularly paranormal). Stories should not exceed  3,500 words. Submissions are open now and close November 1, 2014. We intend to launch the  collection at the World Horror Convention in May 2015. Submit stories in standard manuscript format  via movieantho@blackwyrm.com. Direct questions about the focus, rates, etc. to Editor‐in‐Chief L.  Andrew Cooper via landrewcooper@blackwyrm.com. Submissions sent directly to the editor will be  deleted unread. Authors accepted or invited to submit may join the group at  www.blackwyrm.com/movieantho for more information.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Guest Post: Cate Masters


The Goddess Connection Book 1
Goddess, Awakened
by Cate Masters


Blurb

With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.

Goddess, Awakened
The Goddess Connection, Book 1
Fantasy/paranormal romance novel
About 89,700 words

The Goddess Connection Series
Every woman should embrace her inner goddess. What’s your connection?

In each novel of The Goddess Connection series, the heroine is somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is.

And in each, the heroine is encouraged to embrace her inner goddess. And the hero treats her like one! As it should be for every woman.


About the Author
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Contact Details
Twitter:  @CateMasters

Book video
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Mini excerpt for GODDESS, AWAKENED
In starting her life over, Joss had expected some resistance, even some trouble, but not this. The bedroom floor boards trembled beneath her golden-slippered feet. Tendrils of an unseen power curled upward from deep within the ground, tingling through her toes. She paused to steady herself, then continued to put the finishing touches on her costume. The tremors grew into rumbles and their hum seeped beneath her skin. When their tiny wisps twined through her mind, she clenched her hands. Enough. Go away.
Thick as starlight on a clear summer’s eve, sweet as the lavender blossoms she had yet to plant, energy whooshed up through the cracks of the worn wood and out into the October night.
She gripped the bureau until it passed, the vibrations rolling over her in lessening waves. Bubbly, effervescent waves. “Third time tonight, Taz.” Each departure took longer, and more of the essence remained.
When the dog whined, she stroked his fur. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.”
Even if tonight the waves were palpable enough to make her hairs stand on end. Oh, no, please.
Nothing could ruin tonight. More than a party, this event would determine her future. And after three years of grief, she’d never allow anything to trap her in its clutches again.

Full Excerpt
The sting remained with Joss long after Eric fled the inn. Deep-rooted pain emanated from him when he’d first entered, and his palm against her arm sent an electric shock straight to her bones. The poor man. Grief kept him its prisoner. Joss understood how easy it was to fall into that dark trap. The way he’d held her, he sought escape. Comfort.
He awakened deep-seated sensations in her. In the few moments with him, she’d felt more alive than she had in three years.
So strange. Normally, one look allowed her to see the person inside. With Eric Hendricks, her receptivity went into overload. His soul, pent up for years, stirred to life and churned up love, fear, joy, hopelessness, yearning, jumbled and shifting faster than light. He displayed great strength in his firm stance and gentle touch. Beneath a hard veneer of sheer pain, one other trait came through clearly—purity of spirit, and integrity enough for many men.
The arrival of more guests drew Joss to the foyer again. Another matronly witch and an older man wearing a checked flannel shirt, jeans, and boots stepped inside, followed by a princess and a boy in a fabric turtle shell.
Joss recognized the girl as one of the riders whose horse was boarded at the inn’s stable. After greeting them and pointing them toward refreshments, she returned to Lydia. “Sorry about Dr. Hendricks.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s wonderful you have so many guests.” Lydia fingered the flowers in the vase on the table.
One woman stood in the archway to the front room, her bright-eyed glare directed at Joss. Wearing a short white shift adorned with large red hearts, the woman held a wand topped with a glittering red heart.
Confused by the woman’s malevolence, Joss approached and fought to overcome the negativity oozing from her. “Did you try some of the booscotti?”
The woman tilted up her chin. “I’m not hungry, Mrs. Gibson,” came her familiar nasal reply.
Recognition finally hit. Of course—the girl who worked at the diner in town. “Sheree?”
At her curt nod, Joss forced a smile. “I love your costume.”
Sheree’s gaze darted her length. “Likewise.”
What could be her problem? The woman wielded her wand like a weapon, ready to strike. “Please have a drink and make yourself at home.”
“Thank you.” Her narrowed eyes swept the room as if suspecting an ambush, and then she moved stiffly away.
Joss crossed the room to Lydia. “That was weird.”
Lydia whispered, “Be careful of her.”
“Sheree? I can’t imagine why.” Could she be nervous the inn would take away some of the diner’s business? Though Joss would have liked to think it was the cause of her strange behavior, Sheree’s vibes told Joss otherwise. Business had nothing to do with it. The waitress directed her bad juju at Joss personally. Had Joss unintentionally insulted Sheree? She’d barely met the woman.
Leaning close, her aunt spoke sternly, “I warned you to watch for others who seek the power of this place.”
Sheree? Her aunt must be mistaken. The woman’s terrible attitude resulted from something. Maybe an imagined slight? Joss would find a way to put Sheree at ease.
More guests entered, and Joss excused herself. She left Lydia deeply inhaling the air. Joss couldn’t deny the charged atmosphere was one of the reasons she’d bought the place. Not to tap into any lines of power for herself, but maybe to enhance the lavender field she planned. Joss needed the garden to thrive so the inn would as well.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Excerpt Wednesday: Death Sword

“Fail this assignment and don’t bother coming back.”

Xariel grasped the handle of his concealed dagger, recalling Metatron’s warning. Why did Karla Black interest his superior? Orders to kill then revive her ran counter to Xariel’s normal duties. Karla’s dossier indicated nothing remarkable except heterochromia iridium. A recent headshot sent to Xariel’s email revealed a pale oval face framed by a cinnamon bob cut so it angled along her jaw. Most noteworthy, though, were Karla’s eyes. One was cobalt, the other, emerald.

He inhaled a drag from his cigarette, flipped the butt over the rail and watched it disappear beneath the choppy waters of the Ohio River. Back to work. Concentrating, he locked his internal radar on her position. Third and Market. He’d finish this assignment, return home to his Courier-Journal and Crown Royal.

Thank Seraphim cold, damp temperatures kept people away from Riverfront Plaza tonight. No one to witness him teleport.

Xariel closed his eyes. Seconds later, he appeared behind Karla, shoes making no sound on the concrete. She shifted from one foot to another, her calf-high PVC boots drawing his attention to the short denim skirt she tugged down over black tights. Eyes focused on the don’t walk sign, she muttered an impatient expletive.

Was she a street walker? He didn't recall reading so in her file, only that she worked as a barista at a local coffee shop. At least she had sense enough to wear a short wool jacket against the damp chill permeating downtown Louisville.

Before Karla registered his appearance, he grabbed her from behind, slapping a hand over her mouth. She struggled to jerk free. One stiletto-booted heel kicked back, aimed for his instep. Xariel dodged and dragged her into a nearby alley, ignoring the muffled cries vibrating against his hand. There, he focused on setting up a temporary barrier. He couldn't risk her escaping, not after Metatron’s warning.

The force field wouldn't last long. Xariel shoved Karla back against the brick facade of an office building. He pulled out his dagger, plunging it into her stomach. Her eyes, narrowed in anger, widened in shock as blood drained from her face.

Xariel withdrew the knife, blood dripping down the blade. Karla slumped to the tarmac. He
watched her soul, a wispy tendril indiscernible to the human eye, slip through her slack mouth.

He unscrewed the dagger handle and directed her soul into the hollow recess. Although he’d only a short time, he needed to be methodical, cautious. Move too fast and a fragment of psyche might escape. She’d be damaged, worthless.

Satisfied no essence remained, Xariel sealed the dagger and invoked the prayer Metatron had taught him.

He pierced Karla again in the same place, willing her soul to reenter her body and the wound to heal. She remained unresponsive.

Xariel drew a sharp breath. Failure? Shit. Metatron would have his head.


Published by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.

Available for

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Kobo

Monday, June 30, 2014

Macabre Monday Movie Review

I've been wanting to try something different with my blog, and thought about posting weekly horror/thriller/suspense movie reviews. While I don't know if this will be a continuous feature, there's certainly enough material out there.

The first movie up for review is Dominique (aka Dominique is Dead), a film from 1978, directed by Michael Anderson.

(Minor spoilers below)


Dominique Ballard (Jean Simmons) believes her husband, David (Cliff Robertson), intends to drive her mad. He succeeds, and she commits suicide. Or does she? Soon David finds himself experiencing the same disquieting episodes that drove his wife to her grave. Will Dominique get her revenge?

Dominique plays more suspense than horror, and allows itself to move languidly, foregoing jump cuts or other fast-paced editing intended to keep a viewer on the edge of their proverbial seat. The film is effective at using atmosphere, although at times the screen was so dark, it was impossible to see anything. (But that could have been the quality of the print.) Most of the movie was shot in wide or medium shots, again dispensing with sudden zooms and close ups that filmmakers sometimes rely on for shock effect. The director of Dominique doesn’t seem to be going for outright horror but more of a Hitchcockian vibe, although that’s only my guess.

There were unanswered questions. Dominique suspected her husband of trying to drive her mad. She seemed very rational about it, which begs the question of why she killed herself. Why not just leave? David didn’t come across as a controlling man, and the only reason given for her not being able to go anywhere was she’d fired the chauffer. But a new one, Tony, arrived shortly after. Since he was given orders to drive Dominique wherever she wanted, that would’ve been one way for her to leave.

Motive was also questionable in David’s case, especially at first. His business is failing, and we later find out he wanted Dominique dead so he could get her money. Again, why go through that trouble? Why not just ask for a loan? There was never any indication Dominique wouldn’t give him the money.

Another incongruity was the murder of the doctor who declared Dominique dead. No explanation is given for this action, making it seem superfluous and thrown in to fill time.

The movie could’ve ended after a certain point. That would’ve been sufficient and satisfying. But for some reason, the writers and/or director seemed to want to “explain” the events. Again, I’m not sure if this was because they needed to fill more time, or if they couldn’t bring themselves to accept a paranormal ending.

Dominique isn’t a bad film, despite its flaws. If you enjoy suspenseful movies, you might enjoy it. I’ll definitely be watching it again.



Monday, June 23, 2014

"Recalculating" in Nashville

Back in Louisville after spending part of last week at Film-Com in Nashville. Special shout out to Amy McCorkle for inviting me to join her. That she survived my driving should speak volumes. That anyone in Music City survived my driving is probably a miracle.

What can I say? Film-Com rocked. The panels were informative and easy to get to, being held in the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame, not that far from the Hilton Downtown, the host hotel. There was one panel per hour, and I attended "How to Launch Scripted Television Concepts," "Documentaries - Financing and Distribution," "Features - Packaging, Financing, and Distribution," and "Genre Picture Funding," the last one focusing on horror.

The horror genre was well-represented, and I had a chance to meet some industry executives who work in that field. Because it's all about the networking.

Props to the Film-Com volunteers. Well organized and in a location not far from the downtown hotel (although Amy and I traveled from Franklin, TN), the organizers succeeded in making sure not only were the venues easy to get to, but there was ample parking, always a plus in my book. :-)

As for "Recalculating"? Well, let's just say that adventures with the GPS have inspired a story idea.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Guest Post: Jamieson Wolf

Finding a New Voice
Jamieson Wolf

As a writer, I've received many glowing reviews, but I've never received reactions in person. 

Sure, I've written over 60 books, had many number one best sellers and amassed a legion of fans. They've all written to me and told me how much they've loved my books and my stories and I'm overwhelmed each time I receive an email or a comment on Facebook from one of them.

However, until recently, I've never been able to talk face to face to people who've read my work. I've never had a book release party (I've always wanted to) and have never read my work in public.

When I began writing the poems that are contained in Talking to the Sky, I let people read them one poem at a time. I would share them with people, foregoing my normal practice of keeping my book under wraps until it was done.

Recently, I've had several people read one of my poems and react very strongly. Usually it brings tears of release or they are moved by the beauty of the poem. I had one woman who read Beautiful As You Are who told me I had given voice to something she had no words for. Another who read a love poem I had written that said it reminded her of when she had fallen in love with her husband.

It's humbling to have moved people so much and to be able to witness their reactions as they come from the heart.

It's incredible to know that they were moved by my words. It's one thing to receive reviews or blurbs, another thing entirely to witness this reaction first hand. It's especially gratifying to me as I thought I would never be able to write again.

When I was struck with MS in January of last year, I didn't think I would be able to write again. I was bedridden for a month and when I began to get better, I was unable to write anything for months. I finally turned to writing poetry as I could only get out a few words at a time. I could piece that together into a poem.

I had no idea what I was doing with poetry and doubted that I would be able to find my voice again. However, I was writing and that was enough. More amazing than that were the reactions I received to my poems.

They were from the heart, just like the poems and, when I let people read them, they were immediate and deep. I hadn't just found my voice, I had found a new one. At first, it was just a way to write again, a way to get the words out that so badly wanted release.

I've come to realize that my poems, though short on words from what I was used to writing, are bigger in heart, in emotion, a moment in time caught on paper. The poems are inspired by real conversations I've had or moments from my own life. Rather than hide behind the power of a story, I'm out there on the page and there's nothing to hide behind.

The words were always there, waiting to be written. It took an event that changed my life to find this new voice, one that was there but was hidden inside of me. Now that I've found it and I'm having a far greater impact on other peoples lives than ever before, I know that no matter what happens I will never lose it.

I just have to keep writing, and touching people's lives, one reader and one poem at a time.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Magical May Blog Hop



One of the perks of being an author is twisting preconceived notions of good and evil. In Exterminating Angel, Lucifer plays a mentor-type role, helping Zaphkiel and the others as they search for two pentacles – one gold and the other silver – before the sun demon Sorath finds them. The Devil not only protects his friends, he sees to their welfare, giving them jobs and places to live.  

In contrast, Zaphkiel’s angelic boss Ophaniel not only usurps his position as leader of the Throne angels, he has Zaphkiel’s lover, Caliel, arrested and executed. Ophaniel covets the pentacles, and makes Zaphkiel a deal. If he brings him the pentacles, he’ll forgive and forget everything.

Zaphkiel knows he can’t trust Ophaniel, and any deal he makes with him is subject to the archangel’s whims. When he kills a young man and unwittingly unleashes Sorath upon the city, he realizes his situation is even more dire. This is all Ophaniel needs to threaten him with execution unless he finds and turns over the pentacles.

Both Ophaniel and Sorath seek power, although for different reasons. Sorath wants to destroy the universe. Ophaniel wants to be equal to the high-ranking Seraphim. Caught in the middle are two angels, one who doesn’t even know who he is.

As for the Devil, it would be too easy to make him evil. Creating a complex character who has to deal with the negative stereotyping. Yeah, that was harder

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Please check out the Magical May Blog Hop posts from these other Kensington/Lyrical Press authors.





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